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May 22, 2004


May 20, 2004

The Jesus Landing Pad

May 16, 2004

Sometimes I think that I'm not cut out to find a divine presence in the universe, that it's just not in my nature to believe in something so unbelievable. Then I realize that, really, I've already concluded that something incomprehendable plays/has played a part in the world as we know it, and that the question I'm trying to sort out is of its nature. What is this incomprehendible thing? What did it do, exactly? Where did it come from? Essentially, though, this is what religion is -- yes? People trying to nail down the thing they don't understand, but which they feel surely should have played a part in such a remarkable existence.

The problem arises, at least in my mind, when people start to disagree about the nature of this incomprehendible thing. To disagree about something that is essentially (and necessarily) unknowable is ridiculous, and the extent to which people have been disagreeing is downright disturbing. To kill other people because they don't agree with you about the nature of this incomprehendible thing is extreme, but to even have the gall to tell someone that their spiritual beliefs are incorrect is absurd. Sure, you can argue about it, but what is it an argument based on? Not facts, surely. It's an argument based on two equally unsubstantiated beliefs, and thus it's an argument that nobody can ever win.

I think maybe I'll start my own religion, and that the first tenant of my new religion is that no member may argue with anyone about their beliefs. All members must accept that the nature of our religion (and all religion) is entirely unproveable, and therefore any arguments about it are moot. Also, that everyone who's making a sincere effort to figure out and worship this incomprehendible thing is going to reap the rewards of it, no matter how crazy they are -- so long as they are good people.

Definition of "good" has yet to be decided.

Who's in?

May 04, 2004

There's a new episode of PBS's "Frontline" called The Jesus Factor that's been getting a good amount of attention because it's an examination of George W. Bush's religious beliefs. The entire show is available to watch online, as I have been, on the PBS website -- here.

George W. Bush is a Fundamentalist Christian -- I obviously have no problem with this on its own, but when combined with him being the chief executive officer of the United States it becomes a problem for me. I am of the opinion that, as a Democracy, America should be ruled "for the people, by the people" and not for a higher power that some Americans don't believe in. George W. Bush has made it clear that he is convinced that he is doing God's work, and that it was God who put him in the office of the Presidency.

There have been other Christian Presidents, to be sure, but they had the sense (and respect for the first amendment) to keep their beliefs out of the public arena and out of politics. George W. Bush openly flaunts his religion, making reference to it during public speeches and clearly letting it affect his policy decisions.

One of the first thing George W. Bush did when he got into office was to promote "faith-based initiatives," to provide public funding for religious organizations. These initiatives were stalled in congress due to the separation of church and state issues that it raised, so Bush forced them through with an executive order in 2002. Forcing taxpayers to support religious organizations is a clear violation of religious liberty -- this is an issue the founding fathers of our country already discussed and found to be wrong, but which Bush seems to have no problem with. (From the millions of dollars handed out thus far from the faith based services in the Department of Health and Human Services, none have gone to any non-Christian groups.)

George W. Bush also seems to see his war on terrorism in religious terms, as he often speaks in terms of good vs. evil, and seems to believe that he is doing good in God's eyes. I'd prefer that the President of my country believed that he was going good in his constituency's eyes -- the people that he was elected to represent. To use the will of God to justify attacking countries and people who are using the will of Allah to justify their terrorist actions is certainly a bit hypocritical, if not slightly ironic.

I'm also troubled by the fundamentalist concept of "absolute certainty" -- the certainty in the validity of one's beleifs and in the infallibility of the Bible. If Bush holds this concept dear to him, then how much sway could the opinion of his constituents possibly have on his decisions? It seems remarkably undemocratic to have a leader who (often admittedly) bases the majority of his decisions on his religious beleifs. These are decisions, which -- I might add -- seem awfully antithetical to the Christian concepts of "Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hurt you." Where's the "shock and awe" passage in the Bible?

I don't think that Fundamentalist Christians should hold the highest office in America. I think that fundamentalist beliefs contrast sharply with the democratic system, and that any Fundamentalist Christian president is inevitably going to blur the lines between church and state in their efforts to serve God. Religion and spritutality can be wonderful things, but America was founded on the concept that religion should be separate from the government, and I think that is impossible for people with strong fundamental beliefs.

I welcome disagreement.

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