It took 134 minutes of watching "Twelve Years a Slave" for me to grow sick to my stomach about the veneer of smug, arrogant hypocrisy provided by the Christian church for the horrible adventures inflicted, with impunity, on millions of people, throughout the crusades, the slavery tragedy, the repression of women and more recently of gays and lesbians.
Linking "scripture" as the 'holy book' to justify whatever it was at the moment that tormented those who had or took the pulpit, as if authority for and from God accompanied that status, included the vicious beatings, rape and smug patronizing that segregated rich white folk from the underclass of blacks. And today there is a similar kind of arrogant, smug hypocrisy that accompanies, indeed supports, the patronizing attitudes of some toward those whose lives "don't measure up" to whatever is considered by the ruling class to be appropriate. Of course, there are no owned individuals, in the legal and contractual sense, at least not in developed countries. Yet there are millions who continue to have to choose between a meal and a medication, a bus ticket to send their kids to school and another cup of coffee, a pair of socks and a box of band aids for an accidental wound.
And there are even child soldiers who have been literally kidnapped into the service of warlords in too many corners of the developing world.
And behind all of this physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological abuse, the justification is linked to some interpretation of the words and will of a deity.
It is not only disgusting and criminal; it is abhorrent and reprehensible.
And it accompanies all of the worlds' major religions, as if to belong to the faith community provides cover for acts that would otherwise be rejected as unspeakable.
Even between sects within an alleged faith community, there are horrible wars, and savage attacks, as if to prove one side has god's will and intent for the people right, while the other has it categorically wrong.
What's gone wrong?
Have we become so dependent and needy on absolutes, as if we are capable of discerning such things, that we have become addicted to our weakest trait, our vulnerability to the mystery of the unknown? What's wrong with no knowing, and with continuing to work toward understanding, in a spirit of discovery and openness? What's wrong with those leaders of all faiths that they have to claim "superiority" for their brand of faith, as if to claim anything less would undermine their success and the status they have achieved with their very dependent and permanently infantilized followers?
We have done wrong to all deities, and all faiths, for a very long time, if and when we project our deepest fears and insecurities onto some platitudinous epithets and then fire those epithets at other human beings who just happened to be in our line of fire.
And when, centuries later, we finally come to our senses, in a very limited and proscribed manner, about a specific issue, we turn our tragedies into dramas that reflect our greatest inhumanities to our fellow planet dwellers. Why can't we take deliberate and decisive and collaborative efforts to face our greatest strengths to be found only in the acknowledgement of our greatest weaknesses, and stop pretending that we are not weak, that we do understand, that we are blatantly inflicted with a hubris that will eventually consume the very species that refuses to look into the mirror and become broken, as the green-back horse is broken, for our own sake, not for the sake of some far-off deity, or some more proximous charismatic leader who requires our obsequiousness and our obedience.
The masculine bravado at the centre of our collective and our individual tragedies, siamesed to the instructions and directions of any deity could well eventually prove fatal for humanity, unless and until we waken to our own blind hubris, call it for what it is, and turn our backs on this pathological lie.
It is an act of which human beings are both individually and collectively capable. Yet, after thousands of years of failing in our limp and lame attempt, we are still wearing blinders to our own self-sabotage, and doing it, for the most part, in the name of and in false service to any deity worthy of the name.