At this time with so many challenges facing humanity, it is more crucial than ever that we band together using objective means of measurement and clear thinking in identifying, understanding, and finding solutions to our shared problems. Autonomy of the individual is very important, for our freedoms allow us to be fulfilled and happy. However, the public sphere cannot and should not be populated by subjective beliefs, if we are to maintain our civilizations and quality of life. This blog is dedicated to examining the political, religious, psychological, and philosophical aspects of our modern discourse in the public sphere, endorsing that which is beneficial, and exposing that which is not.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Tragedy, A Sign, Or Just an Opportunity for Discussion?

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This burning of the 60 ft. tall statue of Jesus as a result of a lightning strike at a megachurch in Middletown Ohio, called the King of Kings statue by those who commissioned it and the faithful, Touchdown Jesus by those amused by it's upraised arms, and Big Butter Jesus by Heywood Banks, raises a perfect opportunity to discuss the role of religion in America. To do this, I am going to look at this event from the viewpoint of some of the groups in America that comprise the citizenry. These viewpoints will include that of a Christian, an atheist, and a Muslim. My intent is to remain respectful as well as to realistically represent these views. As I am a former Christian, and a current agnostic atheist, I imagine that my Christian and atheist viewpoints will be more authentic than my Muslim view.

Of course, remembering back to my mentality as a Christian, my first thought would have been that Satan was behind the statue being struck by lightning. It was obviously a great symbol of faith for the believers who saw it. And, he took it out to attack that faith. It was yet another part of the great attack on Christianity being perpetrated by the Devil, and all of his minions, those who are aware of their status, as well as those who serve unknowingly. I would see it as a harbinger of the Tribulation, perhaps even a part of it. I never knew who to believe when it came to determining where in the book of Revelation our current times lay. Everything happens for a reason. And, whether we understand it or not, everything is a part of, and fulfillment of God's plan. I may have wondered what sins the members or ministers of this church may have committed to remove their church from God's protection. Obviously, the Devil couldn't have touched it, otherwise. I would shake my head, a little afraid of what was to come, what this sort of event signified about the state of the world. I would read again the 24th chapter of Matthew, and the book of Revelation, trembling at the disasters described therein, convinced that they were imminent, also convinced there was nothing I could do to to stop it.

A Muslim commented on this event by saying that Allah is the lord of the weather, and may have struck this false idol from his wrath. Every good Muslim knows that graven images are not allowed, for they are idols that detract from the one true God. Those who worship these idols will face the wrath of Allah at the Judgement in the Last Hour. There is one true God, all other are false. To elevate the holy prophet Jesus to the status of the Son of God is to blaspheme. He never claimed to be the Son of God. Those who blaspheme will face the wrath of Allah. They will not taste of Paradise. Rather, they will face the torments of hell. Take heed of Allah's warning, lest you share that fate.

An atheist obviously doesn't believe that there is any significance in this event. It is a perfect example of the apparent randomness of nature. It is what eventually occurs when one builds a structure of flammable materials on a metal frame. No god or devil had a hand in this. It was a natural phenomenon following natural laws. The only lesson to be learned here is to build with foresight and planning. As an atheist, I look at this media coverage as being a waste of time, a distraction from other things that really are a tragedy, events that really are of significance. The oil spilling into the gulf at an alarming rate is a very good example. The global warming taking place, which could lead to irreversible climate change, more energetic weather patterns, droughts, and other disadvantageous consequences, is another problem that needs our attention. Human population is growing toward an unsustainable level in the not too distant future. These are all real problems that we must address as a nation, and as a species, to ensure our survival, and the survival of our civilizations. That is one danger of non-objective viewpoints in the public sphere; they create division in the populace, and distraction from the issues that matter.

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