Message I decided not to send to a Christian acquaintanceMon, September 15, 2008 - 2:03 AM
Since you are clearly inspired by the word of god as found in the Holy Bible and you have been open with me about your beliefs, I would like the same opportunity to share my beliefs with you. I want to say that I do not pass any value judgment on you whatsoever beyond that which I can see and hear in your presence.
I find you very self-confident, intelligent, a good explainer of ideas, and most importantly honest and it is a pleasure to have met you. Few would write the things you did to someone they met one time. I appreciate your trusting that I would not be upset by your passionate belief in god and Jesus Christ.
I looked at the Christian boot camp link you sent to me and I watched their video. I agree that all men need such bonding activities. As a nation we are all pitted against each other in a race for the almighty dollar and there is no male bonding activities outside of sports which are great for the body, but leave the mind only full of thoughts derived from testosterone.
I believe these Christian boot camp activities would have the same effect on ones emotional, mental, and physical state with or without a religious framework. The mystery of god or a higher power cannot be simply explained as the good feelings one gets when participating in a group event or singing in a choir, playing in a band, or speaking in tongues from the pulpit. The experience also cannot simply be explained by the acceptance of a book or set of books regardless of how much we want to believe them to be written by the invisible hand of god.
It seems too convenient to have a set of infallible guides and to ascribe such boot camp feelings to the one all powerful Judeo-Christian god. I think we would find that the Muslim extremists who strap on bombs have the same core experience in their holy boot camps. They too are assured that the same all powerful god is working through them on a glorious mission on their way to heaven and eternal salvation.
Like most thinking people, I have struggled with the question of god and religion and only through thousands of pages of social networking posts with thousands of strangers did I finally come to rest on the subject.
God cannot be defined, cannot be seen or heard, cannot be felt or touched, cannot be smelled or tasted. God is akin to gravity or the speed of light or the space between subatomic particles or galaxies. We have theories, but no means to experience them first hand in the flesh. So god is simply undefined or 1/0. If you hear god talking and touching you, these are in the realm of the imagination. Maybe, you believe that the all knowing, all loving god of all mankind would select you over me to communicate with?
If you believe 100% in a god who punishes innocent people for their disbelieve in him (or loves them dearly for their belief), you can do so and proudly state that god =1. It’s your decision and you are most welcome to it. On the other hand, if you 100% do not believe in a god that you cannot prove or disprove with our current state of technology, then you can proudly state that god = 0. Again, this is your decision and you are most welcome to it.
Everyone else is stuck with god is undefined (aka agnostics) and to me this is not a belief as much as it is a reality. I can happily live with this definition and realize that no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to sell a bible to a true atheist or take one away from a true evangelist. Sadly, my comments may cause my evangelistic friends to see my words as the work of Satan and they would be warned to distance themselves from me (or worse attempt to save me). My atheist friends would see me as weak-minded and without logic.
In a way, both total believers and total unbelievers are the same. They both take a position that can’t be proven or disproven and I simply and happily accept both simultaneously. Just don’t try and force your beliefs on me or my government and I won’t have any reason to hate you.
While this may seem like an awful position to be in, it is actually very empowering to the living body and mind to get on with this amazing life working on knowing myself first and foremost. A man or woman who gets up each morning thinking how they can improve themselves and the life of everyone else without fear of upsetting God or pleasing Satan is the kind of person I want to be. What anyone else thinks, says, or does is up to them to decide. Just treat my ideas, needs, dreams, and desires as important as yours and we won’t need any more wars.
Millions of us go through our entire lives “wondering” and not “doing.” We get trapped in a loop asking ourselves things like; “who am I, why was I born, what is my purpose, what field should I enter.” This loop gets reinforced by our public schools, colleges, mass media, and politicians. Religion attempts to fill in the blanks for us, but it does not change reality. In the end, three percent of American’s are truly financially free to live their lives to the fullest extent possible. The rest of us blame some group other than the real culprit - ourselves. Our avoidance and ignorance of the truth behind the root cause of our worst social problems is another paper, so I will not write about it here.
I truly fear man’s religions much more than I embrace them. The single-mindedness of citizens who vote only because they believe one politician is more “religious” than another is absolutely frightening. Our Constitutional amendments assures us a clear separation between all churches and all branches and levels of government. Therefore, we all (religious and non-religious) should be making our selections based on which candidates follow the constitution most closely and not their position on any of the many varieties of the Christian Holy Bible, the Muslim Quran, the Hebrew Talmud, the Indian Veda’s, the Buddhist Sutra’s, and a thousand other equally meaningful texts (according to our Constitution) on the subject of god.
Frankly speaking, most of our American leaders claim to be Christians or Jews. However, many have risen and fallen in their insatiable lust for power and money. Even with all the documented proof of corrupt self-proclaimed Christian’s and Jew’s in the highest levels of government, corporations, and churches; our mass media seems to focus on the poor black kid from the depressed ghetto holding up a 7-11 and how many new and very expensive prisons we are going to need to cage them.
Our media is so tightly controlled that we don’t even notice that all top stories are the same on every channel and some channels are biased so much that it’s absolutely amazing that the people from the so-called “best country on earth” can be so blind. All one has to do is say “God Bless America” and wave a flag and by golly, he or she is what America needs to get things turned around. Turned around from what and from whom? Is it Satan, the Terrorists, the 7-11 shooters? Is it the poor or the atheists?
Will our bills and debts go down or our paychecks and job opportunities go up? Will we get affordable health care or have a secure retirement? Will we get better and more affordable education for our kids from kindergarten to graduate school? Will we get access to cheap renewable energy and stop using polluting fossil fuels? Who exactly is taking what from whom and who is exactly giving what to whom? I have heard the same thing every four years for the last fifty, but I somehow keep missing my share of the so forcefully promised results.
Somehow, I don’t think Jesus Christ would be voting for McCain and Palin or Obama and Biden as the core of the entire system is rotten and stinks and this is why almost 100 million eligible voters (the true majority) don’t even bother to vote for either side.
To me, besides the undefined god that I know, I do know that I am the master of my own life to the extent that I can escape the constant social programming I experience to believe in lies. I do have a brain between my ears and I do have some fresh air left that connects me to all other forms of life. I crawl around on this earth as do the dogs, the ants, and the microbes. All of my body’s elements come from the soil and water of mother earth; so it would seem to me that my first duty to myself, my fellow man, and my undefined god would be in caring for the earth and protecting the soil, the water, and the air, as well as plant and animal life.
I will end here. I hope you don’t take anything I said as an attempt to shake your Christian beliefs. I suppose you may now think I am under control of Satan and doomed for the lake of fire. However, this is what being American should be all about; a place where anyone can have his beliefs and be seen as equals in the eyes of our countrymen and mutual government.
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Ah -- sanityToo bad that the people who need to read and ponder this essay likely never will. Well stated Reverend.
|I am less concerned about definitions (but not unmindful) than about experiencing existences and realities, along with speculation, fantasy, dreams, etc, I won't put too many constraints on what from what I have gathered so far is much more than our abilities to perceive can take in.|