RANDOM RAMBLINGS (and occasional rants)
April, 25, 2006
I remember seeing an article in the newspaper several months ago concerning the Katrina disaster and especially about different suggestions as to what our government should have done or should still do. The author commented that when making these recommendations---those making them should remember that the American people -- in general -- don’t like morality to be used as a basis for these government actions.
This “morality” aversion, if correct, seemed strange.
85% of Americans claim to be Christian according to one survey, and 97% say they believe in God.
Jesus certainly stressed compassion: feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give drink to the thirst. He never said: God helps them who help themselves. That was Benjamin Franklin, hardly a shining example of a Christian.
Being a Christian, if, by that you mean one who strives to follow the example and teaching of Jesus---is terribly hard work. I don’t see how we can have so many Christians in the USA. If we did we would have a much more caring, just, less materialistic/commercial/consumptive society. Our government would reflect in its actions Jesus’ teachings too. Would we have attacked Iraq if Bush had actually spoken with Jesus?
IMO ---most of the people who claim to be Christians are really not devotees of the “Lord”. They want to have their cake and eat it.
And here, I may step on some toes, but at 74, “frankly, Mam, I don’t give a damn!” as Clark Gable once said.
Going to church; singing rousing hymns; listening to a powerful sermon; feeling good: Jesus loves me! These are wonderfully moving experiences----however, that’s NOT really, IMO, opinion what Jesus was about. It’s OK. But, it’s nothing if that’s all being a Christian means. And even, if one hates faggots, marches against abortions, even shoots a few abortionists, makes sure the Ten Commandments are in every public building; insists on public prayer during school... Well, you haven’t taken much of a step--in the long spiritual journey led by Jesus.
I have seen bumper stickers: "Christians are not Perfect. They are just Saved."
There are conversions experiences. Some genuine. Many, probably not. They can be dangerous---if one feels able to live any way one wants to---because I have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
I think it was fortunate that St. James' epistle made it into the NT. However, one epistle of James' does not offset the many Pauline epistles (some of which were actually written by Paul.)
I believe that Christianity could be more properly called Paulism. A man who met Christ or Jesus in a vision, and then introduced much that is not found in the Synoptic or more historical gospels.
Morality stems from compassion and justice. Compassion, more than justice.
If you want to follow some holy person or spiritual leader, especially one like Jesus---it may be difficult to choose one of his genuine teachings and ignore others.
It’s not like a buffet.
And, remember, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
If you think that having an emotional conversion experience and that now you are saved, and that’s that--well, don't fool yourself or The Lord.
Go on with life: nice home, a couple of cars, lots of things, go to church, tithe, make sure you are against those moral taboos that you are supposed to be--according to your preacher or according to your Pope..--that still doesn't make it.
Well, personally, I don’t think Jesus would be much impressed. He never taught or lived an easy way.
I am re-reading the New Testament. I don’t believe that it is totally inspired by God. I certainly don’t think it is the actual words of God, as Muslims, apparently, believe of their Koran.
Each person must strive to find Jesus in the NT, and, btw in the Gospel of Thomas, and some other of the alternative gospels. I don’t accept the Canon of Scripture decided by rather dogmatic church leaders under pressure from the political powers to be.
Sorry, folks, but I don’t believe we have in The Bible a collection of books that we can have as the sole support of our faith. Nice, but it just isn’t so--IMHO.
The exploration of the Absolute or, if you prefer, the revelation of God---was not reserved for certain peoples in certain parts of the world. I can't imagine God being that unfair
Some secular humanists, frankly, as I see things, have more morality than the great multitude of "true" believers.