Jesus

Crazy Christianity: Pentecostalism

What it’s all about:

Pentecostalism was born out of a nine-year movement in Los Angeles called the Azusa Street Revival in which people, led by a preacher named William J. Seymour, experienced dramatic inter-racial worship services that included speaking in tongues, and spiritual experiences involving miracles. (source) Just about every Pentecostal church traces its roots back to this Revival, however, some left the movement with different ideas about the doctrine of the Trinity, leaving the Pentecostal Church largely divided between Trinitarian and non-Trinitarians. Each church is self-governed, however, many are affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship. The latest research (conducted by the a Pew Forum in 2011) “found that there were an estimated 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world’s Christian population Pentecostal” making it “the largest Protestant denominational family.” 44% of all Pentecostals are found in Sub-Saharan Africa while 37% are found in the Americas and 16% are in Asia and the Pacific. (source)

The Pentecostal faith, like most Christian faiths, centers completely around the Bible and its inerrancy. The core of their beliefs lie in the Gospels in that through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, all sins can be forgiven. It is a requirement that all Pentecostals be born again through Christ in order to be “adopted into the family of God.” (source) A part of the born again process starts with a baptism, however, the Pentecostals practice three distinct types of baptism. One is the baptism into the body of Christ which turns a believer into a part of Christ’s body through the Holy Spirit — the Holy Spirit is the agent, Christ is the medium. The second one is called a water baptism and is the most recognizable by other Christian faiths. The water baptism is representative of dying to the world and being reborn in Christ. The third method of baptism is called baptism with the Holy Spirit. This method is similar to baptism into the body of Christ except that it is the reversal of methods — Christ now becomes the agent and the Holy Spirit is the medium.

While baptism as viewed by most Christian denominations as being vital to one’s closeness to god and their ability to be “saved”, most Pentecostals do not view baptism as being essential for salvation. Pentecostals also view other things, like the sacraments, much differently than most Christian denominations as well. They refer to the sacraments as ordinances instead as they do not believe that these rituals instituted by Christ are meant to impart grace, but rather to keep a closeness with god. For example, communion is a ritual completed because it is a command given by Christ in order to remember him. An interesting fact about Pentecostal communion is that they reject the use of wine as the blood of Christ and will use grape juice instead. Sorry, kids! No under-age sipping allowed for you!

Laying-on-of-HandsTwo other distinctive beliefs are that of divine healing and divine gifts. Divine healing occurs when a person either prays for himself or another person to be healed. When praying for another person to be healed, the common practice is for the preacher and others to put their hands on that person to represent the healing Jesus imparted while healing others. Another common practice is anointing the sick with olive oil.

Divine gifts can be given to anyone at any time but are most commonly received after one’s baptism. Gifts include the ability to speak in tongues — a gibberish language meant to be a direct line to or from god.

“According to Pentecostal theology, the language spoken (1) may be an unlearned human language, such as the Bible claims happened on the Day of Pentecost, or (2) it might be of heavenly (angelic) origin. In the first case, tongues could work as a sign by which witness is given to the unsaved. In the second case, tongues are used for praise and prayer when the mind is superseded and “the speaker in tongues speaks to God, speaks mysteries, and … no one understands him”. (source)

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A divine gift that can sometimes go along with the gift of tongues is the gift of interpretation by either the speaker or someone else to be able to understand what was just said. This can be important because most Pentecostals believe that sometimes people who speak tongues do so because they have been given the gift of prophecy. While Pentecostals do believe that anyone is capable of receiving a legitimate prophecy, those spoken by people are not regarded as always being the truth; in other words, they realize that those prophecies are susceptible to error. These prophecies are rarely, if ever, predictions of future events but merely spontaneously spoken words meant to give guidance and comfort.

Another gift is the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. When the gift of the word of wisdom is given, the receiver has a “revelation of the Holy Spirit that applies scriptural wisdom to a specific situation that a Christian community faces.” (source) The gift of the word of knowledge entails the ability of the receiver to know god’s intentions in the life of another person.

 

Why it’s harmful to society:

slain_in_spiritWhile practicing the gift of healing, many preachers will put their hands on someone and violently push them back causing them to fall backwards. Sometimes this is exaggerated by the person being healed so as to imitate “being slain in the spirit” and other times, the preacher literally pushes so hard that they fall. I think this is bad for two reasons: One — people get so wrapped up in this ritual that they make themselves fall backwards (risking injury), convulse on the ground and speak in tongues. All of these are not natural or supernatural occurences but merely the actions of a desperate person acting out what they have seen others do. It’s all fake which makes watching it all the more disturbing. And, imagine being a child and seeing this happen to your parent! How scary that would be! Reason two — these people actually hurt themselves doing this (or allowing it to be done to them)! Sometimes people actually faint and lose consciousness! I think watching this strange practice would be both interesting and disturbing.

A lot of the practices found in the Pentecostal church have made their way into other Christian denominations. Things like lifting your hands in praise to the heavens during prayer and song, speaking in tongues and spontaneously shouting words of praise during sermons. One of my most vivid memories as a young child was being very ill at my grandmother’s house (a self-identified, practicing non-denominational Christian) and having her put her hands on my head and pray over me in tongues. I was so scared because I had never seen my grandmother act so strangely before and I was very confused as to what was going on. It made me very uncomfortable and I have never forgotten that moment. I think experiences like that can be very harmful and scary to children and should either be abstained from around them or explained thoroughly.

Some Pentecostal churches in the southeastern region of the United States practice snake handling during their worship services as a literal interpretation of these verses in the Bible:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

Numerous preachers have been severely injured by the poisonous bites and others have even died from them. While this practice is not very common, it is gaining ground and growing rapidly, forcing states to legislate laws concerning the un-guarded presence of venomous animals in public spaces for their own protection.

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Why it’s not as bad as the others:

Pentecostals believe that baptism is not vital to achieve spiritual salvation which compliments their practice of a “Believer’s Baptism”. This type of baptism is done only to the willing after a profession of faith in Jesus has been made. I think this is good because it gives people the choice to enter into the religion. I have never agreed with infant baptisms (I was baptized as an infant) because I feel that they are presumptuous and selfish. Infant baptisms are for the benefit of the practicing parents, not the child, whereas adult baptisms are for the individual as a profession of and commitment to what they believe in.

Another great aspect of Pentecostalism is the lively church service. Spontaneity is highly regarded in worship which leads to (in my view) hilarious outbursts and interruptions in the middle of sermons and songs. Also, lots of members are “moved by the Holy Spirit” to dance because they are so enraptured with god’s presence. This leads to lots of movement in the aisles with everyone going pretty much bat-shit crazy over the Lord.

Diversity and inter-racial worship is a highly regarded attribute to the Pentecostal church. They believe that no matter race, gender, ethnicity, social class or religious background one is, they are all welcome to worship together and should be treated as one in the same. The downside to this is that they do not include sexual orientation in that list of anti-discriminatory practices and they hold a very strong position in the defense of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

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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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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.

And This Little Piggy Went “Wee, Wee, Wee,” All the Way Down the Cliff to its Imminent Death in the Sea

Here is another one of my most favorite Bible stories. It is called, “A Demon-Possessed Man Healed” and it is found in the fifth chapter of the book of Mark. Enjoy.

“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.”

It sounds to me like this poor guy needs some serious help but, instead of helping him, the people of this country have attempted to bind him with shackles and have condemned him to live with the dead instead. Remind me never to visit the country of Gadarenes.

“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.'”

So, this man knows who Jesus is and is instantly able to recognize him, yet the first thing out of his mouth is a plea for Jesus not to hurt him? Now why would he think that Jesus would do a thing like that, I wonder? Could it be because demons were allowed to take refuge in his body?

“For He said to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit!’ Then He asked him, ‘What is your name?’

And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ And at once Jesusgave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa… hold on a minute. Jesus grants permission to demons that beg? These demons don’t want to be deported so, instead, Jesus listens to their pleas to enter the pigs and then he proceeds to kill them all off? Why not just expel the demons and kill them there, in thin air? Why did the poor pigs have to die, too? Wouldn’t killing all the pigs be incredibly detrimental to the welfare of the community he was in? And, I know seas tend to be pretty big, but wouldn’t the water be dangerous to drink with all the thousands of pig corpses in it? Did Jesus really decide that potentially starving an entire population to save one man’s life and to appease the pleas of some demons was the best decision in that circumstance? Keep in mind, this is the same man who supposedly cured a leper, who brought a little girl back to life, who made a blind man see and a paralyzed man walk. This is the same guy that turned water into wine, fed thousands with only a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread.

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He walked on water and calmed the raging storms at sea and now he can’t even expel a bunch of demons without causing detrimental harm to others in the process? Really?! There was no other way?!

“So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”

Yeah, if someone came in and completely annihilated my entire stock of food, I would want him to leave, too!

“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.” Mark 5:1-20

And in the end, what’s new? Jesus did something to help someone ONLY so that the person he helped could go and tell the story and persuade others to praise him. Jesus never does anything in private and he only ever seems to help those in need when he has a crowd he can show off to. He’s like the guy that won’t donate to the ASPCA unless he gets that “free” t-shirt so that everyone will know that he donated, even though that t-shirt cost the very organization he is trying to “help out” financially.  Jesus knows that the best marketing is by word-of-mouth and never wastes an opportunity to spread that word– even if it is at the expense of others (as it is in this case). So, poor, innocent pigs have to die, people have to starve, and livelihoods have to be started over from scratch so that the demons could get what they so desperately wanted. But, at least Jesus got what he wanted out of it too, right?

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Christianity is Such a Tool

 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you:

I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies.

Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.

‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.

‘Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.

I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.

‘And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.

When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters.

I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you.

I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas.

I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it.

I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste.

Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

As long as it lies desolate it shall rest—for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.

‘And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues.

They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; also in their fathers’ iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.

‘But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.

The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes.

Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.

But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.’” Leviticus 26:14-45

judgement-day-600_s640x427One of my biggest complaints with Christianity (and most religions for that matter) is how fear-based it is. I mean, I get it. Fear is the easiest tool in our human tool box to take out and use to control massive amounts of people at one time. But, that doesn’t make it right. The Bible is FULL of passages like the one above from Leviticus. In fact, for every comforting/loving thing god says in the Old Testament, there is either a completely unrealistic demand attached to it and/or an incredibly violent and scary threat if you don’t comply.

And if I hear one single person say, “But Missy, that’s why Jesus came down and died for us so that his daddy wouldn’t be mean to us anymore and we wouldn’t have to suffer as he intended us to if we were bad like we are.” I’m gonna say, “BULLSHIT”.  If that were actually the case, then wouldn’t hell be non-existent? Why would anyone go to hell if Jesus loved everyone no matter what and “saved” us all? Why is there a planned apocalypse/rapture coming to swoop up all of Jesus’ favorite people if he died to save us all from god’s irrationality and anger?

He’s not going to save me because I believe in a different god? God was going to kill me for that anyway, so why delay the process? He’s not going to save me because I believe in no god at all? Again, why would Jesus die to protect me from the sins god threatened to kill me for if he intended to leave me behind in fire and brimstone for the rest of eternity later on anyways? This ‘You have to believe in him/it or it doesn’t work’ argument completely contradicts the entire purpose for Jesus supposedly dying for my sin of not believing (which by the way, he knew I would commit). Which therefore completely contradicts the idea that Jesus came to save us from the sins we were told we would die for, which therefore makes passages like this one, in Leviticus 26,  open for complete legitimacy in the Christian religion (despite what some apologists would argue). Which therefore makes my argument that Christianity is a fear-based tool used to scare and control huge portions of the population through psychological and emotional violence completely legitimate. I’ll bet you $10 the CDC would agree with me.

“Psychological/emotional violence involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to, humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. It is considered psychological/emotional violence when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence. In addition, stalking is often included among the types of IPV. Stalking generally refers to “harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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.