More and more I see signs of a disease in this country. It starts at a very early age with, “you started it” and “I’m not the one” or “I’m rubber you’re glue”. Sooner or later it turns into, “Therefore, your honor, I obviously did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Why the lack of responsibility? The overwhelming influence of an escapist theology? A legal system focused on assigning blame at all costs? A lack of leadership? Dishonor in the global market? Or maybe we’re just messed up?
Either way, I’m tired of it. It’s like hearing that stupid Jimmy Eat World song one too many times, or listening to that guy at work bitch about the thing that was his fault one too many times. It’s almost painful to witness — everywhere I turn, nobody is responsible for what they do. It’s either that, or they are responsible but because they are sorry for making mistakes, it’s okay.
I know most of you will stop listening when I start attacking the church. This is because you have been programmed to think that the church is infallable, and everything preached to you is true. But remember: the word of god is often spoken by men — some of whom have been accused of molesting children — and by god’s own mandate, the word of man, and all things manmade carry with them an unmistakable fallacy. Original sin is one of the fundamental principles of christianity and most of its progeny.
And so the overwhelming sense of love and respect for jesus, who “died for our sins” fades in, and we feel instantly redeemed and cleansed of our irreprable flaws — that of temptation, the seven deadly sins, eating oreo cookie blizzards before sleep and not working out the next day — you know, “bad stuff”.
But you know, I’ll let you in on a little secret — whatever jesus died for, it wasn’t so that you can be irresponsible for what you do. Confession doesn’t make you a better person, and whether you believe it or not, it wasn’t god’s will to have you cheat on that test, or lie to that person, or do any of the bad things you did today. God didn’t do shit — YOU did it.
And it might be because you were abused as a child, you grew up disadvantaged, or you were not the luckiest person in the world. I’m sure you have a million reasons why it’s not your fault — and that’s the problem. You can’t really fix anything unless you realize there’s a problem, and there’s no problem if it’s not your fault.
There are hundreds of millions of people everyday who do things beyond our belief and don’t get any credit for it. It’s the single mom working two jobs to feed her only child, the firefighter risking their life to save the life of a stranger, the teacher who buys pencils for their class because funding is cut short because our president is spending more money on bombs than books and supplies. They do what they are supposed to do. They take responsibility for their lives, and in return they usually get nothing.
It’s when all those firefighters died in New York that everyone started appreciating them. It takes a teacher getting shot for people to realize how hard it is trying to mold children in the absence of parental influence. And it’s only when the single mom fails that everybody feels bad about what’s going on. Otherwise, we just go about our business and keep going on making excuses.
Do you see a pattern here? When we start to honor the fallen, we are creating our own christs over again, and claiming bits of their glory as our own. Because you honor the fallen, it doesn’t make you a soldier. If you worship jesus it doesn’t give you anything. It is supposed to make you realize that you can be better, but you can’t be perfect. It’s not supposed to let you be anything you want without paying any consequences.
In this age of the lawyer, the priest, the excuse — I wonder — what’s next? Will we reach a reactionary epoch where everybody assumes extreme reponsibility for their actions? An age of self-punishment? Or will we slide into an age of stagnancy because our overall progress is haulted while we try to figure out who is to blame for all of the bad things in our world?
I think Buddha was on to something: Life is suffering. Life sucks. It sucks a lot — but if it sucks, it’s usually because of something you did because you were too weak to do the right thing. And you know what the right thing is, but you are just expecting someone else to do it for you.
Nobody can do it for you — you have to do it yourself.