Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hobby Lobby, World Vision, The Bible, and Easter.

With the recent news of both Hobby Lobby and World Vision, and Easter around the corner, I have found myself completely obsessed with religious topics as of late. These are two organizations I have personally funded with literally, thousands of dollars in my lifetime, and have absolutely disgusted me with their political games.

Hobby Lobby thinks government mandating health care coverage for oral contraceptives ((for their employees)) is a violation of church and state. Some people believe that preventing an egg from ovulating is essentially the same thing as an abortion. I will throw in for good measure, Viagra is currently covered. So a pill that helps men emit their sperm is okay, but a pill that prevents women from emitting their egg is not. Hmmm...




World Vision decided they would hire Christians in same-sex marriages, but then reversed their decision, because too many Christians withdrew child sponsorship in protest of the decision.

Yes, that's correct, it was worth it to some people to no longer feed hungry children, because the charity stated they would hire married gay people. And that goes against Christian teachings in the Bible.



After all, Leviticus 18:22 clearly states:

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."

It is suspected Moses is the author of the first five books of the Old Testament ((which includes Leviticus)).  Moses. Not God. Not Jesus. Moses. These are referred to as The Pentateuch, or the Torah, or the Book of Law.

I was raised in the church, and currently have my Bible in my lap. That is where I got this information. My Bible. I've studied this book since I was a kid. I'm INTERESTED in what it has to say.

Christians that cling to The Torah ((the first five books of the Bible)) and impose it on this country through money, power, and legislature, are not only abandoning separation of church and state...they are also neglecting the teachings of Jesus Christ.



He NEVER spoke against women or homosexuality. Which is what extreme-Christians in 2014 are fighting against.

I know a lot of really good hearted Christian people. I have to think they must either not read the Bible, or they disregard verses as no longer being "culturally relevant." Leviticus is "outdated." Surely these Christians are not hateful enough, or ignorant enough, to believe that every word in the Bible is the WORD OF GOD and must still be followed in 2014. If they DO believe that, then they must be consistent...

The Bible Bans:

ROUND HAIRCUTS or FACIAL HAIR SHAPING. Leviticus 19:27: "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads no harm the edges of your beard."

Dammit. You mean THIS guy won't be in Heaven with me one day?! Lookin' good, Brad. Lookin' good.


FOOTBALL. Leviticus 11:8: "You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you." ((Just to be fair...let me put this "in context." We shouldn't carry rabbit feet on our keychains either, because the verse before states: "The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you." So no bacon, either, Bible-followers.))

And all the football players that are good Christian men are violating the Good Book, too??? What?!


........My guess is people who want to believe that The Bible should still be followed literally, excuse these verses as "it was different back then." Yes. It was. So why cling to the verses that spew hate toward a group of people, but let go the ones that seem out dated?

Perhaps all of it is outdated.

TATTOOS. Leviticus 19:28: "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord." I have seen more Bible verses and cross tattoos than any other. The hypocrisy!

"I believe in Philippians 4:13, but not Leviticus 19:28." 


I could keep going. The Bible denounces wearing blended fabrics. Divorce. Wearing gold. Or pearls! Eating shellfish!!!! That includes the beloved California roll, people!!!! Leviticus 11:10: "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you." 

Dammit.

I understand that I am doing the very same thing that irritates me about religious extremists...I am taking Bible verses and using them to make a point, rather than using the entire context.

Here's my complaint...if someone is going to take a Bible verse, and try to manipulate it to get their way, isn't it worse to use the Bible to discriminate against people? At least I am trying to use the Bible to make sure all of God's children are loved, and included. If we can throw out verses as "outdated" or "that was only directed toward the Israelites" then why can't we throw out the hurtful ones that cause WAR? Or that motivate Christians to withdraw funding for hungry kids?? Or ones that tell battered women to stay in their marriage because they are supposed to be submissive, and divorce is banned??



 "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;  in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control."
-1 Timothy 2:8

((The author of this book was Paul. Written 63-65 AD. Paul wrote this to Timothy in letter form. Paul considered Timothy his good friend, even stating "my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:17). I am including all of this information because I think it's important to realize who is saying what... if you're going to make it your religion and the way you live your entire life, you ought to know who is making the rules! I'm sorry, but Paul is not my Savior. Paul's letters to Timothy are definitely interesting from a historical context, and there is rich material in the Pastoral Epistles. But these are not the words of Jesus. These are the words of common men.))

There is no denying that the Bible is loaded with sexism. And if somebody legitimately believes that every word in the Bible is "God's word," than that same person believes that God is sexist. To say that you believe the Bible is the word of God, and not the collective words of men, is to say that you believe God is sexist, racist, and homophobic. If we believe God is sexist, racist, and homophobic, why SHOULDN'T we mirror that image?

I believe Jesus came to CHANGE that image. That is why I don't take anything in the Old Testament seriously. Not to mention, the Old Testament has more in common with Judaism and Islam than Christians want to admit!!! It's as though Christians forgot why Christ came.
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"God"

Many people read the Bible, thinking that God wrote it. Like God is an old man in the clouds, and He personally wrote this book. That is not an opinion. That is choosing to disregard facts. Facts that even the Bible has, if they read it! Here is what I know is true (or at least, what my Bible says):

MOSES is the assumed author of most of the first five books of the Old Testament.

"Moses"


Conservative estimates believe these books were written either the 15th or 13th century B.C... or roughly, 3500 years ago.  As a planet, we have only been recording history for about 5000 years. But the planet has been in existence for 4.6 BILLION YEARS.

Why are we more trusting of men that heard the voice of God thousands of years ago? I know the answer of most Christians is "faith." I think these people are truly afraid of God, so they cling to their old-school thinking "just in case" those passages ARE the word of God...so they don't burn in hell for eternity.

Ezekial, Paul, Moses...they are not my Gods. They are just men who say they knew God, and wrote it down in some form, and that was translated multiple times, and many pieces were omitted when the Church created the first "Bible."And that book has a lot of good in it. But when it's manipulated by a group of people to hold on to power, it's doing more harm than good. When we read the Bible, if we claim to hear God ((ie: "God spoke to me in this passage" or "I really heard the Word of God while reading this...")), I hope it is a message of love.

Today, if a man prays to God, he is faithful. If he HEARS God, he is schizophrenic.

"Stillness is the language God speaks; everything else is a bad translation." 
-Eckhart Tolle


When you think about how old the world is ((4.6 BILLION YEARS?!!?)), it's not ridiculous to think about Greek and Roman mythology as being relatively recent! And a Christian would laugh if you were to ask him/her if they believe in Zeus? Or Aphrodite?

"Zeus"

When I think about God, Jesus, religion, spirituality...I have to look within, rather than outside. And I believe that there is something greater than me, pulsing through my veins, in my heart, and eternal. Something nameless, even. To call it "God" limits it, whatever "it" is. And I think that all people of all religions could come to that common denominator, if they were willing to have the conversation.

But most people who are fundamental in their religions are afraid to ask questions. I think they are afraid because it insinuates doubt, and just in case God and Jesus and Heaven and Hell are real, they had better be on God's good side.

Based on some of the Bible verses I've read, I understand wanting to stay on God's good side. Based on the Old Testament, if you upset God, He killed you. In truly horrific ways. Noah's Ark isn't a cute child's nursery theme ((like I once believed!)). 


God was mad at the world, and according to Genesis 7:4, "For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made." This includes puppies, kittens, and babies.

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For years, Easter was my favorite holiday.

I used to believe the resurrection of Christ was more important than the birth of Christ. I thought that anybody could be born, but overcoming death was what made Him the Savior.

Now? I don't know. And that's not easy for me to type out, or put out into the world. I wouldn't consider myself among the outspoken atheists like Bill Maher, who ridicule people believing in a certain religion...I still revere the sanctity of religion and respect the majority of people who practice a ((still somewhat sane)) religion. But to say that at this point in my life ((or if I get real, the past 5-8 years of my life)) I believe that a man was buried in a tomb and rose from the dead would be a lie. I don't claim to believe that like I once did, but I also don't say that I know it didn't happen. I just don't know.

And I think the words "I don't know" are far more powerful than "I know" on either end of the religious debate, because in reality, nobody knows what happens when we die.

I do know that my morality is not hinged on His resurrection. Nor do my values depend on if He was born to a Virgin. It doesn't matter to me; Jesus lead a life that was noble, progressive, inspiring, and filled with love, and he was persecuted for it. The time is NOW for churches to shift the focus from The Bible ((written by men other than "the Savior" of the religion)) to the life of Jesus Christ.


This Easter, I will still celebrate the metaphorical resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will celebrate the new season of Spring! And all of the rebirth around me. I will watch the rain pour down on days like today, and thank God that he is nurturing the planet ((and not flooding it)). Spring! New life! I feel reenergized just typing that! My hope is that "believers" who have created quite the controversy as of late, can feel the renewal, too. In a new way, perhaps. In a more loving, accepting way. In the way Jesus actually lived his life. Maybe this spring, they can open their eyes to loving mankind. Accepting all people...men and women. Straight and gay.

The God that I believe in gave me a brain with free will, and an incessantly curious nature. I just have these questions within. I don't go looking for them, I don't want to stir the pot, I just have it in me. And I believe that the Greater Power wants me to explore, and see what I find, and I just can't envision a God punishing me for that.

I sincerely hope this hasn't offended anybody, and that it spoke to somebody. If even one person has felt a veil lifted, I'll be happy. If even one person sees the world today the way Jesus Christ did, I will feel used by a Greater Good for something that I otherwise couldn't have done by myself.

xo,
L

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I am not a believer anyway, but even if I were inclined I wouldn't want to follow the religion espoused by the loudest American Christians. Too hateful, not enough of the Golden Rule.

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