In regard to the good fairy, honorable physicians, and other fictional creatures—we are an immature nation that still wants daddy to take care of us. That’s the whole book right there. Physicians and the American medical industry get away with the crap that they do because they convince us that they can save us and the average American wants to believe it. You can only con a guy if the guy wants to be conned.
What began as separation of church and state inAmericahas become the annihilation of the church by the state. Without spirituality, man is not man but a cow, a tree, a bag of water.
I am a recovering Methodist. I was born and raised Methodist and I have two sisters who are ordained Methodist ministers. One of them tried to have my life support turned off when I was in the ICU, which put a strain on our relationship. The Methodist Discipline forbids a homosexual from occupying the pulpit, nevertheless my sister is and did. (When Paul was a young therapist he had long complicated explanations for why people do what they do. Having achieved age and maturity, he says, “Sex—it’s all about sex.”)
Anyway, my sister chose to remain in the closet and lie to her employer, which led her to believe that I was going to out her, which never entered my mind. I’ve got no problem with her being a lesbian; I’ve got a big problem with her being a liar. She also has the physician’s disease: arrogance. What other illness could cause her to take over my life after having had little contact with me for decades? Not surprisingly, we are estranged.
Ruth is, by the way, director of a mental health association inPennsylvania. One of the main programs of her organization is helping families support their mentally ill members. How she coheres supporting families with turning off life support on her sister is a mystery to me. She got her job without ever revealing that she has a first-degree relative with a psychiatric diagnosis. What Ruth fundamentally believes in is gainful employment.
Anyway, back to God.
Have you read anything on neurotheology? It asks the question ‘Where in the brain does God live?’ Go to Amazon.com for some good books on the subject. Scientists have done some very interesting research on the relationship between belief and brain function (MRIs of Sufis and that sort of stuff), unfortunately, I can’t read “scientific.” It would be a blessing if you could read some of the stuff and tell me about it.
Anyway, short story: I spent decades trying to be a Christian but failing because of the antidepressants clogging up my brain. Over the years of my hospitalizations, what I saw in others as well as what I experienced in myself left no doubt in my mind that psych meds befoul the brain in such a way that spiritual growth becomes impossible. You may hang on, but you can’t grow.
After I stopped taking drugs, I started reading the Holy Bible. I read it cover-to-cover three times, then moved on to Living Buddha, Living Christ, the Wiccan Bible, Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Koran. The result of my studies is that I believe that—
- There is one deity, whether he is called Brahman, Yahweh, God or Allah;
- Jesus was the best prophet of God, but not God;
- God is the creator of all things (except the Internet) and is perfect love;
- God wants to lead us to the good life, if we would only listen up;
- We are called to humility before God and to service for God’s people;
- Truth and justice are mandatory in our dealings with others;
- Poor, sick people are to be cared for, not reviled.
Everything I have done in the past decade, from getting off drugs to kicking the butts of some very high priced executives (we call this “activism”) has been in service to God. The church inAmericais moribund, and rightly so. What is preached from the pulpit is some bastardized amalgam of social justice and psychology at best, and narrow minded bigotry and self-righteousness at worst. Best advice: read the sacred texts yourself; don’t accept the Reader’s Digest version. You’ll be surprised.
If you don’t believe in God then you end up believing in physicians and look where that’s gotten us: ruinous Medicare and Medicaid bills, and people being damaged or dying by physicians prescribing pharmaceuticals. What it all comes down to is accepting your own death. Get on the straight path that God has laid out for you and you will have no fear of death; pretend there is no God and no path and you will end up sitting in the physician’s waiting room, willing to endure enormous torture in the hopes of saving your life. Guess what? You will die anyway, but totally unprepared for the next event.