Thanks to Carla of Preemptive Karma, I landed on a fabulous little website that explained in detail what Deism actually is. And, lo and behold, I discovered that this crisis that I've been going through since November, 2004, was really my awakening to the fact that -- hey, guess what? -- I'm an ex-Christian. I mean, completely. Like, don't believe that Jesus was the son of anybody but Joseph and Mary. Like, don't believe that the bible was written by God or by men being dictated to by God. A belief in God, but a respect for reason. That's who I was raised. I'm a Deist, damn it. Again. A born-again Deist, if you will. It's a wonderful feeling to know that, and to know that I'm not alone. Especially these days.
Because these days, just when you thought Christian evango-nazis couldn't stoop another centimeter lower in their efforts to wallow in evil, they surprise you. As has been widely reported by now, Pat Robertson asserted on on the January 5th broadcast of The 700 Club broadcast that Ariel Sharon's devastating stroke was an act of God, designed to punish Sharon for "dividing up God's land." He says that Yitzak Rabins '95 assasination was the same thing. He listed the Book of Joel as his source for that reasoning. The Book of Joel. Which, I believe, is only a slightly better known Old Testament book than the Book of Al, the Deli Counter Guy. Why is it when these right-wing, self-serving Christian nutjobs spout the Bible, the Old Testament is always what they go on and on about? And they pick the least known, least utilized quote from the most obscure book. Moses never even read the Book of Joel. He got as far as Judges, then he had to start walking around the desert, and after that, who has time to read? I fell behind on my reading this weekend, and all I had to do was vacuum the living room ("Hoover the lounge," for those of my readers who are British English speakers).
So it is today. The most antiquated book in the Bible -- Leviticus -- is the source for all things biblically homophobic. Leviticus teaches us that killing (though the 10 Commandments instructs that we shouldn't do that) is good. It teaches us that slavery is okay, as long as you're the owner and not the slave. Leviticus teaches us that women are chattle and should be treated as such whenever possible. So, by all means, let's use Leviticus as the last word on homosexuality, because it has so much of value that applies today. This just goes to further prove my point. Even Christians don't believe in Christianity. They don't even believe what they call the Word of the Biblical God (henceforth referred to as "Biblegod" -- a phrase coined on the above-listed website by the site's editor John Armstrong).
What we learned in Sunday School was this:
Old Testament = Age of Law.
New Testament = Age of Grace.
According the church's own teachings, we're not abiding by the Old Testament anymore, and neither is Biblegod. Biblegod is using a new handbook now, called the New Testament. Oh, I mean, except when he's decided to take time out of his busy day to smite Ariel Sharon for trying to end war in his country. I'm sure that years of no exercise, yo-yo dieting and having one of the most stressful jobs on the planet didn't contribute one bit to Mr. Sharon's debilitating illness.
I've pretty much decided I don't like Biblegod much anymore. If he's everything Christians say he is, then he's mean, hypocritical and stupid. That's Pat Robertson's God -- the one whose image Robertson was made in, according to him. All the evidence at hand confirms this belief, I think. The inspiring news is that it looks like that little Bible study lesson has cost Robertson dearly. He was forced to eat a little crow (with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, no doubt) on January 13th. He is still broadcasting, though, and so-called Christians are still sending money to him, so justice may be swift, but it's rarely comprehensive or complete.
As for me, I'll just stick to the belief that, yes, Virginia, there is a God. He created the universe and everything in it (including that whole "evolution" idea, which, frankly, I find utterly inspired), gave us everything we needed, and then set us off down the road to figure it all out. I don't think he wants a personal relationship with us. I don't think he wants to hear our whining every time something goes wrong. I think he'd rather not hear us praying for thing he's already given us -- like patience, wisdom and peace. Just because you can't find your allowance doesn't mean Dad didn't give it to you. I think that God wishes that we'd quit making stupid choices and then saying things like, "Well, we prayed about it and this is what the Lord wants for us."
The Lord wants us to leave the nest and use the very, very big brains he spent so long creating and using evolution to hone and improve (see? I told you... inspired....) He wants us to be reasonable and stop believing in the freakin' fairies at the bottom of the garden (another British expression -- ask a friend from England). He doesn't want to clean up our messes anymore. Honestly, who can blame him?
So, I am not longer a "believer without portfolio". I'm officially a Deist. That puts me in fabulous company -- Benjamin Franklin, Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson.