Sunday, May 31, 2015

"To Whom It May Concern"; a guest post by Paul Chepikian


In light of recent and current events, and looking over drafts that I have yet to post here on Sadie's Gathering, I came across this post written by Paul Chepikian, a friend that I am honored to know from my time living in California.  I find this to be a wonderful, gentle articulate suggestion.  After all, when we stop, and Take A Moment; we all could benefit from a little more Peace, Love and Understanding

To whom it may concern:
In light of recent events, I had some thoughts. Feel free to read, comment, share, un-friend me, declare a fatwah, etc., etc. I don't mean to be disrespectful and if I came across that way, bring it to my attention. I'm never too proud to apologize if I feel I've done something wrong.
Nothing like a couple of tough guys dressed like commandos, faces hidden behind black ski masks, armed with automatic weapons breaking into a newspaper office to attack a bunch of cartoonists! Calling these men cowards would be an insult to actual cowards.
It breaks my heart. But that same heart still aches for these individuals and their lost and misguided souls because that's exactly what separates me from them, the fact that I still care about them, that I still care about my fellow human beings no matter what. Not only am I "Charlie," I can easily be them. Many won't like hearing that and would never agree to a statement like that but the fact is any of us are capable of great things and horrible things. That's just a fact, a very scary fact. There but for grace of god go I. I'll get to which god in a moment.
I actually don't believe in organized religion and I pretty much, at this point can say, I don't believe in a god or gods and yet find it in my heart to be a good, decent, accepting, tolerant and loving human being. And I have absolutely no problem in what others believe and actually embrace and respect it as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others who have different beliefs. Church, Mosque, Temple, etc., I am humbled, respectful and usually in awe to attend any of them and I have. I have no agenda, I can accept the love, ritual and ceremony without judgment.
My own belief system is a theory based on the existence of a collective energy of all living things as well as things that simply exist within Nature in the Universe. And I believe that once we leave our physical presence, that energy returns to the Universe and once more becomes part of all that there is. That is my version of, for the lack of a better word, God. I reference it the Universe. In Star Wars, George Lucas refers to it as the "Force." I remember when the tsunami hit in 2004 in Asia and over 220,000 souls lost their lives in an instant, there was a "disturbance in the force." That is my god.
Anyone can mock it, draw cartoons about it, embrace it, whatever, whichever, whenever. My beliefs are about inclusion and tolerance. As I believe most religions, including a very much misunderstood Muslim Religion. 
This recent event in Paris were the actions of three, young, very misguided minds. This is a religion that has millions upon millions of practitioners. They did not and do not represent the agenda of Muslims as some would have us believe. If this were true, this so called war would already be over. This tragedy had nothing to do with their religion. How does one put himself above ones god to think that his god is incapable of taking care of his own affairs? That his god can't handle supposed insults hurled at him? If your god is so omnipotent, shouldn't he be able to deal the punishment in his own way, on his own terms. Or is it that one thinks so highly of oneself that they see themselves as god's right hand man. Such arrogance. Oh to be that young again. Age tempers all.
And this doesn't apply only to this event or this religion. In the states, certain groups shout that god created AIDS as punishment against our gay community. I won't even dignify that vial thought with a response. Or how their god created hurricanes to punish a certain population. If your god has that power and that is a viable thought process, why take it upon yourself to murder doctors who perform medical procedures (abortions) you don't agree with? If your god has such power and an issue, wouldn't he take care of it? You commit murder in his name, something he denounces? 
It seems that when individuals or groups take it upon themselves to interpret "their" gods word and then act upon it against the rest of the world, whether that world agrees with "their" god's word or not, it leads to blood shed.
Have faith in your god, whoever, whatever you believe. Don't second guess him, her, it. And please understand, I'm not downplaying or belittling anyone's belief system, quite the contrary, I'm embracing all belief systems, be they a Him, a Her or an It. God, no matter your God, needs you to Love, Understand, Embrace, Accept, Tolerate, Endure, Thrive, Cherish, Laugh, Dance and Live in Peace but most of all, DO IT TOGETHER.
I'm certain I've misspoken, I've contradicted myself, maybe gotten some facts wrong, but I hope I've shed some light on my own thought processes. But most of all...
Peace & Blessings
Paul Chepikian