I've been reading a lot of books recently about religion and have heard quite a lot of debate on the radio and I guess it's just come to the point where I feel like I need a rant. Particularly about Christianity.
Now I know I will have lost some readers after that first sentence but if you are a person of faith who cannot deal with debate then perhaps your faith is not quite as strong as you would have others believe. Let me begin by saying that I have many friends who are Christians who vary in how strongly they believe and in which particular form of Christianity they believe in. Quite honestly, if people want to believe that and it helps them - fine. But what I can't stand is hypocrites. And unfortunately most of the Christians I have met or spoken to are hyopcrites.
I am not an Athiest. Atheism involves being certain. I am not certain there is no God. If you were to place me on an atheism scale from 1-10 you could put me on a 9.8. Even Richard Dawkins isn't stupid enough to eliminate all possibility despite how extremely unlikely it is. But that's not what this about. I'm not talking about whether or not a God or Gods exist. I'm looking at Christianity.
I have always been of the opinion that an idea is better than a belief because ideas can be changed. Whatever anyone's thoughts about their spirituality or God should be a private thing (Now the Bible agrees with me here but we will get onto that in a bit). However, if someone decides they wish to affiliate themselves with a religion, any religion, I would expect them to follow that religion completely and not just take the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't. If different interpretations of religious scripture is what you're after then don't affiliate yourself with a religion which by definition represents a specific way of thinking. Otherwise, guess what? You are a hypocrite. If someone follows a religion whole-heartedly, sure, I would think they were a nutter but I would respect them for at least sticking to their word.
So here is a list of a few different bits of the Bible that are largely ignored these days. Now, one could argue that times have changed - I accept that. But why, then are other parts of the Bible still adhered to? If you consider yourself a Christian, you should be doing the following things already - if you're not - you can't really call youself a "Christian".
1) "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (l Corinthians 11:14). A simple one to begin with. Keep your hair short!
2) "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak”-- 1 Corinthians 14:34). Well that's the church of England out the window. And remember ladies, no praying out loud when you're in church! Although it doesn't mention singing so that's something.
3)“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God”--Deuteronomy 22:5). No more trousersuits ladies.
4) “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7) - That's pretty much the entire structure of Roman Catholic mass gone then right?
5) “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?” -- 1 Corinthians 6:1 NIV) Yes, i'm afraid that means not taking any disputes to the police, courts, judges or infact any earthly legal system. So when your house gets burgled, no calling the police, get on your knees and say a prayer.
6) “...that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire”--l Timothy 2:9 RSV; and “Let not yours be the outward adorning of braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing”-- 1 Peter 3 :3). I reckon this includes the nice hat the pope wears. No costly attire - so no expensive clothes or jewelry. No funky hair styles.
7) "Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1) and “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged, condemn not and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Well this is ignored by most Christians I have met. I am immediately judged for not believing in their God and that I am therefore a person who needs to be "prayed for". That homosexuals are "sinners" and their acts "wrong". Waaaaaay too much judging there. While we are on the subject, if homosexuality is such a big deal, why didn't Jesus bother to bring it up?
8) “If any man come to me, and not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sister, yet, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Got it? You need to hate your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and yourself otherwise you cannot be a Christian.
9) "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”-- Matthew 5:39). Yup, that's right no resisting evil. No more protests please. No more fighting againt the evils of the world. And as you can't use an earthly legal system I would imagine this would mean allowing someone to murder your mother, then praying to God in a closet in the hopes he will sort it out for you eventually come judgement day (but that shouldn't really be a problem seeing as you should hate your mother anway).
10) “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Someone really needs to ring the Pope. I don't think the Catholics have even read the Bible. Do you think the word 'daddy' counts as well?
11) “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or that ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on... Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, not gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feedth them. Are ye not much better than they?” --Matthew 6:25-34 & Luke 12:22-31). So this would include no staring at the burger king menu trying to decide what to have. Certainly no thought about fashion and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
12) “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”-Matthew 5:18-19 RSV). Well that ruins the 'times have changed' argument. No more claiming Jesus got rid of all the bad stuff in the old testament. I'm afraid it still counts.
14) "Eating pork is forbidden" (Deuteronomy 14:8). No more bacon!
15) "A man must marry and have relations with his dead brother’s wife" (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). It's a shame Henry VIII missed that part.
16) "A raped, unengaged virgin must marry her rapist and they can never divorce" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Mazel Tov!
17) "A garment composed of wool and linen can’t be worn" (Deuteronomy 22:11) well that's one way out of granny's annual christmas jumper.
So please, Christians, around the globe may I suggest having a read of the Bible before you commit? And then If you think "Hey, that's not so bad" then fine (well not 'fine' I would suggest therapy) but stick to it. Then you can call yourself a Christian. OK?