Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh God

Recently, some group released the results of a study showing the staggeringly large number of Americans that believe in God. By God, I am assuming the Judeo-Christian God; you know the bearded Man Upstairs with lightning bolts and angels and such. Europe, on the other hand, is comparatively a godless waste land. But when you look closely at our society, I wonder how many of these "Godly" Christians following "The Way" are really better than the heathens of France or The Netherlands?

I get my daily dose of disgust with my fellow citizens by reading the comments people make about news stories in on line papers. Although it raises my blood pressure, it confirms my opinion that the God fearing USA is one seriously fucked up place.

Today I read that Alyssa Bustamante, the 15 year old girl from St Martins, MO who killed her 9 year old neighbor "to see what it felt like", has been sent to a state hospital for psychiatric care. She is severely depressed and anxious, and has been for a long time. She looks sick in the pictures released of her. She is 15, and indicted for murder as an adult. Forget the fact that if she had sex with an older person, she would be the victim, no matter how much she lied or was willing.

Where the God factor comes in is with the comments made on this story. "Fry her", "throw her away", this was my favorite:

"We wonder why there is so much crime when severe penalties are not given. Death penalty for her if found guilty of murder. What about any other persons who may be depressed or suicidal and have never tried to kill anyone? How would the defense counter that? See, I'm eliminating excuses and making people responsible for their actions. If trash is burned it can't come back. No need for taxpayers to pay for any prison or "rehab", as these don't work anyway."

Now I do not know if this person is a church going, God fearing Christian or not. But according to the study I mentioned, it is more likely than not. Is this a Christian attitude? Punish, not forgive. Are the teachings of Jesus Christ forgotten and the barbaric practices of the Old Testament given precedent?

You see, in a godless society, it would be more common that this young kid be given mental health care without question. Of course, in godless Europe and most of the godless world, she likely would have received it long before the mental illness caused her to strike out as she did. But in the Godly USA, our "best healthcare in the world" (fuck that) let her fester and languish in pain, misery, depression and sociopathic fog for her entire life.

I don't know where I am going with this, but as I read this and then went on about a few chores here at the Palace, I just felt compelled to write. You see, I am not that Godly a person, even though I am a regular church goer. The hocus-pocus, the belief in spirits and such are not that strong. But I do feel that Jesus, whoever he might have been, was the most radical and brilliant person ever to walk the earth. I believe his teachings still are relevant and still have much to be revealed. Lucky for us thousands of years later, there were people such as Peter, John, and Paul who had direct and indirect encounters with this remarkable person who may have been inspired or sired divinely, and were compelled to share what they learned and saw. But little old me, more spiritual and philosophical than mired in dogma and religion, I think I am more in line with what Jesus taught than those quoted above.

Alyssa needs help. America needs healthcare for ALL, end to aggressive war, fair justice with a radical reduction in the number of people thrown in prison (remember, we have more in prison than most of the world) and assurances that the weak and poor have dignity and basic needs. Just like I think Jesus was teaching us.

But by saying the above, the "religious" elite of the USA condemn me as a radical, misdirected communist.

Maybe I am. And so was Jesus.

1 comment:

zaine_ridling said...

As a proud and positive atheist, I can vouch that your life serves as a witness to the Jesus of which you write. Perhaps "religion" is the source of these problems. I didn't become an atheist until I read the Bible cover-to-cover twice, and then I could not reconcile that with what they were preaching in the churches I attended. I'd go home and think, "That's not what that passage said at all. What the hell, man!"

As for murdering kids and so many, many senseless acts, it's easy to drown in "the problem of evil" as an atheist. Perhaps a better approach is to ask, "Why won't God heal amputees?" (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/)

Religion, or god-belief, may make an individual a better person, but it doesn't translate to societies. Jesus' generation didn't recognize him at the time. We wouldn't either. We celebrate thuggishness and award cheating in America at every level. Al Gore is considered a nut by half the population rather than someone trying to help. "Drill baby drill" Sarah Palin on the other hand is being celebrated this week because she's a quitter and a sore loser. There's even a current effort to rewrite the Bible with all the liberal verses redacted!

Perhaps if people who professed god-belief really did believe in God, then the world would change. But for now, we're American religion is still stuck on abortion, gay rights, and upside-down capitalism. And we all know how Islam is identified with terrorism in the name of Allah. Sometimes I wish we would nuke every holy site on the planet and force believers to start over at the roots.