objects in reflective surfaces are usually you

One of my favorite blogs, Infidel753, has written a scathing rebuttal to the progressive Christian claim that Jesus overruled the Old Testament evils and replaced them with a kindler, gentler form of spiritual law, citing Matthew 5:17-19 and explaining:  (Emphasis added is mine)

All the laws of the Old Testament remain in full force and will continue to be so for as long as the Earth itself exists. If you are a liberal Christian and you claim that Christian morality does not require enforcing Leviticus 20:13 and executing every man who has ever committed a homosexual act, Jesus Christ himself says that you are wrong and that Fred Phelps (“whosoever shall do, and teach them”) is right.

Anyone who still thinks that Jesus changed everything should have a look at this 94 page PDF documenting instances of God’s hate (but use eye protection, for it is an abomination against the eyeballs). Sure, things got a little less genocidey after Jesus showed up, but it was still far from lovey-dovey.

So, let’s review: the Bible is the holy book of the Christian faith, and the only widely accepted source of their God’s teachings. The Bible is full of cruelty, violence, injustice, intolerance, and inconsistencies; it is, as Infidel753 describes it, a book of evil, and (if it were true) describes the activities of a deeply evil being, consumed by jealousy and prone to commit acts of unspeakable horror on a whim. Trying to defend this entity’s actions by citing examples where his capriciousness was inclined toward the generous side is like trying to defend a serial killer because he had an excellent driving record and supported his local PBS station.

So if you’re following a religion that is based on this book, but you are a good person, you are good in spite of it, not because of it. But, if you are not following the book, what is your religion, exactly? The god you know in your heart, based on the optimistic and selective interpretation of this book by good-hearted spiritual leaders? Well, then you’ve made up your own religion, and should probably think up another name for it, because when you identify as a member of a religion based on the teachings in the Bible, you align yourselves with Fred Phelps (remember, he’s right — Jesus said so.)

… i digress

About twenty years ago, I spent almost three years in NA, which is a cult, but that’s another rant entirely. The first thing you are required to do in that program is admit that you’re completely helpless and incurably ill, after which you must come to believe that only a Power greater than yourself can help you. If you are unable to choose any recognized deity, they will tell you to pick anything – the doorknob, the toaster, anything. And what is the point of that, one wonders? I would try to make a clever observation about how one’s reflection in the usually shiny surfaces of both those things is still you, it’s just distorted to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, but I feel like that would be pushing it. My point is, it doesn’t matter what you call what you believe in, it’s still just you looking back at you. If you are a genocidal asshole, you’ll see Fred Phelps’ version of a hateful and sadistic psychopath. If you’re a good and decent person, you’ll see a kindly long-haired hippie roaming the countryside feeding the hungry and healing the leopards. What you see in that entity you believe created you in his image is just you.

5 thoughts on “objects in reflective surfaces are usually you

  1. Hi God Lizard, thanks for the link!

    That “mirror” phenomenon has always been highly noticeable, hasn't it? Both slave-owners and slavery-abolitionists claimed to find support for their own cause in the Bible. Pacifists and militarists both have claimed that. While Fred Phelps can pretty easily use the Bible to claim that God hates fags, there are even gay Christians who claim to find evidence of the opposite. (If there were Jews who had some sort of emotional need to believe in Nazism, I suppose they could find something in Mein Kampf which they could twist around and interpret as pro-Jewish.)

    Of course, if a belief system means almost everything, it means almost nothing. But the Bible says what it says.

  2. Love your writing–love your mind…always have. Well not always but longer than I'd be willing to admit. I downloaded the God loves everyone thing but wont have time to read it until after I'm finished with my paper. Meanwhile NA and AA have helped a lot of people and one thing I respect about the 12 steps is you can be an atheist or agnostic and still benefit from the program although I admit both groups have cult–like attributes. In college we came up with the applientologists manifesto because we wanted to start a cult (for those of us who worship appliances). It didn't really catch on though because if it had I would be filthy rich by now.

    1. I always feel a little squeamish when I talk about my views on NA/AA, so I do so only very rarely, as I do believe they help people – though I am also of the opinion they do a considerable bit of harm. This is a whole blog post in and of itself, and I have a feeling it'll be pretty soon. It's welling up, ya know?

      Back in the surreally days, not sure if it was before you were around, but Mic mentioned wanting to start a cult, and I said, sure it's all fun & games until you're holed up in the compound with CNN and the federal SWAT team out there in the bushes, and then it's all kool-aid and incendiary devices.

      I remember the time (during my search for that blind faith I have no knack for) I went to Patty's Catholic church, and even then I realized that was a cult. I was attracted to the concept because it seemed … sumptuous, with all the pomp and ceremony, but the actual service (mass, whatever it was) was so brainwashy — sit, stand, kneel, chant, recite, lather, rinse, repeat, etc. The use of forced confession to break down the ego and instill a sense of shame that becomes reflexive after enough repetition.

      Not all brainwashing is bad, and in some cases it may be necessary to disassemble the self and rearrange it into a controlled and orderly fashion, but the only way to do this on a large scale is to standardize it and claim that absolutely everyone must do the exact same things, and that's where the cult thing gets out of hand — for me.

      Now, twenty years later, whenever I run into someone who's still in the program, they invariably seem shocked that I am living a successful and comfortable life, since the program's teachings insist that I should by now be institutionalized or dead. It makes them a little uncomfortable, and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that, in their minds, they rationalize that I must be overwhelmingly miserable and on the verge of something awful, otherwise … well, it totally disproves one of the basic tenets of their whole philosophy. And sure, I could be wrong, but no worries, I like donuts.

  3. Love your writing–love your mind…always have. Well not always but longer than I'd be willing to admit. I downloaded the God loves everyone thing but wont have time to read it until after I'm finished with my paper. Meanwhile NA and AA have helped a lot of people and one thing I respect about the 12 steps is you can be an atheist or agnostic and still benefit from the program although I admit both groups have cult–like attributes. In college we came up with the applientologists manifesto because we wanted to start a cult (for those of us who worship appliances). It didn't really catch on though because if it had I would be filthy rich by now.

  4. I always feel a little squeamish when I talk about my views on NA/AA, so I do so only very rarely, as I do believe they help people – though I am also of the opinion they do a considerable bit of harm. This is a whole blog post in and of itself, and I have a feeling it'll be pretty soon. It's welling up, ya know?

    Back in the surreally days, not sure if it was before you were around, but Mic mentioned wanting to start a cult, and I said, sure it's all fun & games until you're holed up in the compound with CNN and the federal SWAT team out there in the bushes, and then it's all kool-aid and incendiary devices.

    I remember the time (during my search for that blind faith I have no knack for) I went to Patty's Catholic church, and even then I realized that was a cult. I was attracted to the concept because it seemed … sumptuous, with all the pomp and ceremony, but the actual service (mass, whatever it was) was so brainwashy — sit, stand, kneel, chant, recite, lather, rinse, repeat, etc. The use of forced confession to break down the ego and instill a sense of shame that becomes reflexive after enough repetition.

    Not all brainwashing is bad, and in some cases it may be necessary to disassemble the self and rearrange it into a controlled and orderly fashion, but the only way to do this on a large scale is to standardize it and claim that absolutely everyone must do the exact same things, and that's where the cult thing gets out of hand — for me.

    Now, twenty years later, whenever I run into someone who's still in the program, they invariably seem shocked that I am living a successful and comfortable life, since the program's teachings insist that I should by now be institutionalized or dead. It makes them a little uncomfortable, and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that, in their minds, they rationalize that I must be overwhelmingly miserable and on the verge of something awful, otherwise … well, it totally disproves one of the basic tenets of their whole philosophy. And sure, I could be wrong, but no worries, I like donuts.

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