Hey all; hope you’ve had a great weekend,
I’ve spent the better part of the past week doing nothing more than watching la novela “Rubí”, a series that my friend Chi-Chi recommended as one of the shadiest shows of all time. (She’s right, it’s now available on Netflix). In the show, the main character Rubí will do anything in order to marry a filthy rich man who can take her away from “the hood” and help her live the life she believes she deserves. Besides being an ambitious gold digger, she’s [traditionally] beautiful, self-entitled, and generally cruel to anyone who can’t help her meet her goal.
Since I’ve seen close to 90 episodes of the show this week, I can say that in almost every moment of my life since Monday I’ve been reflecting on how the characters deal with Rubí and her terrible deeds and in this Sunday’s church service it was all the same.
The Apostle of my church was talking about how the saved need to change the way they live once they become saved, or else they’ll be doomed to “falling into the same cesspool” that God saved them from. I couldn’t help but think of Rubí who claimed to change, but continued to behave in the same self-destructive and unkind ways. If a fictional character could help me find deeper connection to the idea of Christian stoicism in reality, it would have to be Rubí.
As the Apostle continued to provide example after example, I thought more about why I’ve personally withdrawn from church congregations and organized religions. It’s not because I’m atheist or deist. I fully believe that we will, in fact, get what we truly deserve in THIS life and this may be a part of the problem.
I’m not saying that we personally must go after those that have wronged us or that we shouldn’t endure some level of pain, but only that too much belief that “the next life will be better” will only lead to complacency and the defense of bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. And that’s not something that I can be about.
We will all get some of what we deserve in this life. I truly believe that. I also believe that some of the things that we think we DESERVE are not actually deserved. Some things are given or shared that we think we deserve, but at the end of the day, we should question who is doing the giving. What we actually receive is the result of a compromise, an agreement. When we say we DESERVE something, we are saying that a higher power (God, Nature, the Law, a Supervisor etc.) has a set of qualifications or stipulations and we have met them. And though this may or may not be true, we believe that the system operates properly because we understand the stipulations.
However, the fallacy of this belief lies in the person/entity that sets the system and the reward itself. First, if we believe in said system of reward/punishment, we are believing that the only stipulations that merit reward or punishment are the ones that we have been provided beforehand. This is simply not the case. Second, if the reward is unlimited and EVERYONE can receive it if they meet the stipulations, then there is no fallacy. However, in reality, this is also not the case.
Linking the two back together, if there is a limited number of rewards or a limited number of punishments that can be given, then there will be other stipulations that will determine whether or not we receive what we deserve. These stipulations can be circumstantial (a late arrival for a giveaway or sale), prejudicial (a bias that favors men over women), or arbitrary (really anything). There is also always the factors of influence and coercion (though coercing a deity seems rather mythic/folk-tale-ish).
I’m not saying that we deserve nothing. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight for what we think we deserve. I’m saying that we should remember that what we deserve is based on our own beliefs and what we receive is based on the beliefs of those that do the giving. If there are stipulations concerning what we deserve and they’re not met, by all means fight for what you deserve. That is your right as someone who is responding to a written promise. However, if it is a battle of beliefs, remember that is what it is. No matter what you deserve, you can only get what you are given. If you choose to fight that and everyone believes that you are wrong, then there’ll be consequences. If you’re willing to fight, make sure that it is worth it.
Also, don’t confuse things you deserve (reward or punishment) with your rights (inalienable imo). The two are related (you deserve to have your rights respected), but your rights are not earned. Similarly, I don’t believe they should be taken.
This has been a supreme ramble…I just really wanted to write. Hopefully this turns into something more focused in the future.
Until next time,