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Thursday, December 23, 2021

What The Actual F?

These words first graced our paper currency in 1957. Soon, there will be no one left alive who remembers, but it is a relatively new thing to put on our currency. As far back as 1864 those words were first put on the back of pennies, but that was near the end of the Civil War. Americans ofthe United States would have appealed to anyone at that point, they were getting completely demoralized. Except for the tiny cadre of weapons producers and war profiteers. The racist rebels had fought long and hard and victory was not clearly on the horizon. It is long past time to take those words off again. Time to go back to our more rational roots. The only thing that fuels the religious is that it is impossible to prove a negative, so they exist on the margin of possibility, repeating the mantra "So, you're saying there is still a chance."
The fastest growing group when people are asked about religion, are the "none"s. Very soon, non-believers will again outnumber those who accept that there is a supernatural being guiding events, or who has set the multiverse in motion. It is astounding to say the least that we forget that freedom of religion also equates to freedom from religion. We can change our culture in just a genration, back when the Civil War was ending, we let people think that the moral side of the fight would win out, as if god would help the righteous to vanquish the evil. The truth was much more difficult to understand. The industrialized North with it's diverse economy, transit links and voting population eventually wore down the South because even though they would never give up, they eventually ran out of resources to bring to bear on the conflict. Morality and any religious aspects had nothnig to do with the events as they played out. In the environment they faced, it was easy enough to believe that a divine being had intervened. In those days, people still used patent "medicine" which was most likely morphine and alcohol. They imagined their food to be healthful when the truth was more like what you can read in the book, "The Jungle". Trusting without question was literally killing people left and right. The imaginative people of the day had seen dozens, perhaps hundreds of posters designed to get young men to enlist that showed the Spirit of America, a beautiful angelic creature ushering young men to service, and believing angels followed your kin into battle made war4 seem less dangerous to be sure. This could be part of the imaginary mental landscape that says that prayer exists in every foxhole, on every battlefield, in every classroom on the day of the big test. The people I know who have survived battles or in fact did well on tests, had no time to pray. The ratcheting up of God, onto the penny, then on to other bills and coins, made a fantastical being into a motto, it was not done for the good of our country, but to codify religion in a group of mostly non-religious people. Who has not heard the term, C and E X-tians? Those who show up to church two days each year Christmas and Easter, but who spend the other 363.25 days each year being onn-religious folks who refused to believe that they were in th eminority. Religious "belief" actually turned into a sort of litmus test used to "prove" that you were not a godless communist. I laugh, but only to keep myself from crying. The irony is that when the marginally religious answer surveys, they often claim themselves as in the club, even though they are effectively paying no dues. Church is about community, but they don't know that because they don't show up.
Especially the later changes that were made during the Cold War, were a re-hash of earlier sentiments, that there is a moral difference between us and the "godless" heathens of Soviet-era Russia. Interestingly, the same beliefs that were exploited at the end of the Civil War took hold of our collective imagination and tainted our memory. This inculcation continues to this day and no matter how often the slogans are repeated, it will not make them right.
Hundreds of millions of us believe in people, education, science and humanity generally, not the imaginary, folkloric idols of the past, vague whisps, spirits and imaginary rulers over mankind and nature. John Lennon was actually telling the truth when he said that the Beatles are more popular than religion. It isn't even worth creating such a being because we have too much to do with things we can see, tpouch, hold, prove and love. Making up an all powerful being only frustrates our own efforts and abilities, wasting valuable time and I dare say, money. I along with other enlightened beings around the planet work to re-create a more ancient, wholistic approach, presenting a series of tools and classes to teach about the things we know and can see and prove, like the fact that people working together are much more efficient and capable than if they all worked in isolation. We can easily see the value of others if we know how to look. When we learn to give back, and truly appreciate one another, there is less reason to need an all-powerful being to keep people honest and treating one another fairly. In my estimation, when people have the opportunity to be integrated into a community that appreciates them, it only enhances their ability to serve and give back themselves. Many shun interaction with a cadre of like-minded folks because they feel insecure in their beliefs, or ashamed of their behaviors or their imagined capacities. What we need most right now is people affirming and mixing their strenths with those of their neighbors and helping to fill gaps fo rpeople who have, for so long existed alone, or without family. The Lone Ranger and/or Rugged Individualist images need to be erased from our cultural memory for the sake of every one of us. A mythology of mutualism, just like we see reflected in nature all around us, is necessary if we are to survive the 6th extinction. Some people do not know how to value or respect the work of others and often even lack the ability to value their own efforts. Many only know how to take; we need to identify those folks as early as possible, find ways to teach them the error of their ways, teach them by example what compassion is and what the give back or give-away look like as well as why threy are rewarding. Creating the world we want often requires us to identify what we really want. Once we know what that is, we can learn the ways to get there, but the biggest challenge remains, getting past the fictional characters and owning the responsibility for the seeds we sow. Benjamin franklin suggested the motto: Mind Your Own Business should be on our money, I think that would be far superior motto.

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