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Friday, December 17, 2010

Definitely Not Christian


Behind the Orange Curtain where I grew up, people were of a religious sort. They went to fancy churches and praised Jesus and donated money to charities for the pastor's new Ferrari. They attempted to convert every non-JC fanatic like it was the Battle of Bulge: Eternal Damnation edition. The Christians I knew were the sort to make one suspicious of all Christ-worshipers.

Here's my single greatest complaint with Christianity (and religion in general):

Being a good, virtuous, and moral person in order to get into Heaven and not go to Hell has absolutely nothing to do with goodness, and everything to do with selfish fear.

Or, as Lord Krishna once put it, "Let the motive be in the deed, and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward."

While many people [try to make the case] that religion is the source of human compassion, ethics, and even basic goodness, the fact of the matter is that when it comes Christianity, Islam, and even much of Judaism, the motivation for following The Word of God is fear from punishment and desire for reward.


Which is why, no matter how many times those good, Christian people come to my door a-knocking with their Gideon Bibles and cheap pamphlets, I will never trust them. I don't trust people who wear the pretense of goodness when underneath they're all bullshit. True believers are some of the most dangerous people in the world, as Al-Qaeda and Jesus Camp has shown.

And when people say, "WWJD", I say, don't ask yourself what someone else would do -- the question is what are you going to do.

And every time someone mentions, "that ain't Christian" when I refuse to donate five bucks to build a church in some South American country, I'll respond by saying, "that ain't Christian" when you force people to convert to your religion just so they'll receive your shitty medical-care.

If being "Christian" means I have to participate in hypocritical feel-good charity to people who already have money by dropping dollars on the collection-plate, then I'm Definitely Not Christian. And proud of it.

Does this post seem like I'm bashing all Christians? If so, I apologize. I'm not bashing all of anyone. I'm just taking issue with the vocal minority.


Here's some problems with other religions:

Judaism sincerely believes that Jew are the chosen people of God. Sorry, but stop being so arrogant, because if God exists then he loves everyone equally. Or else she is not God.

Islam thinks that is the final and most accurate revelation of God. Sorry, but get off that high-horse ya'll, because there's more than one path, more than one truth to spiritual enlightenment, and none is more final or accurate than another.

Buddhism holds that Life (as we know it) is ultimately suffering. Sorry, but not only is that pessimistic, it's also wrong. You can't generalize Life by only looking at the bad things that happen. That's called willful ignorance.

Mormonism thinks that Joseph Smith could actually decipher ancient Egyptian. Sorry, but that dude is called a CON-ARTIST. Hence the curtain he always used when people came to witness his bullshit

Scientology believes in the existence of an entity named Xenu who was the dictator of a Galactic Confederacy millions of years ago, and attempted to takeover the world. Sorry, but SCIENCE-FICTION does not count as a religion.

In all of this, the most startling thing that rings out is how such fairy-tales attempt to dress in the Emperor of Morality's Clothes. As if goodness were contained solely within their own twisted limited understanding.

Maybe I'm just anti-religion, but then again, maybe I just remember history: The Crusades, Muslim Conquests, The French Wars of Religion, the Reconquista, the Taiping Rebellion, and of course, the guerrilla warfare conducted by Israel against Rome.

All of these conflicts, and for what? For money, for land, for power, for things that are worthless compared to the blood shed in their acquisition.


More importantly, I remember my own history. And for my people it has been bleak. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is evidence enough of that. Seeing other Jews kill women, children, and civilians just to hold onto a piece of land we haven't inhabited en masse for hundreds of years is not something I can easily stomach no matter how much I think my people deserve a land to call our own.

I, for one, am tired of letting silly things we make-up in our heads cause us to kill one another.

It is quite shameful, but yet people go on killing.

C'est la vie.


Cheers

P.S. I still believe in God, possibly in Heaven, definitely not in Hell, and am unsure about everything else.

7 footnotes:

alex.tsakiris said...

Great stuff... love the first and last cartoon.

Been looking at this from a different angle... sure many religions are way-messed-up, but what if (and science suggests) they are pointing in the right direction (at least compared to scientific materialism).

Alex
skeptiko.com

Jessica Isabel said...

I loved the "Science fiction does not count as religion."

There are some Australians who actually have created a Jedi religion.

Zek J Evets said...

@alex: thanks man! not sure what you meant by different angle, but i think religion answers a lot of difficult questions in ways people can live with. i was just pointing out some silly things i've noticed.

@jessica: i've heard of that!!! it's kind of hilariously awesome, except they're so serious about it that it's scary.

Mira said...

Judging by your words, Christianity in America is quite different than what I've seen in my culture, so I can't relate with the WWJD part.

But I can definitely relate to the rest of the post!

As for the atheists, atheism was a norm in my culture when I was born, so it was never seen as a "smart & rebellious" thing to do.

alex.tsakiris said...

Zek... I meant that so much of the discourse around religion seem to come from the "religion as a virus" perspective, with not enough serious attention given to "religion as a distorted truth"... God Spot (nonsense) versus unexplainable (but very real) transformative experience.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: Christianity in America is different than just about everywhere else i've ever seen it.

@alex: oh, okay, i see what you're saying now.

well, religion is often considered the opiate of the masses (whether positively or negatively), but as a virus i've never seen it compared to.

in my discourse i disagree with the dogma of religion, and it's emphasis as physical truth. i prepare to think of all religions as spiritual paths for people to take. it shouldn't be literal, ever. when people make it literal, they lose so much of that transformative experience that you mentioned.

alex.tsakiris said...

"it shouldn't be literal, ever..."

maybe... I mean, are you comfortable saying we shouldn't take science literally?

If someone dies in a hospital while we're monitoring all their vitals and then they come back and tell us verifiable stuff... do we take all they tell us literally... maybe not, but maybe kinda.

BTW the God Virus thing is very popular among atheists.