I remember when I was a lot younger and I was a good Catholic child and I was learning about war and I asked my mom this simple question : “If it’s a mortal sin to kill a person, how is it that soldiers can kill people?”. I don’t remember the answer she gave me but I remember it not being too satisfying. It was then that I learned that in the adult world, nothing is logical.
So, what is the answer to that question? To be honest, I still don’t know. It’s even more of an interesting question in today’s world where we have so many more people killing in the name of God alone.
But lets stick to America for now, shall we? The majority of our fighting forces are made up of kids from the Bible Belt, where we all know that 100% of them are serious Christians. Also, whenever I see any real footage of people in the field, they are always praying or saying ‘God bless you all!’, etc. So lets just stipulate that the majority of those fighting are religious. How do they resolve the fact that they are directly breaking the sixth (or fifth depending on which religious sect you follow) commandment?
I’m not the biggest fan of organized religion but I would argue that the world would be a much better place if we tried not to kill each other all the time. What gives here?
“This American Life” has been really kicking out the quality lately. Two weeks ago in episode 430 they talked about the insane, draconian drug court of Amanda Williams down in Georgia. A story that you really need to hear. This weeks episode has a story by David Ellis Dickerson about how grew up christian and wanted to become a pastor but as he studied he realized how much contradiction and nonsense there was in the Bible and the overall Christian Dogma.
But Dickerson’s story resonated with me. You should listen to it yourself if you have any negative thoughts (as I do) about organized religion. The most interesting thought I got out of it was this : People who are in religious communities, especially really conservative, serious ones have something that we non-religious people dont. They have a very tight community with each other. They have love for each other, they have caring for each other, they support each other, and they all have the general peacefulness of a shared belief. I am jealous of that to no end.
The rest of us, while obviously too smart to fall for the insanity of virgin births and jesus myths, are missing out on something more important than anything else in life : community. We don’t trust anyone, we are generally pessimistic about the world and our future, we are kind of unhappy across the board.
I don’t know what the answer is here, but I do know that we all.. all of us humans, need to realize that all of us are inherently the same. That we all want the same things, that we all are dumb and smart at the same time, that we all are in this together. We need to remember that always.
By now you’ve heard about this story of the young woman stoned to death in a public square in Iraq. It is commented on quite well and accompanied by a horrific video of the event in this blog post :
This is why I have contempt for tribalism, fundamentalism and authoritarianism. When it gets right down to it, it’s always, in the end, about mob rule. A gang of violent bullies, often at the behest of some authority figure, “sends a message” by publicly humiliating, maiming or killing one of their own who had the temerity to fail to properly conform. Whether for God or country or tribe, it’s always some poor victim, lying on the ground, covering his or her head, surrounded by people who have turned into animals.
And he is totally correct. Forget for a moment that we support the Iraqi government and others in the Middle East that probably do things like this all time. What is a problem is that if we aren’t careful, things like this can start happening here in America as well. We have fundamentalists here as well, christians and jews and others. Religion the world over has caused many evil things to happen in its name and that is plain wrong. We have to see that and we have to stand up against it whereever it happens or whereever it threatens to happen. Keep yourselves aware.. think!
So. Is it possible to be happy about the world we live in today? I’m not sure.. Everything seems so fucked up. I write about here all the time.. I wonder if maybe I think this way because I’m critical of the world and if I just put on my happy person blinders and gave in to society I would feel a lot better. If I wanted to I could come up with 10 fucked up stories a day and post them here. Here’s one. Here’s another. I mean, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. When I was younger, the world was full of promise. The future was a place we wanted to get to.. Now, the future scares me. Well, actually it used to scare me. I’ve become resolved to our demise. Now I look forward to the decay of our civilization. I look forward to the day when people look back and say “what the hell have we done?”.. or maybe that day will never come. Maybe we will simply forget our potential and become complacent in our mediocrity.
Will we ever start treating each other as equals? Will we ever give up the endless pursuit of pointless things? Will we ever decide as a species to improve ourselves? Will we ever stop and realize that we could be doing so much more? Will we ever stop killing? Will we ever stop exploiting? Will we ever care for our planet? Will we ever think beyond the next earnings cycle? Or the next election?
I sure don’t think so.
So I was watching this documentary on HBO the other day (Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi .. was ok.. nothing great) and one of the things I noticed was that there were a ton of billboards out there in America that support christian values.. and this is in addition to the ones that you are used to seeing once and a while (the god ones.. “don’t make me come down there – god”, etc.).
I came up with an idea to have some fun and totally mess with the crazy religious and PC nuts out there and if someone runs with it, they have a guaranteed $100 dollars to their cause. My plan is to make a billboard that is written by the devil. We’d make it Red with gold letters and have it say something like “Have fun before you die! – Lucifer”.. how funny would that be? It could turn into a national thing (if Prince and his guitar can.. why not this)..
Other than being funny, perhaps it would stimulate a discussion of religion in America.. who knows.. what do you think?