In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated.
Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac:
How does imagination happen? How does the mind create on command? William James described the creative process as a “seething cauldron of ideas, where everything is fizzling and bobbing about in a state of bewildering activity.” In the last year, two separate experiments have attempted to see inside the cauldron, to figure out how a loom of electric cells finds the exact right notes on the upright organ
Our society would seem noisy, perplexing and maybe psychotic … All you have to do is sit in classrooms every day for 16 years to learn counterintuitive skills, and then work and commute 50 hours a week for 40 years in tedious jobs for amoral corporations, far away from relatives and friends, without any decent child care, sense of community, political empowerment or contact with nature. Oh, and you’ll have to take special medicines to avoid suicidal despair, and to avoid having more than two children. It’s not so bad, really. The shoe swooshes are pretty cool.
Ann Landers’ daughter has taken up the mantle her now deceased mother bore for decades answering readers’ questions on… well, just about everything. I’m including a letter and response below dealing with a concerned parent and her now atheist daughter in its entirety. Take a moment to gape, will you?
Dear Margo: Our daughter started college a year ago, and we’ve noticed during her visits home that she’s not the sweet, innocent girl we sent away for higher learning. We raised her with strong Christian beliefs, but lately she’s saying that she’s joined an atheist club on campus and is questioning everything we taught her. Now my husband refuses to let her in the house and is threatening to turn her in to the FBI. I’ve tried to cure our daughter and reconcile with her, but nothing seems to work. I’ve prayed over her at night while she sleeps, enlisted friends in a phone prayer tree and even spoken to my priest about the possibility of an exorcism. I’m at my wits’ end. How can I recover my daughter and keep her from hell? — God-fearing
Dear God: Whoa, dear. While I am sympathetic to anyone’s devotion to their religion, you need to realize that your daughter is a sentient being with the right to reject your religious views if she so chooses. Your husband is pathetically misguided if he thinks he can call the FBI to report the “crime” of your daughter joining an atheists club. Ditto for the exorcism. This young woman is not possessed, demonic or doing weird things; she is merely thinking and questioning the religion she grew up with. I would encourage you to understand that all people, your daughter included, have the right to think for themselves, particularly about something as meaningful as religion. As for hell, well, she appears willing to take her chances. — Margo, contemplatively