My Old Kentucky Homesite

Pssst … Some of Us Don’t Care What Jesus Would Do

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 01/02/2010

For the second time this week, the Lexington Herald-Leader ran an article about the Pew Forum’s poll on religiosity. Today’s version of the article appeared in the silly “Life + Faith” section. The poll may have been newsworthy once, but devoting valuable newshole to it twice moves the rag’s editors into the realm of opinion. Isn’t it bad enough that the LHL devotes two full pages to nonsense each week? How come there’s no “Life + Reason” section?

Looking at the charts again, I was struck that Pew confined itself to four areas only: (1) the importance of religion in your life; (2) how often you pray; (3) how often you attend religious services; and (4) with how much certainty do you believe in “God” ? The last question, to be more accurate, should have used the phrase “your god,” but Pew cooked the books. In any case, 83% of Kentuckians believe in “God” with absolute certainty. Sadly, that incredible percentage was only the tenth highest in the nation; the citizens of nine other states are even more smugly sure that their superstitions are correct.

However, what Pew cunningly failed to ask was: Do you think it’s right to persecute or kill people who don’t believe in your god with absolute certainty?

That question might clarify Americans’ stance on religious fanatics of all stripes. How do you feel about the devout Muslim who tried to kill a Danish cartoonist for portraying Muhammad in an unsympathetic light? What’s your opinion about the pious Christian who murdered an abortion doctor? If you had lived in an earlier era, would you have supported the Crusades? How about the Inquisition, or the Protestants’ wars on Catholics, or the Blood Libel against Jews? Would you have favored the burning of witches? Of infidels?

Similarly, Pew might have asked: Do you believe with absolute certainty that any criticism of your worldview is “hate speech”? Do you agree with Bill O’Reilly that anti-Christian talk and writing are examples of it? If so, then how about anti-atheist talk and writing; is that also “hate” speech? (If not, why not?)

Not surprisingly, the main story in today’s “Life + Faith” section was called “Sharing the light in 2010.” The paper’s “faith bloggers” offered ideas on how to make the world a better place. The answers ranged from “Be a little more Christlike each day” to “Fear God, and keep his commandments” to “Fall in love with Jesus.” In other words, “become Christians.” Only one preacher responded with a sweet but generic call to – in essence – treat each other nicely. His answer might have been improved by adding: “and avoid sanctimoniousness.”

You can follow a long line through history of people who wanted to make the world a better place, often by ramming their god or gods down the throats of others. Gods take many forms; they’re not always supernatural, anthropomorphic beings. Sometimes they’re -isms, or particular states, or even ethnicities. But whatever their peculiar manifestations, they’re always trotted out by the bloodthirsty bullies, under the guise of “making the world a better place” – with at least 83% absolute certainty. Those Evildoers who have told their followers how to MWBP have always had their own agendas and their own ends in mind. Pick your favorite villain of the past or present: He or she fits the pattern.

Perhaps the only real way to make the world a better place is for all of us to be wary of those who claim to know how to do so.

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12 Responses to “Pssst … Some of Us Don’t Care What Jesus Would Do”

  1. The Romans at least gave everyone nice roads and aqueducts, among other things, while making the world a better place.

    On the surface it may appear that if we make everyone the same, then we won’t have a reason to fight, so your Christians are thinking if everyone is Christian, then there’d be no fighting. Weeeeell, not exactly, because then everyone would argue over what BRAND of Christian to be, what style of church to have, and finally what kind of fruit cocktail to put in the jello for the church picnic (give me Dole or give me death). Basically, people are going to disagree about everything so the best thing to do is to set up something where everyone is free to say what they want and do what they want as long as it doesn’t stop someone else from saying or doing what they want, and stop fretting over others not using the same can of fruit cocktail in their house as you.

    Last time I checked, I thought we had a Constitution like that, but I’m afraid not many have gotten the memo to actually read it, which is why you have a bunch of asshats who think peace can be had by making everyone Christian.

  2. Philly:
    Peace can be had only by making everyone shut up. But I wouldn’t want to see that legislated, because freedom is more important than peace.

  3. Think of your Fellow man
    Lend him a helping Hand
    Put a little Love in your heart
    And the world will be a better place
    And the world will be a better place
    For you… and me… you just wait – and SEEEEEEE!

    -Ann Margaret, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart

  4. Evie said

    How do you feel about the devout Muslim who tried to kill a Danish cartoonist for portraying Muhammad in an unsympathetic light? What’s your opinion about the pious Christian who murdered an abortion doctor?

    Boilerplate answers: The first guy was not a True Muslim, and the second was not a True Christian.

    Do you believe with absolute certainty that any criticism of your worldview is “hate speech”? Do you agree with Bill O’Reilly that anti-Christian talk and writing are examples of it? If so, then how about anti-atheist talk and writing; is that also “hate” speech?

    Boilerplate answers: Yes, any and all criticism of the Christian worldview (which, as you know, is the right one) is “hate speech.” (And, it makes Baby Jesus cry.) Yes, Bill O’Reilly’s assertions that anti-Christian talk and writing are hate speech are correct. After all, Christianity is the One True Religion, so anyone who speaks or writes against it is an instrument of Satan, who is numero uno on God’s enemies list. Satan hates God, so anyone doing his work is engaging in acts of hate. No, anti-atheist talk and writing is not hate speech, because Christians are right and atheists are wrong. The Truth, even if it’s unpleasant, is not hateful, it’s just factual.

    I doubt that any of those answers surprise you.

    The exhortation to “Fear God and keep his commandments” would be a good one, if Christians were right. After all, their god is an asshole of the first order; you’d be nuts not to fear such a jerk. It’s a good thing he’s not real. The encouragement to “Fall in Love with Jesus” is sick – I neither fall in love with nor make love to corpses; necrophilia is not my thing. The directive to “Be More Christlike” is ripe with possibilities. Are they talking about the gentle Jesus who washed his disciples feet, or the angry guy who threw a temper tantrum in the Temple? I’d say that Bill O’Reilly and his ilk are using the latter as their role model.

  5. Percy:
    And don’t tell me what to do
    And don’t tell me what to say
    – Lesley Gore, “You Don’t Own Me”

    Evie:
    So I take it you’re not absolutely certain “God” exists. If you lived in Kentucky you’d be only one of 17 in 100. The poll results I saw don’t say this, but I’m guessing that 15 of those 17 are still “pretty certain” or “somewhat certain,” although I don’t know how Ann-Margret would have answered.

  6. Evie said

    Well, if 83 in 100 are “absolutely certain” that God exists, and another 15 are “pretty certain” or “somewhat certain,” then I’m one of only 2 in 100. Apparently, Ann-Margret would have been in the group of 83. Great looks aren’t everything.

  7. Evie:
    There seems to be some evidence that Ann-Margret was brainwashed by a cult.

  8. Evie said

    Well, she certainly wasn’t whitewashed. She didn’t appear to be Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, either.

  9. Evie:
    If you’re going to leave links like that one, I’ll have to ask you to include disclaimers with them. It’s not that I minded the lyrics so much — although I did — it’s that the singing was unlistenable. I had to wash my ears out, but certainly (100% absolute) not with the blood of anything.

  10. TinaFCD said

    I’m not sure if our newspaper has a religious section anymore. It keeps shrinking more and more as the years go by. Now I’m curious, might have a look.

  11. Well now, sounds like somebody needs to worship at the Church of the Sub-Genius.
    Would you like flies with that?
    Our newspaper gets it: devoting (devouting) a page a week to “Faith.”

    Thought of you when CBS mentioned the LHL had seven pages devoted (devouted) to the UK/UL basketball game.

  12. Tina:
    According to my wife, who has been reading the LHL since she was a child, our paper keeps shrinking, too. But not Life + Faith — and definitely not sports.

    Going:
    The LHL is an arm of the college basketball industry. You can find references to the Wildcats in every section of the paper, except maybe the comics. Fortunately, the Herald-Leader’s daily crossword comes from The New York Times, where Kentucky college sports take a back seat to more important things: namely, anything else. I should point out, however, that the Monday-Saturday puzzles are, predictably in Kentucky, five weeks old; I just solved a Thanksgiving-themed puz a few days ago.

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