Blessed are they......

Standing in awe of cosmos without a deity

Voice From Palm Springs; William Edelen 10/5/03 Santa Barbara News Press

Blessed are the atheists, agnostics, deists, mystics, humanists, free thinkers, Taoists, Buddhists and all others who do not have an archaic, primitive God in their mind/brain.

Blessed are they for they do not believe that a God is on their side. Blessed are they for they do not participate in holy wars, jihads or crusades.

Blessed are they for they would never be martyrs for the "glory of God."

Blessed are they for they do not condemn others as heretics or infidels.

Blessed are they for they do not conduct inquisitions nor slaughter millions of women as witches.

Blessed are they for they do not participate in sectarian violence, or harass little Catholic school girls walking through their neighborhoods.

Blessed are they who do not twist biblical words to condemn homosexuality as a sin, nor to condemn a woman's right to choose.

Blessed are they who would never say that a terrorist act is God's punishment against those who do not believe or think as they do.

Blessed are they who know that the only hell that exists is right here on earth, created by man. And that it is in man's hands alone to create a heaven here on earth through intelligence, empathy and love.

Blessed are they who do not trust a fantasy "god" to save humanity from its follies.

Blessed are they who realize the United States is not a religious state, but a secular state that allows all belief systems, including freedom from any religious beliefs.

Who are these people I am blessing? They are everywhere around you: nurses, doctors, teachers, business men and women, lawyers, mechanics, farmers, ranchers, police, housewives, students, the military. Yes, I knew many Marines who were atheists or agnostics. They are often afraid to speak out about their belief for fear of the radical, psychotic insanity in our society equating God with patriotism. Many surveys on religion and public life indicate there are around 50 million tradition. They are indeed the silent majority.

Following many lectures on this subject I have been overwhelmed by people saying to me, "thank you, thank you for giving me the courage to come out of the closet and speak freely about what I actually believe, which is none of the Christian brainwashing stuff."

And today, Jews without God is one of the major movements in humanistic Judaism. To clear the cobwebs of a biblical God out of the human brain is no easy task. It means cleaning out all of the brainwashing, indoctrination and ministerial cliches and giving your head, mind and spirit a fresh start.

A recent book review of "A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America" brought out the fact that most of the essays were the usual cliche filled pabulum. Like, you know, God gives us free will. God was there loving the survivors, and all of that theological ministerial mush and gobble-de-gook.

Only one essay got to the heart of the issue, by Episcopal Bishop John Spong who wrote: "The theistic God is dead." The God being presented to us was a mish-mash of meaningless images. A God who loves the families left behind; a God who was on the last thoughts of the murderers as they drove their planes into the buildings; a God for America who now demands "justice" and wants to help us bomb them back into the Stone Age.

"God Bless America" is a song still being played on almost every radio station ad nauseam. Are you aware that the song is a prayer for only orthodox Jews and Christians? This nation has close to 100 million citizens who are neither Jews or Christians, and who do not believe that there is a god out there to bless America.

The centuries are sick with a god made in man's image and imagination who shares the same nationalistic pride, arrogance and ignorance, whether it be the countries of Islam, Israel or America.

My opening paragraph was "Blessed are the theists, agnostics, deists, mystics and so forth." There is no primitive god out there in any of these perspectives, and yet many of them stand in awe before the incomprehensible mystery that saturates the entire cosmos, even as do I, a mystery that has nothing to do with an archaic, primitive biblical, superstitious "God" who "blesses us."

"Standing in wonder before this Mystery," wrote Albert Einstein, "is the source of all true art and true science."

William Edelen is a former minister at the First Congregational Church in Tacoma, Wash., and lecturer for the Department of Religion at the University of Puget Sound. He lives in Palm Springs.