Jelly, jelly so fine

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Religion Blog

If I was a casual reader of this blog, I think I would come away with the impression that I am anti christian. This would not be accurate. I abhor all organized religion. The idea that we should all adopt a similar belief system or rely on a transcendent all powerful deity seems a bit odd to me.
And the fact that most people end up in the same church as their parents always struck me as bizarre as well. Another strange learned behavior and a heavenly construct to blame/praise according to the random wheel of time. My more scientific side tells me that adopting a belief system because my parents had the same one might not be such a good idea.
If I have miscalculated and there is an all powerful being who is watching my every move and recording it in the book of life, I will stand there and take my lumps. I am sure that I will have a lot of familiar company. But it will take a lot of explaining from the man upstairs when he reveals the master plan behind Dachau and the Killing Fields.
The Jewish tribe have to be the original neurotics. Ten Commandments?, try 653. You fart off key, there's a new fire in hell. God wants you to smite all the males in the next village, no problem. We won't ask questions, we will obey. Sounds reasonable. Jehovah assured us that the heathens had it coming. The smart guys can see the perils of trichinosis and out of season shellfish, so they simply scare the hell out of the people with an angry deity. Early crowd control perfected by the Hebrews.
Occasionally, some one will question one of my tenets and say, "Jews don't believe that" or something like that. Well excuse me if I run with my own playbook. It is perilous to let other's do your thinking for you. You have a brain, why not try using it?
The Muslims, now they practice a beautiful creed to be sure, if you aren't with them, you are fair game for a suicide bomb or maybe to lose a hand - Allah will sort it out when you get to the little island with the virgins. And it is illegal in practically all muslim lands to stop believing in Islam. That must really suck. And we will kill you if we don't like your particular flavor of Islam. As I have said before, say what you want about America, the Baptists haven't taken up arms against the Methodists lately.
The Hindu have their own religious peccadilloes, a caste system that institutionalizes the worst racism imaginable and seals it up with a pretty sandalwood incense stick. If you ain't a brahmin the scenery never changes much.
I used to think the Buddhists were the really cool religion until I heard about them flaying the skin off their live enemies and seizing virgins to pour bronze over to make pretty statuary in Tibet. Read some particularly gruesome early 19th century accounts.
Who can forget the Catholics and the auto de fe in the Spanish Inquisition. Or Martin Luther and his fabulous book written in 1543 called "The Jews and their lies." The pogroms in certain parts of Poland and Ukraine that happened after the war.
I can't really go after the Unitarians too strongly because it's more of a wine and cheese group than an actual religion and most of them don't really believe in that higher power business.
Religion. A convenient escape for the weak minded. Everything past the golden rule is just window dressing. There has been a hubbub the last several years about America being a Christian nation or not. I'll give it to you. We are. We are the most puritanical bunch of Calvinist hypocrites the world has ever known. And a laughing stock to much of the civilized world. The dominant religion is forced down all of our citizenry's collective throats. In Texas there is a battle to teach about the Ark and the Garden alongside that fossil business. God forbid that you don't buy the bible thing.
Religion does seem to be a swell way to amass a great deal of real estate. Travel to Boston and see how much is owned by the Christian Scientists courtesy of Mary Baker Eddy. Ditto Brigham Young and the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake. (Who have spent a fortune on brick) Or the Vatican. The breakaway Anglicans and the Episcopalians are embroiled in a huge real estate tug of war right now.
Lately it has become fashionable for churches to buy spas and resorts for their flocks. Calvary owns the old Murrietta Hot Springs, the Scientologists own Gilman Hot Springs. Everyone else gets excluded. It's tough at Murrietta because its built next to an old synagogue and predominately Jewish trailer park for the elderly that are no longer welcome.
The Moonies own their own newspaper, the Washington Times. Interesting tact.
Religion also gives you a convenient tax exempt status to start backing political candidates of your stripe and credo. The best part about church and religion is it is one of the few opportunities for people to get together to sing in our culture.
Now as I have said before, I don't care who you pray to, you can genuflect to the Trix rabbit for all I care. What bothers me is a certain self righteous attitude. What's the christian saying - Love the sinner, hate the sin? This get out of hell free card apparently gives one carte blanche to ignore all earthly ethical constraints and responsibilities. Mark Sanford can diddle around with Maria and be so smugly assured that he is covered by Jesus lifetime redemptive coverage policy. He barely takes a breath before he starts plotting his return to the reins of power. Ditto Swaggart and Coulson and Bakker and Ensign and Clinton and Oral Jr.and Tony Alamo and all of the other megalomaniacs that think they can walk on water. Not perfect, just forgiven, why not try to behave a little better in the here and now?
I think that a similar mindset creates the underlying narrative for the abortion debate. We who have been blessed by god's hand obviously care more about humanity than you heathens. We who have faith and dominion over all the living creatures know by said faith that god will provide all that we ask for - even if we are polluting the planet, running out of water and killing all the other species off.
It must be nice to be so damn sure.


grumpy said...

to paraphrase 1 Peter 3:15, you are always prepared to give a defense for the hopelessness that lies within you; for the record, the local Anglicans exhausted their court appeals and have vacated, so it's St. John's Episcopal once again; services at 10:00 every Sunday, Jews and atheists welcome, just sit in the back pew and don't make no trouble, capiche?

wave_man said...

Religion is and always has been a convenient substitute for rational ethical behavior, arrived at from some sense of ethical principle.

It has been the window dressing in front of the true economic reasons (we need their stuff, their land, their women) for most of the wars in recorded history.

That said, I find a certain solace in connection to something conceptually universal. If it goes much further than that, the pooch is screwed usually.

wave_man said...
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wave_man said...
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North County Film Club said...

My sentiments, exactly.

If anybody has read Leviticus it would surely knock any "religiousness"
right out of them. And if it doesn't I don't want anything to do with them.
It does make for some hilarious reading, though!
How about this one-Lev. 20:15-(paraphrased)If anyone,man or woman, has intercourse with an animal kill them--and the animal. Now that's just not fair ! The animal had no say in the matter !!
I guess it's not really hilarious- just disgusting.

Blue Heron said...

wheee-e-e-e, moo, snort, caw, whinny, stamp, meow, r-u-f-f-f!

collective response from the committee against non consenting animal husbandry.

Anonymous said...

because we don't know.....we seek......

Anonymous said...

What is the differance between a pick pocket and Jimmy Swaggart?

A pick pocket snatches watches, Jimmy watches snatches.

Blue Heron said...

It has come to my attention that I have left a few religions out of my hit list so I will try to amend.

The Zoroastrians tend to be pyromaniacs, the Sufis make me dizzy with their incessant spinning, Four Square is like a children's game, zen - a parakeet with a monkey wrench. Or as Joshu once said (really) a pile of shit on the clear plain. Now what am I forgetting?

Anonymous said...

why do these people send e-mails with pictures of our soldiers in Iraq and then the next picture is a painting of Jesus (who often looks like he is from Stockholm)
Didn't he preach non-violence? Did not he say we are all God's children?
Yet I get these stupid e-mails with Jesus and American Flags, jet bombers etc. And the message is always that America is fighting evil with Jesus on our side.
Usually the people who send me these e-mails also send me silly racist e-mails on how much they hate President Obama.

Anonymous said...

Robert…………. Never believed u were anti-Jesus. Maybe anti-Christian though……….. as Matt Johnson of THE THE penned & sang, “if the real Jesus Christ were to come back today; he’d be gunned down cold by the CIA”. You know that song? Armageddon Days… check it out.
Just two thoughts:
1. If you are not anti-Christian (don’t you just love double negatives?!) – what do you do with the C.S. Lewis “Liar/Lunatic/Lord” argument? Jesus did certainly claim to be God; it’s why he was crucified……….
2. You believe there is any similarities between the Ghost Dance & End Times mindsets? I certainly believe in the Marantha deal as explained in the Bible, Rapture, who knows? Sort of like frosting on the cake. Hope is good. Better than the reverse.

Peace & Respect, Joe

Blue Heron said...

Joe -I wish I knew more about both of these topics, the CS Lewis and the ghost dance prophecy - I think that many of these apocalyptic visions can be self fulfilling and try to stay away from them. And the root of Jesse, Ezekiel business. It is all beyond me. If you control the information output maybe you can backdate some stuff at nicea and make it all fit.

Every jewish mother thinks her kid is god...


Anonymous said...

……. Every Jewish mother thinks her kid is God …………… well, for sure I did not grow up Jewish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So funny………….. was that Saul Bellows????