Mechanical

When I Was A Christian

There is a terrible irony in the fact that many ancestors of Americans fled to the new world to escape religious persecution yet their descendants are still fighting the same battle. When I was growing up, I was a Christian. Today, it seems that all you have to do is say "I'm a Christian" and whether or not you follow the tenets of Christianity is almost irrelevant. There are many good, decent Christians out there. However, in the crisis the US faces today, they've been largely silent. I firmly believe that silence is agreement, so when the Christian Taliban tries to take over our political process and the masses of Christians remain silent, I blame most US Christians for this evil.

The following is presented with the view of Christianity I held when I was a Christian. Much of the following is just from memory, so my apologies if I get little bits of it wrong.

When the Pharisees presented Jesus with a coin with Caesar's image and asked if he should pay taxes (tribute) to Caesar, they presented him with what appeared to be an insoluble dilemma. If he said "no", then the Romans could swoop down on him for advocating violating the law. If he said "yes", his followers could accuse him of putting Caesar above God since the coin proclaimed Caesar's divinity.

However, Jesus neatly side-stepped this with his famous "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's" (that might be off slightly, but it's basically the same thing). What Jesus said made it clear that separation of Church and state is something which Christians do not have to reject. A state must necessarily accept that the people in its borders often have a variety of differing views. The role of the state, in this case, is to ensure that the expression of those views does not demonstrably harm the people over whom the state has jurisdiction. While this clearly has grey areas, the state is perfectly within its rights to prohibit murder, theft, rape, and so on. At no point in reading the Bible do I remember Jesus saying that a state had to enforce religious beliefs.

Some Christians in the US want their personal views encoded into law. However, they ignore some pretty salient points of the Bible. Remember when Christ protected the adulteress from being stoned? Why did he do that? I think many fail to consider this.

However, it goes back even further. If God did not want people to have the ability to choose, he wouldn't have put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. By putting it there, he was making it clear that Adam and Eve had the right to choose whether or not to sin. If one is to be a Christian, what hubris compels them to deny a right which God granted?

More immediately, let's say that you just lock up everyone who sins. Does physically preventing someone from physically doing something you consider sinful make them a better person? No! It merely prevents them from doing something you consider sinful. As a result, laws designed to prevent sinful behavior, while they might protect society, don't do a damned thing in the eyes of God. Instead, people should be allowed to choose their path so long as the only people affected are consenting adults. If they go to hell, that's their choice, as given by the God of the Bible. I can tell you not to steal from me, but I have no right to tell you it's illegal to participate in consensual group sex.

This is the problem I have with today's Christians. The god I read about in the Bible let people choose whether or not they wanted to be sin. Of course, there are still difficult bits like "never suffer a witch to live" (there are differences of opinion over that interpretation), but particularly with the New Testament, it was strongly reinforced that we don't have a right to judge morality. That's God's right. We have a right to protect ourselves from someone trying to murder us, rape us, steal from us, etc., but their personal decisions of right or wrong are not our place to judge. That's why I firmly believe that if there is a Hell, Falwell and friends will be roasting in it.

If you're a Christian and you think you can legislate your beliefs, how dare you try and force me to do something even your own god won't?

  • Current Mood: angry angry
It also frustrates me that the efforts of the fundamentalists have succeeded in giving all Christians a bad name. There are still plenty of moderate and liberal Christians in existance, but their voices have been effectively drowned out by this new fundamentalist movement.
Mahatma Ghandi said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

He let the whore live because we are ALL guilty. Why should only one die when the rest live? But remember he told her to sin no longer. And his contact with her had a profound impact on her life. Heck, he saved it and it's probably the first time she received public respect!

I don't have a Bible in front of me now but, while we are not to judge people/play god, we are to be discerning. I.e. You shouldn't tell people who do something you disagree with that they're hellbound nor should you be rude or confrontational. However, that doesn't mean you should associate with them. Say you think gambling is unwise or even sinful. That's your right. However, that doesn't mean you have to allow an addict into your life.

Hate the sin, not the sinner...

"Does physically preventing someone from physically doing something you consider sinful make them a better person?"
***That's how I grew up. Then I was 'kicked out' of the home for a stupid reason, left to fend for myself without real-world knowledge or a developed character. So I fucked up my life. I'm still paying for some of it today.

I can't stand the religious rather than spiritual approach! Religion says, 'don't do this' (I find religion also makes strange exceptions). Spirituality says 'if you do this, this is what may happen; choose what is best.' I was never told the whole story as a girl. I was just told 'don't.' One of my favorite things to remember as a parent is 'discipline without relationship leads to rebellion.' That can apply to all...kids, the governed, etc.

Maybe if we had a true leader who had character, we'd see the value in a few more moral legislations, but it could never happen successfully without someone to look up to.

Regarding your last question...I agree. However, a huge sector of the population has had others' beliefs forced on them. Take for instance no prayer in school. Children who wish to pray to whomever can get in trouble for it?! Now that's just wrong and no one's business to legislate!

So why can't anyone seem to see both sides of it? Maybe the religious would back off a bit if they felt their own rights were not legislated and infringed upon?

(Well this post just went all over the place. I can't claim it all has much to do with YOUR post. My apologies. I guess I kinda needed to let some of it out?)
Prayer in school is perfectly fine and legal. It just needs to be discreet, and can't be organized, or endorsed by the school itself.
Guess I'm not 'up' on my info. It's so much easier to hear the bad news..... So no kid is going to get in trouble for having their head bowed at recess???
OK so nevermind THAT! Well that's awesome! Whew! I don't go to church and you probably couldn't even call me spiritual but I'm not going to hold my kids back and I'll intro them to church and if they like it they can go.
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I have that on a bumper sticker. It's above the one that says "He's your god, they're your rules, you burn in Hell!"

The thing about prayer in school is that if little x-tian Johnny wants to pray, he is free to do so. So are the buddhist kids and the pagan kids etc... What the American Taliban wants to legislate is Christian led prayers in school. Personally, I would be all for led prayer in school if they made it a point to use a prayer from a different religion every time, and with the caveat that there will be no more than two prayers a week from any of the various Christian cults.
Living as I do amongst Christians (though not one myself) I pay close attention to all this.

The moderate, tolerant Christians far outnumber the strident fundies whose nature compels them to want to control everything and everyone. But, unfortunantely, most moderates are pretty much followers who defer to their leaders and who generally keep silent -- it's part of the "humility" package. The fundies, many of whom are pushy people anyway, have forced their way into leadership positions overthe last few decades.

I know more Christians than you'd imagine who are dismayed by this, and in the last year or so I'm starting to see a real reaction developing locally. It's small at this stage, but more and more I see protests and speaking out. This is only anecdotal, but I sense a hopeful trend. Historically, America is a moderate, tolerate country and the fundamentalists, thus far, have always wound up shooting their own feet off by giving vent to their extremism.
re
they should have just killed Jesus as soon as they heard his name then we'd be a lot further in our evolution than we are now thanks christian Taliban. fucking cross waving myth believing child rapists!
Re: re
i'm not convinced. i'm sure that the fighting in the middle ages kept the religions at bay. could you imagine "two true religions" instead of like 5?

ye gads.
What particular bit of "Christian legislation" are you complaining about exactly?

As for the notion of a "Christian Taliban", let's not get carried away. It's not even close, and religion mixing into our laws is something we've dealt with for 200 years. It tends to sway back and forth over time. I just think we're in a minor "forth" phase, in the grand scheme of things.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in The Flag and carrying The Cross."
—Sinclair Lewis

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
-Unknown