I knew this would happen someday. A couple of days ago, nine people were arrested for ploting to shoot a policeman and then shoot more cops at the funeral. These people are calling themselves, Hutaree which means “Christian Warriors.” Shooting cops sounds real Christian-like to me. They should ask themselves, W.W.J.D?
There’s an old spiritual that shares the title of this essay. The lyrics go, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before. Christ the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see his banners go!”
I was raised as a Christian and was taught that we are engaged in a spiritual war. I didn’t realize that fundamentally, as a Christian, we would even consider shooting cops. That was never taught in my Sunday school.
People today are interweaving their politics and their religion. People are bastardizing their religion to fit their current beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Muslim, killing people is not the core message of either religion, yet soldiers have traditionally felt that God is on their side. My question is this, why would you think God even cares about the petty little argument, whatever the situation is, that you’re involved in?
As I said, I was raised in a Christian home. My mom’s side is Southern Baptist. My dad’s side is Methodist. I was baptized twice, once at five years old and again when I was around eight, just in case the first time didn’t work. I went to church twice a week up until about the age of 10. I went to a Baptist high school. I’ve read the Bible from front to back and studied various parts of it, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Job and Revelations in particular, several times.
But as I’ve gotten older and met people from other cultures, other religions and from other places in the world, I’ve realized that maybe “Our God,” might not have all the answers. I always treated other people’s idea of God on the same level as my own, because my thinking was anything that’s spiritual is just as alive to them, as my God is to me.
As I’ve traveled throughout the World, my thoughts on God have changed dramatically. I was born in the Bible-belt and was raised there until age 10. I moved to Hawaii and had my eyes forced open to other cultures and religions.
When I was in high school and my first two years of college, I used to drink with my friends in the parking lot of a Buddhist temple. There were three giant 30-40 foot Buddha statues sitting in this temple. We partied like rock stars in that parking lot. The monks never kicked us out even though we trashed the place every weekend for a month straight.
Finally one day we noticed that someone had placed a trash can right where we use to hang out. That was the Buddhists way of saying, “Hey assholes, pick up after yourselves.”
I remember right before I left Hawaii, I picked up a girl at a bar and brought her to that temple parking lot with a buddy of mine. She wanted to smoke some ice—crystal meth and my friend happened to have some. I have never smoked it, but she was more than welcome to it if she wanted it. When they were done smoking, she was supposed to do me a favor since I done her one by hooking her up with my friend and his drugs. I unzipped my pants and she got down on her knees. Then she looked up and saw those three giant Buddha statues and she completely lost it.
“Oh my God! What the fuck! We’re at a temple? Look at those things,” she said, fucked-up out of her gourd. “They’re beautiful. They’re fucking huge,” she said.
“Yeah, I know, I see them all the time,” I said. “Now come on. You promised.”
“I’m sorry I can’t do this,” she said. “This is totally fucked up. I can’t do this outside a temple. You’re supposed to treat your body like a temple and look what I’m doing right outside of one.”
I hope that was her religious awaking and that she got her shit together. I’m not too confident of that though because we went to the pool hall afterward and she said, “I’m going across the street to work.” The only thing that was across the street was two strip bars and a restaurant that was closed. It must be nice just to walk into a place and get a job right away, especially after having a once-in-a-lifetime religious experience.
I got married when I was three months shy of turning thirty. My wife and I went to the Mayan Riviera for our honeymoon. While we were there we visited Chitzen Itza—the Mayan pyramids. We learned that the people who lived there 1400 years ago were religious zealots who believed in human sacrifice. We were told by our tour guide that one of the popular games they played was a mix of polo and basketball. The game involved throwing a goat’s head through a ring that was 20 or 30 feet high while riding horses. He said also that the game could go on for several days. The winner’s were then sacrificed to the gods. I thought to myself, no wonder the game went on for several days.
I went to India a few years ago and visited the Taj Mahal. I didn’t realize that the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum as well as a mosque; although it’s not really used for prayer purposes today. The shear size of the white marble building made me realize that Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who had the Taj built for his dead wife, must have been a zealot himself.
In India, Hindu and Muslim zealots are always fighting, even though Hinduism is thousands of years older than Islam. In Jerusalem, it’s the Jews, Muslims and Christians that are always fighting it out.
When I returned home from India, for some reason religious zealotry was stuck in my head. Then I thought about the ancient Greeks and Romans. What happened to their gods? What happened to the Mayans gods? What will happen to mine after enough time passes? This kind of thought brought me to the next level in the evolution of my personal God.
My opinion, formed by the events listed above, God has been used over the millenniums to explain things that we as humans don’t understand. He (or she in some religions) has taken on many forms. God has been the cause of many wars and people have taken up a multitude of causes in his name. But when I realized that God is made up in the human mind, passed from one generation to the next, I lost my sense of self for a while.
The topic of whether or not God exists is completely taboo to discuss in families who believe there is one; that is unless you’re talking about how great he is. It took me about six months to even say my new point of view out loud. Then it took me another year of hashing it out before I could even tell my mother. I was very surprised to hear she went through her own ten year struggle with the same opinion.
And now we’ve come to this, “Christian Warriors” taking up arms. As a person who no longer believes in God, I’m wondering when will the people who do believe in God, start acting like they do? It’s bad when heathens like me are the one’s asking for a cease fire.
But just so you know, I passed the class to get my CCW license this past weekend. I also own several guns and a shit-ton of ammo. That’s just in case the rapture does happen and I’m one of the people who’s left behind. If that happens, I give you permission to smile down from up above and say, “I told you so. Not so funny now are ya?” Because to me, that is how many religious people are acting right now.