- Religion and Philosophy
In God We Trust or do “We”?
Would you trust someone with your child that has a track record of neglecting and even killing their own children? No? Now what if that person goes by the generic name of God? Well that changes everything, right? Why? Because God is great and he loves us! Well that’s what was embedded into most of us since childhood so it must be true. The bombarding continues on into adulthood when attending Sunday morning brainwashing services and even on social media sites where we see memes like, “Put you trust in God…”, or “Don’t worry, God is in control!” Then to top it off there’s the motto, “In God We Trust” which appears on all our currency and on some public buildings. Is this the same loving god that (according to the Jewish creation story) gave humans free will because he lost control over us (apparently he’s not that powerful)? Then goes off and kills every man, woman, child, infant, unborn and animals with a flood because he was displeased with their decision making skills. But he makes it all better later on when he sends his “only son” as a blood offering to forgive us for a sin that he imposed in the first place back in the garden – kind like a Mafia styled extortion racket of saving us from himself. If God was a true loving god, he would just simply forget, forgive and move on!
Let’s take a quick look at the popular motto that made its debut on U.S. coins in 1864. It all started when Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase received a letter from Reverend M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania telling him that the devout people throughout the country (as if he was a mind reader and knew what everyone in the country was thinking) were urging that the United States recognize God on United States coins which gave the comforting notion that God was rooting for the Union. Question. Didn’t the Confederacy declare that God was on their side? After all they viewed slavery as a God-given right since he had no problem with it. Nowhere in the 10 Commandments do we see “Thou Shall Not Enslave”. What we do see is the first four dealing with his insecurity issues. Anyway, by 1957 the old motto, E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “One from Many”) was replaced with “In God We Trust” on all our currency, thus making it our national motto. This was nothing but a Cold War propaganda stunt passed by the 84th Congress to distinguish ourselves from the atheist state of the Soviet Union. By doing so, we effectively embarrassed ourselves by showing the entire world that a 1st world industrial nation had issues of separating church and state! While we were busy altering all the coin pressing dies and carving out new currency plates to meet the October 1, 1957 circulation deadline, the Soviets showed the world that a 2nd world industrial nation had better things to do like launching Sputnik 1 (Satellite 1) four days later. By doing so, they demonstrated that a nuclear bomb can be delivered via satellite. We also had a competing satellite program that finally got off the ground on January 31, 1958, but by that time Sputnik 2 was launched with its first cosmonauts, two dogs (Belka and Strelka), 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants, as well as a television camera. We could have beaten those dirty Commies but we had our priorities to fulfill!
The question is why should we trust God? According to the Hebrew and Christian Bible, he’d be the last one I’d trust! Historically, God was formally a Canaanite supreme deity named El, one of 33 deities who were formally worshiped who was adopted by the Israelites (who renamed him Yahweh) while still living in Egypt or shortly after migrating north. According the Exodus, Yahweh chose this small group of Semites or the “chosen ones” (who co-existed with numerous other Semite tribes throughout Egypt) to leave their homeland and relocate to the “promised land” of milk and honey. Yahweh then chose a guy named Moses who of all people was an adopted son of an unnamed Pharaoh. Some say it was Ramses II but of all the children he had, Moses was not one of them and Ramses did not drown in the Red Sea. The story goes that Moses approached the most powerful man in Egypt and demanded to let his people go. Now that takes balls! Sounds inspirational but in reality there was nothing keeping these people from leaving Egypt. It wasn’t like they were slaves as there’s no record of Egyptians enslaving Semitic tribes. Pharaoh refused to let Moses people go which resulted in the 10 plagues that targeted only innocent Egyptians. This makes three major events that the Egyptians never heard of. First there was the “worldwide” killer flood, second was Noah’s grandson (Mizraim) the founder of Egypt and third was the slaughter of every first born male child. Here’s a question. Wouldn’t it been much easier for Yahweh to make his demands to Pharaoh in person instead of taking it out on innocent people? Nah! Showing himself in front of Pharaoh and making such a demand would be realistic or stupid enough for people to take literally in the coming years. So after wasting a bunch of time with dramatics, the “chosen ones” finally packed their bags and left Egypt, but there was a problem. Which way should they go? One option, the safest and quickest would be to take the well established trade route that ran along the Mediterranean coastline or, they could head due south into a vast desert that leads to nowhere and expect certain death. So after giving this a long and careful thought, Yahweh instructs Moses to head south.
40 years later, with no regrets, the “chosen ones” made it to Judah thus solidifying a BFF relationship with Yahweh. Everything was happy, fat and stupid until around 605 BCE when they went to war with the invading Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar.
“Don’t worry!” The Jewish commanders told their men. “Yahweh has our backs!”
“But Yahweh is nowhere to be found!” The soldiers cried.
“Worry!” The commanders replied.
In the end, Nebuchadnezzar pounded Jerusalem in submission and imposed an annual tribute. Four years later, the Jewish king, Jehoiakim refused payment and Nebuchadnezzar pounded Jerusalem again with Yahweh being a no-show. This time Nebuchadnezzar deported a about 2,000 Jews back to Babylon in an event known as the Jewish Exile or Captivity. In 539 BCE they were released! No, not by Yahweh because he was still in hiding, but by an invading Persian army under Cyrus the Great. The captives were so grateful that they wrote about the event, giving all credit to a fictitious woman named Ruth. But they did not blame Yahweh for failing them because they came up with an awesome excuse for him - they deserved it!
500 years later they were conquered again, this time by those wild and crazy Romans without any intervention from Yahweh. Can you blame him! The Romans were backed by big, bad, biker gods with names like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn! Once again the Jews found themselves under harsh occupation until one day they united under the banner of Yahweh and revolted. The result was another humiliating defeat, but in Yahweh they still trusted! When the Roman Empire fell after a 600 year run, the “chosen ones” soon became known as the “forgotten ones” as the Dark Ages rolled in. For the next 700 years they suffered under the hands of various European monarchs who where into the ethnic cleansing kick and wanted to transform Europe into a “Christians Only” club. By this time, the Jews were running out of excuses for God’s lack of support. Things finally came to a head when Adolf Hitler came up with an idea. In the spring of 1945, the Russian Army sent out the first reports of Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Joseph Stalin was so shocked and appalled from these reports that he wanted to follow suit. The only thing that saved the Russian Jews was Stalin’s death in 1953. By that time, the Jews were done making up excuses and fed up with Yahweh’s countless failure-to-appears. In the end, it took the murder of over six million “chosen ones” to convince the Jews that Yahweh is anything but trustworthy. Today, as a result of the Holocaust, 50% of the people who identify themselves as Jewish still carry on the ancient traditions, but are atheists.
Today, how does one trust a god that lets 27,000 children die each day of starvation? Every time there’s a natural disaster or someone is diagnosed with cancer, calls go out for prayers as if that’s going to do anything. If God has total control of our lives, does it ever occur to anyone that he’s responsible for the disaster or cancer tumor in the first place? Like the ultra faithful “chosen ones” back in ancient times, today’s religious society has a laundry list of excuses ranging from “That’s God’s plan!” to “God works in mysterious ways!” to keep believers from straying away from mainstream religion. Why? Because God loves you and so does Je$u$ - even though nowhere in the Bible or Jewish Bible does it say that God loves anyone!
I’ll end with this thought, if God’s “chosen people” don’t trust him, why should “We”?