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Adventures of a stay-at-home, skeptical, homeschooling dad (etc.)


Is that a toe on your head?

For someone who tries to live as myth-free as possible, it can be fairly rough going sometimes. As an exercise, pretend someone told you he believed that all humans have a toe growing out of the tops of their heads. If you don't immediately vacate the area, I can see the line of conversation going something like this:

  • Him: I believe all humans have a toe growing out of the tops of their heads.
  • You: Well, I don't think I do…
  • Him: Yes you do, everybody does.
  • You: I'm pretty sure I don't, I've never seen it in the mirror.
  • Him: It doesn't have a reflection, silly.
  • You: My friends have never seen it.
  • Him: It can't be seen.
  • You: I've never felt it.
  • Him: It doesn't work like that, it can't be detected with any our senses.

At this point, if you're still near him, you'd probably ask him how he knows there is a toe there, then.

  • You: How do you know there's a toe there, then?

If his answer is something like "It's obvious that there is a toe there", "I just feel that it's true", or "Sometimes you just have to believe in things you can't see or explain", you'd probably think him a little off-balanced. If you then found out that there were 30 others who believed the same thing, you'd think it was a cult (well, I would anyway). But if it was 30 thousand or 30 million, suddenly you have a religion on your hands.

If that religion is different enough from yours, you'd scoff and say it's obviously garbage, but you'd call it a religion none-the-less and probably pretend to accept their beliefs as socially acceptable. Following the old advice about not talking about religion or politics, you probably wouldn't even bring up their strange beliefs in casual conversation. Meanwhile, you'll be thinking: "What? These people think they have invisible toes growing out of their heads?!?! What the…?! How can…?! It's mad! Mad! Mad! I tell you! Mad!" Or something along those lines anyway.

Well, to me, you all believe that you have toes on your heads. Sorry, that's what it seems like. Your spirits, ghosts, souls, gods, goddesses, demons, angels, witches, third eyes, chakras, devils, kis, afterlives, reincarnations, telepathies, lucky charms, voodoos, magics, etc… they all look like toe-on-the-head beliefs from where I stand.

So next time you're talking with someone about the weather, look really hard for that toe on their head. That's what I'm doing when I'm talking to you.

2005-02-26 #religion