PARADOX: THE EVOLUTION OF THEOLOGY

Stridently religious people like to announce that people are leaving Christianity because Liberals/ Higher Education/ Modern Music/ Hollyweird/ Boomers/ Other is influencing too many people. No, I am not talking about good people in the world who are generous and considerate and accepting through the inspiration of a man who is said to have lived two thousand years ago. Let me make this clear: Hey you Evangelicals/ Christians/ Holier Than Thou hypocrites, people are leaving Christianity because you idiots have proven what a fucked-up bunch you really are.

The latest example of the rotten apple does not fall far from the tree: Jerry Falwell Jr, the spawn of original Christian huckster Jerry Falwell, was booted from Christian college Liberty University because a business associate of his revealed today (8/24/2020) that he had a long-term sexual relationship with Falwell and Falwell’s wife, in which Falwell watched while Mrs. F and their Business FuckBuddy had sex. This news comes after the revelation of photos showing Reverend Falwell the Lesser with a young lady, and both of their pants zippers were undone. Given the proliferation of Prosperity Gospel and Do As I Say And Not As I Do culture, it was only a matter of time before its ugly underbelly rolled over for exposure to the world.

As I have stated elsewhere, I grew up trying to figure out what Christianity was all about, because nobody explained anything to me as a kid. I think I was better off not knowing anything because what I have learned is, Christianity is a big disappointment that does not live up to its hype. Its roots were founded in a small sect of people known as the Hebrews, who believed they were the Chosen People of God because IT SAYS SO RIGHT HERE ON THIS SCROLL, this scroll we call the Torah, and it is all true because WE SAID SO. The Torah became the Old Testament that Christians love to quote and memorize and share fun trivia quizzes about, despite those stories promoting murder, incest, abuse, war, rape, degradation, and other negative values. Contradictions abound. My least favorite tale is the one about Abraham, who was supposedly told by God to offer up his son as a sacrifice to God, only to have God say at the last minute, “Never mind, I was just testing you to see if you really believed in Me. Here, sacrifice this ram instead.” Never mind that the child was no doubt traumatized; I know I would have been if my dad tied me up and was seconds away from going stabby-stabby with a knife. You are not supposed to test God but apparently it is perfectly acceptable if God tests you. The God of Abraham also played cruel tricks on one of His most loyal followers named Job simply to see if Job remained loyal. God does not have to play by the rules because God is omnipotent and makes His own rules. We know that is true because someone said it was true.

That whole ‘true because someone said it was true’ became a pattern later on in the Christian religion, which called the Torah texts The Old Testament. And in order to bring on the sequel, The New Testament starts out reeling off the lineage of their chosen people from the First Man, Adam, just to give that It Is All True claim a boost. And of course according to the patriarchy who spawned it, the lineage is all traced through the fathers until they get to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Sorry, Eve; you and all the other mothers throughout history have to take two steps back. Patriarchy stinks.

The New Testament starts with a handful of uplifting, marvelous stories about a nice Jewish boy named Jesus who said insightful things and set good examples for others to follow. This Jesus was pretty admirable and did a lot of good deed, wept when he was sad and even lost his temper when moneychangers disrespected Jesus’s dad. Because Jesus’s Dad was GOD. And Jesus’s Mom was a virgin when she gave birth to him. And it’s TRUE because the Bible SAYS SO. Jesus hung around with a bunch of frankly stupid followers who barely understood parables, during a time when shepherds could not explain why the moon and sun moved across the sky, but somehow these simple unsophisticated people were supposed to command a firm grasp of theological nuance. Jesus was killed in a really gruesome way, ordered by a group of people who followed the Torah and did not like the way Jesus showed them up just by being a decent, reasonable fellow who knew the rules of the Torah better than they did. This was apparently supposed to happen, and Jesus was okay with it, although He did kind of hope God would step in at the last minute and put a stop to it the way He did with Abraham and son. But no, Jesus suffered and died – but then after three days He was resurrected and went to Heaven, and is now at God’s right hand.

That is the main takeaway of the Christian religion: Jesus lives forever in Heaven, He conquered death, follow Jesus and you can live forever too. Never mind about all of people who lived before Jesus’s time or during Jesus’s time or in the early centuries after Jesus’s time – we do not know if any of those people get a pass and go to Heaven too by default. There’s a lot of fuzziness involved in theology because whoever patched the stories of the Bible together, did not cover some subjects adequately. These fuzzy areas are open for “interpretation” but then, it all is.

After several decades of being persecuted for being a strange cult that turned a death watch-turned-eternity celebration into a religion, this nice little cult of Jesus got hijacked by European rulers who used the cult’s dogma to rule their subjects through fear. Love God or Die. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon, and soon that nice Jewish boy’s heartwarming messages of Love Thy Neighbor and Do Unto Others and Beatitudes That Mean Something, turned into a Shame Game where you had to believe in Jesus or you would burn in Hell for eternity. You have to give up everything your culture believes in because Christianity is True Because We Said It Is. Then Christianity splintered off as other people made up new rules, because human beings are fallible and they draw up the rules. None of that really matters since it was all made up in the first place.

It was not enough that this Cult-Turned-Major-Religion preached of Brotherly Love on one hand and preached Come Out And Be Ye Separate on the other hand. No, these religious firebrands were compelled to force every culture they came into contact with, to believe as they did, or the heathens were killed for not being Christians. KILLED. Never mind that one of the laws the Torah promoted – remember the Torah, the thing that is true because a group of people said it was? – the rule Thou Shalt Not Kill. Christians killed anyway, killed heathen Native Americans and heathen Asians and heathen Aborigines, and heathen Celts and Druids and Africans and Muslims and Hindi and EVEN KILLED OTHER CHRISTIANS, for not being the ‘right kind’ of Christian!

Never mind that the Holy Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost promoted God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice so believers could live in eternity, because that loving God also threatens the world with Hellfire and Damnation if you don’t appreciate him enough. He is the Only God in the Universe, and yet He is wildly jealous of ‘other gods’. And to many Christians, this is the only world, THE only world, God made. How shortsighted; how selfish; how myopic. I will give you another example: Patriarchy rules the Bible, and women are regularly cast as ‘temptresses’ and are of lesser worth than men. Eve tempted Adam, but Adam buckled. Adam could have said no but then as now, Adam thinks with his dick.

It is a direct result of this sordid history, that there is very little true morality within the Christian religion. Oh, there are those Christians who are genuinely kind and take the words of the Jesus at face value, and actually practice His teachings. But Christianity is, by and large, based in the practice of discrimination. You cannot preach morals while supporting actions which go against the very words their Son of God spoke, and yet this occurs at every turn. They even printed Jesus’s words in RED, so cult members could marvel at his kindness and humility and selflessness and understanding, while they pick and choose whether to practice any of those things. It is so much easier to follow rules when you can change them to suit your comfort.

Yes, I admit that I have become jaded about Christianity at this point in my life, and the pure curiosity and wonder I once had about it has curdled with cynicism and doubt. I searched for God for decades – even did time as a Catholic for thirty years – only to find myself come full circle. I do not know any more about the Christian God than I did when I was a child. I do not believe in The Flying Spaghetti Monster or Scientology or any other such bullshit because I know those things are recent inventions. I am a Deist. The God I believe in is not the same one Abraham had. My God is not the God who turns a blind eye to people like Jerry Falwell Jr. while allowing honorable people to suffer. The God who inspired the Old Testament and New Testament is not my God, because that Old/New Testament God claims to love the world but does nothing about the pain and suffering on it. Why? What is the God of Abraham trying to prove now?

My God has evolved in my mind over the years, because I could not understand why so many terrible things have happened throughout history if there was a benevolent God. I believe my God created the universe and then stepped back and said, “Let’s see what happens.” It is not that He does not care; it is more like He did not make any promises. He provided the universe with the elements of life and is now observing how some world cultures across the universe develop and grow, and some cultures develop and die out. Perhaps the souls of our ancestors are looking out after us in small ways, and we call these souls ‘angels’. Oh, I believe in angels; one saved me from terrible injury and perhaps death once. I felt it protect me, and that feeling is unshakable within me. I like to think perhaps my God occasionally takes a hand in helping individuals – but then why? Why this person and not that one? I have no answers, just the ones that work for me. He is still evolving in my mind.

There may be an ultimate destiny for each of us, and when we die we will look back over our brief moment on this Earth and say “Oh, so that’s why such-and-such happened.” Or we might simply be one tiny pinball in a gigantic game of random bumps and bats, and when we die we will go on to something entirely different that is far beyond my imagination to craft. I do believe in alien cultures from other worlds and who knows, maybe they inspired our folklore. Maybe that folklore was misinterpreted and is what The Old Testament is actually based on. Maybe. Maybe when I die I will find out, and by then it will not matter because I will be dead and it will be past time to say “hmm, well I was wrong about that.”

One thing I do know, is that Christianity did not evolve simply through virtue. It is a haphazardly crafted system full of hypocrisy. I am not surprised that people like Falwell are making it self-destruct.

About jmichaeljones57

I am a writer and an avid fan of goats. The two facts are not mutually exclusive.
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