It may not be polite or politically correct, but people find a way to ferret out answers to nosey and incorrect questions, such as: “What religion are you? Or, what is your political affiliation?”
Why do people feel the need for labels? Are they unable to communicate with or function around folks before shoving them into properly labeled little boxes? In truth, without the boxes and labels, the sound of silence would be deafening, and the power of the few over the many would not be possible.
The ones in power are determined to control how we live, think, speak, and who our associates or friends ought to be. The desire to control the masses is nothing new. Research the history of man’s existence on this planet, and you will discover the goal of any quest for control leads to power.
Back in those less than thrilling days of yesteryear, you never knew who or what would get you. In truth, the only certainty in life was and still is death. The only variable to the inevitable moment is the path you travel to reach your destination. For example in caveman days, probable exits from your miserable life were by your leader’s club, a rival for cave-babe’s affections, or the jaws of some critter not quite cave-broken.
As man crawled out of the cave and up the path to become civilized, someone was always plotting and finding ways to take control of the masses. At times, the method of control was by physical or political means, and at other times religion held the controlling power. Eventually, the two merged and organized religion wielded both religious and political control. Throughout history up to and including today, the unholy alliance of religious and political power continues. Sometimes, as was the case in the Middle Ages, the combination is overt, but more often than not it is under the radar to fool the masses. In either case, the union still exists.
The basic belief in a supreme being or a prime mover many refer to as God was hijacked by humans who may or may not have the best spiritual interests of their flocks’ souls in mind. Left to his own devices, with minimal or no visible interference from the guy who tipped over the first domino, man muddled along. Someone saw an opportunity, which led to the rise of organized religion.
Since then, people are manipulated and herded by religious, political and pragmatic values. Consequently, the weak-willed tend to be zealots in their religious and political leanings. They follow blindly, placing their lives and decisions in the hands of a supreme being or those with earthbound powers. Then they sit back, waiting for help without taking any action on their part to move things along. One conveniently forgotten or ignored fact is the prime mover did help by giving everyone free will.
The folks who are less malleable than the zealots choose to be agnostics. Keep in mind that agnostics or skeptics exist in religion as well as politics. They have free will but are not quite willing to make the leap by choosing a religious belief or a political affiliation. Political agnostics tend to be libertarians.
In keeping with our blended analogy, atheists are steadfast in their belief that no deity or political power exists or has jurisdiction over their lives. No matter how firm their stance, agnostics and atheists are vulnerable to stealth manipulation by both religious and political leaders.
When folks do not fit into pre-labelled boxes, the people in power panic. How can they control misfits? To their horror and disbelief, some people do engage the brain and put their free will to good use. They do not fall under specific labels because they do not want or need the not so benevolent guidance of those who elevated themselves above others. Such unique folks are multi-layered and known as free spirits.
Clearly, labels and boxes confuse the issue. If we care to know another person, the question we should be asking is: Who are you? The answers could be surprising.