When I wrote about the Complete Conservative Criteria of Patriotism the other day, I omitted one very important criterion: belief and worship of a Sky God. That's right, folks, I do not subscribe to any formal religion nor do I engage in public rituals thereof. I am not religious, although I was educated/indoctrinated as a Roman Catholic. It wore off pretty quick once I was out of grade school and I've never looked back.
My dogtags say Pantheist, which is a pretty good description of my spiritual beliefs and their duration in my life. Where sublime exists in this universe, it is the wholeness of creation, of this improbable explosion of life and thought on a small planet in one galaxy. The miracle of creation and life is about as wondrous and infinite as it gets. As wonderful as all this can be, I know it is as ephemeral as my own life. None of this is permanent, nothing is guaranteed. Life has no inherent meaning, only the meaning I make of the one life I have while I have it. That is why I am (mostly, since I am all too human) respectful and honest in everything I do. Not for some eternal reward but because that is how I want to act toward others and how I want others to treat me. I think that's a very clear and tenable way to live as a human being on this planet. I do not find religion necessary in order to do so.
Now religion isn't the same as patriotism but they have common elements, especially authority, obedience and ritual, all of which are worth questioning in my opinion. Authority, obedience and ritual often compliment each other, either through direct church-state relations as in Russia and England or in the sense of a chosen people like America where a beneficial God steers our destiny. Either way, the public expects a believer, or at least someone who can perform the rituals convincingly, which is why I cannot run for president. Beyond that, though, religion and patriotism are conflated in the public mind. If I believe in no God, I do not believe in the beneficial God who blesses my country in all things. Therefore I cannot be seeking the greatest good for America and cannot be truly patriotic.
This changes the Patriotism Quotient (PQ) calculation to a 20 point scale by adding a possible four points for religion. That puts me at between zero and two out of 20 rather than 16. My PQ for the CCCP slipped even more.
I probably worship Satan and hate America, too.
Labels: last refuge of scoundrels