I have been watching the reaction to the US election and with today being Thanksgiving, it occurred to me that people are missing some fundamental points.
2. From the Christian viewpoint, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. If you actually believe that, then every other person on earth is your relative, a member of your family, regardless of their color, religion, orientation, or economic status. If you’re not treating them as such, read your Bible again and imagine what your Creator will have to say when the two of you are reviewing what you did with your life. Do you really think the Creator will be pleased to see that you diminished or outright abused those who didn’t look like you, didn’t believe what you believed, or were otherwise different from you? By your own Bible, the answer is “No.” And anyone who professes to be a Christian might want to remember that there are other options available to the Creator than saying “Well, that’s all right; I know you didn’t really mean to ignore what I told you”, some of them fairly interestingly imagined and described in Dante’s Circles of Hell. (Numbers 5-9 seem particularly apt, if anyone wants to look them up.) And there’ll be no saying ‘We weren’t warned’ because Matthew 7:21 is quite specific: “Not everyone that says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but those that do the will of my Father which is in heaven”. And Colossians 3:25 is as well: “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done…”
Anyone who professes themselves a member of any religion is telling the people around them to judge them by the standards of the faith they claim to follow, and whether theists like it or not, their god will be judged by their behaviour. Some of the behaviour I’ve seen from self-identified theists during this election campaign and afterwards is enough to make any sensible person think that if this is the behaviour religions produce, the world would be better off without them. To be fair, some secularists dispensed with their manners with quite as much alacrity as the theists they so vehemently deplored. The only sensible conclusion is that they’re really the same sort of people: they merely use different excuses for being obnoxious.
3. Only small-minded and insecure people pick on others; only immature and arrogant people assume that they have a licence to dispense with tolerance and civility. If you want to know what kind of person you are, don’t just look in the mirror – look at the people around you and see how they react to you. If you look in the mirror, you may see a strong, knowledgeable warrior unquestionably on the side of the angels or a victim entitled to special consideration because your life has been so much more difficult than anyone else’s. If you look at the people around you, you may have to realize that what they see is an ambulatory cocktail of self-pity and self-indulgence who is unwilling to step up and be a civilized, contributing member of the human race. Notice, I say “human race”, because despite the self-congratulatory classifications of early eugenicists, there is in fact only one race on this planet: humanity. And the first step to joining it is getting over yourself: realizing that you’re just an ordinary human being, no better, worse, or more important than any of the rest of us. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard on the ego to realize that while we may be the center of our own universe, we are not the center of anyone else’s, much less everyone else’s – but nevertheless, that’s the way of it, and having a temper tantrum about it merely demonstrates your unfitness for the company of civilized adults.
4. We inhabit a very small sphere in the middle of nowhere: if we make it uninhabitable, there is nowhere else to go. If humanity is going to survive, we have to understand that and start acting as if we understand it. Yes, the doomsday dramatics meant to get our attention are annoying – and counterproductive because they make us likely to dismiss or ignore people who’d present facts simply and sensibly — and yes, it’s irksome when people demand that we implement solutions that they have no idea how to pay for except by raising taxes on people who are just getting by as it is, and yes, I, too, get an urge to Gibbs’ Tap celebrities who fly around in their private jets telling the rest of us to clean up our acts. But there are things we can do: re-use, recycle, walk more, turn the thermostat down a notch: and we should do them, not because they’re politically correct, but because we all live here, and keeping our ‘house’ fit to live in is up to us – all of us. If we all do our bits, we may not clean up the planet overnight, but we will make it better, and any way you slice it, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Regardless of the colour of our skin, our religion, our gender, sexual orientation, or any other qualifier someone might want to use, we all bleed red.