Wednesday, June 6, 2007

THE PROBLEM OF GOD

Maybe it's the Scottish flags waving in my DNA. Maybe it's a rebellious streak. Maybe it's years of witnessing silent prejudice against women, blacks and hispanics (silent at best). Maybe it's the calm anti-establishment stances I absorbed in the womb.
But when a man says his position on an obviously controversial issue is certain, beyond questioning, and utterly obvious, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is uneducated or in denial, I get mad.
Feminist theologians take this to the degree that they argue men in the church posit a belief in the afterlife simply as an extension of their egos because they can't stand the thought of ceasing to exist. Now, I don't hold to this view, even though I have known a few egos that could have swallowed substantial galaxies. In general, my observation has been that egotism and hubris are equal opportunity vices.
Today, however, the feminists may be on to something. Instead of manly men raising their voices to the heavens in assurance of their place in God's kingdom, Richard Dawkins is now the one trumpeting his own bravery. Yes, apparently Dawkins is a martyr. Scathingly condescending about real martyrs, he makes himself the martyr (poor guy!) for having to be strong and brave and alone in being an atheist (don't you feel bad?).
He sympathetically describes the hardships of being an atheist, likening it to being a homosexual afraid to come out of the closet. Poor marginalized bestseller.
He bravely lifts his chin, marching into the throes of piles of mail, interviews and royalties. He is burdened by the intellectual weight of being right when so many are wrong. It's not his fault he's smarter than most of humanity has been for all of history. By George, he will be strong where others flinch, he will herald the truth and be the unpopular (bestseller) one to announce the emperor doesn't exist.
Why is it that polarization sells? The one who yells against the crowd is a sure bet for publishers these days. The DaVinci Code. Ann Coulter. God Is Not Great. Left Behind. Say something on one end or the other.
So it was a sure bet that the Rat Pack (Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens) would rocket to the stratosphere of sales when they denounced Mother Teresa.
MOTHER TERESA.
Watch out, boys and girls, lightning may strike.
Their reasoning?
She was against abortion. Horrible old lady, helping all those marginalized, dying untouchables.
So here we are again. Despite the fact that I often find Ann Coulter personally obnoxious and frightfully skeletal, I would rather listen to her for a couple hours than another loudmouthed man putting down women. Now, Dawkins carefully makes sure to paint himself in politically correct lines (except, of course, for religion) when he aligns himself with the plight of the homosexuals he shares a closet with. But the Rat Pack routinely indulges in polemical insults salty enough to raise the eyebrows of seasoned philosophers like Alvin Plantinga. Dawkins excuses himself by the reasoning that someone must say what no one else will. (I wonder if that is the same logic employed by the illustrious Howard Stern?) In the end, however, Dawkins becomes yet another privileged white man telling everyone else that he has discovered that he is right and the rest of the world is stupid, I mean wrong. (Isn't that the critique so eagerly leveled at the current leadership of our nation? Not applied, I see, to the atheist. Hm.)
So, for liberals the problem of God is who he or she is and whether Hindus and Jews are on the same road. For feminists, the problem of God is convincing people that She is a She. For conservatives, the problem of God is that not everyone acknowledges Christ.
And for atheists, the problem of suffering in the world is God.
Poor marginalized bestsellers. They could solve the world's problems, if only everyone would stop being religious. Throw out your vishnu. Convince Richard Gere that his zen rock garden doesn't do anything. Put aside your yarmulke. Roll up your prayer rug. Close your Bible.
Thank goodness - there are snowflakes in hell, now, as I type - thank goodness for feminist theologians. They at least believe in the supernatural.
And if anyone knows how to be loud and polarizing, too, it's them.
At least they're not more privileged white men making millions of dollars off of telling us how wrong we all are.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Soooo...when are you going to start writing columns or articles for newspapers, magazines, etc.?
---daddy
... I'm serious...