The Incredible Shrinking God

Pendant depicting the Dwarf God Pataikos Egypt...

Pendant depicting the Dwarf God Pataikos Egypt 664-525 BCE Faience (Photo credit: mharrsch)

June is upon us once more, which means, among other things, that the Pride Parades have begun in earnest. Today my new hometown of Buffalo enjoyed theirs. It was a fun spectacle, and always great to see so many queer folk and our allies out there refusing to be silenced. No more being forced into closets no matter how much some may howl that we belong there, or in hotter places. I was fortunate that my friends and were nowhere near those poor baying beasts, but out there they were, shouting their hate and fear to any who would listen.

Leaving aside the terrible lack of manners in crashing someone else’s party (I don’t recall ever going to a religious service or event and feeling the need to yammer about my lack of belief.) Why do these right-wing religious zealots feel the need to rail against our very existence? What is it about us that makes them so afraid? Do the one or two lines in their holy text really justify this bile, especially when they are so willing to turn a blind eye to other sins? To paraphrase Susan B Anthony, it is difficult to trust the faith of someone whose God shares so many of their own prejudices.

Which is, I suppose, what bothers me the most. I feel sad for so many of these people who rather than seek personal growth, they seek to diminish the divine. It goes beyond their treatment of the queer community. You see it in their insistence on the perfection of their Bible, even though it contains conflicting accounts of their savior’s birth. You see it in their relentless disbelief, against all evidence, in evolution. You see it in their hastily thrown together “literal” interpretation of the world’s (universe’s) age.

To these people, belief in evolution somehow makes them less when it should make them feel like more. Would you rather your Creator just breathed life into clay, or that they put into a motion a complex system of physics and chemistry that had to culminate in your existence? Would you rather the universe be only as old as humanity or would you accept that it, and its Creator are billions of years old, maybe older? Would you rather the Creator just slap together one kind of people, or that they made the world so that it would contain a beautiful mosaic of all sorts of people? If you chose the former for any of these questions, you are telling me you want your universe, and your God, to be small.

You want to fit God in your pocket. You want to keep your Creator there so whenever you have a personal ax to grind you can pull them out to beat the other with. You don’t want them to be truly infinitely big, because if they are, that makes you feel small. Which is sad to me. The grander the divine, the grander we all are. I probably will never feel the pull of faith, that’s just me, but I weep for those that claim it and yet push it away at the same time, which is what you do when you fear the enormity and diversity of Creation. I’ve long ago given up on trying to talk anyone out of their religion, it is cruel and arrogant to do so, and fruitless. I would, however, suggest approaching it with maturity, humility, and actual faith. When you do otherwise you do your Creator, and more importantly yourself, a horrible disservice.

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