I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday and we got to the point where books were mentioned. I'm reading Joseph Campbell's “Oriental Mythology” at the moment. They started to explain some of the issues they had with this “God” thing, this Deity-Creator. A lot of people have issues with that, insofar as there are so many options. With globolisation we have access to many cultures in details which weren't possible before. I bet a lot of people didn't know that the Muslim faith has several dialects. For that matter I suppose most Americans don't know that about all religions. There's a kind of thought process which deals with proof like a poll, with a histogram of the details providing a Truth or strong evidence anyway. So if you find that lots of people have issues with God and the strongest common denominator being “if God is all knowing and all powerful, then why does He make mistakes? If they aren't mistakes, then He allowed them to happen and then why does he punish us for them?” Examples are given, like the Serpent in the Garden, Cain killing Able and so forth. It seems to involve “free will”, is part of the usual explanation. None of seems to stick, though and I think the difficulty lies in the fact so so few of us are taught in logic. We think we know how to think logically, but it's more like appropriately. If it were logical we'd know why we did it, besides perhaps that it often works. Like praying for a miracle. According to the Bible, Koran and other scriptures, it seems to work, sometimes. Trouble is, except for emails which are hard to confirm, it's not happening in the same way anymore. Like getting a busy signal all the time. Eventually you wonder if it's the phone, or the line, or are a lot of people calling the same number? But the fact is, you thought it was a telephone and you thought it worked a certain way, maybe because you were told it did, or you think you were told so at some point. It's all very disheartening.
The main issue people have with the concept of a deity is not the deity part at all. It's the kind of deity. Specifically what happens is they get stuck in a matrix of their culture regarding such topics. Europeans and Americans invariably have to think about a Creator, male, one each, elsewhere in space and time. This kind of thinking is what causes wars. If you have a Big Daddy kind of God you get lots of conflicts, especially if you try to reconcile the idea with the history of the faiths out of the Mideast, at least the recent ones. How to be all-knowing and yet caught by surprise? You can't, morons! Your major premise is bogus. As children we were told that the Bible is history and of course it can't be, unless history has loopholes, wormholes and some kind of secret language we just don't understand. Maybe God is up there in a limited, self-contradictory manner, but would you want to "worship" such a limited deity? One who makes mistakes, says one thing and does another? Not me. If I am going to contemplate a Creator I want one whose substance became the Universe, whose intellect can include both the human animal and the bacteria human. I want one who does not say one thing, like "do not kill" and then turns around and sends armies out to do just that. Technically I think you could go through the Bible, include the "Lost Books", and carve out the crap and propaganda and end up with a nice little religion. It wouldn't say one tribe is the chosen one destined to rule over all of humankind, but it would explain some social rules, some faith rules and a few guiding principles which would enable people to get along. I might yet do that. Get rid of all the "begets and begets" so people don't think sex is everything and spitting out the faithful is a good thing. More like taking care of the planet is a good thing, then you can have healthy children. This idea of a transcendent Creator is very basic and is mentioned in the Bible but then abandoned by people like George Bush, who thinks he is like Joshua, anointed to go to war and kill all the sinners as well as take their land, rape their women and sell the children. I would also have to eliminate the "stone them to death" kind of punishments. If the Creator wants to erase a mistake They will have to do it themselves. My Commandment specifically states: "You shall not kill. Period" No give backs, no exceptions. You need to edit the Bible out of it's historical stores which do nothing but claim the Jews are God's chosen. Not because Jews are evil people, they just follow the rules they wrote themselves a few hundred years ago. But these were rules written by screwed up people a lot like the American President. He thinks Congress can write laws and he can ignore them. Heck, his mother made rules around the house and he ignored them so why not now?
In point of fact it isn't the priests who screw up religions, it's the lawyers. They parse things so thin. Like in American English the term "kill" can be parsed to include eating animals, plants, having a healthy intestine, walking on living things.... all of which cause you to kill something and conceivably all prohibited. But the original word was something more like "murder" which means killing your own kind deliberately, and not during war or as the result of a judgment. But that makes a long rambling Commandment. Moses was looking for something easy to understand because he thought his followers were stupid or something. You should recall that Moses wasn't Jewish, he was Egyptian and had little love lost for the Jews. He also wasn't very smart, since by making a short, easy commandment he also made it easy to confuse the masses. Witness the Second World War. We killed millions and all the murderers were Christian. We vaporized Japanese babies to protect a way of life whose God prohibits killing babies, mostly because the Japanese babies were "godless pagans". If God wanted us to not drop the A-bombs He would have made them bounce instead of explode. Clearly we had a partial suspension of the Commandments to take care of the Japs and Nazis. Clearly a politician was in charge, not a priest.
The main difficulty with war is that we accept the idea that occasionally we can suspend the rules and still be Faithful, still Chosen and destined for Heaven. Of course we can't, because a rule suspended negates the rule. If it's okay to sometimes kill then there is no commandment to not kill, or we'd hear about it from above. We never do, so it's okay to kill, even murder, even torture. You can go on down the list of ten and suspend them all all some point and still be a good Baptist, if you are an American. The problem being a pagan is that we have only the one rule to live by: If it harms none, do what you will. It's hard to parse that. If I want to have sex with a married woman I can't justify killing her husband, or raping her just to satisfy my lust. Obviously rape hurts lots of people in lots of ways. Yet our God-fearing Marines have been raping kids for years now and getting off without a lot of flack. They go home and take communion and settle back with a beer. Well, truth be told, they probably also take a handful of meds since no sane person can rape and kill without suffering. Look in George's eyes and tell me he is not suffering somehow. If he believes in the Bible he knows he is going to Hell. If he doesn't then he knows he is a liar and hypocrite. So he's boned no matter what, unless he quits and joins a monastery and prays all the time. Frankly I'm thinking sepeku is the only path to salvation for him, I mean after all, he's killed close to a million people! By now I think the White House is so polluted with bad vibes and lost souls that we should close it down and lock it up and build a new Capital somewhere in Oklahoma or Missouri. Use no white marble, make the buildings solar powered and have lots of orchards and gardens, places to meditate on the meaning of life.
In two days I fly to the West Coast to help Mom recover from pneumonia. We need to find a person to stay with her during the day so she'll be sure to take her pills and get up from time to time to walk about. For two weeks I'll be staying in the Bubble. I'll take lots of pictures, take Mom up to the redwoods and the ocean. For two weeks she'll get home cooked meals and away from the Television Channel. I wish I could convince her to fly home with me so we could take care of her, but I can't lie and tell her that it isn't cold here. It's 10 degrees this morning and only 70 in the house, but she could wear mittens and booties. She'd miss her sunshine and the flowers and by the time spring came she's be bundled like an Inuit in the living room, sitting on a radiator. Well, this should be interesting, especially if my Lyrica script isn't filled before I leave. I ran out too soon and now the old nerve pain is starting to attract attention. Timing is everything, says Musashi. Now it's time for coffee and a meditation on the rising sun.