Wednesday, November 25, 2009

American Taliban

But isn't it a wonderful world Carolina
Look at the birds in the sky
Jehovah made this whole joint for you, Carolina
and isn't it so wonderful to be alive

It all started so innocently. An American acquaintance on mine, fed up with ordering $5 cups of hot cocoa and then getting it handed back to her three quarters full, looked to the rest of the women at the table and said "Someone explain this to me". To which this answer was only an accepting shrug and a "Welcome to Europe".

Now, I didn't start this. Honest. But somehow the conversation got geared towards WHY? and the for WHAT reasons? and the ARE you all CRAZIES? with a little of LIFE doesn't have to be like this! thrown in for good measure. Honestly, I politely sat through it and didn't say too terribly much. What I did say was weighted. I long ago stopped trying to convert the lemmings. Banging my head against the wall would be a more fruitful endeavor.

As it was, I didn't have to do much but observe. What makes this especially interesting is my friend, who is not bashful or short on opinion, is a Mormon, a follower of the Church of Latter Day Saints. To be quite honest, in my view, Mormonism is really out there. However, I know quite a many LDS folks and truly they are made of some of the best stuff there is. Also, as a side note, you rarely meet a poor Mormon. And that makes me like them all the more.

The answer slowly unfolded like a five day old burrito and it held quite a stench. The Europeans, representing four different countries, at the table told us, that because America is such a religious society, we look to God for answers and because Europe is so secular they choose to look to the government. All four of them agreed. There we had it, America is but one religious leader away from being a big, giant Taliban with nukes.

And we are insular? I don't even think I can blame on insularity. Misinformed? Creating delusions that fit your world view that has been shaped by a lifetime of controlled media? True, America is more religious than Europe. Or maybe I should say America is more Christian than Europe. That vacuum is currently being filled.

To hear these people talk, a good 90 percent of us spend our weekends down at the Baptist hall practicing speaking in tongues while waiting for the rapture.

I am not religious at all. Just could never get there. I do not fear people who are. In fact, many of the people I call my friends are and always have been. They never preach to me or try to convert me. Of course, I know they think I am going to hell for not believing. That doesn't bother me either. Why? I probably do not believe it. In many ways I envy people of faith. I always say I'd rather have had faith and be wrong than believe in nothing and be right.

Does that mean there are not close minded, bigoted, fanatical zealots? Ofcourse not. But then, those people are more than alive and well in the circles travelled by the secularists. They are very healthfully represented in the new church of the environment. And, yeah, those people DO scare me. A lot. There is also no shortage of self-righteous liberal seculars and humanist religionists who belong to the cult of perpetual grievances and pathological social movements. I'll take a pass on them also.

If I had to make a choice between putting my faith in a God or putting my faith in the men of government, I'd go with some supreme supernatural being or nothing at all. Every time. Many people have suffered in the name of God but far more have suffered at the hands of their own government and countrymen.

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