“An Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Freundel was fixated on the minutiae of Jewish law. He drilled his converts in the proper blessings to say over a banana or a pretzel, and the order in which they should be recited should we happen to eat both at the same meal. This kind of knowledge was the bedrock of my conversion experience. But how could I continue to make myself care about such details when it became clear that the man who taught them to me valued knowing the blessing for a specific food group over behaving like a decent human being?” Bethany Mandel, The New York Times, November 15,2017

For this atheist, the idea that people think there is a “proper” blessing for a banana or a pretzel is utterly and completely insane.

Religious observance of banana and pretzel prayer etiquette is why I think, on my dark days, that humans are irredeemably stupid.

Please understand that I was raised catholic, and my eyes roll and my heart aches at the nonsense and horrors entailed therein. Or in any religious sect, cult, or fad. You quartz crystal lovers and astrologers, you, too. East and west, north and south, devotion to ritual and superstition horrifies me.

Obedience is not a virtue. But what is this desire, in some, to follow slavishly, unquestioningly, absurdly down that path? Why throw your heart and intellect away for what you KNOW is “the man behind the curtain”? Behind the camera lens? A man? An ordinary man?