I’m turning the page. Maybe my dedicated followers will come along with me for the new ride; perhaps not. Presently I’m filled to the gills with pure politics and further discussion of it seems to me to be a fairly useless pursuit and a waste of my time. By the way, Congress came back to DC yesterday. Did anybody miss their absence? Me neither. There’s another GOP debate tonight; I’m not watching it. Just think, folks, it’s only the 3rd week in January. Just imagine how many negative ads are slated to run on TV from now to the November election. I can’t stomach any of that and will not invite ‘those people’ into my life or living room
I have for major passions in my life: family, religion, education and politics. In that order. Right now, I’m going to begin posting information on religion. But, you see, as I do this, I naturally will call attention to politics because, sadly, religion ensnares politics in this nation. Not only politics, but foreign affairs as well. There sits Israel, the home of the Jews smack dab in the center of the Muslim world. And, adding to the melee, the Christian claim on the city of Jerusalem. Three religions entangling each other and our nation as well.
My third passion is education. I’m amazed at the wide-spread ignorance that hangs like a miasmic vapor over this nation of ours. We truly are a dumbed-down people who infamously cling to our guns and Bibles. Like prehistoric tribesmen. It is a pitiful situation in which we find ourselves with whole swaths of citizens ‘believing’ propaganda and nonsense as truth.
The Bible is the first bit of nonsense that needs to be taken apart because a large majority of our citizens base many of their political and societal beliefs on that book. Bang off I’ll state this: the Bible is NOT the Word of God. The Bible is the word of human beings. Period. The Bible is most probably the greatest piece of deception ever printed. And we Americans have been nauseously bamboozled by that book for centuries. Still today, perhaps at this very moment, some candidate in South Carolina is babbling on about some biblical reference, hoping to garner the vote from the Bible-ignorant people in the audience. Oh, not that they don’t ‘love’ their Bible. Not that they don’t live by the Bible teachings. Not that they don’t use the Bible as a weapon against non-bible-believing people. Not that they don’t use the Bible to denigrate and condemn groups of people.
It’s just that they don’t know shit about this book. And the more fundamental the believer, the less they know.
Therefore, when I turn my focus to religion, I do not close the door on my two other passions: education and politics. Rather, it is a bundle. Of course, I am a realist and I realize that I will never change the ‘beliefs’ of fundamentalists: Christians, Jews or Muslims. They cannot change. Their life-support system is entangled in biblical stuff, like a tumor entangled with nerve cells. It cannot be excised without leaving the patient immobile.
As a result, I offer my musings to those of us who are open to questions about religion and the ‘holy books’ upon which the religion is based. It may be useful to know what’s behind these religious beliefs so that, during a discussion, facts can trump belief. And when facts trumps belief, then substantive discussion can begin, replacing the myth, magic and mystery of religious speech with dispassionate dialogue.
I am assisted in this new direction by the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop of Newark. He has written many books, all of them interesting and heretical. His latest, Re-claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, is undoubtedly his best work so far. Fundamentalists excoriate him; I love his authorship. In the preface of this book, Spong declares: “I do not for one moment think that the Bible is in any literal sense the ‘Word of God.'” Neither do I.
Another quite revealing line that Spong penned is this: “My conviction was and is that what people learn in a typical Sunday school will never be adequate to sustain a believable faith for educated, questioning people living in the 21st century.” He also said that the Bible ought to be taught as ‘we learned of it in theological seminary.’ But it isn’t because ‘that would be too risky for a newly ordained priest.’ Rather, he says, ‘we disregard our seminary lessons and ‘teach the Bible’ in Sunday school fashion, ignoring what we learned in the seminary.’
Honesty. Truth will out.
Thus I turn the page.