The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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No God in the Shrine

December 13th, 2007 · No Comments · culture, media

frustrates me.

Buddy ChristThere are many gods I don’t personally believe in. Among others, there are: Perfect Universal Good, Old Man in the Sky, Angry and Jealous Guy, and the Omniscient Moralizing Dude. It just so happens that these are the ones that the Christians sell by the bushel. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose to bother with any of them. I also recognize that these are a small fraction of the myriad facets of divinity available to anyone. So I don’t think that there are no gods at all, but rather that there are quite a number of them and many of them are beneficial and even utilitarian.

HeliosConsequently, the Atheist’s Cry really gets under my skin. “There is no God!” Anytime I hear this, I immediately assume the speaker to be someone with extremely shallow or biased historical and cultural understanding. Sometimes, I may even use colorful words to describe them. The sad part is that they’re often very intelligent, and sometimes are even friends of mine. I know that they’re not personally attacking me, and that, while they may mock my beliefs, I do little to aid in their understanding of what I believe by confronting them. They stand firm in the ignorant isolation of their secular intellectualism.

The irritation that confounds me most deeply are the “activist atheists” who feel it is their moral duty to “alert” the public that God is a myth and his believers are dupes. It’s one thing to personally have no truck with the divine, and that’s certainly anyone’s choice. However, to jibe and mock folks at large for their personal is certainly a quick way to mark ones self as a jerk.

HecateThe better part of my frustration stems from the understanding that the root of atheistic rejection has little to do with divinity, but is instead a reaction against the unwanted authority that the Church tends to drape over anyone in proximity. By saying, “There is no God,” the atheist makes a juvenile attempt to remove the lynch-pin of religion, with the naive expectation that it would somehow cripple the authority of the Church. As if pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes would immediately force the state into a Republic.

KaliUnfortunately, by basing their arguments against God on the definitions of God created by the Church, atheists implicitly reaffirm the authority of the Church: both to define the nature of God, and to extend the authority of the Church. If they were instead to say: “The Church has no authority to define the nature of divinity,” then they could still free themselves from the tyranny of the Church, and yet still be able to utilize the technology of divinity and religion to their own ends.

Ahura-MazdaThe technology of religion can be utilized at a personal level to add benefit and pleasure to life, and to aid in decision making processes. In times of worry, want, and woe, the practice of religion can bring hope, health and inspiration. JR 'Bob' DobbsReligion can also help build families and communities and can help to make them stronger. Divinity is an important and powerful tool in the arsenal that is ignored at one’s own peril. The standard atheist cant to dismiss both religion and divinity is a wasteful egotism that attempts to deny natural patterns of human behavior and social development.

As it frustrates atheists that people continue in the practice of faith, so it is frustrating to me that atheists deny themselves the fruit of such a simple labor.

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