Monday, October 20, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part V

All new coming immigrants have a choice to make: Live in the little enclave of their native community or embrace and fully integrate into the American society.
The people that come over here solely for financial gains stay in their community. They choose a life on the fringe of society and legality, taking advantage of the welfare system and funneling all the money they make back into their former country, on the hope that one day they will go back and live a life of leisure.
The others, like me, learn the language start a career, pay taxes and usually don’t want to have too much to do with their fellow countryman, unless they share the same ideal of American integration.
My first priority after settling down was to learn English.
The best tools to learn English are a TV and a dictionary. For the first 6 month I lived with my TV on 24/7. It wasn’t only to learn the language but also a window into the psyche and culture of the American people – at that time I had no idea how distorted that representation was.
I discovered Johnny Carson and “The twilight zone” and one late night I discovered “Tele Evangelism”
That night I laughed so hard I thought I’d burst a seam. I thought to myself: This is really brilliant! This stuff is even better than “Saturday night live” But then after a couple of nights I realized that it wasn’t a skit.
Those people with the healing of the crippled and the blind were dead serious.
My first encounter with American spirituality was a shock. In the country that had the most Nobel Prize winners and had put a man on the moon, this three ring circus was the best they could offer?
According to these morons God had not finished his job after 7 days – as I knew from my little biblical knowledge. God that had created the universe and life as we know it suddenly on the 7th day became impotent and called upon the televangelists to do his job. That job mainly involved collecting money. Lots and lots of money – apparently God not only lost his powers but also was totally broke.
I couldn’t stop the words of Karl Marx from popping to my head “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.
I wasn’t just disappointed I was totally disgusted.


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Lydia said...

Your sentiments about the American televangelism are mine also. I despise that crap. It upsets me so much that my insides grimace. I meditate and pray and practice yoga and deep breathing in an attempt to not let those idiots get to me, but I can't help it. I'm not there yet.
I don't call it American spirituality, however. I think American spirituality is the balanced, more private understanding that comes from an open belief system without hate-filled dogma. There are some Christian churches out there that fall into this category. There are many Americans who have a relationship with their higher power, whether they call it God, Buddha, yoga practice, nature....
The other stuff, the fundamentalist/evangelical Christian segment of American religious society -- those hideous mega-churches and the little ones (like Sarah Palin's) where people speak in tongues (whatever that really is all about, I just don't want to know) -- that isn't spirituality. It's hateful, idiotic adherence to worn-out dogma. I don't recognize this country as seen through the eyes of those kinds of people.

Now I need to go practice some deep breathing! I'm glad to have friends like you.