A happy Sunday to everyone.
From LarkNews.com (via Fridge Magnet) comes a bizarre story of organ donation. Aleta Smith donated her kidney to a 20-year-old college student last year. Now she wants it back after hearing that the recipient Hannah Felks has changed religion from Christianity, to a mixture of Hindu and Pagan beliefs.
“They portrayed her as this nice Christian girl who works with kids. I saw it as a great opportunity to help a sister in the Lord.” … Smith was aghast when she heard of the conversion, and she
quickly wrote a letter asking Felks to re-convert to Christianity or return the organ, saying it was donated under false pretenses. “I feel helpless,” she says. “Part of my body, my DNA, is stuck inside a person who’s going to hell.”
I think this story highlights all that is good, and all that is bad with religion. First, we have an act of selfless life giving, inspired by the Christian belief in a shared humanity: We are all God’s children, and in acknowledging the gift of life we can celebrate our creation, together. This donation, the latest in a list of innumerable acts of charity made in the name of Christ, reminds us what a positive force religion can be.
And then, appallingly, the act is devalued. We see the divisiveness of fundamentalism, also implicit in a religion based upon the Revelation of ancient texts. It says: To have a different conception of spirituality apparently makes one an incomplete, second class person, less deserving of life. The request for the return of the kidney unveils a cold racism. The logic is selective – One could just as easily say that Aleta Smith’s Christian kidney will itself save this ‘pagan’, Asian-tea drinker Hannah Felks from hell…
Ironically, the Machiean world view of the Abrahamic religions is correct. But the sides of Light and Dark do not equate to the side of believers and non-believers. Instead, it is between inclusiveness, and divisiveness. It is the fundamentalist analysis, which judges some people as virtuous, and others as the damned-in-waiting, which is the true Devil in our midst.
The battle is not lost. We only need to remember the legacy of Ahmed Khatib, and Yoni Jenser before him, to see a glimmer of hope.