Ghetto-X-tianity

So I'm getting into my car after a long class at massage school reviewing every anatomy class I've taken for the last six months and I notice this card on the ground next to my door. Thinking that it had likely fallen from the myriad papers in the backseat when I had thrown my backsack in, I picked up the card and examined it. What was on the card was fascinating, or rather amusing enough, that I decided to take it home with me. The top of the card said "I.Q. Test" and encouraged the reader to add a set of numbers together. Turning the card over to check your answer the card informs you that the answer is 3100 and that most people say "4000". Okay I said 4000 also, a cheap novelty, but still nothing close to an actual I.Q. Test. Luckily there was another "I.Q. Test" (I'm really beginning to wonder at this point what exactly "I.Q." stood for on this card since it clearly was unrelated to any meaningful intelligence quotient).

The text of the card followed like this:

Here is another intelligence test. Answer yes or no OUT LOUD:
1/ Is there a God?

No.

2/ Does God care about right and wrong?

See #1.

3/ Are god's standards the same as ours?

Not applicaple see #1.

4/ Will God punish sin?

Define sin... no wait just see #1.

5/ Is there a hell?

No... wait actually I've been told that the hebrew word for hell is Gehinnom (the old testament was in hebrew originally), and that this refers to an actual place in Israel. A garbage dump outside the gates of jerusalem. From wikipedia:

Originally it referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem (in modern-day Israel) where fires were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped...

In the Book of Matthew, 23:33, Jesus observes,

"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
Jesus used the word gehenna, not hell, and his audience understood quite well that gehenna meant a place of condemnation, where Jews had previously cast aside the worship of the true God to defile themselves by committing abominations. Human garbage, sinners, would be consumed and destroyed forever.

So maybe Jesus meant some fiery tormentuous supernatural place that was not the valley of hinnom of which he referred. But given that it does refer to an actual geographical place on this planet I'm going to say yes there is a hell/gehinnom.

6/ Do you avoid Hell by living a good life?

Do only bad people live in Israel? Wait don't answer that. I do not want to have that debate. I'm going to say no -there is no relationship between being good and avoiding that particular geographical location (as far as I know).

The answers are 1/ Yes. 2/ Yes 3/ No. 4/ Yes/ 5/Yes 6/no.

Damnit I forgot about the whole "answer yes or no" part. I must be stupid, can't even follow simple directions on a simple test, but I did get the last 2 right. Thats gotta count for something.

You can't afford to be wrong. Find out the truth ~ ask God to forgive your sins, then trust jesus christ. He took your punishment by dying on the cross for you. Then he rose from the dead. Read the bible daily and obey what you read. . . God will never let you down.

Now imagine you were an alien from another planet who had just learned english and you read that last paragraph. Would that not be just a bunch of gibberish?

But for even more fun lets contemplate the idea of "reading the bible daily and obeying what you read." We'll start with every one's favorite chapter Leviticus. I don't even have to pick out the oft-quoted passages about stoning wives who talk back, and the correct precedures/etiquette for selling one's daughter.

Leviticus 19:15 "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great."
Ouch. That one will hurt the catholics, though the latter part will likely hurt republicans.

Leviticus 19:19 "Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."

Wow being an x-tian is tough. I wonder if god approves of polyester?

Leviticus 19:27 "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard."

I think I can manage that.

Leviticus 20:9 If anyone curses his father or mother he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother and his blood will be on his own head.

Leviticus is full of fun stuff like that, but to be fair it is an old book of laws that applied to a culture and time that doesn't really exist anymore. Which is why the advice of "read the bible and obey what you read" is really bad advice. Given that the only obeyable verses are commandments or laws, and quite a few of those commandments/laws involve killing people that break them, you would actually be encouraging a form of christian terrorism that would rival that of the jihadists, and/or the salem witch trials to name a few examples.

Which makes me wonder if the x-tian-ghettoers are really prepared for anyone to take them seriously. Given their proclivity for speaking on behalf of a being they believe to be omnipotent, omnipresent and their ruler, and their fondness for telling the rest of us what "he" meant when he said such and such, its often hard to believe they take themselves seriously. I would certainly be pissed off if I had people who claimed to be my followers going around and putting up billboards with quotes attributed to me that they know well I never said. As an atheist I consider every billboard I see that is quoting god to be hard evidence that those who put up the quote do not believe God exists as a distinct entity unto himself.

I mean how could anyone believe in an all-powerful higher being that commands and rules them, invent some amusing quote that propagates their own beliefs in relation to that god, and then publicly (and largely) post that quote as originating from God himself? Does anyone believe that these people are prophets that God spoke to and told them to post publicly his words which happen to be : "Keep using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer. -God" or "Big bang theory, you've got to be kidding. -God"

I've got to get in on this. I mean if they can speak for a god they don't believe in so can I. How about "What do you need this crappy huge government for? You've got me! -God."

"Why are all of y'all so worked up over natural selection? Its sexual selection you should be worried about, 'cause if you think the planet is only 6000 years old I doubt your on top of your game. -God"

"When are the Braves going to win another series? I can't do everything for you guys. -God"

"I invented sex for a reason. If you're not doing it, you're missing out! -God."

:end:

Feel free to add your own.

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Love your enemies and pray

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment...Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also...You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Jacob asks us so not to be so quick to disparage the Christian religion. But the biblical advice he mentions above is sheer lunacy and deserves disparagement if anything does.

Does Jacob love Hitler? Does Jacob pray for Hitler? Is Jacob not angry with Hitler? Does Jacob resist Hitler? Does Jacob turn the other cheek to Hitler? Since Jacob is imperfect, does he have no grounds on which to challenge Hitler?

If you dislike my use of the H-bomb, simply replace it with Bin Laden. And then tell me whether Christianity -- particularly this insane idea of turning the other cheek and loving your enemies -- deserves respect or ridicule.

I didn't disparage the

I didn't disparage the christian religion. What I was discussing shouldn't pass as christianity. Its unfortunate that so many people think it does, given how shallow and shameless it is.

If you dislike my use of the

If you dislike my use of the H-bomb, simply replace it with Bin Laden. And then tell me whether Christianity – particularly this insane idea of turning the other cheek and loving your enemies – deserves respect or ridicule.

Respect.

Though I'm not sure if I can verbalize why, and it may well be the simple product of a Christian upbringing -- but nevertheless, there is something distinctly beautiful about loving those who hate you. Perhaps it's useful in the end run, perhaps not -- the idea still seems lovely. Loving the sinner, hating the sin -- recognizing that everybody has something good in them, no one is beyond forgiveness. These are platitudes of course, but they are respectable ones.

At any rate, on turning the other cheek, see: http://www.unification.net/ws/theme145.htm

"But for even more fun lets

"But for even more fun lets contemplate the idea of “reading the bible daily and obeying what you read.”"

How about:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment."

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

I wouldn't be so quick to disparage the Christian religion.

Since math interests me more

Since math interests me more than religion, what were the numbers, and why was it so hard to add them?

Well I think most reasonable

Well I think most reasonable Christians would agree with you that the book of Leviticus represents an outdated set of laws and rules for a culture that no longer exists. To be fair, it does undercut the claim of God being eternal and unchanging somewhat, but if you really want consistency you can just relegate the book of Leviticus to the status of myth; as Jacob alludes to, it's really Jesus that Christians ultimately claim to care about, although I think they misunderstand some of his teachings.

Wait, are you saying

Wait, are you saying observant Jews routinely stone idolators and the sexually immoral?

Jews lost the ability to do so when the Temple was destroyed and the population was expelled and dispersed. In order to enforce these laws, there need to be Rabbinical courts and legal Rabbinic ordination, which will not come back into existence until the Messianic age.

Nor was the dealth penalty routine. It is said that a court that sentenced more than one person to death in 70 years was considered "bloody."

Yawn. Getting worked up over

Yawn.

Getting worked up over Christianity is *so* college.

Boo-hiss monotheism,

Boo-hiss monotheism, boo-hiss the slave morality!

-sam

If you dislike my use of the

If you dislike my use of the H-bomb, simply replace it with Bin Laden. And then tell me whether Christianity – particularly this insane idea of turning the other cheek and loving your enemies – deserves respect or ridicule.

Ridicule because idiot ministers to do their best to assuage the pain of the Muslims while forgetting the victims of the the bombers. "Turning the other check" in war means surrender and appeasement. We all know how well that works. Chrisitian leaders preach surrender and sycophancy...they do a disservice to their flock and the wider public.:wall:

Well I think most reasonable

Well I think most reasonable Christians would agree with you that the book of Leviticus represents an outdated set of laws and rules for a culture that no longer exists.

Most reasonable observant Jews would not agree. But I guess, like the Constitution, the Bible is a "living document."

There is no hell is in

There is no hell is in Judaism, and so there is no word in Hebrew for it.

That's not what I was taught in 13+ years of Orthodox Jewish education. Rainbough is right; the Hebrew word for hell is Gehinnom.

The Jewish conception of hell is different than the Christian conception:

Not all souls merit Gehenom. It is for people who have done good but need to be purified. A handful of people are too evil for Gehenom, and they are punished eternally. Pharaoh is one example.

Or see this:

In order to restore the level of purity the soul had possessed before entering the physical world, it must undergo a degree of refinement commensurate to the degree which the body may have indulged itself. If a person sinned in this lifetime, as most of us do, then, to continue the radio analogy, we have serious interference. This means there is even more cleaning to be done. This cleaning process hurts, but is a spiritual and mental process designed not for retribution, but to allow one to truly enjoy his/her reward in Gan Eden. This cleaning process is called “Gehinom,” or, in the vernacular, “Hell.”

Most reasonable observant

Most reasonable observant Jews would not agree. But I guess, like the Constitution, the Bible is a “living document.”

Wait, are you saying observant Jews routinely stone idolators and the sexually immoral? o_o

Wait, are you saying

Wait, are you saying observant Jews routinely stone idolators and the sexually immoral? o_o

I don't know one way or the other, but this morning a bunch of Rabbis chased me to the Metro while pelting me with pebbles.

tell me whether Christianity

tell me whether Christianity – particularly this insane idea of turning the other cheek and loving your enemies – deserves respect or ridicule.

Respect. It is easy to tell people to do what comes naturally: retaliation and hatred for perceived wrongs, especially to outgroups. It is hard to tell them to do what does not come naturally: love (for nonkin) and forgiveness. One is a recipe for war and a cycle of violence; the other for tolerance and social peace.

Jesus had many hard sayings. Many Christians in his wake have struggled with them, and attempted to reconcile them to the world in surprising ways. Such as, for example, the doctrine of just war.

There is no hell is in

There is no hell is in Judaism, and so there is no word in Hebrew for it. Older English translations translate the Hebrew word "sheol" as "hell" from time to time, but sheol means "grave". Modern translations correct this.

- Josh

I think the most incredible

I think the most incredible thing, and what seems to be the sense of Rainbough's post, is that there's something fundamentally wrong with people that can really, truly believe that they should follow every command that God has given them in the bible and then either never read the bible for themselves or just completely ignore these sections from the Old Testament that are so completely insane by modern standards. The level of doublethink necessary here can be pretty staggering, especially when seen in action. Granted, the sophisticated literalists rationalize in various acrobatic ways why they don't consider the OT to be relevant, using verses like that one in Hebrews talking about Jesus having "fulfilled the law" or something. Why they still consider it cannon if so is another matter. And the complete lack of knowledge in these literalists about the way the cannon books, even just of the NT, were chosen, and which others were in circulation--or any other facts surrounding the early establishment of the Christian religion--serves as strong evidence that these people are total loonies. I think this might be one of the most real (severe + widespread) examples of Orweillian doublethink in existence, at least when you consider how highly they praise rationality, and how highly they think of their own rationality. These guys really don't think their positions have any rational inconsistences, and they'll argue about it indefinitely.

Now, a lot of evangelicals give lip service to the literalist dogma, but they backtrack when you really confront them with the book itself. The pastors in this situation that cynically manipulate the ideas like this ...

rant off.