Friday, August 11, 2006

Can We Get Rid of Religion? First Up: Christianity

Over 2.5 billion followers and 38 thousand different denominations or sects. The followers of the Carpenter from Nazareth are as varied in type and scope as number. Every one knows this story. If you don't, you have probably been living on a island off the cost of New Guinea or some place similar.

Very simply, God decided to become human and impregnated a Jewish girl named Mary. A little boy was born under threat of harm from Herod "The Great", and his family (including surrogate dad, Joseph) fled to Egypt. After returning to Judea/Israel, we track Jesus (or Yeshua) up to pre-teen mode where he is impressing the Rabbis at the temple with his knowledge. He disappears for 18 odd years and then shows back up proclaiming a "new kingdom". While he is traditional in some respects, he inflamed the local religious establishment by working on the Sabbath, consorting with prostitutes, tax collectors and many other types of human detrius. He performs miracles, goes "mano y mano" with the Devil, then gets betrayed by Judas, imprisoned by the Roman garrison in Israel, then sold down the river by the people who would rather have Barrabus (a common criminal) freed than this "King of the Jews". Pontius Pilate goes down in infamy washing his hands of the matter and Jesus is summarily executed only to rise three days later, see his homeys then head back to Heaven. All the while, he tells his disciples including alleged main squeeze Mary Magdalene that he will return.

Pretty much everything was cool up to that point. Jesus was righteous. He took care of the sick (heck, even raised a few dead folks up for good measure). He made water into wine. (Cool party trick) He threw the early versions of Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson out of the temple for being blasphemous.

He spent time with people who needed his help. He didn't drive a Mercedes, didn't fly in a Gulfstream IV. Heck, he didn't even own a camel. Had to ride around with with 12 other guys (pretty weird social compact) whom I'm sure didn't smell too good during summer. No crib to crash in, so was continually a "guest" of someone. Pretty bad when they can't get the mail to you.


At any rate, Jesus was o.k. He made several points seemingly lost on his followers recently. The biggest, was "Love your enemies". Second, "Do unto others that you would have them do to you". When he was in the garden of Gesthemene, and the soldiers came to take him away, his muscle, Peter, cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. What did JC do? He healed the guy that was leading him off for execution. Man, talk about focus on your work. Yes, Jesus was righteous and deserves to be honored and emulated. That's not the problem. The problem is not Christ, it is Christianity.

The problem is, everything else that has come after JC has been pretty lame. Wars, pogroms, conquests, interrogations, inquisitions, massacres, forced re-locations, ridiculous looking men with terrible haircuts in leisure suits on TV trying to convince your poor grandmother to send in part of her social security check and "God" would cure her arthritis. All of these have been done in the name of Christ and are vestiges of Christianity. To be sure, today, I've not seen anyone professing that Christ told them to fly an airplane into a skyscraper. Nope, Christians get a pass on that. Christians got most of that out of their system by the late 1600's when they were still burning "witches" at the stake. So, the followers of JC have come a long way. Still, awful things are being done in "Christ's name".

I wonder what the Carpenter would have to say about all of this today.

I've got a suggestion. Let's get rid of Christianity and bring back Jesus. We might get along better if we did.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Dennis:

    I am a christian man with christian values and morals however I do have to agree with you. I do not see the current religious leadership, whether that be in the whitehouse or on the streets or in the vatican, extolling the same virtues, values and morals as taught by the Christ. It is sadly evident in the followers and their works. The leadership and the institutions they represent have fallen down in their duty to educate, motivate, encourage and remain impartial on political matters. It is abundantly clear throughout history that religion has not followed the doctrine of the Christ. There are a few examples of individuals or organisations that have tried to follow the teachings however history overwhelms them with repetition and they fade into the background as smoke into thin air. I am not an aethiest or agnostic. I do believe in intelligent design however I do not believe "God" intended the religious morass as witnessed today throughout the world of religion.

    As I watched Christian Ammanpour's report on "God's Warriors" the other day I noticed on her Christian segment an individual holding a placard saying "No Religion - Imagine That". Interesting to note.

    Signing off,
    No Religion

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  2. Thank you for your response adn I agree with your comments. I'm not quite with you on intelligent design, but I do feel that "something" initiated all this. I do believe there are examples of "Christianity" in the world today that closely map to Jesus' message.

    If all of the Christians behaved that way the world would be a greatly different place. Of course, as my other post on Islam shows, it's not just Christianity, it's organized religion

    Pace,

    Dennis

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  3. Anonymous7:33 PM

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