Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We Can't Unite Around God

Today I tuned into Glenn Beck's radio show just in time to hear him deliver a message  along the lines of (I don't have the quotation) 'we need to unite around god; our theologies don't matter but we have to unite in our common faith.' etc., and then went on to say that god does not advocate violence and that the god we should find strength and unity in would guide us through peaceful change.

Glenn said it much more passionately and  articulately than I did, but that was the bottom line of his thought.

I am sympathetic to peacemakers, and I am sympathetic to Glenn Beck. I think he's really funny at times, and there are things we agree on.

Uniting around God is not one of those things.

In his quotation (I wish I had it, if I can come up with it I'll post it here), Glenn advocates for uniting around a single god in spite of our theological differences, but then he states that god does not advocate violence.

I would ask Glenn, 'how do you know that?' Because God is ultimately a projection of some aspect of ourselves. The God of the people who flew the planes into the twin towers obviously advocated violence. The god of the old testament (slay the canaanites, stone the heretic and woe be the first born sons in Egypt) clearly advocated violence. And what act of violence is more gratuitous and nonsensical than sending your own son on a mission to be tortured and murdered for the vicarious salvation of others?

There are hippy-dippy peaceful gods made up by hippy-dippy peaceful people, but they won't unite us either. God will not unite us, because we all worship different gods, and none of them exist. When we worship gods we are worshipping ourselves devoid of all accountability.

So, you ask, if we can't unite around God, what can we unite around?

I say we unite--more or less--around the principles that Glenn Beck claims are character traits of his god; namely, belief in  the virtue of honest inquiry (Glenn loves to quote Thomas Jefferson's 'question with boldness the very existence of God' line), respect for our shared humanity, respect for individualism, the belief that all should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, and a shared scorn and hatred of tyranny, oppression, and anything else that dampens or limits mankind's potential to pursue those goals. In short, humanism. It's what religious folks are always essentially talking about anyway when they lift up the more 'enlightened' elements of their faith, and at least the dictates of humanism are grounded in reason, and not just dictates bounced from us to some invisible satellite in the sky and then back down to us again.

Glenn is close, but there's an invisible man standing in his way.


the elegant ape said...

o.k., first a word on Glenn Beck. I listen to him religiously (sorry poor choice of words) he is like watching someone put a flintlock together and fire it blindfolded and drunk. Hilarious, ridiculous and frightening at all the same time.
Now the one God thing. Here are a short list of the top contenders.

Christianity. Do what ever you want repent in the end. ( I feel this allows for questionable
behavior. Lee Atwater repented on his death bed for christ sakes.

Jewish. No heaven or hell ( but I enjoy a nice crepe following a pork loin. so dietary issues)

Buddhism. ( Now this is my personal favorite. Working hard in this level to go up another level in the next. good solid work ethic. something I can wrap my mind around. But I think I would dwell on what level I was on and if I was going up or down. Not able to live in the moment. sort of defeating the whole purpose)

Hinduism they believe that all paths lead to God and all practices are okay (which I dig, but what about the untouchable thing?)

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief and the existence of deities. (You really got to believe in it. Amd I am uncomfortable with absolutes. the guy who thinks he is Napoleon is absolute in his belief. It doesn't make him any less crazy.

Iroquois The World on the Turtle's Back (I really like this one. And if creationism is to be taught I want this taught alongside. Both are amusing fairytales.)

Those are just a few of thousands.It's like mandating the offical pez dispenser. Everyone has a favorite and no one agrees on nuthin.

Adrienne Troxell said...

Sorry, my friend, but Buddhism isn't technically a religion. It's more of a spiritual way of life.There are no Gods to worship, only a philosophy of peace to follow.

Adrienne Troxell said...

Oh shoot...one more thing. Hinduism supports a theory of multiple Gods. Vishnu being the "ultimate God....not to be too specific...but I can't help myself.

Willie Y said...

'I have too much respect for the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world.' - Georges Duhamel (1884 - 1966)

the elegant ape said...

it all a mass consensual hallucination. As they say "God" is in the details...