WHERE I STAND

Raymond - Hammandsport, New York
Entered on March 30, 2008

WHERE I STAND

It is imperative that citizens in a free society stand up for their beliefs when threats arise. I would like for others to understand where I stand on the towering issue of the day. In fact I believe it to be the towering issue throughout the history of man. I am referring to the issue of religion. When analyzing what I have to say, I only request that thought and common sense be used.

Religion may not be the root of all evil, but it certainly is head and shoulders above whatever is in second place. If I could snap my fingers and eliminate religion from the face of the earth, the sound of my snap would be deafening. I think the biggest threat to our democracy today is religion. And, I am not referring to the Muslin extremists who are wreaking havoc throughout the world. I am referring to the extreme right wing Christians who are trying to take over our government and our lives. They seem to be making good progress. They are not content to practice their religion by themselves or with like minded people. They want to force their beliefs on the rest of society. I resent this.

What are my religious beliefs? Who cares, you may ask. And I wish it were that simple. There are many right wing Christians who care. They want to save my soul as well as the souls of countless other sinners. They will not accept atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, homosexuals, etc. as candidates for Heaven. They say those who do not share their beliefs will experience real global warming when they reach their final destination. How ignorant and insensitive can a group be?

So, what are my beliefs? I don’t know if there is a God or not. Neither does anyone else. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s important for me to believe one way or the other. Why worry about it? If there is a God, I assume that it is a rational God. What amazes me about so many religious fanatics is that they believe that God’s standards for conduct are below what are generally accepted in our daily lives. As an example, we say that a person’s deeds are more important than his/her words. Not so with God. The fanatics say that believing in God’s son is a sure ticket to Heaven. In fact, it is the only ticket to Heaven. What about words and deeds? Hitler may be rubbing shoulders with God while the millions of Jews he killed are burning a second time in Hell. What logic! I believe in what William Sloan Coffin, former Chaplain at Yale University, said to his atheist friend Norman Thomas, who was on his death bed. To paraphrase Coffin:

WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE IN GOD IS NOT IMPORTANT. WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU CONDUCT YOURSELF IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IF THERE IS A GOD, HE BELIEVES IN YOU.

I have one last comment that has to do with Heaven and Hell. I always wondered where the cutoff was on whether or not you reside in one place or the other. How bad could you be and still get into Heaven? Keep in mind that you could be really, really bad and still get in if you believe that God fathered a son. How good do you have to be to avoid Hell? Keep in mind that you could be a saint and still go to Hell if you believe God remained a virgin. Putting my engineering problem solving background to work I came up with a plausible theory. To avoid making tough decisions on who goes where, I think that if there is a God, He would have used common sense to come up with a simple solution. Rather than having Heaven and Hell at two separate locations—wherever they may be—combine them into one residence. Think of the saving on maintenance and travel. Then, make the lives the residents lived on earth an open book for all to see. For those who lived an exemplary life the place would be Heaven because they would be recognized for their good deeds. For others like Hitler, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson it would be Hell because they would be recognized for their not so good deeds. Of course there would be a total spectrum between the really, really good and the really, really bad, as there should be.

Enough said.