Throughout America there is an inextinguishable belief that one random day blue skies will break open with trumpets, angels and such to manifest in a cloud of glory a spiritual being who will take up with Him buried bodies and live souls into a permanent residence called heaven. It is a place unlike any other and its appearance is greatly enhanced by manipulated imaginations of eager and loyal saints. These saints are saints because they have freely given their lives away for redemption of promises etched in a holy book while accepting these promises as fact. The promise of a returning monarch becomes a distinguishing mark of faith for those who believe the message from the messenger is unmistakably and profoundly true. Yet, all of this theology is without corroborating evidence sustained through any length of time. Unfortunately, the life of their Christian hero, conceived without his parents enjoying sex as part of his conception, and who performed miracles that crowds of witnesses have attested to, met his end on a hilltop between two thieves in a most humiliating event; crucifixion. The “proofs” of His resurrection have been lost in time but the faith these dear people have in a resurrection from the dead lingers and is the cornerstone of their hoped-for salvation.
The various religious musings of preachers, teachers, evangelists, prophets, priests and the like have broadened the message to include faith healers, snake handlers, televangelists and wannabes. All of these men and women must base their message on dubious, faith-based, irrational claims while focusing the attention of believers on a hope that takes them away from this world, to a place called, “Escapism.” And, isn’t that what this is all about? So, lets make up a future in a heavenly place where the cares of this world are left behind and we can live forever in a protective element. One day, so the belief goes, those who have given their lives to the Creator will have an eternity to reside on cloud pillows with nothing to do but stretch out their limbs for anything they desire and walk on gold-covered streets studded with diamonds, pearls and sapphires, all the while living with an eternal being most call, God.
All of the above is believed because someone told them it was so, or, their trust in the message comes from a subjective experience called “real.” That is the hardest part for me to accept. And, I must do it on what is called “faith.” No matter what question I might pose to formerly fellow believers their answer lies within the following: “You’ve got to have faith, Ed!”
Many of us were taught to believe in Santa Claus. And we did, until one of our friends began to humiliate our thinking with deprecating words about our Santa. We got the message and began to turn away. It wasn’t easy because we had an emotional attachment to the idea of a beneficent figure giving out candy and toys after springing from an undamaged chimney. The same kind of experience is often the usual with religious beliefs. But, somehow, we are unable to see it as fantasy and the escapism it represents. That is either because it is clearly true, even while there is very little to support that idea, or, it is because there is too much invested by others, especially those who have built large empires around their faith and would lose an income, a job, or a sense of importance, if it were not deemed to be true. Perpetuating the myth is necessary for the false promise of another life in a grand place of heavenly hope while not having to deal with the vagaries of life that hit us with little or no warning. Or, it is self-serving. I believe there are religious types who would not even be religious or spiritual if their job did not depend upon it.
Perpetuating a fraud if it gets you the necessary elements to a life worth living is all that matters? Foundations are important. This one appears to be crumbling.