Be All My Sins Remember'd
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woohooligan Jun 14, 2015
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Have I mentioned Catholic Guilt? It's a big deal. Though to be honest, I'm not sure the opposite end of the spectrum is a good place either. I personally am Unitarian, so my creed is "be now, be good now, because it's a good thing to do", as opposed to "be good now, so you don't suffer for the rest of eternity!" I feel like ours is sort of in the middle (as I think Unitarianism often is), with the other end of the spectrum being those born again Christians who do say "just accept Jesus into your heart."

On the surface, your first thought about that born again philosophy has to be that it sounds like a free pass. You have to think, "isn't that just a license to misbehave?" If all you have to do is accept Jesus in your heart, then couldn't you run around robbing and murdering your whole life and then repent on your death bed and go to heaven?

That has to be the first thought, and as long as you believe that people receive their sense of morality from their religion, you would have to think that can't be right... and yet, historically, the Catholic Church hasn't done much better. There was a time when the Holy Roman Church offered up forgiveness for cash! So you could sin all you want... if you could afford it. :P

Speaking of Catholicism, did you know Hitler was an outspoken Catholic? A lot of people forget that the Nazis were Christians, especially when they want to claim that Islam is somehow far more violent than other religions. Really? The Crusades, the Inquisition, etc, etc, etc, beg to differ. In fact, Hitler's antisemitism was merely an agreement with Martin Luther, who said Jews were "the Devil!"

This is the point at which a lot of Atheists (yes, captial A), like Richard Dawkins start getting all Holier Than Thou, claiming that religion is "the devil" and that we would all just be a happy, anarchist utopia if not for those damn religious people! Wrong again. Aside from the counter-example of Stalinism, they're wrong for the same reason all the islamophobes are wrong. They've made the same bad assumption that people's morality stems from their choice of religion. It doesn't.

People get their sense of morality from their culture, family, friends and (often to a lesser extent) from their own personal meditation. They then read those moral judgements they've already made into whatever religious texts they've chosen. This is the reason why before and during the American Civil War, many people on both sides of the slavery debate were using the same Christian scriptures to prop up their own arguments. They decided whether they thought slavery was okay first and then they wrapped their interpretation of the religion around that prior moral judgement. (Not to mention the occasional "deserter", who switches to another church like I did, when they find the church of their upbringing in contrast with their own moral compass.)

I can hear now, the cries of Atheists again saying, "ah, but if there's no religion, then they can't do that!" But they're still stuck in the bad assumption that their morality stems from the religion, not the other way around. History is replete with plenty of atheists who for the love of Science (capital S), decided that the lives and consent of others were unimportant, like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

Here's the long and the short of it. Call yourself Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, whatever -- people should have freedom of religion. I just think we should all be free of this delusion that people are good or bad because they claim to be Muslim or Christian or Atheist. The good news is that in most religions the world-over, the good people, good neighbors, good friends, far outnumber the scoundrels! :D

Still... I'm not putting one of those "coexist" bumper stickers on my car any time soon. For one thing, if you're going for positivity, is "coexist" really the best you can do? Hey everybody, could we all just barely tolerate each other? That would be great! That's like saying, "you have so much potential for your life! You could be anything you want to be if you just put your mind to it! You could be a certified public accountant!" :P

Which leaves us with bankers... They seem so out of place here, being at the top of the list of people who've sinned the most. What? Does god have something against success?! Umm... well, according to the Bible he supposedly had his son live like a vagrant during all that time he was performing those miracles! Supposedly, instead of earning a good bit of money like the Pharisees, Jesus was around washing people's feet! The example of Jesus (to anyone who's even cursorily read the Bible), is one of service to others, not to the service of one's self! But again... people read into it what they want to hear. And in an odd bit of synchronicity, I've been told that the example of Jesus is to show compassion and that science is now telling us that this is something that doesn't tend to go with an abundance of wealth. It turns out that a high-paid CEO of a major corporation is about four-times more likely to be a sociopath than a random person on the street. Hence the hyperbole about camels. Perhaps this is something to consider, the next time we're at the polls, deciding if we really want to support some free-market extremist Republican like Rand Paul. ;)

Something else I discovered while researching this comic -- I never realized before that the twelve step programs actually are a purely Christian phenomenon... I always thought that there were twelve steps because someone had actually sat down and thought through a rational reason for each step, but in retrospect I think they probably just said "oh, there's twelve apostles, so we gotta fit twelve steps in here!" :P

Jesus Christ! Why am I being so heavy?! This is a comedy, damnit!

Although the Bible says it's the first sign that he was the messiah, the whole water into wine thing strikes me as a really bizarre harbinger for God's avatar... what is his uncle Dionysus or something?

And the story itself is weirdly vague -- first of all, they say it's a wedding, but they never say who the wedding is for, just some generic couple. I gather if they had so many guests and that they ran out of wine that the guy must have had money and apparently had planned poorly, rather than being too poor to afford wine. So Jesus does him this favor, but he does it in such a way that only the servants would know? Because the servants need to know he can make magical booze spontaneously appear?

And this is proof of his divinity? Curing lepers wasn't good enough? He needs a better entrance? And how exactly is saving some schmuck from the embarrassment of a lame wedding a better entrance? He saved my life! Man, that's nothing, I didn't have to suffer the indignity of thirsty wedding guests!

But most importantly, it seems so out of character when compared to the rest of the stories about Jesus. "I heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor and resurrect the dead... oh and I'm great at parties!"

So let me just say one last thing before you comment that the "wine" described in the Bible was unfermented grape juice: you're not helping! ;)

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