I’ve been seeing posts recently blaming societal violence, moral decay, and the Parkland shooting on the fact that god has been separated from public schools, that society is becoming more atheistic, and that we aren’t respecting the faith-based founding of our nation.
There are a couple forms of this. One is that without god, our standards of how we treat each other inevitably falls. Another is that without the church it is nearly impossible to differentiate between right and wrong. A third is that without faith, god can’t protect us or even worse this is our punishment.
I first ask you to stop tying human tragedies to theological failings on an intellectual basis. There is no ownership by any faith over morality or ethics. Right and wrong were concepts established before any religion. Treating others with dignity, respect and love are evidenced long before the entry of any god. Societies are built on community, the sharing of resources, the protection of love and trust. This is a truth established well before any religion and will outlast them all as well. But I know faith for many is much bigger and broader than intellect. Faith is a deeper mystery for them that operates on a different plane.
So, I also ask you to stop tying tragedies to theological failings on the behalf of many I love and admire in my life for whom faith is a central part. It misrepresents many people I know who truly believe and see their god as all powerful and ever loving of its creation. It besmirches their faith and beliefs. It drags their god through the mud. It creates an artificial distance between those doing good in the name of their faith and those doing good because it is the right thing to do regardless of faith.
It’s not god that’s missing from school. It’s our motivation to act as we are told god would want us to that is missing. To act like the Christ I was taught about that is missing. It’s our intolerance of the intolerant that is missing. It’s our courage to act for the good of a society that includes those we disagree with, those we don’t understand, even those we don’t like that is missing.
I no longer go to church. I no longer believe in god. It’s not for me. I believe in humanity. I believe in the innate human need to be loved. I believe in myself and my own capacity to accept others. To forgive others. To love others.