The Village News & Views April 5, 2017
Wednesday Get Over the Hump Free for All
I blame DoReMI and basket. :)
Yesterday’s post here on Moose Pond was a wonderful and inspirational recounting of the Rev. Dr. William Barber’s sermon at Riverside Church yesterday in commemoration of their yearlong “Beyond the Dream: Living King’s Legacy” program. If you missed it, please check it out.
As a child I was informed that the United States of America had something call the separation of church and state. I took this to mean that we were supposed to keep religion out of politics and vice versa. Was taught that because “our forefathers” generally left Europe for these shores fleeing religious persecution, those who no longer wished to be a colony of the English Crown held sacred the idea that people should be free to practice whatever religion they chose, presumably as long as it didn’t harm other people.
It seemed like a pretty good idea. I was in favor.
I guess that was a long time ago.
There is a lot of religion in US politics these days. A lot of what passes for religion. Wiser, smarter and more patient people than I have written articles, books and so forth about it. I don’t have that kind of time, or attention span. So I will do what I do best.
Throw around some cat memes.
In the beginning, most of us learn about the idea of God from our parents. We are raised in some form of religion, with greater or lesser emphasis and attention. In most cases, our parents mean well. Whether they themselves were raised in a particular faith or tradition and kept it, or adopted another, if they took their kids to church or temple or Christian Science Reading Room or mosque, it was probably because they found value in it and wanted to provide that value to their children growing up.
As we get older, we have the opportunity to continue in whatever tradition we were raised in, to wander away, flounce off in disappointment or select another option.
It all sounds very logical, however of course it isn’t. Religious faith isn’t simply a set of rituals. It’s a superstition – belief in supernatural causality, that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events, that contradicts natural science.
Whether God is a white man with a long beard and flowing robes, or a flying spaghetti monster, he, she or it seems to be concerned with us, and in particular, with something called our souls.
The idea of the soul is the single most comforting, and at the same time terrifying concept in history, in my opinion. Comforting, because… death.
The simplest version is, if you are a good person, you go to a good place after you die. If you are a bad person, not so much.
You are a good person if you do good stuff, and don’t so bad stuff.
The crux of the thing seems to be what is the good stuff and what is the bad stuff.
And grown people are supposed to make the choice about whether to do good versus bad stuff out of fear that if they die they might go to a bad place.
So back to politics. In recent memory, people who wanted political power decided that instead of separating church and state and leaving it up to each person what they believe or don’t, one way to persuade people to vote for them would be to declare a side in the religious scheme of things. Then people who have strong views about which religion is the right one would naturally favor and vote for people who are of the same creed.
The problem is, this judgement is being made on the basis of claims rather than actual deeds. Well, that’s one of the problems. Another problem is that many of a popular religious faiths’ followers don’t actually seem to believe what they are supposed, according to the written source material on the subject, to believe are good things and bad things.
It’s very confusing. Perplexing. Depending on how important it is to you, also potentially enraging or demoralizing.
There are definitely good people who ascribe to most of the major religions. Just as definitely, there are hypocrites, and bloody awful people who profess to be members of the various communities. Also people who are indifferent, as well as those who are confused.
Adding yet another aspect to the tangle? Science. Remember I said earlier that religious faith is a superstition? That’s not an insult, and hopefully no one got angry when they read that. Religious faith is a superstition, by definition. If you disagree I have no problem with that and will not argue or try to persuade you. But this is where I got the idea to title today’s post Blasphemer’s Corner.
Science is defined by Google as the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Science doesn’t attempt to say “who made the universe”, it simply observes and describes what can be observed, and makes use of that knowledge.
God (gods, Goddess, Flying Spaghetti Monster etc.) cannot be observed except, according to people of faith, indirectly.
Which brings us back to exactly nowhere.
What place does religion have in politics? A very muddy, very messy one. Unfortunately, in the end, the separation of church and state is a wonderful idea which would help people of different faiths get along with each other in theory, but which seems to be almost impossible to maintain. The best we might be able to hope for is an uneasy balance.
Now that I have explained exactly nothing and bumbled around in areas better left undisturbed, I think it’s time for me to provide a few random links and some tweets and then go have my nap.
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) April 3, 2017
— AlwaysWithHer (@DisavowTrump16) April 3, 2017
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 4, 2017
— Bana Alabed (@AlabedBana) April 4, 2017
50 yrs ago today at Riverside Church, I watched Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give one of the most powerful speeches against the Vietnam War.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) April 4, 2017
That night, Dr. King demonstrated raw courage, saying, “The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.”
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) April 4, 2017
cats who have no intention of letting you read your book pic.twitter.com/uwz67MivqK
— Emergency Kittens (@EmrgencyKittens) April 4, 2017
Yoga with kittens pic.twitter.com/DspmcKOVbQ
— Luv Kittens Daily (@LuvKittensDaily) April 4, 2017
Thank you for your patience. Love and peace, Village! Enjoy your Wednesday gathering.
We are #StrongerTogether
We are #TheResistance and #WePersist
All are welcome!