1/14/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
The label, "The New Atheists" is being batted around, sometimes derisively, sometimes with curiosity or questionably by other atheists. One new target batted around like one hitting stones with a baseball bat enjoys.
Atheists aren't really new, they've been around as long as religion, probably longer, but recently, they have scientific evidence on their side (didn't they always?), as a sound structure and weapons stockpile against superstition and ignorance.
What about the "New Christians"? They're the ones who don't talk about Hell anymore, Divine wrath (the "Dies Irae" disappeared from the Catholic funeral mass ages ago), serious evil. They have replaced the O.T. god with a warm, fuzzy, nebulous figure who's always looking out for his chosen ones in his special clubs.
How did this come about, that this embracing of the new improved God sneaked itself into the 21st century? Let's posit that the Old and New testament god are the same made in the image of man, and that since we've found out about our natures, he's been adapted to fit our self-understanding. When this started, who can say? Maybe the Enlightenment thinking or Freud's probing of the unconscious, psychosis, motivations, in psychology, or ensuing sociological studies, where the proper study of mankind led to an understanding of man/gods. But, religions are loathe to address one of the connections of mankind to a god - personality : the absence of sexuality with a father - god, of all things.
Religion, being "spiritual" with immaterial beings, has no place for one of the strongest expressions of being: sexuality. Freud made us more aware of our sexual drives than anyone previously, or at least had the strongest influence on society by doing so. No matter what, sexuality does not transfer to a non-material being; even the "mother of God" is sexless. Considering this, it's pretty sickening when you think about it: because of elevating "spiritual" above sexual prevailed for thousands of years, being neuter, asexual, castrated, has been taught to be desirable!
On the human sexuality realization, the New Christians can't relate to their "New God". But they do adore him the more he becomes the person they create him to be in their newfound image of themselves. And I'll bet that the more they accept gays, abortion, equal rights for minorities and women, the more they will find the New God does too. (The old God was content with genocide, slavery, revenge, etc., etc.) One would hope that the New Improved God might become a memory from a nostalgic past, as we advance to be more self-accepting (in spite of religion's force not to) and intolerant of intolerance.
Who would have predicted that the primitive barbaric deity of millennia, who enjoyed and enjoined the burning flesh of sacrificial animals, witches, and heretics, would become such a wimp? He is now the teddy bear father with the ever-lovin', perfectly combed hair, blue-eyed sweet Jesus-son. Who would have guessed that the religion of the KKK in the U.S.A., of the rich, well-fed, well-padded televangelists hawking Good Vibes, would sell better than fire and brimstone?
I had a conversation with a believer recently. I mentioned that her doctor is a Unitarian, and asked her what that meant. She was on the ball. Reading up on Unitarians myself, I said that she was pretty close. They were noncommittal about dogmas, concerned more with the Golden Rule, ethics, brotherhood. Her synopsis, "All about feeling good." Later on I thought about this, and concluded that not only theirs, but hers, and perhaps all religions have come down to this for the majority : feeling good. Fed enough "spiritual" junk food, many Christians are already ready to topple the justice and other government systems in our own country, so that we can also participate in their good feelings, or at least be subservient to them, to keep their highs. "For God" that is. Hmmm...Well SOMEBODY has to speak up for God, defend him, poor God, he's defenseless. His people must do the dirty deeds he won't or can't, but that should be no problem; they've been doing this forever. For this too, they must ignore the New God sometimes, pick and choose whatever from his past that will suit their present purposes. The New model, as always, says, does, nothing. No comment. Tradition, smadition. No matter which model, your god is still superior to anything else man has created, right? By association, you've gotta be, too.
This god, old or repackaged, has a history, has never apologized, ergo, can't be trusted, and believers have a real problem, because none of them wants to grow up and make their spokesman grow up to stop making excuses for their god; they're still doing it, and it's probably going to take that eternity they're expecting for them to do so - it's so sick and entrenched in their mind-sets. I won't hold my breath. Humans may improve and do, but that God is "yesterday, today, the same forever."
The O.T. god is reputed to have said, "I would that you be either hot or cold (toward me), but because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth." How much better, I am, after being vomited!