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Doing What Comes Natur’lly

Doing What Comes Natur’lly

Hello, everyone.

In 1946, Irving Berlin had a hit musical on Broadway titled “Annie Get Your Gun”.  Being a Berlin work, it had a slew of fine songs, such as “The Girl That I Marry” (my personal favorite), “They Say It’s Wonderful”, and the one that brought down the house:  “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.  It also had a song titled “Doing What Comes Natur’lly”.  And that is the idea I want to focus on for this essay — doing what comes naturally.

I found a diary on Daily Kos last Friday when I paid a visit there after an absence of several weeks.  Here is part of it:

* * * * * * * * * *

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us
by skralyx

Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 09:25:44 PM PDT

I received a typical email forward, full of the usual list of witticisms and whatnot, that ended this way:

“For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us…go ahead and delete this.

“For the rest of us…pass this on.”

My first response was the typical, “Oh, please.  Spare me your lectures.”

But then I got to thinking … what is this person really saying?  Why the dogged determination to believe that there is a ‘God’ watching over us?  And why the cliquishness, the pointed exclusion and dismissal of those who would think differently?  What is this?  It’s not just this person, of course; you see this idea conveyed rather often.

skralyx’s diary :: ::

I have to tell you right off the bat that I come into this assuming that of course there is no ‘God’ guy ‘watching’ us, and that this person is inadvertently using “God” as a metaphor for something else.  (This doesn’t mean I am amoral – far from it – but that’s a topic for another day.)  I also have to say I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or even a psycho (at least I don’t think so!)  But I’m taking it on anyway, and I’m sure you’ll have your own interpretations of it.

I can think of two things this person may actually be communicating, whether they are aware of it or not:

“I have hope that ‘good’ will triumph over ‘evil’, and my belief in a benevolent God is a concrete way for that to manifest itself.  Those who do not share my belief must want ‘evil’ to triumph over ‘good’, and those of us who know better have got to stick together.”

or, less nobly:

“My comfort is of paramount importance.  I am more comfortable when everyone follows the same rules, and I am willing to attempt to exclude those that do not.  The rules I am comfortable with are attached to my God, the existence of whom, especially when not disputed credibly, takes authorship and responsibility away from me, which is easier for me, and the more people that believe in that God, the more people will follow the particular arbitrary (and perhaps not even morally sound) set of rules I am comfortable with, and therefore I will be more comfortable.  So please go along with me on this.”

The dispute over God’s existence has implications that go beyond the surface subject, of course.  It isn’t so much that we’re merely disputing the existence of an unknown entity, because there are plenty of those that don’t arouse the same ubiquitous fervor.  There are the yeti and Sasquatch and the Loch Ness monster, for example.  Disputes over those happen, too, but not so universally.  Most people aren’t really that invested because there aren’t many terribly deep implications.  If there is a yeti, it merely stands as an objective fact.  It’s self-contained.  It’s a novelty that is appreciated for its, well, novelty, and that’s about it.  Sure, it reveals that there are things about our world that we didn’t know, but we sort of knew that already.

So, why the fervor over God?  And what does he represent?  God isn’t treated like a yeti, but why not?  Why do people want to come down on one side of the issue and spend an awful lot of time invested in its outcome?  What are the additional practical implications that distinguish God from the yeti?  And where do they come from?

If it’s just No. 2 above, then it’s all about personal comfort, and we already know that people like to be comfortable.  That would make God more like a yeti, without much profundity, so I think there must be a strong element of No. 1 to it.  Good vs. evil.  I want to look at those.

* * * * * * * * * *

I want to revisit some questions that the diarist asked in the beginning of his log:  “Why the dogged determination to believe that there is a ‘God’ watching over us?  And why the cliquishness, the pointed exclusion and dismissal of those who would think differently?  What is this?  It’s not just this person, of course; you see this idea conveyed rather often.”

As to his question of why is there this dogged determination to believe that there is a “God” watching over us:  Knowing that there is a God does make life simpler and less complicated.  When I lost my Carol eighteen months ago, the belief that the Supreme God — <NOT> Jesus Christ by ANY stretch of the imagination — simply chose to loosen her bonds and release her from the confines of this life made her death bearable, if not completely understandable.  If one can go through the trauma of losing his life’s companion without belief in SOME kind of God, I sure would love to know how you do it.

No; I DO believe that, whether we want to admit it or not, we need belief in something or someone bigger than we are to ease us over the speed bumps on the road of life.

But do we need Jesus?  <<ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!>>  The diarist gives us excellent reasons why we do not need His Hairiness.  Consider his Point no. 2:

“My comfort is of paramount importance.  I am more comfortable when everyone follows the same rules, and I am willing to attempt to exclude those that do not.  The rules I am comfortable with are attached to my God [or Jesus], the existence of whom, especially when not disputed credibly, takes authorship and responsibility away from me, which is easier for me, and the more people that believe in that God [or Jesus], the more people will follow the particular arbitrary (and perhaps not even morally sound) set of rules I am comfortable with, and therefore I will be more comfortable.  So please go along with me on this.”

First, “My comfort is of paramount importance.”  I have heard Evangelicals throughout my life claim that “believing in ‘Jesus’” moves us out of our comfort zone.  But does it really do this?  That has not been my experience in my life experiences and observations.  Consider today’s world:  What is easier, to study Islam and attempt to learn even a little about it, or to trash it and its followers, demean it and its followers, and make smarty-pants jokes about the “72 virgins”?  Which is easier — to love the brown-skinned person who speaks little, if any, English and try to help him to better himself and provide for his family back home, or to join hands with the Evangelicals and Republicans in demeaning these their fellow human  beings, and embrace the dumb-ass idea of building of fences on the Mexican border, exactly like the Communists did in Berlin 50 years ago?  Is it  easier to join hands (literally) and sing “We Are One In The Spirit; We Are One In The Lord”, or to pick up our guns and sing that ode to war, known as the “Star Spangled Banner”, which contains the words “Then conquer we must, for our cause, it is just, / And this be our motto:  ‘In God is our trust’”?

As for the “72 virgins”:  That is definitely more than Christianity has to offer.  All they have to offer is Jesus.  And to be totally honest, I simply am not into other men — especially men with heads full of hair, front and back.

Now this:  “I am more comfortable when everyone follows the same rules, and I am willing to attempt to exclude those that do not.”

I would ask these Jesus Freaks one simple question:  If you willfully turn your back on someone and refuse to have anything whatsoever to do with him, what exactly gives you the right to get into his face about your Jesus?  And don’t call it “a passion for souls” either, because I have heard that stupid crap all my life.

Back during the presidential campaign, I posted some Solus Christus messages where I made no bones about the fact that I felt that Barak Obama was way beyond John McCain in terms of qualifications to be president.  A Christian wrote and told me to stop sending political stuff.  A couple of points here:  First, Solus Christus is MY group and <I> have the right to determine what is posted and what isn’t.  Second, is the person capable of understanding the point that, just as he / she does not want to read political stuff that does not agree with his / her political point of view, that maybe I as the owner of the group or someone else inside the group may not want to read any Jesus jazz?  It has been my personal observation and experience over several decades that Christians demand a public pulpit for their spiels at the very same time that they wish to ban non-Christians from having such a public pulpit themselves.

Concluding this point:  If Christians wish to shun, ostracize, or ignore those who don’t believe the very same way that they do, then, in my opinion, they forfeit all rights to communicate their “Jesus” in any way, shape, or form to those who are shunned, ostracized, or ignored.  No ifs, ands, or buts allowed.

Or, in other words, do what comes naturally, but be willing to suffer the consequences.

John Amato, owner of the Crooks & Liars website lost his father within the past week.  He said this to the C&L community today:  “Kindness does go all long way to jump start the healing process and I will always remember the support and love you have shown me.“  As a regular visitor to C&L, I believe that I can say in all honesty that there are not a lot of “born-againners” who go to that site.  Yet, if these “lost heathen” can express condolences to someone they know only through his website, then WHY IN THE HELL can’t Christians express condolences, confess to wrongs committed, or welcome into the arms of fellowship people whom they know but who don’t see things the same way that they do?

Oops!  I forgot!  Business as usual — Doing What Comes Natur’lly!

Carol was fond of saying “I hate stupid!”  So do I.  I hate hypocrisy!  So did she.

Have yourselves a good day today.

Bill

P. S.  URL for the blog is:
https://thinkerfromiowa.wordpress.com/

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June 24, 2009 - Posted by | Religion

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