Category Archives: Divine

On the Sandy Hook tragedy: The God we know

http://thegrio.com/2012/12/19/on-the-sandy-hook-tragedy-the-god-we-know/#like-134071

A World Without God

By now, you must have heard about the sentencing of Conrad Murray for the involuntary slaughter of Michael Jackson. Whether or not, you were a fan of Michael, you probably had some opinions about the culpability of the now infamous Dr. Murray.

I reviled the man from the moment that the details of Michael’s death became clear. Not because I am a fan of Michael, which I am, but because medical malpractice is a horrific crime in my eyes. Doctor’s are given a sacred trust. Sacred, because they hold the power of life and death in their hands. Whenever I think of this subject, my mind summons up images of Alec Baldwin’s in Malice. Ah the hubris, but I digress. From the moment that a Dr. takes on your treatment he is both an agent of science and God. To take such a responsibility lightly is beyond contempt.

Contempt is all I have for Conrad Murray. I agreed wholeheartedly with the judge who stated that Murray’s behavior was suspicious, highly questionable and a clear violation of the doctor/patient relationship and code of ethics. People will continue to debate Michael Jackson’s role in his own demise for many years to come. It is irrelevant to me whether or not he had a drug problem. At worst, Dr. Murray served as an enabler which is criminal conduct and did not exercise his moral obligation to help another human being when he couldn’t make the appropriate choices for himself. The fame of being MJ’s physician and the $150,000 a month salary that he received goes a long way to providing the incentive for a person of his ilk.

My outrage sparked thoughts about morality, an amazingly simple concept that people trod on everyday for their own gain. Disgusting, right? Indeed.

And because my mind works the way it does, it took me to the niggling question that has been bothering me for many weeks, “Do people need God and religion to ensure that they behave in a moral fashion?” 

I contemplate this question in response to what seems to be a rising tide of atheism and agnosticism and wonder about it’s ramifications. Many people have given me a resounding NO as their answer. Their logic being that we all know the difference between right and wrong. The belief in God and/or subsequent punishment is not required to make one adhere to a code of morality. Really? It sounds great but where is the proof? Everyone wants proof, right? That’s why agnostics hold their ground. It seems to me that their is sufficient proof that the further man moves away from God the more rife with immorality the world becomes.

I am open to arguments to the contrary. In fact, I welcome them because I would like to believe in the inherent goodness of man. I would like to believe that man is sufficiently intelligent not to require threats of hell and damnation to keep us in line. I would like to believe that we do not need the Bible, Torah, Koran etc. to tell us how to live. As much as I would like that, I remain unconvinced.

I am not religious although I believe in God. I had a wonderful time debating Saint Anselm’s Ontological argument in college. I have yet to commit to any religion although I was raised with Catholics and Baptists. I never found a religion with which I could agree with enough of the basic tenets to join. Not wanting to be hypocritical, I abstained. I suspect that Dr. Murray is one of the religious hypocrites I so despise.

One of the things that irritates me is the “programmed” responses of people to questions about their faith. In the words of one of my Catholic friends, “We are taught NOT to question God and to accept the teachings of the Bible.” Period, end of story. Good luck with that, is my response. This seems in direct contradiction to me with the reason God gave us brains. I question my mother too, but respect and love her no less. Such extreme behavior is ignorant in my book, or it’s simply a bastion of the needy, neither of which I cotton to. Yet, many religious folk tend to be completely irrational in their beliefs, entrenched and immovable. Even so, we can argue that religion serves as guideposts which humanity sorely needs. It’s clearly not enough because man’s bestial nature all too often gets the best of him anyway…

Based on my experience of human behavior, I would say Yes, we need them. I wouldn’t want to live in a world of atheists but that’s just me. Dante anyone?

Imagine if you would a world without religion, or God. Do you think humanity would still behave morally without them? If so, why.

Is there really such a thing as coincidence?

Everything that’s old is new again and the majority of popular sayings just seem to embed themselves in your memory. They silently await their chance for recognition and rear their heads at odd moments. At which times you must ponder the truth or falsity of the progenitor. It definitely illustrates something interesting about how the brain works, memory and deduction, in particular.

The saying, or adage that has been rattling around my mind lately is, “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

After many days of rumination, I realize that I am preoccupied with how much of my life is destiny versus chance. In my attempts to answer this quandary, the saying about coincidences keeps popping into my head.

I don’t believe in coincidences. It seems to me that certain events and people came into my sphere with a purpose that while not immediately clear could not simply be chalked up to fortuitousness.

Like what?

Many moons ago, I was dating a guy who I thought was prime marriage material. He claimed he felt the same way about me. Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way, as many women do, that this was far from the truth.

Gliding along in relationship bliss, I had a dream that I was pregnant with a little girl. It was foggy when I woke up but the feeling of joy, certainty, love and peacefulness, remained. I went to the Dr. for confirmation and since I was only 3 weeks along, they couldn’t understand how I knew so soon. I would’ve cited the dream as proof them but I thought they might think I was a wee bit strange. Premonition? Coincidence? Spiritual connectivity? Take your pick.

I miscarried a scant two weeks later but not before my reluctant boyfriend proposed and I accepted. When I miscarried, he dumped me. The loss of the baby and the betrayal was devastating and it catapulted me straight into a deep depression. Even to think of it now, makes me sad. I was barely functional at work and spent many stolen minutes crying in the ladies room, crying on the way home and in my memory the entire time is shaded with darkness. Sometimes when a person is really far gone, they have no idea where to turn. I could not escape the feeling that I was alone, unlovable and that God was punishing me for a previous abortion.

I was on 57th St. in Colosseum Books when I met the mother of one of my childhood friends. Through her, I reconnected with my friend Pam that I had not seen in 15 years. Some connections remain, regardless of time and distance, and I was able to open up to her about my trials and she gave me the name of a therapist she had seen. Dr. Montague was a god send. She helped me in more ways than I can count. I am still counting them today.

Pam and I grew distant again after 2-3 months. In my mind, I am sure that her only purpose for coming back into my life was to allow me to make that connection. Imagine, 5 minutes earlier or later, I might not have seen her mom and missed that chain of connections that I so greatly needed.

My final example would be a friend that I made last year on-line. Social Networking and all that jazz. You meet hundreds of people and most of it means nothing.

Not this time. I laughed to find out that we had both eyed each others profiles, off and on for about a year, before we actually connected. I guess they call that drawn :). When we spoke, it was strange just how much we have in common and just how quickly we bonded. What makes it even stranger is that she lives in Africa, 7,369 miles away. You would not think to have a great deal in common with someone a continent away because of societal differences and the like and yet it is. I love her like it was simply meant to be and she has been a great source of encouragement and support to me during yet another difficult time in my life. “Damu ilipendana”. Such connections in life are rare.

My life is peppered with such incidences, the thread of which only becomes clear with introspection. I don’t believe there really is such a thing as coincidence.

Do you ever wonder about what forces in your life are at work?

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he does not wish to sign his work.
Anatole France

What is Love: A Celebration in Words

It is officially one week to Valentine’s day. Ssssh, I am a die hard romantic and no matter what they say about the commercialism of the V-day, the emotion and joy it brings us is a cause for celebration. In honor of V-day, all this week’s posts will be about love. Ummm no, not just the romantic kind but love in all it’s myriad forms, romantic, spiritual, sexual etc. Kicking it off with my favorite biblical verse…

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …

Universal Truths…

I have had occasion in the last few days to think about the flow and movement of life, the grace of God and the footprints we leave upon the hearts of others. In my view, they are all related.

I have always been an empathetic and compassionate person and believe in people, until they prove me wrong. In which case, I pick up my satchel and simply move on to greener pastures. Perhaps not always as fast I should but I’m still standing lol. I am not one of those people who will leave you by the wayside if you get “lost” because I believe that getting lost is part of the journey. I’ve had friends from all walks of life and I relish that as they contribute to my perspective and person. We all lose our way and it is only in triumph that the soul expands, exponentially. Getting lost, does not make a person lesser than you, it merely means that they are at a different developmental stage. Some people can’t be helped but I don’t feel good about myself unless I tried. Indeed, I consider it my duty to extend my hand to others because it is simply the right thing to do. 

“There but for the grace of God go I…”

Perhaps because I look for them, I have always been blessed to find people who defy my expectations, showing me a kindness or opening a door. I thank God for that because I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in the law of karma, like my friend D.A. Adams, and I believe in the cycical flow of universal energy. Energy never dies and will one day, in boomerang fashion, return to you. It is up to you whether that energy is negative or positive. We can not always be good but the best amongst us strive to be better. 😉  

Besides the world is a relatively small place, don’t forget about Six Degrees of Separation, it’s all hand in hand. The Net has only made it smaller.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.  ~Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu)

On Being Thankful….

Thanksgiving looms on the horizon and excited cooks and epicureans everywhere are busy planning and shopping for their feasts. The holidays are a happy time, aren’t they? I am happy at the prospect of cooking my favorite dishes, the smell of the house filled up with spices and goodness, diet abandoned and commitment to satiate your taste buds perfectly acceptable. Of course, there is also spending time with family and friends…but for some, my self included, that is a double edged sword. Are there any normal families or is that simply a misnomer? 🙂

But this Thanksgiving is different for me….I am happy about all the usual things but I have to pause and contemplate the state of the people around me and it is sobering. So many people right now are unemployed. What kind of holiday will they have this Thanksgiving? When it is time to spend that extra $$$ for food to make their feast will they be able to make the grade? If they are one of the many millions of homeowners who have lost their homes to the mortgage crisis where will they hang their hat this season? Will it be a new shade of hell as they can’t help but recall the homes they put so much of their love and lifeblood into but is now lost? And what of the homeless and the brutal cold that is winging it’s way towards us to complicate their plight? The numbers of the homeless have risen disproportionately and are reflected in our streets, on food lines, at Church giveaways. What of the everyday couples that I see struggling with coupons in the supermarket, trying to figure out what they can do without? Do you see them too or are you one of the blissfully unaware who read the headlines but remain intact and therefore unchanged?

The worst feeling I ever had was last Christmas in Target. The store echoed eerily with the absence of shoppers. For once, we did not trip over people in the aisles or curse the overly enthusiastic and inconsiderate people. Those that were present, stood hunched, wraith-like in the aisles, hovering over merchandise with worry creasing their brow as they shopped for what little they could afford.   As a forty something year old, I have been lucky to live my life without being a witness to mass deprivation…until now and it has changed my entire perspective.

This year, I am truly thankful. Thankful for my home, thankful for my love and friends and family. Thankful that my journey and struggles continue and that my life, while tremendously altered by the economy, is still recognizable. I am thankful that my interior landscape has been altered and cleared of unnecessary, material obsessions to make room for consciousness, awareness and compassion. Be aware….be thankful.