I must admit I am not religious. The reason is that because of “religion” my childhood was disrupted, my family lost its ease and comfort, my Mother died an early painful death- all because Adolf Hitler used the idea that Christian Germans are a master race and all other religions need to be punished and destroyed. I never argue with people about the meaning of God or Buddah or Allah or Jehovah or Lao-Tze. Arguing my belief that there is simply no such all-seeing, all-knowing personhood somewhere in the heavens is met with contempt and the sneering comment that if it were not for as God there would be no humans, no animals, no vegetation, no Earth (and presumably no Mars, or Venus of Saturn, either). I allow people to believe in whatever religious myth makes them feel comfortable and important. After all, some of the most fervent believers in God and Jesus are millionaires.
While I remain passive about other people’s religious beliefs, there are a few anomalies I want to dispute and throw some verbal stones at. First, the notion by some ultra Conservatives that this America is a “Christian nation.” The separation of Church and State, so carefully mined in the words of our Constitution ought to make it plain. But, then these Christians are the same ones who claim that God gave them the right to bear arms. God gave nobody anything- including not giving Moses the Ten Commandments which, in fact, are hardly religious for the most part, but commonsensical: don’t steal, don’t screw someone else’s wife (or husband), don’t kill. Of course, stained glass manufacturers might dispute the “graven images” part. The idea of God as a “giver” and, in some funeral pronouncements, a “taker away” gives one the idea that God has human traits- that he laughs or cries, yells or whispers, belches and hiccups just like the rest of us. It is a proven scientific fact that snow is not God’s dandruff, and the aurora borealis is not God’s nightlight. To me the entire God myth can never truly explain, to my satisfaction, why God cannot be always benevolent. Why does God permit wars or famine or genocide, or Cancer or heart failure or diabetes, or baldness?
What to me is the ultimate degradation using God as authority is the number of young gays and lesbians and transgenders, homeless, roaming our streets, thrown out by their families because they disobeyed God’s laws that homosexuality is a sin. These devout parents would rather rid their households of gay sons and daughters than “disobey God’s law as pointed out in the world’s best-selling book of fiction, the Bible (“Gone With the Wind” may be a close second). If God is so homophobic, why isn’t he married? Or his “son”, Jesus, surrounding himself with 12 male disciples? The Catholic Church only allows male priests (even the Jews now have female rabbis). The only reason homosexuality is considered a sin is because it is a different type of sex, seldom conforming to the accepted “straight” version of the Missionary position.
Then there is the banal Christian commercialism: ChristianMingle.com, where they proclaim “God’s choice” is waiting for the next paying member. Want a brunette with big breasts? God picked one out for you on the Internet. Want an athletic Nordic man with an aquiline nose and genitalia to match? God has several to choose from.
And if one thinks Christianity is such a spiritual desert, one can consider Islam. But one better not, because insults there go well beyond parents ousting their children.
I like to use one simplistic ironic comment when asked to comment on religion in the 21st Century. I say that if God were alive today, he’d be an atheist.