As many of you long time readers probably know, I am not a religious person.
No! Say it ain’t so, Jim!
Yes, yes, big surprise there.
I am neither a spiritual nor a religious person. And in fact, my position on religion, organized or otherwise, can probably be best summed up as somewhere between “not interested” and “violent hostility” trending around “impatient contempt” on the Leave-Me-The-Hell-Alone-O-Meter depending mostly on how you approach me with your particular belief system. I.e. if you begin with “Say, would you be interested in discussing my beliefs in a mutually respectful and I don’t try to convert, witness, condemn, or otherwise nail your ass to a cross, light you on fire, or pelt you with heavy stones manner ” you’ll probably get my patented, “Thanks, I respect you, but I’m really not interested in your relationship with Crom” response. On the other hand if you approach me with wild eyes, waving your holy book, froth, spittle, and the Burning Fever of The Prophet Upon You or you appear to be carrying matches or a hammer and nails or the Instruments of God’s Holy Inquisition, you’re very likely to meet with sudden physical violence on your private parts from which you’ll suffer grievously and for a protracted period – you would also do well to remember that I’m armed, I own several chainsaws and a wide assortment of tools for disassembling large mammals into their component parts, and a lot of heavily forested, isolated, bear infested land in Alaska. I just mention this in passing, is all, something to think about while you’re standing uninvited on my porch reaching for the doorbell button.
My personal outlook when it comes to religion, faith, belief, and spirituality can best be summed up by the phrase, “Show me the money.” If you can prove to me using testable and repeatable criteria that your beliefs are indeed a demonstrable reality, I’ll believe. Simple as that. Otherwise, no dice. I will not take religion on faith. Period. No more so than if you claimed to be able to predict the future with an accuracy significantly above that of random chance or levitate the furniture with the power of your brain and a handful of magic crystals. I think if you claim God spoke to you and commanded you to run for Senator from Nevada (for example) or Governor of Alaska (for example), you should have to prove that claim in a court of law and/or laboratory setting or admit that you stopped taking your medication. You’re the one with the invisible friends, Harvey the Rabbit is your assertion, the burden of proof is on you.
I think this is fair, I put exactly the same onus on science.
At the moment I regard most religious beliefs about the same way I regard cold fusion – I’m doubtful in the extreme however I am willing to reconsider, but I’m still waiting for you to put your cards on the table. And to be candid, I’m a tad less skeptical of cold fusion.
Honestly? I don’t care. I don’t. I just don’t care. Soon enough, I’ll be dead – then I’ll know. Until then I’m going to live my life in the same manner I do now, which is a hell of a lot more productive, just, moral, ethical, compassionate, and closer to the principles most mainstream religions profess to espouse than a large majority of devoutly religious leaders and people I could name. If it turns out I’m wrong, well then the Great Bird of the Universe can kiss my ass and I’ll deal with it then. I’d say that you would also then be free to point and laugh, but that would be damned unchristian of you, wouldn’t it? You might get unceremoniously booted out of heaven and end up being my cellmate – at which point I’ll point and laugh at you. Probably best you just worry about the beam in your own eye and leave me to deal with my mote in peace.
Which is not to say that I don’t actually know something about religion. Because I do.
Which is probably what reflexively pisses me off about it.
Way, way too often religion isn’t about faith, it’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about attention. It’s about making other people do what you want - not what your deity wants but what you want. It may not have started out that way, but far, far, far too often that’s exactly how it ends up.
When God hates all the same people you do, that’s a pretty good indicator that your beliefs have gone off the rails.
In yesterday’s post I used the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example, and something Vagabond said in the comments really set me to thinking about it again. While I think the Christian Bible has a lot of irrelevant or silly or down-right evil stuff in it, I also think there are a lot of good things in there too - such as the parable of the Good Samaritan. What astounds me is how many so-called Christians seem to focus on the assholery and ignore the really good things. It never ceases to amaze me how many Christians quote the Old Testament in support of their particular agenda, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-this, anti-that, what have you, instead of quoting their Christ. Could that be because Jesus didn’t say the things they would like to claim he did? And as a result they have to reach back into the old, more primitive, less peaceful, hateful portions of the Bible - before their prophet showed up - in order to support their own personal agenda?
Again, when God hates all the same exact people and things you do, it might be time to do some actual soul searching.
I have to wonder what the parable of the Good Samaritan would look like if it was penned by the “Christians” I see on my TV every day, instead of by Paul’s pal the Syrian doctor.
Hmmmm, what would that be like?
Just for instance, let’s say the Second Coming takes place at a Tea Party rally…
The Parable of the Bueno Latino:
…An “expert” in the law stood up to test Jesus.
Expert: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus: “Dude, how many times do I have to go over this? Look, what’s written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”
Expert: “Be nice to people?”
Jesus: “Bingo! Love your neighbor. Do this and you win the lotto.”
Expert: “That’s it? Love my neighbor? Yo, longhair, what kind of hippy shit is that? My neighbor is queer as a three-Shekal coin! He’s Swish McLightintheloafersson! I’m not lovin’ him. What else you got?”
Jesus sighed and raised his eyes to Heaven. Why, why hast thou forsaken me? he mouthed silently at the sky. “Let me give you an example,” he said to the Expert. “This Muslim dude was on his way from San Francisco down to LA and along the way he gets mugged. A bunch of punk ass bitches took his money and his ride and his iPhone. They even took his clothes. Then they gave him a major beat down. They f’ed his shit up, man.”
Expert: “Serves him right. He should have been packin’. 2nd Amendment Rights, that’s what I’m talking about! The damned Nazi Communists are ruining this country. Goddamned, pardon my French, liberals will probably just let them punks go! Not that an Ayrab don’t deserve to get lit up.”
Jesus: “Yeah, annnnnyway, this guy is laying there, half dead in the rest stop parking lot. A TV Evangelist comes rolling up in his Lexis, and drives down to the other end of the lot pretending like he doesn’t see the guy laying there bleeding.”
Expert: “Boo fucking hoo. He’s from San Francisco, he’s probably a friggin homo anyway.”
Jesus: “Next, along comes a businessman. He’s on his phone and he’s too busy to help. He drives on by.”
Expert: “Why in the hell should business help this queer out? See? That’s the problem in this country, bunch of lazy bastards expect handouts from business, no wonder all our jobs are going to India!”
Jesus raised a hand, wroth, lightening crackled. Then he sighed again, “turn the other cheek, Jesus, turn the other cheek,” he said to himself. He continued on with the story, “Finally, a migrant laborer came along on his way up to the San Joaquin Valley to pick cabbages and lettuce.”
Expert: “This story sucks! I don’t even know who to root for, the illegal or the towelhead guy.”
Jesus: “I’m starting to understand why my pops tried to drown the whole damned lot of you people a while back.”
Jesus: “I told him that eight people, all relatives, wasn’t enough to restart the human race. Did he listen? Oh hell no. Now look at you drooling idiots.”
Jesus: “Nothing, Harelip. Look, the Mexican guy sees the Muslim laying there bleeding and so he stops, bandages the man’s wounds, and helps him into his own truck. Then he drives him to the hospital.”
Expert: “I can see where this is going. I bet that Arab guy didn’t have insurance. And who gets to pick up the tab? The taxpayers, right?”
Jesus: “Wrong. The Mexican guy pulls out his Visa Silver and pays for the man’s medical treatment. Then he says if there is anything more, send me the bill.”
Expert: “Ahhhh, I think I see.”
Jesus: “You get the point of the story, right?”
Expert: “I got it. Jeez with the preaching already.”
Jesus: “Good, now go and do likewise!”
The Expert returned to the others and explained how God told him illegal aliens were using socialism to ruin the best healthcare system in the world. Afterward, on the way home from the rally, the expert and his friends beat up some queers in a rest stop bathroom because they figured that’s what Jesus told them to do.
Next: Loaves and Fishes –or- Jesus demonstrates that unemployment benefits contribute to the entitlement mentality of laziness.
And: Water to Wine? Why the Liberals are stealing our vital fluids.