I received an email the other day from a staunch Christian whom I’ve known for over a quarter of a century. She’d sent it to her group code members.
She included this in her email:
Without GOD, our week would be:
I couldn’t resist answering her. The text of my reply email follows:
Each of the days of the week in English are, as you probably know, named for ancient gods: The Sun, The Moon, Tyr (Norse god of war), Woden (the Norse supreme god), Thor (Norse god of thunder), Frigga, (Norse goddess of married women, and wife of Woden), and Saturn, the only god selected from Roman mythology and, paradoxically, god of both peaceful opulence and destruction.
So, in one sense the week is always filled with “the divine” – which I find an oddity. Other languages – for example, Vietnamese and Chinese – simply name the days of the week, starting with Sunday, as Day One, Two, etc. – an apparently much more logical, even scientific, and decidedly non-partisan way of doing things, for not everyone believes in “the divine.”
In my experience, good people are good by nature, not by believing in a god or gods. And good people are found all over the world; some of them are Christians, others are Muslims, still others Jews, Buddhists, or animists, and even atheists and agnostics. Many heinous crimes have been done in the name of one religion or another, one ideology or another. Even the Old Testament has GOD demanding that the Israelites totally exterminate “non believers”, including innocent little children and babes in the womb.
The touchstone of goodness is keeping your mind and heart open to the facts of existence, not sealing them shut by thinking all knowledge and wisdom for all time is contained in passages from some holy book whether The Torah, The Christian Bible, The Koran, Sutras, Vedas, Das Kapital, or even The U.S. Constitution.
So I’d rather believe in the evidence of the good I can see and touch and know all over the world, no matter a person’s religion or lack of one.
And besides, look again at that list of altered names for the days of the week: Even “with GOD” (as the sender of the email would say and believes) and despite – maybe because of – so many billions of Christians, Jews, and Muslims believing in ”GOD”, there are still “sin”, “mourning”, “tears”, “waste”, “thirst”, “fighting” and “shattering” in our world – a lot of it done by those very same believers in ”GOD” whether Jews, Christians, Muslims, or whatever.
Give me an honest agnostic any day. [Some of those atheists are just too overbearing.]
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers. ~ Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 1973
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(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2013