Monday, July 10, 2006

The Christian Brand

Show me where it says that a Christian has to be a good person to retain the “Christian” label.  Because I’m just not buying it.  And I won’t even accept the non-Gospel parts of the New Testament as proof; as that was just more of mankind mucking around in the dark.  I want something straight from the Big Guy, Jesus Christ himself saying that his followers had to be good people and that if you did bad things, you weren’t his people.  And I don’t think you’ll find that, as I don’t think he said it.  

If Jesus was for real, then we were all inferior beasts to him, and he would have understood everything, suckiness and all.  We don’t blame ants for behaving like jerks, and Jesus wouldn’t have any different opinion of us.  And the bigger a jerk someone is, the less they can be blamed for behaving like a jerk.  That’s my attitude and I’m not even an omniscient deity (not officially, anyway).  I’m not some lofty god looking down from my ivory tower with my theoretical morality.  I actually have to put up with these assheads on a daily basis and still I forgive them.

I think anyone’s a Christian who thinks that they’re a Christian, and they don’t have to be particularly good.  To me, a “Christian” is anyone who believes that Jesus was a real person who was either the “Son of God” (whatever that means) or God himself.  I’m not picky.  I’ll accept either answer.  They also have to believe the stuff in the New Testament, even if they don’t follow it.  That’s it.  That’s what it means.  You don’t have to be a good person.  You don’t even have to make sense of the contradictory parts.  Or to even believe that hogwash about the virgin birth or the other cool stuff that looks like it was added in later.  You just have to have some semblance of a sensible theory of Jesusness, and you’re in.  Oh, and they probably have to believe in the miracle stuff, though that isn’t a strict requirement.  And I suppose the whole Easter thing is pretty important; but that’s it.

And heck, lots of Christians are bigots.  Lots of them are happy with poor people starving and kids suffering.  They’ll allow millions of kids to live and die in horrible lives that they’d never allow for their own children.  Those aren’t good people.  Yet who’s to say they aren’t Christian.  You might.  But they sure don’t.  So why can’t we include the Christian rapists too?  Or the bastards?  If people are willing to allow others to suffer, what does it matter if they do it indirectly.  If they’re ok with this stuff happening, then they’re to blame anyway.  And as long as they pass the “Jesus as Lord and Savior” test, then who are we to say otherwise?  I’m not saying that most Christians are this way, but the ones who are might disagree with all the others.  And who’s to say they’re wrong.

And if this is all about word games, and who a “true” Christian is: Why can’t we all play?  Why can’t I deny that bad people are American?  Or atheist?  Or human?  Because that’s all this is: word games to make their group sound better.  And it just doesn’t work like that.  You accept the good with the bad.  There are Christians who do bad things and cheat on their wives and there are liberals who hate people and want America to suck.  That’s just the way it is.  Most people have sucky qualities about them, and it is inevitable that they’ll join some group we’d rather they not join; namely, our own group, and say and do lots of embarrassing things.  And if they happen to join your group, then you really don’t have much right to complain.  That’s just the nature of groups.  Statistically speaking, jerkoffs will join.  And the more you think they’re a jerkoff, the more they think you’re a jerkoff.  It can’t be helped.

And if that means that you can’t claim that your group is superior to others, then so be it.  You lose that claim.  There are no guarantees in life (lest God get sued by the Consumers Union for fraud), and there’s nothing to say that a group you’ve joined is free from suckers.  In the end, you’re on your own with this stuff, and if you don’t like the company you keep, then you have no other choice than to stand on your own two feet and claim your own opinions.  

Heck, I’m a CPA, a group that I’m particularly proud to be a part of; and even I won’t claim that all CPA’s are good people.  And we even have enforceable standards for that kind of thing.  We try to kick-out the rapists, jerkoffs, and bastards; and even that’s not enough.  There’s still a CPA somewhere screwing someone over and there’s nothing I can do about it.  And the Christians have no such standards for admission.  There’s no test for Christianness or any kind of ethics board to kick the baddies out.  They’re on the Honor System and it’s not particularly honorable.

They claim that bad people aren’t Christians, but the bad people have an equal claim to the contrary.  They say they’re believers.  They say they’re priests, preachers, and ministers; and no one can claim otherwise.  They can be denied access to a particular church, but they can’t be denied the generic label of “Christian”.  And if someone doesn’t like that, then they just have to deal with it.  There is no Board of Directors controlling access to the Christian label, and if you’re reading my site, then you probably wouldn’t be on it anyway.  This isn’t meant to disparage Christians in general.  It just means that the Christian brand isn’t worth what you think it is.


Bibblesnæð said...

Well, Matthew 25:31-46 pretty much lays out what you have to do to be a good Christian. That's the one where Jesus says, "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
O.K., it's a long one, but to me, this is the most important stretch of the Bible. It pretty much lays out what it means to be a Christian. And far too many "Christians" fall far short on that score. In truth, we all fall far short, as we're all human, after al, but what I call "so called Christians" don't even try. I don't think they are Christians. And I think there is more to being Christian than just saying you are one. You have to live like one. It's true, there's no all-purpose list somewhere of all Christians. It's not like being in the military, or like joining a fraternity, where there are rules to join up that everybody agrees on, and if you break the rules too baldly or persistently, they can throw you out, and then you're unequivically out.. It's a nebulous group of people with countless nebulous subgroups and subsubgroups. I think that's why it's even more important for those of us who do try to follow the teachings of Jesus to call out the frauds for turning it into a racket.

the bewilderness said...

By their fruits you will know them.
Thank you Bibblesnaeo, just so.