by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
May 4, 2007
THINKING ISN'T FATAL
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Lightning will not strike you dead nor will a dubious devil light matches between your toes while you sleep for daring to question the Koran, the Talmud, the King James version of the Christian bible or why you think as you do.
You may, however, get banned by The World Society of the Gullible and The International Committee for Compliance and Mental Cowardliness.
My mission in life is not to be the bearer of unpleasant little truths, but the world is currently brimming over with monkey manure and very few are using it to fertilize new rose gardens.
In the weeks and months following Sept. 11, 2001, I walked around in a muffled stupor. What in God's name had happened to my world, my smug religious arrogance, my tidy unexamined convictions?
In need of insight, I started with - and let us start with - the "why" of the way we think.
If you or I had been born in Ireland, the odds are about 75 to 1 we'd be Catholic; in India, a Hindu, Buddhist or Islamic; in Georgia, U.S.A., we, as Baptists, would outnumber any other local churches by about that same percentage. (I once counted 79 different Baptist churches in a region barely big enough for a cabbage patch.) And in today's Iran we'd have about as much freedom-to-think-for-ourselves as a garbage dump has of growing a prize peach tree.
In addition to the environment into which we were born, there is a second vital - and often fallible - reason for why we think as we do: childhood authority figures - parents, school teachers, clergy, aunts, uncles, grandparents - and the mechanical tech-monster messengers who have brainwashed us into believing we don't have enough sense to decide for ourselves what kind of toilet paper we should buy.
What all that simmers down to is this: Any and all unexamined thoughts in our adult heads are not really ours. They are what somebody else thinks on every subject from the mating habits of the bluetail fly to a definition of an indefinable God.
We cannot, with confidence and clarity, claim any thought, any premise or conviction residing in the attic of our minds until we have the guts to ask questions like: Why are there different gods for different cultures? Why do I believe it is all right to kill people as long as it's called "justified war"? Why do I think men, in general, are more important spiritually and mentally superior to most women? From what sources did I get my current thinking ... and if I haven't examined my thinking is it really mine?
The answer to the last question is "No."
Unexamined thinking is simply regurgitating somebody else's ideas, convictions and the-way-I-see-it truths.
If we are honest enough and brave enough to kneel at the roots of the tree of universal knowledge we will see with a new wisdom that our personal unexamined thinking and boxed world religions are the primary termites eating away at not only the tree of truth but the world family tree as well.
Boxed religions are stagnant, lacking in the fresh air of new knowledge, governed and groomed by groupies hoping to swing their way into heaven on somebody else's thinking - and gown tails.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is a daily quiet walk of personal peace through a world minefield of religious mania and the whine of seemingly unstoppable baby-killer bombs.
Is it OK, then, to warm ourselves with our personal truths as long as we have examined and accepted them as our own and as long as they bring no harm to others?
With my last freedom-loving breath I will defend your right to make of the moon a god as long as you do not demand your belief become the law of the land and off with the heads of all who won't bow five times a night to your moon god.
I personally believe Paul of the Christian Bible had a problem with women as he continuously discounted them and expected them to fall in line 10 paces behind the men of his time. My belief and about three dollars will get you a Budweiser at your local bar.
But because I have mulled over, dissected, pondered, examined the bits of much altered evidence,and concluded Paul had no right to tell me to keep quiet about God, my belief in this is valuable to me.
However, I promise not to put it in a box, ring your doorbell and attempt to ram it down your throat. Nor will I ever proclaim it to be anything but my opinion. May the morning sun illumine your examination of why you think as you do, and may the gems of wisdom you find in the coal bin of life bring you joy and a greater, grander personal peace.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel now living in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.