BENEATH THE SPIN · ERIC L. WATTREE
The Religious Right: A Threat to America
When I became of age, one of the first things I did was to reassess all of my previous beliefs and attitudes. Thereafter, I discarded as invalid anything that didn't stand up to logical and objective scrutiny, because even at that young age, I'd lived long enough to recognize that most of the problems in this world is a direct result of our failure to re-examine our illogical views of reality. Most religious zealots not only fail to go through that process, but refuse to as a matter of religious doctrine. It is due to that zealotry, and their doctrinal obligation to even consider the fact that they might be zealots, that makes the religious right a clear and present danger to both the United States, and the world.
In re-examining my own religious beliefs, one of the very first things I recognized was that I was only a Christian due to an accident of birth. If I had been born in in the Middle East, chances are I would have been a Moslem, or if I'd been born in China I probably would have been a Buddhist, or if in India, a Hindu or Sikh. That immediately suggested that religious doctrine was more a cultural manifestation of man than it was a dictate from God. So anyone who has surrendered their soul to any organization (religious or otherwise), and their minds are too closed to recognize that fact, makes me very nervous. After all, that's why we're in Afghanistan, trying to keep Pakistan's nuclear missiles out of the hands of religious zealots - and by definition, a zealot's a zealot.
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 a map to fly South for the winter. In addition, 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's nature.
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, for example, 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 the entire country?
I'll tell you why - 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. I'd be willing to bet a years pay that some of these "Godly" people are condemning me right now for having the nerve to speak the truth.
That's what makes it so easy for us to commit the most horrendous atrocities against others. Our religions 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 and hateful, rather than loving and Godly. It's all about saving MY soul from the devil, and what God did or is going to do for ME, instead of what I'm going to do to make this a better world.
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 it's in direct conflict with their version of creation. So for their own selfish reasons religious leaders dispute evolution, and other valuable knowledge, even though every bit of knowledge we've ever collected has served to glorify God's wondrous creation much more thoroughly than Biblical authors could even dream of. But religious leaders don't care about glorifying God - they're only interested in saving face.
Thus, 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 our survival.
Man arrived on this hostile planet as a necked ape, but without an ape's agility nor strength. He wasn't as ferocious as the lion, as strong as the elephant, nor could he soar like the eagle. He should have been dead on arrival, but God provided man 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 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 now soar far beyond the eagle's domain - even leaving 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 beings, 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 - and 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, and if they comply, they will not survive. And if we continue to listen to other self-serving men, we're 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 near 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 through having faith in man that Hitler convinced the German people that God condoned the murder of six million Jews. And more recently, it was through faith in man that the American people was convinced that God condoned the murder of 102 thousand innocent Iraqis, who did absolutely nothing to us, other than being in the unfortunate position of possessing oil that we coveted.
Don't get me wrong, however - there's nothing wrong with being spiritual. But 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. 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.
There's one other thing. While admittedly, I don't speak for God myself, 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, so maybe you should think about what I'm saying . . . if you're allowed to.
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.