I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of God lately. The insidious rise of Christian fascism in this country is forcing me to do so.
The radical religious right’s beliefs about God — punishing, angry, and intolerant — are incomprehensible and repugnant to me. The prospect of the Old Testament Law-based Christian theocracy this radical group of zealots are attempting to impose here in America fills me with terror, righteous anger, and makes me literally sick to my stomach.
No matter how hard I try to understand these far right religious leaders, their dominionist views, and their need for total control over every aspect of our lives (this is the same group that talks about “small government”), I just can’t. I don’t get it at all. They might as well be aliens from another planet.
Their message and plan for America (and yes, eventually the world) doesn’t contain a shred of love, compassion, forgiveness, or mercy. They show nothing but contempt for just the kind of people — the vulnerable and weak — that Jesus loved and instructed us to care for. They only care about power and money. They will cheat, lie, exploit, destroy, kill, and even commit treason in order to get more of what they crave. They have hijacked the Republican party by appealing to religious conservatives and their churches, and now those churches have become as corrupt and self-serving as they are. It’s no wonder so many good people are leaving the churches. They have managed to Christianize greed and hatred. They believe oppressing or punishing everyone who is different from them is their holy duty to bring about their longed for Christian America. They are no different from the Taliban or ISIS.
But there’s an enormous disconnect, because their real god is “the market” — which they consider infallible and think will solve all the world’s problems. This is idolatry. Trickle down economics has never worked and never will work. Singing the praises of an unregulated free market that will always self-correct if left alone is just an easy way for them to rationalize trashing and poisoning our small planet, not having to pay their fair share, or contribute to the common good. Make no mistake — their plan for America, if it succeeds, will cause widespread, massive suffering, misery, sickness, poverty, injustice, and death — all things associated with evil and utterly alien to any civilized society.
I don’t know if I believe in end times or not, but 2 Timothy 3 is telling about the nature of the people who have claimed all the power:
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
The supporters of their fascist movement and its chosen leader are almost as bad, selling their souls at hate-filled Trump rallies held so he can puff himself up with narcissistic fuel, where they are encouraged to rough up and act out in violence against people their Dear Leader deems unfit to be treated as human beings.
A few days ago, Dear Leader told assembled police it was okay to hit suspects’ heads on car doors as they are roughly pushed inside. “Don’t be too nice,” he instructed them while laughing, then he turned around and spread his arms out wide as if he was expecting applause. And of course, he got it. Have those police sold their souls too? People seem to be selling their souls everywhere these days.
America is meaner and colder than it ever was. Virtues of empathy, forgiveness, charity, and mercy are today seen as weaknesses or even sins — you’re called a snowflake, or a Marxist, or a bleeding-heart liberal. If you try to remind these Bible-thumping legalists that these are the ways in which Jesus expected his followers to behave, they scoff and pull out their King James bibles and point to some passage in the Old Testament, while self-righteously telling you your God is false and “unbiblical.” They tell you that good works don’t matter, and only faith does.
It may be true we are saved by grace alone, but if so, I believe your heart will change and you will begin to do good works and to care about others, especially the most vulnerable. For the fake Christians in power, saying good works are meaningless simply gives them carte blanche to say they are Christian, but still go ahead and keep hurting and exploiting people. “By their fruit you shall know them,” said Jesus, and that’s what I go by. Are they bearing good fruit or not?
As Jack Johnson sang, Where did the good people go? Do good people even exist anymore? America just seems to get so much meaner and colder every day.
But the truth is that good people are still here. We are expressing our alarm, anger, and terror on blogs, in Facebook groups, in forums, on the streets, and in the comments sections of increasingly disturbing news stories as the country marches toward Christian Fascism. We are crying out as our hearts break, hoping and praying someone will listen and care. We are scared and yes, grieving that the country we love seems to have been lost. If we are Christian, our hearts are hurting over what has been done to Jesus and his message of love, compassion, and forgiveness. The gentle people are being persecuted and vilified just because they care — or because they need care themselves.
The silencing and oppression of the gentle people is due to differences in personality, I think. It’s a war of values: gentleness vs. aggressiveness, humility vs. pride, empathy vs. callousness, civility vs. rudeness, altruism vs. selfishness, egalitarianism vs. authoritarianism, critical thinking vs. ignorance, acceptance vs. exclusion, forgiveness vs. vindictiveness, integrity vs. lock-step obedience.
By their nature, gentle people have difficulty rising to the top of society. Most get nowhere near it, because they lack the aggression and willingness to step on top of and exploit others to get there. But the falsely macho, arrogant, conscienceless and predatory get there because because they are wired to do so. The gentle and meek have little power because they do not go around seeking it aggressively or destroying whatever’s in their way to get it. If they are Christians, they share their faith quietly and sincerely without requiring huge donations, huge audiences, or political power.
Like all scapegoats, the gentle people are blamed for their failure or inability to take power, or become wealthy. If they suffer, they are callously told they brought those sufferings on themselves and got what they deserved.
The gaslighting and projection keeps getting worse. We are told our beliefs are wrong and demonic. We are told that if we were real Christians, we should accept that Trump’s America is also God’s America and Trump was anointed by God to usher in Christ’s Kingdom. We are told we are evil liberal obstructionists (even though it’s the president and his billionaire sycophants and donors who are the real obstructionists) and that we are cherry-picking the “nice” parts of the Bible that we like.
You begin to feel like you’re going insane. If you were a member of a narcissistic family or were close to a narcissist in your life, you know how crazy-making the mind games and manipulations and gaslighting can be. You begin to doubt yourself and your own beliefs. You start to question reality itself, because after all, everyone around you is telling you you’re crazy, or stupid, or deluded, or hysterical, or overreacting, or too sensitive.
That’s what’s happening on a much larger scale in America today. The accusations from far-right Trump-supporting zealots (I’m not talking about garden variety conservatives here) sometimes make me wonder if my beliefs really are wrong. What if the far-right preachers and pundits and politicians are right after all? What if God really is a big bad bully in the sky who hates gays and Muslims and nonbelievers, and wants the rich and powerful to keep getting richer and more powerful because they are his golden children who are predestined to inherit heaven and earth? Never mind the fact that the Bible itself says the meek shall inherit the earth — you question and wonder anyway. What if my God is the false one?
And then I start to think: if they really are right, and their God is really the way they insist he is, would I want anything to do with him? Would I want to live in a society ruled by their God? Would I want to spend eternity in a heaven filled with those who worship a God who could be that cruel and heartless — a heaven where everyone looks the same and thinks and worships exactly the same way? Would I want to live in a heaven where there are no liberals, no gays, no thinkers, no dreamers, no gentle souls, and where people don’t care about each other? A heaven where the likes of Betsy DeVos, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell rub elbows and congratulate themselves over their moral superiority and how much power they held while on earth?
My answer is always, no, I do not. To me, such a heaven would be hell. And if there is a hell (I have doubts that hell really exists, but that’s a topic for another post), I think I might rather spend eternity there, with all the gentle and thinking and oppressed people. I’d rather spend eternity burning in solidarity with Muslim mothers and their children, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, rainbow-clad gays, open-minded liberals, feminists, artists, dreamers, curious thinkers, intellectuals, tree huggers, social misfits, truth-tellers, and civil rights activists. I’d rather spend eternity suffering with all the people the religious right’s legalistic and narcissistic God does not favor: the weak and the oppressed and the persecuted and the brokenhearted.
They have created a God in their own image — a God who is as sociopathic, rage-filled, greedy for power, and narcissistic as they are, and I refuse to worship such a God.
And then I look around me at the natural world. I gaze at the sunset over the mountains, I listen to the night-birds and the crickets and the trees singing in the wind. I feel the warm summer rain on my face, look up at the night sky and marvel at the vastness of the universe and all its billions of stars and galaxies. I listen to the rhythm of the ocean and feel humbled and grateful to be standing next to it. I watch the intricate, delicate rosebuds on the bush outside my window burst into full flower. I listen to my cat purr and feel his warmth on my chest as I fall asleep.
And I realize: no God as evil and cruel as theirs could possibly have created such a world. No, the world is not perfect, far from it. But it’s still beautiful, and evil cannot create beauty or goodness. There’s no way a sociopathic tyrant of a God could have made something so beautiful and magnificent. The bad things in the world exist because of us, not because of God.
They will keep attempting to silence us, to make us think we are the crazy ones, the evil ones, the ones spreading (or listening to) fake news, the ones who are destined to spend eternity in a lake of fire. They will try to convince us that we are the cause of the world’s problems, while they remain blameless and favored by the Almighty. They will try to wear us down and exhaust us, because that’s how narcissists and sociopaths operate. A sociopathic society brings out the worst in everyone, so we will be tempted to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, or become filled with despair, apathy, cynicism, or hatred. We have to stay mindful and not succumb to feelings of powerlessness and fear, because that’s what they want from us. Remember that they feed off our pain because it makes them more powerful.
We must not listen to them. We must listen to our own truth and our own hearts. We will be required to go against our non-aggressive, possibly introverted, sensitive, and artistic natures and speak up loudly against those who wish us harm — in righteous anger if necessary — but we cannot lose control or act out in violence and hatred. If we are Christians, we need to pray for our enemies, no matter how outraged we may feel. We are fighting a spiritual war, a war against truth and goodness, and if we don’t fight for ourselves, we must fight for the survival of those we love and those who have no voice. If we allow them to beat us down and exhaust us into submission (which they are already trying to do), then they win, and all hope will be lost.
The following verse gives me courage when I start to feel hopeless and despairing and exhausted from fighting against this scourge, and I hope it helps you too, even if you’re a non-Christian.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. — Matthew 11:29
What an amazing essay, There were several paragraphs that could have been a separate blog because the thoughts were so deep, passionately stated and thought provoking.
The effect of Trump on my religion has been to leave behind, those “Christian friends” of mine that drank the evangelical kool-aid I once used to drink.. Someone described in a brilliant article that the apocalypse already happened in the church, the election of Trump is the evidence of it. It didn’t happen overnight, the prosperity gospel in which God began to take the shape of the dollar was a symptom the church was selling her soul to darkness. It began decades ago Maybe long before when the doctrines of manifest destiny in which white americans felt entitled to steal the land and massacre the original inhabitants because they were “New Zion, the chosen ones” are the deep roots of this present darkness in the church (I”m going by the fact evangelicals were apparently the deciding vote)
Like you, I wrestled long and hard about God’s true nature because of the massive gaslighting going on that Trumps is “God’s man in the White House” Trump in fact represents the vilest of values I’ve ever witnessed. Like his father the devil, whose agenda is to kill, steal and destroy, I see those values in Trumps policies. Like a wolf in sheep clothing, blood dripping down his fangs, the “shepherds” are ushering this monster to pillage the vulnerable of this country while applauding his “returning America to morality” We are in fact being plunged into a greater darkness.
Like you, I thought about God revealed in nature, those breathtaking flowers, that roaring ocean the birds in flight and I considered this “Love created this” Only love could do something so exquisitely beautiful and grace this planet with such pleasure in sight and taste and in our senses. I thought of how little I know about love myself. Being raised by narcissists, your foundation to even understand the concept of love is destroyed. It is the aim of darkness as well, to erase from our minds a knowledge of love.
Love is not weak, it is courageous, and the love of God, the love of the world He created the love of things He loves, like justice, and truth and right compels us to resist with all our mights all that is not love, In ourselves, in politics, in the world around us. How to we passionately, lovingly stand up courageously and resist the darkness? This is not something I understand well.
Lastly, I heard a life changing sermon once that helps me grapple with the moral insanity in the church right now. The pastor said “You can watch corrupt and evil people appear to prosper, they get more power, they get wealth, the abuse people and it is distressing But remember this, at the end of the day, or the end of time, or the end of how long God permits them to sow their dark seeds God will be glorified. He will be glorified in their disgrace, when His judgement falls, and the fear of God grips of the hearts of those that aided and abetted evil. God will be glorified if they repent and change If their pride is broken and they fall on their face and make restitution. One way or the other, the glory of the God that created this amazing planet and the concept of love will win in the end
And so, just as I’ve watched my abusive, narcissist mother reduced to a bedridden severely demented old woman in a Alzheimer’s care unit that has no power to hurt me any longer, I see the life levels us all. What remains is love alone. My mother’s legacy of lying, bitter rage shows on her face even as her eyes are vacant and I pity her as so much of the hard she did and the lies she told could not longer be hidden
Trump is going to get a divine judgement that lands on him and puts the fear of messing with the image of God, in the souls of those religious enablers. The idolatry of American politics that has taken the name of God in vain will have a day of reckoning too.. They put the thing that God hates, (see proverbs God hates pride and arrogance) and paraded it as holy when it is vile. Judgement will fall and God will be glorified. It is going to be a spectacular fall. A day is coming, we need not be torn in pieces, because God himself will defend his honor and his name, and those white washed walls that hid this moral debacle will come down in disgrace and ignominy. My part is to discover what loving God and loving my fellow man really means.
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I have so much to add to your thoughts, and you are so right. But for now, I’ll just leave this here. This is proof to me that their god is definitely not the real God:
The Eight Beatitudes of Jesus
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10
Do these sound like the values of the religious right and the current GOP to you?
Anyone with more than one brain cell should be able to see the huge disparity. I don’t know how they handle the cognitive dissonance between what they preach and what Jesus taught — oh I know, through lies, denial, gaslighting, and the maddening Orwellian twisting of language and truth. Who else does that? The Father of Lies.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it’s such a great analogy. Someone said to me once, if Satan were to start a religion, it wouldn’t be with pentagrams and blood sacrifice, because it would be too obvious and too transparent. The devil is anything but transparent. No, instead he would wrap it up in Christian trappings and con people into believing they were worshipping God (“many will be deceived.”) Those that preach such garbage are the false prophets we were warned about. Listen to your heart, not the money-grubbing preachers and prosperity gospel megachurches, and let the holy spirit lead you to the truth.
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The Beatitudes are the economics and policies of the Kingdom of God and they are absolutely upside down of the greed dominated, diabolical thing calling itself Christian that supports Trumps devilish caricature of Christian values. This administration and the christians that support is, is a call to prayer, humility, and our own commitment to the Truth
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There are times I think maybe he WAS sent by God….to show us our own dark side and how far down the slippery slope into the abyss we have fallen. Trump is the acute part of the national illness that’s been festering for 40 years — there comes a time when an illness can no longer be ignored and MUST be treated. Trump is that part of the illness.
How this works –today I read that more Americans than ever before are DEMANDING single payer healthcare — so the horrible things this administration are doing are waking people up and making us demand BIG changes. I wish his supporters would wake up too. Maybe they will, given enough time.
Through Trump, God may be forcing us to face ourselves in the mirror – and the image reflecting back at us is horrible. We got exactly what we deserved as a nation. But now, finally, people are realizing the path we’ve been on since the late ’70s (starting with the Moral Majority and the Reagan Revolution a few years later) has been the wrong one. It was during that time that greed and unregulated capitalism combined with the Prosperity Gospel God began to take over the New Deal ethic of the mid-century with its dream of every American being able to have a good, prosperous life and the Christian idea of a just, loving, charitable God.
It’s also fascinating to me that the evildoers are so transparent now. Things they tried to hide behind comforting words are now out in the open.
They used to make all kinds of lame excuses for the terrible things they did (“choice,” “freedom,” “more jobs will be created so all boats will be lifted up,” etc.)
Now, they don’t even bother masking their true intentions anymore. None of them ever tried to deny that they were trying to repeal and replace the ACA in order to get more tax breaks for themselves. It was when I saw their awful celebration in the Rose Garden after their healthcare bill passed the House that I realized just how evil and without empathy these people were. Gloating and slapping each other on the back, and laughing over tossing 23M people off healthcare. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to vomit.
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Its all a powerful projection of fear based ego gone meglomaniacally wrong 😦 I feel so sorry for Americans having to be under the rulership of such an evil malignant force. Great post. Needs to be said! Love is the truth but all they are promoting are fears and malignant narcissistic self protectionism.
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I agree completely!
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This is scary as hell:
Know that the Universe lives on in spite of those who want to change that which is created by, something greater than themselves.
As an American, I have never been so embarrassed by, a President who is sick, and needs help but never so further embarrassed by, a group of legislators in fear of him, and enable him.
As I said before, “I will have no false Trumps before me”
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Dear Lauren, I, too, have wondered if God really is a God of love. I have concluded that He definitely is.
Your beautiful words echo my way of thinking:
“…I look around me at the natural world. I gaze at the sunset over the mountains, I listen to the night-birds and the crickets and the trees singing in the wind. I feel the warm summer rain on my face, look up at the night sky and marvel at the vastness of the universe and all its billions of stars and galaxies. I listen to the rhythm of the ocean and feel humbled and grateful to be standing next to it. I watch the intricate, delicate rosebuds on the bush outside my window burst into full flower. I listen to my cat purr and feel his warmth on my chest as I fall asleep. And I realize: no God as evil and cruel as theirs could possibly have created such a world.”
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Re ‘biblical heroes’? Frump?
Ahab. Nebuchadnezzar (though he did repent, after seven years of humiliation). All of those kings ‘who did evil in the eyes of the lord’, mentioned in the OT. Herod…
The only ‘theologian’ who can speak of such as ‘heroes’ is one who is a well-hid ***witch*** in ‘the service of Father Brimstone’. (Brimstone ~ sulfur ~ hell…)
The only people god (the one in the bible) is truly ‘on the hunt for’ are those who do evil – and those you wrote of sound like they’re evil enough to ***warrant*** damnation.
I might well take the bible as entirely true – yes, even creationism (which, to me, fits the available evidence better than ‘random chance over a very long time’) – and take large portions of it literally- but that means I must ***shun*** evil – not embrace it! Or, ultimately – take ***ax*** to the root of that hell-spawned tree!
Yea, even #war to the ax!#. (Beyond ‘war to the knife’)
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Using google search “slowginonline” & “high taxes”
Go to that page – there will be but the one page – and search upon that page for the phrase ‘high taxes’. There will be a paragraph there having that phrase.
Read it, savoring (?) that description of prior-to-the-ruinous-war L’amerika. (Yes, that name – based upon a SETI-on-steroids program’s ***intercepts*** is a deliberate choice. An arch-witch took the cult-name of Morris-son, and the title of a certain song – regarded as ‘a call to Brimstone’ – provided that grand nation-coven its name. In short, ***lots*** of ‘classic rock songs’ were interpreted as ‘paeans to Brimstone’ by the witches – whether they were or not!)
Tell me this: save for the mention of witches – you might substitute our current ‘fascistic christans’ for those – does that description of life writ nearly a decade ago sound at all familiar?
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Reblogged this on Lucky Otters Haven and commented:
Even though this article is less than four months old, I’m reblogging it because it provides a kind of lead in to the article I plan to write later on today. I also think its message is comforting in these turbulent times. Stay tuned for my later post!
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Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
I missed this one by LuckyOtter the first time. I’m glad she brought it back.
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Thanks! Too tired to write my promised post tonight, maybe tomorrow though!
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I’m sure it will be worth the wait.
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