Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.—Richard Feynman
Whenever I think about it, I get disturbed by my country, which I love, being destroyed by people who really think that Jesus cares for their sorry asses. Generally, these are “Left Behind” people—not in the sense of the Left Behind novels of evangelical wordhacks Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, but people who are isolated by the winds of demographic and economic change and need something to hug.
If your children have moved out because they can’t stand your old-fashioned ways, and if the job you’ve held since the end of WW2 has moved to Asia or Mexico, you’ll want to pray to someone who really cares for you. That is the story in large swaths of the rural South and Midwest. It just happens to be breaking our country apart because these Glorioso Jesusites all vote: They have nothing else to do.
No, I am not an atheist. (In fact, I don’t think very much of people who profess to be atheists.) I just don’t think that we know anything about God. When He has spoken in various sacred works, they pretty much contradict each other or urge followers to do things which now look pretty loony. To be used at all, one has to cherry pick what look like universal truths and omit all the crazy stuff, like for instance various parts of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (Check out Deuteronomy 13:12-15 for a divine command that I’ll bet you haven’t followed lately.) That carries over into Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so on. So while many Americans rant against Sharia law, they are blissfully unaware that Christianity has its own equivalent in the Mosaic books of the Old Testament.
You can probably guess (and guess rightly) that I’m not a churchgoer. Although I have a certain nostalgia for the Roman Catholic Church, and a leaning toward some of the more enlightened teachings of the Asian religions, there isn’t any “comprehensive package” that I endorse from soup to nuts. My belief is that God wants us to keep asking questions, not necessarily expecting any answers from on high. We need to recognize that we know nothing. Perhaps, if God is watching us at all, He wants to see how we behave in a moral vacuum.
People who pretend to have all the answers are just trying to control you. If Jesus is the answer, you are probably not asking the right questions.