Thursday, June 28, 2007

Santa Christ

Religion.

Yah.. what a subject.
As I generally state elsewhere: 'I view religion as nothing more than convenient, apathetic hypocrisy'.

Sounds fairly nasty, doesn't it.

I might add though, that I'm not mocking an individual's choice of faith, or the very human desire to actually have faith, but in terms of 'religion' in it's most common form today, I say "what a load of arse".

Where to start..

Hmm how about breaking it down. What is 'religion'? According to Teh Intehnets:

"Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system—is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. In its broadest sense some have defined it as the sum total of answers given to explain humankind's relationship with the universe. In the course of the development of religion, it has taken a huge number of forms in various cultures and individuals..."

..blah blah blah yup - that's about it in a nutshell.

Let's take a look at a few more definitions:
"A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny"; "he lost his faith but not his morality"

"A framework of beliefs relating to supernatural or superhuman beings or forces that transcend the everyday material world" "A set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices pertaining to supernatural power"

Or the Oxford dictionary definition (theistic): "1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship."
(Non-Theistic definition): "The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life."

So wait a minute - there's a common theme here. 'SUPERNATURAL POWERS' (to paraphrase)

Let me write that once more, just to be clear:
SUPERNATURAL POWERS

Okay, whilst I think I'm smart enough to understand that this doesn't necessarily mean there's some tights-wearing deity with a passion for wearing his undergarments on the outside running around controlling the universe, I must admit I have a little trouble swallowing the concept.

Irrespective of whether or not I can wrap my head around the picture of an almighty God surrounding us with it's omnipotence, I find it irreversibly amusing that there is nothing supposedly 'wrong' with having a conversation about.. well about a.. Super Being Thing.

Like an Alien maybe? Or just a SuperPowerfulFantasyConstruct? Heck, a Giant? A Dragon? Hey what about Hobbitses, or Fairies? Can we talk about them as well? (oohh - they're not 'real'.. oh sorry.. *cough) But more on this point (context) further down the article.

For now, I'm going to talk about the whole 'one' God thing. (I love this one)


I mean, talk to subscribers of different religions, and they will tell you all about their one and only God. ie:

Other Gods do not exist.

Talk to a Christian and they will tell you that the idea of a big fat Buddha sitting cross-legged amongst stalks of burning incense is cute, but far-fetched.

Invite a Scientologist into your home for a cup of tea and they will tell you all about how it works being a Thetan:

When a person dies – or, in Scientology terms, when a thetan abandons their physical body – they go to a "landing station" on the planet Venus, where the thetan is re-implanted and told lies about its past life and its next life. The Venusians take the thetan, "capsule" it, and send it back to Earth to be dumped into the ocean off the coast of California.
Says Ron Hubbard, "If you can get out of that, and through that, and wander around through the cities and find some girl who looks like she is going to get married or have a baby or something like that, you're all set. And if you can find the maternity ward to a hospital or something, you're OK. And you eventually just pick up a baby."
To avoid these inconveniences, Hubbard advises Scientologists to refuse to go to Venus after their death.

Try telling this to a Jehovah’s Witness, and they will chuckle politely at such delightful fairy tales and instead explain to you how they reject much of modern mainstream Christianity in favour of what they believe is a restored form of First Century Christianity.

They will go on to tell you also that during the war of Armageddon, which they believe to be imminent, the wicked will be destroyed, and that the survivors of this event, along with individuals deemed worthy of resurrection, will form a new society ruled by a heavenly government and have the possibility of living forever in an earthly paradise.

Tell that to a member of The Latter Day Saint movement from Utah and they will smile at your cute and amphetamine-induced perspective on the future, and instead talk about the benefits of plural marriage, a practice which first became famous in the 19th century but is continued to this day by Mormon fundamentalists.

They will also go on to tell you how they reject the traditional Christian concept of the Trinity, instead believing that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three different beings united in purpose, love, and perfection; and that they also believe that the Father (and Christ after his resurrection) has a physical body.
(In contrast, Trinitarian theology teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different persons united in substance (or essence), and that the Father does not have a physical body.)

Unfortunately, some of their mates up the road (other branches of the very same Latter Day Saint movement) teach that the Father was once a man and became God at some point in the past, and that Mormons may eventually inherit the same state, called "Exaltation".

Oops - ah well they say variety is the spice of life..?

Anyhow, you get my point. A subscriber to one particular religious flavour effectively has to dismiss the existence of any other faction's deity of choice.
And, if you don't, then you're hardly wearing the team colours, are you.

Hilarious. (excuse me for one moment whilst I dry the tears of laughter from my eyes..)


Where was I.. oh yes.
I mean to finish up this particular point by relating the absurdity of all this, in context.
It utterly amazes me - that sane (presumably) and grown individuals can honestly stand before me and calmly let the notion, that there is an omnipresent being governing our lives and our world, roll off their tongue.

Context - this is what it's all about.

I relate it to males pissing:
In a male toilet, we stand at urinals, not more than 1.5 feet between us, and flop out our old-fellas. In other words, there's absolutely nothing wrong with me grabbing my penis, pulling it out of my pants and holding it in front of me in plain view, right beside a stranger, or a workmate, or a friend.

Context adjustment: What if instead we were standing in a lift together - just that same person and I, nobody else present. If I decided to unzip my pants, grab my weenie and flop it out as we conversed.. well I'd be arrested!

Back to religious context - and it's the same thing:

If I were to begin a conversation at work about how I believe in aliens, or superheroes, or that I thought Santa was in fact a very real living and breathing person replete with flying reindeer and the ability to service all of the world's chimneys within 8 hours.. well I'd probably be sent to the company infirmary.
Yet in an exact same scenario, I could conceivably begin a valid discussion about God, without fear of being ridiculed as a deluded (and obviously drug inflicted) lunatic.

(Also, hilarious).



My next point is around the hypocrisy exhibited by most 'religious' people that I have ever come across.
I'm sure I don't have to delve into this part very deeply, as you will know what I'm talking about, or at least recognise it in a Christian you know of.

The 'convenient escape alibi'. Brilliant! Here's how it works:

I go to church (*shudder) so therefore I am 'A Good Person'. In fact, this should automatically place me further ahead in any of life's queues that require character justification. Bank loan? Employment? Keeper of monies? Anything to do with 'trust' or 'welfare'? I'm you're guy!

Sure, it just so happens that I'm a self-righteous pig, with no care for anyone's opinion but my own, living in a bubble and treating my friends to a free mowing of their lawn every Sunday afternoon but being an office psychopath 5 days of every week and beating the Jesus into my wife on every one of those 5 nights, but I'm a God Botherer; so I'm OK.

Yes, it's okay - do not be alarmed.. for despite all of my 'sins' throughout the week, I can make a reluctant and faux appearance at my local Anglican Church on Sunday morning with the wife and kids, and be *absolved* of all those sins!

Yes folks - 'Forgiveness'! W00t! This is ONE SWEET DEAL.
As long as I admit to my multitude of sociopathic sins, and am prepared to stand anonymously amongst a flock of fellow church-goers, I can come out the side door of St Stephanie's as clean as a whistle.

Heck, it's a religious car wash!

Must figure out a way to be able do this without leaving the comfort of my own home.. I wonder if there's a coin operated version in the works, or an internet site that God has access to..

Yeppers. That's how I see it, for the vast majority of 'religious' people I know or have known.
It's terribly convenient, and ultimately The Best Hypocrisy Ever.
Absolution is one fucking dirty word if you ask me. Sweep everything under the carpet and it's all pretty again.


Another disturbing trait I have noticed, is one most inherent within Born Again Christians.
Is it just me, or is nearly every single one of these annoying blowflies the emergent result of tragedy?
I can't tell you how many BAC's I have come across that were unrecognisable as the same person prior to 'finding God'.

Speaking personally, I know of guys who were real 'lads' once, fucking anything with a pulse and hoovering substances up their nose like a modern day Dyson, who came too close to flatlining and all of a sudden are wearing cardigans and reading glasses, speaking in inoffensive dulcet tones and waving a fucking Bible around.
I know of a woman who was in a horrible marriage with about a dozen kids, trying to eek out a pathetic living, who dropped her family like a hot rock and after disappearing off the face of the planet for about 6 weeks, returned with Bible in hand and chastity belt firmly in place, incessantly quoting scripture to all that passed within 10 feet of her.

Seriously, it would appear that the downtrodden, failed, and/or nearly dead members of our society turn everywhere but inwards to find solace and resolution, ending up in a New Age Church, talking in tongues, waving their hands in the air and literally preaching their new-found saving grace at all and sundry.
Or at very least the reverse: Find me a BAC that has NOT been through some kind of personal tragedy.

*swat (fuck OFF with your Jesus bullshit!)


Another important angle on all this, is around the concept of 'Faith'.
Despite what you are likely thinking, I do not bemoan Faith, which is in my opinion an entirely different beast than religion.

It is my belief that faith is an important component of humanity, and of all people I do realise that it is required, in some form or another. Whereby we are without answers to certain questions, or in need of a grounding component that threads it's way throughout our existence, faith is the answer.
The thing is, it's all about us requiring something to latch on to. And therefore in my opinion, 'faith' can take many forms, and can be leveraged off many different components of our lives.

At an extremely rudimentary (if not fundamental) level, I believe we must have faith in and of our own selves. And this is where I see a great many individuals go off the rails - you may have read some of my previous posts about having a sense of 'self'? Well, those posts are actually talking to this very concept of faith.
Without faith in ourselves, we are unable to offer anybody else, or the world, anything of substance. We instead rely partially or wholly upon external forces to control our being, leaving ourselves exposed to the risk of not being in total control of our very own life.

Whereby you 'need' something external (normally emotionally) to function at a basic level, you are effectively co-dependent.
As in, were this exo-value to go away, you would be less-than-self. In other words, 100% of you is in fact made up of (say) 60% you and 40% something else.

Where you are able to reach a point that does not require another individual in order to merely survive emotionally, or where you are able to venture out on the town by yourself (as an example), you are indeed wholly reliant upon yourself only, and are not at the mercy of others. No matter what happens, everything that goes on is above the baseline of 'you', therefore you can lose all of it and still retain 100% self.

I see stereotypical religion as exactly that.
It's emotional landfill for those with gaping holes. A crutch for the needy. A convenient excuse. A comfort, whereby you are unable to provide any on your own.
A candle in the darkness.

My problem with this? It breeds a behavior of copping out - of not turning inwards to face the challenges under your own volition. It breeds dependency upon external factors, and gives you a convenient spitting bowl when required. It gives you a pretty rug, to sweep away your issues without having to deal with them.

Bah - I fucking hate religion for that alone.


I should wrap this up for now - not that I've finished by any stretch of the imagination, it's just that this is quite enough of a bite-sized chunk to post for now, and the rest can wait. There's no rush.


But one important point still remains:

This is my opinion. Therefore, it's not necessarily 'correct', obviously. But if you are indeed a good little Christian, you would be upholding one of your key Christian values by indeed entertaining my viewpoint at very least. (like that would ever happen, you hypocritical backstabbers!)

Are you incorrect?
I simply do not know.

But am I right?
You simply do not know, either.

Nor can either of us categorically prove ourselves.


Prince said it best in his song 'Sign O' The Times':

"Hurricane Annie ripped the ceiling off a church

and killed everyone inside.."

The ultimate figurative oxymoron.

Until next Sunday, Bless you.

Labels:

10 Comments:

At 4:38 pm, June 30, 2007, Anonymous Guiding Angel said...

You are in my prayers. God will forgive you, and will accept you into His Kingdom.

 
At 4:53 pm, June 30, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

hehe

oh, wait. ur kidding, right?

 
At 4:18 am, July 01, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Says it all right here.

 
At 6:32 pm, July 01, 2007, Anonymous Scott Free said...

Oh please,anyone who knows the works of the artist formally known as : would realise this line is a metaphor for violently sucking half a kg of south American blonde up your nose and wasting some brain cells !Just as in the writings of that literary masterpiece the bible, Prince's lyrics are up for individual interpretation, but i know where i stand when it comes to making a choice between a man nailed to a cross for doing very little or a very little cross man who's always nailed.

Scott Free

 
At 1:21 am, July 02, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

@anonymous:
LOL

@scott free: three things..
1) i totally respect your choice of faith. it's just not something i can invest into, for many reasons (some of which i cover in my article)

2) i love your closing comment - v.clever :)

3) i'm all for individual interpretation, but come on! 'interpretation' surely can't be as vast as to have Buddha emerging from his mother's side without causing her any pain and announcing that he would be the "chief of the world" at one end of the spectrum, and venutian rocket capsules at the other?

And let's not even start on Judaism, who's four major Abrahamic religions can't even agree upon whether or not Joseph is recognised as a fourth patriarch, and insist that subscribers to the Baha'i World Faith (who also trace their roots back to Abraham) are just tagging along for a joy ride and are not in fact a 'true' religion..

i swear that if i utilised the same 'broadness' of interpretation with the book we call The Law, i'd be behind bars within 30 minutes. ("..well officer, that was my interpretation of euthanasia..??")

=)

 
At 4:19 pm, July 02, 2007, Anonymous unoffended said...

I don't get the feeling that Zarres is knocking religion as such. More he's knocking the blind fanaticism & "lead by the tail" approach mainstream society takes towards it, and the prepensity humans demonstrate towards witchunting and (in his words) 'convenient interpretation'.

I am a practising Christian, and I am not offended by this article. He speaks of inner faith. That is hardly a bad place to start.
I find it amusing and intelligently witty; albeit for for effect.

 
At 9:18 pm, July 02, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

Well I'll take that as a compliment, unoffended.

And yes, you would be leaning towards the true nature of my article.

Surely this type of stuff has to make people wonder? I can't be the only one who sees a gap in the 'interpretation', and gets to thinking about how come one person can believe in something, whilst another dismisses it entirely?

And I'm not talking about explanations, just observation.
For example, I don't need to know *why* the sky is blue and the grass is green, but everywhere I go in the world, it's the same deal.
And no matter what you believe, in terms of the *why*, they're going to be blue and green for every other human being that looks upon them.

I like faith. I also understand that the vast majority of people need 'religion' to hang faith off. It's just that it's an area that nobody can categorically prove or validate, outside of what it does for them spiritually or mentally (that end result being grand, for sure) but the contrived variations that have been constructed over the ages (nee fairy tales in my opinion) are simply foreign to me. Watching or listening to people defend them categorically, down to minute detail, without 'evidence', is endlessly amusing to me.
/shrug

 
At 4:37 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

Hell hath no fury?

 
At 1:36 am, July 13, 2007, Blogger Zarres said...

I couldn't resist..

 
At 9:38 pm, July 17, 2007, Anonymous Peter Curtis said...

Very interesting piece that you have written here, and I agree with the absurdity of the generalisations of church and religion that you have put forward. It's certainly hard to make judgement or test the validity of a deity when the only representations of one are the miserable people who follow him, who are often as it were inevitably driven towards division.

Interestingly enough, I am a BAC who hasn't had any "major" turning points in my life.

 

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