Sunday, December 30, 2012

Whose God Is It, Anyway?

I guess those kids I heard singing on Christmas Eve were wrong.

My sister and I went to a folk mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Ridge last week to get into the holiday spirit. It was nice to see the children all dressed up for the Christmas pageant, but I confess I prefer the old carols to the folk tunes.

One particular song repeated the line “God is Love” so many times I was tempted to jump up and shout, “Enough already! We got it!”

I’m glad I kept my mouth shut because it seems that no matter how many times you say “God is Love,” a lot of people still aren’t getting the message. And some never will.

I’m referring specifically to these so-called “religious leaders” and their stooges who claim that the horrific slaughter of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School was God’s judgment on us.

Really? And since when did God become Hannibal Lector?

Apparently these beautiful children were cut down in a hail of bullets because we don’t allow prayer in schools. Or because gay people are getting married, or because there are too many single mothers, or some other bit of medieval reasoning that says God is just itching to clobber us if we don’t toe the holy line.

Of course these people are despicable. They’re so desperate to get some kind of media attention—and squeeze more dollars out of their dimwitted disciples—they’ll say absolutely anything.

They’re following the same demented path as that Bible-thumping mutant Jerry Falwell, who famously blamed the 9/11 attacks on gays, lesbians, and the ACLU.

We can only hope this current crop of zealots will follow in Falwell’s hoof-prints and march off straight to hell where they belong.

As someone who was standing across the street when those planes hit the World Trade Center, I feel compelled to remind everyone that the lunatics who perpetrated 9/11 thought they were doing God’s work, too.

For the record, I pray to the God of Love, not Don Corleone. I believe in divine forgiveness, not sadistic retribution. If you need religious justification for mass murder, perhaps you should join al-Qaeda.

See You in Church

I love how these saintly schmucks say such disgusting things and then wonder why people are turning away from the church. Maybe they should take a nice long look in the mirror—provided they can do so without puking.

As long as psychotics in America are able to get their hands on assault rifles, the killings will continue. Even the good Lord can’t do much about that.

When I look at these alleged Christians, I can’t help but think of Rev. Mark, a priest at Trinity Church where I attend weekly services. He never speaks of punishment or damnation when he talks about God. It’s always about love.

After Sandy Hook, Rev. Mark, who is the father of a young boy, stood before us and spoke plainly and honestly about the shootings.

“I don’t know if I could survive if this had happened to my son,” he said. “I don’t know if I could go on living.”

He didn’t say the massacre was God’s will. He didn’t say we were being punished. He just spoke from his heart.

Once during a sermon a few months ago, Rev. Mark quoted a line from an old Lou Rawls song called “Love is A Hurtin’ Thing” that goes “maybe I'm a fool to keep on loving you.”

“In that case,” Rev. Mark told us, “then God is the biggest fool of all.”

I almost fell out of my pew when I heard that one. Did this guy just call the Almighty a fool?

After all those years of Catholic school, I was convinced the ground would split open and the ghosts of all my old grammar school nuns would come shrieking out from the fiery pits and rip us all to shreds.

But Rev. Mark continued.

“He loves no matter what we do,” Rev. Mark said. “He always forgives us.”

All right, then. That’s the God I pray to, worship, and love. That’s the God I turn to in times of strife and misery. And Rev. Mark is the man I’ll go to for spiritual guidance. You’ve got to love a guy who quotes Lou Rawls in church.

Let the crackpots keep their vengeful demon. I know that my God really is Love.


Ron said...

"All right, then. That’s the God I pray to, worship, and love. That’s the God I turn to in times of strife and misery. And Rev. Mark is the man I’ll go to for spiritual guidance. You’ve got to love a guy who quotes Lou Rawls in church."

Amen, Rob!

Many years ago I blogged with a Christian minister who sounded a lot like Rev. Mark in that he didn't believe in the traditional Christian way of teaching God as vengeful or judgment. He only spoke of God with forgiveness and love.

Which is in all honesty, how "I" see God.

It's people who are vengeful and judgmental, not God.

Great post, buddy!

Have a fabulous week and New Year!

Rob K said...

Excellent point, Ron!

It's the people who muck things up and then turn around and say they're doing God's work.

To Hell with 'em!

Thanks for commenting, buddy, and have a Happy New Year!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

What a great post this is! There were several lines that made me smile (the one about Don Corleone) or nod my head (lots .. well, most of them), so I won't quote, but I will applaud.

I look at it like this: Did Jesus not say (in so many words) 'Forget the Old Testament, just remember to love God, and to love your neighbour as much as you love yourself and you won't go far wrong'?

So where do these people get all this hellfire and brimstone and retribution for imagined sins from? They can't be very bright, or they'd see just how wrongheaded they are, and how 'love God (whatever you perceive Him to be) and love your neighbour' is about the ONLY commandment that would be compatible with pretty much all the world's varied religions as far as I know, whereas their own twisted thinking would get them damned by quite a lot of them in their turn.

Rob K said...

Hey, Jay! These people have taken a beautiful belief system and turned it into a "them or us" confrontation.

They took about love while spouting hate; they blather on about salvation while spreading fear.

It's a racket, a straight up con game where these bunco artists reap in the dollars and give back a lot of hot air.

It's time to start making these bastard pay taxes like the rest of us. Let's pull them off that gravy train.

Take care!

Jay said...

The interesting thing is how many people are utterly taken in by those who are truly out-and-out con artists. I once went to a ... I dunno what you'd call it, like a rally, or a lecture crossed with a prayer meeting fund-raiser thing. I went with a friend's husband - she couldn't make it for some reason - and I could see that it was pretty much bullshit but I was still kind of carried along with it because the guy on the stage had charisma. However, I was not so carried along that I gave them any money, and I was aware of how much of a showman he was. Not so my supposedly intelligent and mature companion. And not so for the vast majority of the people there that night judging by the rapture on the faces as they went out. I'm not saying that true men of God (or women of God) can't reach people this way, but when they ask for your credit card, that's a big clue for me that all is not as it should be.

Worse yet are those that incite hatred, murder or mass-suicide. They surely are mentally ill, and yet ... they gather a following. How do they do that?

Rob K said...

I think there's a cult mentality lurking in the minds of many seemingly "normal" people. They're just looking for someone to obey so they can abdicate all responsibility for their actions. Jonestown, anyone?

Plus life is very easy when you've got God on your side. The world is divided between the saved and the sinners...and things like 9/11 happen.

Your point about asking for money is spot on. As soon as your alleged savior start hitting you up for dough, it's time to make for the exits.

I recently watched "Elmer Gantry," a fabulous film starring Burt Lancaster that touches on many of these points.