We call on God

We use religion to help us deal with the things that are too great to handle on our own.  We don’t know where to turn but we feel the need to cry out for help.  We’re too stubborn or proud to ask our family and friends, so we call on God.  a cheating husband, a lying child; God help me forgive.  We don’t ask for advice.  We don’t ask for support.  We ask for God.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  It’s the mantra for those with problems beyond their control.  We don’t all believe in our own ability to overcome crippling adversity, so we call on God.  A traumatizing childhood, a loss of life or limb; God help me to get through.  We’re afraid to look weak.  We don’t know where to look at all.  We look to God.

God grant me the courage to change the things I can.  We know that something has to be different but we don’t want to feel like we’re doing it alone.  We need to feel protected and no one, no matter how much they love us, can protect us from everything, so we call on God.  A teenage mother, a battered wife; God give me a sign.  We need to believe everything happens for a reason.  We need to believe we have a destiny.  We need to believe in God.

And the wisdom to know the difference.  God is a coping mechanism, and for many people, a necessary one.  We cannot be judged for relying on that tool anymore than we can be criticized for using a different set.  None of us can know what goes on in another’s mind. Call on God. Call on Bob.  Who cares?  Isn’t the most important question this: Why aren’t we calling on each other?

The wisdom of human experience is beyond comprehension.  If we must call the collectve knowledge of everyone who has ever lived by the name of God in order to get people to listen, so be it.  We cannot allow a name to separate us from the idea that our strength lies within ourselves and those around us.  It is their knowledge and experience that will help us live better lives.  If we don’ ask for it, we are already in hell, and no God can save us.


6 Responses to “We call on God”

  1. June 1, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for your last comment is prodded me into writing a post and reading my Blog Roll and then I come to you and you write on a subject that has been buzzing round my brain for the last few months inspired by reading Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens as well as The Bible (again) and The Koran.

    I’ve decided that before I knew that religion was wrong but I somehow felt compelled to tolerate it and see it as somehow useful but now I see it as such a waste of humanity, time and more importantly a tool for division and intolerance.

    So how about a world without it?

  2. June 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    We cannot be judged for relying on that tool anymore than we can be criticized for using a different set.

    It’s a poignant idea, but the plain fact is that, here in the US, failure to rely on the ‘tool of God’–or at least professing to rely on that tool–is as profound a character flaw as running around with your fly open. What is the one and only group against whom discrimination is not only acceptable…but encouraged? Atheists…agnostics. The exact group that has no other coping mechanism but to rely on other people. Ironic.

  3. 3 unitedwelay1
    June 2, 2008 at 7:10 am

    I think a world without it is a bit of a stretch. As I said, it’s a coping mechanism that people rely on because they have nothing else or just don’t have the psychological capactiy top deal with the fact that some questions may not have answers. I don’t know that we can blame them for it or judge them for it. That would be just as intolerant as their propensity to look on us as heathens unworthy of an opinion because we don’t believe in God. I don’t know if there’s a middle ground, but I’m struggling to find it.

    The hypocracies of religion and the religious are too many to be counted. Discrimination is rarely acceptable and certainly shouldn’t be quite so frequent as it is with those who believe in God. It seems they believe but do not listen. There’s nothing wrong with relyign on other PEOPLE.

  4. June 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Personally, I’m an atheist and I have absolutely no problem in people believing in God (or even Bob, as you said). The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced there is far less different about our positions that one might realize. It seems it’s those on the edge of both fringes that stir up more discontent than there’d otherwise be.

    So keeping talking to God, I’ll keep talking to myself, and we can both keep talking to each other. We may as well, because the other way doesn’t work too well.

  5. June 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Well, I’m going to approach this a little different than all you atheists/agnostics out there. Now, I was an agnostic once, so I know where you’re coming from. And let me make a couple other concessions:

    1. Karl Marx once said that religion is the opiate of the masses. It’s one thing he’s said that I agree wholeheartedly with. Much of the time it is!

    2. I’ve often jokingly said there’s a reason that Jesus Christ referred to his followers as sheep. Most are not very bright, and are willing to blindly follow a leader – ANY leader. However, there ARE exceptions, I’m happy to say.

    3. Many atrocities have been mistakenly done in the name of God and religion. Then again, many atrocities have been done for other reasons as well.

    4. I think the AA (alcoholics anonymous) prayer that you cite here is an abomination. I think that teaching someone that their only ability to stop doing bad things is in God’s hands is a massive mistake of untold proportions. If that’s so, is it then God’s fault when you fail? How do agnostics and atheists cope? etc. It’s a simple matter of self-control (read Peele’s excellent books from this perspective) and abdicating responsibility is self-defeating.

    5. I am opposed to the current war.

    6. As you know, I recently wrote a piece on hatred and The Golden Rule in various faiths.

    HOWEVER: Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    You asked why we don’t call on each other more often. It’s a simple matter of trust. We think that God is on our side, but we’ve seen numerous examples of people who are NOT on our side. Human nature is selfish and evil – we want what we want. So why SHOULD we help others unless there’s something in it for us (such as fame, accolades, self gratification, self preservation).

    But you forget the other side of the coin, too. Someone who believes in a higher power, and follows that higher power’s set of rules, will also generally stay consistent in behavior and will hold themselves to an inflexible higher standard. Of course those standards depend on which god you’re following.

    One thing you said is “We don’t ask for advice. We don’t ask for support. We ask for God.”

    I do not agree with this. I think many people ask for all three.

    I also have to point out that although God is a coping mechanism for SOME, he is not a coping mechanism for ALL. Or, perhaps a better way to look at it is that God is a coping mechanism AND more to a believer. A coping mechanism isn’t always bad, and doesn’t necessarily mean that the worshipper is mentally handicapped.

  6. June 3, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    P.S. I do take the radical view that some religions should be banned if they encourage murder or abuse of others. That would mean that Islam and Santeria would be banned, but Satanism would be allowed to stand as long as it adhered to the crede of their church’s golden rule.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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