Where does one start? This once great country is fading into a Balkanized shadow of its original promise. And I purposely use the word "promise" because we never were the shining city on the hill for anyone but a small elite group with deep pockets lined with very old money--White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
Yes, Protestants. We've never been very far away from the influence of religious zeal. And with that comes the preference for illusion. And with that comes a deep desire to believe that our fantasies are grounded. Eventually, that desire leads to hallucination and here we are. A society of people living in a hallucinatory state fighting amongst ourselves. Every time someone pierces a favored illusion we scream we've been wounded by their insensitivity.
As we can readily see by the everyday mistruths from the president and the silence from his party, we can forget the truth. The only thing that counts is sustaining the hallucination that is the United States. For instance, "We were once great and we're going to make America Great Again." "We are a Christian nation and are blessed by God above all others." "The American dream is alive and well." "We are a post racial society." "All men are created equal." "Freedom and liberty for all." "Our military is protecting our freedoms." "The rising tide lifts all boats." "We are the greatest nation in the world." "We are exceptional." "America first." "Justice is blind."
The one I want to focus on today is, "Every disaster is sent by God to punish someone." This is a corollary to "God is involved in our everyday lives." Of course, then it's a short step to believing every religious grifter who promises abundance as a reward for sending money.
This religious hallucination is idolatry. The God who returns your contributions ten-fold is an idol. The God who helps the little old lady find her lost poodle is an idol. The God who assists the home team with a high school football game is an idol. The God who saves one person in a natural disaster that takes thousands of others is an idol. The God who plans every detail in your entire day is an idol. The God who prefers one nation over another is an idol. The God who blesses us while we murder thousands of innocents is an idol. The Americanized Christian version of God is an idol.
From John Caputo's book, What Would Jesus Deconstruct, "Meister Eckhart, said God is unnameable and therefore omni nameable, and so He prays, I pray God to rid me of God. I pray (the unnameable) God to rid me of (the idol I have named) God."
He goes on to say, "Orthodoxy is idolatry if it means holding "correct opinions about God" -- "fundamentalism" is the most extreme and salient example of such idolatry, but not if it means holding faith in the right way, that is, not holding it at all but being held by God, in love and service."
When we profess to know this God of our imaginations we are committing the sin of blasphemy, to stay in the religious vernacular. To think we can describe Her/Him/It is an act of arrogance. To then publicly apply our feverish imaginations to the detriment of others is unforgivable. It is the very opposite of what the idea of a Creator God implies.
The only place this whole delirious process is appropriate is in the hallucinations of a sick society. If you are a Christian and believe Jesus really did die for our sins. Ask for forgiveness. This is the big one.
Robert De Filippis