Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christians



A couple of days ago I linked to documentary about Jesus made by theologian Robert Beckwith. The central thrust of the film was that the teachings attributed to Jesus are universal and perfectly compatible with other belief systems across the globe.

I liked the film a lot because, for a welcome change, someone actually got to put up an intelligent show on mainstream TV which attempted to explore the similarities between people of different faiths, or absence of faiths. In the process the film also tried to demonstrate that being a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean being an intolerant nutcase and that, shock horror, Christianity really should be about being nice to people and doing the decent thing for its own sake

And whilst Beckwith didn’t explicitly state it, one of implied conclusions of the film was that the problem with many Christians is not that they’re Christians, it’s the fact that they’re shit Christians.

Gandhi probably put it better and without reverting to any swears…

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ"


Sure, belief in a Sky God is a bit silly but it’s no sillier than, say, believing that life spontaneously sprung up out of sludge after being struck by lightning a few times

And if secular polemicists such as Richard Dawkins serve no other useful purpose it is to prove that people with religious faith do not hold the monopoly on being intolerant, and plain fucking ignorant, dicks

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The reason why I mention all this is because someone has just left me a link (thanks btw) to an internet movie called Zeigeist which attempts to make a connection between religious faith, especially Christianity, the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror, the global banking system and elitist control of our world...





The film includes little original material and is basically a mash-up of information and clips that are freely available on the web and already well-known to people who are into that sort of thing. The most interesting part is the first third of the film which covers similar ground to Beckwith’s C4 documentary and makes a strong case that Christianity was itself a mash-up of pre-existing material and ideas.


A mash-up criticising a mash-up – oooh, the irony

FWIW my opinion of the film is that whilst it contains some very good and potentially startling factual content some of the conclusions woven around that content are totally misleading

My biggest issue is with the claim made by the film that monotheistic religion and the mindset it encourages has been the driving force for getting on for most of the Evil in the world over the last 2,000 years

Bollocks

Sure religion has often been subverted for Evil ends, but so has environmentalism, humanism, marxism, darwinism and lots of other initially well-intentioned isms I could name

If you could somehow abolish all organised religion tomorrow it wouldn't change a thing

Because people would still want to steal things off each other

And some people, the most wicked and most conniving of people, will continue to be very good at stealing - regardless of whether everyone else believes in a Sky God or not

The payload of Zeitgeist is the assertion that religion, not theft, is driving the bad things that are happening in the world. In that respect, whilst Zeitgeist purports to be a radical ‘Truth’ video, its message is absolutely no different to the Islamofascist bullshit that the Conservative Neocons and their puppet-masters are using as an excuse to rape the world


If I could be bothered I could sit down tomorrow and make my own competing film which highlights all the awful things that have been carried out in the name of atheistic secularism. The 19th and 20th centuries are littered bounteous quantities of source material. Sauce for the goose and all that...

But I won't because I think that would be a distraction.

The world’s problems don’t stem from religion, or lack of religion. They have come about because of greed and the inability of the majority of people to adequately comprehend and deal with the machinations of a ruthless, amoral minority.

When most people, Americans certainly, talk about Christianity they have one specific form of Christianity uppermost in mind - US style Christian Fundamentalism which is both intolerant and just about the least Christ-like belief system anyone could come up with.




I'd maintain that Christian Fundamentalism was created and is promoted, as with the Catholic Church, by very earthly interests. I can understand why people get wound up about religion but they are focusing on the weapon rather than the creature wielding it.


And if people keep swallowing the same old bait, crafted to divide and distract us, nothing will change

In short, whilst I think movies like Zeitgest contain a lot of interesting material and are worth watching with an open but sceptical mind, the film I’d really like to see made is the one that doesn’t fuel the eternally fruitless, divisive conflict between Christians and secular humanists but rather the film which shames the daft fucks who think they are Christians into behaving a bit more like the guy they claim to revere.

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7 comments:

Alex Fear said...

Well, for what it's worth, I am probably one of those shit Christians you mention.

I think anyone looking to analyze Christ by looking at Christians is going to be disappointed. If you were to read my blog or observe me for long enough you would get the opinion that Jesus was an ignorant, opinionated ass.

The fact is, as you have indicated, we are all human, those who "follow the Christ" are simply humans that have chosen that path. They are going to be weak and wrong on occasion.

I think if you do choose to separate yourself and join a sect, cult, religion or club, the most important thing is to remember this fact, that you are still human. Indeed, Paul already covers this in the bible when he reminds his readers what they were and where they came from. It's sad that many 'Christians' don't read the scriptures enough and patiently meditate on their true meanings, however once again we come back to the fact they are human.

Churches that don't welcome all people regardless of sexuality, race etc. aren't welcoming God. Yes there are standards given to live by, yes there is such a thing as sin, but the whole point of Jesus is that sin no longer separates anyone from God.

I digress. Good post. I didn't have a chance to watch the whole documentary but we'd all learn a lot more from researching our beliefs and seeing if they stand up to scrutiny.

(Sorry but having trouble getting OpenID to work)

The Antagonist said...

I'm glad you mentioned the Zeitgeist film as, while a lot of it is very good, particularly the first third even though there's nothing new in it, like most other things that purport to offer 'truth' it goes a little awry in a number of places in the usual "98% truthiness Vs 2% utter shit" fashion that renders any valid points contained in the film largely null and void.

More was revealed in an interview with Peter J 'Zeitgeist' (a Rense effort, if memory serves) in which Peter J. rather cleverly and subtly, almost to the point that you wouldn't really notice unless you were paying attention, said the following:

".... therefore Class status. Class issues are extremely, extremely horrific, y'know, that's exactly what they're preying upon right now because, in a kind of an abstract notion, these class identifications that we have in society are going to be extrapolated and used against us when they finally push for a feudalist system, where you're going to have a divide almost right down the middle where you have the people that are going to join these horrific y'know organisations that are going to basically be monitoring everything, the Gestapos and everything else, and you're going to have the poor public that is going to be enslaved."

Ho ho ho! Black and white. No shades of grey. Bollocks. A load of apolitical, ideology-free nonsense that more than makes up for the fact that the Zeitgeist film doesn't blame a Communist Conspiracy for everything that's wrong with the world.

Maybe Peter J Zeitgeist should explain his take on class issues to the M.o.D who, seemingly, are quite worried about the very same class issues that Peter J. writes off as yet another tool of the New World Order.

Stef said...

Alex,

Yes, we are all human and Christians do have a high benchmark to aspire to

But, to be honest, and taking your stereotypical US Fundamentalist as an example I'm convinced that large numbers of people who claim to be Christian aren't even trying

And it's frankly amazing that such a simple, commonsense message has become so corrupted over the centuries

There's a group of evangelicals who 'preach' around the West End area of London. They basically just stand in crowds and rant away in such a manner that nobody could ever really hear what they're saying.

I got chatting to one once and he explained to me that he believed that his mission was to bring the Word of God to a certain number of people, I forget how many thousand, and that once he'd met his quota he'd be guaranteed a place in Heaven.

And a passer-by just hearing a fragment of what he was preaching was enough to count on the salvation scoreboard. I asked the guy what happened to the people who heard a few of his words as they passed by but didn't do anything about it...

'They won't get into Heaven'

He wasn't trying to save anybody by example of by performing unconditional acts of compassion. He was trying to book his ticket to the Afterlife at the expense of thousands of other people

It's almost worth believing in Hell just to picture that fucker cooking in it

WTF has selfish, wicked thinking like that got to do with Jesus and his teachings?

Stef said...

A load of apolitical, ideology-free nonsense that more than makes up for the fact that the Zeitgeist film doesn't blame a Communist Conspiracy for everything that's wrong with the world.

or blame religion for everything that's wrong with the world

I bang on about Richard Dawkins a lot because he is a figurehead for a particular strain of fundamentalist secularism which commits exactly the same sins as the worst manifestations of Sky God belief

There's a particular piece he wrote only a few days after 9/11 (which I've already linked to in the post) that sums up just how much of cunt he really is...

http://tinyurl.com/gjo3y

Yeah, yeah, let's all keep blaming the wrong people for what's wrong with the world and keep business ticking over as usual

HWP said...

Stef. You make the classic mistake in your understanding of Jesus by looking upon what he taught as being for our benefit, in effect a humanist gospel. What Jesus preached was the principles of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is a fix for God's problem and we humans are God's problem.

The offer of eternal life isn't something we're to earn by doing good deeds. It is a choice given us - live for God and you will have eternal life. If you choose to live apart from God then what interest does God have in you?

We've fucked up and God has said that he is going to do away with this world at some point in order to start over. And rather than wiping us all out he is giving us the chance to be part of it. God doing things his way, not ours.

It is a fundamental error that we consistantly make that we try to understand God from our position and not from his. God created this universe and us for whatever reason he did it. But you can be sure it wasn't for us that he did it.

What that guy said to you was partially correct in that he is right to preach the gospel so as people can hear it and make a decision to either accept God or reject him. But if people don't hear then he's wasting his time. The idea of attaining salvation points is utter nonsense. He is living by his own rules and believing himself to be right with God. Such behaviour can only be a disappointment to God.

Stef said...

@HWP

I am one of those people in a small minority who think that Darwinism is nonsense but who doesn't fill in that gap with a belief in a benevolent deity

Just because it may be possible to discern suggestions of deliberate design in the Universe that in no way supports the conclusion that the Universe was put there for Our benefit.

A toilet brush is a designed object but that doesn't mean that it was brought into existence for its own sake

So, in short, I'm personally inclined to agree with you

but, there again, I'm not a Christian

Shahid said...

I'm on of those people whose skepticism of Darwinism is not a result of my belief in Allah.