Friday, January 12, 2007

America, molded by god

I was reading the article Through A Glass, Darkley, by Jeff Sharlet at Harpers. It's throughly disturbing what's he's witnessed as the "Christian Soldiers" are prepared for war. Fundamentalist christians are isolating their children, teaching them their own version of history with god at the center, just like they're teaching the "science" of god. (Not that I fully believe that public schools teach an unbiased view of history, but teaching children that the history of America is the way god wanted things to go just makes me want to vomit.) In their minds, god is molding the American way of life, and they are called to keep it in line with (what they see as) god's will.

He refers to a christian site that provides literature and toys for followers and those who home-school their children. At first, it seems to promote a wholesome view of the family. But it doesn't take much flipping through the site to see there is a fascination with keeping their daughters holy and training their sons for war. Why is there such fear? And such a call to arms? I don't think I will ever understand how war and the commandment "thou shall not kill" are compatible in anyone's mind.

These people are "doing gods bidding" and have removed themselves from themselves. They free themselves from all responsibility in life; what good they do is god's good, what evil they do is the devil. It reminds me of the Milgram Experiments. And apparently, 40-some years later we still haven't learned anything, people are still willing to do evil things to eachother under the guise of "he told me to do it." Fundamentalists are the ultimate in followers it seems to me. They may say they are leading others on a path to god, but it is a very well beaten path at this point in human history, and it's not a hard path to find.

How many of us in this day and age are willing to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves? For our own actions? This is what I think I find the most troubling about the religious way of life, and why I reject it so harshly. I wish to retain the ability to say "this is wrong" without having to look to a superior or to a book for the answer. I wish that all people could think for themselves, and about the others around them.

As far as I see, christian fundamentalists who home school their children, in the isolation of their children from those who don't agree with them or who might introduce them to other ideas, are perpetuating a lack of empathy for the world around them, and a selfishness that only their point of view should be portrayed in the world.


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