A friend posed a question for a group of us to think on the other day.
Existential angst. A Western luxury?
My answer to the group was that anxiety isn’t a ‘luxury’ by any means, but it’s certainly prevalent throughout the Western culture.
That got me thinking, “Why is anxiety so common?”
It doesn’t take a genius to figure these things out. The answer to my own question is every bit as common as anxiety itself.
— Fear —
Let’s cover some of today’s fear driven topics:
1. ISIS (interpreted as all Muslims/Syrian refugees) want to destroy America.
2. The Mexicans are going to take over America–“Build a wall!” (I guess the white Canadians are okay)
3. The “gay agenda” is stripping our freedoms, and God is going to destroy America like Sodom and Gomorrah.
4. Transgender people are rapists creeping in bathroom stalls.
5. Believing differently about–or rejecting belief in–God/Jesus could mean eternal torment.
6. The NRA says “Obama wants to confiscate our guns.”
7. Democrats are dictators.
8. Rejecting the Bible, in part or the whole, is blasphemy (but worshiping it is okay).
9. Equality (women in leadership, women as pastors, LGBT marriage/rights, #freethenipple, legalizing immigrants, minimum wage, etc.) will cause civil unrest and lead to the collapse of the economy.
10. Money (do I need to add to this?)
BONUS: 11. Speaking up (giving one’s opinions/thoughts, being true to one’s self) could mean being shunned.
These are just a few fear driven examples, and you undoubtedly were able to think of a few that could be added.
People are so attached to their fears that they will lash out in anger when they’re challenged. Don’t believe me? Pick any one of the above examples and post it on Facebook and see what happens.
When a person’s fear is challenged they’ll react negatively; it’s a coping mechanism–one we’ve been trained to use–and it stirs anxiety.
Control is how we keep people around us and the masses subjected or how we offer ourselves the illusion of peace.
Let’s go through an exercise and see if what I say is true.
Total acceptance of every word of the Bible as God’s word is required. It’s otherwise seen as opposition to God, and you may be subjecting yourself to destruction of some kind.
Guess what? I disagree with a lot of the Bible.
Afraid of what I just said? Did it cause a reaction inside you?
How about this:
I voted for Bernie Sanders and joined the Democratic party this year.
I have gay friends, and I’m excited when they meet or marry their partners!
One of my favorite Facebook friends is the mother of a beautiful transgender girl, and I wear an “I’ll Go With You” button in support of transgender people (pssst… there may be LGBT people in your family, or you may give birth to them one day).
I sauna naked with my friends–men and women (I don’t with certain people out of respect); I think topless beaches are okay, too. I also support the #freethenipple campaign.
I’m a feminist.
I believe there’s life outside of our planet, and I love science. I believe our planet is millions/billions of years old.
I believe President Obama when he says, “I do not want to take your guns away.”
I think Donald Trump is a deplorable xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic racist.
I think we should have an open border policy–Mexican and Canadian.
I believe white privilege is an accepted, unspoken American reality that most American’s don’t know exists because they’re either white or privileged.
I don’t believe Jesus was supernatural.
I don’t believe in the “end times.”
I think hell is a made up idea used to control people in order to get them to act or believe a certain way–and it works.
Am I an atheist? Nope, but I have dear friends and family who are, and I won’t EVER try to convert them. I’m not concerned for their eternal outcome.
I swear… a lot.
What kind of responses did that conjure up? Anger? Sadness? Anxiety? #same?
Fear is a bitch.
I want nothing less than to pull the veil away from your eyes to reveal the tangled web, the matrix that exists and its headquarters centered around fear. Fear is not God’s way; it’s man’s way of controlling others.
Think about it. If the news media didn’t report on anything fear related, there wouldn’t be any news today! (Bob Ross’ reruns of “The Joy of Painting” would be a great substitute for those time slots)
Let’s go through one final exercise.
Imagine the entire world, all of it, living in complete unity. I know this can be difficult, so I’ll try to paint the picture.
There is absolute peace–no wars, no fighting, no guns, no bombs stored for a rainy day.
Governments are a bitter memory existing only in history books.
Equality isn’t an ideal held by one group; it’s at the foundation of the entire planet–the standard by which we live. Men and women are equal, racial differences are celebrated, love is love, gender identity is understood, children are fully people. Each person has a “seat at the table,” and “the table” is round.
Religion is accepted everywhere, by all people groups, as “God is Love,” not “I’m right, you’re wrong.” No one is trying to “win souls,” or convert anyone else. Each person’s beliefs, or lack thereof, are respected and honored.
Chasing wealth is silly because money is no longer the pursuit of anyone. Owning more “stuff” and being selfish with possessions is wasteful, extravagant, and boring. Each person is comfortable and content with their lifestyle of simplicity.
Being successful isn’t a selfish pursuit to be “on top.” Success now directly affects each person in the community because they’re counting on each individual to provide for the good of the community based upon their skill set. There are farmers, builders, shippers, cooks, geeks, musicians, actors, doctors, etc. each offering their goods and services for the benefit of all.
When a person’s house burns to the ground, the entire community shows up to rebuild it. While the new house is being constructed, the family is taken in by the community, cared for, and loved.
Life is sacred and honored with the highest regard–all life. Animals aren’t kept in feedlots and treated inhumanely. Bugs aren’t killed with pesticides, or plants with herbicides. Trash isn’t thrown into oceans, rivers, or lakes. In fact, all “trash items” are 100% biodegradable or recyclable because the earth is recognized as a living, breathing thing. Disdain for any form of life is unthinkable.
There aren’t fences, county lines, states, or territorial borders of any kind. All are welcome to come and go wherever they choose. People are welcomed with open arms into every community they visit.
Angst isn’t a continual emotion to be battled. It’s a rare emotion that is quickly relieved by the outpouring of love freely given by the community–shame and bullying don’t exist.
What feelings did that conjure up?
Perhaps there are still feelings of anxiety around what you’ve been taught to fear, such as accepting all religions, equality, or being a tree hugger. If so, it only emphasizes my point about the controlled environment that exists.
Whatever the case may be, this is my dream. It’s a dream of peace. It’s a dream of true love. It’s a dream where necessity consists of community. It’s a dream rid of fear and control.
I want to spend the rest of my life around people who are love-minded and in pursuit of that dream; where being controlled by fear isn’t an option.
I’m choosing my tribe–a tribe of community, love, peace, acceptance, and equality. Are you in my tribe?
I wrote this post last week, before the shooting in Orlando. My heart is broken over the blatant disregard for life.
I’m also disgusted by the fact that the shooting immediately led to another damned gun debate.
Friends, it’s not about whether or not we have stricter gun laws, although it wouldn’t hurt. The bigger issue is the hate, intolerance, bigotry, and fear that burns inside of some people.
Sadly, not even the worst mass shooting in American history will change the hearts of many. Even More disturbing, religious extremists–Muslim, Christian… pick your poison–will continue to hold tradition in higher regard than the Love they claim that drives them.
Last I checked, Jesus didn’t teach extremism except where love, tolerance, acceptance, and peace were concerned.