Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who Needs God? I have Religion!

When I was young, what seems both so very long ago and just a moment away, my memories of going to Church are of Easter Lilies.  The vivid rich green of the leaves set  as a sweeping background to the majestic white and new green of the flower.  In the spring, these flowers dressed the sanctuary and seemed to capture the attention of a little boy with attention problems so very well.  I can't tell you what the sermons were about, the text readings, and I don't even remember the Pastors.  But, I remember those beautiful flowers; they are my memories of childhood in religion, when I was yet innocent.

  These next images are my adulthood, my nightmares, of men standing in the very white of purity, calling themselves men of God, looking down upon the masses in impunity and hate.  Where Jesus is recorded as telling men to love their neighbor, those who now say they are speaking for him call out damnation and violence.    Who are these men?  Why do they hate people so much? How could they do this?
  It is an easy mistake to look upon targets of opportunity, people of difference, and presume that beating upon them makes one powerful, wise, above them.  It is an easy mistake to presume that such things are without cost, without consequence.  But, in life, there is always someone, somewhere who is bigger, more powerful. 

I want to go back to the church of my youth.  I want that innocence back.  I want to return to the hard folding metal chairs and cheap off-blue carpeting when I dressed in my Sunday Best to sit with my feet swinging in the air and dream of what God must be as I stared into the perfection of that Lily flower.  It seems a time long gone now, when I feel so sad and tired after reading stories like this: http://scottiestoybox.com/2013/07/29/russian-neo-nazi-groups-tricking-and-torturing-gay-male-teenagers-the-blood-is-on-putins-hands-july-25-2013-the-gaily-grind/
  That, I guess, is the charm of childhood.  To live in awe of the magical and wonderful things of life like Santa Clause, and think that no one could be more powerful than my Dad.        
I wonder what kids think about in church now when the preachers go on and on, beyond their ability to focus or understand?  I wonder if they see those flowers or look up and see the Cross and contemplate a God Who Loves, or a God Who Hates?


Scottie said...

Hello Randy, we often have talked of God, and Gods. I know sometimes I get out there in "feeling land" with my views.

I have heard that the some people believe that God made man in "his" image. However I think some men make their God in "their" image.

A God made by men, in the mode or model of man, is imperfect and subject to failures of men.

It seems to me that these people do not want a God to lead them, they want a God to do their bidding, to support their already set views.

I wonder if the universe needs a god, or if it is simply man that needs God?

Instead of God, what I need is what all humans need...and I can find that in people like YOU and RON...good people who know how to care and to be cared for.

Hugs and loves.

randy said...

Hi Scottie;
I can't imagine people living life now as they did when the Gospel was written. I imagine some believe that their concept of God is the same now as it was then, but I just don't see it as very likely at all.
I think it the most important thing in the world to consider what God would be like - or if there even is a God as we would understand. You see, if I were to emplace everything I know of what is Good into what I believe to be God, then perhaps strive to be like Him... then whatever the reality of God, it is that striving for excellence that is truly a worthwhile desire.
On the other hand, if I believe that God is vengeful, full of anger and wrath for a people who are bound to sin no matter what and is just looking for the opportunity to hold those believers accountable, I imagine my concept of God would be fearful, shameful, a lost pursuit. I can imagine that striving to be like such a God would cause people to be judgemental and unloving.
Of the two, I will go for what is best. If I find out later, per se, that there is no God, then I've still lived the best life I could.
On the other hand, if I've spent my life being judgemental and unloving towards others because that is what I thought God wanted, then whether there is a God or not I've been miserable my entire life.
Yep, easy choice.

hugs and loves,

Anonymous said...

This just churns up so much that I can't put it all into words. I soooo miss the church that was the one I grew up in. I visited a couple of weeks ago, and spent the weekend with friends from 30 years ago and it was like we'd never been apart. Back then it didn't matter if you were gay, straight (and we knew, for the most part, who was which), nor did it now. But sadly, this church is an exception to the rule. I've never found one here in Richmond that even comes close. And then you have all the pundits, because that's all they are, the mouthpieces, who take the money and spew the hatred. Problem is, apparently there is money is hatred, even in the name of God, because people who believe that crap believe it fervently and are willing to throw LOTS of their hard earned money at it - firmly believing that they are helping some warped version of God beat back the heathens, and not realizing what they are doing is lining the pockets of the mouthpieces. And then you have poor, uneducated Russia. They are in the midst of population loss, business loss, the education levels are dropping, and when you mix miserable living conditions with lack of education, you see what you get. It's been moving towards autocracy for years now, and Putin is just the latest figurehead/dictator to rule. I soo feel for gays in Russia. (To fix it, forget the Stoli boycotts and crap like that, just loosen up the immigration rules for asylum and let them get out. Put money towards groups that can help them, and WELCOME THEM WITH OPEN ARMS to countries like ours where, even though we are slow coming around, at least you can't legally beat the living shit out of a person for possibly being gay, or poor piss over a 15 year old's head because he's so damn broke the only way he can get money to buy a laptop is to sell himself to who he thinks is an old man, but turns out to be teens his own age who persecute him. I'd give him a place to live and be loved (and untouched) in a heartbeat, but with the Republicans in Congress in a "we're not going to allow governance at all if we can't have OUT way" mode, there's no hope, I fear.

ARGH! You got me going, dude.
Peace <3

randy said...

Hi Jay;
I love it when you get "going"!!

I was very interested in what you said about the troubles Russia is now going through. Reminded me of Germany in 1920's and 30's.


Anonymous said...

Hallo Randy,

Your headline is pretty provocative.
What is religion?
Karl Marx said, "Religion is the opium of the people"
I think - he was right. View the entire Christian groups and sects, in their "opium intoxication" trying to influence policy.
Look at the whole Islamic countries, where citizens choose by election the Sharia as law.
Where is the loving God who is said to have created all of this?

I have asked you a few questions in the last blogs.
Probably you have not seen this - I would be interested in your opinion.

Gruß Nikki

randy said...

I'm Sorry, Niki;

I guess there are times I think that your questions are rhetorical - meant to sponsor thought more than response. Sorry about that. I usually agree with what you are saying, so how do I respond??
To answer these questions... I think that religion and God have little to do with eachother all too often. I have great admiration for the best of religions, and utter fear for the worst. And, perhaps that was my real focus of this article; God and religion, and even the understanding of God at the start of the religion, well - they seem to be strangers as we examine people like Fischer, well, I just don't think they think about God before they speak. I think they want to control God, control the image of God, control how we see God. That's not the way I want to see God.

Please let me know if I didn't answer well - not feeling things right now.


Anonymous said...

Hallo Randy,

I asked you about my comment at 7. July - "my new neighbor".

My questions:
I only know the "Luther-Bible". Are there big differences between the two?
"red letter Christian" - is this the meaning of a "red faction Christian" resp "left wing Christian"?

randy said...

Oh, I see Nikii;

"Red Letter" is referring to the way that the King James Version, specifically, would highlight the words of Jesus. The narration and things put in by the person writing the Gospel would be in black lettering, as normal.
Now, there are a few arguments from many saides that I'm not including in that, but the general idea is that quoting Jesus in Red gave the reader an understanding that these were Jesus's words, and defined a bit of what was important to Him.
As I mentioned, my irritation with Christians - so called Christians - is that they seem to focus on everything BUT the red letters - everything BUT what Christ actually said and in the context.
An example: the may use where Christ talked about mother and father as a man/woman marriage only. But, that was not his context, that was not what he was saying.
On the other hand, they seem to focus on the law - an example of which might be adultery. The law says that it is punishable by death. Christ refused to punish the lady caught in adultery and instead forgave her. Christ was very much for how the law was created for man, to help man, to be a guide, not a club to beat him with.
Now, you mentioned the Luther Bible. To be honest, I am not familiar with it. I was raised Lutheran, but I don't recall using anything but the King James Version.
I do know that Luther was Catholic, of course. And, I do know that the "Catholic Bible" is a bit different from King James.
In my past studies, I drew from any reliable Bible. I wanted to understand, and sometimes one translation worded something just a bit different and helped me to understand -- remember, these Bibles we read today are translations of translations of translations. Taking something from such without consideration is a recipe for foolishness.

I hope that covers your question. You ask interesting questions!!