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12.09.2004

Oh Come All Ye Faithful (and not so much)

While reading some of the comments related to the last poll (Are you an evangelical?), a question popped into my sleep deprived new dad head:

Has religion done more harm or good to the planet and people since it's inception?

I tend to come down on the side of harm. Wars have been fought billions of lives lost, hate, holocausts, inquisitions, burnings, torture, genocide, Jerry Falwell and many other horrible things have been unleashed on society as a direct result of religion.

As I grow older, I try to find out more about that which I dislike. I have never been a fan of churches. I was born into the Catholic church, born again in the Southern Baptist church and became a pagan heathen shortly after reaching puberty I(where I have happily remained since). I find most fanatical religions and parishioners extremely frightening. The one constant in all fanaticals is that glazed look in the eyes, the empty smile and the feeling of superiority.

Living in the U.S. I am most exposed to and repulsed by Christianity. I have done a little research and found that I do like and am fascinated by Jesus Christ, it is just what his followers have done to his teachings in the last 2000 years that has me riled up. If Jesus came back today he would be shocked at the attitudes and arrogance of many of those who practice religion in his name. He would throw the rich preachers out of their multi-million dollars church/malls and treat them with the same disdain he showed to the money changers in the temple.

He would, once again, try to teach people about loving your enemies, lifting up the downtrodden, reaching out to the sickest and most degraded, renouncing hate and forgoing wealth and materialism for spiritual fulfillment...

Then he would be crucified again by the same people who proclaim their love for him by wearing WWJD bracelets and putting decals of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) kneeling in front of a cross and, oh yeah, the marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman bumper stickers.

Evangelicals today post more of a threat to our American freedoms than terrorists, porn, meteors and the ACLU combined. The ones I have talked to are hateful people. Truly hate filled. They hate gays, Muslims, Jews, Middle Easterners, Mexicans, the poor; in short they hate anyone who is different than them. They hate the same people Christ compelled them to love. They want a homogenized sameness to America. They want us all to worship their Christ or to get the fuck out. They want to enforce their code of ethics on the world or kill those who refuse to go along. They pray for people to be killed in explosions. They sound more and more like the Al Quaeda nuts and the real scary thing is they are not that far apart theologically. One just thinks their imaginary friend is more powerful than the other guy's (thanks Justin).

I do believe religion has accomplished a myriad of good and in it's purest form it inspires mankind to do what is right and use our humanity to make the world better. Unfortunately, we have gotten so far away from the original purity and tainted it with greed, evil, narcissism, hypocrisy, politics, and vanity that it may never be returned to a useful tool for the betterment of this world.

Maybe in the next life.


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