Wednesday, October 20, 2004

God Troubles

This isn't a good time for God.  Listening to those who claim to talk or act upon God's behalf, and who have collectively brought more havoc than solace into our lives, one has to wonder what's in it for all of us.  Let's just mention a few of the wonderful things wrought by Divine direction.  Suicide bombers are being sent into the world and killing more innocents than combatants.  God imbued settlers are occupying the land of their neighbors on the West Bank and in Gaza.  Medieval Crusade-like conflicts are threatening human survival in a nuclear age.  The Catholic Church covered up horrendous sex abuse perpetrated by men of God.  The Anglican Church is outraged that an openly gay priest was elevated to Bishop and now, after denouncing homosexuality as a sin, has essentially adopted a don't ask don't tell position on the subject.  Science, arguably the essential of human survival, is being dragged back into the ideological constraints of the Middle Ages by people who seriously are still fighting Darwin.  We are being taken into war because God wants us to be there.  Well if that's what God is all about, I want no part of Her.

Religion is in deep crisis, not spiritual revival.  It has become, or more accurately reemerged, as a tool of political necessity and agendas.  God has been hijacked and used to justify the imposition of one point of view over another.  Our diverse pluralistic society which was founded on tolerance and a clear separation of Church and State is in danger of being subsumed into broad scale theocratic governance.  We're returning to the world of "some of my best friends" where neighbors of a different point of view or belief system pay lip service to tolerance but move aggressively forward with an agenda of submission.  All this in the name of God.

I don't know for sure if there is a God.  I live under the assumption that there is.  I don't know if there is a God, but I sure know that God doesn't whisper into my ear.  In fact, we all used to think that such a notion fell into the kook category, the hearing of voices by the unbalanced.  I still think that's true, but the bother is that the kooks have truly taken hold of the asylum.  God's whispers are scary.

Perhaps worst of all, moderate voices are, for all practical purposes, silent.  Anti-God talk, which is what any challenge is labeled, is an untouchable hot potato.  Moreover, they are frightened, consciously or unconsciously concerned for their personal safety.  You don't have to be paranoiac to be scared of people who murder doctors at abortion clinics or who blow up children at play.  The threat of governmental power used in the name of security – read that protecting the will of God – may not reflect a current reality, but its there hovering in the air.  Philip Roth's chilling it could happen here metaphoric novel is looking less fanciful by the day.  Moderate voices, especially the voices on the pulpit need to be heard, regardless of the risk.

God's trouble?  Only we can redeem what we all know is God's humanly tarnished reputation.  If we don't have the will or we can't, God help us.

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