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Screw this organized religion shit with a rented dick.

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

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Screw this organized religion shit with a rented dick.

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This post is probably going to trigger some people's flailing and shrieking. You are welcome to flail and shriek, but try to be civil about it. ;)

So this organized religion stuff seems to, actually, allow a great deal of Pilate-like washing of hands in place of actually doing, you know, the work of this Yeshua ben Yosef dude who apparently said 'wouldn't it be keen if people weren't dicks to each other?' a couple millennia ago. For every asshole out there shrieking, today, about how THE US MILITARY IS GOING TO HELL NOW THAT DADT IS OVERTURNED, there's nine more Christians who aren't doing that... and who are not telling this guy to stop doing it in their name.
There's the real rub here- it isn't that every Christian on the planet is a bigoted moron, but that they don't tell the bigoted morons to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. I'm willing to believe that many- even most- Christians actually have Christian ethics about doing unto others, loving their neighbors, and so on. But these gentle folks are completely overpowered by the shrieking of the bigots who pretend to be their brethren, yet who violate St. Paul's dictates about not evangelizing, hate their neighbor, and do unto others as nobody but them's entitled. See, that's where my real problem with organized religion comes from: if you're genuinely into this Christ dude, don't you have to follow all the instructions in the manual? Aren't you required to love thy neighbor as you love thyself? And surely someone who's doing it wrong- who's picketing a funeral because GOD HATES FAGS or who's throwing rocks at someone black because GOD HATES BLACK PEOPLE- is someone you're supposed to tell that they're doing it wrong?
Really? Isn't that how it works here, or am I mistaken? After all, I only grew up in a church and attended fucking seminary for a while. Maybe I missed the 'be a shithead' section of class... but I really doubt it.

I'll tell you what. I'll try to keep my folks from vandalizing your church, flipping off nuns and stuff- if you can do what you can to keep YOUR folks from being Fred Phelps. And I know that he's not YOUR Christians, he's a Weird Little Sect of Christians. But that doesn't make it unnecessary for you to say 'hey look, he's a jerk, we hate him too'. It just makes those of us outside of the faith-based community see 'there is 1 complete jerkwad... and there's 99 people who are letting him call himself by the same name, and saying nothing to counter what he says. Maybe there is a strong undercurrent of Christian homophobia, and you just have 1 guy who's willing to admit to it, out of that 100'.
  • Which reminds me, I presume you've seen the semi-satirical Letter to the Editor (or whatever format it is) where someone goes through and says, "Ok, if God hates 'teh gays', what about mixed cloths, and shellfish, and..." et cetera?

    What is the logical defense to counter that? Where in the New Testament does it say that one should keep the Top Ten bits of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and the mountain bit of Exodus, but almost ignore the rest (emphasis on the 'almost' part)?
    • Hell, if we're keeping Leviticus, you have to marry into the faith- and the only people who are entrusted with the faith are Aramaic in descent. Forget about mixed-fiber and shellfish and cheeseburgers.
      • most of that was repealed with the passage of the New Commandment Act requiring all to love one another.
  • I point out that most Christians of any stripe barely follow the Bible as it is. As youngwilliam points out, shellfish, mixed cloths, for example, but also stoning adulterers, etcetera.

    My big problem with organized religion (which I hold distinct from personal religion) is that it's not REALLY about helping people. It's about political and sociological power over people. It's about making a metric shit-ton of money so they can buy people like John McCain and his anti-gay rhetoric. It's about making sure they don't have to pay real-estate taxes because "OMG WE HELP PEOPLE". Except when they don't. And, it's about making sure that anyone who doesn't follow the path damned well better, or they get Fred Phelps on their ass.

    If god hates gays, why do male ducks fuck other male ducks? Fuckwad.
    • Oh, and I forgot one: So priests can fuck little boys.
    • God hates ducks? That's actually not so far fetched. Look what He did to their noses.
      • God hates figs. There's actually more in the New Testament about Jesus being pissed off at figs than there is of God being pissed at fags in the old AND new testament.
  • Some of us do tell 'em to sit down and shut up, but they don't listen to us either. Apparently I'm on the fast track to hell right with you for condoning whatever behavior they're railing against this week.

    Lately I just keep (gently, gently) introducing such people who seem to show interest to my church when I can, where the pastor preaches nothing but love and kindness to all -- TO ALL -- and hoping this message, and the actions that support it, seep out and sticks better than the bigots shrieking and waving fists.
    • In some sense, I do blame the media here. Fred Phelps shrieking GOD HATES FAGS or you and your pastor saying 'hey, you're cool with us'- who's a more interesting front page? But it does seem that even in the more lefty papers, nobody's pointing out that, for instance, cubes's church turned up to counter-protest, or their pastor commented 'this shit's bananas, you know; not anywhere in the bible whatsoever'. I find it to run against Occam's razor to suggest that this is just the paper's fault.
      My folks are the kind of Christians that I think Christ would've been happy to meet, too- and I do think that sort of Christian outnumbers the hateful bigots using his name as a cloak for their inhumanist views. From out here, though, it seems like the gibbering idiots don't get enough (read: any) encouragement to shut the hell up and stop tainting a decent religion's name with their crazy.
      • To some extent, it's the nature of the (human) beast. In any group, however you slice 'em, there will be the bad apples giving everyone a bad name, and in the end not much can be done to stop them. Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays, straights, men, women, Americans, whatever. Some people in every collection will hate some other group enough to make a big stinky mark all over their own clan.

        Counter-protest? Yeah, it might show a few people in the immediate vicinity that I'm not with him, but it would be unlikely to draw any media coverage whatsoever and even less likely to change the bigots' minds. I happen to be a believer in walking the walk and trying to serve as a good example for those around me (not that I never fuck up, sometimes I'm just as pigheaded and wrong, and I can only hope and pray that in those cases I can -- gently -- be shown the error of my ways). I speak up occasionally, when I think it has a chance of doing something beyond igniting passions and causing heels to be dug in even harder. In the end I just don't believe there's much effective direct action against the loons, whether they be fellow Christians, Americans, women, or cat-lovers.

        The press, and much of the public, eat up the batshit crazy and pretty much ignore the rest. And it's HARD to be batshit reasonable.
  • Also, by some logic, telling the haters that they're doin' it rong isn't much different than them telling the gays THEY'RE doin' it rong.
    • Well, there's one difference: I've RTFM, unlike some of these gits. ;)
    • see, that's what I love about this country. We're so wrapped up in the idea that opposing views are legitimate, that we can ignore facts and reason, and logic, because by the false god they claim to follow, they have a right to express it.
      • and for the record, the 'god' they follow isn't the God I was taught about in Sunday school and later.
  • The thing that gets me is it isn't just Phelps and his ilk

    Sure he's poison - but is he any more poison than, say, the Pope? Is he any more poison than Rowan Williams not cracking his teeth about the Uganda kill the gays law that his church in Uganda was supporting?

    Hatred isn't just peddled by the extremist groups. It's peddled by the biggest and most mainstream churches in the world - and literally MILLIONS of Christians are willing to associate with these groups, no matter how hateful, how bigoted or how extreme they get... and that worries me, it does.
  • I don't feel like I have to answer for what other Christians say and do any more than gays have to answer for what other gays do, etc.

    That said, I don't really believe in organized anything, much less religion. In my view, people don't have the right to tell each other what to believe; that's God's job, after all. When you look at the hash our government has made of the Constitution, it's hardly surprising that people have made far worse hash of a book that at its youngest is 10 times older than the Constitution.

    I also like to point out to folks that Fred Phelps and all his ilk are Democrats. I consider the Phelpsians (I refuse to call them a church) to be a non-Christian cult that hollowed out Christianity and put their own poison inside.

    And finally, if you want to complain about religion, I've got one word for you:

    ISLAM.

    Homosexuality is ILLEGAL in Saudi Arabia, punishable by DEATH.

    Yet gays seem to piss and moan about Christianity a hell of a lot more than they do about the major religion that's actually ACTIVELY KILLING GAYS.

    So don't go pissing on my beliefs because you don't like what some Christians are SAYING when there are millions of Muslims out there that are KILLING folks like you.

    Sticks and stones and all that.
    • There's an intriguing bit of irony here: Wahhabism, or Salafism, (the predominant form of religious thought in Saudi Arabia) is not all of Islam. Wahhabism is also viewed as ultra-conservative, by other people who subscribe to Islam.
      To my eyes, the point you're making about Islam is the same point I was making about Christianity. There are some serious jerkwads here, calling themselves Muslim, who really ought to be asked, by the rest of Islam, to STFU. Not standing against that sort of extremism is uncomfortably easy, for those of us who are outside of said faith, to interpret as tolerance or acceptance of such extremism.

      I think there's tons of good Christianity has done, and does encompass. But the folks over history who've hollowed it out and filled it with their own brand of poison (and I REALLY like that metaphor) have done a lot to make that religion uncomfortable for the rest of us. Not just Phelps, either: the Pope who stuck his fingers in his ears and went LA LA LA LA LA about fascism, the Salem witch trials, and the various crusades all come to mind as things that are a good example of 'this is my personal bias and I'm gonna dress it up as Christianity and see who'll listen'. I don't dislike Christians at all- but I am inherently distrustful of any organization who doesn't admit to wrong doing, up to and including blaming the rise of secular humanism for their recent history of child molestation.

      Edited at 2010-12-25 02:32 am (UTC)
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