The blog below was written for a church website I belong to. (Wondercafe) The site offers a range of topic categories from politics to religion to social. I decided to copy it here because it has particular meaning for those who live in New Brunswick. It's in the religious category. But don't let that scare you. It's also about reality.
A confession and a complaint
Posted on: 07/14/2010 18:52
The confession is that, with the exception of a few times when I led the service, I have not attended church for a full year. Partly it's because I moved, leaving behind what was both a community and a congregation (and it's my former church that I occasionally returned to as a preacher.) I don't yet feel any such sense of community where I now live. But that's not the whole story.
In 1957, a woman named Ayn Rand published an enormously popular book, "Atlas Shrugged". It's theme was that we should not love our neighbour. Loving your neighbour is bad. Rather, we should each of live only for ourselves, do nothing except in our own interest, and have no morality whatever. Some people called it a bible whose gospel was "greed is good". Some people were right. It is a complete denial of the validity of every major religion in the world.
Not surprisingly, the wealthy and greedy, annoyed by intrusions like government regulation of oil drilling, mediicare, employment insurance, democracy, took up the new gospel with zeal. They even formed temples to attract converts. They called the temples think-tanks. We know them as the Cato Institute, the Simon Fraser Institute, the CD Howe, the Atlantic Institute for Marketing in Canada.
They preach a gospel of complete freedom for each person to do whatever he wishes to do for his own satisfaction - and without the slightest regard for anyone else. They often call themselves conservatives or neo-conservatives or libertarians. In fact, they have no connection with real conservatism or with liberty. They are simjply advocates of complete power for themsellves with no responsibility whatever.
They support the rape and theft of whole nations like Congo, Haiti, Guatemala. In fact, they are the rapists and thieves of many such countries. Everything on earth is simply something to make them richer. This is no exaggeration. That's why I am so much opposed to the standardized testing and ranking of public schools that they advocate.
They want our children. Their "scientific " sudies of education are garbage; and they know it. They don't give a damn about education. And the only damn they care about children is that they can make money out of them. If it hurts them, so what? The gospel of Ayn Rand is self interest. Besides, they send their own children to private schools.
The gospel of Ayn Rand , with major help from the think tanks ,and thanks to the cooperation of our news media (most of it either biased or gutless), has become a major force in American life. And you're going to see a lot of it in both Canada and the US as governments look to cut budgets.
The province of New Brunswick is virtually owned by disciples of Ayn Rand. So is much of Ontario, and pretty much all of Alberta. This is not only a dismissal of basic concepts of every major faith. It is also going to increase the levels of physical, moral and spiritual damage in the very near future.
This isn't atheism. Most atheists understand morality. But this is a direct assault on the whole Judaeo/Christian/Moslem tradition. If there were a devil, this would be the devil's gospel. It is also unworkable.
The current recession is a direct result of the work of admirers of Ayn Rand. You can put Alan Greenspan at the top of the list. American banking collapsed , partly because of rampant corruption, but more because Randist bankers didn't want regulation. Then Americans went deep into debt to give them bailouts plus bonusses for their work. Medicare in the US was defeated because Insurance and health company Randists buried Congress and the media under tons of money. We are on the edge of much worse that is to come, much worse in war, in torture, accumulation of super-wealth, in suffering, in decline of democracy for all of us but the very wealthy.
And while all of this has been growing for over fifty years, and while millions have been killed and tortured to satisfy greed, the churches have stood around with their faces hanging out. Some will huff and puff about homosexuals and other religion groups we have slated for killing. But all will happily welcome the thieves and murderers who now want our children.
I think this is a religious issue. And I don't feel like wasting time in a church which welcomes advocates of thieving and murder while the preacher prattles about abstractions. Nor, for much the same reason, do I often visit this religious section.
I really don't give a damn about threads on whether we will get cable television in Heaven.