Notice: This post is going to criticize religious fundamentalism…Since the two main movements in the world are the Conservative Christian Fundamentalist movement, and Radical Islam movements like Al’ Qaeda. Al’ Qaeda does exist by the way. Al’ Qaeda is run by a man who thinks that he is doing “Allah’s Will.” Just like President Bush thought it was “God’s Will” to invade Iraq.
The Christian Fundamentalist movement started in America in the 1950’s. The Fundamentalist Churches were best known for teaching that the Bible is word for word the Word of God. I beg to differ, Let’s look at the Gospels of Jesus Christ. These should be the corner stone of the Christian Church, as opposed to the teachings of Paul. You may ask why’s that? Well because in Christian Theology, Jesus died for the world’s sins. So we may assume that Fundamentalism would follow closer to the teachings of Jesus than the teachings of an Apostle. I am not going to sermonize the teachings of Jesus to prove my point. I want to challenge all of you to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Study the parables of Jesus very carefully. (The parables of Jesus from a theological point of view are very important when you are trying to understand what exactly God wants you to do. Rather than what some guy in a suit talking at a pulpit tells you what you should and should not believe.)
I do not feel that any religious document should be taken literally. Basically because religion is, and has been used as a form of control. The American society when it comes to religion, was not based with a specific group in mind. The freedom of religion was written as it concerns to the individual. In God we Trust..I feel that is a very ambiguous statement. Mainly because Christianity does not have a monopoly on the word God. So In God we Trust, could be as simple as America acknowledging the existence of a higher power. With that being said the main teachings of Jesus, was how to live. He did speak of heaven, he did say believe in me the son of God and you will go there. But he never really taught about hell to the masses very much. Why? Why didn’t Jesus have a fire and brimstone type of message? Because the fire and brimstone isn’t a part of the message. From a theological point of view, the fire and brimstone message is what happens if you don’t believe fully in Jesus Christ and his message. Because you really need to believe in the message to believe in the messenger don’t you? What was the underlying point to all of his parables? He made several. Through his parables he was able to paint a picture and how you should act in certain situations. The main points and there are a couple of literal teachings. I believe those literal teachings are the most important.
1.) Everything you do should honor God. (This is referencing Adonai (The most high) in the English translation the word Lord replaces Adonai. The word Lord, may have been used to make the common folk think of nobility, most specifically the English translation that was translated and written (with a dramatic flair in some parts) by William Shakespeare. This was done at the behest of King James. Each draft King James read it and made notes on where things should be changed. As at that time the King of England, was the head of the Church of England, and the voice of God in the kingdom of England. So all revisions was done by the court. Either from the head bishop that the King gave religious declarations to, or the King had a direct hand. And that’s why I don’t think the King James or any derivative is a true translation. I personally think the NIV would be the closest translation, besides actually translating the original documents. Which are kept in a vault, and the public is not allowed to do such things. You can translate and study the original Torah (not the physical scroll, but one can assume it is a direct verbatim transposition.) But that is only the first four books of the Old Testament (as the Christians call it.) But that long thing is the explanation of how I think the second most holy word and beautiful word in the hebrew language, is cannabalized being replaced with Lord. Jehova is no better. Since the term YHWH is not a word non-rabbi’s can say by the Hebrew law. That is the most holy word in the Hebrew language. I am not going to write it phonetically, as it isn’t even important to this post.
2.) Love your neighbor as you would yourself. This means treat everyone with the same respect and love you give yourself and your family. This also means loving your enemies as much as you do your family. If you do this Jesus implied that it would catch on, and it would.
3.) No one is perfect, but live life by being as good as you can. Help those out in need, even and especially strangers.
4.) Live a life of non-violence. (This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn some form of martial (hand to hand) defense. Martial arts is not just a asian thing. Every country has it’s own form of martial arts, even if it is forgotten.) This means that you try your best to resolve arguments non-violently and non-argumentatively. If an enemy strikes you, you turn your other cheek. That passage comes to mind. This doesn’t mean you just passively take a beating, but you try to calm the situation. Show that you believe that caving in to your lesser instincts of violence solves nothing and only creates more violence. Sometimes being the bigger person is allowing someone to think you’re meek. Allowing someone feel superior at your own benefit. How does this make you a better person? Because you’re not lowering yourself to their level. You are sticking to your beliefs, and to the teachings of Jesus. This shows your character is higher than one of a thug.
Jesus also taught against hierarchical type religions. Which the irony is the religion that is supposedly founded on the principles of the teachings of Jesus, became more like the Hebrew Church which is less than Christ like.
This doesn’t mean you don’t fight for what you believe in. Nor does it mean that it is against God to joined the armed forces of your country. You should never assume that God likes his creations to kill one another, because he does not. One of the reasons that Lucifer and his angels were banished from heaven, is because he tried to start a civil war in the Kingdom of God. This includes the 7 Earths, and the 7 Heavens. The 7 Hells has yet been created, but good news..that doesn’t mean Hell doesn’t exist. According to the Hebrew religion there’s a place in the 3rd Heaven that holds fallen angels and wicked and evil human beings until the Day of Judgement. It is done in a field of Fire and Brimstone and the captives are held by chains made of Ice. Which would be both soothing and torturous. This part of the third heaven is guarded by seraphim and cherubim. Two types of angels I would never want to meet in person. Why? Because Angels were created to keep balance within the created universe (according to theology.) this meant that if Adonai tells these beings to kill someone they gladly do it no questions asked. A being that kills with a smile on his face. Honestly, would you not be afraid of that kind of being? They do the same for any other command of God. Which seperates humanity from angellic beings. God created humanity with free will, therefore humanity is created in the spiritual image of God. This is of course all according to Hebrew theology that I have read on this subject.
You’re probably asking yourself what does the above do with Fundamentalism? Well, I figured I would break down basic beliefs that should be considered the fundamental core..then tell you what I hear most fundamentalists saying.
1.) Salvation is through faith and not works…So what does James 2:14-26 mean?
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[b]and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
I have heard many try to explain this, and keep by salvation through faith alone. When it comes down to it according to the bible, to be saved you must have ACTIVE FAITH. This does not mean I support those that say you need to do good works to be saved. I am saying actively living as the gospels say Jesus lived, is a very good example of having active faith.
I’ve heard Christian Fundamentalists talk negatively about other religions without really understanding those other religions. I don’t feel they understand their own, because the actions made by Christian Fundamentalists reflect this. Ever see a picket line in front of an abortion clinic? Ever hear of one of those picketers try to talk with someone coming out, and comforting them over what just happened? No they cast stones (not literal ones, but verbal ones and I assure you verbal stones hurt just as bad.) I’ve heard Conservative Christian Fundamentalists say they can’t respect someone that doesn’t follow their own religion. Yet Christ commanded all his followers to love and respect one another, even those that are hated. Based on actions of the collective whole I feel Conservative Christian Fundamentalists aim is one of control. Based on the recent actions made by many Christian Fundamentalist leaders both in the government and spiritual. It stands to reason that they don’t follow the teachings of Jesus.
What makes me say that? Well for one many that identify themselves as conservative christians this group in government and in religion are pushing matters that are in contradiction to their own religions basic theology. The bible says money is the root of all evil. Here’s a riddle. What is needed for capitalism to survive? The answer is Money. Not that I think that socialism or a theocracy is a better deal. Now here’s another riddle I will not give you the answer for. In American politics what group that mainly identifies themselves as Conservative Christians, is also the defenders of Capitalism? I would like to point out I am not a socialist, but I do not believe that a social/economic structure that mainly focuses on the good of the one instead of the good of the many is not one those that claim they are Christians should support.
I don’t know enough about Islam to make the comparison between a fundamentalist and a regular Muslim. I will say that Islam has existed long before Mohammed actually existed. I will say that before Mohammed, Islam mirrored Judaism very closely. I know there are sects that believe Mohammed was never a true prophet. In America these sects are open to the public, but in the Middle East these sects are hunted down, and the members killed in a “shameful way”. I don’t know a lot about Islam, but I do know that its foundations are not anchored in Jihad and killing infidels. In fact, I know that Mohammed was living around the time of the Crusades. Which for those who do not know the Crusades were genocidal wars that’s only goal was the purging of Islam from the planet. The Christian Church promised salvation from sin and physical crime, in return for basically killing muslims. So if you ever really have wondered why the Jihadists want to destroy America and Christians alike? Well the Crusades started it., for those that actually use Jihad as a religious purpose. There are many Iman’s in the middle east using Jihad for another reason entirely, control. This is what I do know about Islam. It was practiced by the various Bedouin tribes of the Middle Eastern desert, long before the birth of Mohammed. That cultures in the middle east (besides the persian empire.) were known for their hospitality to strangers. Syria is a country that at one time was known for it’s excellent hospitality. I cannot say what happened really, I can assume that the change happened during the Crusades.
I can tell you of simularities. Both groups claim to be the one true religion. Both groups historically have killed people not of that religion, because they didn’t submit and convert over. Fundamentalists are only a small portion of a religion, so in no way should the actions of these misguided people actually represent the whole of these religions. Fundamentalists want control, they want power, and they want money. It’s not always those things, they may also think that they are doing God’s Will. But killing people is not the will of God, it is man using the name of God to control those who believe. Has anyone ever wondered why it is the Elderly that lead the Islamic fundamentalists? Has anyone ever wondered why people believe that it is the will of God to kill yourself to kill infidels, when it is someone who has lived a full life is saying this stuff? I have too and I don’t have the answers of why people believe those things from those situations. I don’t know why people are willing to uplift themselves in different ways by stepping on the backs of others. I especially don’t know how in a tolerant religion (I am talking about Christianity. I don’t know enough about Islam or it’s core teachings to comment on anything but what I have seen and experienced. So I refuse to say this is what Muslims believe and all Muslims believe it. On the other hand, I do know what fundamentalist Christians believe and I know all Fundamentalist Christians believe this way. I also know that the rest of Christianity is trying to move further from the teachings of the Fundamentalists.) We hear about bad things happening. A lab where the global warming phenomena is being studied in different ways, then a Christian political leader that has openly admitted having beliefs most identify with Christian Fundamentalism is on the news with stolen evidence that global warming is a lie. Or what about the Palestinian mothers and Iraqi parents who strapped bombs to their children in order to “kill the infidels.” What about preachers that actually truly support the idea, that eradication of a certain religion is not a bad idea. What about the Christian Religion, burning many heretics (means the same exact thing as infidel by the way.) and eradicating many different spiritual practices. I can go on, but I feel the point has been made. Plain and simple. All Fundamentalists should be considered as radical. Not all terrorism actually ends in people dieing. Terrorism is more of a psychological thing, and all Fundamentalists preform it in some way. For instance, I’ve seen a sermon meant to bring in converts into christianity. Nothing about that sermon really talked very much about the teachings of Jesus. The only mention of Jesus was at the end. Before all that what was the message? You are going to hell. Then the description of hell with tone of voice (pastors actually learn in seminary how to use tone of voice to get the desired effect.) and vivid descriptions of how you will be tortured and this that and the other horrible thing will happen to you. Then at the end there is a, but you can avoid all of that by believing in Jesus. The sermon though was more about hell and what it will be like, than about the teachings of Jesus. I feel that fire and brimstone message thing is psychological terrorism. Because that isn’t what Christianity is about, it isn’t about believing in a messiah to go to heaven. It is the promised end result. No Christianity is about how to live. How to enrich others lives by following those teachings, and by being obedient to those teachings you enrich yours as well. Christianity is about how God wants you to live, he sent this message through his son and because he willingly accepted all of the sins past, present and future.
Show me where in the New Testament it says to hate other religions. Show me where in the New Testament does it give any of you the impression that tolerance has no place in Christianity? Shame on all of you, start following the teachings of Jesus more, and less of the teachings of Paul the apostle.
I know where it says to kill the infidels in the Q’uran. But honestly, you need to learn to coexist as well. While yes Organized Christanity did commit genocide, during the crusades. But why now? Killing gets us no where, maybe no religion should rule the world. Maybe we need to evolve our thinking a little and just learn that the only thing that is brought by violence isn’t peace but more violence. The only way for peace to happen is for every person in the world to work together. The thing is it is easier to kill those who don’t have your same beliefs, than it is to reason with them. I say this to all of the Muslims of the world. You want people to believe your religion is a peaceful one, stop the violence.
Why can’t we just not blow each other up, or try to discredit one another’s religion. Why is something that is supposed to be a minor part in our lives be so major that mothers and fathers are sacrifice their own children, just because a man dressed in funny clothes told you to? This is not just for Islam, but for Christianity as well. Because Extremist Christian Terrorist groups do exist. Maybe we need to start asking why does it have to be this way? Why would any God create a species, and condone the extinction of said species? Because killing in the name of any God, does not make you any less of a murderer.