A famous man says, “There are very few African-American men in this country [the USA] who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me. There are probably very few African-American men who have not had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me – at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who have not had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had the chance to get off. That happens often.”
What’s his point? What is he trying to say?
There are different experiences between all sorts of people. Men and women, rich men and poor men, black men and white men, old men and young men, men of this religion and that religion, men of this ancestry and that ancestry, men of this country and that country, men with medical conditions and men without, men who had this sort of childhood and that sort, etc.
But of what value is it to define yourself by those differences? Of what value is it to set yourself apart from others? Of what value is it to say only certain people can relate to your experiences or your suffering? Do you think they entitle you to something special?
We cannot end racism, sexism, classism, ageism, whatever, by looking for the differences we experience and clinging to them as if they define us and set us apart from others. This will only divide us and perpetuate the problems. (This is the problem with things like affirmative action and feminism and dedicating months to celebrating the history of some special group. They perpetuate the divisions they claim to want to close by putting differences on a pedestal as if they’re something to be celebrated for their own sake.)
This isn’t to say that differences don’t exist, that we don’t experience difference sorts of hardships. Of course we do. But these differences are completely meaningless. (For that matter, it is self-righteous snobbery, and self-torture, to believe it’s any easier to be someone else.)
We all love, we all laugh, we all cry, blah blah blah, cue heartfelt piano music. When you truly care about your neighbor, you don’t look for your differences.
Here are some of my thoughts on the nature of God. Nothing new here in the Christian sense, certainly. The subject was on my mind due to a project I’m working on, but I thought I’d record my thoughts here. That said, I don’t claim these thoughts necessarily represent the “Christian view” of God in some sort of scholarly totality or summation, but they certainly don’t oppose it. These thoughts are short and quite basic. (And rather sloppily written. If one is interested in the subject, I’m sure plenty of philosophers have done a better job of writing about the subject than me, and certainly in more depth.)
Firstly, the nature of God is supreme goodness. As in, they are equal, they are the same thing. One does not exist independently of the other. God does not “decide” what is “good” as if God exists first, and then creates or decides what is good, or as if He defines what is good by doing arbitrary things that are then considered good just because He did them. Rather, they are the same thing. To believe that there is an absolute goodness against which anything else may be judged is to believe in God. Notice that you cannot judge goodness to be good or bad in and of itself. It is good by definition. You can’t say, “Ah, good is actually bad!” In this way, you cannot logically say that God is bad or does wrong things. Otherwise you are judging Him to a higher standard, and that higher standard would then be God, not the entity you’re blaming for doing wrong things.
God is also absolute truth. Again, the same thing. Not “God defines truth” or “creates truth” or something. They’re inherent in each other. To accept one is to accept the other.
God is also love. Once again, the same thing. Not “God loves” or “God decides what love is”. God and love are the same thing. When one experiences love (though its incomplete in this life), one experiences the actual God (or at least part of God, because our experience is currently imperfect).
In this way, we see these things — supreme goodness, absolute truth, and love — are all inherent in each other, and that is what we call God.
From this, one can see that the nature of God transcends human consciousness (and is “invisible” and “mysterious” in His totality in this way). That is, God is not a human-like consciousness with just a bunch of power, as a god like Zeus might be understood. He is not inherently separate from the physical world or a human consciousness in the manner that our minds are separate from each other’s minds and our physical bodies are separate from other objects in our environment. (I think this is usually the sort of God atheists reject, which I do too. The misunderstanding comes from thinking of God and absolute truth as separate sorts of things that can be compared to one another.)
Finally, and this is the most profound part and difficult to express, God and humans are part of each other. Not metaphorically, like in a story when some character says “I’ll be in your heart!” Literally. A human soul is made of God. God made you out of Himself, and you remain in Himself (whether or not you experience it). You and God are more intimately connected than you can understand in this world; seeing God allows you to know yourself completely. This is why God “knows you” better than you know yourself and why you can keep no secrets from Him. He is not “spying” on you from outside your consciousness with magical powers; you are part of His nature. This is also why He can hear all your prayers. This is not to say that you are God. Obviously you’re not. God is the totality of which you are a part; you are a part of God and God is present in your being. To do good deeds is to act in accordance with your nature, which is in accordance with God.
Furthermore, to “see” this connection, to see God through the self, or the self through God, is to experience the most comfort and joy and purity you can ever know. Of course, we are clouded from this connection in this current life, save for an intellectual or spiritual understanding, but it can be experienced before death. (I don’t know how. Wish I did! Certainly an honest prayer is probably where to begin.)
OK, I’m tired, so I’m not sure I’ve expressed my thoughts as well as I might have otherwise, but there it is. God bless!
The second Hobbit film will be coming out soon, but you can count me out! Why? Well, it’s come to my attention that Mr. Tolkien, author of the book on which the film is based, is an evil bigot! Why? Well, just read what he wrote about sex!
This is a fallen world. The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been ‘going to the bad’ all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the ‘hard spirit of concupiscence’ has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell. We will leave aside the ‘immoral’ results. These you desire not to be dragged into.
Clearly any person who still holds this ancient and unpopular view is a hateful bigot who just doesn’t want certain people to be happy by doing whatever they sexually please. So intolerant! These people must be punished with boycotting. We all know that it has recently been discovered that the only way to happiness for the human race is if we all embrace and celebrate sexual indulgence in all its beautiful forms. If you see The Hobbit film, you’re giving money to the estate of Tolkien, which might go to some people who believe what he believed! How awful is that?!
What you can do instead:
* Start a pledge and sign it and keep your hard earned dollars away from Tolkien’s estate and people who believe in certain sexual morals.
* Tell all your friends what Tolkien really believed. The ultimate plan is that people who believe in these sexual morals will run out of money and starve or will switch their opinion to celebrate our sexual choices.
* On whatever day the movie comes out, instead of going to the theater, attend a Skip Hobbit event with your wise and tolerant friends. We’ll be hosting events all over the place, because nothing says “tolerance!” like pre-organized events dedicated to keeping money away from one specific person who is famous and thinks we’re doing something that’s not good for us, like acting on our sexual desires, whatever they may be.
* Donate money or volunteer your time to organizations that support the celebration of sexual indulgence!
* If you have any control in the media, report this boycott! Pretend you’re being unbiased, of course, and are just reporting the news.
By doing this, we’ll send an ominous message to all those who do not bow to our sexual indulgences that they will be publically singled out, shamed, and financially punished for being honest about their evil beliefs.
We’re going to nobly and heroically change the world by singling out one oppressive bigot at a time! If sexual indulgence itself was enough to make us happy, we wouldn’t need everyone’s approval. But of course everyone’s approval is actually a big factor to our happiness, so we really need to fight for it! Equality!
In the interest of letting all sides of this controversial issue express their views, here’s a letter from a reader:
Dear New Blather,
I agree that Tolkien is an evil bigot, but I sure don’t think a boycott is the way to go! Think of all the other people who worked on the movie! I mean, art and artists are two separate things. But, I must be clear, I agree with you about all the sexual indulgence stuff. I mean, Tolkien is just so bigoted in that area. I can’t argue with that. I want everyone to like me, so I really want to be clear about that. But, yeah, a boycott is going a little too far. I really want to see the movie, after all. So I think my opinion is a bit more mainstream than yours. But, again, I do agree that Tolkien sure is evil what with his religious views and all. I mean, we should be able to have some sexual indulgence without other people saying it’s wrong. To say it’s wrong is just evil. And to have what we think is wrong reflected in law is evil because separation of church and state and stuff and imposing religion is wrong. But a boycott? No.
Finally, the movie studio has released a statement:
We here at the Hobbit movie studio just want to make it clear that Tolkien is dead and we really don’t care about his beliefs. We just want your money, so whatever your beliefs are, we think they’re OK. If you feel like you’re part of some sort of community, we just want you to know that we support you. We only made the movie based on Tolkien’s work because his book was popular, not because we agree with any of his old stupid sexual beliefs. Sex for everyone, that’s what we say!