December 1, 2010
As Christmas approaches and we get closer to the End Times, I can’t help but marvel at how so many far-Right conservatives still cling to the notion that divine intervention is the key to salvation. More specifically, I’m shocked that we still need to discuss why we are not a Christian nation. In fact, if you were to actually dissect Christianity, you would find it is the most UN-American religion you can find. Allow me to explain.
The Tower of Babel
The people of the world decided to work together and build a tower to the sky. Seeing this, God cursed them to speak different languages so they could not work together.
It would be very easy to take this story and look at it as a metaphor for the supremacy of God and how humanity should not meddle in things it does not understand, but it has a much more subtle and much more chilling message.
God does not want cooperation between different people. This is a gross slap in the face to the community-building and melting pot attitude of America. Or patchwork quilt. Whatever you want to call it. The point is that we are a group of people from diverse backgrounds and faiths and we live and work together. Sometimes we fight, but for the most part we seem to get along.
This, it seems, is wrong in the eyes of God.
Of course, leave it to idiots like Beck, for example, to look to the story of Babel and use it as a positive example.
Render Unto Caesar
Our country was founded on revolution. Even today, the idea of the rebel is romanticized even by people who claim to stand for conservative values. A rebel can change things. A rebel can alter the course of history by standing up the status quo and enlightening the masses.
Sadly, the Bible proclaims all rebellion to be a sin. And apparently, you also have to pay the taxes they tell you to pay.
Romans 13:1-6 states the following (emphasis added):
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Did you catch all of that? Every authority that is in place was placed there by God, so rebelling against any authority is a sin. Not just a sin against a person. It’s a direct sin against God. Think about it. By this logic, American revolutionaries were acting against the honorable and rightful rule of the British. Every Tea Partier screaming about taxes and how they are un-American while also screaming that the Constitution is divinely inspired needs to rationalize this.
Here Comes the Shotgun
There are an army of things you can’t do based on the Bible. Let me just shotgun this and give you the quick version.
You can’t eat shellfish. Goodbye, fishing industry.
You can’t divorce. There go the now-traditional second and third marriages.
You can’t wear gold. Say goodbye to all your jewelry.
You can’t tattoo your body. That means many members of our armed forces are now sinners in the eyes of God.
You cannot worship any gods besides Him. Say goodbye to the First Amendment.
Most famously, you can’t be gay. There goes the assertion that people should be judged based on their character.
Women must submit to men. In fact, women barely count as people. There goes equality.
What Does It Mean?
If you consider yourself a Christian and an American, you have one of three choices to make.
First, you could stand there and claim that the Bible is the infallible word of God, in which case you must subjugate women, abstain from shrimp and pork, obey the government no matter what it says, and otherwise live only among your own kind least God strike you with aphasia.
Secondly, you can SAY you believe the Bible is the literal truth of God, but you must pick and choose which passages you agree with based on your political and personal, not religious, beliefs. In other words, use the Bible to prove certain points while ignoring the commands you don’t like. This seems to be quite popular with fundamentalists.
HOWEVER, there is a third option…
You can admit to yourself that the Bible is the work of men working and translating over several centuries, that it is a product of its time, a religious guide written in its beginning by desert nomads who had no more an understanding of science than the average third-grader and is therefore very likely incompatible with the modern notion of “morality.” While it does contain some beautiful poetry (I’m actually quite fond of Psalm 91) and some meaningful advice (Proverbs 12:1 comes to mind), it can’t be taken as utterly infallible.
To say the Bible must be accepted as it is without question is like saying that I have to like ALL of Star Wars, that I can’t see the prequel trilogy for what it is: the quest for more money. God is a bit like George Lucas. The later works seem to suffer from too many special effects, and the early stuff definitely shows its age.
All I’m trying to say is… if I hear one more idiot talking about America as a Christian nation and how we need to do exactly what the Bible says without question… I’m going to make them eat shrimp and damn them to Hell.
- It’s almost a year until the end of the world, and what better way to celebrate than to look back at all the ways robots will turn on us. I doubt any of these will be operational in a year, but one can hope, right?
- Speaking of Biblical adherence, what would Hollywood look like if Christians really did take over the movie industry? One film festival offers a chilling preview. if you’re a woman, don’t even bother showing up.
- Science fans, take note. The hardest organic substance in the world has been designed based on damaged brain tissue. In the future, our soldiers could go out into the battlefield covered in armor designed from Alzheimer’s patients brains, perhaps augmented with liquid armor. Now create shields and blaster rifles and we got us the greatest LARP ever!
- Regular readers will know how much I value education, so can someone tell me why THIS guy isn’t running the Department of Education? Let’s teach again instead of trying to just pass standards set by people who have never in their lives taught.
- When I was in college, I was lucky enough to take a class with Doctor Maurice Manning, a wonderful teacher and an incredible poet. Another professor of mine recently posted a poem of Dr. Manning’s on Facebook and I had to share it here. Even if you don’t regularly read poetry or you think it’s hard, give it a look. it’s surprisingly simple yet moving.
- For my South Texas readers… crap like this is why I worry about our region of the country. And I don’t know what irks me more: the fact that the police has a livestock division and they’re holding someone’s lost donkey or the fact that the ad misspelled “stray” as “estray.”
- Spain has now surpassed Texas and Arizona in the crazy quota. A women in Spain just declared that she owned the sun, and she has the paperwork.
- Pay close attention… if you haven’t read Sarah Palin’s new book, she praises the virtues of… the common sense of pre-schoolers. I don’t know about you, but if she runs for president in 2012, I wouldn’t vote for her simply because she looks up to people who routinely eat paste and must be reminded there is no monster under the bed. In other words, her Fox News co-stars ZING!
- And finally, Leslie Nielsen, a standard in dead-pan comedy, a seasoned actor of both drama and comedy, passed away recently. He left us a body of work from the campy yet cerebral (Forbidden Planet) to the teen slasher flick (Prom Night) and to the classic dead-pan delivery of his later years (Airplane!, The Naked Gun, etc). I think Olbermann probably did one of the better tributes to the Nielsen, so enjoy, and I’l see you on Friday.