Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mission Statement

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And it was good. Really, really good. We all know the story. Life on earth was paradise, God gave us everything we could ever need to live in perpetual bliss and then Eve got a hankering for the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and bang everything went to hell in a hand basket after that.

The thing is, humans are intrinsically flawed. Whether you believe in the “original sin” or not, no one can argue that we don’t all have a little (or a lot) of darkness in our souls. We can be selfish, unimaginably cruel, greedy, deceitful, lustful, judgmental, uncaring and ruthless. That’s the short list, but you get the gist. Open any history book and man’s basically sinful nature is impossible to deny.

For many, spirituality is a source of solace and hope. It can help them navigate the turbulent waters of life and make sense of an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world. A relationship with God seems to give comfort during difficult days, direction and a moral code by which to live and the promise of eternal life to boot. Not a bad deal.

But you can’t measure morality by whether someone says they are religious or not. You never can know what is truly in another person’s heart, especially if that person is a politician. And anyway, there are plenty of genuinely kind, generous, honest, wonderful people who have no formal religious ties. They simply live by the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And even though it’s often repeated, it bears repeating again — some of the most heinous crimes in history have been committed in the name of God. Let’s not forget the Crusades, when European Christian rulers between 1096 and 1291 waged nine wars to win the Holy land from the Moslems, or the Inquisition, a religious court instituted by Pope Gregory IX in 1233 to investigate and punish heresy among Christians. And it’s not like the human race has changed much. Read today’s papers and you’ll find plenty of despicable crimes committed in the name of God.

Whether you are a Christian — Lutheran or a Methodist, an evangelical or a Presbyterian — does not mean that you’re a better or more moral person than a Buddhist, Unitarian or a Jew. If you believe in the Bible, then assuming God did create all of us in His image, that literally means when you come upon another person, you are looking into the eyes of God. Too bad most of us treat each other with so much disrespect and contempt. We’re His children and all of us have value. Come on, that’s just common sense. But these days, good old common sense and integrity are in short damn supply.

The trouble is, in recent years a strict fundamentalist view of Christianity has taken hold. But it’s got nothing to do with love, tolerance, compassion and humility, which many of us thought were cornerstones of the faith. Now, it seems, we are being slammed over the head by smug, judgmental so-called “Christians” who want to force their brand of the “Good News” down our throats — whether we like it or not. Have they read the same New Testament that we have?

These are the “Christians” who start foaming at the mouth when people wish them “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Of all of the horrific injustices going on in the world today, shouldn’t our moral outrage be directed at issues that truly matter? If you ran into Jesus Christ in Macy’s while Christmas shopping and said “Happy Holidays” to Him, do you think He’d pitch a fit? We think He’d say something like, “God bless you. I’m going to the nearest homeless shelter to distribute food. Would you like to come?”

These are the people who don’t want evolution taught to our children in public schools because, presumably, the mere mention of natural selection (not to mention the scientific method) will lead children to the path to hell. These are the same people who insist that they are “Pro-Life” while gleefully supporting the death penalty. These are the same people who see red when their towns won’t put up Nativity Scenes using public funds. Is it us or does it seem that these people have a little too much time on their hands?

These are the people who think it’s a moral victory when a pharmacist won’t dispense birth control pills because they feel that those pills promote promiscuity and worse than that, prevent conception. These are the people who are the least Christ-like among us. And are the most divisive. They aren’t fisherman of men, as Christ commanded. Nope, they dynamite the waters and move on.

Everyone should be able to freely practice their religion however they see fit (as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else) and that right must be respected and protected. Period. As clichéd as it sounds, that’s one of the things that makes America great — freedom.

But when a sect of pious, narrow-minded know-it-alls decides to cram down our collective throats their interpretation of God’s Will, then we’ve got a big, damn problem. And when these same people who hold themselves up as paragons of Christian virtue look down their noses at the rest of us take a fall and commit a big, fat, eye-popping sin, well, can you really blame us if we chuckle, just a little? Honestly, is there anything more stomach-turning than self-righteous hypocrites? And nothing gives us the heebie jeebies worse than when certain Christians question the wisdom of the separation of church and state. As it is, that wall has gotten way too porous for our comfort as it is.

It goes without saying, but assuming some of you are a little slow on the uptake, we aren’t attacking Christianity as a whole. Why would we? We’re from Christian families, although we’re sure our detractors will question that.

No, as far as we’re concerned, we’re shedding a little light on those who arrogantly profess to know God better than the rest of us and then screw-up royally and, in some cases, horribly. In our mind, these are the people who give Christ an undeserved black eye. They took a doctrine of peace, love thy neighbor and do unto other as you would have them do unto you and warped it into an ultra-conservative, regressive cult.

Perhaps this would be acceptable if they kept their religion to themselves. But instead they’ve turned it into a powerful political movement designed to oppress the rest of us who don’t happen to agree with their “traditional values,” embrace their “culture of life,” or obediently bow down to whatever other righteous-sounding catch phrase they throw in our faces.

And we don’t like it one bit.

Come on, if you’re going to wrap yourself up in a cloak of moral superiority and spout off the Ten Commandments, you’d better actually live by them. And if you don’t, expect a little scrutiny. It’s only fair.

So in this spirit, we give you “Holier than Thou,” a weekly test of your CQ: Your Christian Quotient.

These questions (and their answers) should make you laugh, cry, cringe, pound the table and could even send you screaming to your car where you’ll turn the engine on and make sure that garage door is shut real tight.

But at the same time, Holier Than Thou should also serve as a simple reminder that there is little good to be found with these self-professed Good Christians, and little that is right with the Religious Right.

3 Comments:

At 10:35 AM, Blogger staunch atheist said...

It seems like this religious "THING" has been going on since it was invented....yes I said invented because that is all any belief system is. It's an invention of a belief ...maybe to keep us in line, feel safe in the world, pray for good...yada yada yada. Having said that, it seems like this religious belief system has never really worked. Just look at the past results. What's different about today vs the 6th century when the Crusades started? The problem in Northern Ireland has been going on for 400 years....they're sure making progress right? The Palestinian vs Isreal thing...need I say any more? And not to forget our homegrown terrors like Eric Rudolph who thinks he's doing us alla favor by blowing up abortion clinics. Plain and simple, if George Dubbya could throw a white burka on us girls I think he would...I really believe this recovering alcoholic born again christian president of ours feel like he's the chosen one. It is written that he saves the middle east from their belief system and converts them to a more westernie christianie thang...
God help us all - keep telling it like it is...

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Editor Choice said...

Enjoyed your Blog. Continue your great job. Thanks
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At 3:24 PM, Blogger PHYLON said...

JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT I CAME ACROSS YOUR SITE WHILE LOOKING UP INFORMATION ON ONE OF THE MEN YOU SPOKE OF WHOM I USED TO WORK FOR AND WORSHIP WITH.

I KNEW OF HIS CRIME ONLY AFTER I HAD MOVED ON FROM MY POSITION DUE TO PERSONAL & SPIRITUAL DISAGREEMENTS WITH THIS SAME PERSON.

I ONLY LOOKED HIM UP BECAUSE I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT HOW HIS CASE TURNED OUT, AND CONCERNED ABOUT HOW HIS FAMILY IS COPING.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY - WHILE I DON'T AGREE WITH ALOT OF WHAT IS SAID IN YOUR WRITING I WAS QUITE MOVED BY YOUR STATEMENTS NEAR THE END.

IT IS VERY COMMON & UNFORTUNATELY VERY EASY FOR PEOPLE TO BE AMONG THE "CHURCHED" OR THE "BLESSED" THOSE WHO SPEAK THE LINGO - PRAY WITH ELOQUENCE - EVEN PREACH & TEACH FROM THE PULPITS TO FORGET WHAT IT IS THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE LEARNED & CERTAINLY LIVED ALONG THE WAY!

SO CALLED CHRISTIANS CAN DEFINATELY BE SOME OF THE MEANEST & MOST JUDGEMENTAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TODAY!

HOWEVER - WHEN YOU COME ACROSS A TRULY CHANGED & TRULY BORN AGAIN SOUL I HOPE & YES I PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE OPEN TO HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY.

JUST AS YOU DON'T WANT TO BE JUDGED OR DIRECTED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE FAKE OR DON'T LIVE WHAT THEY TEACH OR CLAIM TO BELIEVE REMEMBER - WE ARE ALL HUMAN - WE ARE ALL LOVED BY GOD & HE REALLY IS THE ONLY ONE WHOSE JUDGEMENT REALLY COUNTS

 

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