Let’s begin with a short list. The poorest and most oppressed people in the world live in Africa, the Middle East, and North Korea. The most evil men and women in the world and in America who have riches beyond belief and live lives of privilege and luxury remain unscathed. A nation in which millions of uninformed people who claim to be Christian elect a president who is the most immoral and narcissistic man in the world offers evidence that if there was a god, he or she is no longer alive. This is not what I was taught in Catholic school.
I’ll began with one of the doctrines of Catholicism which impressed me when I was a pre-teenager: the “eight beatitudes.”
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. (Verse 4)
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)
Can anyone explain to me why not one of these promises seems to have an iota of truth? The most defenseless and moral people in the world suffer the most. Is this the intent of a God who claims to love us? Is it not logical that if a supernatural being existed that he or she would place their most devoted men and women in precedence over tyrannical despots and greedy billionaires and millionaires?
I was told that these issues are a “matter of faith” when I was young. Common sense tells me this was nothing but bullshit. Offering zero answers to the many questions intelligent men and women ask is the reason why the fastest growing group related to religion are Americans who reject all organized religions. We are called “religious nones.”
As of April 2019 more than 79 million Americans were members of “Religion None;” and that number continues to grow. Adults don’t believe in fairytales.
Religious zealots are desperate to explain this growing phenomenon, but none of their reasons ring true. The truth: the answer: is simple. I and every member of this group see evidence that organized religions benefit only a small group of Americans: the men and women who stand behind the pulpits and their superiors. They live lives of millionaires while many in their congregations struggle through daily life.
The only Christian groups I see who practice their beliefs are men and women in small churches across America whose ministers live among their flock as Jesus Christ did in the New Testament of the Bible. They reject racism and bigotry as taught by the “Son of God.”
One final note. I, and 79 million other Americans may not be what is called “traditionally religious,” but we will vigorously defend your right to practice Christianity, the Religion of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, the faith of Sikhs, Buddhism, or any other faith of your choice. This is what it means to be an American. The first amendment is the most important promise of individual rights and freedoms in history.
And FYI and to the chagrin of Republicans, the fastest growing religion in America is the Religion of Islam.
The Truth Lives Here
Op-ed by James Turnage
Image courtesy of tamara_cox1
My eight novels, including “A Brother’s Revenge,” are exclusively available on Amazon; CLICK HERE; the Kindle app is a free download