Keep your god off my couch ... and don't forget to wipe your feet!
I was fortunate enough to pass through the early years of my childhood relatively unscathed by formal religious indoctrination. God probably came up once or twice, but as my parents were each members of different faiths, no particular importance seemed to be attached to him. Oh sure, we used to recite the Lord’s prayer in school, but that was just one more thing to get through before we could get out of there and get down to some serious fun. God, like Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy were relegated to the ash heap of childhood fantasy once I began to realize that the real world bore scant resemblance to the realms of childhood mythology.
Despite this dearth of formal indoctrination, it was impossible to miss the dominant worldview that God created our world and everything in it for some inscrutable purpose. I still have vague memories of occasional “end of days” prophets roaming the neighborhood, harbingers of the wrath certain to descend upon us as punishment for our wicked ways. Being a child of the seventies, my imagination gave shape to these prophecies as nuclear holocaust; things were a little tense on the world stage at the time.
Now here it is decades later, and our eagerly anticipated doom has completely failed to materialize (much to the chagrin of the born again bunch who see such a cataclysm as a wonderful opportunity to unite with their god.) I can only assume that these “End Of Days” folks got their signals crossed somewhere along the way. God knows they weren’t the first.
Getting ready for the end
Segments of mankind have been awaiting the end almost since the beginning. This eagerness to put paid to the question of our earthly existence has motivated millions of ostensibly otherwise sane people to blindly follow anyone with sufficient oratory skills and a catchy slogan. Smugness reigns, as they are absolutely certain they will be among those saved when the time finally comes. Even today, many are looking forward to, and preparing for, the final battle between the forces of good and evil as foretold in the book of Revelations, certain they and their ilk will be on the winning team.
The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have seen a dramatic rise in the visibility and popularity of the Evangelical Christian movement in North America. From the Canadian prairies to the American “Bible Belt,” Born Again Christians are attempting to foist their theocentric worldview on the rest of us, and achieving some notable successes. It is sobering to note that more than one past president of the United States; Commander In Chief of the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet, believed that God spoke to them personally and told them when to go to war. To be fair, they were not alone. The number of people cruelly murdered in any one of the many names of the One True God is impossible to calculate, but it is in the hundreds of millions to be sure.
Religions can no longer be tolerated
Religion is no longer some tolerable foible we can incorporate into our social and political fabric, it is nothing more than a tool used by desperate men and women (although predominantly men) to maintain their grip on power, and advance their personal agendas under the guise of piety. Religion is dangerous. We must outgrow our need for gods if we are ever to live up to our true potential as human being.
Paradoxically, it seems that if we are ever to re-enter the garden we need to understand that it never in fact existed and we are going to have to create it for ourselves. This is a call to arms. Our weapons are truth and communication. Demonstrable proof is our ammunition. At stake is nothing less than the future survival of our species. We have the ability to shape our own world and define our own experience. We need not tremble in fear at the terrors of the night. It’s time to put the demons back in the box.