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Epiphany

December 18, 2012

Essays

I’ve had an epiphany in the last few days with regard to the public discourse about the massacre in Newtown, CT.   From former Governor Mike Huckabee to the Westboro Baptist “Church”, and if they’re a church so is my ass – you can call it the “Church of Renea’s Ass-cension”, I’ve been appalled at the simplistic, childish rhetoric of “this happened because we have driven God from our schools.  What did we expect?”

Well, if you’re going to give God credit, then He must also have blame.  This premise assumes that God allowed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults to be murdered at 9:00 o’clock on a Friday morning ten days before Christmas because He was annoyed that prayer at morning assembly is no longer allowed in publicly-funded schools.  Really?  What kind of pissy, high-strung, drama queen do these people worship?  So apparently God allowed those children to be murdered because He was feeling ignored?  Is He God or is He Glen Close in “Fatal Attraction”?  (Please note that out of respect, I’m using the capital “H” in He).

Or alternatively, if the murderer had been raised in a more Christian household, this never would have happened.  First, no one yet knows what kind of social structures were practiced in his home.  Second, anyone not living in the Dark Ages should give more credit for the killer’s actions to actual mental illness than a supernatural being having a fit of drama.

And to even utter such sentiments as “allowing God to be more visible in public life would end violent crimes and murder” is such a fairytale, I wonder if these people are even adults.  Maybe they are just small-minded Hobbit children living in an adult human body.

More humans have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason on earth.  My husband is a refugee from a country torn apart by war between “Christian” Serbs and Muslim Bosnians.  Crazy people routinely commit heinous acts in the name of God.  A small boy was recently beaten to death because he lied about having read his bible.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/roderick-arrington-las-vegas-beaten-death-bible-homework-video_n_2245381.html

Yep.  That’s what we need.  More God in our lives to curb the violence.

I am struck by the incongruity that the very same people giving the biggest shout-out to God, are also the ones who cling tightest to their weapons.  So many NRA supporters have their gun in one hand and a bible in the other.  There are even bumper stickers – mostly displayed in the Deep South – to advertise this very weapon-based philosophy and it is often accompanied by an image of the Confederate flag as well – but that is a rant for another day.

I had thought that reason might prevail among reasonable people by acknowledging that in a free country you cannot turn your personal religious beliefs into public policy; that while no one prevents you from worshipping your God as you choose, by the same token, you can’t force someone to worship as you do.

When I realized that my expectations of reason prevailing against childish, simple-minded fantasy would indeed fail, my epiphany occurred – one would think I am in fact rather dense that it has taken me this long to grasp this simple fact:  when one’s “belief system” is in fact in their minds, their “fact system”; when one “knows” rather than “believes”, that leaves very little room in one’s world view for a different set of “beliefs”, doesn’t it?  How can another set of doctrine have any validity when you are the one who has all the answers?  If you’re right, it follows that everyone else is wrong, doesn’t it?  What an awesome special person you are to know the great mysteries of the Universe.  And please, acknowledge how you know this… because you were taught it as a child in the same way you were taught to believe in Santa Clause.  A belief is a belief.  Not a fact.  And the fact that you believe something doesn’t make it true.  Belief can be a beautiful thing, but not when the two-headed snake of arrogance rears its head and insists that everyone else believe the same thing.

My logical question to believers would be, if your idea of a safety policy for our country is to establish public prayer praising Jesus over the P.A. system at morning assembly in our nation’s schools and to post the Ten Commandments in the office, what do you say to Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists and others who don’t worship your Jesus?  Maybe you could ask God to let the shooter kill only them on the next rampage?  Then you raise your children as Christians and they’ll be forever safe because madmen will only kill the Jewish and Muslim kids.  Whew!  Problem solved Christian America!  Congratulations.

Let’s establish this fact-based system for “my” world:  your religious views, whatever they may be, are an opinion, nothing more.  And you are entitled to your opinion.  I respect your right to that opinion.  What you are not entitled to is the arrogance of forcing your “opinion” on everyone else and believing that you alone know the secrets to the Universe.  Stop it.  Now.  And if you cannot turn it off at least shut up.

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About reneadijab

An official Opinionista, Renea has a little something to say about everything.

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2 Comments on “Epiphany”

  1. haydendlinder Says:

    Wow! You’re really pist! And you’re correct on many points. My brothers and sisters need to shut the hell up most of the time. Yes God is very helpful when you actually try to do as he asked, “Be a blessing to those around you and you will be blessed.” But claiming that prayer in school would some how magically have fixed the Sandy Hook nightmare is ridiculous. I wish there was something useful I could say to the families who were hurt but this is one of those times when it’s best to just be silent and let them heal as best they can.

    I do feel that what would help prevent this kind of issue is actually something on both sides. The Christian right need to accept that we need more funding for mental health outreach and the Liberal left need to accept that legislating firearms will not miraculously prevent this from happening again. Now with that said I have nothing against regulation, I think it’s very legitimate. I just can’t bring myself to believe it will work. It didn’t work for liquor, it hasn’t worked for drugs and I see no reason to believe it will work for guns.

    As for God, he’s fantastic. He loves us and wants us to love and respect each other. But he didn’t cause Sandy Hook. We did. And we have to accept that it is our fault and do something to prevent it from ever happening again. As apposed to the political spin crap we are doing on all sides right now.

    Anyway, I hope this letter finds you doing well and I love your post.
    God bless.

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      Thanks for your comments. I am less angry now. I was so grief stricken over Sandy Hook. To have people dishonor their lives in such a way as to be so flip as suggesting God allowed it to happen because it is illegal to have public prayer in schools was nauseating. I took it personally, since I don’t believe it should be legal to have public prayer in schools. As if, me and those like me, were somehow responsible. Thanks again for commenting.

      Reply

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