September 4, 2008

Gut Feelings, Evil, Sin, Politics and Lies

Once again, the Republicans are resorting to out and out lying in order to win an election. I don't mean that they are just exaggerating their strengths and their opponent's weaknesses; they are simply and effectively lying. If the public doesn't figure this out, then our country and our constitution are toast.

Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me! After listening to her speech at the Republican Convention last night, I had an almost visceral reaction. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something about her seemed just down right evil.

Today, while speaking with a relative on the phone, the subject turned to the ideas of evil and sin. We were not talking about politics. That is an issue we generally avoid. The reason for the call had nothing to do with current affairs.

My relative is a born again Christian, and I love her, but we do not see eye to eye on many issues. She knows that I do not believe in the innate sinfulness of humankind.

As the conversation moved on ... the topic changed. We began to speak specifically of 'sexual sin'. This is another touchy subject. She told me that she knew that I thought she was hung up on sex. I don't actually believe that, but it seems to me that this is the only form of sin that I have ever heard her strongly condemn.

We have had this discussion before, and I have shared that I never can understand why born again Christians do seem to be so preoccupied with sex, when it seems to me, there are far greater sins.

She very strongly told me that God told us that certain acts are sinful, and added that we know this to be true because it is in the Bible. She was speaking of sex outside of marriage and homosexuality.

I reminded her that I do not believe that what is written in the Bible is necessarily the word of God. I added that the Bible is just one of many books that are considered to be Sacred Writings. I didn't bother to try to talk about the many changes and translations that have taken place over the years. We have been over this subject in the past.

She said that Pete and I readily quote passages from the Bible, but that we could not just pick and chose the parts we want to believe. That led me to ask her that if she believed that everything in the Bible is true, why then didn't she adhere to the Jewish dietary laws?

She replied that she doesn't pay much attention to the Old Testament.

"But" I asked, "Isn't one of the sins you speak of only found in the Old Testament, in Leviticus?" She said it might be, but it is also in the New Testament. I'm not sure about that, so I didn't argue the point.

I asked, "But what about the Psalms and the Proverbs?" She admitted that she loved and found comfort in the Psalms and Proverbs, so I guess the Old Testament hasn't been tossed aside completely.

She then asked me if I even believed that evil exists? I have been asked this queston before. I gave her a qualified yes, in that I believe that people are capable of committing great acts of evil. But that even in that, maybe at some spiritual level, these experiences are put in front of us to help us grow in love and awareness.

She said, "I know that you don't believe in hell." "Well", I said, "I don't believe in the kind of hell you do." I told her that I believe that we can be in Hell while we are alive, and made an example of a time when I felt completely cut off from everything, even the Divine. "That was hell for me"; I said.

But, I added, I don't believe in death. I believe that there will come a time when we all must leave our bodies, but I believe that our spirit just moves on. And, I added, I do not believe that we can ever be separated from God.

We agreed that life is everlasting. That is good. It is always good to find some common ground.

I added that if all people were created by a loving God, then how could we call them evil simply because of who they were, and then asked her when she chose to be straight?

This question brought another area of common ground. She told me that she believes that homosexuals are born that way.

So I asked again, how then could it be evil to choose someone that you loved to become your life's partner? It seems that this desire is only natural. After she pressed me on one of the issues that was brought up before, I admitted that there are some things that make me uncomfortable, but I cannot say that they are intrinsically evil. And, I cannot condemn them, because in my experience, I have often found myself walking in the shoes of people I have previously judged.

"So", she asked, "what do you consider to be a great sin?" It took me a moment to reply to this question.

I answered; “I hate hypocrisy. I hate bigotry and prejudice.” I told her that I think it is a sin to preach that certain people are evil because of who they are, their religion, or because of where they live in the world. I think it is a sin to blame all Muslims, and to condemn any religion or any people for the acts of a few. I told her that I think that this is preaching hatred, and I believe that that is a sin.

I didn't get into the the topic of the war and the fact that so many people feel perfectly fine about bombing the hell out of people 'over there'. I never can understand how people justify the killing of innocents, but that is another thing about judgments. I have never experienced war. I have never known what it is like to feel that I must participate in war to survive. Maybe I would feel differently if I felt personally threatened and attacked.

That is the thing about judgments. All off us are continually making them. We do so throughout each and every single day. It is that feeling in our 'gut' that we generally follow. If we didn’t, we would most likely perish. As I have said before, Judgment is a basic survival mechanism.

Sometimes each of us judges badly, and when we do, we call that sin. So to get back to the original topic, my thoughts on the newly chosen Republican candidate....

I admit that I probably shouldn't make such a harsh judgment after watching and listening to only one speech. And who am I to be talking about evil?

But in this case, something in my gut is screaming, “Beware”!

Posted by Judi at September 4, 2008 7:27 PM | TrackBack

Wow, Judi! You took the words right out of my mouth. What a great debate you had and your arguments likely made her think. And yes, Palin gives me the creeps too.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 19, 2008 9:07 PM
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