Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Of Motes and Beams 

I never intended to write a "God-blog" and find myself somewhat surprised that the topics of religion, faith and morality have come up so often, but I think, in great part, it is a reflection of the times and the prevalence of this topic in mainstream campaign reporting. For example, a recent article in the NYT Magazine went into great depth discussing President Bush's Christian faith and opining on his self-appointed messianic role in current events.

Like many similar critical articles on the topic, though, this one seems to speak more about what others believe the President feels or thinks than what he himself has said. This general pattern was brought home in stark terms last night as I listened to Michael Savage in the car while running errands. He had asked why white Christian males are so generally disliked and, in response, was speaking to a Jewish lady who was uncomfortable that Bush described himself as a "God-fearing Christian". She revealed how her mother had exhibited a mistrust of Goyim, attributing it to the result of years of pogroms experienced. She, however, claimed no such bias and attested that she had never personally suffered any discrimination from Christians as a result of being Jewish. In spite of this, she still repeatedly said that it would have been OK to just say "God-fearing" but that she was uncomfortable with him using the word "Christian." When pressed why, she said it just didn’t seem right to her. It never occurred to her that perhaps the problem was not in Bush making a simple declaration of his faith but rather her discomfort came from a faulty perception that the profession was more than what it was.

Let me put this in another way. A young Black man is walking toward you. He has his baggy pants, an over-sized jersey from a professional sports team, a knit cap, headphones on with loud hip-hop paying, walking with a bit of swagger. In this case, if one made the assumption that the young man is a gangster and a danger he would be immediately branded with the perhaps justified charge of racism. How, then, is this much different than hearing the President say "I am a Christian" and interpreting that to mean that he thinks he's better or that you're less or that you should be Christian, too, or else? Why do so many on the political left seem to accept this response to open declaration of one's faith as natural or normal?

Perhaps it is the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty in the face of surety. People are often uncomfortable at the doctor's office not because of what they know, but because of what they don't. I don't understand why my body is doing this, but the doctor comes in all sure and my lack of knowledge and understanding makes me uncomfortable. If this happens in cases where hard physical evidence can often be cited for one belief over the other, how much more uncomfortable it becomes when faced with a matter of faith. Neither can prove their point, and so it just comes down to you and him and the strength of your beliefs. And, in the face of your own uncertainty you can’t help but ask “how can he be so sure?”

I don't say this in a condescending way, but out of understanding. Sometimes I have wondered if I am too logical for my own happiness. I sometimes look in envy at those who have such strong and complete faith, wishing I, too, had something so strong in my life to believe. It is similar to feeling I had in Japan, surrounded by an ancient culture with such a strong and unique identity. I felt a certain admiration of the Japanese, to be able to have and share such a clear sense of who you are. But I also believe that unlike the elitist left, most Americans (including the elistst right, like myself 8^D) intuitively understand the difference between a Christian of strong faith professing his beliefs and the Bible-thumping, holy-roller street preacher standing on the corner extolling the evils of AL-KEE-HOL and the sins of pre-marital kissing. And I will always see an inability to recognize the difference as a problem with the observer and not the observed.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?