The old Judeo-Christian books told us of a jealous god, an angry god. This was a god who saw everything you do…and punished you for it, if you broke his law. These old books told us about a powerful, omnipotent god who simply didn’t take any crap, a god who didn’t mess around. They described a god who commanded ‘his people’ to invade sovereign states and kill everyone in them (which supposedly occurred many times, according to the Old Testament).
Joshua performing genocide on the Amonites
People waited for his promised coming, for his promised appearance.They prayed for a sign, a burning bush, a hint, anything.
Generations passed, hoping for a god or the angels to come out of the sky and help people.
Deus Ex Machina, the God in the Machine
Oddly enough, in time the visions soon became not of god coming down to help people or bring rain to all, but devolved into pleas to exact revenge on our enemies, to demand retribution, to enforce justice -as we see it.
Some prayed even more fervently for these distorted goals; god help us win in war, teach them durn other guys (Catholics or Protestants, Christians, or Muslims, whoever is opposite their side) a thing or two, get that bully on the playground for us.
When Times magazine declared god was dead in the new age of technology, many people believed them. Okay, if god was dead, but people still needed a God. Was it going to be TV or drugs, booze or mindless entertainment? That new ‘whacky tobacky’ the hippies were smoking? No. People needed something more tangible than that. Lacking the appearance of a real god, we decided to create our own.
Perhaps our government in its desire to provide more and better law, security, control, etc. (the things we had previously asked of god) simply reflected our ‘inner’ wishes and outer prayers and it tried to give us well, if not god, then the things we prayed to god for.
So we made a god based on our societal model of God.
This new god hears everything you say…
It sees everything you do…
It is (almost) omnipotent…
It is a jealous god, punishing those who won’t follow his commands.
This god promises hell to those who oppose him….
This god ain’t down with homosexuals or rebels…’deviants’ of any sort.
He don’t dig blacks so much either, or any of those ‘colored’ people …
…and certainly not those Muslims and their ‘other god’.
This new god can see through walls…
It can see you at night…
It hears your softest whisper…
What this god might not see we freely confess to him…
He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!
Stern and implacable, this god allows no dissent and ‘free speech’ against him of his rules is considered treason
‘They’ do it to ‘us’…and ‘we’ do it to ‘them.’ We don’t even bat an eyelid, because, well…our new god does it to us.
Free speech against the fundamental principles is considered treason…a reason…for death, imprisonment, and who knows what else? Maybe something worse awaits…hell.
At first, we resisted the intrusions of this fundamentalist god, but after 9/11 everyone prayed harder…and got what they wanted – and a bit more. They wanted security in our homeland and instead got Homeland Security, a money-gobbling bureaucracy (as if we needed another bureaucracy). The country needed patriots, and instead got the Patriot Act, which took away our basic civil rights.
We wanted change, and we got it; with new laws being passed (typically unannounced or covered by the media, and signed at the eleventh hour) that take away our right to fair trial, control over our food and water supplies, classify dissenters or people who sympathize with the oppressed or the victims of our empire-building paradigm as terrorists, and even threaten to take away our citizenship.
Yes, this god is a stern god. It is undeniably a powerful god.
Yet like all gods and images of gods, they can only be made manifest by our individual and collective work, with not only our compliance, but with our intentions manifest as actions and results.
So while we have made a harsh god in the past that looks suspiciously like the angry, jealous patriarchal Judeo-Christian god (like the sum of all bad fathers through history), perhaps as our understanding and compassion develop, as our world-views mature and release the tribe mentality, encompassing all people as brothers, with the shipmate mentality, we will create (or refine) our new god to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate.
Maybe instead of a father figure (and the patriarchal god that results) we will begin to conceive a more nurturing goddess figure, more of a supporting figure than a criticizing one. Maybe then the analogs and forms our gods take on earth will support us instead of punish us; maybe they will guide us into new, willingly-chosen better behaviors rather than make laws and prisons to enforce behaviors on us.
This really all starts with us. We take the first step, towards liberation, towards compassion. As more and more of us begin, our society moves in step with us, and these analogs of the god we envision change.
The change really all begins with us. It’s not the government’s fault…they are just doing the job as they know how, in the ‘old’ way. They are implementing our collective will. As we change, so do ‘they’, so does ‘it.’
The first step begins with us. How we live our lives, and how we act in society. Do we support parties and candidates that support war, the old regimes and bureaucracies, the old outmoded paradigms, or do we support candidates and parties which reflect our new values, our new and evolving vision of the world?
It all begins with us. With that first step towards release…from ignorance, suffering, old ways of thinking and being that hold us back. One step…
(c) 2016 Mark Francis Mullen. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or published for profit. All images are copyright by original owners. Publication on Facebook or any other media or social media does not imply or allow or modify this copyright, and permits no rights to those media.