Saturday, September 15, 2007

W's Stubborn Faith

Many of us in the left-wing blogsophere take great pains to intellectualize our conception of religion. We have pulled it apart and analyzed it critically in an effort to seek the most correct, most perfect interpretation. There's nothing wrong with doing this, per se, but those of us who take a critical eye towards religion may need to be reminded of how many people there are in this world who don't question. I probably don't need to remind any of you of how powerful a force religion is and I daresay you are also likely very aware of the fact people will fight to the death to defend it.

I see President George W. Bush as a prime example of a recovered alcoholic, born-again Christian. Having conquered the demons of addiction as well as a period of young adulthood characterized by aimlessness, hedonism, and irresponsibility he used the Christian faith as a means to get back on the straight-and-narrow. Many people do this. This is one of the great strengths of Christianity.

I must admit that I am a Christian for many of the same reasons. One of the great strengths of the faith is that salvation is promised to everyone, provided they confess their sins, accept Jesus into their hearts, and resolve to do better. All prior sins are washed away if any human repents with contrition.

However, the problem with many who converts is that, having put aside their personal problems, they often move from one extreme to the other, exchanging the fluidity of past viewpoints for a one-sided, black-and-white view of reality. In doing so, they compartmentalize their lives neatly in two: before and after. As we all know, thinking critically is an often lonely, confusing experience which reveals no cut-and-dry answers. Many former alcoholics have a tendency to overcompensate, believing that doubt was a product of their lives before they came to sobriety. These people had prior problems setting boundaries for themselves, and thus they often delight in a cut-and-dry philosophy which defines things concretely. Good is good and bad and bad. No overlap exists. If doubts do creep into the mind, they can easily be explained away as merely a manifestation of Satan's temptation.

Thus, it comes as no surprise to me that President Bush has taken such a firm, unwavering stance in Iraq. I really do believe that he sees the conflict as a struggle between absolute good and absolute evil and he will not allow himself to think otherwise. Unfortunately, it also means that his actions are effectively defying the will of the American people, who have long since grown weary of this conflict.


Anonymous said...

Kevin, I respect your points, but I don't believe that Bush is either a recovered alcoholic, nor a particularly devout Christian. I've had some experience with supposedly recovered alcoholics, and I think the frequent vacations at the dude ranch are simply reasons to have a long bender. As for his faith, it can only be described as corporatist. The born again mantle is simply a ruse to convince the suckers who voted for him, that as long as it's for god and country, it's okay if they have to pay $3 or more at the fuel pump.

Fran said...

Greetings CK, stopping by after connecting at the salon last night and of course, seeing your work at Raincoat.

I am a believer myself- saying that for context. I think that my theology is very different than W's and perhaps yours. Live and let live I say, you do your thing, I do mine.

Having said that here is what I take issue with...

Humility is the underpinning of any sort of faith as I see it. Humility is without a doubt the underpinning of any serious recovery process, whether it be drugs, alcohol, etc.

If there is one quality that this man does not seem to possess it is humility.

As a result, I find his so-called Christianity and his so-called recovery completely inauthentic.

Morse quite aptly points out that this is what might be called in AA circles "a dry drunk"... if he is even dry at all.

Do I think the born-again thing is a sham? I am not sure exactly. It may or may not be- I suspect that his brand of ego and insanity lends itself to various forms of magical thinking.

As a result, he may believe his own lies.

Oh wait... that is where the addict lives, in the place where ones own lies are the absolute truth.

Anyway I don't come here to argue or disagree. One is never sure of one's tone in these forums.

See you in the 'sphere!