Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thoughts For Sunday

[Evidently the above video is a little unpredictable in its playing (although I think I might have fixed it)... For those who can't see it, it's Bill Maher saying that if you believe in torture and war, and rejoice at killing Osama, you can't call yourself a Christian, since the central teachings of Christ were about loving your enemy, not seeking revenge, turning the other cheek... It is visible here.]

The first 2:40 is not the point, and some might consider turning the sound down till then. But the part about Christians and torture and revenge and the rest? Well, I don't think you can disagree. Forgetting about the rightness or wrongness of policy, it seems inarguable to me that you can't claim to be Christian and ignore what Christ said.

One thing or the other, you have to let go.

Humans are, by nature, hypocrites, among many other disappointing things. (Hard to argue we're the product of some perfect and just creator, no?) So it's not that this behavior is unique to Christians. But, in this era, in the US, people who call themselves Christians are imposing their beliefs on the rest of us in very destructive ways, based, they claim, on their faith and the teachings of Jesus: bashing gays, ignoring science, wanting their beliefs to be taught in public schools. Seeing ghosts of Sharia under their beds.

If you're going to ignore the most central theme (right?) of Jesus' teachings, it sort of makes the rest of your claims nothing more than personal prejudices, picked and chosen, based not on what your god actually said but on what you want to hear.

He said what he said. Believe it, or don't. Follow it, or not. Not a problem; it's your choice. (Free will, yes?) But unless you follow it all, including the turning the cheek liberal sissy stuff that you rail against in your politics, then you're not really a believer, are you? You're an editor.

The bottom line, to me, is this: maybe with the exception of some monks in the Himalayas, I doubt there's anyone who follows all the teachings of his or her stated religion. Because -- shall we admit it? -- the purpose of religion is to quiet our personal demons, to salve the unique wounds of our particular mortality; so we go cafeteria-style. We (and by "we" I mean "not me") use religion like noise-canceling headphones: and we adjust the equalizer to our personal requirements. I wish we could rise above the need, but I accept it; in our frailty, it's what we humans do.

But: evangelicals and other self-described Christians who want to ban gay marriage, who love war, who choose life until birth, who claim the Bible is literally true, who'd impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us: take a minute (as Ben Bailey says) and think. If you find yourself able to rationalize away the main thing your savior says, fine. Do it. You're not alone. But realize the implication: your convictions are too flimsy to force on others. Believe what you need to make it to the other side of this world. Just keep it to yourselves, where it belongs. Stop with the marriage bans, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the self-righteous claims of a higher morality than the rest of us. Keep your religion inside your heart, where it might do some good.

If you did that, I'd have nothing to write about. Religiously speaking.

[Acknowledging I'm no expert in Christian theology (but these guys, ostensibly, are), I'd be honored if someone would take the time to explain what I'm missing here. How is the apparently huge contradiction rationalized?]


Anonymous said...

Sid, I'm a BIG believer in Jesus, talk to him every Sunday in fact.
Call him up right on the phone, sometimes he calls me.
Thats right Jesus Montoya, the guy who takes care of my Lawn, Shrubbery, and whateva ya call the little rock thingies that I ruined several hundred dollars worth of lawnmower blades on until I realized it was stupid for a millionaire to cut his own grass.
Used to have another Jesus who took care of the Pool until he just "Happened" to show up at my daughters 16th birthday/pool party, "Need to check the pH Senor!" yeah right.
And I admit, Creation "Science" is about as much real Science as Psychiatry, OK, thats not really fair.
To the Creationists, at least there consistant on the pathology of Homosexuality, which was considered a real disease back in the 60's, i.e. when you were in med school...
But seriously, I know, we're really
just monkeys with less agility and better verbal skills, and sometimes I'd like to scream and throw my own feces when some snooty Gorilla/Surgeon trys to go all Alpha Male on me...
It's sorta hot when a Female Surgeon does it though.
The Dominatrix thang, not the throwing feces.
Speaking of Feces, can you believe Bill Marh isn't one of us Christ Killers? I mean, umm you know, that H-word that kept the (Right) Reverend Jesse Jackson from being the Democrat presidential nominee in 1984.
I mean he's got the Schnoz, the attitude, the general A-holeness that made millions of mild mannered Germans vote the straight (National) Democratic(Socialist) ticket.
Seriously, he's enough to make me cheer for the English in "In the name of the Father"
Umm gotta run, seems Starbucks doesn't really like you to use there wi-fi if you dont buy anything


double frank on a bun said...

It's all fear and the need for comfort. Humans in an earlier age, sans science.

Dr Schwab, I must make a comment to you on this. No matter how much you try to point out inconsistencies in Christianity, it doesn't matter. Believers are Believers. Mired in fear of change. At least, that's how I see Evangelism. Or even Christianity. (We won't even touch the fanaticism of other certain doctrines currently at war with us...oh wait, they've been at war with that belief for hundreds of years, never mind that.)

Trying to explain hypocrisy to Believers, it's a no win situation. While hating science, their minds rationalize. Huh. Troublesome evolutionary fault, that. But of course, it's God's design.

I just want to reach out and let you know, it doesn't matter what you try to present as empirical evidence, inconsistencies, anything. Followers are blinded by Faith.

I envy that comfort. But it just isn't so.


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