In one word, why I’m not a Muslim.
I don’t do authority. Yes, I have jobs, and I keep them, and I get excellent performance reviews and references, but I do not submit well to authority figures. My strategy is to become friendly with my supervisors — what I would not do for a boss, I will gladly do for a friend. When an unpopular piece of policy comes down, I think, “Fuck no, I’m not going to do that! Oh wait, Tom (or Chuck or Creighton or Jo or whomever) is so nice, I’ll go ahead and do it to make them happy. If I don’t, they’ll get in trouble, and I wouldn’t want that.” It doesn’t address the key personality flaw, but it gets the job done. I don’t do reverence well either, but I mask that by being naturally serious in manner.
The word Islam means Submission, so Muslims are Submitters. As such, they claim everyone who submits themselves to God, just like the Catholic Church claims to be universal. It’s a bit arrogant, but it gives them some peace about the people who don’t consciously join their in-group. And indeed, most Christians claim to submit to God’s will, so they’re Submitters too. Religious people are generally Submitters, because God is the ultimate authority figure.
But being The Ultimate, God is different from my supervisors. He’s not getting in trouble with anyone. There is none greater. He’s also not as good at giving instruction. He’s rather vague, so people interpret His directions in several different ways, and He doesn’t come by to check on us and correct our courses. The distance and the vagueness make it harder for me to care about Him, so there’s a lot less motivation to submit to His leadership.
I suppose part of the problem is in the way I’m made. You remember phrenology, which was so popular 150 years ago? People thought that the shape of your head revealed your personality. I’ve looked at their maps, and felt up my own cranium. I have a big bulbous head, so I have all sorts of skills and virtues, but I have a big dent where Veneration is supposed to be. I don’t know whether the shape causes the personality or the other way round, but whoever made me ought to have known better.
Unless there’s a god who doesn’t care about submission and reverence. Is there a version of God I can get drunk and ridicule uneducated believers with? Hm. Must keep looking…