I was recently reading about some hateful comments Derek Dillard, of the despicable* Duggar clan, said about a 16 year old girl and it got me thinking about how our words and actions tell people who our Gods are.
This is not a new idea, of course. Many people even within evangelical-style religions advocate for inspiring others to convert by how you live your own life. Showing the joy and beauty of your relationship with God should be all that is needed for your to “spread your message” (if that’s what’s important to you).
It still seems it is hard to remember that how we behave in everyday life, what we say and what we do, colors other people’s perception of the Gods we claim to follow.
If I knew nothing about the God Derek Dillard claims to worship, I would have to conclude based on his statements that his God is cold and cruel. That He creates beings with certain experiences and then casts them out for having those experiences. When a God’s followers are judgmental, angry, and strident, we naturally assume that God must also be those things. Somehow I doubt that is the interpretation Dillard would like us to have of his God.
It is a good reminder for me that how I behave and speak informs how the people around me view the Hindu Gods. Hinduism is such a minority religion here in America that many people I encounter know nothing about it at all.
If I believe the Gods are compassionate, then I must show compassion.
If I believe the Gods are merciful, then I must show mercy.
If I believe the Gods listen, then I must listen.
And hey, if you want me to think that your God is into punishment and strict, blind, obedience, well you’re doing a great job then, Derek. If that is what Christianity is all about, I want nothing to do with it.
And to be clear, the Gothard Christian cult is hardly representative of Christianity but these very vocal people, who are quite interested in informing everyone of their opinion about things they have no experience or knowledge of, inform how people who know nothing about Christianity perceive it. Maybe they are happy with that, but I suspect they are turning more people away from Christianity than bringing them in.
We are God on earth, as close as there is to it, and we must remember that and behave accordingly.
Amar Hindu Srimati Radharani by Chrishalini*Why do I call the Duggars despicable?
- Hypocrisy. Their eldest son was found to have molested his younger sisters when they were children, have an account on the cheating website AshleyMadison and be cheating on his wife with prostitutes. Despite this very unChristian behavior, he worked until he got caught at the Family Research Institute. Though it is an innocuous name, this organization works to destroy the families of people who are gay or otherwise different from their own personal definition of what a family should be (according to religious interpretations that are not even as old as I am. This “quiverfull movement” started in the 1980s). When all this “sinful” behavior came to light, he and his family asked that the public show compassion and forgiveness. Pretty hard to stomach from someone who showed zero compassion or forgiveness to people that he perceived to be sinning (though their behavior was to fall and love and start families while his was to commit adultery and psychologically scar young girls).
- Blanket Training. Members of this Christian-based cult are very fond of a book called To Train Up A Child. In it they say that a child as young as six months old can be wilfully disobedient and has to be taught who is boss. This is done by putting them on a blanket and when they wiggle or roll off, smacking them and putting them back until they learn to never go against their parents in any way. Again, this is done to infants. The book tells you what size branch to use to beat a child under one year old. This book has also been responsible for several deaths as people in the movement have used the strict methods that have resulted in beating and starving children to death (often they are adopted children, who were supposedly “saved” to be in this “good Christian household).
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