Vicky sent me a link to this story today, telling me how much she wanted to write something about it.
Let’s face it, it’s easy prey for humor. Anyone who would call a tree holy because it was marred, as if every tree – every living thing – wasn’t holy, deserves to be laughed at. It’s like the old joke about the Hi-C Fruit Punch-spitting Madonna or the cash-eating statue, which is to say there is none.
More than that, though, this does nothing as efficiently as show one of the fundamental weaknesses in religion as a whole. The desperation these people feel, hoping beyond sense and reason that this defaced tree is the son of god, is akin to the angst those feel who believe that there’s an old man in the sky with a special list of those people who will be saved and those who won’t and that it’s the same old man who granted all of us free will or the desperation felt by those who believe there’s a god at all.
We live in a time when desperation rules – look in Iraq, look in the White House, look in the schools and on the streets – scientific analysis is undermined by desperation for things to be otherwise.
It’s easier to believe that a tree can be a sign from God or God him/her/itself than to believe that the tree is just misshapen. It’s easier to believe that earthly deeds will be rewarded in some spooky afterlife. It’s easier to believe that somewhere, anywhere, things are going to be all right.
But it’s just not so. This is the world we live in and that’s all. And that’s just a fucking tree.