I imagine that aliens learning about human behavior on planet Earth these days would have an extremely difficult time resolving the conflicting displays of religion. In the US recently we had a head-spinningly strange confluence of religious events between the visit of Pope Francis, with his message of love, peace, tolerance and even respect for the planet, and the gay-hating shenanigans of that near-martyred Christian Clerk from Kentucky.
One thing that I am absolutely certain of in this life is that there are no guarantees of anything, and yet it never ceases to amaze (and amuse) me how we as humans work so hard to convince ourselves otherwise. When you couple this desire for certainty with our consumerist culture, well, then you have a recipe for truly delusional thinking. There’s probably a fancy psychological term for this, and author David McRaney has probably written about it in his self-effacingly humorous way, but I have made up my own term for this mindset: Inoculation Syndrome. Much like taking a shot of antibiotic or vaccine, the way Inoculation Syndrome works is that once you adopt a certain way of thinking, behaving, dressing, what have you, you render yourself immune from the pitfalls such behavior is meant to ward you against. What we fail to realize is that, as with germs and viruses that mutate and become resistant to antibiotics, the forces of life on this planet forever stymie our ability to contain, or master, them.