Saving Private Ali - The Rest of the Story
Protect Afghan Kids This Winter - Part IV - Pictures of the Week

God & Man in Iraq

I got a note from Infantry Man in Iraq who has been writing for a bit with a good mix of life on the ground, good , bad and ugly, and some spirituality on the 12 step path. I lost my best friend somewhere between step 4 and 12 and I have respect for anyone in AA or the rest who gets their life together. A possible resource for those on the same path, a good read regardless.

My thoughts on spirituality and God Hawk_blue_skies_1 are decently represented in Which one of these guys is God? or The Gods of Science. I have love for those who use religion to make themselves and the world a better place, I just haven't experienced anything that convinces me any of the established religions have a pipeline to metaphysical certitude. I assume something greater than and possibly incomprehensible to me created all this, I just haven't seen anyone on Earth who convinces me they are God's Western Milky Way Rep. The fact that Pat Robertson goes unsmitten by lightning doesn't help much either.

Our battle now is between a 2/3+ Christian, free nation that tolerates not just the practice, but the prosletyzation of any and all religions vs. a fundamentalist offshoot of a fundamentally intolerant religion that indiscriminately murders unbelievers. The freedom and tolerance of the Christian country is a newer concept for the religion as it has a long dichotomy of good works and horrifying oppression. I am unhappy when any group determines that the religious diktats of their God override a need to treat unbelievers decently.

Sadly those who abjure religion completely often substitute an all-powerful state to ensure that someone is looking over them. Most of the totalitarian regimes have either a messianic figurehead, or a Big Brother-like control that provides a way to surrender responsibility for one's predicament. I can understand, I mean this is the crappiest planet I have ever lived on, but I try to keep a positive outlook anyhow.

Like most things, religion serves best when it is not taken to extreme. We all could use a little humility when it comes to who created the universe and what kind of dietary or clothing restrictions this entity might consider important enough to kill for. The more religions focus on Doing unto Others, rather than telling Others what to Do, the better off everyone will be. Once again I have nothing but love, for the vast majority of believers who do live the ideals of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or any other, I hope they can help bring the extremists back into the fold.

When I walk in the woods smelling the richness of the earth, feeling the sun burn through the crisp air, and a hawk swoops my path before riding a thermal up into bluest sky, I assume that is God reminding me what is good in this world. That'll do for now.

                                         - Uncle J