I'm not actively attempting to offend anyone, but if you are offended, then you shouldn't have read it. Don't blame me because your curiousity got the better of you, perhaps like watching a person burning alive in a car wreck, too horrified to turn away. If you disagree with any of my assertions, go make your own website and tell me to fuck off. This is my little slice of the internet, and I am the Supreme Emperor For Life of the Superfly Circus, and if you enter my home and I spit on you, well, you should've read the fucking sign, now shouldn't you, because it clearly read that "spitting season is now open".
Anyhow, thank you for reading if you are about to, and if you decided not to, bugger off. A game review will be back in town on Sunday (because I don't work Saturdays) and I have a lovely menu of previous reviews to choose from. My favorite has to be either Scooby Doo Gold Rush Game or El Grande, and I invite you to find your own favorite.
So, there's an ongoing, exhaustive debate on the merits of Christianity on a website I frequent, and I poke in from time to time to stir the pot or smack some people around there who say some ridiculously outlandish shit out of either ignorance or to just plain be nasty. I rarely make appearances, though, becuase it's not a debate where anyone can win. It's not like someone's all of a sudden going to "find Christ" because of an internet forum that's not even remotely about religion, except this one thread.
Anyhoo, while perusing the thread, I came upon this post that indicated the author had some problems with Christianity because of the existence various, myriad denominations. Essentially, he couldn't buy into something where everyone has a varying opinion on the same exact subject, where no new information has been revealed in over a millenium. After pondering this, I realized that while he is correct about the assertion that it's pretty ridiculous that these little tribes have formed with their own, unique version of Salvation, he is incorrect in thinking that this difference of opinion somehow invalidates the original text.
I responded with an open challenge to all readers:
Read the book, interpret it as best you can, and pray for enlightenment (per included instructions) as best you can for that which you find incomprehensible. Once you've done that several times, then attempt to live in that understanding, as you see it to be.
There is no "great truth" out there, only our understanding or perspective of what "truth" really is. That's an individual assessment, and gathering together for "Mass" to share a group of beliefs is both futile and rather difficult to reason out simply because no two people on the planet share the exact same view on every word of that book, provied no outside intervention, saving the divine, is accepted. For instance, if you're a Catholic child, you're expected to go to Catechism, which is outside influence.
If the original book, the Bible, is the Word of God, and is essentially the final say to all the important questions of the universe, why is a second book required? Why a handbook that has little to do with the Holy Bible itself and is more a guidebook to "how to be a Catholic". Seems to me it would be far better to simply have a Bible study, that way 100% of the time invested is actually done to further that child's understanding of the Bible, rather than guaranteeing that child's indoctrination by repetition of the second-source handbook.
Not knocking Catholics, since I am one, and many denominations of Christianity have their own little "how to". Seems to me that people should just determine the truth on their own and forget about going to a place, hoping that the other folks all are on the same page, or worse yet, having to wing it because you don't actually believe what they're saying.
In short, until you read your Codex of Ultimate Wisdom and determine what it means to you, joining one congregation or another is simply following blindly, without actually understanding what it is you're actually following.
Denominations of all religions, be it Baptist versus Calvinist or Sunni versus Shia, are nothing more than going through the motions if you don't understand the underlying tenets and interpretations, most importantly, your own. Were this not so, there'd not be jacket-bombers in Haifa and Tel Aviv, nor would there be Klansmen.
Seems to me that unless you study your Codex and view the contents with an open mind, not blindly accepting what your parents or pastor told you, who are arguably no more qualified than the man sitting next to you in the pew (or rug) is to interpret that Codex, you're just going through the motions hoping your "tutor" wasn't making a terrible mistake about one interpretation or another.
For instance, in Catholicism, people are taught to belive that when you take communion (the drinking of wine and eating of bread) that the wine and bread actually becomes the blood and skin/meat of Jesus Christ inside your body. So...if you died right then, after taking communion, would the coroner find you were a vampiric cannibal? Obviously not. So, that is something that is meant to be symbolic that some guy in an odd hat took too literally. Then he decided to repeat it in Church every Sunday. It's arguable that this mindset is one pair of mirrored sunglasses away from Jonestown. Why on earth would one simply follow along blindly? Because that's what your parents did, or what you've just "always done"?
If on the Seventh day He rested, and we keep the Sabbath by resting as well, why do we do so on the first day of the week, Sunday, and not the last, Saturday, as Jews do? What, Jesus came along and changed the day of Creation? What about Christmas? We just do it because it's a tradition, but it really has no underlying foundation in the Bible. What's ironic is that there's not much more offensive that you can do to pi55 off a Christian than point out how made-up Christmas is. Go to a small town and when someone says "Merry Christmas" tell them, "Sorry, I don't believe it's Biblical". You're likely to get punched, or at least scolded. Do the same on Easter? Maybe an odd look. Why should people praise His birth on a day not noted or prescribed in the Bible and get angry when someone doesn't buy in, yet on the single most important day to Christianity, the rising from the grave of our Lord and Savior, not say a word. I mean, everyone says "happy holidays" or something at Christmas, but it's not uncommon not to hear "happy Easter" on Easter when going to a store.
Even Easter, the most Holy day in Christianity, was Passover long before it was Easter, and only the Jews still celebrate that. People don't get the house all lit up for Easter, nor do they get a special Pagan tree decoration, and generally there's far fewer lavish gifts given. Where, exactly, was all of this in the Bible...that Christmas gets a whole bunch of movies and TV shows, and 5 weeks of shopping frenzy, yet Easter gets an anti-diabetic swag bag, a long weekend and maybe a ham? Which isn't even kosher! Add to that a f$$%ing mythological bunny who lays f##!ing eggs, and there you have it. Where the hell was all of this stuff in the Bible?
Wait...now ham is OK? Shellfish? Milk and Beef? Hell, let's make it Beef Stroganoff; beef that was LITERALLY boiled in its calf's milk. That's OK now because the Jewish guy who was eating kosher died and rose from the grave, so now it's OK? Maybe that's in the bible too, but I don't get why things suddenly changed. No more killing animals as sacrifice..that I get. Jesus gave his blood sacrifice so we could live without having to off the family dog to atone for Sally getting pregnant at 15.
Now we have go to a confessional instead and tell a guy who hasn't had sex in 20 years all the lurid details of how THAT happened, and then hope he isn't having masturbational fantasies and eyeing my son lovingly. But if Jesus sacrificed himself for all mankind so that I can be forgiven my sins, why the need for the middle man? How is it I tell that guy my dirty little secrets, say some repetitious chant-prayers, and it's all OK? Where the hell is THAT in the bible?
So, you see, following along blindly is folly, at best, that may provide you comfort, but shall do nothing to further your understanding of what it is that you actually believe, or why you belive it.
Study, understand as best you can, and live your life based on that, doing no harm. That's all any God that I can imagine could ask for. Seems like a fair tradeoff for everlasting life to me. And if you're wrong, and there is no God, just a dirt nap and worm food...you lived a righteous life, did no harm, and left no stain upon the earth. Perhaps everlasting life isn't in Heaven, but instead is embodied in the fond memories others share about you when you are gone, based on how righteous and good and kind you were in life.
Read the book and find out for yourself.
So, in pondering this all tonight, smoking my Camel Blue and listening to the lovely and talented Ella Fitzgerald, I've realized that the real trick to it all is that if you do not understand the Bible because you've never taken the time to actually read it, you're not only worse off for it because your laziness has pre-empted your interest in actually going to heaven, you're worse off for it because the reality is thatyou do the things you do because some guy told you to. And he might well have graduated with a guy that likes to burn Qu'rans in Florida, or get on TV and preach abstinance and chastity and then cheat on his wife with several Vegas hookers, or rape small boys. How much bollocks is that?
I think I'm going to start reading my Bible again. The more people talk about Christmas and "being holy" right after spending thousands on a diamond for their wife instead of donating that money to people living paycheck to paycheck in a homeless shelter, the more I shake my head and beg God to understand why he allows us to be so fucking daft.