You can be skeptical of anything but the one true failure of humanity.
Imagine for a moment that you could understand all of the Big Problems of humanity, and nobody would have to get nailed to anything to see where we have gone wrong.
David Spero wrote a wonderful assessment of how violence affects us all, some solutions to localized problems, and the views that are effectively communicated through contemporary stories.
In all of this enlightened good work, he only missed one word that logically causes all of it: Competition.
Unquestioned competition is what creates an underlying “alienness” to every person we meet and is the fundamental failing of civilization itself: Jesus loved everyone: Christians do not. Whether you believe that Jesus was real or not; whether you believe he was somehow the Son or not, the bottom line is that this icon of Salvation for the human species taught that in order to reach a better future for everyone, you have to accept and forgive and include everyone in that future. Churches do the opposite: they create exclusionary rules and rituals to establish a majority strength over the weak.
I digress. This isn’t about religion. It’s about competition and exploitation of weakness by everyone for selfish extraction. We have been conditioned to accept this target-seeking as “normal”: we are emulating the competitive antagonism that unthinking animals use to survive. Churches are an emergent phenomenon, just like our increasing intra-species violence. Marketing forces are the same thing, but with more money and even more brands to enhance competition while owning peculiar monopolies.
To understand how questioning blind faith in competition became taboo, we have to step outside our anthropocentric perspective for a few seconds. We have to see humans as predatory pack animals who filled any niche that was available. In the natural environment where human beings emerged, competition is moderated by need, resources and symbiotic behaviors among myriad species. Human tribes survived by moderating their competitiveness within the tribe and family. With the development of civilization (walls between humans and everything else), humanity has eliminated natural moderation (and natural selection) under the premise of “improving living conditions…