The madness that involves violating one's own supposed precepts in order to violate another's existence.
The madness that drives otherwise intelligent people to the depths of ignorance and ignorant people to the heights of destruction; their own and others'.
The madness that perpetuates war and disease and famine and death at the beckoning of writings from millennia past and drives communities apart from within and without.
One cannot have proper communication in the face of faith. The latter will eventually drown out any attempt to properly understand one another as the belief that the ultimate destination of those who do not believe will be doom of some kind that may or may not infect the minds of the children whom that faith proclaims to protect and 'save'. Cue Helen Lovejoy... One questions why people will simply not stop and think.
The ideas that have driven people to the limits of outrage; of achievement; of beauty; of earnest desire and contemptible desire are those that are in and of themselves earnest and contemptible. Faith has been used to create codes and to shatter them; to insist upon guidance and to set people free from it; to create unshakable laws and to empower people past any law written by a human hand. All of this has been done with the idea of some goal that can neither be defined or experienced because the ultimate experience will supposedly be at the end of any that can be related to one another. Thus, communication denied.
Is action taken by the will of a person or by divine fiat? The laws say thou may not and the laws say thou may. Are all of those laws prescribed somewhere before they are even written or has the will of the average human being been proscribed before he or she has even learned how to pick up a pen and use it to communicate what is in their mind? Are we a nation of men or a nation of laws?
Unfortunately, we're currently a nation burdened by the conviction of some that the principles upon which it was founded were both universally applicable and unchangeable; this in the face of the facts that the writers of said principles were objecting against the idea that divine, unknowable will elevated the status of any one person above any other. God/Yahweh/Allah/Brahman/Buddha were to have no part in the common designs of the American man and yet we are stuck arguing over how big their role should be in a time period where we are supposedly more educated and more knowledgeable about the world and our role in it than those hallowed people. Would that it were actually so...
I knew a man, once. I had the audacity to tell him that I had no use for philosophy or poetry. I was a pragmatic individual and I knew where of and what I was and where I was going and I had no time to stop and consider deeper thoughts. I was all of 15 years old and a senior in high school. That man taught me how to better use the words that I was so proud of and encouraged me to reconsider philosophy and poetry, telling me that I would learn to love them.
That man was a Catholic priest. I have little use for the beliefs that he held so dearly, but I wish that he was here right now so that I could tell him that he was right. My appreciation for words extended to poetry and philosophy became one of the driving forces of my existence. That man's religion had driven him to teach, in the same way that the driving force of Islam led Arabic peoples to develop scientific principles that we still use today (as we grit our teeth in chagrin over the way Islam is used as a tool of ignorance in Afghanistan.) Is there an upside? Of course there is. I miss you, Father Ziemba. I can't ever repay how you convinced me to stop and think. I only wish so many other people would do the same without the constraints of some presumed morality handed down from an otherworldly being that no one has seen nor ever will.