Thursday, August 03, 2006

# 172 THE CRITTER CREED

I've always tended to believe that religious-minded people have a greater generosity of spirit. More grace, charity, forgiveness, and so on.

But it just so happens that despite their self-proclaimed generous gifts of charity, forgiveness, grace, and tolerance, most of the Godly people I have met, sneer at the ideas that animals have a soul and the foolish ‘heathens’ who believe that kind of crap. They are convinced that scriptures support a belief that it is the human soul, rather than higher intelligence, that separate us from Beasts. In their catechism, because of the souls within, people live and die with hope of an afterlife, but beasts live and die with no such redemption. And because of this stance on souls, they tend to feel that time spent with critters is ill-spent. To them, living is earth-time that they are obliged to dedicate to the righteous mandate of preaching and saving human souls.

This thinking might be sound. I can’t prove it isn’t, but at the same time I can’t prove it is. And either way is really of no matter because this chat is not about whether there is paradise for souls, but rather it is about how we see the world because of our beliefs. The perception that creatures are soulless radically determines how these same pious people treat animals in the here and now. The watershed effect of the ‘soulless’ label is little or no respect for animal rights. Because animals are soulless, and therefore outside the realm of righteousness, they harbor a bigoted, rather uncharitable way of thinking about critters. They just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that animals are capable of giving love and loyalty, of feeling remorse, and demonstrating in their own subtle ways, feelings of appreciation, joy, and security. That beasts have all these emotions, albeit expressed in different ways, and critters can and do fully appreciate being honored in life, and mourned in death.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience, that if you long for someone to comfort you when you lose a pet, stay away from those religious church-goers. Their charity, affection, respect, is not very elastic. It just can’t reach into the corner or wrap around the warp that makes the rest of us link to the warm little souls of animals as our closest confidants and companions.

Though the pious may respect the basic needs of critters, because they are part of God’s creation, at the same time, they refuse to subtract from their ‘righteous errands’ the time needed to form any real kinship with them.

2 Comments:

Blogger She Dances in Dragon said...

I find it hard to imagine people without pets. I know -in an abstract sense, that there are people who choose not to share their lives with pets; but in my mind -everyone has a pet! Of course, from a religious point of view, I was taught that God made the world and every thing in it, and so God can be seen in any of His creations.
Soul or no soul; does it matter when you can look at your pet (your companion, at least for his/her short life) and see the Hand of God?

In other words, I'm just as baffled as you are :D

2:41 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

SD in D. I love your comment that the hand of God can be seen in any of his creation. I would like to think all could have the grace to see critters in that special light. For me, life without pets would be empty as well. There is a vast difference between having a potted plant vs a loyal dog under the chair or a purring kitty on it.

5:22 PM  

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