Tuesday, 17 April 2007

All Christians are Wankers?

Somewhere around 2000 years ago a man was (to quote from an atheist) nailed to a tree for saying how nice it would be for people to be nice to each other for a change. On the surface, not such a bad idea. But since then millions of people have been nailed to things, screwed to things, had hot things stuck up their nether regions and been killed in never ending wars all because the followers of the 'nice' man found their lack of faith disturbing.

Now, much of that can be put down to the power mad members of human society who were probably going to be power mad nut jobs no matter which religion they were pretending to follow (I'm talking to you cardinals Fang & Biggles). We can probably disregard the religiopolitical desire to promote conformity in order to control people but that is unfortunately not where this ends.

People, who otherwise seem like ordinary members of their society, have been grabbing the wrong end of Jesus' metaphorical stick ever since he prematurely declared "It is done". And 2000 years of human development and/or evolution hence the world is now full of cock sure morons whose fanatical dedication to the ideals of Christianity is such that they are willing to ignore all of its tenants in order to ensure that it survives.

So before presenting the proof of the wankerdom of all Christians, we need to consider what is Christianity?

  • a Jewish sect believing that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah.
  • a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as saviour
  • the world's largest religion, based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament of the Bible.
  • a religion derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • the belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour of the world.
  • the Christian religion.
  • the faith system of people who believe Jesus was the Son of God.

Seems clear?

But is Christianity; a set of beliefs, a community of people or a way of life? Because how we perceive this determines how we award wanker points.

As a set of beliefs, Christianity differs little from any of the world's major religions in that the arguments used to support the beliefs are for the most part circular. We know Jesus was God's son because the Bible tells us, we know the bible is God's word because it is infallible, we know that it is infallible because God wouldn't let it be otherwise…

Pointless. And besides there is so much room for interpretation that even if we are happy to accept the text as inspired, how we look at it can vary so much that it is near impossible to find two people who approach the text in the same way. Young earth creationists clearly argue that without a literal interpretation of the Genesis story the whole definition of sin is void. Yet those of a scientific mindset can maintain their religious beliefs by accepting this as a parable designed to make a point to an ancient people to whom a scientific creation story would have been unintelligible.

As a community of people Christianity falls into the trap of being indistinguishable from a society. So a nation (America I'm looking at you) can claim to be Christian without having to monitor its performance by the teachings of Jesus. Just loud proclamation of Christianity without any real evidence or worse still, without any conscious thought by individuals.

So, what about a way of life? Hell, that'd be hard to do if you were having to measure yourself by those wacko benchmarks Jesus set down. And that is unfortunately where Progression sets its self. We are hopeful that Australia's Christian leaders, rather than loudly scream Christian Values and then press their own cases, can measure itself by benchmarks that Jesus himself set up.
Do we help the less fortunate?
Feed the hungry, house the homeless, fight for the oppressed, defend human rights...
If we are using this measure of our success, then it becomes less relevant that our laws enforce a Christian morality. Instead we have to ask, do I personally live my life to its fullest. Am I making the right choices and that's a harder path than just legislating against homosexual adoptions and shouting CHRISTIANITY any time anyone assks you why.

19 comments:

Michelle And Wayn said...

I was apalled at reading your article in the gazette. You may need to check your bible about Christianity - I was so sad to see someone claiming to be Christian who does not know their bible.
It speaks in Psalm 139 about 'I was knitted together in my mother's womb' God knows us before we are born, before we are made. Therefore abortion is murdering God's children.
The act of Homosexuality not the person themselves is destestable to God Leviticus 18:22.

I would ask that you don't claim to be a christian if you don't uphold Jesus' teachings.

Please check up on this as you are about to upset many true Christian by your comments. Maybe you should call this party something more close to the truth.

By the was Fred Nile does believe and uphold God's word - this is not always popular but it is God we are trying t please not man.

You must remember this is God's word you're dealing with and that is a big responsibility.

Emma said...

hi Michelle and wayn, thanks for your comments. As John has stated in the latest post, we want to see a diversity of political opinions in the church, so some contraversy is always welcome.

Contrary to what you claim, I am a Christian, and part of the reason I want to be known as a Christian is so that Australians don't think we are all like Fred Nile. We'll have to agree to disagree as to whether he is a man of God - I guess that's for God to decide - but we certainly disagree on many issues.

I know the the Bible passages you mention well - and if you read The Gazette article carefully you'll see that some of our members are morally conservative - I personally believe life starts at conception. However I believe our first and foremost duty as Christians is to help people into a relationship with Jesus, and take seriously his words about loving those who are less fortunate, not tell people how they should live their lives.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write - nice work.
And, I like the distinctions you start to make between way of life, beliefs etc. Again, I think this is very helpful in determining what people really believe about God, Jesus & the bible, and (perhaps more importantly) what they believe about themselves.

I'm not sure that michelle & wayn are long for this site...

Toddy
(using 'anonymous' until I've got time to do the profile thingy...)

Emma said...

Toddy

thanks for dropping by!

ADHD Librarian said...

Michelle And Wayn,
A few points,
before you start deciding on the status of others' Christianity you might want to consider the breadth of Christian thinking that exists. There is now and has never been one idea of what Christianity is/should be.

Leviticus is a lot of fun isn't it? You keep those laws yourself do you? So (assuming you are a married couple) Wayn, you have never seen Michelle naked during her period? Because that would defile you.

You make sure your clothes are all of one fabric, because to wear a blend of two different threads is against Levitical laws (throw away those socks which blend wool and cotton you abomination).

And as for Fred, I believe he upholds God's word 'as he understands it' but I don't believe that he has it all right.
(I also don't believe I have it all right, nor that Emma has it all right, nor that the Pope, blah blah. You get the idea?

We're not here to tell you that you are wrong, but we are here to remind people that Christianity is about a lot more important things that enforcing our moral code on others.

Anonymous said...

Fuck Religion, your all a bunch of Wankers who take away people freedoms, "in the name of god". Fuck you all. You have no proof that god exists. The bible is a peace of shit and the is no evidence in it watsoever. It is a book of people with fucked up philosophy's. Opinions, no reason watsoever. FUCK ALL OF YOU. FUCK YOU ALL. DIE. SUCK MY HUGE DICK YOU BUNCH OF WANKERS.

Mark W said...

Well thought through post, made all the more enjoyable by my favourite Douglas Adams quote.

To be honest, I surprised to find someone claiming to be a christian having such an honest and critical outlook on their religion - not something I'm used to I must confess.

The lack of a god, however, makes the worthy navel gazing a bit moot really, and in spite of claims to the contrary elsewhere, it's perfectly feasible to lead a decent, moral life and be a Misotheistical antitheist with maltheistic tendencies - an atheist with attitude if you will.

I'm afraid the odds stack up that all christians are indeed wankers, but best of luck persuading others this is not a universal law. With Michelle & Wayn fighting on your side you really are on a hiding to nothing.

Lstly, congratulations on getting top slot in Google for "christians are wankers".

Emma said...

ha ha, thanks Mark. Yes I agree Michelle and Wayn are doing a good point of making the point. But I'm interested on your views of atheism. I agree any person can live a moral/good life etc without religion...but I'm wondering what your point of reference would be? What is morality/goodness etc without an external point of reference, like God or faith? I hope you come back to this site and we can have an interesting discussion.

Mark W said...

Emma,

Thanks for the offer of a discussion -to be honest I didnt expect a reply.

I have a friend who I've been debating these topics fiercely with for 15 years, probably virtually every time we've met up since we first met in India, usually till the small hours of the morning. He's a philosophy graduate and author, and believer in some sort of deity and the notion that morality is somehow innate to the universe. On both points we profoundly disagree, but it's a fascinating topic to verbally spill blood over.

Firstly, I don't really believe atheism exists, or at least it shouldn't, since it is the absence of belief and is only a necessary term as long as religion exists. Since I think faith/religious belief (as opposed to non-belief) is not a natural state for humans, atheism is merely the default state. We don't have a word for people who don't like football or yellow ford sierras, so why religion?

You ask "but I'm wondering what your point of reference would be?". This is not easy to answer without first saying that I have two views of morality; an 'absolute' version and a pragmatic version. The absolute version says that, as there is no god, there can be no morality as an absolute set of imposed/innate unbreakable rules. Therefore any action I (or anyone else) choose to perform is exactly as moral as any other - there is no 'good' or 'bad' at all. So, yes, murdering my neighbour is morally equivalent to taking him out for a beer.

Clearly this is not a useful way to see the world if you expect the species to prosper, hence the pragmatic version, which is necessary for a functioning human society that doesn't simply randomly butcher itself. I believe morality as we know it has evolved for exactly this reason; as an essential prerequisite to ensuring cooperation between individuals and ensuring the survival of mankind as a species.

Without any absolute "moral North" to our compass, we are left to construct a moral framework over the ages, one piece at a time, passing on examples of what works (and what doesn't) to subsequent generations, using our collective accumulated wisdom as the moral compass point for the wider society, and an aiming point for the individuals within it. The position of the moral North shifts slightly with each generation to take into account social changes. Eventually religion and the law came along to codify these collective ideas, with the more agile secular legal system replacing the infexibilty of religion in ensuring that individual moral deviance does not harm the wider society.

So my own moral reference point would be largely composed of what I learned growing up in a society with Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian values, but modified over time by my own interpretations and experiences and very heavily influenced by my socialist political outlook. Specifically, I tend to take a great deal from the more secular Buddhists and their focus on cause and effect. The (very!) short version being if you make good causes, you will get good effects. I wish to live a life that is pleasant and rewarding, and experience (plus history and teaching) tells me that being decent and accomodating to others will mean that largely they (or the majority at least) will return the favour. If enough people do this life becomes more pleasant for all. I suppose Jesus said much the same in fewer words with "treat others as you expect to be treated". Judging my actions morally on how they affect the wider society works in much the same way - a positive society is more likely to fulfill my own needs, so adhering to it's moral standards is generally to my own benefit.

But I'm not one to just take viewpoints as presented, so there are many moral issues on which I disagree with the world around me, and each of these has to be interpreted in line with my own moral 'constitution' and any decision to personally step over a societal moral boundary or norm taken in light of my strength of conviction on the specific issue.

To your second question, "What is morality/goodness etc without an external point of reference, like God or faith?", I would say it doesn't matter whether you are religious or not, all morality is selfish in intent, in that it is used to bring a reward, a positive and beneficial "effect" resulting from your decent, moral "cause". For us militant atheists this may be a warm rosy glow, someone offering a beer or an increasing feeling that you can trust someone else. For the deluded/religious, a seat at the right hand of god on judgement day, 72 virgins or at least the avoidance of an eternity contemplating how right Dante was. The incentive to be moral is always, always selfish gain - even if the thing gained appears altruistic in itself.

The main difference I can see between atheist and religious morality is simply that the former is more flexible and capable of response and development, whereas the latter requires increasingly fudged interpretation over time and potentially leads to stagnation. The Abrahamic religions are all left with texts that are vastly out of date, and while they may have been good guiding principles for life in some desert a millennia or more ago, life has moved on a little and they require increasingly creative interpretation to remain even remotely functional or relevant.

For example, the Jewish insistence on seperating meat and milk and not eating pork is bit pointless in the age of the fridge, and for Muslims Ramadan is seriously harsh if they happen to live in Sweden where fasting by the rules of the Koran means not eating or drinking for 22 hours a day should it fall in summer. On the other hand, Mohamed's injunction against drinking still makes sense in that heavily armed people are likely to get argumentative and do each other damage when pissed, even though the booze comes from a brewery rather than a hollowed date palm.

Since rewrites of the texts are not really on, we end up with a peculiar disjoint between the morality necessary for modern living, and the surreal fantasy morality constructed by many religious zealots of all hues. Most religious americans (so that'll be most americans, according to surveys), for example, do not see any moral contradiction between being foamingly anti-abortion, yet being zealously for murdering large swathes of the Arab world in the name of setting them free. Sorry?? Since both are arguably covered by "Thou shalt not kill", there are clearly a few issues with the accuracy of the moral compass in use. The american divorce rate managed to shock even me, when I briefly lived there - not that I disapproved, it was just suprising. So how does this square with the idea of a deity inspired point of reference?

A final and vaguely related point. Not all religious morals are identical or compatible, nor will they be as long as we have plurality of religion. I have seen a lot of Very Bad Stuff happen, historically, globally and within my own orbit that seems to stem from religion. And while there clearly is a good side too in some respects, I am not at all sure that the good is sufficient to balance out the bad. As human curiosity continues to shine light into dark corners, we find the unknown realms where god 'might' exist empty of second comings, cryptic messages or moral instructions. Is it not time we took collective responsibility for our own moral wellbeing, rather than using non-existent deities as a flawed and outdated moral crutch?

BTW, congrats on getting rid of the Nutter Howard.

I hope that offers some explanation, food for thought, and apologies if it wanders a bit from the topic.

Regards.

Emma said...

hi Mark, you've made some great points and I fully intend to reply, it's just my son's birthday so I won't get around to it until tomorrow night probably, just wanted to let you know I haven't wimped out!

Anonymous said...

gud one. all christians should go and fucking die. all they do is they think there life is so good and they always look down on us as if we were a piece of shit on the floor. and most of the men who go to th church like to rape children and use there stupid gospels to make people feel bad! if i have any christians knocking on my door. i will shoot them.

Emma said...

hi mark, hope you tune back in because it has taken me a month! sorry. Plenty of food for thought there. I guess the only thing I kept coming back to was this notion of morality and ethics and how for me at least, it doesn't make sense unless we have been created by a God. I recently had a very interesting dicussion with a friend about ethics and how we generally have out ethical views in 3 "baskets" if you like - virtue ethics, which are the sacred "do not kill" black and white type ethics, then consequentialist ethics, which is to say I think lying is wrong but if I lie to the Nazi officer and say the Jew isn't hiding in my house, then the consequence justifies the breach of my moral code, and lastly community ethics which are to an extent decided by the community we live in, I guess speeding etc would be in that "basket". I kept thinking about how if we don't believe in a God who helped create us with a spirit and soul, there isn't any place for the "virtue" basket as far as I can tell. If I truly grasp the fact that each human being has worth simply beacuse they are a human being, a creation, soul and spirit, then I must believe in the sanctity of each human being. Now of course plenty of Christians don't do that idea much justice - but I think it's a situation where the messangers are wrong, not the message.

anyway let me know what you think!

Mark W said...

I dont think you can really draw such clear lines between your ethical baskets, as all of the examples you give would, to one degree or another, fit in all of the baskets. The 'lying' example in the way you describe is 'virtuous' in that it preserves human life (and handing over a Jew would be tantamount to pulling the trigger), consequentialist in the way you describe, and community in that (in the local sense of "community") a decent community would protect the vulnerable. In any case, with local laws etc, it is not primarily the laws themselves that are moral or ethical, but the decision to obey or transgress.

I think your notion that without a deity there is no place for 'virtue' ethics is pure sentiment without any genuine substance in the real world (except, of course, to you). Most of the more obvious moral choices laid out in the bible make just as much sense - and matter just as much - to atheists as they do to the religious, for the reasons (largely consequential) that I outlined in my earlier post. I would argue they may even be more deeply held, as atheists make a decision to uphold such rules, rather than merely accepting them as writ from ancient texts of dubious and mixed provenance. Virtuous action is simply that; the origin of the virtuosity does not make it better or worse.

Even Christians (or Jews for that matter) have largely abandoned the less sane rules of the bible, so how do you personally select which virtue ethics to include and which to ignore? After all, god didn't leave a lot of leeway. "Pick the six you most fancy of the above ten and ditch the rest" is conspicuously absent. So your choice of the 'black and white' rules is as arbitrary as mine, only the selection process and reason for adherence differ.

I'm interested in most religions in the historical and philosophical sense, so I generally do try to seperate the texts from the actions of the practitioners. Nevertheless, I see scant evidence that the religious (with the possible exception of Buddhists) are any better behaved or more moral in their actions than atheists. Which in the words of A C Weisbecker is 'clearly an example of something', and seems to suggest the morally bracing effects of faith are greatly exaggerated.

Regards

Anonymous said...

That's cool,at least there is someone else on this planet that's not a brainwashed moron that lives in a pathetic fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

God is a wanker. Fuck religion and all the beleivers. Insane people who believes in god and that shit. I won't waste no time on a fucker who doesn't give a shit to our world. Why do christians believe in a man who is a fantasy? Christian wankers are all stupid as stones.

Anonymous said...

Joh 8:31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples.
Joh 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

People dont understand the idea of 'born again' or the easter egg 'REBIRTH' new beginings, Its all about coming out of religion, wake up people. enough said.

-enigma888

Anonymous said...

jesus was black

Anonymous said...

A provider wants us to please you pls get over it I been to the highest point but it will never please no cunt amen errrr DOGS

Anonymous said...

Proof!