Class Warfare Blog

December 24, 2016

Yes and No?

Filed under: Culture,Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:59 am
Tags: , , ,

A N.Y. Times columnist had a column with the provocative title “Pastor, am I a Christian?” in which the author expressed some doubts about the standard theology of Christianity. The theologian he interviewed on these doubts gave him pretty much the party line so there was little of interest there, but the comments … the comments, now they were interesting.

One such comment said the core of Christianity was Jesus’ mission, basically to sacrifice himself to save all of us from Original Sin. (Basically, He sacrificed Himself, to Himself, to save us all from Himself—Thank you, John Zande!) The very next comment said “Wrong.” Another comment said that the important part of Christianity was not the superstitious mumbo-jumbo but “Jesus’ teachings.”

I have already posted ad nauseum about the “mission” aspect of  Christianity but I have said little of Jesus’ teachings, that is his philosophy. What about that?

It seems that most Christians honor the teachings of Jesus by ignoring them. These “teachings” are relatively sparse, being mostly repetitions of prior scripture, hence not original to Jesus. So, there is little to discuss, as most of that was already in evidence before the Jesus story was written.

Of the new stuff, Jesus told a fellow to sell all of his worldly goods and give what he made from that sale to the poor. I do not see this advice being followed all that much. Most apologists indicate that this advice was only for that man alone and was not meant to apply to every one. I guess they didn’t think he was serious when Jesus said that a rich man had as little chance of getting into Heaven as a camel to go through the eye of the needle. (This term may have been in common use, the “Eye of the Needle” being claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. So, it wasn’t impossible, just quite unlikely.) Since, in this country, the goal of every rich person seems to be getting richer, my guess is none of them are Christians.

Jesus also told people to disavow their families and to follow him, presumably not to the point of becoming human sacrifices, but in this context to follow his teachings, I guess.

He also said that Jewish laws were all intact and were to be followed to the letter. I don’t see any Christians doing this, either.

So, “following the teachings of Jesus” is something almost no one is doing even given the fact that Jesus said almost nothing new or novel. (I say “almost” because right now it is truly nothing new or novel, but you never know when some new document might be discovered.) Basically, Jesus said “Be a Jew and meet me in Heaven.” The rest is quite debatable.

In another piece in the Times a day later (today) quotations and photos of many artists who died in 2016 were offered. One that struck a chord was from Umberto Eco:
I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
This kind of explains everything. Our brains are pattern recognition engines. We see patterns everywhere and when we do not see patterns, we make them up. So, we are constantly trying to see patterns as they allow us to predict future events and, hence, be safer. If we notice that when a tiger is sneaking up on us through the grass, there is a certain movement in the grass, then we equate “specific grass movement = tiger” and get the heck out of there. There is no penalty if we are wrong, such as when the grass was moved by the wind instead of a tiger, but a severe penalty is possible if we ignore or do not see the pattern and heed it.

So, we run willy-nilly asking “God” (a pattern) to show us a “sign” (also a pattern). And, lo and behold we see them! (Surprise, surprise.) If you combine this very understandable aspect of human brains with a penchant for making shit up, religion is explained quite well, including beliefs in the teachings/philosophy of Jesus when there is really no “there” there.

PS For those of you who wonder why I write about religion in a class warfare blog, religion has been and is being used to oppress those who would oppose the oligarch’s plans for our future. We are told to be meek and mild and that our reward will come after we die. This is so the rich people can have their reward while they are still alive.

 

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9 Comments »

  1. It seems that most Christians honor the teachings of Jesus by ignoring them

    That about sums it up.

    Have a great holiday! Enjoy the food, the wine, and whatever other trappings make you happy.

    Like

    Comment by Nan — December 24, 2016 @ 11:42 am | Reply

    • You, too! I am making my partner a full turkey dinner so she has the day off.

      On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 11:42 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 24, 2016 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

    • I concur. An excellent and very astute observation.

      Like

      Comment by Arkenaten — December 25, 2016 @ 5:25 am | Reply

  2. There is another explanation for the “camel through the eye of the needle”: that it was a misprint from “kamilos” (rope) to “kamelos” (camel).
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_a_needle
    The same article does mention the Jerusalem gate explanation, but notes there is no evidence of that gate existing.

    Like

    Comment by List of X — December 24, 2016 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

    • Cool!

      On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 12:19 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 24, 2016 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  3. Great post, Steve.
    All the best to you and yours.

    Like

    Comment by Arkenaten — December 25, 2016 @ 5:25 am | Reply

    • And to you!

      On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 5:25 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 25, 2016 @ 7:56 am | Reply

  4. If it were for “Jesus’ teachings” then one would imagine he would have (should have) said something genuinely original, and/or useful. There’s not an original thought there.

    Like

    Comment by john zande — December 26, 2016 @ 3:47 am | Reply

    • This I learned from you my friend. I “assumed” that there was something there that I just missed, not having been a diligent NT scholar. What I find absolutely appaling is either the gross incompetence of the clergy or the lying of the clergy. Talk about “telling it like it is (not).”

      On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 3:47 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 26, 2016 @ 10:43 am | Reply


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