Tricks are for Kids, Silly Rabbi

Terry Richardson got into character as a Jewish rabbi in 2011.

Ego-centrism is as a normal and natural way of perceiving the world for each of us in our earliest years of discovery. Notice that small children put faces on the flowers and the suns they draw. And notice that the emotions of the flowers and sun reflect the present emotional state of the child. This is not because the child thinks the flowers and the sun share her emotions. It is because the smiles on the flowers and the sun ARE her emotions. They are projections of her own self.

If you take all the possible ways to project your humanness on the world, you will discover that God is the ultimate projection. It is a vestige of childhood. Not only the childhood of humans but the childhood of the human race from a time when our collective intellect was still very new. A time when any event such as lightening and earthquakes were attributed to this projection of humanness as we sought to find ways to explain them by way of human-like intent -the will of a being rather than the way of nature. Long long ago, we used ego-centrism to describe why something happened. People were more content with asking why, assuming every event had intent, rather than asking how and first discover if there was intent. The fact is that lightening striking and earthquakes rumbling are not the results of intent. They are the results of natural phenomenon. We know this now. But as small children and as ancient people, we did not.

Many people to this day are quite content on functioning in this childlike way. They will project their Abrahamic God into natural phenomenon to fill the gaps in their own poor understanding of how nature operates. They are very uncomfortable with leaving ego-centrism behind. They fear it would be like taking themselves completely out of the equation, rendering them empty and naked and meaningless. You hear this when they say things like “random,” “chance,” and “material.” Without their projection on the backdrop of every facet of their lives, they fear being reduced to the base elements that make up their bodies. Elements with no purpose, no meaning, and no emotion.

It takes honesty, humility, and great strength of character to stand alone in the universe and relinquish the safety net of ego-centrism, turning off the God projector. What is out there if not for this projection? What emptiness and darkness will there be for us without the intent we assign to it all? Who will love me if not for the love I project out from myself so as to imagine receiving it back ten fold? But once you flick that switch, you will see that the artificial light that cast the image of humanness into the cosmos was only obscuring the most awesome and amazing show of all: reality.

If you love yourself, this contagion will attract more of the same. If you find meaning in your life, there is no need for it to be assigned externally. If you give yourself purpose, you will strive to fulfill it. We can do anything and be anything our hearts desire within reason if we have faith in ourselves. It was the human race that invented gods. And it will be the human race that re-assigns this collection of ultimate attributes to the various concerns i which they truly apply. Including natural phenomena, our imaginations, and our aspirations. There will always be those who are not willing or interested in breaking from ego-centrism. And that’s okay. We should celebrate our diversity. But we shall never allow people to assign their personal projection as the authority for the rest of us. “God” is a personal and private experience and as such should be treated very much in the same way we treat other personal and private parts of our lives.

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SC Rowland is a secularist, activist, and founder of Secular Press.

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