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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Guilt, voting and the human heart

Michael Veenema | Interrobang | Opinion | January 9th, 2006

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
“Happy New Year!”  Tamara greeted Mitch as they sat down to the first of their lunches in 2006. Tamara and Mitch had both taken some trips, visited some friends, and enjoyed their holiday season.

“Same to you,” Mitch responded.  “You went home to Toronto for the holidays?”

“That's right.  Although, the funny thing is that I felt like I was returning home on my way back to London, to my little space in rez, two hours from where I grew up.  Is that normal?  I mean, should I feel guilty about that?”

“I don't think so.  Developing a new sense of what home means is what happens when we step out of our parents' homes.  It happens all the time and is nothing to get alarmed about.”

“That's good to know,” Tamara said. “Anyway, I was thinking this week about the war in Iraq.”

“Can't we talk about something a little easier?” Mitch laughed. It was, after all, just barely passed the holidays, and everyone was suffering from a little bit of holiday burnout.

“What would you like to talk about?  Judge Judy?  FSU politics?”

“Umm, nevermind.  Ok, so what about the war?”

“George Bush and his colleagues claim they are trying to create democracy in Iraq.  Is that really going to work?  I mean, it would be nice to think so.”

Mitch thought for a few seconds.  “The other day I went the web site for the Centre for Cultural Renewal.”

“Sounds a little ambitious doesn't it?”

“Anyway, one of articles on the site claims that in our world, we love processes.  And we tend to feel that if we could create a process where people vote once every few years, and feel like they have some control over what happens in their society, we will have established a democracy.”

“Well, isn't that right?  Doesn't democracy mean essentially that people can vote about who governs them?”

“According to the article, democracy really isn't about processes.  It is really about the heart:  democracy works best when it is an expression of caring for our neighbour, a caring that is rooted in faith in a god who requires that we ‘love our neighbour as ourselves.'”

“Ok.  I realize that Jesus said that,” Tamara responded.  “But what if I don't believe in your Jesus, your god?”

“Then you're stuck with mere ideology and political philosophy.  You are left with endless speeches with various takes on ‘equality, liberty and fraternity.'”

“I'm still not ready to trust your god.”

“Ok, but you have to trust somebody.  And then you are left to trust politicians, investigative journalists, political philosophers and the president of the FSU.  They aren't all bad.  But it's not the same as acknowledging that your creator has a claim on how you respond to your neighbour, how you live.”

“The next thing you'll be telling me is that President Bush and the United Nations should be sending Christian missionaries to all kinds of troubled areas to preach God and peace.”

“Well, as it is, they send tanks, cruise missiles and generals.  Men (mostly) of war.  So, maybe your alternative, a plan to send missionaries to be an example of peaceful process instead of a war and a forceful example, is a good one.”

“Yeah, I think it would be a good idea to show that we're not all about muscle and force.”

Continued next week.
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