Why these six?


If you were a Christian fish, you might ask yourself why God allowed these six to die. Were they masturbating atheists? Were they ungrateful to their Creator? Did God need more angel fish in heaven?

I think most people—though not most fish—would agree that it would be astonishingly arrogant of fish to imagine that their tribe had been singularly made in the image of God, were under God’s orders to “subdue the earth,” and were so beloved by God the Father that he sent his only begotten fish son, Jesus Christ (who is fully himself, and fully God the Father, and fully God the Holy Ghost, although fully separate from the last two, though not, presumably, fully separate from himself), to die for their “sins,” so that God (meaning, I suppose, all of God, although the Bible talks as if it’s only the Father) wouldn’t have to fry them, as it were. Yet, millions of members of our species say this very thing while somehow imagining that they’re wise and humble for doing it, and that the sin of foolish arrogance rests on the shoulders of doubters because of their brazen refusal to blindly believe that their species is so wonderful that a deity died to save it and that nothing can happen to them but what it is for their benefit.



In the Episcopal Church, we don’t pray for the earth or any of its non-human inhabitants (not even fish), but we do pray for every human being the whole world over, most especially for ourselves and our three bishops, though not for our priests (although most of us would be much less distressed if the Bishop of Oregon got cancer than if the same fate were to befall our local priest, even if it did give him some good sermon material). We also pray for world peace, undeterred by the fact that none of us, probably, has a hope in hell that it will happen. We likewise ask forgiveness for our sins (I obviously have an above-average need for this), and not just the ones we’ve personally committed either, but also the ones done on our behalf, presumably by our government. Yet, we ignore the fact that, if we really, really wanted to put an end to the government’s sins (at least the ones done on our behalf), we could do it ourselves by refusing to pay taxes. Truly, it’s better to turn some problems over to God. 

15 comments:

PhilipH said...

This is all very fishy Snowy.

We Brits have long been lovers of fish and chips (not the American chips) and hope that God will keep them all safe and happy, especially the cod and the haddock.

And world peace will come for every person, when each of us dies. In the meantime we must put up with decapitations, crucifixions, burials alive and a multitude of other means of culling God's children.

I leave you with a line from the Christian graveside burial prayer: "In the sure and certain HOPE of life everlasting..."

A question: WTF does this mean? If there IS everlasting life, as we are always ASSURED by those paid lackeys of the church, why does the vicar or priest only HOPE for this when one is lowered into the grave? Could there be a DOUBT in the mind of the officiating guy at the burial? Hmm, makes you think, don't it. Nah, not really lol.

Stephen Hayes said...

This is definitely one of your more tongue in cheek posts. I think we can agree that humans are the most arrogant species walking the Earth.

Paula Kaye said...

Love it!
You gave me my smile for the day

lotta joy said...

Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it will be answered. Pray without ceasing but trust your first prayer was enough and do not doubt the lord by pursuing the same request. So, who are you asking? Color me confused at this point.

Linda said...

Not paying taxes? Thoreau and the father of Louisa May Alcott both were jailed for not paying poll taxes. This act was a protest against the Mexican American War and expansion of slavery into the southwest. Although the poll tax did not support either, Thoreau and Alcott thought it did.

Some days, I fantasize about millions of us not paying taxes to send a message about what we do not want to support.

Charles Gramlich said...

the problem with just refusing to pay taxes would be that the government does some good things with that money, as well as some bad things. That issue is so complicated. It would be nice to be able to target our taxes toward the things we approve, but I don't imagine a government could work very well in that fashion. I really would like to be a complete hermit and not have to depend on anyone or any government. But that is not practical either. In the meantime, I'm going to have some fish for lunch.

Strayer said...

It's so much easier to "pray" for someone than to actually help them ourselves. It's even easier to campaign for human rights for people far, far away, than for here, in our state. Distancing oneself is nice and clean feeling.

The fish, the ants, the cats, maybe even the trees, pray for their salvation. I can see the trembling and know, when the trees sense the ax men and dozers a'coming. Then the trees really really pray.

Snowbrush said...

"'In the sure and certain HOPE of life everlasting...'"
"A question: WTF does this mean?"

I looked up a Biblical verse that says close to the same thing to see if "hope" was translated differently in some versions--into "expectation," perhaps, but it wasn't.

"I think we can agree that humans are the most arrogant species walking the Earth."

Cats, maybe?

"You gave me my smile for the day"

Thank you.

"do not doubt the lord by pursuing the same request."

When the missionary who was flown from Africa to Georgia for treatment got well, he thanked God for curing him, without saying a word of appreciation for all the humans involved. This left me to wonder why, if his only hope was in God, why he didn't stay in Africa and let God cure him there instead of putting so many people to so much unnecessary work and expense. I thought it made a lie of his words since it was so obvious that he would have been dead had he stayed in Africa and trusted in God alone to save him.

"Thoreau and the father of Louisa May Alcott both were jailed for not paying poll taxes."

Bronson Alcott was quite a fellow. If he had written more, maybe he would have been as famous as Thoreau and Emerson.

"the problem with just refusing to pay taxes would be that the government does some good things with that money, as well as some bad things."

If every Episcopalian in America refused to pay taxes, the government could still function about as well as it does now. However, it would send a strong message if thousands of people withheld taxes and then went public about why they were doing it. I don't expect this to happen, of course. I was instead reflecting on the fact that it sticks in my throat to ask forgiveness for the evil done on my behalf when I have every intention of continuing to finance the very evil that I'm asking forgiveness for. At the very least, I could become an activist, but i don't even intend to do that, so the prayer makes of me a hypocrite. I have a much greater problem with it than I do with the creeds because I can dismiss them to some extent, but I can't very well dismiss this.

"I can see the trembling and know, when the trees sense the ax men and dozers a'coming. Then the trees really really pray."

I think the whole forest trembles when the chainsaws come, but I don't know that anything prays. If the trees do pray--as people pray--I suppose that if some poor yew or vine maple was spared while the rest of the forest was cut-down or flattened, it would then thank God for his "great mercy" in sparing it while allowing thousands of other trees to be brutally killed. That's exactly the attitude of people whose houses were spared by tornados that killed scores of other people and destroyed thousands of other dwellings. I'm embarrassed for them.

Elephant's Child said...

Grateful, yet again, not be be a Christian. Still ashamed of quite a lot of our species though.

Snowbrush said...

"Grateful, yet again, not be be a Christian."

Grateful to whom, some believers would ask.

P.S. Does this mean that you ARE grateful for being an atheist? I ask because I can't think of anything I'm grateful for on the religion/lack-of-religion front. What does puzzle me though is why so many non-believers describe believers as getting in their face about religion because I can only recall two occasions in my entire life when I felt that a believer was being aggressive, and only one of those believers was REALLY aggressive, yet I spent 36 years in America's Bible Belt. Why DO they leave me alone? Could it be the number 666 tattooed on my forehead or the "Fuck God" tattoos on the back of both hands.

"Still ashamed of quite a lot of our species though."

Why make exceptions? I mean, when it comes right down to it, how much do any of us have to be proud of. Low achievers feel badly that they didn't more, and high achievers feel badly that they didn't take the time to enjoy themselves along the way. I'm an any example, whatever we do, we feel badly for having done. That said, I've been working my butt off for the last few days doing hard manual labor, and I can't think of anything that I had rather do or take more satisfaction in having done, especially now that I can't take it for granted.

Elephant's Child said...

You always pull me up on my sloppy expression of thought and feeling. Thank you.
Grateful to my parents for leaving the choice about my beliefs up to me. Glad that I haven't been tormented, as so many are, with a cruel and vindictive religious upbringing.
And I have never been approached by a non believer trying to show me their version of truth. I have never even heard of atheists going door to door to invade people's personal space and sell their message. Believers? Too often. Some of them quite aggressive with it.
I think/hope that some people do good. For other people and the planet. I also believe that they are in the minority. So, I certainly lean towards blanket shame about our species.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Good one Snow!

kj said...

hi snow, it strikes me ironic that your blog, at least to me, has become one of mostly religion one way or another. not my strongest sustaining interest, but i always like to know how you are.

you speak of Episcopalians as 'we.' that sounds like a fundamental change. in any case, i know you will always be asking intelligent questions and i hope your comfort grows despite an absence of answers.

love
kj

Helen said...

... 'in the Episcopal Church, we don’t pray for the earth or any of its non-human inhabitants (not even fish), but we do pray for every human being the whole world over, most especially for ourselves and our three bishops' ~~~ what's up? You've gone all religious on me?

Snowbrush said...

"you speak of Episcopalians as 'we.' that sounds like a fundamental change."

Maybe I should change the phrasing because I have no lasting commitment to any denomination. I wrote as I did because I am, after all, a confirmed Episcopalian, because I prefer that church over all other churches, and because I want the sense of belonging that "we" conveys.

"i know you will always be asking intelligent questions and i hope your comfort grows despite an absence of answers."

I'm what you might call a hardcore optimist regarding answers. While I could never be a believer in the supernatural, this is only a problem inasmuch as I'm emotionally unwilling to accept any other interpretation of religion as having value.

"You've gone all religious on me?"

I've spent my adult life trying to reconcile my emotional needs with such intellectual answers as I have found, so this is nothing new.