Posts Tagged ‘religion

29
Mar
13

Kindly Read Your Bible

There are a great many ignorant people who call themselves Christians and like to spout off about how other people behave and call out folks for supposedly persecuting them and whatever else. As a Christian myself, I’d like to remind y’all to actually read your Bibles front to back at least once, and preferably two or three times, before you open your mouths again (or type out your religious opinions on Twitter or wherever).

One of my twitterfolk just posted today that he blocked someone for stupidly chastising him that Jesus was the only person ever crucified.

Really?

Only person?

Even if the ignoramus in question didn’t know history, and the fact that Romans routinely crucified people to send a really harsh message about what they were capable of doing to dissidents, you should know from reading the damn Bible that two other people (thieves) were being crucified right next to Jesus!

Christians who can’t be bothered to actually read their Bibles or pay attention in church are, in my opinion, not allowed to comment on their own religion, criticize others’ practice of it, judge anyone (and if you read your Bible you’d know you aren’t supposed to judge), correct anyone on spiritual matters, etc.

It’s bad enough to read the Bible and misunderstand it…or take the symbolic parts literally…or not consider context…or anything else that leads to ignorant attitudes. But when you can’t even get the facts straight on something as basic as crucifixion, you simply need to go into a corner and leave the rest of us alone.

Oh, and may you have a blessed Easter season if you recognize it as a spiritual time and/or a holiday celebration.

29
Nov
11

Lack of Focus

Or, perhaps, the title of this post should be “The Wrong Focus.”

Some of the most fervent people pursue their missions from entirely the wrong standpoint, and so it is with many conservative, fundamentalist Christians, because they aren’t really as focused on the fundamentals as their descriptor would suggest.

See, my problem with the “fundies” isn’t so much that they want to promote biblical ideals and Bible-based behavior as it is that they put at the top of their agenda subjects on which Jesus didn’t really focus and/or that are only hinted at vaguely in the Bible…while also putting at the bottom of their priority list those things on which Jesus spoke most clearly and directly.

So, on the one hand, they’ll pick out a Bible passage about ancient punishments for hitting a pregnant woman in the belly and killing her unborn child, along with God’s words in the Book of Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and say, “See! God hates abortion! Let’s go have a huge campaign against women controlling their own bodies and hijack freedom of choice and science while ignoring more pertinent issues that affect more people.”

Never mind that causing the death of a woman’s fetus in an act of violence or irresponsibility was a crime because it assumed the woman wanted to give birth and you took that away from her (i.e. took the life that she had charge of). Also never mind that the quote from Jeremiah is about foreknowledge and foreplanning on God’s part, not about when life begins. Never mind that Jesus never once mentioned anything about fetuses, and his words are the ones Christians should focus on most.

And then, on the other hand, with poverty rising, kids and adults going without food, healthcare becoming increasingly inaccessible and the rich hoarding more and more of the money just because they can (even though they don’t need that much), you’ll see fundies cringe at any notion that even hints at socialism or talks about fairness and sharing, even though Jesus spent huge gobs of his time talking about economic fairness and taking care of the less fortunate.

Not to mention the fact the early Christian church essentially practiced communism, or something very close to it.

But they’ll ignore that and point to his parable of the talents and claim Jesus was a free market capitalist even though the parable is talking about spiritual growth and responsibility, not wealth creation.

Shaking my damn head…

07
Nov
11

Book of Addenduma, Chapter 1, Verses 1-15

It frequently comes to pass that a psycho extremist well-meaning and devout Christian will share with people, via street corner, Twitter, Facebook, blog, television program, radio program and/or the seat across from you on the bus or subway train…well, that something or another is terribly sinful in the eyes of God or incredibly pleasing in the sight of God (despite being very mean and hurtful to others).

It may occur to you at these times (or to other people whom you respect) to perhaps challenge said individuals to provide evidence from the Bible to support that such things are actually mentioned by God and/or His various agents through the ages, or that they are in line with Jesus’ teachings, or both.

If you do this, or encourage such actions by others, you are clearly a Christian-hating douche and should burn in the fires of Hell. Or perhaps you are a vile and wicked Muslim, who should first be tortured by government officials for simply existing, and then sent to burn in the eternal fires of Hell in that special corner God set aside for Hitler, abortion providers, followers of Islam and the makers of Teletubbies (especially the “gay” one).

I know it’s confusing to you, but what most Christians fail to note when providing such abusive soul-saving advice and guidance is that the pastors, Christian pundits and general whack-jobs…er, self-styled theologians who can’t even read Greek, Latin or Hebrew…um, fervent evangelists who taught them what was sinful and what was good (that doesn’t appear in the regular Bible and are in line with the new covenant set forth by Jesus) comes from a special book.

I mean, you can’t expect them to teach only from the source material that everyone has access to, can you?

Anyway, this special book was discovered by U.S. theologians around the same time politicians conveniently forgot that the Founding Fathers really weren’t all that religious and church-minded and started adding things like “In God We Trust” to the money and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1940s and 1950s.

This book, I am happy to reveal to you hellbound heathens, is the book of the prophet Addenduma, who was provided with revelation from God in the year 56 A.D. and was aided by his trusty apprentice prophet Miscellanephat and their alien canine sidekick Randomog.

I will share excerpts from this holy example of God’s WordTM from time to time. For now, just a little bit from Chapter 1, verses 1 through 15:

1: Lo, for the words herein written by Addenduma are true and correct, for he is pleasing in Mine eyes and certainly not drunk on new wine (nor the old in broken bottles) and he hath neither lain with Miscellanephat nor known Randomog in the manner a man should know a woman after proper courtship and transfer of ownership from her father.

2: Indeed, Addenduma may hath lain once or twice with Miscellanephat and Randomog but that is not unpleasing in my sight for he said he was very, very wroth with himself and abased himself before Me and reminded Me that I had overlookethed the liaisons between David and Jonathan.

3: And forsooth, verily and huzzah! (or perhaps Yahoo!), as we are on the topic of congress, or knowing, or getting busy, or doing the horizontal hora, let it be known that a man should not lie down with another man, unless the man being laid with looks convincingly like a woman and his/her clothes were already off by the time the layor discovered a penis hanging from him…or her…or, whatever.

4: There is no particular reason for this. For I the Lord simply find it aesthetically unpleasing, though I have naught to say about woman-on-woman for it is very pretty in the sight of men.

5: About those women. Thou shalt not lie with a woman during her time of issue with blood nor shalt though even think of having sex with her during that time even though it is a necessary and harmless biological function and I often make her pillows of small soft pleasure ‘twixt her thighs rumble with pleasure during this time and ignite her desires. Thou shalt not do this because it is icky in my sight, though you no longer have to make her stay outside your home when Aunt Flow visits.

6: Speaking of sex, and the holy aftereffects thereof when you abstain from contraception, as I have commanded, you may not abort any pregnancy at any stage after conception for any reason. This is because I give souls to every collection of cells that stands a strong chance of going nowhere developmentally speaking and has nothing resembling human neurological function.

7: Oh, I never mentioned anything about not using contraception? My bad. That was supposed to be in Leviticus. Thou shalt not use contraception. I also waste my time putting souls in every sperm and every ovum because I’m inefficient that way.

8: Thou shalt not make note of the fact that most sperms and ova are never used and your body will shed them or consume them. Also, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

9: And no, thou mayest not pleasure thyself with thy hand or any foreign object, for I hate masturbation, even though it is never really mentioned in the Bible at all. Why? Do you want me to turn you into a pillar of salt or kill the first-born of your family? If you need a reason, see verse 7, you heathen.

10: Porn is evil. Even when it involves fully consenting adults in a safe and non-abusive environment and doesn’t degrade women. Unless the producers tithe 10% of the gross revenues post-production to Me.

11: Sex is evil. Even with your spouse. Unless you are trying to have children. I only made sex feel good to trip you up and send more of you to Hell. It’s getting crowded up here in Heaven and I really do not likest most of thou. Or thee. Or y’all. Or whatever.

12: Ignore any anachronisms in the Book of Addenduma. My beloved prophet’s mind sometimes travels to the future to gather the holy guidance he needs to put My will to these parchments, which may not stand up to the scrutiny of carbon dating, for carbon dating is a tool of Satan and his minions the evolutionists.

13: Free-market laissez-faire capitalism practiced within a non-inclusive, non-representative pseudo-democracy must be your way, for it is My way, and it’s My way or the Gehenna highway.

14: Thou shalt not gather in protest of the 1% who hold the majority of the wealth and withhold it from 99% of the population, for I the LORD never told you when the meek would inherit the Earth. But not now. Certainly not yet. Soon, though. Maybe.

15: Thou shalt only vote for the Republican Party in the United States, and suitably similar parties in other nations, for the Democrats are of less pleasing character to Me than the scum on your shoe after stepping on a diseased slug that was having sex with an earthworm on your rain-soaked driveway right in the middle of a puddle of oil and antifreeze.

07
Oct
11

Religion by Any Other Name

With fair regularity, I’ll see an atheist post something online, whether as a tweet, a comment to a blog post, or whatever, basically saying how much better a world it would be if we just eliminated religion altogether.

How much less hatred there would be. How much less unkindness. How much less discrimination and abuse. How much less divisiveness. How much less hypocrisy. How much less war. How much less violence. How much less shame. How much less…

…and sometimes, as I read this, my sense of “What damn world do you live in” surges up like a food-poisoned dinner, and I respond, online, to explain to them patiently that it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference.

They almost never agree.

You see, I bring up very valid points. In fact, my points are virtually unassailable, though the atheists insist on stubbornly assailing them anyway, showing that they can be just as pigheaded as fundamentalist Christians or uber-Orthodox Jews or extremist Muslims.

You see, they will point to things like the Crusades, or the Spanish Inquisition, or a host of other well-known historical events, and say, “See, that’s what religion does!” In addition to ignoring every good thing that flowed from religion, they fail, more importantly, to take heed of the fact that in all those cases, the impetus behind the evils was rarely anything religious. Oh, it may have been billed as such, but it’s always about power, wealth, land, etc. And usually, there is a ruler (king, empress, pharaoh, dictator, etc.) or a ruling class behind it all, using religion as the rallying point or prodding the religious institutions and using them as tools for the dirty work.

When I point out that capitalism (a flawed institution that I both love and loathe) and communism (great idea, but impossible to execute humanely in large populations) have been responsible for more suffering and persecution than religion in modern times, I’m ignored, and told about how much influence Christians have on the political process.

When I point out that non-theistic liberals have stomped on as many freedoms at times as right-wingers, I’m met with a blank stare (of the virtual/electronic variety).

When I note that so much of the violence in Africa is caused by warlords and ethnic conflicts…and add that so many Eastern European and Asian conflicts are also ethnically/culturally based, I’m told that really, it was religion that started those divisions originally, and thus religion is to blame.

This is why I have, at times, compared atheism to being a religion unto itself, because its most firm adherents aren’t content to practice their beliefs. No, they seek converts. They enact doctrine. They begin to exclude people and judge people. I’ve known some great atheists and count many of them among my friends. But just like church-folk, I find many of them abrasive and pompous. They have dogma, too, and they can be guilty of evil. Some of the most evil bastards in modern history were functionally agnostic, truly agnostic or atheist.

What irks me is that even if you can make the claim that religion is responsible for most of the world’s woes, past and present (which you can’t because at best it’s an one-fourth partner along with economic, social and political/ideological doctrines), eliminating it won’t help.

If you outlaw religion, or zap everyone with a mind-ray that makes them reject the notion of any kinds of spiritual higher powers (God, Goddess, loa, Vishnu, etc.), they will make their own faiths all over again.

I see this so clearly these days in online communities.

Mrs. Blue still reads many parenting/mommy blogs and visits parenting forums at times, and I see all the time how many “non-religious” women have essentially defined motherhood as a sort of goddess role. It is sacred. It is for women alone. The children belong to the mother. The father is there to serve. The role of motherhood should be honored as a special calling and duty. Now, I think the world of women, mothers or not. But the level of importance that many women in these online venues attach to their roles goes beyond the reasonable and laudable. It goes into worship. It goes into judgment and exclusion and excommunication of those who don’t agree 100% with the official doctrine. If you dare to raise your voice at your child or spank them even once, you are shunned. If you are a father who dares to look at porn or want sex occasionally outside of making a new baby,Β  you are sick.

But hey, it’s not just the extreme moms.

Let’s take sexuality. Yoga, while spiritual, tends to be pretty much clear of deism for most people (at least here in the United States). It’s a way to connect in non-physical as well as physical ways, but it’s more about calming, centering and clearing out the detritus. And yet I’ve seen tales enough of Tantric Yoga people who damn near form cults of sexuality. Or, as long as we’re on the topic of sexuality, how about BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism)? I’ve made no secret that I probably know more about kink than most of you dear readers. I don’t practice BDSM myself, but I’m well-acquainted with many folks who are, and I keep tabs on things, and you know what I see? Lots of worship. People who reject the notion of God now give themselves over to another human. Not simply as a submissive who gets whipped occasionally or tied up or insulted, but who gives over all the choices to some dominant man or woman and literally worships that person. I’ve seen folks so devoted to the BDSM lifestyle that actual sexual activity in a BDSM context is rare or non-existent. They are fulfilled by the surrender or the control (depending on whether they are the sub or dom) and they find it spiritually fulfilling.

Humans seek the divine, and they will find it almost anywhere. There are fundie Christians who can twist the Gospel to make it look like Jesus taught the value of free-market Capitalism. I kid you not. Jesus noted that money/greed was a kind of god, and humans have proved him right, as they set themselves up as gods based on money, and demand their “tithes” of the more lowly. I see people get quite riled up over food and what is the “right” way to eat and to grow/raise food for us to be good humans and to be right with the Earth.

Spirituality is part and parcel of being human, and that is why the majority of the population believes in a higher power. Even if we’re wrong about that and the atheists are right, it’s clearly hardwired into us on some level that we seek an ethereal connection to something beyond the temporal lives we are locked into. We seek enlightenment. We seek to get outside ourselves. We seek validation from unseen forces.

Whether gods exist and we acknowledge them, or whether we create them and invest them with pseudo-reality…it doesn’t matter in the end. You cannot eliminate religion. If you strike it down in one form, it will rise up in another. If you’re an atheist and you’ve managed to shed all that, cool for you. You’re a rarity. Just like geniuses are. Or savants. Or true artists. Or serial killers, for that matter. You are not the norm if you have completely severed yourself from spiritual notions. That doesn’t make you bad or flawed, but it means you don’t see the world like most people do. You are an aberration. Perhaps a beautiful and wonderful one, but an aberration all the same. And, most likely, the majority of atheists who think they reject all divine/spiritual notions would find they worship at some kind of altar in life, if they were only to truly and honestly look at themselves.

Stop blaming the institutions or philosophies for how messed up the world is and how much evil there is in it. The blame for the world’s ills is much more pervasive.

It’s not God, real or imagined. It’s not religions. It’s not faith.

It’s all of us.

All. Of. Us.

All.

29
Mar
11

Spiritual Journeys Are NOT Destinations

So, my wife is struggling with her spirituality these days, trying to reconcile how she feels and how she views the world with an upbringing that was fairly fundamentalist in terms of Christian doctrine, even if she herself has always been pretty progressive/liberal in terms of social issues and politics.

This won’t come as any surprise to anyone who follows both she and I on Twitter (and several of you do; for those who don’t, she’s @blackgirlinmain on Twitter and she also has a blog…follow her in both places and I think you’ll be glad you did). She’s been talking quite openly about her spiritual struggles. I’m proud of her for her journey and her explorations and finding the proper path for her.

Because being on a spiritual walk is like any other walk. There isn’t a clear destination. Sure, you may be going somewhere, but even once you get there, the place you’ve reached might not be the perfect place to be. And even if you do like that place, there’s always a need to walk someplace else at some other time, for other needs.

Journeying is exploration, and any person truly seeking spiritual growth will find many different twists and turns; they should never be satisfied that they know it all and have found it all. That would be self-delusion and ignorance.

Thing is that I’ve been on a spiritual journey myself and still am. I came to Christ after years of being a lapsed and “recovering” Catholic, and that was through the woman who would become my wife, and the church she attended, which was presided over by her dad. That being said, while I was never a fundamentalist in any true sense of the word, I did have some beliefs that were more fundamentalist than what I have now.

As I look at some of the earliest posts on this blog, I can see where I have changed and grown. I haven’t changed my path drastically, but there have been adjustments as I grown closer to my soul and to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure more changes are to come.

I might post on this a bit more later this week, but that should do for now.

30
Dec
10

Where I Need God and Where I Don’t

I have some thoughts that have been rolling around my head; just haven’t been in the right mindset to put them to words on this blog (writing fiction so much lately is eating up my time and energy, so that’s part of it).

Until I can, I just wanted to share a quick thought with those who criticize the practice of religion or the pursuit of things spiritual:

Don’t mistake me for someone who needs God to make sense of the world or to explain how things are. This isn’t a case of needing the existence of a higher power for lighting and rainbows to be explained or to make sense of where the universe came from. Science has proven more than up to the task of breaking down the physical world and explaining a lot of those things. I look to God for making sense of the things that science doesn’t touch and probably never can: The things of the spirit. That is the place where I need God, both as a guide and as an endpoint to seek.

And argue all you want that there is no spirit. No soul. No existence beyond the current prison of our flesh. I don’t need you or science to prove that such things exist. I have seen them and I feel them and they are real. If you chose not to recognize them and are satisfied with that, more power to you. But telling me that the spiritual isn’t real doesn’t make it so, and where science cannot tread, there I will seek a higher power.

26
Dec
10

Jesus the Vegetarian?

I’m not willing to just sign onto this 100% blindly…too many people have come up with too many wild-seeming theories about Jesus, from him being gay and doing John (or doing Mary Magdalene, for that matter) to being a fan of capitalism…but among the various non-standard theories about Jesus, this one is among the more intriguing and plausible:

Might Jesus have been a vegetarian and against the killing of animals?

Read this story, which Son of Blue hipped me to:

www.huffingtonpost.com/kamran-pasha/was-jesus-a-vegetarian_b_276141.html

Feel free to drop back in and discuss. I don’t have any deep thoughts of my own to post right now, so maybe I can start a discussion/debate amongst us all here.

12
Sep
10

A Not-Safe-For-Work Reflection on Religion

Saw this on another blog today. I slightly modified the last item on the list to be a bit more accurate and all-inclusive to the overall goal.

A tiny bit foul-minded? Sure. A lot accurate? Yes.

How Religion is Like a Penis

  • It’s OK to have one
  • It’s OK to be proud of it
  • But please don’t pull it out in public and start whipping it around
  • And PLEASE don’t shove it down anyone’s throats

In case you’re wondering, the original fourth point was “PLEASE don’t shove it down down my children’s throats” but aside from the icky factor that induced in my head, I also thought that most people of adult age also don’t want it shoved down their throats.

I think this little bit of semi-raunchy humor encapsulates my feelings on religion. If both sides would follow these rules and respect the practice and possession of a religion while also not foisting it on anyone else without some kind of implied consent, we’d all be better off.

And the thing is, there are times in life when we might talk about our penises with people other than our lovers or spouses…or urologists. Just as we might talk religion. As long as it’s not used as a form of religious assault, can we just agree to get along and stop all the name-calling on both sides?

If not, you may force me to whip something out that you don’t want to see. πŸ˜‰

04
Sep
10

The Spiritual Path: Lonely and Communal

You know, maybe if I go away officially for a week or so and tell Miz Pink that she can make my top banner pink and take over for a while, I wouldn’t feel so guilty. Seems like I need to bribe her with a power trip to get her to fill in the gaps around here….LOL

But I do have stuff to say, I admit, just not as much time as I’d like to say it.

This blog began as a place where I could wax somewhat foul-mouthedly about various things (sex, politics, etc.) while bringing in some biblical and spiritual angles, as well as to actually explore specific religious and spiritual issues.

It’s become more of a random rant, and I sometimes cover those “original” topics as well (though the sex stuff less so…guess I don’t have a sex advice column in my future). But spiritual matters, while I haven’t discussed them in depth much lately…and while I don’t hit the Bible all that terribly often these days…are still very important to me.

God is still important to me. Jesus is still important to me. My relationship to and acceptance of the Holy Spirit is important to me. Reading the Bible is less important, but still not unimportant.

The thing is, I’ve found that I’m much more passionate about exploring my place in God’s plans and His place in the larger universe. Contemplation and even speculation are serving me better these days in finding my spiritual path and trying to align myself better with God.

It is a lonely portion of the spiritual path, because it doesn’t lend itself as much to sharing, or community. Some of my thoughts and considerations go in strange places. Places that I don’t want to share, or don’t feel I can give justice.

I find myself contemplating other religions more; not in the sense of practicing them but in trying to tie the disparate spiritual world together and figure out how God fits into most things quite nicely, even if He doesn’t always take the Judeo-Christo-Muslim kind of face that is so prevalent.

I remain unmoved by Hawking or anyone else who feels they can explain away God and remove Him. They cannot unprove God any more than I can prove him. I would rather that such folks stick to the science and stop trying to bring God into it. In turn, I would like for religious folks to stop trying to reinterpret science (evolution, etc.) in biblical terms.

In the end, it wouldn’t matter if God came first or the universe did. Science and religion can coexist. Different religions can coexist, even in the context of eternal salvation vs. eternal separation. Christianity remains my core, but finding what it means to me and how to employ my faith better is still a journey.

At times, it’s been a journey with many companions, but lately, it’s just been a solo stroll most days. I hope top invite you on a walk with me soon, though, and we’ll see what I might be able to share with you.

Even if many of you won’t agree with me. πŸ˜‰

14
Aug
10

Someone Else’s Wisdom

I follow Roger Ebert on Twitter (his account is ebertchicago) and he is a very prolific and often witty sort. Today, he tweeted a comment left for him (on his blog, I’m guessing), and thought I’d share it here:

Religion is to spirituality what porn is to sex.

Given my two most recent “Deacon’s Wisdom” posts in the past week, I suspect you can guess that I substantially (though not entirely) agree with that sentiment.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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