Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Health and Jesus, er um God, er um Whoever, er um Whatever

OK, this is going to be a long one. But mainly because it's 2, yes 2, 2 posts in one. Wait, that was a mint gum thing wasn't it?
I ventured onto Cathy's blog tonight, something I have only done once before. I don't know why, it just seems kind of private, and I don't want her holding back because she's afraid I'll read something she doesn't want me to.
Tonight however I'm writing in the hospital room where we have lived now for the past 2 weeks. We have been on a roller coaster ride since we got here, with several instances of uncertainty and fear about what might be happening and it seemed okay to see if she had been writing anything lately. I'll get back to our adventures in Hospital Land soon, but that's not what got me writing tonight
It turns out that the last time she had written was over a month ago, and she was relating some thoughts she had experienced with regard to me and the rest of the family and how we would still be here and would get by after she is gone. Not the kind of thing you want to dwell on constantly, but certainly a normal line of thought given her prognosis. There was 1 comment to her post, from an anonymous writer. This person thought Cathy was thinking too much, and about the wrong things. That Cathy should find Jesus and her life would be better.
I posted the following comment -

Interesting, the idea that changing the way you refer to God can somehow make your illness go away. If God decides to invoke a miracle, which is incredibly unlikely, he will do it regardless of what name you call him by. I'm absolutely positive that if you look at the instances of "miraculous recoveries" you would find equal numbers of beneficiaries from all walks of faith, and probably some from people with no faith. Although I really question how many people truly have NO faith. I think most that claim that just don't have a name for their belief, so they don't acknowledge that it exists. And I did say most, not all.
God has made a lot of lives better through Jesus. He's also made a lot of lives better through other avenues. I tend to give him credit for making possible all the good things that go on in our world. It seems unlikely to me that if good things happen to someone who hasn't "found" Jesus, someone besides God must be responsible. I certainly don't consider the undisputed fact that sometimes bad things happen to Christians to be proof that God doesn't like Christianity.
And as for thinking about the right things - I do think one can dwell on the negative aspects of life too much. But the truth is we all have thought at one time or another about life after we have gone, and how the people and the world we know will react to our departure. At least I have, and I think it creeps in there a little more often as we age. So if one knows that one's life is, in all likelihood, not going to be as long as one would hope, it seems only natural that you would think these thoughts even more often. And the best way to get past them is to voice them so you can move on to better thoughts, instead of suppressing them and have them stay under the surface, always there.
Then again, what do I know?
Maybe I think too much as well.

OK, so that's a long comment. But I really wanted to say so much more. I condensed almost every aspect of what I was saying as I wrote that. I didn't mention that if one gives God credit for all the good stuff, you kind of have to give him credit for the bad as well. Oh, I know, there's the old Satan thing you can lay that off on, but seriously now. Are you going to tell me you believe there's another God out there as powerful as "your" God, which he would have to be if he can make things happen that God doesn't want to happen. No, I kind of think that God created all these wondrous possibilities, and that he created a perfectly balanced universe, meaning that the wondrous possibilities automatically necessitate some not so wondrous possibilities.
And another thing. I used the old "he" term for God. It's just easier and flows better if you use either he or she instead of placing the word God, or G*d, or Adonai, or whatever, in a single sentence 3 or 4 times. Maybe I should have used "she" to make a point, I often do, but it seemed a little combative, which I was not trying to be. The thing is, I don't visualize God as a "he" or a "she" or even as a carbon based life form at all. I don't buy the whole "made us in his image" thing. To give God physical characteristics seems actually a little condescending to me.
And that is also why I can't buy the Christian philosophy of "believe that Jesus is my Son or you will rot in Hell". Forget the argument about whether he is or isn't. That's another post entirely.
But if he is, I still wouldn't assign the VERY human trait of vanity to God. And that's what that philosophy sounds like me. "Do it my way or suffer eternally". Doesn't even sound "Christian." Sounds "Bushian", maybe, but that's another post as well. Sounds angry, hateful, arrogant, and vengeful. All of which seem like very human characteristics. None of which sound like the God I commune with. Of course I have a rather eccentric view of God, one that I will not delve into right now. Suffice to say that it encompasses a lot of beliefs and science as well. I do consider myself to be part of the Jewish community, but one reason I do so is that Judaism allows me space to have my own beliefs without ostracizing me or condemning me for thinking for myself and developing my own unique relationship with God.
Then again, maybe I just think too much

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