Saturday, June 25, 2005

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

I returned Killing the Buddha to the library today simply because I can't renew it anymore (I tried to read it when I was still in school but had no time.) I'm almost finished but will wait until I receive my own copy in the mail to do so. With that said, I'm not going to wait to write about it. It is not one flowing narrative that I should write about in one post. It is called The Heretic's Bible and it parodies the style of the Bible. The authors assigned certain books of the Bible to other writers to do with what they would. Some came up with fictional pieces, others wrote essays. The Psalms were dispersed throughout the book and contained the true stories of the authors' experiences as they traveled the U.S. to investigate religion in various places. Absolutely fabulous.

In Ezekiel by Melvin Jules Bukiet, the protagonist has lost everything - his job, his wife, his purpose - and he finds himself in Central Park where he gets a job running the carousel. He is ever listening, waiting to hear the Voice. All of a sudden he imagines the carousel animals coming to life, and as he is watching this, he spouts excerpts from Ezekiel. You know, the warnings about all the punishments God is going to bestow upon Israel. Then he comes to a realization:

And that's when I realize that I'm not voicing a warning, or rather it's not the warning I thought. I'm not warning them for God; I'm warning them of God. Why? Because we haven't violated the covenant; God has, unilaterally. Because mortality is the first sin against creation. Because all sacrifice is human sacrifice. Because He loves cataclysm, calamity, and catastrophe, performed to the ecstatic tune of the calliope.

A little death here, we can take, make our peace with, but He went too far. And the stronger, more fervent our faith, the worse our loss. The mistake we've made for as long as He's killed us is that belief does not entail the necessary corollary of worship. If I wander into Fifth Avenue traffic and get run over by a bus, that does not mean that I should hobble to my knees and pray to the bus.

I find a few flaws with this passage. Firstly, mortality is the result of sin, is it not? So God didn't necessarily create mortality to be a part of the humanity package. I also find it a little much to say that God kills us, when according to traditional belief, when we die it is the best thing that could ever happen to us. Or maybe "He's killed us" during life with all the suffering and all the punishments. I'm not sure what Bukiet meant.

Last night Fellow Seeker had a discussion about faith with his mother and sister. He made use of his newfound feminism and told them that it's not right that even the animals were created before Eve. What does that say about the worth of women? (I hadn't even thought of that. My, he's smart.) He made a few other comments and they said to him, "You're not supposed to question God." Ah, the great silencer of ages past. That's one thing he absolutely disagrees with. He even wrote in his blog that you are "doing a great work for both yourself, God and society, by doubting." I think that he's right. If God didn't want us to question Him, we would not have been created with the ability to do so. That ability was not a result of the Fall because without it, the Fall would never have happened. What was Eve's action of eating the apple if not questioning God's omniscience?

Also, today I happened to sit down while Sister was watching an episode of South Park. Many religious people find the show extremely offensive, and I am quoting something from it, so if you would rather not, don't read the rest of this post. I only caught the second half or so, but I gathered that the kids had formed a boy band. Cartman said that God wanted him to. They were supposed to perform at the mall but Stan was late for the performance and the mall security guard was telling them that they could not perform unless they did it right away. Cartman said something along the lines of, "Oh well, I guess my dream is dead. [Looking up] I guess you got me again, God... you sick bastard." Then Stan appeared and Cartman yelled, "Yes! Praises!" I found that to be very telling. I told Sister, "I think everyone feels that way at one point or another, they just don't say it." Don't we? Don't we, at least once in our lives, feel that God is doing things to us on purpose? For amusement, or punishment, or whatever reason He may have. Is it that we're fickle creatures, like Cartman, or is it simply that we are truly unsure of His purposes and motivations, regardless of what the Bible tells us?

1 comment:

fp said...

"The Book of Genesis speaks of creation in summary fashion, in language which is poetic and symbolic, yet profoundly true: "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). The creative act of God takes place according to a precise plan. First of all, we are told that the human being is created "in the image and likeness of God" (cf. Gen 1:26). This expression immediately makes clear what is distinct about the human being with regard to the rest of creation.

We are then told that, from the very beginning, man has been created "male and female" (Gen 1:27). Scripture itself provides the interpretation of this fact: even though man is surrounded by the innumerable creatures of the created world, he realizes that he is alone (cf. Gen 2:20). God intervenes in order to help him escape from this situation of solitude: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Gen 2:18). The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided but mutual. Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the "human" as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way.

When the Book of Genesis speaks of "help", it is not referring merely to acting, but also to being. Womanhood and manhood are complementary not only from the physical and psychological points of view, but also from the ontological. It is only through the duality of the "masculine" and the "feminine" that the "human" finds full realization.

8. After creating man male and female, God says to both: "Fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28). Not only does he give them the power to procreate as a means of perpetuating the human species throughout time, he also gives them the earth, charging them with the responsible use of its resources. As a rational and free being, man is called to transform the face of the earth. In this task, which is essentially that of culture, man and woman alike share equal responsibility from the start. In their fruitful relationship as husband and wife, in their common task of exercising dominion over the earth, woman and man are marked neither by a static and undifferentiated equality nor by an irreconcilable and inexorably conflictual difference. Their most natural relationship, which corresponds to the plan of God, is the "unity of the two", a relational "uni-duality", which enables each to experience their interpersonal and reciprocal relationship as a gift which enriches and which confers responsibility.

To this "unity of the two" God has entrusted not only the work of procreation and family life, but the creation of history itself. While the 1994 International Year of the Family focused attention on women as mothers, the Beijing Conference, which has as its theme "Action for Equality, Development and Peace", provides an auspicious occasion for heightening awareness of the many contributions made by women to the life of whole societies and nations. This contribution is primarily spiritual and cultural in nature, but socio-political and economic as well. The various sectors of society, nations and states, and the progress of all humanity, are certainly deeply indebted to the contribution of women!"