Sunday, March 16, 2014
Thoughts On A Sunday
The key point in Maher's rant is the dog/owner analogy. I've written similarly several times: if a father did to his kids what, according to the Bible, god does to his children, he'd be hauled away and sent to prison.
A nice J. Witness lady came by the other day. Rather than wishing her luck and sending her on her way per usual, I decided to engage her. (Stop me if I've already told you this.) I asked if she believed in prayer. Yes. Doesn't that mean god isn't perfect? If he can be made to change his mind?
Mainly, though, I asked her this, when she claimed that all of our problems are because of original sin (including, because I asked if god was perfect, what about hemorrhoids?): if your child did something you told her not to (like wanting to learn stuff), would you punish her forever, and her children, and her children's children? If you knew of a person who did that, would you not consider him or her an abuser and a pervert? Wouldn't you do everything you could to save her kids from this horribly vindictive and self-hating individual?
And yet that is the god worshipped so Stockholm-syndromly by a majority of our citizens. A guy who knowingly (because he's omniscient) created people unable to follow certain arbitrary and self-contradictory rules, and made a lake of fire into which to toss them for eternity when, as predictable as the morning sun, billions of them failed his little test. A test which lasted less than the blink of an eye, infinity-wise, but sets your fate for ever and ever hallelujah amen.
This is not a nice person if, indeed, he exists and behaves in the way so many claim. Certainly not a loving one. Worse: to claim that it's only by following such a guy that one can have a moral sense is beyond sad. Which is more moral: doing "good" out of fear of this abuser, or on the assumption that at some point he'll call off the dogs and give you a nice puffy cloud to float around on, while looking down and laughing (as so many evangelicals seem inclined to believe they'll be doing) at all those sufferers; or doing good because you have empathy and you know it's simply right? No expectation of reward, no fear of punishment. Just because it's right. Like all of us godless infidels out there. Is it even a close call?
(Because I have friends who are religious, to whom religion is a personal matter and whose religion is not used as a bludgeon against others but only as a series of signposts for themselves, I must add, as I always have: I recognize the value of religion for many people, and that it has been and can be, for some, an unqualified source of solace, inspiration, and goodness. Sadly, that sort of religion seems entirely lacking among the right-wing members of Congress, state legislatures, and other public office holders, and among most of those who elected them. In them, I see nothing but bigotry, hatred, fear, and denialism. Were all religious people like those friends of mine, our country's future would look a little less scary; and I'd have much less about which to write.)
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