Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Well shit. Shit, shit, shit. That's about all I have to say about it right now. I didn't know tons about her, I don't know how much about her corruption charges are true, I don't know much about Pakistani politics, but I don't see why anyone thought this was a good idea. What is going on in peoples' heads? Jeeze, people wonder why I'm so down on the idea of God. If he's telling people to do crap like this, then, "Thank you, I respectfully decline to participate." And I know that most folks don't believe God would really condone such things, but how many of the Big Three have wide scale war and terror in their histories? Let's be real. Whatever nut case did this, whether it was a political assassination or a terrorist, they probably were pretty sure that God wanted it to happen. So here's my question, is it really that they believe God wants it to happen or that their higher ups have serious control/power issues and so tell them that God wants this to happen? Then they go and do it because their religions have deprived them of the very critical thinking skills one would need to see the manipulation in such a request?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tell me all your thoughts on God

Since I'm still not sure about this whole God thing, I think I'm going to do a series of posts about the different things that I like and dislike about the idea of God as I know him. Some of these things, obviously, are what keep me from believing full fledged anymore, and some of them are what keep me hanging on to the shreds of desire to believe.

Probably the first thing that bothers me about God, is that he is a he. Oh I know, several religions/mythologies have made room for a female goddess or counterpart to God, but really, we've heard very little from her. She hasn't started any religious movements, she hasn't spoken to any prophets/prophetesses, she hasn't validated her existence in any way nearly as clearly as God has. And, no matter how far back you go looking for the Goddess, she always reports to the God. She doesn't share power ever, she is delegated power and must connive and/or cajole the God for anything that may run contrary to him. And in traditions where there is an acknowledgment of her but no worship of her, she doesn't do a whole lot to protest said arrangement.

So that sometimes gets me to wondering if religion is a boys' game. Something that crept into human existence a long time ago in order for men to rule with a little bit more validation. Or perhaps, drawing from an article I read in TIME once, some guy was scared about his impending death and had this hallucination that simply confirmed his status in relation to the women and made death not quite so scary. But really, all the major religious movements that we now recognize were founded on the visions of men who simply confirmed the already patriarchal society in which they moved. But do we have any records of women receiving such visions complete with admonitions to gather followers? Nope.

At this point, I must admit that I am sorely lacking in my knowledge of Goddess lore. I know that some women believe they have tuned in to her, can pray to her, etc. But they've had to do their searching outside any religious structure. And they have yet to form a movement around this idea. So I'm going to make some assumptions from this: 1) The Goddess doesn't exist and is simply a belated response from women who have finally realized that they are worth just as much as men, 2) The Goddess does exist, but women were so oppressed for so long they didn't know where to find her (although this calls into question her mercy/love for her daughters if you ask me), 3) The Goddess exists but realizes that religious movements can cause more harm than good and so has not felt the need to gather groups around her in great numbers--she's happy to speak to each of her daughters individually without getting into dogmatic bullshit about how to approach her, when, who's worthy, etc., and 4) God really does transcend gender/sexuality but hasn't felt the need to tell humanity that females are worth just as much as males (since the two genders/sexes really aren't separate after death) until the last hundred and fifty years give or take a decade.

Now I know that this sounds rather gender essentialist in a lot of ways, and I don't really consider myself an essentialist. I just know that for a long time, the sexes have been considered to have essential differences that reach beyond biological function and so women's and men's experiences have been different for a long time and thus a lot of women would take comfort in a deity who could understand their particular troubles. Obviously the non-existence of or gender transcendence of God would make these issues moot, but then, that's why I have so many issues to begin with. All the conceptions of deity that I've been able to think of are still vastly problematic when I view them from my own sense of justice, mercy, and love (and to all believers, that was probably the most arrogant sentence in this whole post, huh?). Okay, enough for now. Must go do something productive.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Undoing

I'm still incredibly confused. Just when I think I'm okay with my agnosticism, I hear some Christmas music and all the joy, peace, excitement, and comfort in the season come rushing back. I guess I'm still not one hundred percent ready to give up my belief in God, although I still have major issues with concepts of him thus far presented to me.

Quimby, over on fMh, wrote a beautiful piece about the diversity that could have attended Christ's birth. Even though I don't quite know what to do with it, Christmas and the surrounding story still fill me with hope and joy. I think the reason is because I yearn so much for peace and tolerance among the nations, indeed, even among families. I hurt so much for all the pain and suffering that people have to go through. Christ still represents that hoped for unity to me, although I don't know what to do with his divinity, etc.

I read a scheme of ethical development one time that suggested that after a person has discovered relativism, they sometimes eventually return to their original beliefs understanding that they aren't perfect, or even wholly true, and I wonder if that's what I'm doing right now--recognizing the issues involved, but comforted by the goodness that is supposed to come from Christianity. I know Christ wasn't the first one to preach peace, nor the only one to claim Savior status, nor is belief in him necessary to see the imperative of peace, but his is the peace that was taught to me as a child, and it is peace in this context that I still hope for, even if I never make another effort to convert someone to Christianity (which I probably won't), I will probably always see peace through that lens. Now however, I know that Christ isn't jealous, only humanity is, and that whatever God there may be, wants peace more than s/he wants anything else for his/her children.