A Response to Congresswoman Lauren Boebert: If Jesus had an Assault Rifle. Religion or Hypocracy?
In this time of gun violence, mass shootings and national debate regarding gun control sensible and serious discussion is important. It is reported that in a recent speech given by Congresswoman Boebert she stated “ that if Jesus had an assault rifle he would not have been crucified.” “The government would not have killed him.” In the name of God are you serious? How absurd is this comment considering the real messages and teachings of Jesus.
As a psychologist religion has always been a difficult subject to deal with when providing psychotherapy. It can at times be hard to maintain a boundary between reasoning and faith. I accept that my clients are entitled to their religious views. In regards to treatment my approach is based less on faith but is predominantly grounded in empiricism. The help I provide addresses changing attitudes and beliefs toward a factual analysis of a situation. Behavior or actions should be based upon facts. Basing decisions solely upon faith goes against the empiricist perspective. It is my determination to respectfully take a position of religious neutrality. I could not take a position to favor one religion over another.
Is there a place for faith or religion in psychotherapy? My clients often press me to address this issue. Is religion helpful or harmful? To answer this question I had to address my own views and biases toward religion. I was raised within an orthodox Jewish background dominated by my grandparents and familial history. As like most people we choose to accept the views of our family often without really understanding that we had a choice to accept or challenge their views.
Over the course of my life there were many horrific events that I encountered. My views shifted from the orthodox toward the less restrictive reformed Jewish perspective. In time I actually found myself becoming an agnostic or even an atheist. I found my views to be more inline with perhaps a Buddhist philosophy. Pressed by my clients to address their conflicts regarding faith or facts I came to a common understanding that bridges this gap.
On the Experience Road of Life there are lessons and knowledge to be acquired from all our engagements. What lessons do we learn from religion? Each of the major religions have many common messages about how to live contently with yourself and interact positively within our communities. One similar message is to focus on the present. Our attention should be towards helping each other, caring for the poor and sick and respecting each other with love.
There have been many good teachers from Moses, Jesus, Mohamad, Buddha and others. They have all come from different backgrounds yet they express similar perspectives: be considerate of each other and act kindly. The end result is that if you are good to each other, live kindly and be helpful you will be rewarded upon your death.
My personal life philosophy and treatment focus is not on the afterlife but on living in the here and now. We have choices we can make to be happier and contribute to the well being of society. Take care of what you can directly influence and if there is an afterlife hopefully you will have accrued enough credit to enter the Pearly Gates.
What did Jesus teach us? As I recall he never advocating killing your enemies. He preached love thy neighbor, heal the sick, care for the poor. Why would the son of God need an assault rifle? We were taught to believe he had the power to command life and death. As it is further taught he died for our sins, not for us to create more sins.
The hypocrisy of religion occurs when people of power and influence advocate sinful actions in the name of God. Their motive is to gain power and wealth by poisoning the minds of their followers. Throughout history religion often became a weapon to abuse, kill and subjugate people to the will of a few deceitful individuals.
To be fair many charitable and good deeds have been led by organized religions in efforts to follow the lessons of the teachings of love thy neighbor. There is not a thou must slay your neighbor with an assault rifle written in the ten commandments as well as the second amendment of our constitution. If Jesus had been given an assault rifle he would most likely break in two and instead offer an olive branch.
Regarding Congresswoman Boebert’s very inappropriate comments, where is the voice of outrage and condemnation? Where are the voices within our religious communities and congressional halls? Silence is to give power to the transgressor. It is this hypocrisy that gives religion a bad name and distracts us from the real messages that religion can stand for. We must call out hypocrisy and raise our voices.
Dr. Michael J Simon