Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Have Faith In My Fellow Man

Study: Blacks and Whites Intermarrying More in the U.S. - Healthland 9/19/11

Unemployment and Religion: Their Faith Affects How Americans View Jobs Crisis, Survey Says - Huffington Post 9/20/11

A Rough Decade For American Congregations - CNN 9/20/11

Atheism On the Upswing in America - The Washington Post 9/20/11

Some very telling polls have come out recently giving a little insight into what is happening in the country. First and most noticeable is we are becoming a more tolerant nation. Tolerant across the board socially, from race to religion to orientation. We have elected a black president, DADT was repealed this morning and many states are now passing marriage equality bills. Interracial marriage is increasing as well. Something that in the 1950s and 1960s would have gotten the same reaction that gay marriage has been getting recently. This is now a social norm of sorts and eventually, so too will be marriage equality. It will be a non-issue, except only the most fervent hateful minorities. While I must admit there is still a hesitancy towards people who practice islam, it is only out of ignorance and fear and something I feel over time will become less toxic a subject to talk about. As we continue to stir the world's melting pot, people from all walks of life are coming here looking for that great hope, those special freedoms, a prosperous life for their families, all the stuff that makes us different from each other also makes us as a nation unique and special. That in a place like this, people can actually get along. What a story to tell the rest of the world! If you come here to participate in this great societal experiment and work hard for that American dream and respect others trying to do the same, we will create a truly progressive and prosperous society for the betterment of us all.

As for the government issue, I'm not exactly sure how too much government became a religious argument. People need a government that works for them. Obviously the road has been tough these last 10 years with all the polarization happening with both parties, but let us never forget why government is so important. A representative government elected by the people and accountable to the people is a luxury in this world. We can see how dictatorships can deprive a country of its wealth, artistically, intellectually, societally and otherwise (see: middle east). Government makes collective ventures possible, for example: NASA, the interstate highway system, national parks, infrastructure and more. Government makes sure what you eat and what medicine you take is healthy. Government makes sure big business doesn't walk all over the common man with emphasis on blocking monopolies, protecting workers rights, and regulating products so they don't destroy this fragile environment for the future and that products do what they claim they will do. Government sure comes in handy with disaster relief. As we can all attest to this year with hurricanes, droughts, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, oil spills. It sure is nice to have a collected effort to help those areas most affected by disasters. This can only be accomplished on a national level. Government also protects us from people who wish to harm us. Osama Bin Laden? He would never have been caught. Not to mention all the other perks that come with big government like mail service, a strong military, social security and medicare for when you retire. People seem all too excited to reduce taxes, but never fully understand what taxes actually represent. Taxes are paid for those special services rendered to you that can't be done any other way. Taxes allow for all that to happen. They allow for all those protections, those perks, those freedoms. We should all be quick to sign up for that. Let's not be hasty with knee-jerk reactions and actually try to compromise on a solution that works for all people involved.

In the other polls, atheism is on the rise in America while congregations are decreasing in size. While I am excited at the news, what's really important to me is that people start to ask questions on topics that regularly go undiscussed. People go to church because that's what they've always done. They never, or rarely, stop to ask why. What am I saying when I recite these prayers? What is the church's position on these topics? Do I actually believe what I am professing? It seems to me, more people are rejecting religious theocracy for something else, not necessarily atheism. Something lighter on the scale. From being spiritual, to skeptical, to agnostic, to not worrying about it at all, the trend is away from the organized religion. Away from the church, the mosque, the temple. Religions no longer offer the most accurate explanations of why we are here and how we got here in the first place. People look at religions and they see rigidity in the face of an ever-expansive wealth of knowledge about the cosmos. They look at religions and see the hatred spewed from the pulpits about people different from them and about other religious ideology being of satan. They see corruption and criminal activity in their highest offices and positions of esteem. They look at religions and see something that is not in synch with their own beliefs, their own morals and it is starting to show in attendance numbers. It is a wonderful thing to see... people thinking for themselves. People looking at evidence and judging for themselves how it should affect their daily lives and the way they interact with other people.

People can really suck at times... a lot. And there are times when I start to lose faith in the human species to pull out of this malaise, but I see polls like these and I am encouraged that maybe we are getting somewhere finally after-all. Maybe we won't destroy ourselves with petty differences. Maybe we are the ones who will get our shit together after all and spread life around the universe. We have learned a lot on our human journey and there is still a long way to go before we get there, but we are definitely getting there I think.

People are wasteful, they waste all the food.
People are hateful, and people are rude. 
But God I love some people sometimes, because people are very very special. 
And people are impatient, they dont know how to wait.
And people are selfish, people are prone to hate.
But God I love some people sometimes, because people are the greatest thing to happen.
I said God I love some people sometimes, because people are the greatest thing to happen.
And People are people, regardless of skin.
And people are people, regardless of creed.
People are people regardless of gender, people are people regardless of anything.
I said People are people regardless of gender, people are people regardless of anything.
And people are my religion, because I believe in them.
People are my enemies and people are my friends.
I have faith in my fellow man, and I only hope that he has faith in me.
I said I have faith in my fellow man, and I only hope that he has faith in me.

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