The Visible Myth
Shooting and bombings have become the hallmark of people trying to overthrow regimes and governments. Young adults seduced into joining groups that encourage these bombings and shootings. We call such actions terrorism and many, in the face of such prevalent acts, have asked: Where is God?
I don’t have an address for the one the Abrahamic faiths call God, Yahweh, Allah. A recent trendy question is circulating through social media in variety of forms and formats: Where is God/Yahweh/Allah is you actions? In the 1990’s the same question was asked in a different way to Christians: What Would Jesus Do?
Young people are joining these groups because they are seeking a family. Mankind is a social animal, collectively and individually. Just as the conception of another requires two, so does the living of life. Many believe these young people are simply evil but I disagree with that. I think these young men and women are seeking to be visible, to give visibility to what they hope will become their new family. Even those who have committed acts of violence in mass shootings are seeking a visibility of sorts.
One of the most famous introverts was the writer Henry David Thoreau. He was also famous for being a naturalist and radical government protestor. Thoreau was also an advocate of taking children hunting and teaching them to use a weapon for such. It might appear that, given these few basic facts, Thoreau would have been one to join these radical groups advocating violence. He did not advocate violence, though, and I am convinced he would not have approved of the vagueness of these tragic acts.
Terrorism is defined as acts of violence perpetrated on innocent people for the sole purpose of creating panic, trepidation, and fear. Reread that last sentence again, please. No one in there will you see anything relating to religion, mythologies of mankind, or the name of any deity or deities. Any act of terror, and there are many other things that fall under that category besides shootings and bombings, is a power struggle – nothing more and nothing less. For a few, however, it is also a cry to be seen.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thoreau retreated to a second-growth forest by a pond on land owned by a fellow writer and friend, an area known as Walden’s Pond. He remained there for two years with a brief trip away and did indeed learn many things. “The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.”
Whether you believe in one deity or multiple deities or perhaps no deities at all, whether or not you practice a spirituality or simple live in a natural progression, the fact is that you are alive. Your life has meaning. How visible is your faith in your life? Is there any value to having an invisible belief system?
Our interactions with one another speak volumes. Whatever it is that we believe is evident in our lifestyles, our life patterns, and our life voice – the spoken and the unspoken. The person quietly stand by and allows another person to be bullied may feel they are not participating. When violence occurs because of that bullying, though, everyone becomes victimized.
I have a friend who lived near an airport several years ago. It had become natural to hear the planes flying overhead until the day on September 12th, when he and his family noticed the uneasy stillness in the skies above their house. The government of the United States had grounded all airplanes from flight and the unnatural quietness was unsettling. It was not the quiet that was unnerving; it was the reason for the quiet. The natural sounds of did not echo nature but rather the anguished cries of those three thousand victims. Instead of celebrating creation, the quiet echoed the anguished cries of victims.
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Jehovah Shammah translates as “the Lord is there” and speaks of a visible deity that should be reflected in our actions, our relationships, our words. Faith is not evidenced by destruction but is found in the building – building lives, environments, populations that have dignity and are indeed visible.
We cannot eliminate funding for social programs that aid the disenfranchised elements and then expect them to like their invisibility. Where is your visible belief mythology in your living? What will your mirror reflect today?