Saturday, June 03, 2006

Congratulations Are In Order

(Posted by Candidate Larry on TexasKos)

Congratulations to TexasKos for engaging in the red-blue religion debate on a regular basis. Religion will be in play this November and we Progressives better be ready for the debate. Here is my take on the thought process of the fundamentalist religious right.

Think back to your Psychology 101 class. Remember Otto Rank? His thesis for the core driving force of life is the “fear of death”. Please keep this in mind as we examine religious ideology.
If we all have an innate fear of death then we will pursue the relief of that fear in order to live in peace. The most often used remedy to relieve this fear is religion. This religious “soul balm” is fairly new to Unites States culture. It comes in the form of the “once saved always saved” theology. In the Christian tradition, simply stated, once a person accepts Jesus as personal savior, eternal salvation is assured. Yes, guaranteed. No matter what foul and evil deeds one might do after “being saved’, heaven is still guaranteed.

This fundamentalist belief system is based on a charismatic leader who is worshiped and obeyed by the followers, and I don’t mean Jesus of Nazareth, I’m talking about the right here and right now local religious leader of the group. Don’t forget Waco, Jim Jones and the comet Kahutek folks. People will drink the kool aid to display love for and faith in the leader. The fundamentalist movement has capitalized on fear extensively in the last 30 years, primarily under the flag of the Republican Party. Preachers from all denominations preach hate, judgment; everybody is going to hell but us, etc. to the delight of their congregations who have their fear of death appeased, and their own righteousness validated. The irony is they ignore the God-given gift of free will. The same free will that tradition tells us, got Lucifer kicked out of heaven, and the same free will that saved the thief on the cross (see the Gospel of Luke)is the free will I’m talking about. Even more clear from the “Good Book’ is the story of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived literally in paradise, totally sin-free and in happy ignorance; but not temptation free. Adam and Eve only had one rule to live by; they could not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They did choose to eat of the tree of knowledge; human free will exists even in a perfect environment.  Whether they chose well or badly is a subject for another discussion, but the basic human fact remains - free will has always been and will always be. It is what makes us human. We make free will choices every day, and hopefully we make positive choices that develop a conscience that complies with the simple rule of “love your neighbor as yourself”.

The real measure of a spiritual life is continual growth and a constant search for truth and the courage to change. That is where a fundamentalist and a progressive, Christian or otherwise, part ways. The progressive continually searches for truth and makes decisions based on enlightenment, not fear. Sometimes the truth forces people make drastic personal changes; but change they must, because they are enlightened by truth and propelled by free will.

If numbers don’t lie, there approximately 60 million fundamentalists in the United States which is about 20% per cent of the population and they do vote. Our job is to understand the issues, the religious questions, and share truth with the undecided. Then we will turn TEXAS BLUE.