Sunday Sermon

Flock Tenets Revamped

I have recently been beset by conversion attempts. Mostly Christians, but I also recently had a Muslim try out his missionary hat on me. In these conversations, I have been AMAZED by the lack of knowledge of history, their own faiths, and the faiths of others that these well-meaning folk have shown. Here are some of the things that have come up in these conversations...

Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Mormons, and Episcopalians are not Christians. (Nor are any number of other denominations as it suits the speaker. At one point he told me that all good Baptists were Christians, then added "except the people who follow Reverend So-and-so.")

Lutherans are the one true faith because they are the only church that uses the whole bible with nothing added or removed. (When I asked which version of the bible they used, he responded "NIV." I nearly choked on my fried rice.)

Christianity was never the official religion of Rome. (Christianity became a sanctioned religion in Rome during the reign of Constantine I (324-337 AD) and became the official state religion of Rome in 391 AD when Theodosius I outlawed all other faiths.)

Christianity and Islam have never infringed on the rights of minorities, homosexuals, or unbelievers. (I didn't even know where to begin with this one...)

Muslims, Jews, and Christians do not worship the same god. (The person who told me this based his assertion on the fact that Muslims worship Allah, and Jews worship Yahweh, not Jehovah. I tried to explain that these faiths all trace their lineage back to Abraham in the old testament, and that those words all refer to the same deity, but I don't think I got through.)

Christianity has never caused any suffering. (This one was amazing - I listed the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Witch Hunts, Theological defenses of slavery and racism, etc... he changed the subject.)

Islam is the only religion that is completely logical. (Again with the choking on my fried rice. When I asked him to explain how it is more logical to believe that the Angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to Mohammed, than it is to just assume that Mohammed wrote it himself he replied, "Well, that bit we take on faith..."

To Christians, the Buddha was a heretic. (I asked how his teachings could be heretical to Christians, since they predated the life of Christ by about 500 years. He was surprised to hear that the Buddha predated Christ...)

The Buddha claimed to be god incarnate. (Nope - not even once, not even just as a joke to crack up his monks.)

And my all-time favorite...
The Abrahamic Faiths have always treated women with respect. (WTF!? I later learned that by respect, he meant that they have always restricted the freedoms of females so that they could be "free" to have lots of babies.)

Ok, so I have always said that the one serious tenet of this Ministry was to believe in something. My exact words were, "Pledge your belief. In anything. God(s) would be nice, but Santa Clause, Tinkerbell, or UFO anal probes will do in a pinch. In that same post, I also said, "Actually, the Flock is about faith. ANY faith. For fuck's sake, believe in something!"

For the first time since I began this little faux cult, I am compelled to add to that core tenet.

Once you find something to believe in, learn about it. Find out the history, good AND bad, and the theology/theory/canon of whatever it is in which you have chosen to believe. Be prepared to discuss it with logic and sound information.

It's also a good idea to study the faiths of those most diametrically opposed to you. Monotheists might want to study Polytheists or Atheists, Jews could study Muslims, Christians should study... um, everybody else. Not so that you can defeat them in debates, but so that you aren't constantly spouting erroneous and insulting "facts."

I'm anticipating a schism in the Flock over this - those who accept this new tenet, and those who cling to the old ways. Naturally, I expect both factions to call the other side heretics; there may be bloodshed. I may have inadvertently just created denominations within the Flock... heaven help us.

Go in Peace.

12 comments:

Clayton said...

I assume the schism thing is a joke, as I feel no one in this flock is closed-minded enough to think that ignorance of history is a good thing.

I think I was reading today that some sci-fi author considered things not in terms of absolutes and dogmatics, but as probabilities, with no probability ever comepletely reaching zero. In other words, those Zoroastrians could have gotten it all correct. I like to muse that omnipotent beings would constantly wonder "what if?" as well.

Big Gay Jim said...

Well poop. This link should work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHcykHgWxSc&search=ten%20commandments

Evydense said...

Amen.

Danny Haszard said...

Dissident JW member speaks out.

The core dogma of the Watchtower organization is that Jesus had his second coming 'invisibly' in the year 1914.Their entire doctrinal superstructure is built on this falsehood.

Jehovah's Witnesses door to door recruitment is by their own admission an ineffective tactic. They have lost membership in all countries with major Internet access because their false doctrines and harmful practices are exposed on the modern information superhighway.

There is good and valid reasons why there is such an outrage against the Watchtower for misleading millions of followers.Many have invested everything in the 'imminent' apocalyptic promises of the Jehovah's Witnesses and have died broken and beaten.

Now if you wanted to know about the quality of a product,would you listen to the seller's pitch or a longtime customer?
---
Respectfully,Danny Haszard http://www.freeminds.org

Sirus Kane said...

Whoa... ok, simmer a bit, and chill...


Thanks.


Now then, on to business. Anybody who knows the Black Pope and has either been blessed by the papal salute or suffered the wrath of the Dark Pontiff knows that ignorance IS the prime sin worthy of much condemnation and sacrafice to a forgotten, tentacled, and unforgiving entity. This Tenannt is entirely justified, and though there are some Who question its necessity, it should be obvious that in a society such as ours that has both access and time to spare, education should be the concern of all involved, ministry or otherwise.

His Sinfulness said...

Clay - I think omnipotent beings would be really bored... a lot of wondering would certainly help them pass the time. :)

Jim - I love that video! Sam jackson as the burning bush was inspiring...

Danny - um, thanks for not reading the rest of the post. I agree that many JWs are cracked, but they ARE Christians... which was the point of mentioning them.

Sirus - if we were allowed to sacrifice the ignorant to the elder gods, Cthulhu would be pushing back from the table about now saying, "No, thanks - I'm absolutely stuffed!"

Dr. Smith said...

Um....so do I still get to instill fear, pain and all that fun jazz as the dark papal inquisitioner?

Modig_Bjorn said...

So, as an agnostic where do I fit in all of this? After all I essentially believe that anything is just as possible as it is impossible. Is that a cop out? Or simply the most logical choice?

His Sinfulness said...

Evydense,
Thanks for the support - I've been pissing people off all over the net lately... :)

Dr Smith,
I'm sorry - the post of Inquisitor is already occupied by two capable women, both of whom I fear greatly. You might apply to be member of Captain Corley's Death Squads though...

Modig,
Your responsibility is to become very well informed about agnosticism. Learn the canon of agnosticism - I can point you toward some books on the subject if you'd like.

Modig_Bjorn said...

Well, to clarify, I hesitate to label myself an agnostic, given my dissolution with labels in general. Although much of what I have read about agnosticism resonates with me, I'm sure I would find certain details that wouldn't resonate with me at all. I've had this experience looking into all religions, whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Druism, Native American beliefs, etc.

Hey is there a "label" for "labelless"?

His Sinfulness said...

Although "agnostic" has come to mean one who does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist, the literal meaning is less specific. Originally coined by Thomas Huxley, the word is built from the prefix a-, meaning “without, not" and the noun -gnostic, from the Greek "gnosis", meaning “knowledge”; literally, "without knowledge."

It is fitting for you in light of your label question; Huxley created the word for himself, because he called himself a “man without a rag of a label to cover himself with.”

Modig_Bjorn said...

I must say, the lack of said rag has been quite liberating for me.

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