By Carl S ~
|Betty Alexander, 85, holds the flag quilt she made and |
wants to send to President Donald Trump."The Holy Spirit
just told me it should be for President Trump," she said.
Picked up my wife after her church service. There were still a lot of cars in the lot. So I asked her what's happening? She said a missionary from Oregon, clear across this country, on the opposite coast, was speaking. So I asked, “What's the subject matter? She said, “The Holy Ghost.” I held my tongue. (Come on; nobody travels clear across the country to talk about the “Holy Ghost.” He's there to raise money.)
My immediate thought was to ask her if another member of the congregation, Rev. Sullivan, was present. You see, some time ago, it was Rev. Sullivan, a retired pastor, who said something I still remember from a lunch attended by several church members, his wife, my wife, and me. There was a theological discussion which included the “Holy Ghost.” I, the lone sane voice, became ill at ease when having to listen to religion b.s. I vacated the restaurant, but not before I brought up the fact that the Holy Ghost god, declared co-equal to a father and son god, was created at the Council of Nicea. A short time after, my wife came out and asked me to rejoin the others. She added, “He told me the Holy Ghost was created at the Council of Nicea.” So, with this background, you understand my temptation, at her church, to ask if the Rev. Sullivan stood up to tell the missionary this information.
In case you haven't noticed, the “Nicene” Holy Ghost differs from the gospel versions. Nicea created a third god who, unlike the father and son gods, doesn't have a body. Also notice that Jesus, Paul, and the apostles portray this Ghost as a kind of arch-angel or sprite. He might be a positive hallucinogenic experience. Then, as today, “feeling the Spirit” often means having an LSD experience without the LSD. This “gift” of the Spirit is said to impart understanding of dogma in a manner akin to an “Aha!” Buddhist insight. (Why “he” wasn't around when Jesus had to patiently explain his nutty parables to those of “little understanding” has never been addressed.)
The Holy Spirit of scriptures is an imp who confuses minds with the “alternative wisdom” of God, which is “foolishness” to the world. He's the “explainer,” the press agent, for the other two. He's the damage controller who eases doubts with feel-good assurances that are good enough to keep objectors pacified. You can bet, most of the time whenever the “Holy Ghost” is mentioned, it's implied the audience should shut up and listen. But usually, the testifier is talking about his or her personal feelings more than anything else!
But not saying anything at the time she mentioned “the Holy Ghost” led me to thinking about something else: There's a connection between a gathering of fundamentalists who voted for, and still support Donald Trump 20 months after his election, and their listening to a man speaking about the Holy Ghost. It has to do with the indoctrination ingrained in them. Those keep-the-faith believers are blithely unaware of knowing they absorbed it. Habitually, for over two thousand years, believers have accepted the “alternative truths and fake news” of their religion as the only important realities, and have rejected evidence to the contrary outright, without thinking and certainly without reflection. So...
The president will say one thing today and contradict what he said the next day. This should be acceptable to Christians, who listen to their clergy using the same “surreal” practice. They've been taught to habitually overlook and/or forgive the faults and lies of authority figures they've been raised to revere and trust. It should come as no surprise they'd elect someone like Mr. Trump (“anointed by God,” according to some leading evangelicals.) Other-realities have been familiar to them for centuries.
Scared, sincere believers have followed their feelings and backed whoever or whatever the clergy recommends, to counter what they feel are threats to their faith. (Even when they know better, are they afraid to believe differently?) Faith is a slippery tightrope to be walking on, in a world of solid evidence contradicting and diluting it; one is in “danger” of merely landing on one's feet in a world of everyone else's everyday existence.
“Slippery” is a word I find myself using often these days. My wife and I, “at our age,” have to move cautiously, since slipping and falling down can mean broken bones. But “slippery” is something we should all be aware of, especially when it comes to religion, politics, philosophies, or even psychology. It's so easy to slip if you aren't careful to find what's true and what isn't! For a prominent example, notice how easily Christian politicians come out speaking God this and God that. Beware. “God” is a useful platitude with different slippery meanings to different hearers. Those politicos are dragging out a slippery slope for the trusting to slide down, on their way to being caught in a religio-politico web. Those politicians, like their pastors, are in the business of selling a product they themselves don't have faith in. Only the gullible assume they sincerely believe what they claim to. Depending on faith is easier than thinking, if it's in a group. It's much easier to slide rather than think.
Religion is infiltrating civil governments toward the end of taking them over. Religions bring slippery, slimy, dogmas which are dangerous not only to societies, but to themselves. * All theologies are slippery slopes. * Think of how fast the slide will be if genocide, justified by the command of a god figure, is already the first step on it, and the next step is war on civil rights. The slippery slide can begin by taking the first step of declaring abortion “murder,” to executing abortionists. Then, how fast will it be before women are sentenced and jailed for having miscarriages? If one can accept and worship a god whose ends justify the means, then one is in danger of sliding into all manner of atrocities oneself. Think of how quickly and easily it will be to suddenly go from revering a name to executing a man for blasphemy.
It's slippery to maintain dogmas based on the belief in words of unknowable men who believed in a plethora of invisible beings. One's emotional bearings can become unbalanced due to not watching every step, though the distance between the clouds one is walking the tightrope on, and the ground of reality beneath, is less that one's height. It’s fear of falling that keeps the believer trying to balance. Faith requires minds, when challenged, to grab for what one has been told is solid while thrashing against obvious truths, instead of accepting them.
And so we have believers who believed, and will continue to believe, Mr. Trump. His lies and denials and alternative realities are of the same material woven into the very fabric of Christianity they've grown up with. Those who listen raptly as a clergyman talks about the “Holy Ghost,” are open to accepting ridiculous and contradictory fabrications.