The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Atheists and Newtonian Physics

It occurred to me the other day that atheists are stuck in Newtonian physics. They see the whole universe as nothing but a giant array of cause and effect relationships. Sooooo outdated!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Father

The Lord's Prayer

The words “Our Father” are probably the most revolutionary words ever spoken. They are so powerful, they have crept up on us so subtly, that it has taken thousands of years for people of the Judeo-Christian tradition to come to terms with their meaning. People have resisted it kicking and screaming, but the truth is that an entire earth-changing morality can be built off those simple two words: “Our Father.”

No matter how much we want to establish differences and build walls between people, our faith calls us—in the most gentle, subtle, even sneaky way imaginable—to universal brotherhood. You just can’t say “Our Father” without also admitting that all humans are siblings. We come from the same source. We share the same planet. We ultimately go to the same place. A morality of equality, fairness, and mutual love for one another is staring at us smack dab right in the face whenever we utter the words “Our Father.” God is as close to us as a parent, and we are as interconnected as brother and sister. There are inherent responsibilities for how we treat one another that come from that as soon as we admit that relationship.

This is one of those things we usually never notice, but once it is pointed out it seems obvious. However, whether we are aware of it or not, it is still there the whole time working on us from within in the gentle way that the Holy Spirit often works. Monotheism is radically political, especially such a personal notion of God as understood in the Abrahamic traditions.

Picture this: Humans lived in isolated tribes all across the world. They had different gods, different languages, different cultures, and different physical appearances. They did interact with each other, but probably from the vantage point of individual people they probably felt very separate. Every group has their prejudices and misunderstandings of other groups. Over time people came together to form cities and nations. Still, Europeans coming to Asia or Africa for the first time must have felt like they were going to a different planet when you consider all the differences. You can feel this same culture shock just going from a inner city ghetto to a suburban landscape in America.

Still, we say, “Our Father.”

A lot of people see their faith in terms of their own personal relationship with God—to them, it’s between me and God alone. A personal relationship is crucial, but that relationship is also social—we don’t say “My Father” in the Lord’s Prayer. Too often in America we focus on the individual and we don’t understand the social dimension very well. We as a people are in relationship to God.

A lot of people like to focus on what they think is individual morality—birth control, abortion, euthanasia. However, all those matters of individual morality are ultimately social issues, too. If all humans are created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of their creation to the moment of their death, and if all humans can call God “Our Father”, then these issues are not individual matters but a social ones. The love of God and the love of one another are meshed together in one commandment. My individual actions are social actions, too.

A lot of people have trouble seeing the connection between religion and politics. They see dry, tedious news commentary on TV and it seems to have little bearing on their faith life. However, politics is about how we come together as a society, how we make decisions and how we organize ourselves. It reflects what we value and what we yearn for. The most fundamental religious truths are going to have political manifestations.