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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero

I'm watching a very moving Frontline episode entitled Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero. This episode explores the emotions of the families of the victims and the survivors.

When I lost my daughter as an infant, I was handed a brochure about the stages of grief and how grief is resolved. I remember reading that about 75% of people resolve their grief by feeling that their is a god and there was a resolution for their loved one's death. I recall that the rationalization was that God's ways were mysterious or something along those lines. But 25% of people accepted that the universe is a chaotic place and shit happens, it's no ones fault when these types of things happen. This was what I felt when I lost my daughter.

The images of the falling people shown are horrifying. The couple holding hands as they jump to their deaths is a haunting one. Did they know each other? Were they strangers? Were they comforted by each other as they faced a certain death?

Rabbi Herschfield discussed how it bothered him when survivors claimed that God saved them. "What about those who died, and died a horrible, painful death? Did God cause their deaths as well? It's easy to say that God saved one, it's the easy way out. It's the easy way out for religion as well. But someone says that God saved them from death, then it's hypocrisy to not say that God caused deaths as well. That is just not a god that I can worship."

There was an interesting discussion on evil and its definition. Margot Adler defines evil as when you loose sight of others as people, they are as nothing to you. They are in the way of your goals.

There was general discussion that religion itself is responsible. Both the religious and the non-religious people interviewed recognized that religion can motivate both good and terrible things. Being absolutely sure that you are right and others are wrong can lead to terrible acts. Absolutism can blind someone to the consequences of their actions.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Don't Be a Sucker



This film created at the very end of WWII gives a very simple explaination of how a fascist political party can divide a group of people by splitting them into minorities, then setting the minorities against each other until they are all weakened. Then take a look at the current extreme right and new charasmatic Christian right in this country. You will see them in a new light. I'll give a few examples.

Rachel Tabachnick states that Mary Glazier, a friend and mentor to Sarah Palin stated the following during a conference in 2008:
"There is a tipping point, at which, at which time, because of the sin of the land, the people then have to be displaced. But while this measure of wickedness is rising, the measure of faith in the church is rising. God is preparing a people to displace the ones whose sin is rising so that then they tip over and the church goes in - one is removed and the church moves in and takes the territory. Now, that does not mean that the people are removed, because God removes them from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light. They are given an opportunity to change allegiances."
Notice that Glacier is speaking of removing those who don't subscribe to either her political or religious ideology. She hedges somewhat about what happens to those who are removed, perhaps on some level she realizes how horrifying this sounds. Rachel concludes with the following discussion of elimationism:
Simply stated, the movement teaches that their spiritual warfare directly impacts the natural world. Whether one believes that these prayer warriors actually achieve these results or not, the NAR has reached millions with the message that elimination of certain people, practices, and beliefs will ultimately result in the eradication of the societal problems which plague humanity. The apostles clearly and repeatedly state that their spiritual warfare is not limited to the cosmic world but is about changing the physical world. Additionally, they teach that God is providing direct and extrabiblical instructions to the apostles and prophets of the movement, something that I will discuss at greater length in the next article in this series on the NAR's brand of "apostolic government of the church."
Rachel gives these zealots a bit more wiggle room than I would.
I plan to update this post with more examples of calls for eliminating anyone who doesn't go along with those who are pushing for government implementation of Dominion Theology.