IrishMikeDavis - News & Opinion
This is my serious blog, unlike a couple of others in the nav-bar.
No, the title is not a spelling error, and, yes, it is a play on words. There is no book or movie, to my knowledge, with this title, but there could be.
Nevertheless, I feel this play on words is a most appropriate appropriation or bastardization, as you prefer. The title of the now-famous book by Mario Puzo and the movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, parallels the rise and fall of religion in people's lives and society in general.
Like The Godfather, The Godfactor is about the repeated rise and fall of religion and the imposition of religious thinking and beliefs on others. At issue is the Roman Catholic Church, or any of the numerous non-Catholic but still devoutly religious protestant sects, the Jews, or Muslims, or the religious hash of smaller groups claiming that God speaks to them, telling them to go out and change the world.
So that what I'm trying to say is clear, I don't subscribe to religion; I believe it is mythology, but for those who do believe and use it for personal growth in their lives, I'm happy that they find fulfillment in their religion. The problem is those who radicalize religion. These are the people who want to force the rest of the world to believe and behave as they do and who go that extra mile to find like-minded political candidates for office who will change the laws of the land to reflect the beliefs of their religion.
And therein lies the problem. Many, if not a majority of your devoutly religious folk, seem to feel the need to go out and show everyone else the error of their ways and convert them to whatever rituals and beliefs their particular religion embraces. They feel driven to not only inform us about how they interrupt what their God intends for us, and they become passionate about converting everyone to their religion. Failing that, they get frustrated that their message is not working, so they try to insert themselves in positions in civil society to change the laws of the land.
I mentioned earlier the rise and fall of religion in society, and that has been its history. According to the 2020 Census of American Religion from the Public Religion Research Institute, about 45% of Americans identify as Protestants, 23% unaffiliated, and 22% Catholic. The remaining 10% is split among Mormons, Jews, Muslims, and other groups. The census concentrates on the subdivisions between white Christians and Christians of color, noting that "over the last few decades, the proportion of the U.S. population that is white Christian has declined by nearly one-third," from 65% in 1996 to 42% in 2017.
The survey's statistic that caught much of the attention had to do with white evangelicals. According to the census, "Since 2006, white evangelical Protestants have experienced the most precipitous drop in affiliation, shrinking from 23% of Americans in 2006 to 14% in 2020."
One of the things that will happen with any organism that feels threatened by extinction is radicalization and accelerating whatever it is supposed to be about, often in manic ways, to regain its relevancy and survive as a group or body. In the case of these religious groups, they want to up the ante and take control of society in a way that allows them to not only survive but hopefully thrive. In their minds, if they can force people to think as they do, eventually everyone will come around to that way of thinking on their own. They want to dictate to all of society.
Thus, my analogy with The Godfather. The Godfather had a vision of his world and the people in it where everyone bowed down and kissed his ring. He had his code of loyalty and justice, and he believed that if he made the lives of the non-adherents uncomfortable enough, they would stop resisting and let him have his way. He also brutally punished those who opposed in a manner meant to send a message to the others. To The Godfather, that was a win-win; he got the world he wanted, and his "followers" got to live in relative peace, if not happy, in a world where the Godfather laid down the rules. The Godfactor is the same model for society.
If you look at most religions, that is the model with which they work. They promise peace and life ever after, but only if you abide by their law and rules. If you resist, and they can gain power over you, they will do everything they can to make your life on this earth a living hell, and they promise you continued and infinite misery when you're dead. Such a deal!
Theocracy is one of the oldest forms of government known to man. The Jewish commonly practiced it in ancient times. So, you may ask yourself, which countries practiced theocracy? In ancient times, there were many theocracies, but many of those failed and were abandoned. Some of the countries once governed by theocracy include; Japan, China, ancient Egypt, Tibet, and Israel. Theocratic governments still rule counties like Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Vatican City, and Afghanistan. Most of these countries are in chaos and live under an iron rule; few would choose to live there.
Religion belongs in only a few places. Obviously, in your mind where you use it to inform you about your behavior. In your home, where you, assuming you establish your authority there, may impose it on the rest of your family. And, finally, your place of worship where like-minded individuals can come together and reinforce their belief in the righteousness of their religion.
That is it. The halls of civilian governance must never become places of worship. It should never be the law of the land.