How unnerving when the gods of the past -- the beloved, reliable, much-burnished gods -- collapse. Pick a god, any god ... money, love, sports, church, state, job, jealousy ... pick a god. Perhaps it is a bit like the horror people must have felt when being informed that the world was not flat.
-- It's a bit hard to tell, for example, whether the outrage and surprise and despair is greater because the Catholic Church found pedophiles in its midst and then scurried to cover its tracks or because Penn State University's football legacy has recently been tarnished by similar pedophile allegations. Penn State is/was an idol among idols ... historic, Homeric ... a bright light among U.S.-style football bright lights. Hell, even I have heard of Penn State, and I am no sports aficionado. It's one thing for a belief system like the church to be found in flagrante delicto -- that's just a belief system, right? -- but football is serious and concrete and inspiring and elevated and ... it hurts when the gods are diminished, deflated, and cast into the hell that doubt and disgust can provide. At least Penn State seems to be willing to address the alleged pedophilia head on, but perhaps that is because they don't have mafia-like ecclesiastical layers within which to obscure their culpability.
-- If a U.S. report is to be believed, text books and teachers in Pakistan foster intolerance for religions other than Islam. Hindus are not alone in warranting a disdain that goes hand in glove with a view that everyone else -- anyone who is not a Muslim -- is an "enemy of Islam." Islam is the first-est with the best-est and the social (and sometimes bloody) implications are pretty obvious. Especially when the Roman Catholic Church has proclaimed Christianity -- and more specifically Catholicism -- to be the one true faith. I once heard that Hitler singled out the Jews for extermination because, among other things, they touted themselves as "the chosen." Since Hitler was a fan of Aryan supremacy and since there cannot be two supreme doctrines, well, someone had to go. All of this makes me exceptionally grateful, from time to time, to be involved in a spiritual persuasion that makes observations and suggestions, but places the responsibility (however unnerving that may be) where it belongs ... on the individual and his or her willingness to explore and act.
-- A Mississippi ballot measure that would have banned abortion and an effort to limit public-sector union power in Ohio went down to defeat at the ballot box yesterday. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once observed that "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest." It's a mess, perhaps, but occasionally, faut de mieux, something decent floats to the surface.
-- And it seems that too many brain cells can create serious difficulties. Extra cells formed prenatally in the prefrontal cortex appear to have some connection with the development of autism, researchers suggest. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
Perhaps it is worth considering whether gods, of whatever stripe, are likewise too much.
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