Many years ago, I was watching Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or some other evil, moneygrubbing bastard call for some sort of punitive action. I don't remember the target of his ire this particular time, but it was a group of which he did not approve, and there was probably some money in it for him. I muttered something derogatory about organized religion and the evil it causes, and another guy who happened to be watching the same festival of bigotry said "That's not coming from God." It was one of those moments where you suddenly realize that you have known something all along, and just haven't heard it put into words.
I don't know why it seemed like such a revelation--it was so obvious. In the interest of full disclosure, I believe in God and the Devil. I don't know if the Devil was cast out of heaven like the people of Abraham believe, or that all was darkness in the beginning, and God is in rebellion against the dark, like followers of Zoroaster believe, but I'm convinced they are imbedded in each of us, and are at war.
What the guy was saying (I seem to remember him being a Mormon, if that matters) was that you can tell which one is speaking to you by the part of your nature it appeals to. If you see suffering and want to roll up your sleeves and do something about it, it's probably God trying to get you to do the right thing. If you are moved to show up at soldier's funerals to tell the bereaved that their loved one is going to hell because they fought for a country that condones homosexuality, you are not listening to God, no matter what you think. Only the Devil could make a person twist their mind in such a way that they could think they were doing God's work with such evil acts.
The immediate stimulus for this outburst is, of course, that bozo in Florida that thinks Islam is of the Devil, even though he hasn't actually, you know, read the thing. Thankfully, at least of this writing he has been persuaded to hold off. Perhaps he didn't get the reaction he expected, perhaps, like some member of his family suggested, he's not quite 100% mentally. There will always be people like him, and they make easy targets for people who are not crazy, but they have a seductive effect on a lot of people who remain on the sidelines, saying nothing, but perhaps thinking showing those Islamic bastards what we think of them is not such a bad idea.
Most of us are a battleground between the dark and the light most of the time. There's no use pretending you're not. If some of those clowns from Kansas that like to make things worse on the worst day of your life were to get run over by a bus, there would be a part of me that rejoiced. It is not a part of myself of which I am proud, but it's there. I can't imagine what it would be like to be one of those that lost someone on 9/11, so I can't say for sure that my better angels would win out and I would support the Islamic prayer center in New York. I hope I would find it in my heart to put things in the proper perspective, but anyone who has lost a loved one unnecessarily and before their time knows that perspective can be a bitch to acquire at a time like that, and seems almost like a betrayal
That bitterness will, of course, continue to fester until you find it in your heart to forgive. We forgive for ourselves, not for others, and the Devil has no interest in us getting over our anger. I can remember the way I felt when I saw the Palestinians celebrating on TV when the towers came down. It took a while for the quieter voices to filter in, from ordinary Muslims who were as shocked and appalled as the rest of us. It seems obvious now that the vast majority of people around the world, no matter what their religous preference, are just trying to get on with their lives, worried about their families and their jobs, and sometimes, in the middle of the night, maybe their souls.
Most of the troubles come from people who never lose any sleep worrying about whether they are doing God's will or not. They, of course, know they are just doing what God would do, if he had all the facts.
Causes David Beemer Supports
Wife works as an advocate for Seniors. Sponser a child through World Vision