Religion and Politics

Congress unanimously voted to add “In God We Trust” because they were terrified of being denounced by Senator McCarthy as “un-American” and Communist and atheist. The main problem with saying “If you can’t trust God then WHO can you trust” is that it has about as much meaning as saying “Justice is just” or “Holiness is Holy” or “Goodness is good.” For many religions “God” is simply assumed as something or someone which can do no evil and only desires good. It all goes back to Plato’s dialog “Euthyphro” and what has come to be called “The Euthyphro Problem” – namely – “Does God love goodness, justice and virtue because of the inherent qualities they possess, or is the good simply good by FIAT or command, arbitrarily, because God declares it to be good? (I.E. could God at some future point revoke his views and and change the rules?) At the heart of Islam’s Qur’an is a verse which basically says that Allah can ABROGATE (revoke,change) a law and he will replace it with something BETTER.

At the heart of Judaeo-Christian religions is the notion “For God cannot lie” and “I have sworn and will not repent” which simply mean that God is not capricious but is bound to certain things. Even Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many mansions IF IT WERE NOT SO I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU.”

Anyway, the bottom line is that no two people have the same notion or definition of what God is or what any given sacred scripture means. Jonathan Swift satirized this fact in Gulliver’s Travels when he described a religious dispute between the big-endians (who broke their soft boiled egg on the large end) and little-endians (who broke their egg on the small end) and when Swift questioned them, both factions pointed to the verse in their scriptures which read “break thy egg where thou will.”

There are plenty of perfectly decent and moral atheists and agnostics and one may realize this by examining the biographies of people like Einstein, Sartre, Bertrand Russel, to name a few. And there are plenty of totally corrupt pastors, bishops, imams, rabbis and gurus (as well as some very nice ones.)

This is WHY we should all take Jesus’s advice and keep our prayers in our CLOSET and not out in the street corner because as soon as we trot God out on the street-corner we begin to cram our personal notion of God down other people’s throats and shove it in their faces.

For centuries all peoples believed that they must have a king and they must join in some public worship. Even the Jews nag prophet Samuel to have a king “so that we may be like other nations.”

The world has now learned that government is possible without a King or Queen. We may relegate Kings and Queens to decks of playing cards and chess boards. We will one day learn that we may govern the world WITHOUT public reference to religion. Gandhi was once asked about his beliefs and he answered “my beliefs are a deeply private matter between myself and God.”

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