1/29/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
It seems like some people live for entertainment. I would, bi-weekly, clean the apartment of Karen, a woman who lived alone and primarily got her information about how the world worked from watching television shows. (She once asked me why the local McDonald's employees weren't friendly, as they were on TV.) She sent money, left to her by her deceased mother, to a televangelist.
One day, Karen wasn't answering the door for me, and I found out it wasn't locked. There she sat, plopped down on the floor like a rag doll, the television set going full-blast. The EMS responders determined cause of death was a heart attack. Karen, who suffered from schizophrenia, then in her fifties, was known for her shouting at the TV commentators and celebrities, as if they were physically present in her room. Speculation was that she had been doing this when she died. Considering her health, one could say that entertainment, a positive thing, led to her death.
The dictionary defines “entertain” as: “1. To hold the attention of with something amusing or diverting. 2. To extend hospitality to. 3. To consider, contemplate.” (When I looked up the same dictionary's meaning of the word, “contemplate,” it was,“ to ponder thoughtfully.” This is the opposite of what television is all about, which is non-thinking absorption.)
For a moment, consider religious practices as powerful entertainments. Outside of their obvious ceremonies, festivals, and rituals, there are the constant reinforcements of the personal ones into a believer's head. These all penetrate the everyday concerns as escapist diversions. They are so entertaining that some people CAN'T find it in themselves to live without them. In fact, believers INSIST that their life has no meaning without entertaining the fantasies in their own heads. Have they made a SELF- FULFILLING PROPHESY of this belief?
Does everything real or imagined have meaning only insofar as it entertains? Or is it that everything that doesn't is automatically, boring? Would the life of anyone have meaning for you unless you find some things in it of entertainment value? Does even YOUR life, with this understanding, have value if it is dull? And when you die: Won't your relatives, neighbors, and friends speak about you as they would of a celebrity, IF you happen to meet with a tragic ending to your life? Won't they find things to share about you, entertaining each other so, maybe for years? Life is often hard, difficult, and confusing, and even in tragedy, being HUMAN means turning to the amusing and diverting to deal with it.
Religions are involved in constant struggles and competitions to keep entertaining. Give them credit; it's evolution, after all. And it must be tough, because, WHAT they offer becomes stale, repetitive...and boring. (Just read the rants from Xtian trolls.) Typically, their descriptions of after-lives are all about being FOREVER entertained. In troubled times and daydreaming, Christians entertain thoughts of their paradise- some- day. But how much of amusements and diversions can you stand being glutted with, before you vomit and run away? How much of having all one's dreams fulfilled can anyone stand before screaming, “Enough!”? (I remember the story of a pool-player who went to heaven. He said he didn't see the point in always winning every game, and the man he said this to answered, “What makes you think you're in heaven?”)
Ever since the Persian prophet Zoroaster, reality has been interpreted by the Abrahamic religions through HIS lens: Earth is merely a game board, on which lives are played, by the Forces of Light/Darkness, also known as the Forces of Good/Evil, and that one day the game board will be absolutely destroyed. At that time, all animate beings, i. e., the game pieces, are predestined to be saved from, or tossed into, the incinerator. Is this their Purpose-Driven- Meaning in the Cosmos?
Is the purpose of your life to entertain GodMy sister-in-law's Very Christian father died recently. Three years ago, he told me, in his cock-sure way, that the END TIMES were close at hand. I remember a co-worker saying, “When I die, it's the end of the world for me.” His insight would apply to the followers of David Koresh and Jim Jones, who preached the end was imminent – it turned out that way for them! Those of us who have been interested in this subject know by now that, on and off, the end of the world has been coming for ages. The New Testament writers insisted, “Soon.” But, The End belief began long before they were born. Still today, many believers live as if it's all that ultimately matters. It gives their lives comfort and purpose.
Now, as for you personally, is the purpose of your life to entertain God, as, for example, told in the story of JOB? Is your life at the whims of God, or if you're not a monotheist, many gods? This is a belief of ancient times and peoples, based on their many personal revelations. Don't Christians pray that they be “INSTRUMENTS” of God to do with them as he will, and allegedly commit their lives to him for that purpose?
Dear believer: Doesn't your god entertain himself by playing with you, to be abandoned when he is tired of playing with you? Doesn't he put you through emotional roller coaster rides, perhaps allowing you to be terrified, for his own amusement? Maybe that's why he created you? Maybe he takes perverse pleasure in watching little boys and girls and women pleading to him to be saved from their ultimate fates of rape, their tormented killing, their bodies thrown into the woods and fields? Maybe he enjoys seeing the lion rip apart the gazelle? Does he justify all these things by telling himself “All will work out for the best IN THE END”? We have been taught to believe this part is TRUE. And, what if you personally offend him in the least, while not knowing that you have, might he then say, with Queen Elizabeth I, “We are not amused”?
Dear believer: Choose your entertainment carefully, for it works both ways when gambling on faith. The REALITY of our LIVES and COSMOS is much, much, more entertaining. Don't let the likes of Zoroaster dictate the meaning of life for you. Is the purpose of your life to entertain God