I’ve been thinking about God lately. The Supreme Being is important to me, because I don’t want this to be all there is. The idea that there’s nothing beyond my one life is just too much pressure. I don’t know how Trump can stand it.
Here in the 21st century, we worship many gods. New and improved gods, straight off the showroom floor, built to redeem us in our modern existence. I think we finally figured out that being saved is only fun if you sin your way in.
Here in New Mexico, we’re actually polytheistic; while the rest of the nation is bowing to the powers of Green Chile (it’s the new bacon; getting mixed in with everything these days), we enchanted-land people have a reverence for green and red chile. We even spell “chile” differently, to demonstrate our piousness. It’s good to be New Mexican.
Of course, for the rest of the U.S.A., Money is the top god. Americans worship it every day by dragging themselves out of bed to go to work, and we’re constantly counting it, which must be why the Bible includes the Book of Numbers.
The more money you have, the more godly you become. It blesses us with power, prestige and privilege, and it’s the only way to real happiness. Of course, some atheistic naysayers like to point out that “you can’t buy happiness,” but we all know the hypocrisy behind that. If the naysayer is rich, they’re just trying to keep us away from their money, and if poor, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Social Media is also a god in our 21st century lifestyle. We are social animals but with all the diseases out there, actual human contact is now too dangerous. So we turn to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and porn to meet our tribal needs, finding fellowship in like-minded trolls.
And when it’s time to take the sacraments of our social interactions, we turn to E-Bay, Amazon and Whole Foods. Let us now praise the god of our latest post… unless our post is just too damn inappropriate, then let us take it down and hope no one captured it in a screenshot.
Of course, our godly ambitions would be nothing if not for Fame. We worship those who rise to the top, as their greatness is captured on shows like Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and the 700 Club (the latter of which worked well for Pat Robertson—but that’s so 20th century).
I suppose worshiping notoriety reached its peak with Celebrity Apprentice, when narcissism trumped piousness as the greatest quality of the faithful. With this god, Heaven is but a success story away, while Hell is bad ratings. The Gospel According to Trump verifies all I say here.
Oh, and let’s not forget Christmas, the god of all holidays. It supports all the gods mentioned above—Money, Media and Fame. Christmas (or “Xmas” as the heathens and Greek theologians call it) is a time for piece on earth, as in “Give me a piece of that.”
The Christmas faith is best expressed by buying stuff for ourselves and, oh yeah, the kids. The patron St. Claus is the biggest star of the season, and we take great joy in lying to our children so that they might lie to theirs someday. Aren’t our traditions wonderful?
Pop culture is the sanctuary for each of these religions, where the gods live or die according to what goes viral, what’s trending, what’s on YouTube or TV, and what time it is, according to the all-powerful 24-hour news cycle.
As a member of our 21st century pop culture, you really don’t have to mean whatever you say. Just express your love for people of all shapes, sizes, shades and sexual dispositions and then hide behind anonymity to shame those you actually hate. But if you decide to partake in the wonderful, god-given ritual of cyberbullying, be careful not to humanize your targets. That might make you pull your punches, which would then be considered a sin and get you roundly ignored.
Sin, according to the gods of our time, is something to be embraced and rewarded, so forgiveness is unnecessary. However, if you think this column is nonsense, I’ll forgive you—as long as you also recognize the nonsense of which I speak.
Tom McDonald is founder and editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.