I’ve just “unfriended” a man from Facebook.
This is not typical for me. Usually, I don’t care who reads/shares on FB. But this man, according to his profile, is a pastor in a Christian faith. He asserts he is a pacifist, but he owns guns and promises that he will shoot anyone if necessary. He doesn’t explain what constitutes “necessary.” Moreover, he makes racist comments about Michele Obama being in the White House, that soon she’ll paint it black, and we should be alert against her tactics. His other posts follow these lines of thought.
A man who does not understand the definition of pacifist, a man who declares he is religious but the “thou shall not kill” commandant doesn’t apply to him, a man who spreads hate and fear about people different than himself solely because of skin color instead of asserting that all are “children of god,” this is a man I do not want to know, to listen to, or to be connected to in any way.
The downside of “unfriending” someone such as this Christian man, is that I might forget there are bigoted, small-minded, hate-filled egoists in the world. I want to be alert to them, because they are dangerous.
It is clear why I am not a Christian, why I am not religious, why I refuse to be a believer or to practice any religion, not Buddhism or Islam or the Jewish faith or Paganism. Okay, yes, I am a feminist and humanist. But that’s another story.
The tenants of Christianity and of most religions include a god who is powerful enough to give and take life. Most religions ask members to worship and serve the god with a pious nature. The followers are to love each other, respect the power of god, accept their own powerlessness, with a clean and gentle life as the goal.
In Christianity, this goal is reinforced by the example of Jesus, whose life Christians are asked to imitate. As with Jews, Christians have commandants to follow, including #6, Thou Shall Not Kill. There is also the religious proverb from Leviticus and the book of Mark: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. As the story goes, based on his religious faith, Jesus let others kill him, rather than using his power to save himself, trusting that God would take care of him and of the killers.
Yet, I just saw a post, from another “friend,” showing photos of a Christian Bible and a pistol, side by side, demanding that both of these be taught in the schools of the United States of America.
How bizarre. This person is American, but does not believe in separation of church and state. She says she is Christian but she advocates guns, keeping them in her home, along with the baby, cats, and dogs. She is a mother, but advocates war and killing.
She also posted a rabid indictment of Obama, showing a photo of 4 severed heads next to an Islamic executioner. Of course these assassinations are terrible, though to blame Obama is ridiculous. It is the one who did the killing who is responsible. The Facebook “friend” does not show corpses from the bombings by USA planes. It would be more logical to blame Obama for these bodies. She doesn’t mourn with mothers in other countries when war kills their children.
Of course, she calls herself a Christian, because like the vast majority of religious leaders and followers, she rationalizes her perspectives, validating them with the stamp of the Supreme Being, without taking the time or thought — and certainly not the insightful meditation — to recognize her mean-spirit, fear and hatred. She is the Ku Klux Klan without the sheet, but with a gun.
However, I am sure she would explain herself as righteous. There is no need for me to reply to the post showing the pistol and Bible. The irony and absurdity of the post are so extreme, that if the woman doesn’t see the contradiction between these two ideas, explaining it to her will not help open her mind. She, like many others, hears only her own voice. And her voice comes from a small, closed mind. She is a Christian, and sadly, she will teach her children to be Christians of the same regressive sort.
I have “unfriended” her also. She deserves to live her life as she wants, but I don’t have to stain my days reading her sort of poison. I won’t forget that such perspectives as hers exist, because living outside the tenants of one’s religion, and being proud of it, is not merely her modus operandi. It can be a Christian thing, a Jewish thing, a Muslim things, and on and on and on, throughout history. My words, even with proof, facts, quotations, and logic, my words are not powerful enough to spread light into dark minds.
I do not assert that I am free from hate and bigotry, or from the need to dominate, control, and avenge wrongs. But I recognize these things in myself, and work against them, not for religious reasons, but because of my personal philosophy. I like peace, kindness, and children. I think humans are smart enough to avoid war and poverty. I don’t know what I will do when killers come to my door or if my loved ones are threatened. But I know I am not playing a video game.
This life requires consciousness rather than reaction. I believe that humans have the capability to accept and understand one another, ultimately diminishing greed and hatred. The best I can do is stay vigilant to my own behavior, thinking and acting in ways consistent with my philosophy. Beyond that, I hope together we will find unimagined solutions to our own aggression.