Greetings and Salutations;
Yesterday, for reasons yet unknown, a young man entered a bar, armed with several guns and started shooting. Several patrons, who had gathered for some fellowship and an adult beverage are dead…their lives snuffed out in a moment. Several more are seriously wounded. The killer was arrested, after patrons at the bar stood up to him, disarmed him, and detained him. The police are investigating the situation, to try and find out what triggered this wanton destruction, however, no results have been released as of yet.
There is, of course, much speculation about this…and right now the majority of it is presenting this action as a hate crime, as the bar in question was an LGBTQ+ establishment. Add to this fact, the reality that in the past six years, most Republic*nt legislatures have implemented laws trying to push society back to the bad old days when anything but Puritan Heterosexuality was a crime, AND there has been a huge increase in the level of hate speech against the community, it does make a great deal of sense that this might well be a controlling factor.
A friend of mine, on Facebook, posted the following questions and comments:
How many years will we ( people of a like mind and spirit) keep saying prayers that things will get better when yet another atrocity that is fueled by fear, hatred or just pure evil …happens? Will it ever end? Does forgiveness actually matter? Does being mad actually help? Outrage…? This is why I absolutely loathe any Abrahamic based religion..and I am sure others too and their fucked up dogmas and creed that people use as a crutch to be inhumane and nasty. I am sure it would be something else if there was no religion (John [Lennon] was so correct) but the human species with exceptions of course, is just fucking destructive- to themselves and others. Said my peace..this is not a debate. I don’t mind comments but don’t expect to shit stir. It will get you nothing.
I had to say that this post brought up some very valid and important issues…so…I decided to work through it, and see if I could address some of the points. Here is my reply – expanded a bit in some places.
I hear you…and I have to say that you make some very valid points. As a matter of fact, this does bring to mind some observations, so, here they are, in no particular order…
1) People are terribly complex things. Even after a lifetime of trying to figure out how NTs think, it is often a mystery to me. I have seen some people that seem to be the personification of Evil Incarnate. There is an aura of icy cold that accompanies them when they enter a room. I have seen some people who are so kind, helpful, and positive that being in their presence is like sitting next to a warm fire on a cold, winter’s night. I am sorry to say that I have been cynical enough for so long that I tend be suspicious of folks like that up front. In that spectrum between the light and dark extremes, fall the majority of people. Everyone has light and dark facets to them, and sometimes it can be very disappointing when one runs across an unexpected dark facet. However, most people have a majority of light facets. More on this later.
2) As for the “how long” question…the short answer is “as long as it takes”. HOWEVER…as is written in the Book of James, “Faith, without works, is dead”. I have come to the understanding that simply praying that a particular evil will end is not enough. We are called to be good stewards of the Earth and all that is in it. In this particular case, I interpret this calling to mean that when we see the actions of Evil in the world, it is up to us to stand up and do something about it. So…from that point of view, I submit that when we pray, we should not pray that, for example, the senseless murders of the LGBTQ+ community should end. Rather, we should pray for the strength to stand with them, and become a force in the world to change the causes of this hatred. I have written a blog essay or two about the concept of “The Other“, which delves into some of the factors that might be causing these senseless attacks. If anyone is interested in reading these, go to My Blog and read the essays. Sadly enough, I do not believe there will ever be a time when acts of hate never happen…but, I do believe that by changing some aspects of society, we can make them become the rare exception…instead of the common occurrence they seem to be now.
3) About Forgiveness. Yes…Forgiveness, while another complicated topic, does make a difference. Clinging to hate for another because of their actions is like swallowing poison, and expecting one’s enemy to die. Forgiveness is not for the offender…it is for the injured party. By forgiving the offender, one is refusing to give them power over one’s mind, emotions and life. Without that forgiveness, the offender will have a rent free space in one’s mind for the rest of one’s life…
4) Your comment about dogma is, alas, painfully true. Far too many who wrap themselves in the shroud of “Christian”, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They cherry pick bits and pieces of the Scriptures and other spiritual writings to justify their very human agenda. They pervert and sully the message in those writings with their actions, so the message becomes a twisted, hateful Evil…not at all positive or loving. Karma comes to these people…although it can be a frustratingly slow process. In the mean time, I believe the best course of action is to distance oneself from them. They are toxic and bring nothing positive to one’s life so allowing them access is a very negative action of self-destruction.
So…what can we do to combat these problems? Mindful self examination usually answers that question for most people. We, as a species, do have ancient programming that is mostly positive. Nature has provided us with these basic rules because the tribe is vital for survival, and without a basic sense of altruism, ethics, helpfulness, boundaries and the like, the tribe is doomed to extinction.
In today’s world, we should take that ancient knowledge and use it to guide our decisions. We should be mindful of how we live, how it impacts the Earth, how it impacts others, and whether our decisions keep us on a positive path or deflect us to a more negative, self-destructive path. On a broader scope, we should be constantly aware of where we are at, and willing to take action to bring positive moments to others. This can be as simple as holding a door open for someone, and giving them a smile, or a pleasant word, to buying their coffee at Starbucks, or remembering to reach out to them on a regular basis, so they know that they are not deserted in the world. On a broader basis, we should support the community by, if nothing else, voting for the candidates that will do the most good for the largest number of people. Also, reaching out to our elected representatives on all levels of government to give them feedback on the quality of their work, and the needs of the community. A very wise man whose video blog I follow, puts it this way: “Do what you can; where you can; for as long as you can”.
Will following these suggestions I have made make the world a perfect place? Of course not. But what they will do is move it in a better direction, for us, and for the people in our community network. That, as it propagates through the population, might well make a mighty change in reality. A single drop of water can do very little. However, enough of them, together can erase a mountain of stone; they can turn a mill, grinding flour to keep a community well fed; or nourish a vast land so its bounty may seem endless.
God Help Us All
Be safe; get vaccinated/boosted; wear masks; wash hands; social distance.
Bee Man Dave.