Monday, December 8, 2014

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Well, struck a nerve I guess.

I don't have many friends who read this blog, or at least don't know of many who do, but apparently my point was missed in my last post.  This is easy to mistake, since I am an atheist and do not believe in a higher power.  I would say that I am agnostic, but that would mean that if presented with any kind of proof that a God existed, I'd change my mind.  I'm pretty sure no evidence will come forth, though, and besides, the basic tenant of Christianity is faith, and to quote Douglas Adams paraphrasing God, "Proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

Knowing that I am an atheist, I could see that last post as an attack on Christianity, since Alcohics Anonymous is a Christian organization (think not?  Find me a Muslim AA member), and towards the end I seemed disdainful at my acquaintance's ten-year old Born Againism.

Personally, if I did believe, I would think it was more to do with the individual's fortitude than God, because otherwise why is there sin?  If we were given free will by this omnipotent power, doesn't that preclude going "Oh God, please heal me of this sickness I have?"  Couldn't we just say that of sin also and pretty much be washed clean of it?

But I might have seemed more snarky than I needed to be.  My point in mentioning my friend's continuous smoking was just pointing out his hypocrisy... he's still addicted to nicotine, and if it was God and not his own willpower, why couldn't he have asked to have that cured as well?  But it's not something I really wanted to expound on.  He knows my view on religion, and the fact is that he really didn't find it until he was getting pussy regularly from his highly religious new wife (although not THAT religious, I guess... got knocked up before they married.)

I didn't get into his holier-than-thou views because you just can't.  I tried before, pointing out that taking the Bible as a literal interpretation was actually something Jesus chastised the Pharisees against doing; that the Old Laws where fulfilled when Jesus came along, so cherry-picking Bible verses to satisfy his homophobic beliefs were invalid; that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, and what little that could possibly be considered about homos in the New Testament was, in fact, said by Paul, not Jesus.  Things finally blew up when I pointed out that only 144,000 people were getting into Heaven anyway, according to Revelation, and that he didn't qualify for a seat because his soul had been defiled by a woman, at which point there was no more discussion, just yelling.

Which brings us to...

It's too bad, because I do not believe that the Bible or religion in general is bad, but how it taints its practicers is.  Here is a portion of a review of Philip Pullman's book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, which imagines a less fantastical and more realistic interpretation of the Bible, imagining that Jesus was in fact two people, and the stories of his miracles were really no more than a game of Telephone, or a Big Fish story:
Contemporary atheism has a notable moral tone which goes something like this: The universe is what it is and does and nothing more. Since there is no good reason to believe in anything ‘more’ it is immoral to believe in God. 
That's the kind of dismissive bullshit that does piss me off.  I tried reading the first Left Behind novel, and every character who was left behind after the rapture was the same, two-dimensional non-believer.  Oh, I know my wife believes that Christian hooey, it's so cute, but it couldn't possibly be real could it?  And Christians ate it up.  They really do believe that's how everybody else thinks of them, when in fact most of us don't give it a second thought unless having their beliefs forced on us.

So what I was really harping on about was my friend's hypocrisy at not recognizing his nicotine as an addiction, not his religion.  I guess it really makes no difference.  Also it was not this friend who lost a lung, I've heard, just somebody with the same name.  But if he still smokes like he used to, it won't be long.

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