God in America
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"righteousness n. A sturdy virtue that was once found among the Pantidoodles inhabiting the lower part of the peninsula of Oque. Some feeble attempts were made by returned missionaries to introduce it into several European countries, but it appears to have been imperfectly expounded. An example of this faulty exposition is found in the only extant sermon of the pious Bishop Rowley, a characteristic passage from which is here given: 'Now righteousness consisteth not merely in a holy state of mind, nor yet in performance of religious rites and obedience to the letter of the law. It is not enough that one be pious and just: one must see to it that others also are in the same state; and to this end compulsion is a proper means. Forasmuch as my injustice may work ill to another, so by his injustice may evil be wrought upon still another, the which it is as manifestly my duty to estop as to forestall mine own tort. Wherefore if I would be righteous I am bound to restrain my neighbor, by force if needful, in all those injurious enterprises from which, through a better disposition and by the help of Heaven, I do myself restrain.'" -- Ambrose Bierce. 'The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce' Vol. 7 "The Devil's Dictionary" (Garden City, New York: Doubleday Page & Company, 1911)

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't "imagine God" but, rather, I imagine the universe. Outsourcing responsibility for the universe and its behavior to a deity works for some, but not for me. To me, religion - especially as practiced by the majority culture in the U.S. - is a never-ending pep rally, producing lots of heat and little if any light. Seeking metaphysical help in order to continue the status quo ante of cruelty, hatred and intolerance is delusional; yet it comforts the ignorant.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator What do I believe? Let me relate an excerpt from Martin Ritt's film 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' (Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1965). The characters Alec Leamas and Nan Perry are conversing, after supper at Perry's flat. "PERRY: Well, what do you believe in? LEAMAS: [Chuckles] PERRY: Well don't laugh. Tell me. LEAMAS: Well, I believe that the Number 11 bus will get me to Hammersmith. I do not believe it will be driven by, ah, Father Christmas." Then there is Fran├žois-Marie Arouet a.k.a. Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." So when it comes to belief, I'm careful.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Since "belief" isn't something which impresses me, I've nothing to relate in this regard.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Since the overarching subject here is 'God in America' I'll say this much: I began doubting the veracity of Abrahamic religions and their deity when reforms enacted by Pope John XXIII began to be eliminated by the Vatican via its lackeys, the cardinals and bishops in the U.S. My doubts about the aims of "American" religion increased as my knowledge of Native American Indian history increased; and my doubts further grew when fundamentalist evangelical clerics began monopolizing the corporate mainstream media of communication's permitted "public discourse" on government policy and social mores. There's little room left in my mind for more doubt regarding this subject, because "American" religion has provided all the doubt I'll ever need.

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Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
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Published October 11, 2010

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