Monday, April 22, 2013

Children of an Angry God

O lieber gott sei doch nicht so böse.
-P.D.Q. Bach- 

It seems to be that Tamerlan Tsarnaev underwent some sort of epiphany not long ago, after which he became withdrawn, dressed more modestly, began to talk about his deep faith and started assembling bombs.
“Isn’t the takeaway here,” asked Bill Maher, talking about the Boston Marathon bombing, “that there are many bad things that can happen in the world, for many bad reasons, but the winner and still champ is religion?” 
It's an old and often asked question and defenders of belief in the abstract and defenders of specific beliefs all have a well developed defense and a lot of practice using it -- but still.  In my experience it boils down to: it feels good, it comforts people, it offers hope.  So do lies, palliative fictions Ponzi schemes, dating services and of course drugs.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't an attack on religion or religions as tools for making life easier, for promoting good behavior, it's an attack on the human species and its innate ability to lie and rationalize and use most anything as a tool for justifying whatever purpose or desire it needs to defend, no matter how heinous, hideous, horrifying.  Religion is no better and no worse than those who use it, defend it, promote it. It's just a powerful and an unstable tool whether handled by professionals or tried at home.

Perhaps it's true that good people espouse good beliefs, envision good gods who manifest love and compassion and at worst have good reasons for allowing the pain, sorrow, suffering, misery, grief and random horrors of life. It's different for the children of  angry Gods; the gods who drown worlds, advocate the extermination of whole peoples, condone slavery and conquest and oppression and sometimes play games with people's lives for their own amusement. It's different for Gods who promise eternal punishments of unendurable pain simply for disobeying arbitrary rules, having stray thoughts -- unimaginable horrors of destruction for people who simply don't believe impossible, absurd and demonstrably untrue assertions about reality and the universe.

I'm not talking about Kali or Isis, Krishna or Asherach or Enpu or Jesus Christ alone. I'm talking about your god, whether you call him El Shadai or Yaveh, the Holy Trinity or any of the 99 names of Allah, the merciful and compassionate.  He's no better than you are when it comes to what you do in his or her or their names.  Angry people have angry gods and people with angry gods are prone to violence and the mental illnesses found in violent people.

A scientific study published in the April edition of Journal of Religion & Health finds, according to the author, that:
 ". .  for those who think God is angry and preparing punishments for sinners, “ that belief seems to be very much related to these negative symptoms.”   
Symptoms like like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion -- and perhaps I might suggest misogyny, homophobia, bigotry and racism as well as the desire to be God's instrument of punishment on innocent bystanders on a Boston street.  Is it a paradox that the Gods most desirous of  acting our their wrath need the most help from mortals in doing it? Not if you perceive that angry people need angry Gods to justify their angry and injust acts.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote 150 years ago that
"The first duty of man, on becoming intelligent and free, is to continually hunt the idea of God out of his mind and conscience. For God, if he exists, is essentially hostile to our nature, and we do not depend at all upon his authority. We arrive at knowledge in spite of him, at comfort in spite of him, at society in spite of him; every step we take in advance is a victory in which we crush Divinity."  
The hostility of God, I take to be self-evident, both from the confected selection of  descriptions in artifacts we call the 'Scriptures'  wherein whole populations are exterminated for things that history assures us are no more often punished than random chance would provide for and for the endless unpunished horrors human life has always endured.

Yahveh famously mocks the humble, respectful piety of Job, expressing nothing whatever resembling compassion for the family he murdered just to provoke him. "God is evil" concluded Proudhon and if it weren't that God was a human creation, I would have to agree.  Is there any way to hunt the idea of God the Avenger out of religion without hunting him out entirely?  Gods who punish evil, gods who punish thoughts about sex, gods who punish ham and cheese sandwiches or cotton threads in linen shirts. They outnumber secular teachers like the Guanyin or Shakyamuni the Buddha. The Bible is replete with horrible aspects of  that supposedly loving God. Perhaps we can't handle Gods as much as we love or even need them.

Man is evil. That's what I take from Proudhon, what I take from history.  Nothing else apparent in existence but Man is capable of evil, nor even able to comprehend the meaning.  God is a weapon.  I see this as equally self-evident.  Do we allow anyone to have such weapons without background checks?  Angry, insane, tortured, alienated even sociopathic  people?  We do.  In fact we prescribe it, advocate it even demand it. We can't help it, gods are in our nature and have been since we were able to communicate; able to form words in our heads to attribute to them. Perhaps they will always be there tempting us, threatening us, making us guilty and afraid and unworthy --- unless. . .

 " For God is stupidity and cowardice; God is hypocrisy and falsehood; God is tyranny and misery; God is evil"  says Proudhon.  
There is no God but God in man, I answer


Anonymous said...

Possible Law Case with Georgetown University for Sexism and Racism Discrimination in Enrollment Process

Brief: A female advisor in the admissions department at Georgetown University has been caught openly admitting that she committed the CRIME of discrimination based on people's race and gender in the application process.

This has the potential to create a large scale lawsuit against Georgetown University, and with the momentum building at the rate it is building, seems very likely that will be the outcome.

Below are the main links to all of the information regarding this news story and case.

Capt. Fogg said...

There ought to be a term for taking an incident, or perhaps creating a story about an incident and extrapolating it into some trend, some plot, some revolutionary agenda that substantiates one's own political objective.

Perhaps there is a term, but I'm not convinced at all that this isn't a bit of political theater you've been posting all over the place without regard to the content of what you're pinning it on.