Monday, May 07, 2007
What we need is not what they say
I'll talk about the gun folks later. Right now, what upsets me most are the people who are claiming that it is a lack of "God" in the schools and in the culture that is causing these kinds of things. Apparently, these people believe that if teachers and principals can't lead children in prayers, kids can't recognize that shooting people is wrong.
Of course, Jesus told people how to pray - in their rooms with the door shut, so only God knew they were praying - so the whole idea that Christians should be pushing school prayer is pretty stupid. Jesus told his followers to do all their good acts quietly, not to seek praise from others.
I wonder what their excuse for ignoring that is? That society is so secular that they won't be praised for public piety? Come on now! Do you think Jesus was counseling his followers not to pray in public because prayer in public would impress the Romans? No, he was saying that they'd be seeking praise from their peers, from their fellow believers. The "Public School-led Prayer" folks, and people like Roy Moore, can pretend that they're not violating Jesus' teachings on the matters, but it's obvious that they are.
This also brings us to their other failing. They say that things like school shootings occur because "God" is not in the schools. Why? Because people who claim to believe in God can't do things like, oh, say, the Inquisition or the Crusades?
Yes, I know, dreadfully unfair to bring stuff like that up, but that's the point. Professing a belief in God isn't what makes a person unwilling to harm others. Love is what makes people unwilling to harm others.
Not a lot of love; just enough that you wouldn't stand idly by when someone gets hurt. Just a tiny bit of love, just an unwillingness to look away from pain that you can prevent. It's so tiny, you might even question whether you can call it love. That's what we need to prevent school shootings and the like.
An idea that everyone matters, that no one should suffer needlessly, that if you can help alleviate the suffering of another, without any real cost to yourself, you should.
This all comes back to an earlier essay I presented here, whether God makes rules, and it's moral to follow them, or if God is moral, and gives us rules that are in accordance with morality.
One of the reasons I like this idea is that, if God is good, then as we learn more about goodness, we learn more about God. And the same thing is true for love.
Jesus commanded his followers to love others. He healed the sick at every opportunity, he told people to take care of the poor, he said that come Judgment Day, it was the people who did good things for others who'd be found worthy.
If people really think that society is lacking enough exposure to Jesus, why don't they show what part of Jesus that they can, without violating any rules regarding separation of church and state? Why not show his love?
We don't need people pushing religion down other people's throats. We don't need a society that has empty mouthings of prayers and meaningless religious symbols. We need love. And if the loudest of the Christians pushed as hard to show love as they've been pushing for those symbols, we'd already have it.
What really gets me is the way it's always portrayed as a huge epidemic, these school shootings, when the fact is, if they were so commonplace, they would NOT BE NEWS.
I work in a high school where the word "god" is uttered once a day, while students who wish to chant along pledging loyalty to a piece of cloth, while a few of the students and I stay seated and wait patiently for it to be over. Yet in spite of all this rampant godlessness, never once in the 60-some years of the existence of my school has anyone ever whipped out a gun and started mowing everyone down. In fact, we all manage to co-exist harmoniously, respecting each other's right to choose to claim the nation exists under some supernatural being or to choose not to make such claims.