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So, I'm driving home from the library and have a big, honking (EMPTY) SUV in front of me with the following sticker on the back window:

1 Hammer
+ 3 Nails
4 Given

And there's a cross and what looks like barbed-wire all around it. (Crown of thorns.) Now, granted, I have no belief in deity and pretty much loathe all organized religion, but COME ON! How is that respectful of the story of Jesus? How is that acceptable? So that got me to thinking...


Oh My God. Well, not *my* God, because I defy him and all his works.
(For new folks, that's from "Buffy.")

Now, this is not meant as a Christian bashing post. At all. Because the text? The whole mission-statement that Jesus laid out?

Recap:
1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
2. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
3. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart...
4. Turn the other cheek
And the biggie:
5. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Summed up = be kind, follow the golden rule - #1, quit putting on airs - you both pull your pants up one leg at a time. No one is better than any one else.)


See how nowhere up there did it say: hate queers, blacks, Muslims, Jews, or that women should stay at home, that Corporate greed is good, or how Americans need to go to war in Iraq.... We'll get to that in a bit. Back to the selling-out of your faith. Or maybe not *your* faith, but you get my meaning.

So why not go all the way with this whole horrific/bloody imagery? Because The Passion of the Christ wasn't explicit enough, nosiree! How about bumper stickers with buckets of blood, and a rubber ducky and sponge? "Get washed in the blood of Christ!" Or better yet, a picture of Jesus, face contorted into horrific agony, and a picture of someone super-imposed with a beatific grin plastered on their face. (Almost orgasmic.) His Agony = Your Rapture!

On our drive through the Deep South earlier this month, we saw small, washed-up towns with stores displaying signs that read: "We Believe in Christ. If you don't, Keep driving." Yes, Jesus was nothing if not exclusionary. We turned the radio on to catch some "local color" and heard some half-wit (quarter-wit, we later determined) talk about how evolution was a lie because... where were the half-monkey/half-men walking around? o_O Like this dip-wad expects to find monkeys in the jungle with an abacus and a Day Planner. You know, as proof. And caller after caller just sucked this up. "Yes! Oh, Laws, Praise Him!"

I've suspected for several years, and have been proven right over and over again that the majority of "Christians" have absolutely no clue about their own faith. Signs? God/Jesus said quit asking for them - they're offensive to Him. Public displays of your "faith" or praying out loud to the irritation of others to show how "righteous" you really are? Jesus mocked you and said it was displeasing. Then there was that whole, crazy thing where Jesus spent a few days telling people how awesome and loved the downtrodden and lowest of mankind was. How special they were. How those who HAVE should care for the HAVE NOTS. And went so far as to say that whatever you DID to the lowest common denominator (be it good or bad) was like doing it to the Big Guy - Jesus. I'll let you draw your own parallels to the Republican Party's starvation and denying basic human services to these Least of These of Jesus'. Can't wait for Rove to meet His Maker.

Jesus was big on NOT bragging. On NOT trying to prove how righteous you were. I'm not going to get into Pharicees vs. Sadducees, jots and tittles. But Jesus was BIG on praying in "secret," on quiet reflection, on modesty. There's this word... humility?

Big, nasty SUV, monster sticker that covers the back window making sure you know that they love Jesus. Did you know? We're righteous. Are you? And the driver of the car could have been a lovely person. But dammit, if you are going to FOLLOW a faith, can you please LEARN it? I wonder how many of these "Christians" voted to block gay marriage? Jesus cared a LOT more about poverty than homosexuals. Mainly because in the New Testament? JESUS MADE NO REFERENCES TO GAYS. Talked a hell of a lot about the poor and sick, though.

Now, Paul? Once. But Paul ain't Jesus. I wonder how many of those people with those bumper stickers, T-Shirts, etc., voted for Bush. Voted for legislation to deny poor people an education. Health care. Clean frickin' air and water.

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me."

I've met a lot of people that claim to be "Christian." I've only known of a few that actually were.

Wearing a T-Shirt with his name doesn't make you one.

Buying a sticker for your car doesn't make you one.

Man, just showing up on Sunday and nodding along doesn't make you one.

Keeping the least of our fellow humans in suffering and pain should automatically exclude you from the roster.

Voting for a man that makes all of the above happen, and sullies the name of a wonderful philosopher who tried to help the poor (and if you believe the tale, ALL of mankind - not just the rich, white ones) should also exclude you from the roster.

Those of you out there that DO believe in Christ? That DO want to be good Christians? Learn your religion. Take it back. The philosophy is a good one. But for now, your religion has been hijacked by mean, cruel people who preach exclusionary politics, separatism, hate, and bigotry. Go read the Sermon on the Mount. It's all you need to know. Some of the best, most lovely prose out there.

Christian means Christ-like. Period. If you're not trying, you aren't one.
[/rant]

For the record? I'd love for this to get spread everywhere. I'd welcome an open debate/discussion on religion. I will not tolerate hatred, bigotry, or name calling in the comments. Feel free to quote scripture aaaalllll you want. I can guarantee that I can palaver with the best of them.

Comments

( 125 comments — Leave a comment )
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dlgood
Jun. 28th, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)
But here's the thing about that religion there, that gets the folks all confused. It's got this whole moral hazard thing going down. Jesus suffered for your sins. So, really, I guess if you're a Christian you don't really have to, right? As long as you profess love, you're covered and don't really have to do all that humility stuff he talks about.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)
And it's funny you mentioned that bit: about the whole "I proclaim faith, I'm good to go" mentality.

Because when Jesus was preaching on the earth? When he had his robes rolled up, hunkered down, talking to the masses? It was all about works. Not in: fill enough ticky boxes and you get in, but more like: God gave you the very breath you breath. From clay you were made. How about you frickin' put your hand out and pull up your brother? Share a bite. Hug a child. Quit competing with your fellow man on who shows Me their love more. There's a sick guy dying behind you.

And it just furthers my point that people who claim to be Christians don't know their own religion. They pick and choose what they want to believe, mold it to suit their needs, and call it a day.

Feh.

And as to the suffering of sins, it kills me that the cross has such importance, when the pain felt for the sins of mankind happened in GETHSEMANE. How he died was insignificant. All the bloody cross imagery makes me think of scare tactics employed by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.
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stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
It amazes me how many people claim to have found Jesus and lost everything but his picture.

Sue. You just typed the greatest line of the 21rst century. Do you know that?

WHy can't someone make bumper stickers that say: If you use the word "hate?" You AREN'T a Christian.

Or something. Quarter-wits make my head ache.
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zinnydark
Jun. 28th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
JESUS MADE NO REFERENCES TO GAYS. Talked a hell of a lot about the poor and sick, though. Now, Peter? Once. Peter ain't Jesus.

Oh oh oh, but you see, he was Inspired, and therefore, his Word is as good as the Word of God. (Note the capitals)

I really want to send this to the Christian group who called me gay for pointing out that literalism is just another form of interpretation and therefore, they cannot say that they are the absolute right, and besides, the quotes you use to justify some of the things you're saying mean different things when taken in context...

But I'm sure they blocked my e-mail.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
You can send this anywhere you want.

And I would be curious to see how many of those folks (who take the "literal" words of their books, books that have been translated from a translation of a translation, etc.) are able to to read Greek. Or ancient Hebrew. And have copies of the original translation from the old scrolls.

Because if they aren't? Their whole "literalism" is absolutely moot.

And I just realized: Peter is a Fanfic Writer.
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crayonbreakygal
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)
Amen to all of that. Why is it that the many "religious" people are the ones who are the most judgmental? I don't get it either.

So sorry that you've never met the priest at my church. The priest is a she, has two kids, has best friends who are gay, talks about cute guys, but always, always does the good deed and doesn't want to get credit for it. Talk about living the way one should. Talk about role model for my kids too.

Is the Jewish faith better equipped at dealing with gays? It's just that my sister-in-law was joined with her partner, the service being done by a rabbi. It was so moving.

Didn't the Governor of Texas just sign some bill in a church? WTF was that all about anyway? Am I opening up a can of worms?
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, but I defy the Gov and all his works. Ha ha! What an ass. Kinky Friedman for Guv!

Now, I do *know* people who are thoughtful and reflective and live their life as Christians. One of them isn't one by name, but she's more christ-like than most people on the earth.

I believe in the credo of Jesus' philosophies, I just don't believe in deity.
likeadeuce
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC)
amen!

can I get a witness???
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
Jalapeno!
desoto_hia873
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
Sing it, sistah.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, solo, mio....
inlovewithnight
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:31 pm (UTC)
Word. Can I print this at and throw it at certain people?
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
Feel free. I just got off the phone with my husband and we're thinking of creating an anti-religion religion. Where no one joins but you send me all your money. It's like regular religion, but without any effort!
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lumenara
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
I realized this was required.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
I... I have nothing further than a glitter pony and cake made of pony.

I offer them unto you. In servitude.

(OMG, shareable????)
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winterlive
Jun. 28th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
Had a VERY long convo with a friend of mine about Christianity. He does all kinds of things that his faith would consider immoral (but which, incidentally, I wouldn't). When asked to explain this, he tells me that all people are sinners, and therefore one cannot expect to be perfect, but only to try to do good things. In theory, he's big on not judging others, but in practice, he does it constantly. The man takes pride in aspiring toward elitism and aristocracy. There is no humility in him.

Christians baffle me. It seems that for a people who have such a strict moral code - or seem to - they just never practice what they preach. That original sin thing, what a loophole. I don't believe in morality having loopholes, y'know? I think what's right and wrong is 100% solid, and when you do something wrong, you have to ask forgiveness, instead of morality going - oh, well, you tried, I guess it's okay. And if you don't ask, then yeah, you're being a bad person. End of story.

Am I stricter than Christians? O.o
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
it's interesting to bandy about the word "Christian" in the first place. It was created as an insult to the scattered few who clung to the man's teachings 10 years after his death. It literally means to follow Christ.

Not some random man's thoughts on Jesus' teachings. Not the Pope's or Mormon Prophet's or (the very thoughtful and lovely) Bishop Spong's interpretations of the text.

TO FOLLOW CHRIST. Which means you are a SERVANT of your fellow man. That leaves no room for feelings of superiority, of entitlement. Your job (should you choose to accept your mission) is to help better those around you. You don't get to pick and choose who gets to "benefit" from your help.

That being said: I mentioned above in a different thread, that if Jesus himself came to one of the Mega-Churches with everyone in their "fines," he'd be barred from entering because of his dreads, his stench, his clothing, his lack of a purse. These same "righteous folks" deny basic care for the Blessed Meek and Poor.

So I laugh at the term "Christian" being used in conjuction with those folks, like your friend. (No offense meant.) Because they couldn't be further from it. They have reverted back to being Pharisees. (the very people who kept the word of Jesus from being preached.)

See, I like *your* moral compass. Simple, fair.
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beadattitude
Jun. 28th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
And? Another reason why I'm glad I don't still live in the deep South, even Atlanta-style deep southishness, and don't discuss my liberal beliefs with my family. 'Cause I'm all confused by all the exclusionary stuff any everyone looks at me like I'm weird.

The day planner bit cracked me up, man. Cracked.me.up.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 02:18 pm (UTC)
We almost had to pull over on the drive, we were laughing so hard. And that's when Mr. Stoney came up with the idea of two half-wits reproducing and somehow (he's detailing the math portion of this equation) creating QUARTER-wits.

And they are taking over!! *trembles*

And let's not forget that Jesus' girlfriend (many say wife) was a whore. And offered the same eternal life he expected to two criminals next to him. And they weren't rich, white Republicans with wives in the D.A.R.
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stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 02:27 pm (UTC)
Crap. Romans. Yes, that's Paul who wrote about men lusting after one another, and masturbating, to boot. HORRORS! He said ONE thing in First Timothy about pimps and whores, and equating them with liars. Ooookkkeeeee. Some folks like to translate whores to homosexuals. There were probably some male rent-boys then, but not common.

That's the book the "leaders" love because it commands followers to pray for the leaders of their couuntries (essentially) to do good on our behalf.

It's also where he says women should learn in silence. Don't see folks following THAT one. Or brothers marrying their dead brother's wives.
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mirasol
Jun. 28th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. I would call myself a Christian, but I certainly wouldn't call myself perfect.

Now, I do believe in a deity. I also believe in other people's right to believe in other deities than the one I choose. I believe that God does listen to our prayers, but that he doesn't always choose to answer us. I don't believe in those people who say that God speaks directly to them because, let's face it, he got one of his angels to talk to the mother of his son. What makes them more special than Mary, huh?

I'd never advise anyone to take the words of the Bible literally, and I hate what is done in God's name. All I can do is take comfort in doing what I can to help others - I have given all I have to those who needed with no return apart from a sense of having done good by them, and I will continue to do so. To me being a Christian isn't what you say, or even what you believe.

It's what you do.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
BWAH to the icon!! YOU may not take the Bible literally, but MILLIONS of people do. Correction: they pick and choose portions to fit their agendas, and then take them literally. Otherwise they would own slaves, beat their children with iron rods, make their wives walk behind them.

But people believe that Jonah was LITERALLY in the belly of a whale. That the earth was LITERALLY covered in water, so deep that all creation drowned (why we aren't overrun with aligators and snakes everywhere is beyond me). And these people, who just swallow down the hate/non-thinky/random bit whole from their preacher without bothering to ponder, question, research... THOSE are the folks I'm bothered by.

Folks (like you) who live the message? Those folks I adore. Because the message is a good one.
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jebbypal
Jun. 28th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ahhh..thanks for the reminisce down memory lane..all the reasons I was overjoyed to leave oklahoma.

Sadly, I found that the northeast is exactly the same except you also have muslims and jews being just as exclusionary and showy. Acck.

All very good points. Nicely said.
kurukami
Jun. 28th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
Clearly you should move to California. ;)
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tabaqui
Jun. 28th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
Damn good rant!
I love it and nodded along with it and read all the comments and then just *sigh* because...

Organized religion seems to have this built-in seperatist and exclusionary thing going for it that, no matter what, leads to this sort of 'holier than though' bullshit.

I mean - we're pagan in the loosest sense of the word. We think highly of the earth and try to follow the idea of 'if it harms no one...' But man.

Go to a pagan festival and listen to the hate! Once things get organized and public, seems like it's just human nature to start doing the one-upmanship of xianity.

So, *sigh*. Do unto others, judge not? Lovely things that everyone should try to follow. 'God Hates Fags' posters at the funeral of a boy who was beaten to death? Just...sickening.

I'm going to pass this around, myself.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
ANd I'll go on record as vehemently believing that their is a HUGE difference between RELIGION and SPIRITUALITY. HUGE.

That churches SELL Bibles. Or bookmarks about Jesus. Or pictures of him. Shouldn't all of that be given away? That preachers are paid (and MAN. They live HIGH on the hog down here) when the apostles (according to their stories in the Bible) gave up everything for the greater good?

God Hates Fags. Somewhere a butterfly caught on fire from that hate. Bleh. It *is* sickening.

Feel free to spread the o_O.

*smooch*
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phfeenikz
Jun. 28th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
If the real Jesus (not the buddy Jesus that all Christians pray to) ever showed up, you can forget about the mega-churches. He wouldn't even get past U.S customs. Anyway, I found your posting to be especially prescient against the background of budget cuts.

I think that the Christian's renewed vigor of wearing their religion on their sleeve is a direct result of how they perceive the world around them. The Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's of the political landscape have been beating them over their empty little heads for so long, with their spiels about the "evil liberal media" and "liberal activist judges legislating from the bench", that they now believe in them without question. It may even make them feel rebellious, and that they are running against the grain of the status quo. But, without realizing it they are actually being manipulated by them.

Nothing creates a power base quite so well as starting class warfare. That is to say, go hate gay people because they are the enemy. They are the one's ruining the country, not us filthy rich folks who are robbing your retirement funds blind. Go hate the Muslims, they don't believe in Jesus and eventually they will drive a plane into a building or something. They are the ones beheading people, not us rich bastards who profit from sending your sons and daughters to die in our wars.

But I digress since all I really wanted to say is that I think your suggestion about learning their own religion is spot on. I remember being in church once when I was young, and the minister was expounding on that very topic. He said that some people would brag to him about reading this or that book of the bible. He would then ask them what they had learned, and would discover that they missed the point entirely. They only read the Bible because they believed it made them a good Christian, but they didn't really read the bible to learn how to be become a good Christian.
stoney321
Jun. 28th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, "Buddy Jesus." With his light brown hair, Romanesque nose and blue eyes. WOW. *Just* like all the folks who live in the Middle East! Man, I'm so glad to see your name in this post: I can always count on you to bring the funny and smarts.

Your point about them feeling a bit rebellious for going against the purported "status quo..." See, that just feeds into the roots of the religion. "We're just like Christ's early followers! They were stoned for believing! They were persecuted for wanting to stick to their morals! We're just like them, Praise Him!"

And they are NOT. I mentioned this above, but the modern day religious wackadoos are the new hybrid of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They're just too thick to realize it and feel shame.

Your last sentence is perfection.
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Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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