Someone recently said to me, “You were born in a Christian Nation so you need to accept it.” In fact, I didn’t ask to be born into a “Christian Nation,” it was simply a happenstance that both my parents, neither of them serious church-goers, were citizens and lived here at the time. There was really no requirement for me to accept the Christian faith other than having not been asked whether or not I wanted to be circumcised at birth and baptized at the age of 3 months. Sure, I was sent to Sunday school and required to say my prayers at night but I never recall ever saying a blessing at mealtime and there were a lot of “Goddamns” from my father when the mower quit working or I spilled a glass of milk. Thankfully genetics gave me an inquisitive mind and an IQ high enough to detect bullshit when I heard it, thus at a fairly early age I quit believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and an omnipotent god who watched me like a hawk, knew my every thought, and was ready to punish me for all eternity for my sins.
But what always bothered me was that almost everyone I was exposed to–family friends, classmates, teachers, scout masters—all claimed to be Christians. So if everybody was a Christian and believed in the life and lessons of Jesus Christ, why were there Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Evangelicals, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and on ad infinitum. How come Mother Teresa, Pope Paul, Billy Graham, Jim LaHaye, David Duke, Jim Jones and Slobodan Milošević all claimed Christianity as their religion yet each came up with vastly different concepts of what being a Christian was? I mean if Christianity is simply following Christ’s teachings, how can the relatively simple and supposedly historical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John be bent, twisted, altered, interpreted, misinterpreted, re-written, INVENTED, to come to the wildly differing teachings of the churches. Sure, these four guys didn’t agree with one another either but their differences were minor compared to those of the many Christian sects.
Well, I find most of the real crap the variety of “Christians” spew out to make them “different” comes from “interpretations” of the so-called Old Testament, the Torah. And while there is ample reason to believe that none of the gospel-writers had any contact with Jesus or even lived during his purported ministry, it’s sure a lot more likely to believe them than the random collection of folk tales regarding God’s dictates to Job, Moses, Abraham, etc., etc., that are littered with magic, sorcery, punishment and death…lots of death. (A burning bush???? Give me a break!)
But… let’s say I’ve decided I should become a Christian…a true American. I would certainly need to know just what being a Christian entails and what rules I would have to follow. Who can provide me with valid information? Which one of the aforementioned individuals or sects should I go to me the REAL honest-to-goodness true and no bullshit facts on the rules of being a Christian? Should I go to the Catholic Church and confide in Father Gilbert Gauthe ? (Oh, no…he’s incarcerated for molesting young boys). Well, then I’ll go a step higher to Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archbishop of Boston (No good. He resigned for covering up child molestations by priests). Okay, how about Reverend Jim Jones? (Oops, he’s dead…drank poison Kool-Aid). Well, then maybe it should be Jim and Tammy Bakker (Ahh, they got caught scamming their parishioners and imprisoned. Tammy’s dead but Jim now has another ministry). Timothy McVeigh ? (No…executed for blowing up 168 people including small children). Hey, I can go talk to Ted Haggard! Isn’t he president of the National Association of Evangelicals? (No, not now…he had to quit because he consorted with male prostitutes and got high on crystal meth). Of course Joseph Smith, Martin Luther and Mary Baker Eddy are all in their graves and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology won’t talk unless I bring lots of money with me. But someone MUST have the straight skinny…I just don’t know who? I mean these people all follow the same Jesus Christ, don’t they?
Therefore I will remain complacent in my having no factual knowledge of where or how we came to be; in observing nature and its unarguable rules; and if, how and when the universe began or if it was just always here. I sleep better that way.