December 21, 2020

The Worst of Worship

Like most children I was indoctrinated into the Catholic religion by my parents before I could formerly object. Not being able speak I was unable to express my opinion one way or the other. I was baptized and made to attend Mass under duress, I attended Sunday school and confession on a weekly basis. I resisted every effort to assimilate me. 

When I was given a copy of the bible I did what I thought they expected… something I found out later that most people have never done… I actually read it. The difference being, unlike most people, I never for a minute bought into the story of god.

The Bible’s stories were interesting, but obviously fictional. When I started asking questions the nuns gave me answers that I found lacking. They in turn got angry when I explained I still didn’t understand. They began to get angrier with each question when I expressed doubt at the answers. My questions seemed reasonable to me.

For instance, if Jesus was the “only begotten son of God”, who were the “Sons of God” referred to in Genesis? If God created man on the sixth day then why is Adam considered the “First” man God created? If Adam and Eve were the first people where did the people in city of Lot come from?  Where did Cain and Able get their wives and why aren’t their names mentioned? And these were just the questions from the first chapter.

It was clear that the priests and nuns considered me annoying and my persistent questions demonstrated disrespect bordering on blasphemy. Their answers were suspect and I had plenty of doubt. Unable to give a rational reply they explained it would make God happy if I would just take their word on it. I should trust them, have faith and just believe in God and his mercy. Some things it seemed only God could know.

As soon as possible I quit going to church and put as much distance between any religion and myself as I could. I do not and have never believed in God. Religion and its seriousness is something that scares me. Sitting in church, watching the herd of worshipers go through their rote and ritual has always made me feel creepy. To this day I will not enter a church, pray, participate in or support any event based on or promoted by religious organizations.

To most people that qualifies me as an atheist. But that’s not how I think of myself. Once it was clear that the story of God and how he created the universe wasn’t the truth the question for me became what is true? While I don’t believe in the story of creation, I also don’t believe totally in the theory of evolution. So if neither one of those stories is true, what is the truth?

While I don’t know what the truth is I know one thing for sure… it isn’t going to be found in religion. At the root of every religion is a God that is as vengeful, evil and cruel as any man he created. His only superiority to men is his capacity for destruction. God has the ability to destroy everyone on earth at anytime, for any reason. And he has more than once. He doesn’t have to answer to anyone for it either. Floods, plagues, fire and brimstone, when it comes to laying waste to all his children, he can use what ever means handy. He may be bigger, greater, wiser and stronger, but he sure isn’t kinder or gentler.

Sadly, his followers aren’t any different. Every devout religious group seems hell bent on destroying some other equally devout group.  And God is the guy they’re doing it for. As soon as we knew that God loved us we also knew who he hated. He hated everyone that we hated. More people have been slaughtered in God’s name than all other causes put together.

Nowhere is this conflict in religious beliefs more evident than in the events of 9/11. The world has been filled with religious strife long before that date.  Yet, it seems that since September 11th my senses have been assaulted almost daily by some of the most horrible acts of violence and debauchery that children of Gwqeeeeeeeeeeeeeefod are guilty of.  Crimes of holy vengeance committed in the course of worship, done in the name of God and with his blessing.

Christians, Jews, Muslims and other children of God were sacrificed on the bloody alter of religious hatred. Depending on your point of view God was either horrified or delighted by the acts that were committed in his name that day. No human being in his right mind could see the destruction and react with anything other than total and complete moral outrage.

Unless it was something God wanted you to do.

Whether you believe as they did or not, the terrorists believed that God wanted them to do what they did.  It was holy, devout and god loving men flying those planes on 9/11. They were reverent and righteous and true believers in the word of Allah. Faithful, zealous believers who were acting as their faith and their religion demanded. They believed sincerely that God loved them and blessed them for it all. When the terrorists flew the planes into the World Trade Center they believed Allah himself was the one doing the flying and they were singing his praises all the way. They were men of God doing God’s biding and God was on their side all the way. And they were absolutely correct.

Of course, from a different perspective things look quite different

The people in the towers were also good, decent, caring, god-fearing human beings no different than the guys flying the planes... except for their religious leanings. They were children of God as well. As they were fleeing the towers they were all praying to God asking for his help in saving their lives. One by one, as they made it to safety the survivors thanked God for saving them. It was a miracle from God that they were alive. They were blessed by God. God was on their side all the way. And they were absolutely correct.

Of course, again, from a different perspective, they could both be wrong.

The survivors might think God saved them but ask the terrorist and it’s a different story.  From his view, God didn’t save them. He missed them. Allah was clearly on the terrorist’s side if you are on the Martyrs side of the stadium. He personally helped steer those planes right into the holy target and slaughtered the infidels. The holy martyrs believe God truly was an excellent co- pilot.

For the survivors, as far as they’re concerned, God was responsible for saving all those that were lucky enough to escape. The survivors know, without any reservation, God was their holy savior.

Unfortunately, no matter what side you’re on or what you want to believe about God, there is one thing that is certain. Almost four thousand people died that day at the hands of men; Fervent and reverent men, acting as the Hand of God. God may have been with the Muslims or with the infidels. He may have shielded as many of his children as possible from the hate of the zealots. But who God favored or why doesn’t change that one horrible truth. For all his children who died that day God didn’t do squat. They have had the chance to see whether their heaven is real. As though for some reason they were expendable. Perhaps, being of little faith either way, they were sacrificed for their indifference. Ion my opinion, this makes God a poor father to his children.

Think what you want. You might believe beyond doubt that the terrorists were madmen and God will see that they burn in hell for what they did. And you might be right.

But the martyrs believed just as passionately that God was with them. They bid his bidding and they will reap their reward as martyrs in a blissful heaven. And they might be right too.

But that’s the nature of faith. Unless you know something that the rest of the world doesn’t your beliefs are no more credible or correct than theirs. The only one that does know is God and he ain’t talking.

I don’t believe God exists, but I could be wrong. Regardless of what they call him all religions seem to agree that there is only one God. If that’s true, it seems reasonable to assume that if there is One God then there must be One Truth;

One or none… we each don’t get to pick and choose between the two.

If there is a God then the question becomes whose side is he on? When it comes to help from God the survivors and the terrorists can’t both be right when they say God was helping them can they? The terrorists believe! The survivors believe. All mankind’s religions believe they know what God wants.

But there is a big difference between believing and knowing. And when it comes to knowing for certain, if God is real then he’s the only one who does..


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