…and an American, second, then I can’t be a Baptist or other God-fearing Christian, first, and an American, second.
Personally I don’t have a problem with people exercising their freedom of religion, except as it relates to MY FREEDOMS as spelled out in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. And understood by COMMON juris prudence.
In time of war, however, people owe it to each other to “throw down” on whichever side they are on. While I can thank Major Hasan for his service to his country and his attempts at exercising his integrity, I completely deplore his actions taken against his fellow soldiers and fellow Americans.
Muslims, like other Christians, do not have a problem with taking up arms to defend their country of origin. They do it all the time. So do most Christians — except, perhaps, Quakers.
Creating a false brotherhood of “Muslims” and “everyone else” is precisely what I detest about all organized religion. It is a total set-up for armed conflict. We occupy the same planet, people. Any religion that is not truly global, or does not accept people as they are, is complete hokum. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Anyone who awoke to find themselves both inside, and outside, of the walls of the church of their childhood, knows precisely what I am talking about. Religion is a defense against spiritual, and truly religious, experience. As such it is a meaningless void into which we toss copious amounts of cash.
Certainly religions can, and do, good works. So does my car. So does your left elbow. But if my car becomes too costly to maintain or your left elbow develops a sarcoma, you GET RID OF IT. You learn to live without it. Productively so.
This nonsense of religious intolerance appears to have no end. We are forever getting held hostage by people who would take advantage of the seams in our values created by religion and religious dogma. The childish incantation of my youth, “if God is all-powerful then can He make a rock so big that He, Himself, can’t lift it,” turns out to be founded in some mature, adult thinking. Those who would continue to hide behind the, “it’s a mystery,” or, “it’s a sacred paradox,” need to be shown the SAME DOOR we show to snake oil salesmen and other huxsters. We don’t need this madness. If we allow one bullshit artist to plant the seeds of self doubt in the mind’s of little children, we allow every con artist with a pathology in, too. Let’s have some mercy on each other. Let’s move on.
We CAN, and WE WILL, find something better to replace our religious fixations with. With a little compassion and understanding, we can transcend our own drive to damn each other to Hell, or hold one another unreasonably accountable for the stuff that got done TO US, not BECAUSE OF US.
There is not a God POSSIBLE who could separate out the true identity of any of us, mark it for destruction, and still be considered, “Creator.” Like things create other like things, my peeps. You don’t put pumpkin pie in the oven and reasonably expect to retrieve a pecan pie in an hour or two. Only magical thinking allows for that possibility and the thing about adult reality is that IT CEASES TO BELIEVE IN MAGIC. Some phenomena will escape easy explanation, but adults can deal with that reality without generating alot of fear and loathing for each other while we wait for our answers.
Sin is REAL because each of us holds to our belief in it and about it. Each of us wants to hold out for the reconciliation of that last little bit of ego that can just as easily be ripped out of our possession as yesterday’s newspaper. I can end your physical journey on this planet. You can end mine. Civilized people agree not to do that to one another, ever. It is a sacred compact. When I harbor ANY belief in a behavior that might compromise my absolute commitment to being AT-ONE with any one of you, I place my belief in SIN before I place my belief in a common Creator. And this, my peeps, creates expectations that are impossible to meet. We can’t pray for peace while demanding that there REALLY BE some behaviors people can engage in that make them LESS THAN we are, ourselves. We either share the same, general fate, or we set the wheels of war and conflict in motion.
Can’t have peace and conflict in the same place at the same time. They will annihilate one another.
If you want personal annihilation to hold court in your world, just keep right on believing in your righteous addiction to sin as you understand sin. I guarantee you that you will end up feeling very, very alone in ways that can’t be cured by several cathedrals-full of your like-minded fellows. That’s just how insanity works. Joy can be shared. Insanity cannot, by definition. Joy satisfies wholely. Insanity shatters and fragments wholeness. Not in reality, but in the perceiver of reality.
So…we can’t reasonably criticize a lunatic for believing that their conception of God is more important to them than the neighborhood they’ve chosen to live in. We do the same damn thing every day, and, yes, under enough stress this kind of cognitive dissonance will drive a person BONKERS. In the crazy place, seemingly abandoned by our Creator, the person we’ve kept hidden from our Creator — the defense mechanism we made just in case things didn’t work out between our Creator and us — comes out, full goose.
The problem is fundamentalism and our childish attachment to it. “God either is the way I conceive Him to be, or He is not at all,” needs to be ferreted out of people’s thinking and grounded out like an electrical charge. There is NO GOD that divides and separates His creations from one another. That is something only his nutjob creations could imagine doing to each other.
Of all the possible interpretations of the Christian Gospel, I’ll bet there isn’t a fundamentalist on the planet capable of accepting that what Jesus actually MEANT by “go and sin no more,” is, “let it go…we’ll get over it together.” Stop believing you are separated from your fellows and you will EXPERIENCE the community your heart craves. It will feel like Heaven here on Earth.
Believe that God is an atheist and you will not be far from wrong. Certainly more right and more grounded than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole using only a bigger hammer.