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Narrow is the Gate

By David Glenn Cox

Caution – The following is intended only for mature audiences – if you are easily offended by logic or common sense, please return to the comfort and safety of your television set.

I’ve had this up my nose for a while now. Political events and court rulings have pushed the irritant further, until it disturbs my rest. I’ve been taught since childhood that I must respect others religious beliefs. For many years that did not seem to be a problem. My own experience with religion has always been somewhat jagged. At six years old, I was dragged to a Mass inside of a dark church filled with candles, incense and stained glass. It was more than a bit intimidating to a small child. Add in a ceremony led in a foreign tongue by men in strange gowns and confusion reigned.

At age eight or nine, I was given the choice to attend catechism rather than Mass and thought, this might be an adequate substitution. Strange women in black robes told us to sit in the desks and be quiet. We were given mimeograph sheets of a group of men to color with crayons. This woman was strangely attired, her head bound in white cloth, like an accident victim asked, if I recognized the man in the center of the picture? I suspected a trick question, but after looking around the room at the signage on the walls, I muttered… “Jesus?”

“That’s right!” she cooed, “and who is this?” pointing to a robed figure in the crowd on the blue lined mimeographed page. I was stuck and I knew it, I decided as a little lost lamb I would “bah” politely and tell the truth by answering, “I don’t know.”

“What!” she shrieked, “You don’t know the Apostles?” She then made some further remark about my home training to which I took offense. If you want to berate an eight year old for not being able to point out the Apostles in a mimeographed line up, that’s one thing, but now you’re talking about my momma and daddy. All of a sudden, an hour of candles, incense and Latin, didn’t sound so bad. Even as a child and even at that young age, I thought to myself, “Really? People really believe there’s a man up in the sky with nothing better to do than to grade us on our good deeds or our transgressions?

Even as a child, I thought how boring it must be to be God. Tens of millions of little girls hitting their brothers or little boys hiding their sister’s Barbie in retaliation, every single frigging day! But as I got older, I began to understand more and the plot thickened. God knew me before I was born, he knew after being hit I’d hide my sister’s Barbie and what’s more, he knew she’d hit me and did nothing about it! A manufacturer’s defect, for which, the manufacturer took no interest in correcting. You see, we were all born with original sin.

In a garden, on another continent, eons before recorded history began, Adam and Eve had transgressed by eating of the forbidden fruit, for which a penalty was imposed on every man and women born ever after. Questions entered my young mind, about when exactly did this God begin to know us before we were born, if he didn’t know what his creatures would likely do, if left alone? If God is omnipotent, why did he need to ask Cain where Able was? Why did God wait to turn Lott’s wife into a pillar of salt? Didn’t he know ahead of time she would look back? So Lott does the lord’s bidding and for one small, insignificant, casual transgression God zaps Lott’s wife, leaving the old man a widower. How could Lott ever eat French fries again?

You can see where this is going, if my neighbor were to tell me his dog talks to him at night. And his dog has a plan for his salvation and for the salvation of the entire human race, I should respect his opinion? I won’t argue the point, for he must be troubled, but when he begins to tell me I should eat Alpo and Gravy Train as a sign of respect to his delusion…Houston, we’ve got a problem!

There isn’t a single shred of evidence for the existence of a Jesus, a Moses, an Abraham or a Noah. If you want to believe in such fairy stories, go right ahead. I won’t try to stop you. But when you throw open the doors of your church or temple and try to tell others what they should do according to your God’s law? Then Mister, were gonna scrap. You know, they say faith can move mountains, but it hasn’t moved one yet.

If your God is against Gay Marriage, don’t get one. If your God is opposed to abortion, don’t have one. This religious freedom thing is a two way street! My country gives your phony bologna church a tax free status, isn’t that enough for you? This vaunted Judeo Christian belief is the source of most of the world’s wars and the sufferings of millions for thousands of years and I’m supposed to respect those beliefs because…?

Because of witch burnings, the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust, I should respect your beliefs? It was Christians doing the lord’s bidding who burned the library at Alexandria, thus destroying centuries of the accumulated knowledge of mankind. If I’m to be held on a charge of original sin, aren’t Judeo Christians to be judged on their more recent sins and genocides? This image of saintly do gooders, doesn’t match the image of war planes and rocket launchers. Like hamburger joints, the picture of what you order doesn’t match the product received. I will willingly forgive all, but not because a make believe deity sitting upon a golden throne tells me so. I will forgive all, because it is the only logical way to progress.

These faiths have an unsurpassed record of being wrong about everything. Wrong about astronomy, wrong about medicine, wrong about history, wrong about race. After five thousand years of complete and utter non-stop failure, murder, war, terror and torture, we’re still expected to say; I respect your closely held beliefs.

After the death of my parents I felt alone in the universe and like a hungry fish, I bit at the shiny hook. I needed to know I wasn’t alone, but I was. When I asked a Priest why there was no protest over the US invasion of Iraq, the Priest explained, “The Bishop told us not to mention it.” Right there at that exact moment, it occurred to me that this was my last service as I thought, WWJD? I have known some wonderful people who called themselves Christians and Jews who did their level best to live a good life. I have also known thousand’s, who’ve managed to break most of the Ten Commandments in a single weekend, still claiming to be believers. Oh, those crest fallen preachers are so sorry, but only after they’ve been caught!

So if the Jews are God’s chosen people, what are the rest of us… chopped liver? The Calvinist with their doctrine of predestination, millions going through life as blank slugs, ineligible for eternal paradise, because there is not enough room in heaven for everybody. A God who can create a whole universe, but can’t add a new wing on to paradise, perhaps God should call Bob Villa home. They’re all selling the doctrine of exclusivity, if you’re not one of us you can’t get in. It’s that Judeo Christian sign hanging from the country club gate that says “Member’s Only!”

God loves you, but you don’t pray correctly and you don’t dress correctly. You don’t eat the right foods or study from the right books. There is something wrong with you, but with enough time, money and supplication, maybe they can sneak you through, but you just had to eat that pulled pork sandwich, didn’t you? And you were so close to an eternity of streets paved with gold and choirs of angels. You would sit at the right hand of God as an intermediary to the supplications of little girls who’ve hit their little brother or little boys who’ve hidden their sister’s Barbie. You’ll watch millions of baby’s die of hunger around the globe. You’ll watch women die, because they lack birth control. You’ll watch genitals mutilated for God’s glory, because even though God is perfect and we’re made in his image, we require some slight modifications.

Sorry, but I don’t believe a word of it! Not one! When something good happens we must thank the lord for his tender mercies, but when something bad happens, we mustn’t question the will of God. Sometimes the rains falls on the just, as well as the unjust, bunk! In a random and chaotic universe, this God seems rather random and chaotic! Either this God is a schizophrenic basket case or he doesn’t exist. “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately … Depart!”

Maybe I’m being too harsh on a belief system which thrives on telling the faithful they’re no good from birth, in a self fulfilling prophecy of helpless inadequacy. A faith which says the poor shall always be with us, so why bother? A racist, sexist, self-absorbed belief system, which glories above all other glories in individual salvation, while the rest of the world can go to hell. A beehive which values the salvation of a single individual bee over the entire hive and if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re offended. I don’t much care; after thousands of years bloody Judeo Christendom, you should be offended and ashamed.

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David Cox

David Cox