IS THERE A HERO OR A GOD THAT ISN’T FLAWED? by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

No build up. I’ll just come straight out with it. In my biased opinion, they’re all flawed.

I concocted a list of presidents, governors, coaches, financiers, actors, college deans and found serious issues with every one of them — sexual indiscretions, judgement lapses, greed, arrogance, stupidity etc. You name it, they had it. If you didn’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Every human being is flawed, but to a different degree. No new knowledge to be gained on that front.

In the god category, I checked out Wikepedia and two other religious sites. There are 22 major religions and thousands of minor ones. I was surprised to find that Christianity was first with 2.1 billion followers (I thought it was Islam), Islam was 2nd with 1.3 billion  followers, third was Atheism with 1.1 billion and 22nd was Scientology with 500 thousand. In-between there are Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Mormonism (LDS), Rastafarianism etc.

Each, except Atheism, has its own special GOD. HE, the almighty, the capo de capo, demands full allegiance and in return one gets preferential admittance to the afterlife.

Which religion, forgetting the amount of followers, is the most powerful? That’s a tough one. The best answer I could come up with occurred in 2004 when Brigham Young (the followers of Joseph Smith Jr) beat Notre Dame (the followers of Jesus) in football 20 to 17. That’s actually a lot more entertaining than the game between the Sunnis and the Shias where someone’s always getting blown up because they disagree as to the true successor to Mohammed. So if all the gods are flawless, why are there so many, and why are so many people killing each other to prove that their god is the TRUE GOD?

The real question is why do we need to elevate man to a godlike status, and why do we need a god? Among many reasons, two stand out.

The first is that it all comes down to being a helpless baby — hungry, powerless and vulnerable. To survive, our god-like parents are a necessity. As we develop, we need to break away from parental rule (the terrible twos, adolescent rebellion), but still need and want someone wise and loving who will care for us. Voila (a little French mysticism), we elevate fellow humans and we attach ourselves to a GOD. It happens everyday in any doctors office. Vulnerable people are desperate to be nurtured and cured.

The second, is that we’ve been indoctrinated with religion from the moment we take our first breath. It’s very challenging to combat centuries of history and tradition.

It all makes sense except for one “little” part. Half our country is so religiously oriented that the concept of a division between church and state has become nonexistent. “If you don’t believe in my god, I won’t vote for you!”

What happened to the god of common sense?

All thoughts and ideas about heroes and gods are very welcome.

Please don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

16 thoughts on “IS THERE A HERO OR A GOD THAT ISN’T FLAWED? by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. I am an agnostic, and wasn’t really raised in any kind of religious tradition. I’m just not a believer, which makes me a Humanist, I guess. I am however, respectful of those who believe. Who am I to say their god isn’t real to them? I’m just too skeptical, and maybe cynical, to believe. What I dislike, however, is irrationality, and intolerance, sexism, or bigotry, practiced in the name of religion. When we have a presidential candidate who actually says that the separation of church and state “makes him want to throw up,” that’s just as scary to me as some Islamic terrorist! When I see legislators who want to deny science and teach Creationism, I fear for the future of our children and the progress of our country. When I see right-wing politicians across the country trying to force women back into the 19th century, I get angry. So if people want to preserve democracy in this country, they MUST take their right to vote very seriously.


    1. In response to Curiosity14, I would say I’m a moderate conservative, and agree with all the comments, BUT I am just as afraid of what our president is currently doing to the Constitution. I do not want to live in a socialist country, but we are clearly headed in that direction.


      1. Well, if it makes you feel any better, most liberals think he’s too far right! He’s a very centrist liberal for the most part. I think the socialism charge is irresponsible media hyperbole!


      2. I must respectfully disagree. Obama and Congress are usurping control little by little. The trouble is, I don’t know if Romney or any of that crowd will be any better…sigh! Where is the nearest deserted island ?


  2. I must respectfully disagree…Atheism and Scientology are NOT religions. Atheism cannot be a religion since there is no almighty. Scientology is clearly just a money making scheme that has somehow fooled the likes of Travolta and Cruise, but they are probably in it for publicity. It is always hard to tell what the entertainment people do for real.

    You hit the nail when you talked about the Sunnis and Shiites. It is hard for me to imagine killing someone just because he doesn’t believe in my God or follow my religion, but more wars have been started and more killing has been done over the centuries because of religion than for any other reason. Will it ever end in the Middle East????

    The whole business of forgiveness is a bit strange as well. The Jews invented guilt, but the Catholics perfected it. Just a joke, but has a ring of truth for all religions. It just seems strange that no matter how bad the crime…if you say you are sorry, then all is forgiven…hard to understand.

    And now we are seeing it in our own country with the fanatics from the so-called “religious right”. It is a dangerous religious world we live in…. 🙂


      1. Although there is a great deal of important information in Wikipedia, one must remember that it is written by just plain folk and sometimes not edited carefully, so I wouldn’t take that as gospel (interesting word, eh?). I would prefer to see what some real religious scholars might say.


  3. One aspect of religion that has troubled me is the notion that if you believe and accept, then all your sins will be absolved and you can go to heaven. So, the rapist, the murderer, and the liar all accept Jesus as their savior/GOD as the holy one, and so they are forgiven and granted access into heaven. There is no need to make amends to those we hurt, just accept and believe in GOD and all will be forgiven (maybe a few hail Marys?). I’m not sure I want to be in a place like that with people like that. If it exists.


  4. Have you been listening in on my phone conversations and reading my Linkedin and FB messages Art… oh well, at least you agree with me. If I must have a stalker at least it’s one with sense. 🙂 This is a summary of three seperate conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks. Weird or what, almost makes you believe in a higher being… almost.


  5. We can lead moral lives with supernaturalism, and with higher powers …with God. If interested, read :
    Watchman Nee
    Rick Warren
    Henry Blackabay
    Dr. Jack Cottrell
    Rob Bell
    Francis Beckwith
    Walter Martin
    Erwin McManus
    Bob Russell
    Bill Hybels

    Two-edged sword, two sides to every coin, or a two-headed dragon
    Cheers, Don
    P.S. Sure cure for lawlessness.


  6. This is a wonderful essay!! Basic, human insecurity need creates magical solutions that cannot be redacted or even questioned. What is somethimes overlooked is humanity’s potential for goodness without a God and that people can lead lives of purpose and compassion. Check out HUMANISM that offers a sense of community that we need in good times and bad . We can lead moral lives without supernaturalism, without higher powers …without God. If interested, read Bertrand Russell; Greg Epstein, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Bernie


  7. You said : “It’s very challenging to combat centuries of history and tradition.”

    What’s wrong with history and tradition that is founded on something-i.e. recorded writings and such? I’m a poor schmuck that needs a God, an absolutely flawless one at that, according to my real experiences with Him, and in my humble opinion, worth quite a lot.

    Call it the person living in me who is more than just my muse to aid me in my writings. I’m a deep thinker in some regards. I know what is real in my life, and what is shadow. I’m over the hill and have been at this God-thing for a good long while, and it personally works for me. I know I’m over that hill, since I can describe to you in detail what is on the other side.


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