Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Wishing March 7, 2011

Filed under: Anecdotal,Religious — Addicted to Yarn @ 10:47 pm
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Sometimes, I wish there was a god. Not because I want miracles or a deeper meaning to life. Not because I want to imagine that my family and friends that have died are still existing on another plane. No, sometimes I wish there was a god because I wish that there was a supernatural, higher-power being to seek absolution, forgiveness, from. Not that I have so many “sins” to be forgiven for. I do not feel guilt for fooling around with my boyfriend in high school, though we both moved on to marry others and by the definitions I grew up with, we both committed adultery (or something that brushed very close to it). I do not feel guilt for being a crappy mom. I’m a totally adequate mom and I am comfortable with that. I do not feel guilt because I have a crush on a man who is not my husband. I do not feel guilt for leaving the church, though it hurt my family and friends.

No, none of those things are what keep me up at night. No, during that interim period between wakefulness and sleep, when my brain flits from one thing to another, from thoughts about what I ate for dinner to what Jael should wear to school tomorrow, from thinking about my current knitting project for my cousin’s baby to her mother and from there to her grandmother, the guilt that keeps me awake is not the guilt of commandments broken or faith not had. No, no, no. The guilt is for an action that was taken because I had too much faith.

I believed in God. I believed that the Bible was true. I believed that God would fulfill his promises in the Bible. So when the Bible said that we could heal the sick in Jesus’s name, I believed that. When the Bible said that we would do even greater things than Jesus, I believed it. I believed that God would heal my aunt from brain cancer if I sacrificed, humbled myself and prayed over her. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, as my family did not believe in the “gifts” of healing and whatnot. But I obeyed the commands I believed I had been given. I fasted and I prayed. I told my husband that I had to go. He joined with me in fasting and prayer. We prayed the entire drive to Marysville, Kansas. Cancer had already destroyed the woman I remembered but it did not deter us. She was unable to walk unaided, unable to speak, and who knows how much she understood. We knew that it would simply make God’s miracle that much more amazing. We knelt beside my aunt’s recliner, we read from the Word, we laid hands on her, we prayed for her, we annointed her head with oil, and finally, we commanded her to stand up.

I will never forget the look in her eyes as she tried to explain, with a body that no longer obeyed her commands, that she could not stand up. I will never forget the feeling of having a dying woman look guilty, as though she were a personal disappointment because she was unable to “faith” her way to a healing.

That is what keeps me up at night. That is what I wish I could ask forgiveness for. I wish that there were a source of ultimate good that could lay hands on my soul and apply a healing salve to the portion of me that committed that crime.

I am so sorry, Uncle Roy, for walking into your home and wasting one of your last days with your wife in such a disrespectful manner.

I am sorry, Grandma, that you had to bury a child after someone had read Bible verses to you that said God would heal her.

I am sorry, Dad, that I raised false hopes.

I am sorry, Debbie, that your mom died, despite what I read and said and prayed.

I am sorry, Kendra, Bobby, and Liz that your grandmother had to spend some of her last hours on earth with such an idiot.

I am sorry, Brycen, that you never got to meet your great-grandma.

I am sorry, Aunt Judy, that God isn’t real. I’m sorry that he wasn’t there to heal you. I don’t know if I caused you to doubt him or not but if I did, I am so incredibly sorry for casting doubt on your faith in your last days on earth. I am so sorry.

If I could take an eraser to one weekend  of my life, that would be it. If I could rewind, delete, and continue on, those two days would be what I deleted. If I could apply bleach to my memory and destroy one event, this would be the one I bleached out of existence. But I can’t. And I will, most likely, continue to think of this until the day I, too, cease to live and I will continue to wish, in the dark of the night, when sleep eludes me, that there was a god to seek forgiveness from for the sin of believing in him too damn much.

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Our Deist Forefathers November 8, 2010

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear,” wrote Thomas Jefferson to his nephew in 1787. Thomas Jefferson and the other early writers of the American colonies, understood the ideals behind the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was, by definition, “a movement of intellectuals who popularized science and applied reason to human affairs” (Bishop 301). Reason – that, oh-so taken for granted trait that sets humans apart from the other primates – was the driving force behind the Age of Enlightenment, the impetus behind the movement’s key values, and is clearly seen in the United States Declaration of Independence.

The Age of Enlightenment began in the marketplace of ideas. As nobles rubbed elbows with the middle class in the salons of Paris (Bishop 301); as the upper and lower classes mingled in the coffeehouses of England (Jurich 5); as the ideas of the one were shared with the other and vice versa, “new ideas percolated” through them both (Bishop 301). Just as the “exploration and colonization” of the New World widened their physical horizons, this exposure to new people widened the horizons of the mind. The philosophy behind the Enlightenment was largely “[i]nspired by the Scientific Revolution” resulting in an increase in “intellectual inquiry” (301).

This newfound increase in questions and the tool of Science with which to answer them led to many key values, three of which were: 1) the belief that “politics and history” follow natural, universal laws just as gravity does; 2) the understanding that reason could bring a “prosperity” that superstitious beliefs could not; and 3) an understanding that the “chief barrier to human progress and happiness was not human nature,” as was taught by the Christian faith, but rather “social intolerance and injustice” (301).

The Declaration of Independence, the paper that formally severed ties between the thirteen colonies and their overseas oppressor, is a document which embraces these ideals of Enlightenment. With language such as “Laws of Nature” (retrieved from ushistory.org) regarding the rights of the people, the writers reveal their belief that politics are governed by natural, universal laws, not just the laws put in place by men. By the fact of their parting with the King, who the Christian church taught was appointed by God (Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” NKJV), the writers revealed that they understood the second key value: reason trumps religious superstition. They did not see a god appointed king. They saw a king who was not doing his job. They looked at the facts, applied reason to their situation, and decided that a merit based, rather than religiously based, government would bring the colonies greater prosperity. They revealed their understanding of the third value with the famous sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (ushistory.org). The traditional belief was that human nature, being corrupt, needed to be ruled by one appointed by god, be that a religious leader such as the Pope or a civic leader such as a king. The writers of the Declaration of Independence believed, in accordance with the Enlightenment, that the impediments to happiness, success, prosperity, and progress, rested not in a fundamental flaw in humans but in the flaws of the systems surrounding them. They understood that injustice, inequality, intolerance, and ignorance were the obstacles that needed to be overcome. It is clear from this early American document that its writers were writing in agreement with Enlightenment philosophy.

The Enlightenment had many impulses and factors affecting its development but the primary force was reason. It was reason that led to the Age of Enlightenment, reason which formed the key values, and reason that led Thomas Jefferson and others to draft the Declaration of Independence. As Benjamin Franklin said, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason,” and it is clear from the Declaration of Independence, that was not an option.


Works Cited

Bishop, Philip E.  Adventures in the Human Spirit. 6th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011.

Declaration of Independence. 24 October, 2010. <http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/&gt;.

Franklin, Benjamin. Poor Richard’s Almanack. 1758. 24 October, 2010. <http://atheistempire.com/greatminds/gmtext2.html#BenjaminFranklin&gt;.

Jefferson, Thomas. 1787. Letter to his nephew. 24 October, 2010. <http://atheistempire.com/greatminds/quotes.php?author=2>.

Jurrich, Nick. Espresso: From bean to cup. Seattle, WA: Missing Link Press, 1991.

 

When Atheists Attack: Next on LRMR! December 1, 2009

THE HORROR!

The sign that started it all

I’m not sure yet whether to thank the friend who passed this little gem on to me or not but here it is…

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is the site of a current Christmas controversy. Two weeks ago, Chambersburg’s Memorial Square was the site of a nativity scene that had been on display every Christmas for fifty years. Now it is gone. Why? Because a non-Christian group (Pennsylvania Association of Non-believers) wanted to put up a sign in celebration of Winter Solstice and honoring American atheist war veterans. The council’s decision was to ban ALL decorations.

Let me make this very, very clear. PAN did NOT want to remove the Christian symbols from the public square. They simply wanted to put their symbol in the public square. They are NOT happy with the council’s decision to ban everything. Removing Christ from the Christmas displays was NOT their goal. Being allowed to ALSO have a voice was their goal.

Naturally, the Christians are up in arms, hosting a couple hundred person rally. They sported wonderful signs, saying such varied things as, “Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas,” or “Bring back the nativity,” “Enough is enough,” and “”Honk 4 Jesus.” There were also signs such as, “Silverman the Grinch” (Carl Silverman was the man who made the request for PAN), and “Wise men still seek him,” and “Carl Silverman Atheist and our spineless C-burg council, “The FOOL said there is NO GOD — Ps. 51 v. 1,”

What is interesting is the complete and total lack of reality. Here are some quotes from some of the rally attendees who criticized Silverman as “trying to disrupt their Christmas celebration”:

“This country was founded on Christian ethics,” he said. “I’m Native American, but I’m a Christian. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The atheists can have their own day, April Fool’s Day. The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”

Nice. Way to work name calling into the mix and totally disregard the fact that Christians don’t own December. Way to go having a clue as to why the Catholic church chose December 25 as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

“They keep taking stuff away from us,” [Russell Bender] said. “They’re taking Christ out of Christmas. We need to stand up for Christ.”

Wow, that’s odd. Everything I’ve read says that the city council is the one that was taking Christ out of Christmas, not the atheists. PAN simply wanted equality. They simply wanted to take some time to honor veterans who are atheists and recognize the Winter Solstice…which Christians believe God designed!

Scott Fickes said Silverman and others like him are “propagating hatred just like the terrorists did on 9-11…As far as Fickes is concerned, Silverman is a “domestic terrorist, who comes to town and disrupts the economy. Citizens have the right to protect themselves.”

…um…

…yeaaaaaah…see Silverman and PAN were not the one’s calling names. They weren’t “propagating hatred.” And I don’t understand really how hijacking planes, flying them into buildings, and killing almost 3000 people is comparable to “Hey, we’d like to put up a little sign to celebrate our winter holiday.” And what exactly are these people trying to protect themselves from? Ideas not their own? Questions they don’t have answers to perhaps?

I just want to point out again, the non-believers WERE NOT TRYING TO OPPRESS OR SILENCE ANYONE! They were simply trying to also have a voice. Freedom of speech anyone? Separation of Church and State anyone?

Oh, and the nativity sign is now across the street on the front lawn of  a church. Where’s the Winter Solstice sign?

(And for those that wondered, LRMR is LadyRebecca’s Musings and Ramblings…clever, huh?)

(quotes from rally attendees came from:  http://www.publicopiniononline.com/localnews/ci_13887618

The screenshot of the sign came from FoxNews’ coverage of the story at http://www.fox43.com/news/wpmt-pmnews-nativityrally-11-28-09,0,7450501.story)