Thursday, February 5, 2015

Turning the Prism: A Friendly Response to Stephen Fry

Dear Mr. Fry,

The reason you gave in your interview for being an atheist is probably the most common - the suffering of innocents. And as you appear to be a reasonable man, I believe you might consider a reasonable counter argument (rather than a knee jerk fundamentalist response).

I propose that your reasoning is based on the false premise that God's will prevails absolutely. Ergo Evil would be God's will. It is commonly overheard at funerals that a person's death was God's will. As if that is supposed to comfort the grieving rather than foster resentment.

Since you don't give credence to the existence of a divine being, it would be ill advised for me to quote a body of work supposedly revealed by that being as if it were an irrefutable definition of things, but let me borrow from it as from an inspired literary painting of a collective* concept of a spiritual paradigm.

At the base of that concept is the word Yahweh. One translation of the Hebrew word is "I am that which is becoming."

And since Christian scripture tells us that God is Love and those who Love are of God, participating in His nature, I shall occasionally use the words Yahweh or Love to refer to God as I attempt to address a common misunderstanding of the paradigm.

In Thessalonians the artist expresses that death is not Love's will. Well if not, then how can it happen? We're told that everything that happens is God's will, right? Or rather "everything happens for a reason" in the sense that it is part of some master plan. I argue that it's not. Bad stuff happens. Because evil does exist. Separate from God. There is light and there is dark. The "master plan" doesn't redact it, but does offer a provision for redeeming the painful experiences and turning them around to the good.

The misconception that Evil is God's will is perpetrated especially by some fundamentalist preachers when they suggest that disaster is visited upon us by a God angry about our sexual proclivities. (No mention of slavery or letting children go hungry.) They ignore scripture (e.g., Luke 13:4 and Matthew 5:45) suggestive that evil has become a stream in the natural order of things in this world, affecting all of us without bias.

Why didn't God create a world without Evil? He did. Yahweh's will was that creation would grow into fullness of being, in Love becoming Himself. Then somehow humans screwed it up. They wanted the knowledge of good and evil. And in so doing gave over some of the reins to Evil (maybe just to see what would happen?) putting things on a different trajectory. A trajectory that could be derailed and turned around only by divine intervention.

An incarnation: Love, no longer abstract, but made flesh - temporal, visible, touchable, a Love that could be tasted and could permeate our being and move us to enact Love's will in this world. To become the Light that the Darkness cannot grasp, to become the Grace that abounds even more where Evil abounds.

If one allows that the physical world is a metaphor for the spiritual, then the discovery that every cell in our body contains the genetic code for the whole body would suggest that we are all cells in the Mystical Body of Christ. That we are One. Collectively becoming God. Becoming Love. And as God in this world we act to alleviate and prevent suffering, to enact Love's will not by snapping our fingers but in temporal service - to make Love visible, reachable, touchable here and now.

*The collective attribute is supported by gematria or theomatics - a study based on the ancient Hebrew and Greek practice of using letters of their alphabet to represent numbers. It can thus be demonstrated that the themes in scripture are mathematically consistent.


Monday, November 14, 2011


   The Health Care Mandate has often been compared to social security and car insurance. It's not the same as either. Social Security is a tax paid into a non-profit PUBLIC system. Car insurance, while paid to private companies, is not a universal mandate but a legal requirement IF one owns and operates a motor vehicle. Theoretically, at least, one can avoid paying car insurance by using PUBLIC transportation.
   Interpreting the interstate commerce section of the constitution to justify the mandate is really quite a reach. By the same premise, the government could mandate that you buy liquor. Or fuel oil in order to bring down the price for everyone, even if you heat your home with a wood stove or solar power.
   As one who has recently moved to MA and will benefit from the state mandate I shouldn't complain. I'm not. Just pointing out that by blocking a PUBLIC option, the GOP has forced the Democrats into a bad corner - defending a necessary evil.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


   I can't say I agree with Mother Jones magazine that Krugman's 9/11 piece was "shameful" in its timing. Truth often must be insensitive and seldom dishonors the teller.  When it comes to war, we walk a fine line between honoring the victims/supporting the troops and avoiding the excessive sentimentality that feeds jingoism.
   I have to confess that when I saw the towers go down I did not know there were still people inside, so what went through my mind was how much this event was going to be milked by the neocons. Later, I was stunned, heartsick, and horrified by the extent of suffering, but on 9/12 I did not partake of the Bushiephoria that supposedly united the country.  I didn't trust Bush before it happened and he did nothing afterwards to make me trust him more.  When we went into Iraq, my reaction was "Huh?"  A close friend of mine lost her nephew and even she was skeptical of the administration's response.  More recently, I could have kissed Joe Biden when he said of Rudy that his sentences consist of a noun, a verb, and 9/11. (Ironic when some digging reveals that his career as a prosecutor may have indirectly contributed to the event.)
   My father is a veteran of WWII, specifically of the action during the Bulge.  After reading his account, I am heartened when I hear soldiers in uniform being thanked for their service by passersby in public places.  As a nation we are striving to make up for our treatment of the Vietnam vets.  Yet we must always be mindful of the undertow of self-righteousness and idealization.  Especially on occasions like the 10th anniversary of a horrific event.  It's not Krugman's fault that the event and its victims have been exploited by politicians and profiteers.  He's just the messenger.
   Ron Paul in the Tea Party debate tried to tell his audience what started the conflict (our desecration of ground sacred to Islam).  They shouted him down; they want to believe that the terrorists hate us for our freedoms. These kinds of irrational and untrue beliefs only create more victims.
   Sometimes I can't help wondering what our response would have been, the nature of our commemorations, if the target had been a stadium full of the homeless and disabled.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


   Barack Obama's role models are Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.  I'm beginning to wish there was at least one crusty general in the mix.  I voted for him because I thought he was calm and a uniter, proving my theory that the quality that initially attracts us to a person is the same one that eventually sends us screaming out of the house.
   I'm not at the screaming/running point yet.  But many liberals are.  Not that they wouldn't want someone like Obama leading them. At least in a civilized universe. The problem is that he considers himself the leader of all Americans, even the unciviilized, the irrational, the greedy, the power mongers, the schemers, the RWNJs.  He's acting like he thinks he is supposed to be giving them some of what they want, whether out of duty or necessity.
   Whatever the reason, it's not working.  Well, it's working fine for the top 1% or so.  And not by accident.  For an excellent insight into Republican tactics, read this article in CONSORTIUM.  It details how the Republicans are using the same tactics employed by the CIA to destabilize countries so they can put their own guy in power. You'll see why the approach of Obama (the quintessential Democrat) is doomed to fail. The Republican leaders are not going to come around.  They will use his reasonableness against him.  The electorate may begin to catch on (they  have in Wisconsin et al) but their efficacy is being diminished by voter suppression tactics, outright election shenanigans, RW-stacked court appointees etc. 
   We're reaching critical mass or whatever you want to call it.  We need to do something appropriate to the situation.  Let's talk ...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


   As the years have passed and corporate power has supersized, I have found it increasingly annoying that education is always regarded within the paradigm of job training. Even back in the 70's students who were studying philosophy or art had to endure the question, "What are you going to do with THAT?" Although a case can be made that cognitive skills and aesthetic sensibilities do have value in the workplace, I resent that every human quality and propensity must be ultimately graded according to its marketability.
   The capitalists, of course, revel in this attitude.  Their labor gets trained at public expense.  Voters regard investments in eduction=job-training as contributions to the public good, enabling the masses to better pursue the American dream.  Education-for-its-own-sake is regarded as a purview of the elite, a luxury.  But in our society, the opposite is actually true.
   I don't know this for a fact, but it was told to me by someone whose word I respect: Public education was instituted by our forefathers in order to ensure an informed electorate.  When you think about it, why else would they have mandated that youngsters be taken off the farms and out of the shops?  Except to support a thriving democracy.  And now it seems that the GOP and its corporate mentors would like nothing better than to dumb down the electorate by underfunding education and turning journalism into infotainment.
   Recently Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, after a display of unnecessary rudeness, responded to a question about his defunding of public education by complaining that he pays $38,000/year in property taxes to support public education even though his children go to parochial schools.  This was a typical example of the Republican RED HEN DELUSION (see Memelings) in this case pushing the I-don't-have-kids-in-public-schools-so-why-should-I-chip-in? button.
   Here's my response to that: So, you've never been treated by a doctor who went to public schools at some point?  You've never driven over a bridge that is still standing because an engineer who went to public schools had a great math teacher?  I'll bet your helicopter pilot didn't go to prep school and then Harvard. I know your party is pissed because a public school educated citizenry saw through Republican schemes to bring down Clinton and re-elected him, but grow up and stop being the school yard bully.
   The opinion of someone who went to both parochial and public schools in New Jersey: Chris Christie,  you are a short-sighted arrogant ass.