Thursday, August 10, 2006

The world at war

Last night, I was sitting in one of my regular AA meetings, and the reading was "We Agnostics." This is a chapter in the Big Book that addresses the evolution of faith among alcoholics and why a spiritual path is necessary. We read the chapter, then we went around the room for comments.

I was one of the last people to comment; and I listened to the women in the meeting talk about their personal journeys. Some focused on Religion. There was a bible-thumper who talked about God as a person, a human being. Some talked about their own journey from agnosticism, and how in their early sobriety they found God in the words "Good Orderly Direction."

Some focused on the simple truth that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, if we work them, create a massive psychic and spiritual change in us which make us act and think differently than we had as drinking alcoholics. This difference is demonstrated by the truth that we do not drink when before we were unable to stop; and we have become patient, tolerant, loving and kind, when before we were self-centered in the extreme.

And then it got to me. The basic core teaching of all the major religions is patience, tolerence, kindness, and love. So where do we go wrong? Religion in the hands of small minds drives hatred, fear, intolerance and greed. Power in the hands of small minds nurtures hatred, fear, intolerance and greed. I talked about my own journey from belief to faith which are actually two different things. I have faith in a power greater than myself that helps me to act differently than I did before AA. I am kind when I would rather be nasty. I am patient when I'd rather cut you off in traffic. I am tolerant when I when I would rather tell you to not leave your house, let alone the country and you should NOT travel. I am loving when I would rather smack you upside the head. I take direction from a sponsor in AA.

But I look at the world: the Middle East is in flames over some strips of land that, given the pace of Global Warming, will be under water in not all that long. Mullahs kill shepards for not diapering their goats. Jews who should know better dropping bombs on their neighbors who in turn drop bombs on them who in turn drop bombs on them who... A moran at the helm of the US government who listens to hateful, evil, greedy people who claim to have a direct pipeline to God - but God doesn't want hate; God wants people to be patient, kind, tolerent and loving.

So what causes this? Hatred is a form of insanity. And insanity always seems to speak with a voice of authority that sanity doesn't have. Sane people consider options; sane people listen to other opinions; sane people recognize and respect other points of view.

The Aboriginal people of Australia know that we are simply caretakers of the earth. Why do we, of European or Middle Eastern descent think we OWN things? We destroy what we supposedly own so we can have more stuff.

Flights between the US and the UK are at the highest security alert level; other flights are at the second highest level; everything else remains yellow. We are closing in on mid-term elections. I have been saying for several years that there will be some kind of major terrorist event close to the mid-term elections in order to re-up the fear factor. Lieberman lost; next thing we know we have terrorists in London trying to get on planes with liquids, when mixed together, will explode. Let's talk about the timing of THAT!

But it comes down to hatred, and fear, and entitlement, and addiction to power. Greed. Oil. We are destroying the earth, and we are being destroyed as people by a handful of people driven by "justifiable" whatever. EVERYONE points a finger of blame at someone else because it is easier than taking responsibility to find solutions. What difference does it make who started what in the Middle East? It doesn't matter. What matters is that they stop, and find a way to talk to each other. Because very soon, there will be nothing left to talk about.

My prayer, daily, is for this insanity to stop. My action is to talk to others; to work for change, to work for peace.


Helen Wheels said...

Wow, DivaJood. Great post. Wellsaid.

I guess we are all guilty - even those of us who think we are peace advocates. There is still so much more I could do, but don't.

The world has really tipped in the favor of mass insanity, and every day I am horrified yet fascinated by it. Thanks to hatemongers like Coultergeist and Lamebaugh, it's now OK to gay bash and call for the murders of people on the airwaves. That didn't happen 10 years ago, did it? Or am I the crazy one?

DivaJood said...

Helen, gay bashing has been around for a really long time. Hatred too. But the epic insanity has put us on the edge of disaster - my son (who is brilliant) once admonished me for sending him a "Bush Bashing" email - he said it doesn't help end the problem - that's when he told me to read the "Left Behind" series, which is really terrifying. His point was that we need to be informed about the insanity, but that name-calling, and the like, helps keep us from actually doing anything.

Three weeks later, he sent me a hilarious email that was Bush Bashing, because he (being brilliant) realized that we do have to laugh some of the time or we'll become insane too.

betmo said...

you put these thoughts into words so much better than i ever could. thank you.

DivaJood said...

Betmo, thank you - I appreciate it.

Shelly said...

It is no wonder the world thinks we are crazy over here (in US). Did you know that Rush Limbaugh's radio show is on Armed Forces Radio and broadcast in these US hating countries?
I ask you this, if you thought that Rush Limbaugh spoke for the American Public...wouldn't you want to blow us off the face of the earth too???
Good lord help us all....

DivaJood said...

Shelly, now that's really smart: broadcast Rush Limbaugh around the world - what a fine example HE sets, really. Him and his little blue pills.

BZ said...

Nice Post. Diva Jood.

Fran said...

My prayer is your prayer, Divajood. None of this makes any sense. Are we possibly in a nightmare and we have to somehow collectively wake up at the same time? I'm a 12 stepper, too, just a different flavor.

DivaJood said...

bz, thank you.

Fran, I am sorry to say we are not in a sleeping nightmare. But our nation has been asleep for five solid years. I thought you were a 12 stepper - and the steps are the steps are the steps.

robin andrea said...

Such a well-written and thoughtful post. As an atheist, I look at all the murder and mayhem in the world and wonder how such a thing is done in the name of the people's god. I have often said that the god I don't believe in is kinder and gentler than the one that most people do believe in.

DivaJood said...

Robin Andrea, I think it is the small minds who wind up in power that drive people to atheism. The ones who claim they speak for god, only their god is war, greed, fear and anger. But I look at your blog, and I think you have a god of your understanding - similar to the god of my understanding - and that god does not want war.

the great white hype said...

yeah, i totally agree with you on this one. it's really sad to me that people allow themselves to feel like they're right and holy when they have hate and greed in their hearts. personally i just simply didn't believe in God anymore so i chose to go out and explore as i see fit.

DivaJood said...

Hi Great White Hype - welcome. It's funny, I was talking earlier with a client about this today - she said that since 9/11 they've seen an increase in people needing psychiatric treatment not from stress, but from listening to messages of greed and fear - all ego-driven shit, and the solution is patience, tolerance, kindness, love, service. Help others, rather than blow each other up. But the real influx of this ego-driven madness, she said, was post EST-stuff. That changed attitudes completely!

atheist said...


I love your blog, but I have to disagree with you on a key point here.

"And then it got to me. The basic core teaching of all the major religions is patience, tolerence, kindness, and love. So where do we go wrong?"

Perhaps this is correct. But the fact is that religion has, throughout history, been cynically by those in power to oppress the masses. I know that it is cliche to say that religion is the opiate of the masses, but it is nevertheless true.

I am an atheist, albeit one who respects others' rights to pursue the religion of their choice, so long as they do not preach/proselytize to others.

But at the core, the reason I have come to my personal decision to be an atheist is that I feel that there are some relatively painful realities that one must confront: life can be incredibly unfair, in the end, you get old, and then you die (or perhaps you die young). Perhaps you are in the majority of people in the world who live in poverty and lack access to health care.

It is so much easier to say that, okay, alright, but everything will be better when we are in heaven, when jesus returns to earth, etc, etc.

But I have the feeling that if we fall into this trap, if you will allow me to call it that, what we are doing is in fact setting ourselves up for some failure. Because by adopting a religious worldview, we are in fact adopting a view which is in many fundamental ways, at odds with many realities of life. In the end, we are investing so much of our energy in sustaining a worldview which is at odds with reality rather than embracing reality itself and confronting the true challenges of life.

Returning to my original point, it appears that while their may be a positive "face" of religions, there is always a core which is in many ways predictable and bad for humanity. Humans would be better off without religion!

DivaJood said...

Hi Atheist - thanks for your comments. I agree, there are many painful realities we must face, and life is not fair. I read a wonderful diary today on My Left Wing that discussed the concept of "Being Safe" - which is another myth. We can't be safe.

So the question is how do we choose to live our lives? Do we live our lives in fear, resentment, and self pity? Do we rage against people who are different than we are? Do we wage war for ostensibly "holy" reasons (which are far from holy, unless oil is one's god.)

I don't believe in Jesus as a savior, or a god. I don't believe that when we die, everything will be different - what I believe in is a life well lived, sober, grateful, and of service to my fellows. And that is the spiritual awakening that I've had because of sobriety. I do have a god of my understanding; I respect people's beliefs, be they athiest, agnostic, or with a god - my question, still, is how do those who claim "Religion" with a capital R ignore the basic core teachings?

But your point, that religion has, throughout history, been cynically by those in power to oppress the masses. I know that it is cliche to say that religion is the opiate of the masses, but it is nevertheless true. - I agree with this. Small minds are easy to manipulate. And THAT is the tragedy.

Come back and visit again!

enigma4ever said...

great blog and great post...makes me wonder if Bush ever went to AA meetings when he had Harry help him quit the ol'bottle ? Did he listen to the meetings ? because you raised some really solid sensible, spiritual points....oh, that's right he's a moron- drunk or sober....what was I thinking????

But did indeed raise beautiful points...and no higher power..of any religion advocates is indeed that simple.

enigma4ever said...

Have to blogroll you after this post...just have to....

DivaJood said...

Enigma, I don't think Georgie went to AA meetings - he is a double high authoritarian, ego-driven, pathological narcissistic theomaniac. So, even if the did go, he would not be able to listen.

And thank you - I was over at your blog, don't know why I hadn't visited before, and will be blogrolling you as well - thoughtful and a really beautiful look to your blog!

DA said...

Wow, what a great thoughtful post. To my huble opinion the word you are referring to is COMPASSION. Thx for sharing..

Greetz from Amsterdam

PS Hi Atheist, read your comment. I think atheism is a contradictio in terminis. Because we haven't got the faintest clue about what's going on, we don't know the exact meaning of life. If you don't know all the answers, answers remain unanswered. What's next? You start believing something or accept the unknown. So, I can imagine not believing in the regular God , Allah or Buddha. But straight atheism seems impossible in a logical way to me. Take care anyway.

DivaJood said...

da, hi there. Yep, compassion. That about sums it up. I hear you won yourself a free trip to Amsterdam! But, wait, you LIVE THERE!