BENEATH THE SPIN · ERIC L. WATTREE
Now, I don’t have anything against religious people, per se – I was raised by Christians, and they were wonderful and loving people. In fact, I’m very spiritual myself. But if you show me a man who believes that Moses parted the Red Sea, I’ll show you a man whose logical assessment of reality cannot be relied upon.
Such people fail to realize that efficient thought require that we must first see reality as it is, and only then, as we would have it. But these people have a tendency to try to force reality to conform to what they want it to be, then demonize, and in many cases condone the slaughter, of others who they even suspect might view the world differently. Thus, it is primarily their kind of thinking that introduced into the world the related horrors of xenophobia, homophobia, racism, etc.
And the GOP leadership is expert at dipping into this well. While most GOP leaders could personally care less about religion, the intolerance of religious zealotry is one of their most potent weapons. As we speak, they’re mounting a combined campaign of racial intolerance against President Obama, religious intolerance against Muslims, and sexual intolerance toward gays. And to demonstrate just how virulent and un-Godly that campaign is, just tune in to FOX. The zealots are literally wallowing in their hatred like hogs in slop, even though it means possibly destroying this nation.
And the irony is, these zealots don’t really care about religion, at least, as it relates to God. If they did, they wouldn’t be so mean-spirited, selfish, and wedded to the instruments of death. They insist on following the Constitution to the letter when it comes to their right to bear arms, but they’re more than anxious to trash that very same document if it means they can take away the right of innocent people to love as they see fit.
Another indicator of their mean-spirited hypocrisy is how they only embrace those tenents of their religion and/or patriotism when it promotes their point of view. Take school prayer, for example. Again while these zealots are ready to lay down their lives for their Constitutional right to come armed to the teeth to a presidential assembly, they’re prepared to ignore both the Bible and the Constitution when it comes to the separation of church and state.
Matthew 6:6 says the following:
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Thus, according to Matthew, public prayer is not the proper thing to do (and by extention, I would imagine that God also wouldn’t be impressed by the ostentation of flags and crosses being worn as lapel pins). But these zealots aren’t interested in that scripture, because it neither contributes to their point of view, nor is it condusive to their campaign to demonize others.
They also tend to conveniently overlook the fact that their entire concept of God is merely an accident of birth. If they’d been born in in the Middle East, chances are they would have been Muslims. If they’d been born in China they’d probably be Buddhist, or if in India, a Hindu or Sikh.
That immediately suggested that religious doctrine is more a cultural manifestation of man than it is a dictate from God. So anyone who has surrendered his or her soul to any organization, be it religious or otherwise, and have a mind that is so closed to reality that they don’t recognize that fact, makes me very nervous, because they’re obviously more interested in hating others than they’re into loving God. After all, the only reason that we’re wasting young lives in Afghanistan is because we’re trying to keep Pakistan’s nuclear missiles out of the hands of religious zealots – and by definition, a zealot’s a zealot, regardless to what country he’s from. They’re all out of touch with reality, whether they be Christian, Muslim, or Jew.
One would think that any clear-thinking person would recognize that God – or Nature, if you will – provided us with a sense of ethics, common sense, and empathy to guide us through life. So man doesn’t require a users guide any more than birds require a calendar or map to fly South for the winter. And since ninety-nine percent of all the conflicts throughout the world involve a religious component, common sense should tell us that religious doctrine not only does NOT come from God, but indeed, represents the very darkest side of man.
Think about it, with all of the organized religions throughout the world, and all of the billions of people who claim to love God, why is there so much cruelty, murderous atrocities and suffering in the world? Why is it that with all the collection plates being passed around, collecting billions of tax-free dollars in the United States, that there’s any homelessness or suffering anywhere in this country? And most instructive of all is, why is it that the Bible belt was the birthplace of slavery, and the most bigoted part of this entire country? Certainly bigotry isn’t a part of God’s will.
I’ll tell you why that’s the case – because our religious doctrines are not focused on teaching us to love our fellow man. They’re more focused on teaching us that other people who are unlike ourselves and have different beliefs are heathens. It is in our churches where we learn that God is on our side, and “those others” who don’t look and think like we do are un-Godly and are going to be condemned by God to eternal damnation. No? I’d be willing to bet a years pay that some of these so-called “men of God”are condemning me right now for having the audacity to speak the truth.
That’s what makes it so easy for us to commit the most horrendous atrocities against others. Our religious leaders spend all of their time teaching us to “have faith” in what we’re being told, and hardly any time at all teaching us to love our fellow man.
Man’s need to control the minds of the masses dictate that they focus on teaching us to be selfish, hateful, and fearful rather than loving and Godly. It’s all about saving MY soul from the devil, and what God is going to do for ME, instead of what I’m going to do to make this a better world. After all, if I start spending my money on helping my neighbor I’ll have less money to give the church, and the church can’t have that.
Consider what man has told us to have faith in. Over the centuries we’ve been told such things as God wants us to burn young women at the stake because they’re a little different. They told us that God wanted us to excommunicate Galileo and threaten other brilliant scholars with death before the inquisition for having the audacity to try to educate us and give us the benefit of their God-given brilliance. And why? Because their brilliance betrayed the erroneous thinking of church leaders who claimed to be getting their information from a direct pipeline to God. We see that very same Mindset today. Many church leaders dismiss the validity of evolution, even in face of the fact that every time we get our children vaccinated it validates the fact that man is evolving.
When we’re vaccinated we give our bodies a manageable dose of a disease. This allows our bodies to evolve to the point that it can tolerate a disease that would otherwise killed or disabled us. But the church has a vested interest in discounting evolution, because new knowledge is often in direct conflict with their version of creation. Thus, for their own selfish reasons many religious leaders dispute evolution, global warming, and other valuable knowledge, even though every bit of new knowledge we’ve ever collected has served to glorify God’s wondrous creation much more thoroughly than Biblical authors could have ever imagined. But these so-called religious leaders don’t care about glorifying God – they’re only interested in saving face, and revenue.
Consequently, some of the most serious problems that we have in the world today is a direct result of our organized religious leaders having our minds on lockdown. Their activity in that regard is a direct assault on the will of God, since God clearly made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. We know this, because all of the evidence available to man shows that God made man’s ability to think the key to his survival.
Man arrived on this hostile planet as a necked ape, but with neither a legitimate ape’s agility or strength. Man wasn’t as ferocious as the lion, as strong as the elephant, nor could he soar above danger like the eagle. He should have been dead on arrival, but God provided him with one tool to help him to survive – the human mind. And it is through the development that tool that man, this most unlikely and fragile of creatures, has established dominion over the entire Earth, and in an incredibly short period of time. Now, through our God-given intellect, we’ve become more fearsome than the most ferocious lion, we’ve created machines that are thousands of times more powerful than the strongest elephant, and we can now soar far beyond the eagle’s domain. We’ve even left the planet to explore other worlds.
Thus, it was clearly God’s will that we be logical, thinking beings. So for us to now allow man to come along and tell us that we should suspend our nature as thinking being, and “have faith” in what he tells us, is a slap in the face of God. By doing so, we’re showing more faith in what man says, than what God has done.
That is the source of all of our problems; we’re not remaining true to our nature. To tell a man not to think is like telling a fish not to swim, or a bird not to fly. If either of those creatures were stupid enough to comply, they would not survive. And if man continues to listen to other self-serving men instead of utilizing his mind as God intended, he’s not going to survive.
It was through putting our faith in man that we believed that God condoned the Manifest Destiny, that led to the genocide of Native Americans. It was through our faith in man that we believed that God condoned the brutal enslavement of millions of African Americans. It was also man’s faith in man that allowed Hitler to convinced the German people that God condoned the murder of six million Jews. And more recently, it was through having more faith in George Bush and Dick Cheney than in the common sense that God gave us, that the American people were convinced that God condoned the sacrifice of our youth and the blatant murder of hundreds of thousands innocent Iraqis – people who did absolutely nothing to us, other than being in the unfortunate position of sitting on the oil that we coveted.
Now, don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with being spiritual. But we must always remember, just because a man has the gift of gab and says he’s a man of God, that doesn’t mean that God sees it that way. God doesn’t speak to him any louder than he speaks to you, and no man speaks for God. So whenever you want to hear God’s word, just listen to your heart, and God will speak to you directly.
And there’s one other thing. While admittedly, I don’t speak for God either, I think I’m pretty safe in saying that God will never tell you to buy another man a big house and a new Cadillac – he didn’t do it for Jesus, so why should he do it for these latter-day “saints?”
And for you zealots out there. Don’t forget, God works in mysterious ways. He might have led you to read this piece. So maybe you should think about what I’m saying – it just might spare your child an early death . . . all alone, in the desert.
Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It’s not that I hate everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like me – it’s just that God does.
Eric L. Wattree is a writer, poet, and musician, born in Los Angeles. He’s a columnist for The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Black Star News in New York, and a Staff writer for Veterans Today. He’s also the author of A Message From the Hood.