The Walking Dead
A zombie is a creature that is neither alive nor fully dead, capable of locomotion but devoid of any feeling, emotion, care, or reason, existing with only one primal desire: Hunger.
Yeah, I know, they're not real. They're a pop culture myth with roots going back centuries, and very popular these days, but still...not real. But go along with this as a concept anyway, hm?
People often call them evil; they are certainly not part of any natural order, but evil? Perhaps, perhaps not. Evil is many things, the easiest and most cowardly philosophically defined as that which is not "good". But without the ability to reason and to choose any other nature, can they be called evil? If you call them "evil", then sharks are evil; they are devoid of feeling, emotion, care, or reason, and exist solely as a predator, driven by nothing else than a desire to survive and feed...hunger, if you will.
I give this description because I'm going to make a comparison here that's going to be, depending on your belief or faith, or lack thereof, either entertaining or offensive.
I didn't intend for this blog to turn into one that focused solely on religion and the Christian faith, but with life events that have occurred over the last seven months, it HAS kind of turned out that way. The incidents, and ideas, have weighed heavily on my mind and heart/soul. It's been a test of faith for me, unlike any that have happened before, even when I struggled with the very idea that Jesus was the Son of God.
This isn't going to focus on that, though I am willing to discuss it with anyone that wishes. I still call myself a Christian. I believe Jesus was who He said He was: To quote C.S. Lewis, He was either Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. A liar could not do the documented miracles He did, nor would a fiend. A lunatic could not do them either.
That doesn't leave any other legitimate options.
Now, I find myself questioning more than I ever did when I wasn't a Christian; "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling", indeed.
Because of this journey, which hasn't been easy AT ALL, I find myself disillusioned by the Christian church as a whole. "The Church" as an entity is made up of fallible and flawed people, of which I am one. I make no claims to perfection. I make no claim to being "good" or especially "Christ-like" in much I say or do.
What I DO say and do is the best I can do. I do my best. I try. I've accepted Jesus as Savior, and even Lord, though lately it's been more akin to a feudal relationship than the Biblical example of a marriage relationship. He is Lord, yes, but I cannot relate to Him. I believe that ascribing human traits to Him, even though He lived among us, is not only futile but foolish; if I hold to my belief that He is God, then how can my limited understanding comprehend Him as God? Much of what we know of Him and believe is through the Bible; the church today is built around precepts He taught and said, based on historical record, and by the teachings and letters of those followers that lead the new Christian faith after His ascension.
This is where things start unraveling for me.
First, Christians believe the Bible is the Divinely inspired Word of God. I used to believe this as well, but over time and living, prayer and living, living and living, I've run into some snags. Which version is the Divine inspired Word? They can't all be; there are contradictions! Concepts are redefined as newer translations come out, clarifying points and spots; in many ways, this has made some things more clear, but there are still some that are not quite there. What about those?
The overall compilation (yes, compilation) is a collection of stories, histories, and ideas that have been around for thousands of years. It is ethnocentric, focused on the Jews as the Chosen People of God, then broadening in the B'rit Hadashah, the New Testament, to include all peoples that believe and accept Jesus, as Paul taught. The ethnocentrism subtly shifted to the Chosen People now being anyone that accepts Him through belief. But all of the original authors that are included with VERY few exception were Jews, raised in a patriarchal culture that subjugated women, kept slaves, WERE slaves, and oppressed at every turn. No one ever questions the unavoidable bias this MUST include.
Christians typically view the Bible as LAW, Rule #1 if you will, even when told that it should not be a hard and unyielding law. They live with the zealot's belief that no other possible avenue could be true; if in doubt, see Rule #1. "God (the Bible) said it, I believe it, and that settles it!" is a comment I've heard so many times in life. At one point even I believed that, though I amended it further to be, "God (the Bible) said it, and that settles it." My belief didn't enter into the equation; after all, if He said it and it was fact, my belief was secondary.
The issue with such unwavering conviction is that if you accept the Bible as Divinely inspired Word, then it must ALL be accepted, not just certain parts. Christians today use the famed "clobber scriptures" to call down proverbial fire on homosexuals, all the while ignoring the parts that are inconvenient, writing them off as not relevant because the laws have changed: Slaves, anyone? Kill all the unbelievers, man, woman, child, and burn their places to the ground? "Oh, that's Old Testament!" Ok, let's look at the New then.
The New Testament addresses treatment of slaves, though modern translations have softened that to "servants". The New Testament says that unless you're a born Jew, and thus a goyim (Gentile) you are only bound to not eat food offered to idols, eating blood, eating something strangled, and sexual immorality.
How very odd!
Ok, the first three are really easy...much of that was culturally based anyhow; food isn't really offered to idols anymore, I'm not fond of eating blood anyway, and what meat is strangled when killed today? That leaves sexual immorality...some define this as fornication, most leave it as the all inclusive original.
But what IS sexual immorality? Topless beaches are normal in France. Here, you'd be arrested and called a sinner for it. Baptists say dancing leads to sexual immorality, as does alcohol. Pentecostals believe it's immoral to cut your hair, wear slacks, and wear makeup if you're female. Even more telling, if you go by what the Bible says is immoral, you'd end up with a society nearly like radical Islam at the worst extreme, but repressive at best. It's illegal to have more than one wife in most places, and illegal and/or immoral to have sexual relations outside of that single bond...yet most Christians gloss over the multiple wives and concubines many Jewish men had.
Ok, true, but then doesn't that mean the Bible might be wrong? "Oh, that was then! That's not acceptable today." So, some things acceptable then aren't today, and some that weren't, are? Who decides, if the Bible is the infallible Word of God?
Where am I going with all of this? And didn't this start with zombies?
Well, yeah. Ok, here goes...
Most Christians follow the Bible without question; it's the Word of God. They take any message pumped out from a pulpit, accept it, and never question, trusting the Holy Spirit to ensure the message they receive is from God. After all, even if it SOUNDS flawed like some Biblical contradictions, the Spirit will make sure it turns out ok. (Actually, I do believe that to a point...I just don't accept that an all knowing, all seeing God would allow His Divine Word to be so haphazard...since I believe in the infallibility of God, then the haphazard Bible isn't His Divine Word. His Spirit can still use it...God uses cracked pots! But calling something perfect and divine when it's not denigrates the very all powerful God you claim to worship, as He would not, indeed COULD NOT allow shoddy work to reflect Him. As the old saying goes, you can't get pure water from polluted sources. To which the religious zealot then claims the miraculous, and you're just wasting time at that point...you can't convince a fanatic.)
Since they do not question, they follow it to the letter. Gays are going to hell, masturbation is a sin, drinking is a sin, etc....no compromise. Very little, if any, reason or logic.
In short, Christians, AS MOST TODAY LIVE, are little more than Walking Dead...zombies.
There's no thought, or at least very little independent thought. If you aren't like them, they shun you, ignoring you. Their only focus is their walk with God, much like a zombie ignores other zombies in their pursuit of flesh. Their hunger for a deeper walk with Jesus often blinds them to the poor, hurting, hungry, scarred, injured, etc at their feet, stepping on them, unseeing. The typical Church person means well, they really do...but the religion, the rules, the law has leeched all life from their actions (not all...some, like the church I left, actually do a good job for the right reasons). Even the good they do many times is tarnished because they do it for the wrong reasons; most Christians do good works for reward in Heaven, not for salvation.
Poor, blind Pharisees.
It's not the work that garners reward. It's the giving heart, the love, the LIFE from faith and trust in Jesus that allows the same good works to be done, but for the right reasons. The precious few do works because it's the Life in them that leads them to do good, and the reward they may get in the afterlife is because of the condition of their heart, not the works done for misguided selfishness.
The Bible, THEIR OWN BIBLE, calls those "Dead Works", and spells out the issues with doing works for all the wrong reasons, or having an impetus from the wrong source.
Dead works from dead hearts and dead minds; it's not for no reason I say the Christian Majority might as well be zombies...they're Walking Dead.
I've always had a level of distrust in the Bible...because it's the Word of God, as "TOLD to" and WRITTEN BY MAN!ReplyDelete
Reminds me of the old joke where them monk is translating the original scrolls and starts bawling his eyes out, because it was originally "celebrate" instead of "celibate" LOL
Don't get me wrong...there's so much good there! But, like with anything in life, you need to sift through it and use your head AND heart.Delete
The trouble with Christianity began with the original followers of Christ. Immediately following Christ's death the disagreements began on how to continue. For some (Peter) it was all about the church. Forcing conformity to his way of following the plan. For others, like Paul, it was still about getting the message out. In other words, from the very start, some followers manipulated the message to their own ends. Considering that many of the Dead Sea scrolls were written 100 to 150 years after the events they proclaim, that leaves plenty of time for revision before the stuff is even on paper. Then look at who has taken the task of translation over the years and see each massaging their agenda into the work. It's a wonder that there is any relevant information in the Bible at all.ReplyDelete
As you can probably guess I'm in the 'not divinely inspired bible' camp and the 'Jesus was a holy man but still human' camp. I don't believe that a real God's message would need to be written down but would be encoded into our soul. I don't believe that God (an omniscient, omnipotent creator being) micromanages freewill. You want to lie, cheat, steal, kill, or use a holy book to manipulate the masses then go right ahead. God can't stop you or else he would be acting against his greatest gift... Freedom of Choice. I also believe that a being of that magnitude would have better things to do with his time.
Assuming that we were created, we were created with all the tools we would ever need to experience this (or any) life. I think the biggest flaw of Christianity is the assumption of a single lifespan then eternal judgement. It makes more sense to me that a God like that would create his people as explorers rather than followers. With an eternal, reincarnating soul, the need for God to get involved would be 0. Without the fear of death and damnation, the soul is free to seek and learn. The soul is also free of the pressing need to be right. When people aren't worried about saving each other's soul, they won't feel the need to kill another for praying differently.
Plus it really pisses me off when people give credit to an undeserving god. Humans do magnificent things. Humans do awful things. NOT Satan. NOT God. HUMANS. I believe in the possibility of miracles, I just believe that those are either actual coincidence or a localized manipulation of existing forces (mostly Will and Probability). Magic, if you will. I don't see a need to muck up the gloriously simple magnificence of reality by throwing in external forces.
I'm not saying God does not exist. I am saying that whatever happens in your life, it won't make a difference to an omnipotent being. God doesn't care if you live or die, if you are happy or sad, or if you become a martyr or murderer. Even if he did he couldn't do anything about it without breaking his promise to us. If you assume that we only live one life, then it's going to be a scary, confusing life.
This Walking Dead phenomenon you speak of, in my opinion, is testament to how confused the religion has become. People of the church are reacting to the fear of punishment instilled in them and miss the glory of experience that life has to offer.
I don't think I'm so cynical yet to assign selfish motives to the church founders; I still believe their disagreement was really just on how to proceed to get out "The Good Word", not so much for personal gain...it's a subtle distinction, and I may be misreading what you're saying when you say their "own ends".Delete
I do completely agree on massaging the data; the King James translators may have given us a comprehensive book out of it all, but the bias and positions from it have done so much damage over the years it's a wonder any good came from it...call it the Spirit using a cracked pot and getting a full cup of tea from it instead of it being a total wash.
I believe in ultimate Free Will; as such, God does not micromanage, nor would He encode anything into our souls. We're clean slates; we have to be. One thing that's in the Bible and consistently presented is Free Will.
One of the biggest flaws I find in Christian thinking is the reprehensible use of circuitous logic: People give credit to God for good things humans do, because the exercise of free will came from God, the moral turpitude to do right follows God's plan, therefore the ultimate responsibility is God's, so they give credit to God for what good a man might do. It's similar to how an abused woman says it's her fault when a man beats her or her kids, to use a negative example. Think Life of Brian: "I'm not the Messiah!" "The Messiah denies himself!" "He's the Messiah!"
I don't mean to be a complete downer. The church I just stopped going to did a fantastic job of reaching out to people because it was the right thing to do; reward of any type didn't enter into it from the pastor's perspective...it was just right. I didn't leave because of him; I left because I can no longer trust the overall Christian institution (ALL of the Church as a whole).
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
I was just looking back over your blog to see if you had posted anything new and noticed that my comment was removed by a blog administrator. Honestly I don't remember what I posted but I would like to know what was so offensive about it as to warrant deleting. If my opinions offend you, its your blog and I have no problem not posting anymore. But it totally throws me off finding out months after an incident that someone was mad at me and didn't let me know or know why. If I'm fucking up I need to know about it because this is the kind of shit that prevents friendship. I am a reasonable individual with an opinion on things and a vested interest in the spiritual progress of my friends. Contrary to what some may believe, I am neither an intentional troll nor an asshole and am earnestly flabberghasted when taken as such.ReplyDelete
I messaged you about it; it showed up as a duplicate, so I deleted the duplicate. You could have just asked; thanks for the benefit of the doubt.Delete
Please accept my apology, James. Just that... my bad.ReplyDelete
In the interest of understanding: When I started writing that comment my intent was to add at the end a disclaimer in case it was just that sort of thing. You know, "If I fucked up tell me but if this was some sort of error then nevermind." That really was my intent. That being said, I woke up this morning after 12 days of mania to the feeling of dread that accompanies the onset of a 'Bad Day'(I imagine you know what I mean by that). I started digging around the internet to find something to make me feel better about my life. That led me to checking on my friends which led me to the blog. I didn't assume that it was any sort of intentional issue but it did worry me that it might be. So I commented just to see (see the intent quote above). As I was typing, my clouded brain decided it would be a good idea to explain how I was feeling and why I was responding in the first place. Several encounters in my recent past have me hypersensitive about people's perception of me and that kind of took over. By the end I had completely gone off track and forgot to include the disclaimer part.
If I had realized how off I was mentally I wouldn't have commented in the first place. I hate to think about how much of my interactions I fuck up because of clouded thinking but I know it happens all the time. That is why I'm so sensitive to finding things out way after the fact. Because by then it is usually too late to fix it. I reread stuff I post several times before and after I submit so as to not cause negativity of any type but still I seem to accomplish just that. It bothers me. I'm told constantly to have faith and trust in myself. I don't. And this type of shit is why. Again, my bad. Please don't hold it against me.
We're good. Honestly, I owe you one too. Contacting you privately.Delete
If you get a chance, I am interested in your feedback after watching this!
That was fascinating. The issue I have with interpreting prophetic writings is that everything is perfectly clear in hindsight, and the human mind tends to want to "retcon" (retroactive continuity) things in order to force an understandable sense to them. I'm also suspicious by nature; if something that long running and detailed fits so perfectly, it tends to make me leery of it, especially coming from a religious text that has been retconned so much as to be an entirely different book.Delete
Not to mention the historical rift between Catholic and Protestant makes anything one says about the other automatically suspect. Cuz, really...they love each other SO MUCH, right?!
I'm skeptical without more information or evidence from an independent and unbiased source.