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Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus
January 15, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word posted by Blasdelb (85 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love your poetry, but I hate your poems.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:08 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate that poem, Jesus, and this post.
posted by BrandonW at 7:20 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, that's my high school.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:21 PM on January 15, 2012


I hate that poem, Jesus, and this post.

These tags are pretty deplorable too.
posted by clarknova at 7:24 PM on January 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


There are 17 posts tagged with 'I'.
posted by birdherder at 7:26 PM on January 15, 2012


This new trend of being "above religion but still loving Jesus" is still, in itself, a religion. You're still picking and choosing what you want to follow out of the bible. If you don't follow the bible but still believe in Jesus, where did your belief in Jesus come from? Historically, there is no person called "Jesus".

I think it's time we just drop the whole charade and decide we don't need an excuse to love each other.
posted by Malice at 7:26 PM on January 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


Honestly, I've been trying to avoid this video. Really. I have. It's lazy thinking, piss poor theology, and just viral "evangelical"/non-denominational thinking that is just lazy and silly. Even though this kind of thinking has some popular support, it doesn't mean it is any good. In essence, "See the problem is, Bethke doesn’t mean religion either, but he’s rehearsing a popular evangelical trope, that the freedom that Christians find through Jesus is freedom from structure, organization, and authority". It is a theology that is focused on "me-ism" - which is the primary religious export of the United States. His words lack any kind of serious or scriptural weight. He's just waving his hands, yelling some tropes, and trying to use really boring lyrics to be "cool" in whatever social circles he runs in.
posted by Stynxno at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


@Malice:
What do Christianity and chinese buffets have in common?

Everything! Pick and choose what you like!
posted by BrandonW at 7:29 PM on January 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Marvin (Older Marshall): You William Blake?
William Blake: Yes, I am. Do you know my poetry?
posted by ovvl at 7:39 PM on January 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I love Jesus but hate you.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 PM on January 15, 2012


Love and hate are such strong words.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:48 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


This just isn't very good.
posted by Miko at 7:49 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The third video is pretty good. I enjoy hearing angry deconstructions of religious claims, because they frequently deserve that ridicule.
posted by LSK at 7:50 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pick and choose what you like!

I choose all the "be nice to each other" stuff, and leave out all the rest, is that ok?
posted by waraw at 7:51 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK...I believe Jesus probably existed, but don't believe in the resurrection. I'm pretty ambivalent about organized religion. This post I can take or leave, but I respect that someone else feels it's important.

I really, really, hate "spoken word."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:54 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do Christianity and chinese buffets have in common?

Jesus and the Apostles were all Jewish, so I'm pretty sure there's a strong case to be made for the Last Supper having taken place at Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant. When he said "This is my body," he was referring to the crunchy noodles, and when he said "this is my blood," he meant the duck sauce.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:55 PM on January 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Jesus Christ, that was bad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my God, I can't believe I did that!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The third video is pretty good

Mmmmm. ...

No, I also find that not very good. In fact, I never hope to click on a link featuring that guy again.
posted by Miko at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I like this spoken word performance.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2012


Aw, hell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was waiting for "...and I'm a Mormon!"
posted by benzenedream at 7:58 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


What the devil has gotten into you, Brandon?
posted by Miko at 7:58 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The third video is pretty good - was it? I gave up after maybe 2 minutes, and there was still 12 minutes to go. What's the YouTube equivalent of "tl;dr"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:00 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Malice, I certainly have my own issues with a lot that this guy says, but you'd be more convincing about how he is picking and choosing from the bible if you could, say, cite scripture to do so. Matthew 23 and Mark 7 are pretty damning, snarky, and profanity laden* condemnations of religion as a system of prescribed cultural and moral codes. When asked how people should treat each other Jesus, instead of replacing Judaism with a new system of codes, told vague parables. If looked at honestly, we should have the same reservations about calling the Christianity of Jesus a religion as most would have about calling philosophical Taoism a religion

*"Woe to you", or ouai in the greek dialect that Matthew was written in, does not mean a pleasant warning of future misfortune. Really it is more clearly translated as Jesus saying FUCK YOU to these preachers in no uncertain terms.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:05 PM on January 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


ℑ𝔣 𝔱π”₯𝔬𝔲 π” π”žπ”«π”«π”¬π”± π”°π”žπ”Άπ”’π”°π”± π”žπ”«π”Ά 𝔱π”₯𝔦𝔫𝔀 𝔫𝔦𝔠𝔒, 𝔑𝔬 𝔫𝔬𝔱 π”°π”žπ”Ά π”žπ”«π”Άπ”±π”₯𝔦𝔫𝔀 π”žπ”± π”žπ”©π”©.

You're still picking and choosing what you want to follow out of the bible.

π”ˆπ”³π”’π”―π”Άπ”¬π”«π”’ 𝔑𝔬𝔒-- oops.

Everyone does this. Every single person who thinks the bible is important and is not a psychopath. Everyone who cares what is in the bible, only listens to those parts he likes. The book contains enough contradictory stuff in it to ensure that.

Even if you think that Jesus' words meant that all the bad old eye-for-and-eye stuff on the O.T. is obsolete, think for a moment. Jesus presumably wasn't talking to us specifically but to actual people at the time, and I doubt that he said the stuff about the previous law to every single person he dispensed red letters to, so they would have been missing that important piece of context.

People take out of the book what the think is relevant. People have always used the book to justify what they believe, both to make themselves feel better about their own beliefs, to justify those beliefs to others, and to try to lend those beliefs an air of Authority.

If we all understood that, the world would be a substantially better place. But Christianity is far from alone in this. So, if that's too much to ask, could we maybe try to not take just those bits that are nonsensical at best I'm looking at YOU Revelations and reprehensible at worst?!
posted by JHarris at 8:09 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can't you be agnostic about whether Jesus was based on a single person, let alone his divinity, and still love him, for some not-meaningless value of love? I love a number of entities and phenomena that never existed, or that have been gone so long they might as well have been somebody's idea.
posted by Adventurer at 8:24 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


This new trend of being "above religion but still loving Jesus" is still, in itself, a religion.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sort of thing has been going on since at least the Great Depression, Emmet Fox being a perfect example of this. The opening chapter of "Sermon on the Mount" discusses how Jesus is misrepresented within the Christian tradition. It's actually a pretty good read.
posted by phaedon at 8:25 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the second link, asserting hypocrisy on the part of the original video poster, he says "you're like a vegan who claims to hate diets"?
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 PM on January 15, 2012


I, for one, love Homer Simpson, and try to follow his teachings. Let us celebrate our arrangement, with the adding of chocolate to milk
posted by Redhush at 8:34 PM on January 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hate overcame me about 30 seconds in...
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:42 PM on January 15, 2012


Thanks, Blasdelb, I liked that poem. I'm never disappointed in how much talking goes on about religion among people who say they have absolutely no interest in the topic. =)
posted by rmmcclay at 8:44 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Historically, there is no person called "Jesus".

The consensus is actually the opposite, at least based on everything I've read. Sure, there are historians that discount that, but I think the majority of historians disagree with what you wrote.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:44 PM on January 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


he heals us from that sin that totally infects us /
and he does want condoms can't /
he emotionally protects us

posted by benzenedream at 8:45 PM on January 15, 2012


Dude's gettin' hella laid at church camp.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:50 PM on January 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


This new trend of being "above religion but still loving Jesus" is still, in itself, a religion.

Thomas Jefferson might disagree. I say "might" because I'm not sure he's on the record as actually loving Jesus. But he did call what Jesus said (or "said"; I am curious as to whether Jefferson had any doubts about the historical likelihood of a real Jesus) "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man." And he spent an awful lot of time cutting and pasting all those tiny paper scraps if he didn't love what he was assembling. Heck, he spent an awful lot of time on it if he did.
posted by Adventurer at 8:50 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]



Historically, there is no person called "Jesus".


Is that from the Atheism video? I watched the other two but couldn't finish that one.
posted by sweetkid at 8:52 PM on January 15, 2012


Oh nm I see that Malice said this above.
posted by sweetkid at 8:53 PM on January 15, 2012


The entire reason this video is so popular (the original video) is as Stynxno points out... because of a lazy, self-centered American approach to Christianity that is becoming increasingly popular by the day... the idea that Christianity should free you from restraints and expectations and structure, so you can be you! Jesus lets you be yourself! You're free!

Half-assed, me-first, and quintessentially American. Stynxno- great post.
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:56 PM on January 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay, all the videos are bit obvious in their own special way. And Stynxno is right too, of course. But! I still think there's a valid point buried deep in that first video, a concept that absolutely is worth discussing with religiously inclined people. Discussing Jesus as presented within Biblical text can be an effective vector for helping people "see the light", as it were (i.e. stop being assholes in the name of religion).

It is true that Jesus was fairly pro-religion, or at least pro-worship and definitely pro-God. But it's also true that he was very anti-establishment, and he worked hard to change hearts and minds about the importance of forgiveness over ritual and law, he protected and elevated the status of women and children in a very heavily patriarchal society, and was overall a pretty decent rabbi compared to the rest of them at the time.

Focusing on Jesus's essentially anarchic preaching is a good way to show dyed-in-the-wool Christians that there's a whole lot to being Christian, and it has more to do with love, community, forgiveness and social justice than it has to do with church buildings, three-piece suits and anti gay marriage laws.

I also agree that nobody needs Jesus to learn how to love the human race, but for those who want Jesus in their lives, well this is a good argument to bring up with them.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:15 PM on January 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


I take issue. In woken spurd. Groken Brammar. Kelsey Grammar. Hicks and Hudson, the ever-Erudite Spammer. Solo, Hand me that hydro-spanner. 2000 and wutever.

Y'all dudes are all cool n'all, but this taphonomy lesson was wack, unless you're crying all over, introducing a moisture source, then Mummies don't have to fight the decompositional force, the idea of dissing "ancient" "religion" as foolish, to better praise your own, is like a bourse, or an oxbow, changing out the River's course, here, slow down, jump off hurf-durf, ideology's track, wiktionary sources, Brendan Fraiser visions get scary, reverse-it, Britta-Filter out particulates, and put your mummy issues back under the wrap. Ancient Archaeology, done under a tarp. It's warped, Ack-bar, this here Jesus, this Isa, it's almost a trap. Might as well dine on the brains of a Carp. I'm actually not criticizing your beliefs, just putting human pride and vanity into better relief.


Mummies didn't rot underneath. That's kinda the point. There was a drying process, (think dried, salted meat), desiccated, preserved and sealed bodies, with organs removed, don't 'rot', right?

posted by infinite intimation at 9:30 PM on January 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the tree videos together offer an interesting blend of ideas at varying levels of enthusiasm. Ultimately I feel like people tend to reconstruct the message of these types of poems to suit their personal spiritualities, but to see the three juxtaposed offers one an interesting opportunity for social commentary and discussion.

...it also serves as a fascinating opportunity to watch the trolls being fed en-masse.
posted by Glambie at 9:42 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks MeFi. All my thumper friends on Facebook have been posting this for the last week, and I knew it would probably suck so I didn't watch it. Now, based on your comments, I know for sure that it sucks and that I can avoid it.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:08 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


All my thumper friends on Facebook

Now I know the Chip stands for Chipmunk.
posted by arcticseal at 10:23 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"he heals us from that sin that totally infects us /
and he does want condoms can't /
he emotionally protects us
"

If I ever have kids they are totally getting the sex talk in the form of a lecture/seminar/workshop series spanning two decades titled There is no Condom for the Heart containing age appropriate practical information and as much relationship wisdom as I can make them listen to.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:50 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this was thoroughly dissected, mocked and ridiculed everywhere else on the net about a week ago.

It's embarrassing, and so are the people who are impressed by it. That Angry Atheist rant was too soft on it.
posted by Decani at 10:58 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Dude's gettin' hella laid at church camp."

He actually talks at length about that here, he is woefully narrow in a bunch of ways from a biblical perspective and is more than a tad misogynistic and naive in his delivery, but seems sincere if nothing else.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:12 PM on January 15, 2012


What's going on here is that evangelicals typically think all other religions are dead formalisms where the point is that the practitioner is attempting to earn God's favour (which we need to do because God is angry with us for being bad). This includes the Judaism of Jesus' time. But they also think it's impossible to earn God's favour in this way, because we're all totally depraved. So what was God doing when he set up all those Old Testament rules? Probably just deliberately setting up an impossible system to make people realise they would fail. Then Jesus comes along and sorts it all out by dying.

So "religion" here means "everything other than True Christianity" with the implication of "empty rituals and rules". This is unhelpful because everyone else uses "religion" to mean "you know, that thing where people worship one or more gods and meet together and have a holy book, like Christianity or Islam or Hinduism". So you get a statement that sounds like "I hate soda, but love Coke", to use Amazing Atheist's example.

This view incorrectly assumes that those other religions think that the point is to earn God's favour by keeping to the rules and formalisms, which as far as I can tell isn't true unless you're a shaman or something and wasn't true of the Jews of Jesus' time (according to N.T. Wright, anyway).

Latterly, it's also a marketing ploy, part of the "Christianity is a relationship with God" marketing strategy: other religions are about rules, True Christianity is a relationship. The relationship language is pretty daft too, since God isn't a great personal communicator, as evidenced by the number of Christians who disagree about what he says. Still, it appeals to people who want their own individual, personalised sort of faith: bespoke's got to be better than off-the-peg, right?
posted by pw201 at 1:58 AM on January 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


How convenient it is that God and Jesus so often agree with Christians.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:44 AM on January 16, 2012


The definition of religion matters re that first video. I think it is addressed more to modern Pharisees than unbelievers.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:48 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I choose all the 'be nice to each other' stuff, and leave out all the rest, is that ok?"

What a coincidence! I do the exact opposite.

(Enjoy your cotton/poly blends while you're burning in hell for them, SINNERS.)
posted by kyrademon at 3:59 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what I listened to in the primary video its all a bunch of nonsense and meaningless catchphrases. Its like being stuck in a business meeting of air heads spouting buzzwords that are meaningless.

The third video was a reasonable criticism but he was also rather annoying to watch with the ranting and screaming.
posted by mary8nne at 4:35 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter turned into Facebook so gradually I never even noticed.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:39 AM on January 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter turned into Facebook so gradually I never even noticed.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:39 PM on January 16 [+] [!]

Longbaugh [likes] this.
posted by longbaugh at 4:46 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then there's Jimmy Buffett's take (which is how I'll feel after trying to drink those links out of my head.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:09 AM on January 16, 2012


The definition of religion matters re that first video. I think it is addressed more to modern Pharisees than unbelievers.
Yep. First time I saw the video, I kept thinking But...but...but...James 1:27! I come from a perspective that religion is a thing that can be executed well or poorly, rather than something that is an evil unto itself. I totally get where this guy is coming from, but I think the word "religion" is worth stewarding and not something we should toss out completely just become some folks do religion badly.
posted by BurntHombre at 7:30 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, family dinners must be awkward in heaven.


God: Jesus! Come in, my son, come in, today is your day, happy birthday!

Jesus: Hurray, today is the first step towards my journey of being nailed to a cross, whoppee.

God: Let it go son, it's been over 2,000 years.

Mary: Oh, let him be.

Joseph: Indeed, if he were my boy, *I* wouldn't have offered him as a sacrificial lamb, but that's just me.

God: Mary, looking good as always.

Joseph: Hands off, you had your short.

Mary: Can I remind everyone how great it is to be an icon in the patriarchy?

Jesus: Screw this, I'm going to hang with Lucifer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If looked at honestly, we should have the same reservations about calling the Christianity of Jesus a religion as most would have about calling philosophical Taoism a religion

No, he wasn't a hippie-humanist. He (in the Bible, which is the only record that exists) promised hellfire for unbelievers and the wicked and spoke of a literal god and afterlife. He claimed to heal the sick with divine powers. You can't do the "squint-enough-and-he's-a-rationalist-philsopher-scientist" trick that sometimes people do with Siddhartha.

He was an exponent of old-time religion, desert-king style. There's no way to redeem it.
posted by spaltavian at 7:39 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh. Reminds me of the first time I read the gospels (at age 33 or 34). Jesus has quite a reputation, so I had some expectations about what Jesus might be like. The Jesus described by the Bible did not match my expectations. In the Bible, Jesus was an arrogant prick.
posted by smcameron at 8:05 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"No, he wasn't a hippie-humanist. He (in the Bible, which is the only record that exists) promised hellfire for unbelievers and the wicked and spoke of a literal god and afterlife. He claimed to heal the sick with divine powers. You can't do the "squint-enough-and-he's-a-rationalist-philsopher-scientist" trick that sometimes people do with Siddhartha.

He was an exponent of old-time religion, desert-king style. There's no way to redeem it.
"

Rationalist-philsopher-scientist? No, but he did very specifically despise the inherent hypocrisy of people telling each other what to do in the name of God. I'm using religion to mean a collection of cultural systems, moral codes, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality. Jesus does some of the third (and mostly only in one of the four gospels and mostly only by dieing) and is very vague about the who, what, where and how when he does, but is mostly focused on telling vague parables that fail to do the other two. While the church did very quickly scramble to build those cultural systems and moral codes as depicted in Acts and the letters of Paul, this video is only talking about Jesus himself.

When you look at the content of those parables, what emerges is a proponent of anti-authoritarian anarchism who believed in a radically universal sanctity of life that we, and almost especially Christians, still haven't quite caught up to.

"Heh. Reminds me of the first time I read the gospels (at age 33 or 34). Jesus has quite a reputation, so I had some expectations about what Jesus might be like. The Jesus described by the Bible did not match my expectations. In the Bible, Jesus was an arrogant prick."

Metafilter does have an inordinate fondness for arrogant pricks, so long as their snarky, make cogent points, or are otherwise interesting. Jesus did fit on each count.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:50 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


But! I still think there's a valid point buried deep in that first video, a concept that absolutely is worth discussing with religiously inclined people. Discussing Jesus as presented within Biblical text can be an effective vector for helping people "see the light", as it were (i.e. stop being assholes in the name of religion).

I don't really see how that is buried deep in the first video at all mostly because of the context of the video itself. The author is promoting an non-denominational/evangelical/choice-centered theology under the guise of grace, freedom, and other churchy words. It really is a "me-ism" emphasis, focusing on the behavior of the individual and answering the question "how can I know I'm really on the right side of things?" His main argument isn't towards religiously inclined people -rather, it is towards anyone who doesn't think or agree with his theology - a theology of buzzwords rather than substance.

I personally am always inclined to preach on what Jesus said but it will always be through the lens of my own convictions, theology, tradition, and understanding. The video doesn't want to make that point - rather, it wants to claim it's interpretation is greater than all others and is the "right" one. It claims that Christ is bigger than Christianity but Christ is not bigger than his own interpretation and talking points (which I think is plain silly). He is, in essence, using the "tightwad" strawman and using the language of the Reformation without understanding what any of it means. He, is essence, is still being an "asshole" but claiming that he isn't. And, well, that's a pretty assy thing to do.
posted by Stynxno at 8:52 AM on January 16, 2012


Jesus does some of the third (and mostly only in one of the four gospels and mostly only by dieing) and is very vague about the who, what, where and how when he does, but is mostly focused on telling vague parables that fail to do the other two.

Except that he was a Jew living in a very Jewish country. He is very much a product of his culture and the tradition of the Prophets. He does tell people what to do (i.e. his teaching on divorce), he explains many of his parables, is fine with the slavery culture that he was in, and Matthew 25 (if true) is a good illustration of the codes that Jesus either taught or that his early followers got from him.
posted by Stynxno at 8:56 AM on January 16, 2012


I like the quote attributed (disputed?) to Gandhi: I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. That's pretty much how I feel about Christianity in a nutshell. On one hand you have the condescending, "Oh, you poor thing, we know what's best for you, far better than you yourself could, because we skimmed this book and cherry-picked the bits that we liked" attitude, and on the other, the blatant hypocrisy of proclaiming to be about hope and love, at least until we start bombing the abortion clinics and working hard to deprive an entire people-group of civil rights and shame our queer kids into suicide.

The overall tone of mainstream Christianity is so spiteful, so exclusionist, is it any wonder that people who still believe and try to reflect the good parts are trying to distance themselves from Christianity's message of hypocrisy and hate?
posted by xedrik at 9:46 AM on January 16, 2012


> The overall tone of mainstream Christianity is so spiteful, so exclusionist

Is it? Or is that what you're taking away from the internet's parade of Christianity's worst elements? When I think about mainstream US Christianity I think mostly of Catholics who occasionally attend Mass, and megachurches like Lakewood Church that preach watered down chicken soup for the soul and want as many people in the door as they can squeeze in. Granted, I'm not a Christian and don't really care about the religion's perception, but I think the mainstream is a bit more moderate than what Reddit and Metafilter would like to think.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 AM on January 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


It has been for me, speaking as a gay man tossed out of the church he grew up in, for having the nerve to come out. Seeing Christians frantically swarming to vote against marriage equality, and to try to dismantle a woman's right to choose. Seeing Christians kick their gay kids out of their homes because of their "sinful lifestyle".

Hate groups like Focus on the Family don't grow as large as they do without some level of support.
posted by xedrik at 10:30 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


"On one hand you have the condescending, "Oh, you poor thing, we know what's best for you, far better than you yourself could, because we skimmed this book and cherry-picked the bits that we liked" attitude, and on the other, the blatant hypocrisy of proclaiming to be about hope and love, at least until we start bombing the abortion clinics and working hard to deprive an entire people-group of civil rights and shame our queer kids into suicide."

Which hand would you put Gene Robinson in? Christians have up till now been at the very core of each of our major Civil Rights movements from John Brown to MLK, and are still at least a large, if divided, part of the Civil Rights movement for gays. If you look at statements that mainline protestant denominations, and a whole lot of large non-denominational churches, have made about abortion I think you'll find a lot more nuance than you'd expect.

"The overall tone of mainstream Christianity is so spiteful, so exclusionist, is it any wonder that people who still believe and try to reflect the good parts are trying to distance themselves from Christianity's message of hypocrisy and hate?"

You are almost proving the video's point. You do know that the modern understanding of the word hypocrite originated in the red letters of Matthew right? Before then α½‘Ο€ΟŒΞΊΟΞΉΟƒΞΉΟ‚ (hypokrisis) was a word that meant play acting, from the agentive noun ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), which was a valued profession with no negative connotations other than that it might be an inappropriate background for a public figure*. The author of Matthew invented the modern understanding of the word hypocrite in order to communicate was Jesus was calling the Pharisees out for (presumably in Aramaic).

Have you watched the video? Distancing himself from hypocrisy and hate seems to be the entire point of the poem.

*In the 4th century BC Demosthenes ridiculed his rival Aeschines, who had been a successful actor before taking up politics, as a hypokrites because skill at impersonating characters on stage made him an untrustworthy politician. Still a distinctly different usage.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:39 AM on January 16, 2012


Jesus and the Apostles were all Jewish, so I'm pretty sure there's a strong case to be made for the Last Supper having taken place at Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant. When he said "This is my body," he was referring to the crunchy noodles, and when he said "this is my blood," he meant the duck sauce.

You're confusing Easter with Christmas.
posted by straight at 11:14 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something wrong with the Google today, because I did an image search for "shit-eating grin" and some of the results weren't this guy's face.
posted by straight at 11:27 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


On one hand you have the condescending, "Oh, you poor thing, we know what's best for you, far better than you yourself could, because we skimmed this book and cherry-picked the bits that we liked" attitude, and on the other, the blatant hypocrisy of proclaiming to be about hope and love, at least until we start bombing the abortion clinics and working hard to deprive an entire people-group of civil rights and shame our queer kids into suicide.

Now who's cherry picking? I think most people in big-tent labelled groups are ashamed by the antics of vocal people on the fringe. That could apply to gays, atheists or Muslims as well as Christians.
posted by dgran at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


People have a variety of opinions and occasionally disagree with each other.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:01 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was in the church, this sort of talk was soooo common. I understand why it's still so popular but frankly it still reads very false to me for someone who is religious to say that they hate religions (and I know this guy is a church-goin' Christian because he talks the talk very well). When I was like 14 I was all "Yeah, Jesus is COOL but authority is BAAD," but isn't that really insulting to, like, every other Christian ever? Why would I call myself a Christian if I purported to dislike everything about Christianity?

Eventually I solved that cognitive dissonance rather neatly.
posted by muddgirl at 2:32 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love it. Videos like this are the best tactic against evangelical fundamentalists. Aikido teaches that to counter a threat you absorb and redirect it β€” not clash with it head-on, which is what I see radical atheists doing. We gotta hijack back the archetype. For great justice!

I think what bothers people most about Jesus is John 14:5-7 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me", interpreted as "atheists and pagans and Muslims and everyone different will GO TO HELL!"

All the other bullshit, like creationism, gay-bashing etc. evidently sucks too, but seems peripheral to the faith, and is easier to refute β€” there are major Christian offshoots that are against it. All the obviously good things, like the Sermon on the Mount, are easy to accept.

But I AM THE ONLY WAY is a tough one huh? Maybe it was easier in the Bronze Age, when the tribe on the other side of the hill was THE ENEMY! KILL THEM! but man, we got cruise missiles, now what?

You can go the atheist way, "it's all bullshit!" fuck this bathwater AND this baby. Easy, seems to be well represented and in no need of help. Or you can accept it as myth, a symbolic inner truth, and try to reach its core.

So: original sin, then redemption through sacrificial love, and that's the only way.

"Sin" becomes easier to deal with if you stop viewing it as "guilt", and interpret is as "pain". Much like the First Noble Truth of Buddhism β€” yeah, there is pain in the world! We inherited a fucked-up world AND a fucked-up human condition from our ancestors! So how do you deal with it?

With loving sacrifice. But wait! It's already been symbolically offered, no need to feel bad or guilty! It's not your fault, ok? Shame doesn't work! And now it's the mythic leap, the Mystery that cannot be explained by Logic β€” at this point you are released and full of Love, and you don't "slack off because it's not your fault anyway", but instead live the myth β€” you sacrifice yourself, but not FOR REALS like Opus Dei likes to do with a whip, you sacrifice your ego for the Other, again much like Buddhism. Turning the other cheek becomes real. The opposite of me-ism!

But why don't you just turn the other cheek without the "fairy-tale explanation"? Because it's REALLY FUCKING HARD! The myth makes it way easier, and even then it's hard!

tl;dr β€” It's not your fault, Jesus means turning the other cheek, this is the only way to save the world, even when an atheist or muslim or pagan does it, it's the way of Jesus with another name, you can do it without the mythical framework but it's much, much harder. OCCUPY JOHN 14:5-7 !!!
posted by Tom-B at 2:35 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it's just a myth, wouldn't it be easier to just come up with a better myth, one that we can use for awhile until it becomes to "Religious." Then, switch to yet another myth, and so on.

It would save us some pain in the short term.
posted by muddgirl at 2:40 PM on January 16, 2012


MeFi Project proposal: Shit Internet Atheists say to Internet Christians.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:50 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was like 14 I was all "Yeah, Jesus is COOL but authority is BAAD," but isn't that really insulting to, like, every other Christian ever?

There's a few hipper-than-thou evangelical churches in NYC that advertise in the free daily papers, and they all have ads that say stuff like, WE'RE ALL YOUNG AND WE WEAR JEANS AND AND WE PLAY ROCK N' ROLL, YOU WILL LIKE US BECAUSE WE'RE NOT LIKE ANY OTHER CHURCH. I visited plenty of them back when I was church shopping, and no one ever talked to me. I visited the church I go to now, and after the first week, an 80-year old man went out of his way to say hello to me. Trying desperately to make your church "cool" doesn't necessarily mean people are going to feel welcome there; it might even mean the opposite.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:50 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trying desperately to make your church "cool" doesn't necessarily mean people are going to feel welcome there; it might even mean the opposite.

The best part is churches that brag about their "contemporary" music, as if there's one genre of pop music that everybody likes.

For young people especially, music is like gang colors. Write a worship song that's like a particular kind of contemporary music and your church has chosen a table at the school cafeteria and extended a big middle finger to the kids at every other table.
posted by straight at 3:44 PM on January 16, 2012


> If it's just a myth, wouldn't it be easier to just come up with a better myth, one that we can use for awhile until it becomes to "Religious." Then, switch to yet another myth, and so on.

"Just" a myth sounds dismissive, and myths don't work that way, that is rational thinking. Myths grow slowly being retold and subtly modified over generations, millenia. This one β€” sacrificial love β€” is particularly powerful, and subtly modifying it in the retelling (what I'm advocating) is a lot stronger than "just making up something better".

And we are coming up with new myths all the time, like say Star Wars ep. IV. It resonates with people. It's still young and weak though, but who knows how it will end up in 2000+ years.
posted by Tom-B at 6:23 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


How upset would y'all be if I printed out this thread and let the leaders at my church see it?

It never hurts to see how one is perceived.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:41 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


. Videos like this are the best tactic against evangelical fundamentalists. Aikido teaches that to counter a threat you absorb and redirect it β€” not clash with it head-on, which is what I see radical atheists doing... Or you can accept it as myth, a symbolic inner truth, and try to reach its core... you can do it without the mythical framework but it's much, much harder.

I don't know what a "radical" atheist is, though I take your point well enough to disagree with it. Ultimately, we either live in a universe ruled by Jehovah, or we don't. The Bible is either more or less a factual history or it isn't. The position of liberal Christians, or anyone of the "spiritual but not religious" banner, won't last over the long term. Claiming that it's a myth, but a "useful" myth does undermine the whole enterprise. The Tortoise and the Hare is a moral myth too; why not worship that? There are a lot of better epics out there: Gilgamesh, the Greek Pantheon, Celtic nature cults- if we are grading them on utilitarian grounds rather than accuracy (the "Truth", as Christians might say)- then why does any particular myth win out?

Liberal Christianity may avoid being homophobic or theocratic, but it still is ultimately against modernity, because it insists the world runs on magic. Deism was a perfectly comfortable middle ground until humanity began to actually be able to ponder the structures of the universe. Despite us being told over and over again that science and faith can coexist, the Fundamentalists were right: religion shrank when science came. Darwin defeated Genesis.

Jesus' moral philosophy, such as it was, does not work outside him being the son of god, and that god will utterly destroy you should you not submit. People are stupid, but not that stupid: without faith, the Bible is a fantasy novel with continuity errors. There's not particular reason to follow it, and good thing too, because the Fundamentalist interpretation is what the book actually says.

No, a clean break is much better. You're asking for people to look for truth in the middle of a lie. Meanwhile, the forces of reason and humanism built the modern world. Everything from medicine to modern agriculture is based on a rational world that works without a cosmic tyrant pulling the strings. Democracy, tolerance, and yes, both capitalism and socialism, come from modern ideas based on inherent rights, individuality and freedom of word and deed- this is not the plucking out of one's eye to avoid sin that Jesus of Nazareth ordred. (Nor is it the submission of Muhammad, the selflessness of Siddhartha, nor the fatalism in light of the capricious Pantheon.) It's worth remembering that the world you're talking about saving is not the world your mythmakers envisioned; it's the world dreamt of by people of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Those movements themselves were built on ideas nearly snuffed out by your mythmakers as the Dark Ages began.

You say we "need" the symbols, true or not. But everything we have came from ignoring those symbols, at least for a bit.
posted by spaltavian at 7:45 PM on January 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


And were modern moral ethics burst forth from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, like Athena from Zeus's forehead? Or maybe they were as dependent on tradition as those traditions themselves were on older traditions, and backwards onwards to the dawn of society.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:14 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


come from modern ideas based on inherent rights

That word "inherent" is every bit as mythological as any of the religions you name. It's a story some choose to believe.
posted by straight at 9:36 PM on January 16, 2012


That word "inherent" is every bit as mythological as any of the religions you name.

No, they're a recognized legal fiction. They are set up by the state, but can never be touched by the state. They hold fast regardless of which god is in fashion these days.

And were modern moral ethics burst forth from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, like Athena from Zeus's forehead?

I never said any such thing: Those movements themselves were built on ideas nearly snuffed out by your mythmakers as the Dark Ages began.

Medieval Europe did have some technological innovation (even as it lost some others), but it did not contribute much to the intellectual cannon. Each advancement was moving back to ancient thinking. It's popular to say there were no "Middle Ages", but the Humanists themselves were explicit about how they were drawing from ancient sources, at best they wanted to find a way to sync up ancient values with Christianity.

This project ultimately led to the Reformation and Protestantism: a religion without temporal power, where "faith" alone, rather than the need for works, is good enough, where every man could be his own priest, and where poverty is no virtue. Christianity was made more compatible with modernity by getting out of it's way. As we came to re-develop the market and the middle class, we didn't need religion to regulate this part of our word anymore. Religion and capitalism could co-exist when religion was neutered. The direct offspring of capitalism, socialism, made this rejection of religion more explicit.
posted by spaltavian at 4:27 AM on January 17, 2012


No, they're a recognized legal fiction. They are set up by the state, but can never be touched by the state.

Yeah, but you could say the same about theocracy -- it was enshrined in the law and above the law. As entrenched as they are, our rights are probably only as secure as is belief in the myth that all people have rights. In the past, that myth has often had a religious character, e.g. "all men are created equal." It's certainly possible to believe the myth without any religious component to it, but it remains to be seen how well it can thrive that way.
posted by straight at 9:34 AM on January 17, 2012


I've discussed this at some length in other forums, so I don't really want to go into it here, but...

This guy's just ig'nant. This is the vibe I get.

Now, one doesn't need to have read the whole Bible to say one doesn't believe in it. Of course not. But one probably does need to have read the whole Bible to make a far-ranging critique of the religion which treats it as a founding document. I mean, we're talking about a book which prescribes in exacting detail precisely how altars are to be constructed and sacrificed offered. Which sorta-kinda sounds like "religion," I'd think. One can certainly make an argument that there's other things going on here, and particularly as Christians don't do that anymore, but simply announcing "God hates religion" just shows you aren't serious.

So, yeah. I understand that the guy has things he doesn't like about contemporary Christianity. I don't like most of those things either. But I don't think it's because "God hates religion," but because most contemporary Christians--just like this guy!--don't actually read the Bible.

I also don't create intellectually embarrassing videos of myself and post them on YouTube, so the incentive to take seriously those who do is pretty low.
posted by valkyryn at 1:51 PM on January 18, 2012


The first poem was pretty poor. Bad rhymes, and the flow of it wasn't there for me. The second poem was much better. An overall good use of language and only a bit hackneyed. The third poem was terrible. Kudos for trying to break out of that modern American spoken word style, but honestly it just sounded like the guy was talking normally.

I commented before reading the other comments. But we're talking about the quality of the poetry right? People surely can't be trying to have a discussion over the theological content. Right?
posted by seanyboy at 12:24 AM on January 21, 2012


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