Worshiping At The Flagpole of a False Idol
Amidst the outrage over the Aurora Colorado shooting by James Holmes this past week, there has been much speculation as to "why" this has happened. Pointing fingers, people blame guns/gun law, they blame movies and television, they blame, blame, blame...anything but themselves.
However, the most interesting (if you can call it that) blame I have come across is that of religion, or more specifically the lack of it; and while the people doing it are touting the responsibilities of humans, specifically non-believers, they are not taking any blame themselves.
The "religious-right" would have you blame abortion, blame secularism, blame growing gay marriage rights, and to put it in Dad's words..."...ask[ing] God to leave our country."
Yes, Dad, I quoted you, not to provoke, or attack, simply because it's a theme running through many opinion articles, reports, and comment sections of anything online related to the topic that we have read the last couple of days, and you summed it up nicely.
"We have asked God to leave our country."
But have "we", really?
First, as an ex-believer and a now non-believer, I was always under the impression that not only does God give you the choice to be a believer, but also states that punishment for choosing "wrong" will be in the afterlife, not punishment here on earth (until the very end, and I do not believe it is to be Revelations time). Of course, there are an equal amount of scriptures and verses to contradict those ideas of choice and punishment, and many other messages, as is the nature of the bible.
Blaming the secularists is probably what right-wing Christians; likely the same ones who want less government and taught freedom, but still want to govern your personal life, home and bed; and those who want to scare you and control you with religion would prefer you do. They persuade you into believing, into fear of not, by using unfortunate outcomes of an overpopulated society at wits end with the way the government operates and controls its society, and the mistreatment of the human population; they want to homogenize the way of thinking for their advantage. It's what they would have you think, because they are afraid of being tempted by you, they are afraid of being wrong, and they are afraid of the unknown.
So, we've "asked" God to leave and now he is punishing "us" all with violent acts, performed by humans, that can easily be prevented/reduced with a little control of self, a little regulation of society, a little less universal hate, and a lot more universal love, tolerance and understanding. He's punishing "us" on earth for exercising the right to not follow him? Does that mean I won't have the aforementioned biblical punishment after life? He's not doing too many things to draw populous by creating fear.
But if you look closer, through a lens of scripture, you may find the root of the problem, and it's evil, if you so choose (and if you want to suspend reason and believe in God, of course).
The problem may actually be with the believers themselves.
Without even looking at statistics (which, yes, means I may be incorrect, but I doubt it, and I'm willing to bet body parts on it), I'm confident that most of the over-patriotic, flag loving, "God-fearing" citizens of the United States tend to be right-wing Christian Republicans. The same ones who tell you that all the evil, violence and bad things that happen in the United States is because you don't believe in their God; because you are okay with people marrying people they love romantically, no matter if they are a man or a woman; because you can accept that not everyone is capable of being a fit parent, sometimes bad things happen (rape, incest) and the fundamental human rights of an unwanted child are taken from them at birth, along with those of the woman who was denied her own freedom and rights; because instead of having your choices made by religious people, you choose to make your own choices. (That's called Freedom, by the way)
But lets get past those things, lets look at worship.
The first two commandments of the Ten Commandments of the bible clearly state you should have no other God, no other idol. They are so important that they are number one, and two, on a short list of requirements of being a decent person (according to the laws of Christianity).
Now, lets return to the over-patriotic, flag loving, "God-fearing" citizens of the United States. Worshipping their country, thinking it is better than an other country, holding it higher in importance than any other land, propping servitude to the country high in the air above almost anything else, being boastful about the country, putting what they think are its needs, as a whole, above those of the people who make up the country.
Reverent honour. Love. Devotion. Adoring regard. Allegiance. Ceremonious rendering.
Can you decipher those words between worship, and patriotism? Looks like the creation of a false idol of worship. If those words don't detail the worship of a false idol then I don't know what does.
Stand before the flag, devote yourself to the worship of the United States of America, in all it's glory.
In a country where even "the believers", (some might argue, the Christian government) encourage staunch consumerism, a worship of material wealth and money, "keeping up with the Joneses'" (Coveting, the breaking of a Ten Commandment).
Where Sunday afternoons you can find believers worshipping television, or working, or shopping, any number of non-religious activities (An unholy Sabbath day, and another Ten Commandment broken).
Where we will go to war with other countries, sometimes erroneously, and kill innocent* people (Though shall not kill...another Ten Commandment, broken).
And in a country where it's not illegal to lie, to bear false witness [Fact: It Is Not Illegal To Falsify News or Lie http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2012/06/fact-it-is-not-illegal-to-falsify-news.html] even about big things (another one of those commandments)...
Those things break biblical rules, by the believers themselves; to say they have been broken by non-believers would be false, as religious rule applies only to those willing to adopt them as part of the religious path they choose. Those who have taken a stand for their choice, knowing the rules and guidelines set by their deity, and have broken them, are at faultm and therefore should cease pointing fingers at those who have chosen a different path, and take responsibility for the mixed messages they are feeding as example.
Perhaps it's not, in the end, a lack of God, or a banishment of him, but a mistreatment of the guidelines given to those who have chosen to follow Him; and even if it's is because "we" have asked God to leave our country; lets not even touch on the fact that is wholly arrogant that God views the world by country, and favours one over another; it is only those who have accepted him who have the power to deny him.
In addition, in the eyes of Him, a sinner, is a sinner, is a sinner, whether a non-believer or not, so to blame one group, over another, is ignorant.
Maybe it has nothing to do with a human construction of religious ideals, created 2000 years ago based in mythologies far older than Christianity; maybe it has everything to do with humans being animals (a scientific classification based on set criteria**) with guns, with the capacity for higher-thinking and the ability to take responsibility, but the propensity to point fingers like children, and shroud ourselves in hate.
The bible teaches that God is patient and kind, yet teaches he is forceful and vengeful.
Teaches you killing is wrong, but to kill in his name is divine.
Teaches you that believing in him is a private and personal matter, yet calls for you to force upon others your personal beliefs.
Teaches you to love, and then to turn a cheek and hate people who are different (don't have the same beliefs).
Why would you want to worship a vengeful God anyway, if given the choice, peace, respect and responsibility to others seems, for me, a much more divine road.
Respect what other's believe, don't demonize them for their beliefs.
Please note: I don't believe in God, so this has simply been an exercise in thought and writing. As I do not believe in God, I cannot at all think that God is punishing his believers, however, in the face that secularists are being blamed for all the ill in the world, then the argument above serves as just a valid hypothesis of blame.
These are the things that keep me up at night.
 Religious Right Blames Colorado Shootings on Evolution, Secularism and Abortion, The Examiner, Hugh Kramer, July 21, 2012 http://www.examiner.com/article/religious-right-blames-colorado-shootings-on-evolution-secularism-and-abortion
 Joshua 25:15, The Bible (choose your version) 'But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.' [It should be noted that the message that they are trying to get across in this verse is that the only real Lord, is the Lord that the speaker/writer of this text believes to be the only true one, so any other worship is false, and non-existent, and you have basically choose not to believe in the 'one true Lord', and might as well be a non-believer in whole.]
 The Ten Commandments Listed, Gods Ten Laws, http://godstenlaws.com/ten-commandments/index.html#.UA7FOLTy9Lc
*Being a citizen of a country does not make one guilty, anymore than being a member of the United States makes it citizens guilty of the atrocities of the country as a whole by default, and therefore deserving of death.
**Popular is also the teaching of humans as animals (evolution) and the misconception (by religions) that an animal must be dumb, and without thought, and the rejection that humans, while animals, can be simply of a higher order of animals with different abilities, yet no less animals. The wild is full of animals with different sets of abilities, and evolutionary advancements. That's all I have to say about that...for now.
I are thankful for the freedoms that actually exist in the United States, while acknowledging they actually exist, some in greater form, in other countries of the world.