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Discussion 1 to Meditation 232
Don't Help me, The Unknown!

by Rabbi Tom

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Re: Meditation 232

Jeff, I must fervently disagree with you.

It does seem the political lobbying of right-wing fundamentalists in enshrining their religious agenda into our, theoretically, non-religious government.  It is most unfortunate that these representatives of law, ignore it.  They believe the phrases you mentioned are harmless.  Passing references that are merely commonplace and don't mean anything.  Some are pushing the fundamentalist agenda.  The first kind is idiotic.  The second, evil.  It is likely that thought patterns are formed by language.  Americans think quite differently from Japanese or Russians.  In large part our language reflects those differences, and may well shape them.  A language that uses the concept of God (nonsensical as it may be) inserts that concept into our thoughts.  The very use of the word reinforces that which some of us would ignore.  The simplest fact of the matter is that not all Americans trust in God or want his help, and to suppose so is very misguided.  Those phrases should be removed.

Unfortunately, those of us who desire a true American government, will likely lose this battle for some time to come.  Should we just accept their yoke and meekly comply?  No, we continue fighting until we win.  We do this not because we want to control other people, but that we may live without their control.  We raise our voices in protest at every necessary opportunity.  If a day comes when we are required to say it, we are suffering under a mighty tyranny, and I for one would rather die fighting than submit to such a hellish existence.

Can we, as you suggest, redefine God to suit our meaning.  The short answer: no.  As a group, we have rejected every contemporary notion of God.  The only which we cannot reject is “that of some unknown force existing outside of the universe as we know.”  Is that God unknown, yes.  Would I trust in that, no.  Would I beseech its help, no.  would I ask for its blessing on me or my country, no.  I ask for nothing the forces of nature have not given me, and bring my own forces to play when necessary.  The phrases do not become harmless, but remain at heart what they are, prayer to God.

As an agnostic, I firmly believe in letting people delude themselves with whatever they desire.  Opium, heroin, religion.  Whatever your vice, there is someone to push it.  As I oppose drug use, I oppose religion.  Mark was more correct then he realized when he claimed religion was the opiate of the people. People cling to it as an addiction just as much as they cling to drug use.  Capitulating to them does not solve the problem, but instead reinforces it.  Accepting the unknown, as you suggest, is accepting God, in an indeterminate form. 

Agnosticism is not a religion as it is normally understood.  We do not actually worship anything.  Our believes, such as they are, are individual matters.  Aside from the three tenets of faith, our views are spread across every spectrum.  We are derided, you say, by most of the religious people.  This is true.  Why?  Is it because we are foolish.  No.  Is it because we should be pitied.  No, we've made our choices and will accept the consequences, whatever they may be.  It is because they fear us.  They fear the light of reason exposing in the shadows the power they wield over the lives of men.  They fear the freedom we have, and are willing to exercise.  No, we do not stand among the religions, but ahead of them.