Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One More Time, For Those Who STILL Don't Get It...

One last time for those of you who still haven't figured it out yet:

My issue is not with Christianity, it's with Christian Mythology and with a certain Calvinist strain which, in contradictory fashion, insists that while God has granted me the Gifts of Life, Natural Rights and Free Will -- and even recognizes me as an unique individual deserving of his Love and Grace -- then, arbitrarily, decides that because I do not use those gifts in a way they consider to be "in true service and obedience to God" (that is, that I might behave in ways they do not personally approve of) that I'm somehow scum, and fall outside the Grace of God.

Christ, the bringer of Unconditional Love, came to "save" us, God's Children all; except for those who don't kiss his ass? And certainly not those who don't kiss his ass, beg for forgiveness, grovel before him and shower shitloads of money upon his 'chosen' agents on Earth in a manner some others (themselves fallible men!) insist is the only appropriate way?

That brand of Christianity is not Christianity at all. Christ recognized the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and it's why he hung out with the beggars, lepers, prostitutes and mental patients, in other words, the people the rest of polite society considered Scum. There is not one Christianity for those who pray according to the Rule Book and another for Those Who Don't. It's not beyond the realm of possibility for Man to live by Christian principles (Charity, Mercy, Dignity and Respect) without kneeling in fawning, almost begging, supplication every fifteen minutes, or believing in an Invisible Man in the Sky who is All-Powerful, but who managed to create people with all their flaws and imperfections. Christ did not demand that people commit the Scriptures to memory in order to recite them so as to torment his detractors, like it's some kind of competition for a Seat in Heaven, nor did he demand that anyone kneel to him, begging not to be struck by lightning, burned to a cinder, or for the sake of his hockey team's playoff fortunes.

Christ, deliberately, chose the Scum over the Peacock-strutting-Pious, and not because the Scum was more worthy of some higher form of mystical "Justice", but because they were denied the same spiritual rights and comfort that Judaic Law reserved for those who were 'in the club' (those not barred from the Temple as untouchables), or those who could pay for the privilege, or even just those who learned the Secret Handshake. He chased the Moneychangers from the Temple because they sold salvation or enforced an orthodoxy which ostracized rather than included; much like Luther would later nail 95 Theses to the Church Door; salvation is not for sale, nor is it restricted to a particular caste.

Salvation is for everyone who lives his life by the mantra of Jesus: those who love, those who do good works, those who try their best to avoid the Worst of Sin (recognizing that Sin is inevitable no matter how we try to avoid it).

As for the myth part; anyone with the ability to read and who takes the time and trouble to look these things up will observe that the story of Christ -- Conceived by Divine Grace, born in humble circumstances to a Virgin, who came to bring the Light of Truth, Justice and Eternal Life to the downtrodden, but deserving, in an Apocalyptic Battle Between the Forces of Good And Evil -- is the ancient Cult of Mithras (a Persian Sun Deity) attached to an actual historical figure. Exactly the sort of thing a 4th Century Roman (like Constantine) could be expected to swallow hook, line and sinker.

Who is Jesus, ultimately? I don't pretend to know. He's certainly not the first man of his age to claim to be the Messiah (in those days, Messiahs came out of the woodwork frequently enough to set your watch by), and he certainly wasn't the first to preach an more-inclusive form of Judaism (as a unifying force, a necessary prelude if the Jews were to throw off the yoke of Roman domination). But these things most certainly made him a revolutionary in the eyes of the Romans and their Pharisee puppets.

In Roman times, Revolutionaries most often got themselves crucified.

But, there is no doubting that the Christian Way is as good a system for peace between human beings as can possibly be conceived. Anyone who has an argument with the premise that all men are brothers (we're all in the same boat), and that we all have a responsibility to one another, is probably delusional, or a liberal democrat.

You can stop sending me passages from the Bible, thank you. I attended Catholic Schools just about all of my life, and I probably know them better than most of you do.

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