Sunday, February 08, 2004

A few thoughts on religion.

To my Jewish readers: if any Christian (self-professed, anyway) accuses your culture of killing Jesus, you would do well to remind them of two things:

a) the Spanish Inquisition
b) forgive and forget.

After all, it's not like the Christian Monolith is responsible for bombing Iraq...

Anyway, I'm Christian, but it sickens me to watch people play the "my-religion-is-better-than-your-religion" game. I'm Quaker, and it makes me rather proud that George Fox welcomed the (pagan!) American Indians to his services, saying "they worship the Great Spirit; they worship God." If I could, I would just have every sect of religion split and split and split until there was precisely one for every person on the planet, but that's none of my business. I'll just keep enjoying Quakerism, going to a cramped room with folding chairs and peeling white paint, being silent until people decide to stand up and say, "By golly, things are going REALLY bad in..."

But anyway! Back to the killing Jesus thing. Jesus was Jewish (and Arabic! Imagine what the Religious Right would think of him today), and I can think of thousands of people who need to have that little factoid rammed into their brains a couple thousand times until it sticks. Secondly, Jews killed him, but not THE Jews; it's not like all the Jews took a vote. Jesus was Jewish, the disciples were Jewish, there were poor Jews, rich Jews, Jews with small noses, big noses, ones who preferred to go to church on Sunday, ones who stayed home and slept, blahblahblah. However, the rich, powerful Jews were pretty scared of this Jesus guy, calling himself the Son of God and saying you should love your enemy and give up your second coat or somesuch. So these fellows, who are probably analogous to today's Religious Right (or more accurately, the Bush administration; after all, Gen. Boykin freely admits that they're fighting a war against Islam), decide to give him the Cross. A few hundred years later, some of the Jews start a sect around Jesus, some don't. And that's how it's been for a few thousand years, with the exception of the appearance of this radical Mohammed guy; and soon the rich, aristocratic Christians want him and his followers dead. (Can you see where this is going?)

(by the way, my summary of Christian history is off the top of my head and completely unresearched. If any Bible experts are reading this, feel free to shoot holes in it.)

In short, it wasn't the Jews who killed Jesus, it was the crazy Jewish wingnuts. And if you're still concerned about crazy Jewish wingnuts from 2000 years ago, you might want to focus on crazy Jewish wingnuts who are occupying Palestine and bulldozing their homes and shooting them dead. (At this point, you can segue-way into reading Rafah Kid, since he's got the scoop on that.)

Anyway, I think that's how it works. I believe in God not because I'm particularly convinced of anything (Bertrand Russell, after all, was my childhood hero), but because it's what I grew up with and what I feel strongly about. When I talk to God, not only do I see a woman, but I see a sacred prostitute, with a perky, motherly demeanor; so what would I know? (Everybody sees God in their own way, you know; although it does piss me off that all the paintings of Jesus are of a skinny white guy. Does anybody seem to realize we're killing his descendants in the Middle East?)

Okay, and now a message for my Christian readers. Yeah, the Bible is full of silly rules and contradictions and strangeness. And while the Fundamentalists can come up with a billion different obscure passages to say that women are evil and need to be punished or that gay sex is a sin or that you shouldn't eat pears on Friday or whatever, Jesus did say a few things over and over again, things like:

1) love your neighbor
2) love your enemy
3) treat the alien as one of your own

And that's pretty cool.
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