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Location: Boston, MA, United States

I am a clergyperson and was ordained in 1985 by the National Alliance of Pantheists. I received recognition through Our Lady and Lord of the Trinicrian Rose. I volunteer as a member of the Interfaith Clergy Council of the Boston Living Center. I live with my partner and spouse in a timy apartment in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. I like writing poetry as well an prose. I have been a Witch since 1971. I was born in Binghamton, NY and lived there until 1984 when I moved to Maine.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Doom that can be Ignorance

One of my favorite scenes from Charles Dicken's classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, comes near the end of Stave Three: The Second of the Three Spirits, where the Ghost of Christmas Present reveals what is under his robe. They are "two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous and miserable." as Dickens describes them. Scrooge is appalled,
Dickens describes, and has to ask, "Spirit! Are they yours?" To which the Spirit replies that "They are Man's. And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both..., but most of all this boy, for on his brow I see that which is written which is Doom." In that one image I see something that still is present today as it was in Dicken's day. This is the danger of ignorance, and what it can breed.
In Dicken's day, it was the careless disregard for their fellow human beings. But today it raises its ugly head in a different way, but in an equally ignorant manner. This is the ignorance of Fundimentalism. The enslavement of the individual to a creed without questioning. It's not just here in these United States but everywhere that others try to supress free expression that might not agree with theirs. It knows no distinction and can be seen in any religion. It is the mentality that "I'm right and what I say is all that is right." It often arises because of the nature of the society where it can grow like a weed. It feeds on social inequities and injustices. It feeds on the blind submission to a person, or a belief, even if that individual may be obviously using them to gain something, power, prestige or influence. Often the poor fall prey to these people because of the poverty in their lives. Not having sufficient money for education and just trying to survive, they will hang on to any hope that might be given to them. They find hope in these people because of the way they present themselves to them. They often say that at such and such a time they will receive some release from the poverty they face if they will only give themselves to them. It's a diabolical bargain. A promise that at some future time they will be released from their poverty to reach a better existance. Often that is promised in the afterlife.
Some, literally, throw their lives away to kill the "others", in hopes that they will receive a reward in the next world. They then kill innocent people to gain something that if they looked at it logically is false. If they really believed in their faith they would see that their deity would condemn them for their acts instead of praise, or reward them.
Then there are those that wish to remain in power and do this by making sure that those that they wish to control never get out of the lowest levels of their society. This is an equally villanous individual, or group. They feed lies to perpetuate their power. "Such and such a group, or individual, is evil because they don't fall into line with how I think." I see it over and over again. And there are those that swallow the lies because it is easier than thinking for themselves. And what is even crueler is the ones that condemn the ones they profess to 'love' and caste them out of their society, because they realize for the first time that this individual is thinking, or feeling differently than they 'should', and is not following them exactly. And what is even sadder is that they can become an institution and perpetruate this for generations. When their followers discover their lies the institution begins to collapse. At that point every effort is made to resist the collapse, even if the collapse can be changed by simply changing with the times.
Much of the oppression of women around the world is by men that want to retain power over them. It occurs on many levels. A husband, or boy-friend that beats his wife or lover, or a group that keeps its women shut up in homes or in obscuring clothing, because that woman might attract the attention of another man and thus lose control of her. We are supposed to be civilized now, but these men act more like beasts than men. There are now inheritance laws that control the transferal of property. Women need not be shackled to men. They have a right to their own property.
Then there are those that fear change itself, for it might bring and end to their power. The Reformation and the following wars were an excellent example of this, where whole nations were ravaged because one power wished to contol all of the world. Then the protesting factions saw themselves in the same light, and their equally ignorant and bias actions ended up with millions of people dying. All out of ignorance.
What is the worst is the deliberate prepetuation of that ignorance by people that do know that what they are doing. They are the worst of all. They knowingly promulgate ignorance so as to maintain their own power.
The best defense is knowledge. Just because some one says that you must do as they do, does not mean that you must do it. Use your divinely given gift of reason. It is divinely given. We have the greatest capacity to think of all the species of this planet. Yet we are libal to be lazy and let someone else do our thinking for us. In so doing we let them control us. Don't let that happen. Just because it's written on some page, doesn't mean it's true. Feel if it is, and use your mind to reason it out.
An excellent and timely example is same sex marriage. The argument has been made that it will destroy family values. That is a bold face lie. How can someone that loves another effect your own values unless there is something wrong already with your values to begin with. Then there is some that says that such relationships are immoral, yet these same people will support an unjust war. Isn't it "Thou shalt not kill."? Besides how can your marriage be threatened unless it is on shakey ground already. That is the same as saying that because your nieghbor has a red house and yours is white, that your house is not as valuable. If your house is run down it's your fault not the red house's. It's an argument that is only out of the lack of reason, and blindly following something that was told to them as being true but is false.
In closing, I would urge you to re-evaluate your beliefs and see if you are being lead by someone else that wants to control you, or by something that someone else said is true and you took it on face value. If what you believe can stand up to your questions or can even not be questioned, then that belief is suspect. Knowledge is the most powerful weapon that ever was created.


Blogger Liz said...

I couldn't help but think as I was reading this that when you were describing the thought process; you do it because I say, because it is my way there for your way. Sadly you were describing my family of origin.

4:35 AM  

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