Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

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Religion: Anachronistic Perhaps, Yet Still Valuable

08.25.10

Andrew Sullivan:

If you see the world as something to be understood, you will seek to understand it through many voices, idioms and perspectives. To dismiss all religion as mere anachronistic bunk is a closure of the mind, not an opening.

While I agree, I don’t know that I agree in the same way that Sullivan means it.  I haven’t used that precise term – anachronistic – to describe religion before, but it’s relatively close to my feelings toward it.  I don’t know that my issue with it is that it’s old-fashioned so much as that the rigid structures of religion are itself closed-minded, ignoring new evidence and thousands of years of human development, ingenuity, and discovery in favor of some ancient texts.

At least, that’s the case for the Abrahamic religions.  One could argue that since their texts are so old, that they must be relevant and worthy if people are still worshiping them after all these centuries of new ideas and new religions have come to pass.

The same can’t be said for new faiths like Mormonism or Scientology.  Those followers intrigue me the most, especially the latter.  To think that people subscribe to a set of beliefs that include some pretty out-there sci-fi babble in an age where we have so much scientific evidence showing that there’s no way the universe is trillions of trillions of trillions of years old stuns me.

So where do I agree with Sullivan?

It’s precisely because those people stun and baffle me that these religions are worthy of studying and investigating.  We’re all so different yet we all have so many traits in common.  Why am I not religious while others are extremely devout?  Why do certain cultures tend to embrace such different faiths?  Or is it their faiths that determine different cultures? These religions, and the human race’s constant desire to believe, offers all kinds of information that we can dissect and study from sociological, anthropological, and psychological perspectives in order to learn how our minds and cultures evolve and function.

Just about everything involves religion.  Just glance at the news and try not to incorporate Islam, Judaism, and Christianity t0 understand what’s going on.  From the two wars we’re fighting in the Middle East to the already-existing mosque near Ground Zero in NYC to award speeches, it’s impossible to separate humans from religion.

And even for those like myself who follows no religious institution, my doing so is notable because of my lack of religious desire.  I admit that I frequently dismiss the concept of religion as anachronistic bunk, as Sullivan says, but I don’t dismiss its impact or its intellectual worth when it comes to understanding our world.   In that sense, I don’t see my beliefs as being a closure of the mind at all because one doesn’t need to give credence to religious faith in order to investigate our world so much as accept religion’s existence and how it affects people, places, and things.

I just keep it in its place along with other myths, legends, and fables that speak volumes about ourselves as self-conscious beings and human nature than they do anything related to defining our existence or explaining the afterlife.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Booyabazooka

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Sarah Palin Tells You How To Live, But Doesn’t

01.14.10

Sarah Palin on Fox News 2010:

“There is nothing more important in my life than my relationship with God and my faith and in this past year especially — past year and a half — I have been so driven to my knees to pray for His guidance, for His wisdom, for His grace and for His Strength. And I’m never going to tell anybody else how to live, I’m never going to preach to anybody else and tell them you must do that.

Sarah Palin in 2008 during the presidential campaign:

I’m not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can’t do, should and should not do, but I certainly can express my own opinion here and take actions that I believe would be best for traditional marriage and that’s casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage that, that instrument that it’s the foundation of our society is that strong family and that’s based on that traditional definition of marriage, so I do support that.”

My emphasis.

Clearly, Palin has no idea what it means to judge people and tell anyone else how to live because pushing for a constitutional amendment that would ban a certain, targeted group of Americans – homosexuals – from participating in the institution of marriage is exactly telling someone else how to live and judging who they are as people.

Palin’s words are hollow and meaningless.  She contradicts herself within same sentences.  She is an affront to logic and reason.  And yet millions of Americans adore her.  This baffles and frightens me.

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Huckabee: Broken Record on Same Sex Marriage

11.26.09

Leave it to potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to repeat old rhetoric in his battle against same-sex marriage.

Huckabee panders to the Christian Right and alienates everyone else with his flawed slippery-slope argument that if same-sex marriage were legalized, that just about any form of union would end up being permitted.  Namely, that polygamy should then be allowed.

He argues that:

“You know, I hear people say, ‘Well, what would be wrong?’ What would be wrong, then, with a man having two or three or six or seven wives? Or a woman having six or seven husbands all at the same time? Other than the financial challenge of doing that.”

What a flawed argument, but one that can be very convincing to people who don’t take the time to actually think about it.  The issue here isn’t polygamy.  It’s about homosexuality.  And this is just Huckabee’s way to divert the attention away from the real reason that he’s against it: his fundamentalist Christian views.  He thinks that he’s masking his religious reasons for desiring a secular ban on one type of marriage simply based on the demographic of people being married, which is a prime example of institutional discrimination, by using the tired and patently false historical argument – that marriage has always meant one man and one woman – and equating homosexuals with polygamists.  Classic fear-mongering rhetoric that holds no water whatsoever.

Huckabee:

“Marriage doesn’t mean any and everything we want it to mean.  In all the recorded years of human history it has only meant one thing. It has meant a man and a woman relationship, that not only created the next generation, but that trained the next generation to be their replacements. It’s not just the matter of the biological reproduction, however. It’s the context in which children are able to grow up understanding the role models that both the male and the female provide.”

There are so many things wrong with his argument.  First off:

1) Marriage hasn’t only meant one thing in all the recorded years of human history.  Perhaps it’s meant the same thing in all the recorded years of The Huckabee Family History but you need not look further than his own admission of polygamy to realize that there are other forms of marriage that are perfectly valid for those groups of people (I assume they’re humans, thus in the realm of human history).  See also, arranged marriages, polyandry, and a whole slew of different unions in many societies.  Even if fringe or practiced amongst a small group of people, it disproves Huckabee’s statement that marriage has always meant one singular thing.

2) Being married doesn’t mean you have to be parents.  There are all kinds of circumstances where married couples don’t end up training “the next generation to be their replacements,” such as, infertile couples or those who just don’t want to have children.  I’ve never been married, but I’ve been to a number of weddings, and none of the requirements that I heard during the ceremonies involved procreation and the training of said offspring.

Huckabee uses that falsity to lead to yet another one.

3) Children can learn the ins and outs of being a human being without having both a man and woman guiding them.  I’m getting tired of reading my own print right now because it feels like Huckabee is making me sound like a broken record.  Again, all it takes is actually stopping and spending a brief moment thinking about this to realize that Huckabee is full of total crap and that nothing in his argument holds true.  With his rationale, he should be fighting to outlaw childless married couples, single-parent families, and foster parents (to take a page out of his own slippery slope book).

It doesn’t take a historian to know that marriage – like many cultural customs – has changed and varied over time across cultures as they evolve and change.  Huckabee bases his argument on his own personal beliefs that fall under those of Christianity, which is fine, were he arguing to make changes to his church’s rules, not secular American laws.  But he’s not.

This is a man who fashions himself a presidential candidate in 2012 yet bases his arguments for and against secular laws on his own religious beliefs over the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.  The Republican Party really is no longer a political entity anymore so much as it has become a church.  And that has no place whatsoever in American politics.

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“God’s Mandate” Belongs In Church

10.08.09

Take a look at this latest ad against gay marriage.  We’ll discuss afterward.

Sigh.

God’s mandate?  Really?  This is secular law.  It has nothing to do with any one god’s so-called mandate.  What a slap in the face to anyone of any other faith besides Christianity.  How arrogant and insulting.  As tough a pill it is for some to swallow, America is not a Christian nation.  And that’s a good thing.  Remember we fled England to escape religious tyranny.  It still amazes me that religion is used to back secular laws at all.  Talk about conflict of interest and a total lack of respect for the separation of church and state.

An even bigger slap in the face is to actual Bible-reading Christians because God didn’t create the bond of marriage when he created Adam and Eve.  In fact, that whole notion came much later on, and was implemented by the church.  You won’t find an explanation of how marriage works in Genesis as this advertisement would have you believe.  Talk about pandering to an audience.

Apparently, the writers of this ad didn’t feel that their original thesis was quite enough to truly drive the message home.  So, at the end, they just randomly tagged on the whole “protect our children” line while showing us kids frolicking in a pile of leaves.  Where the hell does this come from?  Is there a knife buried in that leaf pile or something?  How does God’s mandate have anything to do with protecting children?  And protecting them from what, exactly?  Children can’t get married so how are they even in this conversation?

Of course it’s a callback to those other commercials aired in Maine and California that try to scare people into believing that legalizing same-sex marriage would be putting children at risk to becoming gay.  A laughable and ridiculous claim that this ad doesn’t even bother to explain.  I can’t believe people still believe that being gay is a conscious choice and that learning about gay marriage would sway a child into joining the other team.  Give me a fucking break.

Religious bigotry has no place in secular law.  This type of insulting advertising will not stop until people recognize it for what it is: discriminatory and flat out stupid.  I hope the people of Washington state will see through this crap and vote in favor of marriage equality.

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It’s Not About Religion!

04.16.09

New York may be the next state in line to allow same-sex marriage.  Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) introduced a bill to follow in the footsteps of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa.

Of course, he’s got himself a lot of opposition.  Not surprisingly, this opposition consists of the religious community, particularly from Sen. Ruben Diaz of NY, who just so happens to also be an Evangelical pastor. (I’m sure he’s very fair in all of his decisions and doesn’t let his religious duties impair his governmental ones.)

“I think it’s a laugh in the face of the new archbishop,” Diaz said Thursday before the start of his meeting. “The Jews just finished their holy week. The Catholics just received the new archbishop. The evangelical Christians just celebrated Good Friday and resurrection. He comes out to do this at this time? It’s a challenge the governor is sending to every religious person in New York and the time for us has come for us to accept the challenge.”

Please take note that the religious people are the ones who are making this about religion, not the secular population.  The governor of a state introducing a bill that would affect civil law has nothing to do with religious doctrine.  There is no infringement upon anyone’s personal beliefs here.  This is not about religion!  We don’t have a law for every single one of Moses’ commandments, or for all of Jewish kosher laws, or Muslim sharia law.  This is because we are not a nation ruled by religion.

Anyone who thinks that homosexuality is a sin and that it should be shunned and ignored and “cured,” deeply offends MY beliefs.  But those people are entitled to those beliefs.  And just as I don’t have to agree with them, they don’t need to agree with gay marriage.  It also means that they’ll just have to deal with it and realize that their belief system isn’t the rule of our secular, free country.

Eventually.

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Yeah, Iowa!!!

04.03.09

670px-flag_of_iowasvg

I love Iowa.  I loved it when I visited it last month on tour.  And I loved it when I was there last year for my friend’s wedding.

And I now I love it because it has – unanimously – become the third state in the union to legalize gay marriage.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.  And they were unanimous in their decision.  That’s just amazing.  The Heartland of America truly shows its namesake by voting against discrimination.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone in Iowa agrees with this decision.  I would even guess that a majority will not like this ruling.  But, not many people were stoked about losing their slaves or letting women vote.  Yet it was still the right thing to do.

We do not live in a majority-rule society.  This is a common misconception because we’re constantly calling our government a democracy, which it is not exactly.  America is a constitution-based federal republic.  Thankfully, much like the federal constitution, its state counterparts protect the same liberties – including that of freedom from discrimination.  Even if the majority of the voters morally disagree with homosexuality and marriage equality, the constitution prevents that kind of intolerance from becoming law.  Until lately, unfortunately, some peoples’ moral arrogance has kept an entire population of Americans living in shame and treated like second-class citizens.  With this ruling in Iowa, we are now 6% of the way toward having all states denouncing bigotry and instead embracing equality.

It’s a huge step forward.  But we still have a long way to go.

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Jesus H. Christ: Dinosaur Rider

03.23.09

raptor

Really?  I’m (pretty) sure that this is fringe Christianity, but give me a break.  There are enough people out there who truly believe that their god rode dinosaurs that they needed to publish a coloring book for kids to teach them of this absurdity.  And it’s not like The Son is riding just a stegosaurus or brontosaurus, either.

A fucking velociraptor.

Not that I’d expect a Biblical coloring book to get the specs correct on prehistoric reptiles, it sure looks more like a small T-Rex.  Either that or Jesus was 12 feet tall.  Which, hey, if we don’t know for sure that he rode dinos, then how do we know he wasn’t epically tall?

And how about those color descriptions.  Perfect White?  Really?  As opposed to Abomination Black?  While we’re at it, let’s forget the fact that Yeshua looks like Fabio.

Good job, Evangelicals.  You worship a dinosaur riding Fabio.  Your poor, brainwashed kids have no hope.