I am a Christian
I am writing this as an American Citizen and the views and biases I iterate here are based on that fact, and the reactions to the present political climate in the United States.
That being said, how many times in your life have you heard the above statement, “I am a Christian”? Or as a literal translation, “I am Christ like”. I hear it all the time here in the Southwest of the U.S. and it is something that falls out of the mouths of Baptists and other theologically influenced people all over this country.
First off, we need to establish that Christ was in fact a man who did live in the geographical area of present Israel. I think the historical record of his life is fairly substantial, both from the churches’, and from the secular historical record; so I accept that he was a man who in the first 30 years of his life was a carpenter and a fairly good one. His unpaid service record for Christianity was the last three years, where he trundled throughout the Middle East with no wife, no girlfriend, and 12 men in tow; all with long hair and wearing dresses and sandals.
The Biblical record we now hold as the standard is the King James Version of the Old and New Testament. Why the King James Version? Mostly because in the time of King James in England, the church was in a huge state of turmoil over which books of the Bible were the anointed words of God, and which were not. He assembled a committee to translate a new modern version of the Bible that would serve to clear up all the confusion of using worn out text versions of the originals, which were written in Hebrew and Greek, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New in Greek, which were the two universal languages of that era in the Eastern Mediterranean countries. They started with all the original works which had been discovered at that time, and the actual volume of material was vast. There were nine gospels at that time, including one written by Mary Magdalene. The committee narrowed this volume of work down to four gospels and left out several letters from Paul and other post ascension works, to what we now “accept” is the complete words of God. Of course they also left out the one book written by a woman, and we don’t know to this day if it was because of sexism, or just because it wasn’t well written. If this fact doesn’t cause you to question the accepted fact that the King James Version of the Bible are the complete and only words of God, then you need to be awakened from your deep dark sleep!
Imagine if you would, a large Baptist church in any state from Texas to Florida; a man enters with hair down to his shoulders, wearing a dress and sandals, and an entourage of 12 men all looking pretty much the same. Would he be welcomed, or would he be rejected? I don’t even have to answer that question. Now if you will, recall all the present politicians who have invoked the name of Jesus in their speeches, and in fact the present president of the United States has on more than one occasion stated he is a “Christian”. Oh my goodness! Would Jesus, who never ever advocated violence for the solution of any problem, have entered Iraq with the sole purpose of killing off their leader and claiming all of their oil reserves for his own? Would Jesus ever have cut funding for the infirmed, causing them at the very least, a load of discomfort, and at the most death; in the case of those who died while on waiting lists for HIV medications? Would Jesus ever have advocated selling the treasury of the country to the Bank of China? Would Jesus sell out his charges to make his own wealth more important than the needs of the country he was given the responsibility of leading? Would Jesus ever be caught driving a Hummer, with a plastic “Christian Fish” pasted to the rear door? Would Jesus ever commit to a campaign to become the president of the United States of America? I think the answer to all of the above would be NO!
I can hear you now complaining about the record of the many “Holy Battles” in the historical record of the Old Testament. I agree, many times in the Old Testament, there are detailed and gory accounts of the many battles that the tribes of Israel had to enter into to escape Egypt, where they were held in slavery. However, most of the time they were in conflicts that were fought with a Holy injection of power, such as the plagues that were brought on the Egyptians that held them, and were used to break the Egyptian resolve. In New Testament times, which we are now living in; Jesus was the ultimate “Peace Hippy”, going around the Bible belt helping everyone, without even a thought given to their church affiliation. In point of fact, the only record we are given of Jesus giving in to his “Anger side” was when he went into the Temple in Jerusalem and found the church leaders selling “stuff”, collecting taxes for the Roman government, and generally turning the Temple into the central market place. When Jesus entered this environment, he went ballistic and started throwing tables and chairs all over the place, evicting all the “Officials” of the church and telling them never to come back again. This is the ONLY time in the whole of the Biblical record that Jesus showed and acted on his anger. The ONLY time.
We can gather from this, that Jesus was fairly disconnected from the actions and traditions of the masses, and especially the politics of Rome. In the Gospel of Mark, we see that the early Christians were admonished not to beat their slaves, but to treat them with love and respect. Christian slaves were admonished to love their masters and to work for them without question or without complaint. Nowhere were they instructed to go to Rome and lobby the senate to change the laws to outlaw the ownership of slaves. It is not a foreign fact to anyone knowing anything about the time of slavery in this country that this particular passage in the New Testament was used time and time again to place God’s blessing on the trade and ownership of our brothers and sisters from Africa. Never were the early churches told to interfere with anything going on in Rome, on the contrary, they were always told and instructed to give to Rome that which Rome required to run the empire. Never were the early churches instructed to protest the capture and butchering of their numbers in the coliseum in Rome for the entertainment of the “Ultra Class”. On the contrary, they were told to submit and die with humility and with the peace of Jesus in their hearts. Further, they were told to turn the other cheek and let the dominators have their way. The Biblical record gives us great detail about the lead up time to the crucifixion of Jesus, and we see where the then leader of Rome, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Jerusalem, was in shock that the leaders of the temple at the time, were the ones that had condemned Jesus and were the ones that were trying to force the Roman government to sentence him to death for his “false” ministry. During this whole time, he never protested, never once uttered a whimper of complaint, only a plea from his Father above for mercy for those who were out to actually “Kill Jesus”. If you remember the record, Pontius washed his hands of the complete mess and turned Jesus over to the leaders of the church to do with him what they will. It is vitally important here to recall that truly, the government at the time had absolutely nothing at all to do with the death and torturing of Jesus, but it was in fact the direct actions of the temple that brought all this on him. I find that fact disturbing and find that the actions of the “Christians” of today must be held suspect and Christians should never be trusted when they invoke the name of Christ to fortify their hateful and destructive actions against the society at large.
Now jump to today
The current church in the United States is up to it’s eardrums in political action and is interfering in Washington in all the every day details of this country. They are currently trying to force the country to amend the constitution to outlaw gay marriage, ban abortions forever, and many other things which do not in any way fall under the purview of the church. In fact they are only to have influence over their own church. When Paul wrote his letter to the church at Galatia, he started the letter by saying “Oh my dear idiots in Galatia”.
The church in Corinth was having a terrible time with their members fucking themselves into oblivion and the orgies that were taking place at their gatherings were denounced by Paul on every side. This is where he went into great detail on the “Sanctity” of relationships, never once telling them to extend these rules to the church’s non-members living in the city of Corinth. No! They were to apply these rules to their own church and their own members; never the society at large.
All in all, I am very uncomfortable with the involvement that the church in this country has forced on it’s citizens, and I am at the same time amused when one of them gets caught in the Minneapolis airport trying to pick up a trick, or a “Christian” member of congress is humiliated for soliciting sex from one of the many gay pages that make the congress of this country function. Most of them have intimate ties to the “Christian Fundamentalists” which are causing us more and more anxiety on a national level. I must ask “Oh my dear friends in the Christian Church of this country, how is all this working for you?” Unlike what is printed on our currency, we are NOT a Christian nation, and we do not “trust in God” in any sense of the word, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation, or we would never have shed a drop of blood to defend and nourish the richness of our land. We would have learned how to live “With” the natives who already owned this land. We would have never entered the first or second world war but would have acted much like Switzerland and been seen mostly as “Peacemakers”, which is after all, the true meaning of “I am a Christian.”