It's been a good while since I've properly picked apart some narrow-minded religious hoo-ha, and with the religious tide rising as of late, now feels like an appropriate time to pull out the boxing gloves.
As always, the primary source of inspiration comes from my brother. Interestingly, while I'm quick to cite him as the subject material, he never shows me the same courtesy, even when what he's writing is BLATANTLY about me. (In this most recent case, admittedly, it is referencing me specifically, but also including our sister in the mix. Hooray for inclusionary tactics!) But while Jason is the source of the "inciting incident", as it were, there are two other distinct sources for this post that need to be mentioned. KatConfidential recently came out of the Christianity-closet, stating at the very beginning of her post a disclaimer to both myself and BillO that we probably weren't going to like what she wrote but requesting that we love her anyway.
I think I speak for both of us when I say that we do, Kat. We love you long time. But I go first.
Read the rest after the break!
The other source has to be Tripp because there has not been another individual in my current life who embodies such passionate faith in God and religion yet still exhibits a level of tolerance and understanding that's generally exhibited by, you know, normal people.
You can probably see where this is going.
As we've learned in the past, there is no better way to launch into these things than with Jason's own words. And every now and then, he writes something so insanely idiotic, I simply cannot stop myself from responding.
"If they’re not a born again Christian, you shouldn’t marry them. So that means all the other religions are out, because they don’t count."
In the spirit of full-disclosure, he's talking about a "believer" marrying someone who doesn't believe. In reality, however, he's using this as a thinly veiled guise to explain why he is incapable of having any kind of deep relationship with his siblings.
Oops! Did I just write that?! Well, he wrote it first. Actually, I have to commend him at his ability to look inward and realize that the reason he doesn't have a relationship with his siblings is because of his religious beliefs. If I could award you a gold star, I'd award you a million.
Of course, as with all religious fanatics who have been blinded by beliefs that they themselves don't truly understand, Jason doesn't believe that the onus of the above mention debilitation between siblings lies with him. Refer to my first quote from him (to paraphrase and cut straight to the point):
"If they're not a born again Christian, [...] they don't count."
You have five people in the room. By Jason's standards, the one "born again Christian" in the room is--for the sake of a simplified example--a real person. The other four people in the room, by virtue of not being a born again Christian, don't actually exist. They're unreal. Those four people are fake. Perhaps they're just cardboard cut-outs, but even cardboard would have more substance and history and personality than nothing at all. And cardboard CANNOT be a born again christian, so I think that theory is a wash, too. Maybe they're just figments of our imaginations, these four other people in the room. Whatever the case, by Jason's logic--both written and demonstrated in real life--they do not exist and are impossible to have real relationships with.
This is my problem with religious extremists. It's been theorized that such fanaticism is the mark of a wet-behind-ears inductee to the Christian Faith. In the absence of anything else happening in their life, they dive haphazardly into everything that is bad about religion, without thought as to what kind of negative impact it might have on their life. It's a state of mind, and not something that should be linked to any specific religion. If Jason was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household (which he easily could've been) he'd be hardcore Jew-boy right now and claiming that all Christians are going to burn in hell for false idolatry. (The Old Testament is the Jewish Torah ... the 10 Commandments are laid out in Exodus, Chapter 20. The First Commandment says: "I am the Lord you God ... you shall have no other gods before me ... you shall not make for yourself an idol ... you shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God". Since the crucifix is popular imagery in Christianity and Christians widely believe Jesus to be the Son of God and, well, the Jews DON'T ... this is a very clear violation of the First Commandment. So much for Christianity, right??)
Let's reiterate the point: extremism is a state of mind. It can be applied to any religion to achieve the same results. Intolerance that ranges from racial to social and boils all the way down to brothers and sisters. Exclusionary behavior that does nothing to overcome the intolerance that inspires it.
It's not the people around the extremists who are being exclusionary. Well, maybe I should clarify lest I myself get crucified.
I have little tolerance for those who are blindsided by their religion, this much is true. But I have never (and will never) write someone off or condemn them to hell or ever feel I must pray for them because they DON'T believe what I believe.
So much so that it handicaps his own relationships with the people closest to him. And it's not because we can't deal with him ... by is OWN admission, it's because HE can't deal with us.
I cited Kat and Tripp at the beginning of this post because there we have shining examples of people who don't get blindsided by their religion. I'll continue to name names, though. Everyone I know, whether committed to a religion or not, has never let their beliefs handicap their relationships (or their ability to HAVE relationships). Obsquatch. Lupine. Middlebrook. BigMackZach. Spazzy. Heather-Maria. IBRAHIM! Em. Heidi. Luis. The list can continue endlessly and will continue endlessly.
Sadly, there is no comedy here. There is no witty ending. There's just a sad and unfortunate state of affairs. I almost wish that I did subscribe to Christianity because I surprisingly want to close this post by saying:
"I'll pray for you, Jason."
The anguished musings of a jack-of-all trades creative professional based out of Longwood, Florida. Find out more about him here. You know, if that's your 'thing'.
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