I suppose I should have added a note to this piece since it is ripe for misinterpretation. It is not, dear friends, a lamentation of the effects of life/society upon the religious. Rather, it is a lamentation of the effects of religion on all the rest. Here, “faith,” is a reference to those who continue to strive for the greater good, not because it is a decree from on high, but because it is the worthy aim of their lives. Religion has so permeated the highest levels of power in the United States and abroad that I would find it difficult to write a lament over its having lost anything (other than sight of its stated aim).
All that said, let me assure anyone reading this that people of all faiths, political persuasions and identities are welcome (encouraged actually) to read and discuss my writing. I look forward to spirited commentary everyday and would be hypocritical if I didn’t explore various viewpoints.
One sad and slow for the martyrs of the faith, us all. A retread of the trodden, where wisdom whistles its low longing. And the good are forced into order with a march maiming all their deeds. They step too. They step over. They step on. The martyrs of the faith are we.
8 thoughts on “Martyrs of the faith”
hmmm-“Martyrs”-why? As one looks out over even the limited history of the Western World it is hard to ignore the balance of good achieved by humans not because of any directive coming from above but because they personally cared about others. It is true that many of the social institutions that built upon this capacity for good became refuge for many who didn’t and don’t bother to think about why they are there. But the one’s who align themselves with the positive, who are compassionate, and caring they are the up-welling, They are the winners; Cathedrals, Museums, Libraries, Parks… are named after them. The rest go down in dust.
“angel in the dust”
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A very fair point and one I agree with completely, if considering the subject from a certain vantage (how far along they’ve helped us move), however, I was writing the piece from another vantage (how much further along we could be if not experiencing constant friction). But I certainly employ your line of thinking on a regular basis. Thank you for the great comments.
The good are in need of no other religion … just thought of that after reading your thought-provoking poem.
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Would this imply that we can be good on our own? That we can die for what is good and worthy all by ourselves? Personally speaking, When I am good it is only because God was good before me.
Yes, and to me, that’s a very scary prospect. Because if you take your belief to its logical conclusion it suggests that if god were bad, you would be as well. If you want the one interpretation, you don’t get to disown the other.
Moreover, it’s insulting to those who do not believe in god to have a conception of goodness that emanates only from dictates on high. It’d be a scary world if authority and the promise of a reward in heaven were the only causes of goodness, no?
Not to mention, there are primates (Bonobos for example) who demonstrate concepts of fairness, equity and altruism despite not having the faculty to believe in a god. If such goodness were to emanate only from a god, how can you explain non-reasoning animals demonstrating the same capacity of goodness that you profess to have?
Ultimately, if god is the cause of good in the world then god is also the cause of all evil. For if god is omniscient and omnipresent, then anything existing in the universe is a part of god…such as the evil that most religious people recognize in the world. If god is not omniscient and omnipresent, well then you must begin to question how great a force god actually is….and I doubt any religious person wants to tackle the finitude of a deity they are hoping (and praying) is infinite.
Pretty much any conception of goodness and evil either diminishes god’s role or refutes it entirely.
There’s a New Yorker cartoon that I think you might enjoy. A Mama log is reading a bedtime story, Joan of Arc, to her kid log, a picture of a tree hanging above the bed, and she says, “…And thirteen innocent logs perished in the fire that burned Joan.”
Ah, woe betide the true martyrs.