Friday, September 23, 2005

In The Foxhole

There is an old expression that everyone has heard: there are no atheists in a fox hole. With Hurricane Rita bearing down on the Gulf Coast, my sister has seen the light, and understands the true nature of God.

It has officially spread now to every member of my family in Houston; they are all true believers now. Excepting for my brother, who honestly could use a dose of religion right now. I'm not an atheist, but neither am I a church goer. It seems that God is like another addiction, a weird virus that infects us all until we wander the streets of Cairo chanting, "Imhotep, Imhotep."

I hope I am not offending the holy powers, but if my children are wandering the streets screaming my praises, I would be flattered, but after a while I would consider them a little insane. I would tell them to turn more inward and find that same love for themselves, to quit using me as a crutch.

My sister dated a boy some years ago who had a disabling fear of cities and people of different colors. They existed in a tight group and never wandered far. He was a nice guy; he didn't do drugs or drink, and in all other categories was an upstanding citizen, but the guy was a whackamole. And my sister bought into his rhetoric--for a while.

She dated a boy in high school, and carried his pistol in her purse. They broke up when he went to jail. She waited for a while, but thankfully she came to her senses.

She had a child with a drug addict, and became embroiled in the drug culture for a span, but once again, she came to her senses and dumped him, and started on her life of a single mom, barely into her twenties.

Along came Charley, a man child who lived to surf and party with his friends and brothers. If he was five feet tall I would be shocked. I didn't see the love at all, but they got married quietly and announced it later. He wanted a child of his own, but when a little girl was born, he showed not an ounce of enthusiasm to raise her--no doubt he hoped for a boy--spending more and more time away with his "brahs." Hang ten asshole. At least my sister got the house in the divorce.

Her latest boyfriend, whose praises I was singing only yesterday, is a loan salesman, with that typical smarmy, too-good-to-be-true personality that gives sales people a bad rap. I called my sister today to tell her to tape her windows to prevent inward shattering. She didn't want to talk about that because, as she put it, "I found God."


"I mean it, I found God."

"I'm happy for you. Listen, did you tape your w..."

"You are not hearing me."

"Listen, if God gets you through this hurricane then I'm happy for you. But I've already been given the sales pitch before."

She said, "Now I understand my mother. Her husband is God, and she has been trying to tell me about him for years. I've gone to church but I never heard; I never understood. God guides her actions."

"Really. Is it God that guided her fist into my belly when I was a little boy? Was she following Gods plan then?"

Then she put her boyfriend on the phone, who proceeded to tell me about how great a person my step-mother is, and how God speaks through her. It was everything I could do to keep my cool with this presumptuous prick.

"Listen," I said, "You don't have the first clue as to how she is or what motivates her, but if you hang out long enough, you will. That I promise you. Right now, I'm worried about the hurricane that is bearing down on you and how my family is prepared. Ok?"

This sobered him up and he told me earnestly that he had taped the windows, that a two story home stood between them and the winds that were to come. Then he let me talk to my sister and I said a quick goodbye. I hope it wasn't my last.


magnetbabe said...

"I would tell them to turn more inward and find that same love for themselves, to quit using me as a crutch."
Amen to that! Why does Texas seem to have that religious-awakening effect on people? They seem to be the obnoxious buckle on the bible belt. In all seriousness, whether it's due to faith or nature, I hope they are spared the worst of Rita.

Scott said...

Great way of putting it MB! I don't know what it is, but my aunts and cousins have all done it too. My last trip there I was cornered and had to listen to the pitch. I want my kids to be free thinkers--leaders, not followers.

Mr. T said...

Karl Marx put it best.. "Religion is the opiate of the masses"

Just checked the latest forecast.. seems my hometown will be getting the eastern side of Rita.

Poor ole girl, Louisiana, has not had a good season this year... both corners being trashed by hurricanes.

Mrs.T said...


Did they not evacuate?

All of my friends and family did... even when it gets to Dallas its supposed to be a category 1..

ugh... Im worried too.

Scott said...

Mr T - Love the Karl Marx quote. I'll have to remember that one. Sorry about your hometown.

Mrs T - I don't understand why they didn't clear out as best they could, but from what I understand, the freeways were already jammed solid and the escape didn't seem feasible. I think I would have loaded my family on my motorcycle; Jackson on the gas tank, Emmett between us on the seat. Problem is, where do you stay when all the hotels are booked, unless you know someone inland? Where did your friends go?

The Zombieslayer said...

Whatever happened to "God helps those who helps themselves?"

Scott said...

Zombie - Zactly.

trinamick said...

Amazing how people always blame God when something bad happens, but he never gets credit when something good occurs. I love that phrase "finding God" - was he lost?

Scott said...

Good question Trina. I think that people find God because for the entirety of their lives they've frolicked and had a rip roaring good time, all in the shadow of guilt that religion casts upon our lives, and suddenly, when they need insurance for the afterlife, they "find" God, but in reality he was there all along. I think you are dead on too: why shouldn't God get a little credit when things are going good. On the rare occasion that I pray, it's to say thanks for giving me a good life, and maybe to ask a teensy little favor *ahem*. I don't blame God for hurricanes; there's a perfectly good scientific explanation, but it's funny that on the radio there is actually debate on whether or not the hurricane is God's wrath. How are we ever going to mature as a society when we actually entertain these theories. I know, let's debate whether or not global warming has an impact by heating up the oceans and giving hurricanes more go juice.

jenbeauty said...

Such a like minded group...I love it. Good responses all and sums up what I feel on the matter of "finding god".

Trevor Record said...

My grandparents used to guilt me into going to church with them. It pretty much ruined religion for me. It seems to me that a lot of people religion to justify the jackass things they do and think, not as a way to reach out to others.

Sadie Lou said...

I love that phrase "finding God" - was he lost?

Like the song Amazing Grace: I was lost and now Am found...

amberdusk said...

Maybe this sounds simple but I think if people in "religion" would care more about others then themselves then people who don't believe wouldn't be so disillusioned about it all. I am reminded of this little story about the blind men and the elephant though. I have it in the archives of my blog. I think it's important for me to remember that I don't have it all firgured out, just a peice of it.
I hope your family is doing well Scott.

Sadie Lou said...

Trevor Record said...not as a way to reach out to others.

It's hard to reach out to others. People generally recognize when you're trying to share the gospel with them and they are turned off before you even begin. Most of the time, I just do things for people and if they ask--I'll tell them. Sometimes I'll share with people, my personal testimony about some really hard things I've gone through and how God helped me overcome a great deal.
Most the time, people have heard the gospel and have made a choice already or have heard some screwed up version of the gospel and have rejected it without really knowing what it is they have rejected.

Scott said...

Jen - On some things we sort of agree, but I like to hear what the other side thinks. I would love to be convinced of a faith. Don't we all want to go to heaven if there really is one?

Trevor - I had to go as a child and I always hated it. In fairness though, I have met some people of deep faith whose only interest is doing right by others.

Sadie - It's a tough gig being religious in today's environment, and I admire anyone who can stick by their beliefs like yourself. I'll have to post about a positive experience I had once. It was only once, but it was the biggest of them all.

Amber - I agree with you. Keeping an open mind is the key, in any direction. I could be convinced of a particular religious path if the pieces fell together. I am not a non-believer, just skeptical, and don't buy into the apocalyptic view that we're all going to hell for being unsure.

Sadie Lou said...

Sadie - It's a tough gig being religious in today's environment, and I admire anyone who can stick by their beliefs like yourself. I'll have to post about a positive experience I had once. It was only once, but it was the biggest of them all.

I would love to read that story.
:)--and thank you for the nice compliment.