An Act of God


The London terror attack – again – involved a vehicle used to kill and maim.  Deliberate.  Planned.  Calculated.  The terror made greater by the choice of something so innocent.

Which brings me to religion.  And Islam.  And Christianity.  And the bible.  And the koran.

Just as with my own vehicle, there are bits I can scrape myself on.  Nut and bolts that will skin my fingers if I slip.  A chassis that will crush me if I am underneath and the jack slips.  My vehicle can and does kill “innocently”.  So the laws governing how I use my vehicle are many.  My vehicle is my responsibility.  I determine how I drive.  How I react to other drivers.  Whether I run red lights or not.  Whether I take risks or not.  Whether I keep to speed limits or not.  And whether my driving and vehicle “body language” reassures or scares others.

Which brings me to religion.  And Islam.  And Christianity.  And the bible.  And the koran.

I have met many of religions.  Most – like me – or born in a country that ascribes to a particular sacred text.  Many – like me – are taken to church as child.  Many – like me – have an idea of God and Jesus.  And almost all – like me – have many questions.  And many are taught not to ask.  And I have met those damaged by religion.  And I have learned that to mean a particular person assumed “rights” over the sacredness of others.

Which brings me back to driving.

“Everyone else was driving that way” never a successful defence.  “Driving under the influence” … “Road Rage” … “Driving without due care and attention” … “I was tired” … “I was upset” … “They made me do it” … “I never meant to” … is always judged to be my responsibility as the driver of that vehicle on that road at that time and choosing to driving in that way.

Which brings me back to the bible.

And an Act of God.  Even the insurance industry embraces God in that respect.  Not their fault.  It was God wot done it.  Which means I must pay for the damage of whatever God-given catastrophe myself.   Which brings me to religion.

Religion is not an Act of God.

Religion is the creation of (wo)mankind.  Which makes me responsible for my own actions with that bit of sacred text, in that particular mode of worship, with those specific people, at that particular time.

Which brings me to God and Allah.

Take away religion and all the sacred texts I know include freedom of choice because love is only about freedom and choice.  Except – just as with driving – religious road rage is never my fault.  Not even when someone dies.

Odd that.

.

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7 thoughts on “An Act of God

  1. By equating intentional and deliberate acts to kill for religious reasons with some vague and irrational ‘rage’ is an approach to deflect any responsibility away from ‘religion’ itself and on to the individuals alone. By doing so, you skip entirely the causal role of religious doctrines of both martyrdom and jihad. By skipping the root causes, you then skip any real understanding of why this ‘rage’ is not rage at all but a dedicated and highly pious act. And by refusing to understand this brute fact, you are refusing to ‘fix’ it. By your own mental maneuvering, this refusal makes you part of this ongoing problem.

    • HI tildeb. I think that anyone who has had road rage visited upon them would not regard it as vague. Almost always irrational but never vague and often intentional as well as deliberate.

      But you seem to be defining religion as impersonal. My experience of those who are damaged by any religion is a sequence of individual interactions (which tends to be supported by your view that I am personally part of the problem).

      I see good and bad in religion. Why not extract the good and change the bad – rather than focus on “fixing it” by insisting religion must become extinct? Which seems to have less chance of success.

      • I’m not calling road rage vague; I’m calling your ‘equivalency’ vague… as if these highly pious Muslims suddenly encounter an incident and lash out (more than a third of all British born, university educated self-identified Muslims between the ages of 21 and 35 believe killing in defense of the faith is justifiable). This is not the case. At all. These are a pre-planned coldly calculated attacks to kill civilians. That’s not rage. That’s not a one-off event. That’s not particularly extreme . That’s an ongoing and sustained and supported attack by some of the more pious Muslims against the people of Western countries, and it’s a RELIGIOUS cause – a very specific kind of an Islamic RELIGIOUS cause correctly identified as martyrdom in the name of jihad.

        The problem you have with this – as do most religious apologists – is that you have no means at your disposal to be able to explain in RELIGIOUS terms why this act of self-sacrificing piety is in any way different in PRINCIPLE than any other act done in the same name of expressing religious piety in the public domain.

        You have to draw upon secular principles – like respecting human rights and human freedoms – to argue why killing civilians in the name of piety is morally wrong. You cannot counter the moral claims of those acting in the name of piety expressed by such action through martyrdom and jihad with any equivalent RELIGIOUS arguments… without completely undermining your own use of the piety argument as a justification.

        And that’s why demanding respect and acceptance and tolerance for your own pious motivation for doing ‘good’ – as if that justification is fine and dandy here but not there – for some public action is as much a part of this problem as is hacking up other people for the same reason: piety.

        Piety has no place in the public domain and is never, ever, a legitimate justification for any action involving anyone else ever. Piety is just as irrational and deluded and morally bankrupt a motivation (whether used for affecting any political, educational, legal, medical, or social public policy) as it is for motivating a terrorist attack. And that’s why RELIGIOUS people need to get on board the secular movement and get any and all religious actions out of the public domain and back into the private sphere where it belongs. It’s your civic duty.

        • Tildeb, thank you again. As usual I can agree with much and disagree with part.

          However, just because I live with something real to me and not to you does not of necessity make me part of the problem. It might make me part of the solution.

          As all of this is based upon belief and life experience and choices – my defective equivalency (as I take your words to mean) might be the flip side of the same coin. And – just as we breathe air because we do – I see religion because “we do”. So my world view is not to do away with religion. My experience is that if one style of religion is dismissed another will spring up elsewhere. And as that seems to mean “god belief” for many is closer to need than indulgence – why not seek “good air” rather than insist air must only be breathed in private?

          Another secular image because religion is secular in its building blocks.

          My “civic duty” is based on unconditional love. And if that embraces those who “know” something is real that you “know” as fake – then why not embrace evolving a great fake? And as I see it as real, why not challenge those who also see it as “real” to make it a better real than they ever thought was possible?

          Because neither of us can prove there is or is not a “supreme entity” except in our own short lifetimes. And that does not make either of us “right” (in generational civic duty terms) for everyone – some will always see a real where others see a fake.

  2. There is no such thing as good religion.
    Once we accept this fact then we can simply move towards educating people and eventually it will dwindle to the point where it is regarded as merely an eccentricity,

  3. The longer I live, the more I come to grips with the fact that I will never understand it all. These vicious attacks are atrocious but so were the Crusades that most people have conveniently forgotten or were never taught. Religious extremism is nothing new. Islamic extremists are definitely affecting how we live but so are radical Christians who would answer with contempt for all to catch a few solutions.

    Just as I will never comprehend all of the Bible, I’m confident I will never understand how God chooses to reveal himself to other people. I only know how He revealed Himself to me. That does not qualify me to pass judgement or make blanket criticisms on entire classes of people. Even tho most studious Bible scholars will only know God and His Word “in part.” God is simply too large for our little minds to comprehend and many here in the U.S. are more intent on trying to force square pegs in round holes instead of simply adhering to the two major commandments of loving God and loving our brothers. The ideal that some of the Islamic extremists are reacting to consequences of sins of the past committed by Christians is too outrageous for most people to even entertain.

    I am all for justice. Yet, religious tyranny and terrorist acts are as old as time. Only as it has moved to the West has it become prominent in the news. Unfortunately, the vitriol and poison accelerates before the blood of victims can even dry. The beams in most “Christians” eyes obscure their vision from the whole truth and Scripture while trying to remove the splinters from others.

    I would like to believe that those of us who would like to keep the good and extract the he bad are in the majority. Unfortunately, our voices are not being heard.

    • “I would like to believe that those of us who would like to keep the good and extract the bad are in the majority. Unfortunately, our voices are not being heard.”

      And it won’t unless those who see good keep seeing and sharing. Something I am reminded of is the “orchestra” – and how each different player / instrument / score makes the whole magnificent wall of sound. I find that all I can do is to keep playing my own score / instrument in a way which does not “jar” the score and sounds of others. And where someone wishes to rip up the score of each – then I will keep playing – because the “score” is inside where no one can take it from me.

      Here’s to unconditional love that is stronger than conditional hate.

      🙂

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