Monday, July 28, 2008

Corruption of the Word

One of the beautiful things about the United States of America is that we are a nation of tolerance and acceptance of all religious viewpoints, at least on paper. However, though love for our fellow man is a real Christian principle (as it is with most religions), too many have abandoned that basic principle with their brand of dogma. The result is hate.

Now my inspiration began the other day while I was over at Rivka's blog, reading up on the usual interfaith battles that seem to permeate the evangelicals of the country. Let me quote that bastion of wisdom (me) and some of his comments (because I like to hear me talking (shocker)):
In the quest for truth, whether you find it in a strict Biblical interpretation or a more creative mishmash of various elements (thus the meandering), the danger is to seek too many answers from one man and not from God.
In essence, there are way too many people who take the Word of God and apply it to everything to a degree that has to piss Him off just a little.

Then I spent my Sunday night doing what I do most: Listening to talk radio. This is where I found the Allen Hunt Show (worth a listen no matter your faith or lack thereof). It was a rerun, because Heath Ledger's death was mentioned as news. But I hadn't heard the third hour before. Allen had, as a guest, some cunt (and I use that term after (unfortunately) visiting their site for necessary research) from the Westboro Baptist Church. This is the unholy bunch that pickets military funerals. Allen was trying to find out why she and her bunch were so virulent toward homosexuals. What it turned into was an idiot vomiting verse to back her evil interpretation.

This is from their homepage, godhatesfags.com (link not provided, because I don't want to link to their shit). If you feel the need to waste time reading the word of God the Hatemonger, this is your site:
Since 1955, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has taken forth the precious from the vile, and is therefore as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC took her ministry to the streets, conducting over 34,000 peaceful demonstrations (to date) opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth. In response, america bombed WBC. Now, God is america's enemy, dashing your soldiers to pieces. 4,124 dead. 29,978 wounded.
Also, here's some sites that they link to (that I won't):

God Hates The World
America Is Doomed
Priests Rape Boys

Nice. Did I mention this is a church website? Seriously, it really is.

Update: Dee did a post on these subcreatures. For more on the face of EEEVIL, go read it.

I'd share more, but I closed their webpage and have no desire to lower myself to that level again. Now I'll admit that these are the extreme of the extreme. But these are the enemy of a free and just people, just as the antireligious nuts are. But the worst part is that they take what is holy and pervert the shit out of it. I won't claim to be a biblical scholar (being that I'm a severely lapsed Catholic), but there's reading and interpreting scripture, and then there's picking verses to support your unholy view and forgetting a testament or two in the process.

In the end, it comes back to finding the truth in your faith and not perverting it into extremism or into the word of a single leader. To borrow from a Kevin Smith movie (interestingly, called Dogma):
Rufus, the 13th Apostle: His only real beef with mankind is the shit that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, televangelism. The big one though, is the factioning of all the religions. He said mankind got it all wrong by taking a good idea and building a belief structure on it.
Bethany: You're saying having beliefs is a bad thing?
Rufus: I think it's just better to have ideas. I mean, you can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. People die for them; people kill for them.
Yes, I get some of my philosophy from a movie with a rubber poop monster and a preponderance of dick and fart jokes. But it does give me some interesting (and entertaining) perspective.

20 comments:

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I've been keeping an eye on Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist for a few years now. I would have liked to hear that interview. In fact, I'd like to get one of their upper-ranking members in a corner and force them to explain to me how they can reconcile scripture against homosexuality with 'love thy neighbour as thyself'.

You know Kansas City has to just be so embarrassed.

But you're right.. these are domestic terrorists. They go around to military bases and parade about saying that the soldiers are in hell (I don't support the war myself, but jeez) and that it's all based on this homosexuality thing.

My personal opinion is that one of these days we're going to see pictures of Fred Phelps on all fours in handcuffs with a ballgag while a big, BIG man named Rocky gives him what he's been beggin for.

Anyone that hysterical over something like this has just got to be repressing themselves. You know what I mean?

Rivka said...

Left a comment on your post about your upcoming energy plan.

There are kooks like Phelps everywhere, but really he is from Topeka so they are probably embarrased, but then again for every Phelps there are about a couple thousand Christians who are spot on and not wacked.

The media LOVES to spotlight these wackos to broad brush Christianity this way. It is a way to justify their arrogance in believing they have all the wisdom and answers in life as opposed to a Holy God.

Using someone who is a complete psycho to represent Christianity is really psychotic in and of itself.

Patrick, you weren't doing that, I am just making a point about the MSM that bothers me.

Dee said...

The Westboro group is not a church but a cult. They have been disowned by any "real Christian, baptist denomination". The group is made up of almost all family members and they are about the sickest group of people I've ever come across. I did a comprehensive post on them awhile back: http://chatterboxchronicles.blogspot.com/2007/04/fred-phelpspure-evil.html

Patrick M said...

Saty: You forgot to mention that Rocky is extremely hairy and has penis tattoos running down his spine.

Rivka: I know they're the extreme. I wasn't planning on going on that long, but I had to research a little, which meant going to their site. Got me all pissed, it did.

The problem is that, in pursuit of their own faith, there are far too many people that become intolerant of the beliefs of others. And somehow, there's always a verse that can be pointed to to justify that position.for some Christians, it's a Bible verse. For the antireligious, it's a distortion of the First Amendment. But while I understand the need for a clear moral line, there has to be a balance. And this is where you get the people that may do some good works, but also add to the division (Jeremiah Wright, John Hagee).

Dee: You've got to make the links more clickable. I'll go ahead and add a link to this post. Then I'll go read yours.

Toad734 said...

The ironic thing is that Christians follow the word of Jesus, not the laws of the Old Testament. Jews follow the laws of the old testament which include eating Kosher, not cutting your beard, stoning your children (they don't still do this although they do get plenty of stones thrown at them by Palestinian street kids), not eating shell fish etc. In the same chapter of Leviticus which God calls homosexualality an abomination, it also calls eating shellfish an abomination. My question for Phelps is why isn't he protesting Red Lobsters instead of soldiers funerals? What does a soldiers funeral have to do with Homos? Unless of course its a dead gay soldier. The fact is that Jesus never once addresses homosexuality. This goes for Hagee, Rod Parsley,Haggard (who actually likes cock) George Bush and anyone else who uses the Bible to cock block someone else who is minding their own business.

Anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin, must also believe shrimp, lobster and having sex with your wife while she is on her period is also a sin.

Speaking of the old Testament and homos, ever really read the story of Jonathan and David? They made a movie about it called Broke Back Jerusalem. Saul, Jonahtans father, even calls David his son in law"for the second time". David was married to one of Sauls daughters as well. How many Christians and Jews are named after David who clearly lusted after Jonathans man scent.

2 Samuel 1:26: I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathon: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

Don't use what men in the OT supposedly said to each other as evidence of homsexual love.

It has been well documented that men as recent as the 19th century used that sort of language when speaking to or writing to their close friends. For an example, you can read the letter of Abraham Lincoln where he often says he "loves" his friends and hopes they return his love, and who actually slept in the same bed with his best friend at one point in his life.

That's the way the world worked in those days. We don't have to look at it through the lens of the 21st century, where any form of affection between the same sex is considered "gay."

As for the Westboro Baptist nuts, I think the worse thing we can do is give them free publicity.

They are sewage of the sh*thouse rats.

And I'm sorry to malign the sh*thouse rats with that comparison.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I'm going to paraphrase from memory here basically because I'm too lazy to go looking up quotes, but here you go.

The Pharisees (Sadducees?) were incredibly legalistic in terms of religion, ie calling it a sin to heal on the Sabbath. One of the big innovations of Jesus' ministry was to remove this overly-legalistic mentality.

This doesn't mean there were no laws or that some kind of a religious anarchist society was being created. Jesus was a Jew and like all Jews kept kosher and the rest of the rules.

But in reworking the Covenant (OT vs NT, basically), the idea of time/place/circumstance comes into play, and not every requirement that had been placed on the Jews was placed on those who became Christians.

That sounds convoluted. Basically, if you wanted to become a Jew, circumcision was mandatory. According to Paul, circumcision for Gentiles who became Christians was not mandatory. So. Other rules/regulations were also either modified, suspended, changed, or implemented in the new faith. While it's likely that the original group of apostles et al kept kosher and other rules because they'd always done so, there was no compunction for Gentile converts to take on these additional burdens. So the following of all Levitical laws isn't a prerequisite or mandate of Christianity.

We can argue if you like on how much of Christianity's tenets weren't actually verbalized by Jesus but by Paul and how therefore in some ways it might better be termed 'Paulianism' but that's a different argument.

The point I'm making here is that not all of the laws and regulations historically incumbent on the Jews were equally incumbent on Christians.

If I absolutely have to I'll dic up quotes for you but really, I'm not in the mood for all that work.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Also, there's nothing about the WBC that would make them a cult. Religioustolerance.org has a tremendous amount of information on religions, movements, cults and so on that can illuminate the definition of cult more specifically than I can. WBC practices a very hardline Calvinistic theology and has what appears to me to be a pathological fixation on the whole homosexuality thing, but there's no evidence that they actually fit the definition of 'cult' any more than the local Girl Scouts do.

I don't believe that this group is dangerous, just very, very misguided. They appear to sincerely believe that their hate-preaching is a form of 'tough love'. I'm not sure why Calvinists professing predestination care about preaching, since it seems like if you're predestined anyway, what would be the point.... but that's just my take on that.

Anyway, despite that no other Christian group (least of all the organized Baptist conventions) will affiliate in any way with WBC, they remain within the definition of a Christian church and not within the definition of a cult.

And I apologize for my previous lack of clarity (that'll teach me to talk on the phone to my job and type at the same time): the point I was getting at in the legalistic discussion is that not protesting Red Lobster doesn't make the WBC hypocrites.

PS thanks for getting into the religion end of things so soon, Patrick!!

Patrick M said...

Toad: You're giving these nuts more things to protest? Are you insane!?!?!?! If this costs me the chance to eat dead seafood, I'll be pissed.

Shaw: the whole gay debate is certainly a situation where dogma and church law may not jive with the ideas expressed in the New Testament.

BTW, you don't have to star the word "shithouse" here, and the shithouse rats thank you for your compassion.

Saty: You illuminate the big problem with biblical interpretation: There are so many things you can take to point a certain direction. In essence, there are too many that canonize their particular interpretation and therefore can't discuss anything , just hurl verses at twenty paces.

It's probably why I look at various faiths to find commonalities; there are certain generally universal good and evil actions. Religions that don't subscribe to that set of basic good and evil are suspect. Beyond that, take your basic read on the Commandments according to Jesus (can't remember which Gospel) and you have the basics of right and wrong. The rest is up to individual faiths. In that, whatever you may be, you should be a good one.

And it's easy to get on the subject of religion when you get idiot zealots around me. 11:30 at night and I'm yelling at the radio.

Toad734 said...

So Abraham Lincoln said he loved his friends more than his wife? Did he also marry his friends? Actually I think it’s just the opposite 3000 years ago with regards to language. Now, I am no expert in Aramaic or Hebrew but I don’t believe there is a solid translation that would imply they were just good buds. There was definitely something more there than that. They never even used those terms to describe Jesus’ love for humanity or his apostles.

Pat:

Ya, imagine them cock blocking everyone who ate seafood. I think it's stupid to oppose what anyone else does on their own time when it doesn't harm anyone else. I am just saying that if they eat seafood, or of course swallow hot man juice, they are hypocrites. In fact, if their wives and women are allowed to be in the house while menstruating, they are hypocrites. There was no hierarchy of sins and do's and don’ts. Homosexuality was listed right next to eating Kosher. It's another situation where Christians, or any religious nuts for that matter, pick and choose which parts of the Bible they are going to adhere to and which parts they are going to burn other people at the stake for. They are no different than most evangelicals, just more extreme.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Toad:

I already spent one whole comment-post explaining that Christians are not hypocrites for following all the Levitical laws. In a nutshell the rules were changed when it became Christianity. Not all of the rules continued to apply.

I am not defending the WBC. I am saying that when the Jewish followers of Christ began to preach to Gentiles, they ran into a big problem because Gentiles weren't willing to take on all those rules and regs. Accordingly the rules and regs were loosened up.

And so today circumcision is not required of Christians as it is of Jews.

There is no injunction on any Christian to follow the Levitical laws regarding diet and so on. In fact if I were not so unbelievably lazy I could find you quotes from the NT in which diet is specifically made mention of. No diet restrictions were put on Christians.

There is nothing hypocritical in Christians not following all of the Levitical rules. There is equally nothing hypocritical in the fact that for Christians homosexuality is considered sinful.

This isn't picking and choosing; this is reading the New Testament. If you follow the NT you will see that diet, including a little wine for the stomach's sake, is unhindered, and that homosexuality is considered sinful.

I'm not saying the WBC aren't nuts. I'm telling you what's in the Bible. This isn't my opinion or me getting defensive; I'm not even Christian.

So no, there isn't anything hypocritical in letting your wife (or daughters for that matter) stay in your house while they have their periods and eating seafood and at the same time condemning homosexuality.

It's not picking and choosing. This is not to say picking and choosing doesn't happen. But there were major revisions to the rule books once the New Covenant came into being.

Toad734 said...

Where in the NT is homosexuality considered sinful? Wine wasn't a new thing for the newly christian Jews. Wine is a part of a lot of traditions and ceremonies in the Jewish religion and even communion for Christians was and sometimes still is with real wine.

But even if Christians of today aren't picking and choosing, at some point Christians did pick and choose and for the most part, they don't follow any of the old laws. When was the last time a Christians stoned his children when they disobeyed him? When was the last time Christians sent their wives away for the duration of their period?

Sure, it's still a sin to kill and the 10 commandments were Jewish law but there is not commandment of "Thou Shalt not bone other dudes".

Find me a place where Jesus, the bringer of the new law, addressed homosexuality. I mean, it doesn't matter to me I am neither gay nor a Christian so I don't give a shit but I can call Christians who shave thier faces and eat shellfish Hypocrites if they pull two lines out of the New Testament and say it's Gods law. I can find far more lines than 2 which contradict pretty much every aspect of faith and christianity.

Z-man said...

A good chef friend of mine once made a good point, he said every religion when you boil it down to its official essence seems to teach at its core that those outside of said religion are going to hell. Maybe this is an oversimplification since many people of faith do not really believe this way and act that way but you do have it. Muslims feel non-Muslims are going to hell, Christians feel non-Christians are going to hell, some Christians may feel Catholics are going to hell, many Catholics may feel evangelicals are going to hell, pre-Vatican 2 Catholics believe everybody is going to hell...it's all so tiresome, really it is.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Toad:

So this will be the third post explaining to you that stoning your children and sending away menstruating women is not a requirement for Christians.

Are you not reading what I wrote, are you deliberately misunderstanding it or are you just not getting it?

I'm not going to gobble up any more of Patrick's space going over this with you again. You can read it at my house.

Anonymous said...

So Abraham Lincoln said he loved his friends more than his wife?

Well, he may not have said it, but the poor man may have felt it when the unfortunate Mrs. Lincoln had one of her spells (migrains and/or "spells"). She wasn't an easy woman to live with.

Anonymous said...

PS.

There is no hell.



Oh. Wait.

The past 7 1/2 year may actually qualify...

Patrick M said...

"Thou Shalt not bone other dudes"

Toad: You seem fixated on gay sex. Has anyone ever questioned your sexuality? Just wondering. :)

Saty: You can keep taking up space here, because I know Toad will. This topic has been so interesting it motivated me not to post as quick. That, and I'm a lazy bastard who'd rather watch a Star Wars movie with the director commentary turned on than churn out a post at midnight.

Z: You've just nailed why personal faith is a whole lot more important than dogma.

Anon: There is no hell.

You've obviously never gone to a Catholic school, then.

Toad734 said...

I know it's not, because along with most of the rest of the Levitical laws, Christ abolished those. Guess what else was on that list of dos and donts?? Homosexuality.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Toad

Go read the post I wrote at my house.

I don't know how to do the html of
it, but http://www.roadtobraj.blogspot.com.

Patrick M said...

I do know how to do the html:

The Road to Braj: For Toad