Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The latest on my religion survey

On Sunday last, Susie P (my dear friend of 40+ years) responded to my religion survey. Because that survey was posted quite a while ago (and hardly anyone is following it now), I share here Susie’s response:

1. Religiously, how would you describe or classify yourself?

I am a Jew. [Name withheld] says he does not believe in god and maggi averred the same, but I do. I also believe in “the force,” in elves and fairies, go figure, oh, and throw in a few Norse and other myth gods while you’re at it. Oh! And god as depicted on Dad’s album cover for My Fair Lady—George Bernard Shaw. But I also have fears that there is nothing there, and that this is all there is and it has NO MEANING, cause after we leave?? And cause we can’t seem to really improve as a species and I now have trouble with the passover seder language, as I don’t believe in better, I don’t see peace in our time

2. Whatever you answered, what is it about you that leads you to say that?

As you know, I was raised a liberal jew and I remain such, years after education and regular temple attendance. And I believe in both the christian (activist) version “DO unto others as you would have them do unto you” and the jewish version “DO NOT do unto others that which you would not have them do unto you” (stay outta my face). I went to easter services at a Lutheran church as mike wound up singing in a choir, it was nice, I liked the Ner Tamid (eternal flame) same as ours, (I always seem more that is the same all over- like, all cuisines have a blintz) I liked the pastors homily, I liked the choir, I did not say “he is risen” at every opportunity, I believe Jesus was one of many great and good prophets but that he was the one with GREAT PR, so he has lasted. I suspect Peter on that account, and as the reading for the day said it was Peter who went back to the cave and saw the “linen” I immediately wanted to know if he had gone alone, were there other witnesses, where did the linen REALLY come from etc (too much CSI)?

Further (I was obviously dying to share all this, thanks for the opportunity) I noticed also in the bible readings for the service that at first Jesus felt that the Jews were discriminating and he wanted everyone to share in gods blessings, but in the next reading the “church” said, “only us that is good [our definition] get to play” hunh? Turned his inclusiveness right around, that’s ORGANIZED religion and bureacracy for you!

3. If you answered Christian, how much, if any, do your religious beliefs influence how you vote?

As a jew, I’m liberal to my core, too many relatives would roll in their…ashes, if I voted republican, ’sides, never agreed with one as much as I agree with dems. daddy never admitted to voting FOR anyone, only against someone worse, when I asked him who he WOULD like to vote FOR, he said “Chester Bowles”

4. If you answered Muslim, do you approve of martyrdom “in defense of Islam”?

na, but I know that is wrong in terms of the Koran when it kills others

5. If you answered Judaic, how do you feel about Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians?

Frequently not happy, but I haven’t lived with suicide bombers in my market (just old dudes with their lead foots on the accelerator) I think that in the face of that, it takes super-human and/or insanity to continue to love and try to get folks to see we are more the same than different, but someone has a great stake in keeping folks apart, I suspect power greed and not enough water to go around, and some non-jews are bred to hate us and want us pushed into the mediterranean, no matter how we try to get along, they think we should never have been given part of Palestine, and so it goes on and on and on

6. Anything else you’d like to say by way of your “religious statement”?

good lord! I think I’ve said quite enough!!!

On which I commented:

Susie seems to be, like me and my learned poet friend, a “believer in all things.”

It has turned out, quite unexpectedly but to my satisfation, that my musings about how it is possible to “believe all things” have led to a number of insights into the paradox of freedom (both God’s and mankind’s) that inhabits “the seminal nut of being.” These insights have shed light not only on the human condition but also on the nature of God—in particular the revelation that God is morally neutral, or amoral. God’s amorality explains why it’s futile for the opposing parties in a bloodbath to all call on God to bless their killing enterprise. It’s all the same to God, just mankind’s sophisticated elaboration on the workings of the food chain.

Or, as the Zen philosopher Alan Watts said (approximately), Man is but a worm with a brain to amuse himself while food passes from his mouth to his anus.

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