I am a big fan of the Matrix. My post about a forgetting pill to erase painful memories got me thinking. What if it were as easy as taking a pill to forget the hard truths we have learned and go back into the "Matrix" (religion)?
Cypher did it. We condemn Cypher because he betrayed Morpheus. However, what if no betrayal was involved? What if we simply decided that we didn't like the knowledge that God is imaginary and there is no afterlife? What if we preferred the comforting lies of religion to the hard truth of reality? The ability to erase our knowledge of the true nature of the Matrix might someday be a reality. How many people would do it?
For those of us who left traditional religion, we often paid a tremendous price in terms of broken relationships. Many of us had (or currently have) spouses, children, parents, etc., who condemn us for our "apostate" beliefs. What if this pain could be erased, and we could be brought back into full fellowship by something as simple as a blue pill.
I, for one, would not take the blue pill. I believe that the truth, however painful, is better than delusion, because it allows one to make the best choices in a given situation. For example, suppose you only had a year to live. While painful, knowing the truth would allow you to fill your remaining time with the most worthwhile activities.
How would you feel about someone who knowingly took that decision away from you? For example, suppose your doctor lied and said you were fine. When the truth became apparent and you realized you could have lived your last year differently, wouldn't you be furious with the doctor? Of course, the analogy breaks down with the issue of the afterlife, because we will never know that Heaven doesn't exist and thereby have an opportunity to be angry at theists for telling us that it did.
A better analogy is in the The Decendants. George Clooney's wife was having an affair, and he was apparently the last to know. He was rightfully angry at the people who kept this knowledge from him because he could have made different choices if he had known the truth. I know there are some people who would prefer to live in the delusion that their spouse is faithful, but they are probably in the minority.
I would feel the same way about myself if I were the one who decided to erase my memories and reenter the Matrix. There is a good chance that I would eventually come to the same conclusions about the nature of reality, and I would resent my past self for attempting to erase that hard-won knowledge.
Knowing that this life is all I have does impact my day-to-day judgment. I am trying to kick old habits of deferring for the future what I can enjoy today. That is one of the real problems with religion. It convinces us that we have forever so we don't live today to the fullest.
What would you do?