Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Theology 101

Last week I received—along with twenty or so others—the following e-mail from someone I have known as far back as I can remember:

Brilliant in its simplicity................
A. Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men.
B. Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women.
C. Allow those folks who want to abort their babies, abort their babies.
D. In three generations, there will be no Democrats.
Damn - I love it when a plan comes together
God Bless America

My reply (To all, of course; this is me we’re talking about):

I know well two gay couples who are married, one male, the other female. The men adopted an infant girl two years ago; the women each have a child from sperm donors. Those children are raised in loving, stable homes. If Rachel were of the proper age, I would not hesitate to let her stay with either couple.These are people who are hurt by the perpetuation of attitudes that convey them as somehow less worthy of the same consideration any of us would want or expect, not stereotypes standing in as straight lines for a joke.

Since we’re just kidding around and no offense should be inferred (right?), let’s talk about the inbred cousin fuckers who, left to their own devises, will constitute the core of Tea Party support in three generations.

Oh, wait. That’s been done already.

The sender of the original e-mail then replied with:

I am totally anti gay. You will never convince me that gay marriage is right or should be condoned. Thank god I live in a state where the governor thinks the same.

This leads me to several questions about Christians I have wondered about for years. I hope someone can enlighten me.

The dictionary definition of “Christian” as a noun is, “a person who believes in Jesus Christ; an adherent of Christianity,” and as “a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ.”

We all know I am no Bible scholar, but I’ve been around enough to know a little. Things like:
There are two books to the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The New Testament covers the teachings of Christ.

Christ’s teachings include such sentiments as “love thy neighbor,” “hate the sin but love the sinner,” and, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

The Old Testament tells the tales of God before Christ’s time, when, to paraphrase Lewis Black, He was a Prick. Fire and brimstone, stoning, plagues, floods, slavery. The Old Testament sounds a lot like Mississippi in 1957.

If we accept that the Old Testament was written before the New Testament, and that the writers of the New Testament knew this, then it is reasonable to assume the New Testament is intended to supersede the Old. Where they differ, the New should take precedence.

Christians, believing as devoutly as they do in the teachings of Christ, should then look to the New Testament when determining courses of action with things they do not understand or agree with. Forgiveness and forbearance replace the Old Testament’s eye for an eye vengeance, and punishment such as was administered to Sodom and Gomorrah. More than any other religion, and regardless of whether they truly believe homosexuality is a sin, Christians should accept and forgive; that forgiveness is the bedrock of their religion. True Christians would not dream of denying anyone, straight or gay, the same rights and pursuit of happiness they themselves enjoy.

So here’s my question: Where are all the Christians we keep hearing about in this “Christian” nation? Christianity in America is strictly Old Testament, unless someone is asking for a little forbearance and charity for themselves. That’s not what Christ had in mind for his followers. He wanted them to forgive others, not expect it for themselves.

American Christians need to walk the walk if they’re going to talk the talk. Being a Christian is not just saying all the right things when you want them to apply to you and dragging out the Old Testament when someone does something you don’t like. It means treating those others as you would like to be treated. Even more, it means placing yourself in their position, and wondering what it would be like to be treated as “good Christians” treat them, knowing the only forgiveness you’ll find will come only after abject surrender to their way of thinking.

What would Jesus Do? Right.


vineeta said...

When I think of true Christians, I think of Mother Teresa. Not people like Newt Gingrich, whose lifestyle belies what he says about being a devout Christian. Or Mitt Romney, who donated millions of dollars to the Mormon church, but had no compunctions of getting rid of thousands of workers when Bain Captial took companies private in leveraged buyouts. And certainly not Rick Santorum, whose definition of Christianity is to condemn any a woman who needs an abortion, even if she was a victim of rape or incest.

Dana King said...

Thank you for stopping by and for the comment. When I think of Christians and Christianity, I often am reminded of Gandhi's comment, when he said (paraphrasing) "I very much like your Christ, but do not care for your Christians." That, I agree with.