Just Another Word

I just don’t get it.  And I’m hoping someone can help me out here.  You see, my parents left the Catholic Church when I was only 10.  So there is a whole lot about religion that I just don’t get. (Yeah, it’s their fault.)

I got the basics.  I don’t kill people or steal or do other bad things.  I love my neighbor, but not too much.  I’m involved with and engaged in my community, but just not in an organized religion sort of way.  Lack of church membership doesn’t make me a bad person, although I realize that some people would argue with that.  I can handle being on my own should “The Rapture” come to pass.

The thing is, a vocal minority of those folks are really getting all up in my face these days.  They are bouncing up and down and crying “religious freedom” all day and night.  And I don’t know about you, but I think the word “freedom” has been hijacked.   Whenever someone tries to tell me that they are protecting freedom,” well, it’s more likely that he or she is trying to take away some of my freedoms.  And yours.

Yup.  I’m getting the feeling that “Freedom” is becoming less and less free, right here at home.  That noise is Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers rolling in their graves.  You remember, those cool old guys who set up a government with a clear separation of Church and State?  I’m pretty sure they’re ticked.

So here is my issue.  My problem.  My query.  When God created man (and women), however that happened, He did it in His image right?  Isn’t that what the bible says?  I’m pretty sure that I got that part right.

These guys do look alike, don't they? But is beauty only skin deep? (Google Image)

Then here’s my question:  Was that image complete?  Whole hog?  I mean, did that “image” include the brain?  And if so, doesn’t that make using one’s brain “Godly” or “Godlike” or, at a minimum, “Good”? Doesn’t that mean that to NOT use one’s brain is ungodly?  And shouldn’t we use our God-given brains to make things better for God’s creatures, including our fellow man?

You see why I’m confused.  Maybe you are too.

I just can’t figure out why some folks apparently think that we were created in God’s image, but only on the outside.  On the inside, well, I guess we’re just created in someone else’s image.  I guess the only interior options would be the fish in the seas or the animals on the land.  That just doesn’t seem Kosher, now, does it?

Spencer Tracy's Father Flanagan doesn't look at all like Rick Santorum -- Google Image

If we were created in God’s image, inside and out, shouldn’t that mean that the wonders created by mankind are God’s work, too?  Isn’t that, well, logical?

So I just don’t understand the folks who hate science, who disdain learning, and who seem to want to go back to times when the folks organizing religion weren’t exactly like Father Flanagan.

Because it seems to me that Rick Santorum, the Virginia Legislature and the GOP in general look and act a lot like these guys:

Fun Times with the Spanish Inquisition -- Google Image

Hey, hey, don’t leave women out!  Those sluts.

Don't want to leave the little woman out of the Inquisition! (Google Image)

Because if these “religious freedom” folks have their way, “Freedom” will, in fact, be just another word for “nothin’ left to lose.”

Perhaps I should have taken more philosophy courses and fewer writing ones.  Because I just don’t get it.


Filed under Climate Change, Elections, Family, Global Warming, Humor, Hypocrisy, Neighbors, Science, Stupidity, Voting

59 responses to “Just Another Word

  1. John’s writings in the Bible speak to this issue. I believe John admonishes folks that those who use Christ’s name for gain are anti-Christs because by doing so they are not really Christian. I am no biblical scholar and cannot cite the references, but this is the message my parents left with me. Be wary of those who use Christ’s name for their Earthly cause.

    Jesus’s life and story is one of total LOVE. The modern day Deists which Jefferson et al were I believe may be Unitarians now. They look at the Jesus writing as either myth or fact, you can choose, but in the end, the end is the same–Love your neighbor, even if he\she is different. Wish we could get there.


    • Love? Who wouldda thunk it — sadly the vocal minority is terribly loud. I am hopeful though.

      Sorry it took so reply — I lost your comment.


  2. You are thinking way too rationally for this topic. That’s the problem. Never try to understand irrational subjects with a rational approach. I took one philosophy course and no writing courses and came up with that all by myself!

    I’m not saying believing in a “higher power” is irrational, but people get irrational when issues of their faith are challenged–at least most do.


    • Yes, logic does get me in trouble repeatedly. The idea that the fanatics would try to figure out what their talking about ahead of time is so shocking to some.

      And I just read that Santorum and Gingrich are complaining that there is an anti-Christian bias. Oy vey.

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. It’s quickly becoming the 4% club – no poor, minorities, women, GLTB, middle class, etc. That only leaves a few rich white heterosexual men left in the party and two crazy women thinking they can grab female voters. WTF?


  4. aFrankAngle

    Being a church goer, not only did you do well here, I hope you realize that the loud who make their voices heard through the media don’t speak for all Christians – although they give the impression that they do. Many Christians don’t have a issue with science and religion – and I comfortable saying that is also true with many Jews and Muslims. In today’s political arena, the loud want to impose their values on all because they mistakenly think they speak for all and know what is best for all.


    • Thanks Frank. I was trying hard NOT to toss all churchgoers into the pot with the crazies. Because it is a small but very vocal minority (it always is, isn’t it?) I hope I succeeded.

      God and science are not mutually exclusive. Nor is practicing religion akin to going backwards But a lot of these folks who are all fired up about social issues are blind to the wonders of what man/woman can do using their gifts.


  5. Well. I am pleased to know a couple of things. That we are still on the same page is one. That you write so darn well and are starting to remind me of Lorna for the perfect photos chosen to accompany your bright thoughts. And that I now know for certain, since you are going straight to hell for this, that I shall have a wonderful companion there. Looking forward to it, E xo LMBO


  6. I agree. It sounds like such a nice religion, too. Wonder why more people don’t practice it. Sad but true, isn’t it. Thanks PW!


  7. I believe in freedom of religion. I would like to be free from their version of religion! My version is much simpler … Love the Lord God and your neighbor as yourself. Simple. Fulfilling. Easy. Thanks for your words and your voice on this “I just don’t get it” issue.


  8. Good, Darla. I don’t think hell would be nearly so much fun without you!


  9. Well done post, Elyse. I don’t have anything more to add than I’ll be on that bus with all of you.


  10. There appears to be a line forming to hell…count me in.


    • If all the thoughtful, interesting folks end up there, I don’t think it will be terribly hellish at all. Glad you’ll be there, too, Jots!


  11. Sweater Boy makes me nervous … Great post! And if you’re going to hell for posting it then the rest of us will be alongside you and won’t we have a time on the party bus getting there?



  12. bigsheepcommunications

    As someone who majored in Philosophy, let me say that it is of no help in this situation. Oh, and I’ll be joining you in hell ; )


  13. You are on point on every issue. You and I both may be in the “minority” for now, but not for long. Check out a book tltled “On the Verge.” There is a quite, yet forceful and emerging movement in this country to move away from the “attractional” church and consider a more “missional” movement. God makes it clear from Genesis 1 that among many things, He is the God of ALL creation. That means the heavens and the earth and the Light and YOU. He made you as the PERFECT creative being. Jesus wasn’t the biggest fan of milquetoast “believers.” He wants you to ask questions. He wants you to seek Him in innovative and creative ways. He wants you to wonder. I’d say you’re in His will right now. The “church” is a confusing institution in many ways in this day and time. Remember always, that you live for an Audience of One.


    • I’ve always thought that these uber-religious folks were really preaching Old Testament stuff. They claim to be Christians but avoid the preachings of Christ — you know, love, charity, mercy, and the one they really miss — let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
      Thanks for stopping by, Steven.


  14. Well said! I don’t understand why their “religious freedom” means oppression for me.


  15. the urban misanthropist

    Your logic is sound.

    Religion is politics, and God a marketing tool. One that’s not even very well used.

    The religious right get away with so much because they don’t even define their terms, but use God as a sort of bogey man, if you don’t do what we say, God will get ya!

    It’s nonsense, and easily proved, just along the lines of this post.

    If God does exist, the least we can expect is a degree of consistency, which is something the current rhetoric is unable to provide.

    I, for one, refuse to believe in any God who would created a universe that doesn’t have a place for everybody.


  16. Thank you, Elyse. You said it perfectly. We certainly live in interesting times. Scary, too.


  17. There are many things that bother me about the current crop of religious fanatics trying to force their views on us. But to keep this comment short, I’ll just say that they seem to forget that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

    Another terrific post, Elyse! Now, if we can just get everyone to vote so these crazies can’t force their views on us…..


    • Absolutely, VOTE. But before then (1) pay attention and (2) work for candidates who do not buy into this crap. Thinking people simply need to be put back in charge.


  18. Elyse, I so agree with you. The concept of freedom seems to have morphed into a definition that is something like:

    “Everyone is entitled to their freedom. Except for you, you and you (for “you”, use words like “gay”, or “Muslim” for example). We’re all free, as long as you agree and believe in the same things as me.”

    I was raised Catholic, and left that belief system long ago. I consider myself an atheist, though, I find comfort in many of the teachings of Buddhism. I find the idea of compassion for all to be the idea I strive to live by.

    I think this whole GOP Primary Season is bringing to the surface a great deal of what is ugly about a certain part of their “Base.” I try to remain hopeful that people will see this ugliness, and that their party won’t be successful. Though, I do worry. There have been several articles lately about the fact that in the end, whichever GOP candidate wins the nomination, the party will unite around him, and that what it will come down to is a choice between the white guy who might not be as conservative as you want him to be (or might be crazier than you’re comfortable with), and the black guy who has a foreign name and who many people still believe is a Muslim. And, that scares me. And, saddens me.

    I also have to say that pretty much any blog post that ends with “Me & Bobby McGee” is going to be an ok post in my book!


    • Thanks for such an interesting comment, John.

      Obviously, we agree on a lot of these issues. Institutionalized hate is really frightening, and there seem to be more and more folks drinking the Kool-Aid.

      Glad you enjoyed the song, I love it, too. I played it about 15 times in the course of writing this post.


  19. What bugs me most about these ‘religious’ guys is that they are screaming the loudest that the government should get out of our private business. But then THEY want to make our private decisions for us..


    • Yes, and in our most private parts, too. One thing that drives me craziest is that they just don’t see the hypocrisy in what they’re doing.
      Thanks for your comment, Nancy.


  20. Ricky is the new Hitler. His rhetoric is silly but nothing that a gallon of holy water can’t fix. I have to give him credit with having a mission, however. It has nothing to do with the us but hey, he’s not the first. There seems to be a competition of conservatism and Ricky’s laying it on pretty thick. After November, he’ll look back on the YouTube videos to see where he went wrong and run alongside Sarah Palin in the next election.


    • Ricky is a nasty bastard. I know folks who had to deal with him when he was in the House and the Senate.
      A small part of me hopes he gets the GOP nomination so that we can slay that dragon once and for all. But I fear what these folks are willing to do. I really do.
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Totsy!


  21. Well, you already know my opinions so well that it would seem redundant to repeat them here. So I’ll just say WELL DONE! I loved it. I think this is one of your very best, but I say that a lot, don’t I? Which is, in itself, redundant, but I have a feeling it still gives you a case of the warm fuzzies to hear it!


    • Yes, I am all warm and fuzzy, so thanks.

      As you know, this stuff makes me crazy. The “freedom preachers” don’t have my best interests at heart — or yours. Ahhhhhh.


  22. I think the basic concept of all religions are good. The test should be whether you have a sense of humor about your religion. If you don’t, your religion is going to be a problem. Believe in your story but don’t discount other stories. If you can’t laugh at the authors of your stories, your story is going to be a problem.


    • I’m not sure a sense of humor is the ticket. A sense of reason, though, would be nice. I hate to think of all the wars fought, and all the people tortured, punished and killed, to further one religion over the other. I kind of thought that that was what the U.S. was all about. But perhaps I was reading different words…


      • Sorry–sticking to sense of humor. The ability to laugh at your own religion allows for questioning, and that leads to opening the mind to other alternatives. That leads to empathy. That doesn’t happen with fanatics.
        My religion has humor in it.


  23. I almost can’t stop myself from ripping off my clothes and running around naked with my hair flying behind me, in an attempt to get their attention. Then, maybe, just possibly, they could hear my words, (since they would finally be silent for a change), and they would be able to hear the message you’ve so eloquently posed:

    is “freedom” just another way “of nothin’ left to lose”?

    I’m with you, totally. I can’t fathom the possibility of someone like Santorum fighting to be MY representative. He doesn’t represent anything about me. Nada. Zip. Zilch.


    • Thank you for the Joplin clip … I sure would love to be sitting in an audience, right now, today, listening to her belt one out … I sure do miss her, and wish I had seen her live at least once.


      • Comment replies will be a bit out of order. I love Joplin’s version of that song. And it did seem to fit here. She was brilliant, wasn’t she. What a sad, sad waste that she died so soon. I never got to see her either.


    • I hope to heaven (hell?) that Santorum doesn’t get very far. Although if he is the GOP nominee and is defeated, well, then, that serpent’s head won’t rear up again in 4 years (or 2). These folks make me nuts.

      Thanks for the affirmation!


  24. I think George Orwell predicted this kind of use of words like “freedom”, way back when 1984 was still in the future.


  25. As a Recovering Catholic, I am also in a 12 Step Program that uses a Higher Power. A Spirituality that is Self Formed, A GOD of my Understanding. I say the Hell with all Religions…a friend went roaming around the North Woods of the US, Searching for GOD.
    When I asked what he had been doing he told me “Searching for GOD”, I looked him in the Eye and said: that “I did NOT Know GOD was Missing” if you could see the Look on his Face…And it Dawned on Him, what he was looking for was inside him.

    Good Luck on your Search for Answers…


    • Actually, I am pretty comfortable with my own answers — it’s the questions that others are asking that are making me crazy. There are folks that want to force their narrow beliefs on the rest of us and I am angry about that. Very, very angry.


  26. Thanks Mags. I have seen/heard a bit of what’s going on with you. I think that thinking people really need to work on stopping the madness, wherever it lies.

    I’ll work here — you work there — we’ll get others to work wherever they are to fight for what is fair and reasonable and good.

    It is a scary time. But I’m glad you’re on my side, Mags!


  27. Hi Elyse,
    It’s not only the politicians in America trying to send us back to the dark ages, we are having Huge issues here in OZ as well, you are not the only one that doesn’t get it. They have started a media inquiry here, because the Government doesn’t like what some papers are saying. Not good times.

    I haven’t heard the song for so long, and I actually listened to it twice, a perfect choice for your post. 🙂


  28. Well said. 🙂
    Love your pics…and the music clip is fantastic…one of my favorite songs. 🙂
    Religion and politics…both so intertwined with power that the people who step up to lead are often obsessed with the belief that they know the best way for everyone.
    Organized religion tends to become more concerned with keeping itself going…and less concerned with truly caring about humanity.


    • Well, I certainly agree. These fanatics are only interested in their own power, not helping their fellow man. And isn’t that what Christianity is supposed to be about? Love?

      It makes me crazy.


  29. I agree — it’s a scary time we are living in when ignorance is considered a virtue.

    Of course, I’m going straight to hell for this posting!


  30. Well AMEN! These people seem to be intent upon setting the “way back machine” to the dark ages. And weren’t they called “dark” for a reason?!


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