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Ridiculous Religion: Scientology

I had to start another mini-series highlighting some of the other more interesting religions in the world because, let’s face it, Christianity is not the only one! I figured the best way to start this series is with one of the more ridiculous religions out there: Scientology.

What it’s all about:

Scientology was created by a man named L. Ron Hubbard who, after writing a sort-of self-help book called, Dianetics, determined that his findings were the foundation for a new religion. Dianetics was a psychotherapy book which used the method of auditing as a counseling technique to help people recall traumatic events. Through recalling these traumatic experiences, people were then able to become aware of and release their conscious or unconscious, negative responses to them — a process known as clearing. e-meter_0

These techniques are put to practice in the Scientology religion using Auditors and E-Meters. Auditors are higher level operating thetans (otherwise know as OTs) who are trained and trusted with helping pre-clears (those who have not cleared yet) discover their full spiritual potential. E-Meters are religious artifacts that send tiny electric pulses through one’s body, calculate the response and reflect that response back to the machine using a sensitive, reactive needle. The Church of Scientology describes the E-Meter as follows:

“The E-Meter measures the spiritual state or change of state of a person and thus is of enormous benefit to the auditor in helping the preclear locate areas to be handled. The reactive mind’s hidden nature requires the use of a device capable of registering its effects—a function the E-Meter does accurately. Different needle movements have exact meanings and the skill of an auditor includes a complete understanding of all meter reactions. Using the meter, the auditor ensures that the process covers the correct area in order to discharge the harmful energy connected with that portion of the preclear’s reactive mind. When charge lessens, the person heightens his ability to think clearly in the area being addressed and his survival potential increases proportionately. As a result, the preclear discovers things about himself and his life—new realizations about existence, the milestones that mark his gains.” (source)

After a person completes this auditing process and “clears” they then begin to move up to different levels within the religion. Different levels of people know different things and each level provides more knowledge, techniques and answers for why we are here and what we are meant to do. Each level is sworn to complete secrecy and before the records were released as evidence in a court case in 1995, no one really knew what Scientologists actually believed. The church claimed the secrecy was/is to prevent those who were not yet ready from being exposed to the information and taking it out of context. That information? Buckle your seat belts kids because here we go:

I mentioned the word, Thetan previously and you all are probably curious as to what that is. Well, a thetan is you — your essence, your soul. It is “the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force.” (source) A long, long time ago, thetans created the material universe for their own pleasure. They did not create it in the sense that it was then physically there, but in the sense that they all agreed it was there and therefore, it was. When the thetans began to believe in their universe and feel that it was a physical reality, they fell from grace and lost their memory of their true spiritual selves. This resulted in the thetans believing that they were physical beings. Thetans never die but are instead reborn when they “assume” new physical forms. According to L. Ron Hubbard, there have been various cosmic catastrophes imparted on the fallen thetans that he refers to as “space opera.”

So, how did humans come to Earth to be assumed by thetans you ask? The answer is obvious:

Xenu, a tyrant ruler of the galactic confederacy, brought billions of people to Earth 75 million years ago on planes, landed them by volcanos and then detonated hydrogen bombs causing the thetans to attach themselves to those humans that were still alive.

I’m serious. You can’t make that shit up. Well… I guess L. Ron Hubbard can.

Anywho, that event was the initial cause of all human trauma and as each thetan assumes body after body, each traumatic event experienced while in that body is brought forward to the next. People who reach higher OT levels are able to tap into all of these traumatic events (the ill effects of the thetan) and release them, allowing themselves to be more in tune with their original spiritual presence. The idea is that they become more and more in-tune with their spiritual presence as they assume body after body. There is even a Scientology symbol carved into the ground in Trementina, New Mexico that marks a spot for loyal followers to return back to when traveling from other galactic locations. This symbol is visible from the air and, buried beneath it, are stainless steel copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s works encased in titanium for preservation.

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Why it’s harmful to society:

Uh… do I really have to go there? It’s completely ridiculous, that’s why! Ok, ok. Believing that a virgin in the middle east birthed a white baby that walked on water, and healed the sick and dying/already dead, died a mortal, torturous death nailed to a cross but was somehow later strong enough to not only return to life but move a giant boulder away from his grave door (couldn’t use that strength previously to push his way past his prosecutors and torturers to freedom and safety) to float up into the sky and save everyone from the sins that his own father made them commit is just as ridiculous! So, fine. I’ll go there. 🙂

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Arguably the most harmful thing about this religion is that it was thought up entirely by one man and yet gained so much trust amongst its followers that it rapidly grew and continues to grow today. The scriptures consist solely of the writings of L. Ron Hubbard and the teachings/sermons during Sunday services are meant to only help one understand them, not interpret them. Christianity is harmful in the same way except that, at least in this case, we know who the author of the book is and with no room for interpretation, there can only be one sect of Scientology!

Because of its rapid growth and acceptance, Scientology has been regarded (and rightfully so, I believe) as a brainwashing cult. It is by far the most expensive religion to be a part of as each audit, and each OT level require a HUGE amount of money to complete. This tends to be why it appeals only to rich people, including celebrities. Hubbard actually decided early on in the creation of Scientology that celebrities would play a key role in the dissemination of his religion and had his followers go after specific celebrities to initiate conversion.

Scientology is not recognized by some states internationally as being a genuine religion and was even stripped of its religious organization status by America in the 1970’s. It was later reinstated in the 1990’s with its religious, tax-free affiliation after a long, drawn out legal battle ensued. The fact that any state or country would even waiver on the decision of whether a practice is actually a religion or not should be a huge red flag to any potential follower. Religions are wacky anyways, but if it is so wacky that a country won’t even recognize it, you should be even more hesitant to join.

Another harmful idea born out of Scientology is their belief that the practice of psychiatry is harmful and should be abolished. They believe that psychiatrists can not adequately and responsibly help their patients retrieve traumatic experiences and that they are even less capable of helping them deal with these experiences appropriately and in manner that won’t cause further harm to the patient. Scientologists feel that psychiatric practices are abusive and therefore do not seek help from professionals if/when they should.

Why it’s not as bad as the others:

This quote is direct form the Church of Scientology website:

Scientology believes Man to be basically good, not evil. It is Man’s experiences that have led him to commit evil deeds, not his nature. Often, he mistakenly seeks to solve his problems by considering only his own interests, which then causes trouble for both himself and others. Scientology believes that Man advances to the degree that he preserves his spiritual integrity and values and remains honest and decent. Indeed, he deteriorates to the degree that he abandons these qualities.” (source)

Ultimately, the view that humans are basically good is a beneficial one that can only positively progress society. It still holds everyone accountable to themselves, but not just for themselves, for the greater good. The focus of this religion is to become more in-tune with yourself in order to be a more useful and effective member of society. It talks a lot about helping others and making a positive impact on the world.

The Church of Scientology has been responsible for several human rights movements centered around non-discrimination of race, color and creed in either government sanctions or otherwise — which is a good thing. However, their creed talks only about the rights of “men” and makes no real mention of any of the more active human rights campaigns today (i.e. homosexual marriage, women’s equality, etc). So, while they might be on the right track, I doubt the Church of Scientology will be spearheading the success of any big human rights campaign.

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Crazy Christianity: Jehovah’s Witnesses

What it’s all about:

Jehovah’s Witnesses are arguably the most strict practicing Christians in today’s society. They believe themselves to be the “true” Christians and reject many popular ideas in other versions of Christianity. They do not believe in hellfire, or the inherent immortality of the soul. They believe that when you die, you are in a state of nonexistence — both physical and spiritual.

armageddonThey believe an Armageddon will occur when satan attacks Jehovah’s Witnesses and god is forced to step in and destroy all governments and those people that do not follow him. Witnesses believe that Armageddon will be triggered by the United Nations (you can’t make this stuff up…) which is represented by the scarlet-colored wild beast of the book of Revelation chapter 17 in the scriptures (source). After Armageddon, god will choose 144,000 of his most loyal, trusting Witnesses to help him lead the Earth which he will transform into a paradise similar to the Garden of Eden and they will serve on his council of government. Those that have died before the Armageddon took place will gradually be resurrected and judged based on their current actions (rather than their past deeds) for a thousand years. After that thousand years has passed, Satan will be sent to Earth one last time to test those left and “the end result will be a fully tested, glorified human race. Christ will then hand all authority back to God.” (source)

Which leads me to the next big difference between Witnesses and most other forms of Christianity: Witnesses do not believe in the trinity. They believe that God (or “Jehovah” derived from the biblical name given to God in the Tetragrammaton JHVH or YHWH) is the creator of all things, the “one true God”, and is therefore the only thing worthy of worship. Jesus, or Christ, is God’s only direct creation and the holy spirit is God’s power in the world. They also believe Satan to be a fallen angel, once perfect in the kingdom of God who now comes to Earth to mislead people and create evil and human suffering.

h2E92B97DWitnesses do not celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter or any other “typical” holiday as they believe them to be derived from Pagan rituals and, therefore, not properly representative of their Christian faith. They also refuse to pledge allegiance to any country, take part in any nationalistic celebration or song and vehemently refuse to serve in the military. They do this because they feel that Christianity has no nationality and one’s allegiance should only ever be to God and nothing or no one else. “They consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.” (source) This places them in a state of segregation from everyone else (including fellow Christians who are not Witnesses) by choice, until they are called upon to evangelize. All members are required to evangelize and each must submit a monthly log of their activity. If you do not, you can be considered inactive and eventually be “disfellowshipped” and shunned by the community — an act highly dreaded by those that faithfully follow.

Worship involves frequent church meetings on the local level as well as national/international meetings that are more like conventions . They prefer their own translation of the Bible called, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and are taught how to read the scriptures by a governing body composed of all men (surprise, surprise) called, The Watch Tower Society. These men create publications that are to be given as much weight as the Bible itself and are not, under any circumstances, to be re-interpreted or challenged in any way (to do so would result in their being immediately disfellowshipped). If one publication comes out as being in disagreement with a previous publication, it is said that God is gradually revealing his will to the Watch Tower Society and they can, therefore, only publish what they know, when they know it.

Why it’s harmful to society:

Jehovah’s witnesses are incredibly strict and un-wavering in their approach to a faithful life and can sometimes take it too far. I was watching a television show in which young, talented musicians were given the opportunity to be the opening act for some of the biggest artists in the music industry. One young man was selected to open for Nikki Minaj, giving him the opportunity to live out his life-long dream and potentially make a name for himself. As a part of the show, they would fly out the family members so that they could be there to share in their child’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with pride and support. However, this poor young man had to experience the happiest moment of his life without the approval of his mother (who happened to be a Jehovah’s Witness) as she refused to take any part in the demonic, worldly concert. She chose a distorted worldview over the happiness of her own son and as a result, he felt abandoned by her and ashamed of his dream. No parent should ever make their child feel this way.

Another thing Witnesses vehemently oppose are blood transfusions. Receiving a blood transfusion is grounds for expulsion from the religion and should always be rejected — even in life and death situations (?!?!?!). They base this belief on their interpretation of Acts 15:28-29 which states,

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”

There is zero tolerance for sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, drunkenness, gambling, illegal drugs and tobacco. Witnesses must dress modestly and follow a strict patriarchal home-life in which divorce in only permitted in the case of adultery (per the Bible). Any divorce not a result of adultery (a scriptural divorce) or a legal separation due to excessive abuse or disdain for the union (“absolute endangerment of spirituality”) is considered illegal and any re-marriage considered adultery. “Marrying a non-believer, or endorsing such a union, is strongly discouraged and carries religious sanctions.” (source)

This leads me to the reason I believe the Jehovah’s Witness style of Christianity is most harmful to society: segregation. They segregate themselves and their children from the outside world and all others that are different from them. Their children are never given the opportunity to learn about the world and make decisions about it on their own which causes a great deal of intolerance and un-acceptance. I believe we become better, more fulfilled people when we are surrounded by people who are different from ourselves. I believe that is the only way we can truly learn and grow. Strip that away and we are nothing but the product of our parents and a slave to their ideals.

Believing you are living the “one and only” truth and being completely un-accepting of other beliefs is never a good thing. It’s arrogant and ignorant and when both of those traits come together it almost always spells disaster.

Why it’s not as bad as the others:

(for Violetwisp 🙂 ) Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the only Christian religions that I know of to take the Bible and the teachings of Christ almost completely literally. They jumped in head-first and committed to the entire sha-bang. There is no scripture plucking, no hermeneutics, no personal ideologies, just one way — God’s. As much as I disagree with their worldviews and their decisions to take literally a book filled with awful, harmful things, I have to admire their commitment to a less than wonderful lifestyle all for the sake of what they believe. You will never come across a Jehovah’s Witness apologist, and I like that.

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Crazy Christianity: Christian Science

In an attempt to highlight the many, many different branches that have grown from the tree of Christianity by way of human interpretation, I have decided to start a little mini series spotlighting some of the most interesting ones. I wanted to start with Christian Science since it happens to be one of the most interesting I have come across in quite a while.

What it’s all about:

MARYBAKEREDDYThe Christian Science religion was founded in 1879 by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy. She was sickly most of her life and after suffering a fall that inflicted internal injuries in 1875 she turned to the Bible for answers about her healing. It is at that time she claimed to have come to a working understanding of pain, sickness and injury through reading the scriptures which lead to her speedy 3-day recovery. She wrote a book describing her experiences and revelations, started preaching and putting to practice her new-found healing methodologies and the church was built 4 years later.

The basic premise of Christian Science is that the immortal, material world is an illusion in which we fall victim to suffering and illness. Matter is not real; only the spiritual world is real and can be accessed through prayer. They believe that “sickness and death are illusions caused by mistaken beliefs, and that the sick should be treated by a special form of prayer intended to correct those beliefs, rather than by medicine.” (Source)

These beliefs, as you can imagine, are incredibly controversial and potentially very dangerous. In fact, “between the 1880s and 1990s the avoidance of medical care and vaccination led to the deaths of a number of adherents and their children; several parents and others were prosecuted for manslaughter or neglect, and in a few cases convicted.” (Source) The modern Christian Science church takes a different stance on healthcare today in which they do not advocate for the complete non-use of medical treatment, but instead advises its followers to pray about what option they should take and make a decision that best fits their family’s needs (which almost always leads to a decision not to utilize modern medicinal treatment).

The_First_Church_of_Christ,_Scientist,_BostonChristian Science churches do not have pastors or reverends as typical Christian churches do. Actually, Mary Baker Eddy ordained the Bible and her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, as the pastor of the church. There is one main church located in Boston (called the Mother Church since it was the first location) and many branches throughout the world. Each week, every church studies the exact same lesson from the Bible. They meet on Wednesdays to discuss with each other how the lesson has affected their lives and to share stories about how the lesson has healed them in some way. Then, they meet on Sundays for a church service in which that particular lesson is read aloud; there is no personal sermon given by any leader.

Ultimately, the followers of this religion believe that Jesus was able to heal people and even bring them back to life because of his closeness with and un-wavering trust in God. They believe that if they pray and develop a closeness with God as well, that they will then be able to heal themselves and others. While they know that they will never achieve the kind of closeness Jesus had to God, they believe that they can certainly approach it.

Why it’s harmful to society:

This religion requires complete trust in god to heal and prevent all illnesses which can and have lead to more than a few very avoidable deaths and/or complications. Many children suffer the consequences of not being vaccinated or actively treated for their illnesses in the appropriate ways causing their otherwise well-meaning parents to be accused of (and rightfully so) neglect.

This is one of those religions in which someone had an idea about the Bible and wrote their own supplementary text with the intention that they be read together. These authors, while most vehemently deny any parallels or comparisons between themselves and god, almost always believe that their writing is just as important as that of the Bible. I find it strange that someone with the capacity to believe the Bible to be a divine text with all of the answers one will ever need in it could also believe that some random person has the ability to write a guidebook or a partner book that describes the correct interpretation and how you should live your life accordingly.

A lot can be said for the healing powers of the mind. Many studies are being published about the affects one’s mindset can have on that person’s ability to heal and many cancer patients can attest to these seemingly miraculous cures. We already know that things like pain can be attributed almost entirely to that particular person’s idea of it which explains why some people enjoy hanging from the ceiling with hooks stuck through the skin on their backs and others can be completely crippled by a stubbed toe. However, to attribute these natural brain phenomenons to a divine deity is incredibly ignorant and dangerous. For minor illnesses and injuries I believe it is perfectly acceptable to resort to any type of treatment one feels is best for either themselves or their family, whether natural, homeopathic, divine, medicinal, etc. However, for life-threatening illnesses and injuries I believe, especially in the case of children who are unable to make medical decisions on their own, the power of healing through one’s mind (or prayer as the Christian Scientist will believe) should be used in conjunction with any and all modern remedies and solutions available; anything less is just plain irresponsible.

Sleepy Jesus

This Jesus character in the Bible was one hard-working dude. With non-stop miracle-making, parable telling (and explaining), interviews with the press and recruitment of new fans, Jesus worked day and night doing everything any celebrity would do short of opening a Twitter account. So, it’s no wonder that he was exhausted! I mean, Jesus had to sleep too and when he slept, he must have slept hard. Like, dead to the world hard. In this story, however, it is debatable whether Jesus was actually exhausted or if he was just stoned. Unfortunately, we’re unable to complete an autopsy and do a drug test due to the fact that there is no physical evidence of Jesus ever existing at all. But, these are minor details and I digress.
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(Moses thought god burned his weed when in reality god used fake flames (you know, like the ones used in The Hunger Games) to make Moses think it was unusable so he could save it for his son’s future consumption. I mean, it was some good stuff — the best. And who deserves the best more than the son of god? That’s right — no one.)

Here’s the story:
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’
 
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'” Mark 4:35-41
So, basically Jesus is asleep (or passed out) on a boat that is being whipped around so much by the wind and the waves that water is actually overflowing into the boat. It is overflowing into the boat so much so that the others that are on it are afraid for their lives and believed death to be an imminent threat. So what do they do? They wake Jesus up, of course! After all, how could he just let them all die? So, Jesus wakes up and tells the wind and the sea to cool it, and it does (as a side note, I wonder what the other fishermen in that sea must have been thinking when the storm instantly stopped like that…).
Either way, instead of Jesus turning around and saying, “Woah, sorry guys, that got way out of hand. You see, with all this life-saving I have been doing lately, I am just completely wiped. My bad.” he says, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”. This obviously does nothing to calm their fears (they are still fearing “exceedingly” at this point) and instead puts them in awe of him.
And, I get it — they just watched a man completely and instantly stop a raging storm. That’s impressive. BUT, if they hadn’t awoken him, there is a very good chance that they would have all been dead at the bottom of the sea while Jesus simply stood up and walked his way back to shore.
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Is that what is happening these days? Is the “savior” so tired from all the stuff he did on Earth 2000 years ago that he is just passed out somewhere while all of these natural disasters kill people? And how do we wake him up so he can make it stop? What should Oklahoma have done? Or New Jersey and New York? What about New Orleans? Or Japan?
Jesus, if you exist, this had better be the best nap you have ever had.

The Gold Calf

The story of the Gold Calf in the book of Exodus has to be one of my favorites. It is a story of an incredibly jealous god and a ridiculously stupid group of people, which ended up raising a ton of red flags for me about god and Christianity.

It starts off with a group of people waiting around for Moses to return to them from the mountain conversation he is having with god. They are getting a little antsy and are starting to think that Moses will not return. They clearly have no other purpose in their lives but to praise and blindly follow anything and everything because, after a while, they approach Aaron begging him to make them a new god since this one is taking so long. Aaron, who is one of god’s newly appointed priests, says, “Sure” and tells them all to break off their gold earrings for him. They do so and Aaron then proceeds to melt it all down and shape the gold into a calf. The people then immediately start praising this calf, dancing, giving it burnt offerings and proclaiming that it is the savior of their people.

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…Huh??

If these people are so easily persuaded into praising anything that comes their way, what does that say about god at this point?Clearly he is no more impressive than a little golden calf or any other god for that matter. Most Christians will look at this and say that this is not a reflection of god’s power but a reflection of the stupidity of people- and I would agree. However, I would take it a step further in saying that the stupidity of people is also to blame for the praises given to god as he “exists” today. These people were so ready and willing to offer their praises to anything because they were desperate and needed something to look up to and something to believe in. This part of the story says to me that god is interchangeable with any and everything. The only common denominator is a group of desperate, weak, like-minded people ready and willing to listen to anything anyone has to say- anything that will make them feel better, or give them an excuse for being or acting a certain way. Which is why there are so many different factions within Christianity.

Are you really inspired by the Virgin Mary? Join Catholicism! Do you sort of like Catholicism but don’t love the idea of all those saints? Well then perhaps Lutheranism is the religion for you! Or, do you enjoy the Old Testament and finding a good sale? Give Judaism a try! Maybe you really hate celebrating your birthday, or any holiday for that matter, and you could see yourself talking to people door-to-door? Jehovah’s Witness would be perfect for you! Or, perhaps you believe there was more to the Bible and you are thankful that Joseph Smith discovered those missing parts? Well then I think Mormonism is for you! Whatever your fancy, feel free to choose your religion and your god. And don’t let that pesky religion you were raised on get in the way of your choice; what do your parents know anyways?

Ok, back to the story. As these people are praising this calf, god sees them (of course) and it infuriates him:

And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ ” Exodus 32:9-10

God is a very jealous god and now he wants to kill them all- after he insults them first. Sort of like when your ex finds out you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend and the jealousy consumes them. They have invested so much time into you and now you have just simply moved on? No way Jose! (Jesus??)

Well, Moses sees that god is angry and is going to kill all of these people and he’s like, “Woah. Wait a minute! I just dragged these people through the desert and the sea for christsake! And now you just want to wipe them out? Hell no.” Well, actually he says it a little more like this:

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: ‘Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” Exodus 32:11-13

Basically, Moses uses the old, ‘What will the neighbors think?’ number on god to talk some sense into him and to not let all of his earlier efforts go to waste and it works! Really?! The supposed omnipotent, all-powerful, all-knowing god just listens to Moses?? Couldn’t he have come up with that reasoning himself before he let his anger get to him? Wasn’t it Jesus, not god, that was supposed to bear all the human characteristics so that we could relate to him/it? And, what good is a god if he has no sense of reason? It seems to me that god is the hot-headed, jealous type. The type you can’t break up with because you might end up in a battered women’s home. (But, he loves you!)

The story continues with Moses returning to the people and dividing them up, asking those that are with god to join him and those that aren’t to leave. Then, with the group of followers, proceeds to murder thousands of people.

“And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion and every man his neighbor.’ So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.” Exodus 32:27-28

Then, to add injury to insult after they just murdered everyone they knew, Moses tells them that they still have not satisfied god and that they will need to atone for their sins. Moses summons god and ask him to forgive them and god says something like, “Fine. You go and take these people to the place I told you to take them, as planned.” But he adds this,

” ‘Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.’ So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.” Exodus 32: 34-35

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Is that a threat? It sure sounds like a threat to me… If you are a god, why threaten at all? Why not do something? And, more importantly, isn’t god supposed to be all-loving? Or, is it just that we haven’t gotten to that part yet? How can I believe that god “loves us” when he goes around acting like that? Why the crazy jealousy, the temper, the fits of rage, the controlling, the anger, the threats if you leave and the threats even when you stay? Again, I refer back to the angry ex and the dangerous, jealous relationship- If we are taught that when humans treat us this way it is bad, then why is it OK for our god to do the same?

Jesus is a Prick

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I constantly hear arguments from proponents of Christianity that Jesus is some all-loving, all-accepting (unless you are gay or vote Democrat) dude and no matter what I do in my life “He loves me and wants me to love him back.” Sure there are lots of verses and stories outlining those arguments in the Bible, but there are also tons that show otherwise. Take this one for starters:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those in his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

Basically, Jesus is incredibly selfish and doesn’t even want you to love the people who raised you, who you have known your entire life, more than you love him- even though he bailed before you were born and left you with nothing but a book full of ridiculous stories. And, god forbid (pun intended) you find meaning to your life and are successful and love it. Jesus never got to do that because he was too busy dying for you and now he wants you to return the favor. Only if you die miserable, like he did, will he decide you are worthy of saving. Yep, Jesus is a prick. Here is another example from the book of Luke in which he describes his same intent for division as in the book of Matthew, but in a more I’m-going-to-throw-a-temper-tantrum-about-it kind of way:

I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49

Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke describe this desire of Jesus to make it known that he did not come to earth to make friends, he came to show-off a few miracles, die, and then proceed to hold it against us for the rest of time. But, before he dies, and alongside performing some of those miracles, he is going to go right ahead and take the opportunity to screw around with everyone. He does this by describing the desires of god and explaining how to utilize those desires to spend an eternity with him in heaven; the problem is, he refuses to just tell it like it is. He insists on using confusing parables that make no sense, setting most of his would-be believers up for failure. After being asked by the prophets why he speaks in such confusing parables, Jesus responds,

Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:11-13

When I read passages like this, it only further concretes my belief that religion was made up by man as a means to control the population. It is so blatant in this passage (there is also a similar one in the book of Mark) that in order to fully know and understand these teachings, one must never doubt, or look too deep into it. One must simply take the lesson at face value and interpret it as Jesus wants you to, not as you actually do. Because, in actually interpreting stories on your own, you are bound to interpret incorrectly and maybe, just maybe, you may begin to doubt the validity or the importance of the lesson. So, the less you think about it, the better off you (and the)y are. It’s genius if it actually works, and sadly, it does.

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Another reason I believe Jesus is a prick is because he has a horrible temper. Take the infamous story of the fig tree for example:

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

He knew there would be no fruit on it because “it was not the season for figs” and yet he still got pissed at it for not feeding him in his time of hunger. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I have said and done some pretty mean things out of hunger, too. But, this man is supposed to be the savior! The healer! The prince of peace and love! He can’t have normal human instincts… and if he does, he certainly can’t let them get the better of him! Which brings me to my next point: If Jesus was real, and that’s a HUGE if,  how can we hold him on such a high pedestal? He is just like us! What makes him so different and so special? He is no god; sure he did some lame tricks turning water into wine and walking on water but, wouldn’t a real god simply create a fig on that tree to then pick and eat? Or summon a nice turkey dinner to appear on his table? How can we be so faithful to a god so human when humans are constantly failing us? Wouldn’t this then imply that either, A. This god would end up failing us as well, or B. That perhaps a god so human is that way because he was created by humans and is therefore whatever we want him to be? The Hindus certainly would never stoop so low; their gods are constantly doing far more miraculous, god-like things on a daily basis and would never submit themselves to petty hunger or any other human feeling for that matter. Hindus have textbook examples of gods. Why didn’t the creators of the Christian god/Jesus get together with the creators of the Hindu gods and exchange game plans?

But, I guess that’s the point of Christianity, isn’t it? That god sent his only son to us, made him as human as possible so that we could relate and see our children in him, just to then sacrifice him for us, even though we never asked him to, so that we may live in guilt of it forever. Therefore, god is also a prick. Like father, like son.

God Loves Killing Children, Part 1

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It seems that once god got a taste of killing children in the book of Exodus for the tenth plague, he just couldn’t help himself- he had to kill more. The bible is full of stories depicting god’s demands to kill children, his preference of death as a consequence for children that misbehave and his allowance and acceptance of those that kill children in his honor or in his name. Here’s a fun example about a man killing a bunch of kids in the name of the lord for making fun of him:

Then he (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, ‘Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’ So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” 2 Kings 2:23-24

This passage is almost comical to me. Some kids call you baldhead so you send bears to maul them to death? Gnarly. I mean, it can’t really be an insult if it’s true, right? Why not ask for a new head of hair in the name of the lord instead of a gruesome death sentence for a bunch of brats?

This is an interesting take on what we should do to those nations we are at war with. I wonder how the UN would feel about this:

Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children will also be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished. ‘Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also, their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children.” Isaiah 13:15-18

In these three verses alone, there is a clear message that the children will die. In fact, it is mentioned four times! What is with his obsession with killing children anyways? Wouldn’t he have just spent all that time molding them and making them into his perfect little images? Planning their lives for them as so many modern-day Christians believe? What would be the point in killing them all off? Could it be that he is so adamant about killing them so that they don’t grow up and hate him for killing their parents?? Hmm?? Scared are we, god?

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Here is another example of god using the death/eradication of children as punishment for the actions of adults he doesn’t like:

As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird- no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer. Give them, O Lord- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts! All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Yes, were they to bear children, I would kill the darlings of their womb.” Hosea 9:11-16

Here’s what I am having a really hard time grasping: Weren’t these people his creation, too? Didn’t he already know that they would betray him? If god has a plan for us (“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11), why would he make this his plan for them?