Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Creative Differences.

The politicization of religion continues unabated. Or maybe the religionization of politics. Not just what's going on now, but politics past, i.e., history.

I was reading this one blog about some politician's beef with gay marriage, and it got me thinking. Not so much about the politician or gay marriage, but what was being said in the comment section. As all bloggers know, the comments can sometimes stray off-course. In this particular instance, instead of a debate on the pros and cons of gay marriage, there was an argument raging about the meaning of this particular phrase from one of our nation's founding documents:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

A commentator seemed to imply that since a Creator bestowed this equality, atheists and agnostics are doomed to forever favor fascist dictatorships. Or something like that. But I'm going to leave that question for some other day. I prefer to concentrate on something else.

Is God Almighty really about equality? Let's examine the facts.

Some people are born big, others are born small. Some people are born beautiful, others are born homely. Some people are born healthy, others are born sickly. Some people are born with 20/20 eyesight, others wear glasses. Some people are born with high IQs, others are born developmentally challenged. Some people are born rich, others are born poor. Some people are born in Western countries with all kinds of modern conveniences, others are born in the Third World and can't, or shouldn't, drink the water. Some people were born into centuries with access to such wonders as cell phones and home computers, others were born at a time when the highest technological achievement was the wheel.

Does that sound like an equal opportunity deity to you?

To be fair, some of those imbalances are human constructs. Rich and poor, for example. Still, if you're going to believe in a God that takes an active interest in human affairs, and that's the kind of God most people seem to want to believe in, then that God must know if that if he (or, more likely, it) plunks a baby into a poor family, than that baby probably will have a harder time of it than another that grows up rich.

On the other hand, can any of those imbalances be blamed solely on God? Take big and small. Clearly, that's God's doing. But the fact that we humans tend to look so much more favorably on the big than the small, well, that's our own fault. No one's making us.

In fact, if you subtract human judgement, they're not inequalities so much as mere differences. But we can't seem to just let different be different. We have to quantify that difference. Assign such people a rank. Figure out where such people go on a graph, chart, or scale. And the bigger the difference, the lower such people may go on that graph, chart, or scale. We, of course, get to be on the high end. Feels better that way.

And it's this desire to quantify, and to feel better about such quantifying, that, throughout human history, has produced such interesting institutions as feudalism, royalty, caste systems, nationalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, slavery, and, in the technically advanced century that ended just a decade ago, genocide.

It also makes some of us picky about who should be issued a marriage license.

When it comes to inequality, we outdo God.


  1. Oh god, Kirk, you had to go there, huh? The baby randomly dropped into the wealthy family will be in all ways BETTER than the one randomly placed in the struggling one, of course - "they" say it is so.

    And, damn, don't they spend a lot of time worrying about what other people do in the sack? No notice of the beauty of two people who want to make a commitment to one another. Oh, they hold commitment in high regard. Just not commitment between certain sorts.

    Grand post!

  2. Grand comment! Thanks, Les.

    By the way, in case there's any doubt, I don't believe atheists or agnostics favor fascist dictatorships. At least not any more than the average bible thumper.

  3. I had that figured out about you, Kirk. I'm wit' ya.

    WV - defuri. Hard to believe defuri I work up when it comes to the holier than thou sorts.

  4. Man, you're on a roll with the WV today, aren't you?

  5. I have been for awhile. The Badger commented on it the other day on his blog and then had to send me an e-mail to reiterate. Maybe there's a game show in my future that would focus on something other than my song lyric magic.

    WV (I'm sorry, sort of) - sapsyse. Although I'm glad the SS Pingh is on its way back to China, I wouldn't want it to sapsyse or anything.

  6. No need to apologize. Look at the some of the puns I come up with.

  7. Excellent post!

    Glad that the comments on my blog inspired this. I didn't think my blog inspired anything but indigestion.

    One things for sure....The Amalekites certainly didn't think God had any interest in equality.

  8. Glad you liked it, Lemmy. I very much enjoy reading your blog.

    You forced me to look up "Amalekite". Quite frankly, I don't know if there is anybody in the Old Testament that believes in the equality of God.

    At least Job called God on it.