When Your God Fails

Nezua has an interesting post up about Santa Muerte, which you should read and ponder.

I would like to take as a starting point for my tangent this little bit:

If your idol has let you down, and in the face of that, demands too much in hard times you create another idol in your own image. One that only asks for devotion and judges not.

“All you have to do is believe and ask and she delivers,” Sanchez said. “The Santa Muerte does not discriminate.”

As La Santa Muerte requires no middle man to collect her tithing and better yet, delivers on the prayers sent her way, she begins to replace the former idol. [Wordpress fucked up the quote of the quotation from Sanchez, but I hope it’s obvious that Nezua is quoting from something in that middle paragraph.]

Of course, I cringe at the use of the term “idol,” but otherwise, I think this is such an interesting point, a PR problem for the Christian god.  Yeah, sure, He can have the Mexican government go in and demolish shrines, but everyone knows it was the Feds.  An easier way to deal with the problem of losing followers to Santa Muerte is to come through for the people who are faithful to you in clear and easy to understand ways.  To answer them when they call, to hold up your end of the bargain.

My life has improved tremendously since I stopped waiting for the Christian god to do right by me, to miraculously change me and, by extention, my life.  Because isn’t that the promise?  Give your life over to Jesus and He will work through you His good in the world?  And when you do that–give your life over–and nothing comes of it?  And your problems are still the same?  You pray and pray and there’s no answer?

If you cannot give up your belief in Something holy and inexplicable, it makes complete sense to start asking around, to see if there’s Someone else willing to play ball, so to speak.

My gods seem to be much different than the Christian god (though I would argue that the Christian god just usually has a better PR machine).  They are not all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present judges of my every move.  As far as they’re concerned, I have not sinned and fallen short of anything.  And when I ask questions, I get answers.  Not platitudes, not weird signs that need to be interpreted.

I ask and I get answers.

Clear and plain.

As far as conversion tools go, it’s a pretty effective one.  If and when someone is around to talk to you, he or she does.

It seems to me that it’s a pretty basic human need–to reach for the Divine and experiencing it reaching back.

And I think it’s interesting to see folks willing to ditch Jesus in order to get that.

8 thoughts on “When Your God Fails

  1. Ummm … isn’t “La Santa Muerte” Spanish for “the Death Saint”?

    {shudders}

    Anyway, good post, Aunt B. I think one of the worst things the Christian Fundiegelicals have done is spread their image of a Christian God that is judgmental, oppressive, punitive, and demanding. That’s certainly not *my* view of God.

    And another great disservice from this group has been to spread the idea that all you have to do is fall on your knees and give your life over to Jesus and everything is suddenly hunky-dory, all of your problems evaporate (except those pesky political ones like gay marriage and abortion and teaching evolution in school), etc. etc.

    I’ve never thought that God exists to serve us. I’ve always believed mankind exists to serve God. That means helping your neighbor, advocating for peace and justice, serving the poor and powerless, and caring for the earth.

    But, you know, maybe I’ve got it wrong.

    :-)

  2. I like this post B. I really think that most religion is about attempting to connect people with the divine. There was a time in my life when I was really easily able to connect to the divine through Christianity, so I know from personal experience that it can be done, but I think my old church, and alot of churches (of all religions) seem to only want to go but so deep into that connection. And so, for those of us who reach whatever depth their church happens to be fixated on, it suddenly seems that the church just has nothing more to offer (that was my experience) so the solution can be only to find a new church or to search out a new path to that connection.

  3. What SB said.

    I don’t want to go into too much detail because I don’t want my Godbotheringness to be arguing with your Godfreeness.

    But it’s been fairly clear to me most of my days that being part of the Christian God’s posse makes your life not always so easy. The Bible actually says that in many many places. (1st Peter for starters.)

    The Jesus Brand(TM) that masquerades as Christianity and floats around out there is a huge problem. Because all those people who think “say this prayer and then it’s Easy Street from here on out” are gungho happy and donating their cash to whichever glib grifter told them that in the first place.

    Until the bad stuff happens. Then it’s Goodbye, Preacher, Goodbye God.

    I’m actually having some schadenfreude these days. All those preachers who preach the Jesus Brand(TM) (also Health and Wealth/Name It And Claim It) are having serious trouble with the recession and the foreclosure business.

    Speaking of foreclosures, CT had a story a couple months ago about Christians in foreclosure. Many of the people interviewed for the story only bought their bigger-than-they-could-afford house with the stupid-interest-only-mortgage BECAUSE they were new members of a Jesus Brand(TM) church and they believed that GOD wanted them to have the house and it didn’t matter that none of it made a lick of sense.

    Anyway, the part of the elephant that I’m touching believes that the point of the faith is that when the bad things do happen–and they will–your ongoing conversation with God (this God does talk back) keeps you going and gives you answers.

    Sad that apparently that’s not the one for sale in most parts of the world.

  4. Southern Beale, no need to shudder! Let’s not forget that things like Death and Skulls and such are subject very much to cultural conditioning and in México there is a long tradition of feeling close and familiar with death as a part of life, not as something scary.

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