Class Warfare Blog

January 28, 2019

Stolen Gifts

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:16 pm

I am a sports fan and still a sport coach at this late stage of my life. I find that the word “gifts” is lavishly applied to athletes. At the same time, I see athletes who have committed to thousands upon thousands of hours of labor to create their talents. The talents are, of course, built upon the physical frame bequeathed to an athlete from his parents (and their parents, etc.) but the idea that their talents are “gifts” given to them is part of a religious highjacking.

To theists who insist that all things flow from their god, it is an easy step to tell their children that they have “god-given gifts” as well as telling them what to do with their gifts. Certainly one shouldn’t squander one’s gifts, one should be grateful for them, etc.

This highjacks evolutionary programs already in place. We are supplied with hardwired responses to gift giving. We feel good when giving a gift to someone we think worthy of one. We feel “grateful” to the gift giver when receiving one. We wish to reciprocate by giving a gift back. All of these things got hardwired in because they help stitch tribes and societies together by reducing strife and increasing mutual devotion which increases survivability of offspring.

So, just as religions have highjacked a word like “father” and used it as priestly title (thereby acquiring unearned authority), they have taken any attribute of an individual that is laudable and called it a “gift from god” and laid the expectation thereby that you be grateful to the gift-giver.

Imagine how you would react to a child at a birthday party who insisted that all of the gifts received by the celebrant were from him? We are so used to this outrageous claim from the religious that we find it “ordinary.” It is not. It is a tool of psychological control.

These same people highjacking gifts are also quick to shed any blame for gifts that go wrong (in their eyes). If one is homosexual, the blame falls upon the individual for their poor “choice” and not the god who gave them that gift. If a child is autistic or clumsy, or poorly formed, these are not gifts from god by signs of personal failings of either child or parents.

If “all things come from god” then “all things” means “all things.” If you are going to cherry-pick the good things and claim they came from your god, then you must accept homosexuals into your church’s bosom because your god gave them that gift. It is your job to figure out what that means, not simply to justify your personal feelings by “blaming the victim.”


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