Wednesday, June 9, 2010

277: Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

Matthew 7-8
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:1-2

From the very first sentence today we have yet another commandment of Jesus that most Christians choose not to follow. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Pat Robertson judging that people deserve natural disasters immediately comes to mind. As a side note, actual judges are in big trouble.

Continuing on this theme, Jesus bemoans the fact people notice a speck of sawdust in another's eye, while they themselves have an entire plank of wood in their eye.

In the next paragraph, Jesus makes the powerful claim that anything anyone asks for from God will be given to them. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." If only this were true. The countless people who have asked sincerely for their loved one to be saved from a chronic disease are a testament to the falseness of Jesus's claim. Jesus ends this by saying to do unto others what you would have them do to you. Jesus claims that this "sums up" the law and the prophets.

As much as I agree with the golden rule, it in no ways "sums up" the laws of the bible. It may sum up the laws of Jesus. But it certainly doesn't sum up the Israelites conquering the promised land, or killing people who work on the sabbath. And it certainly doesn't sum up the dietary laws.

The next paragraph is interesting. Jesus explicitly says that he will disown anyone who prophecies in his name, or uses his name to drive out demons. Isn't Jesus the main name invoked in exorcisms?

In the beginning of the next chapter, a man with leprosy asks Jesus to cure him. Jesus agrees, and the man is immediately cured. Immediately eradicating leprosy for everyone would have been far more impressive. I guess all the people from then till now that have suffered from leprosy have only suffered so that we (in the modern day) would be impressed by Jesus's magical curing ability.

The next paragraph is a little confusing. Jesus is visited by a centurion (a roman commander) and asked to heal one of his servants. Jesus immediately agrees, but the centurion says that he is not worthy of having Jesus come under his roof. So he tells Jesus to just speak a word and his servant will be healed. An astonished Jesus exclaims that he has found no one in Israel with such faith. The centurion didn't want you in his house, so he's somehow the most faithful person in Israel? It sounds like he just didn't want to be seen with Jesus.

The bible mentions that Jesus goes around healing many, and driving out demons.

The next section is titled "the cost of following Jesus". Jesus gives orders to his followers to cross to the other side of a lake. A "teacher of the law" tells Jesus that he will follow him where ever he goes. To which Jesus replies "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head". I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. One of his disciples asks Jesus to wait to cross the lake until he's had a chance to bury his dead father. Jesus tells him to follow him, and let the dead bury their own dead. Excuse me? That was a bit of dick move.

Jesus gets on a boat to cross the lake, and immediately falls asleep. While he is asleep, a giant storm forms and threatens to sink the ship. His disciples run to awaken Jesus, and ask him to save them. As soon as they wake him up, he accuses them of having little faith. But then he does calm the storm. If they were just having too little faith then what was the point in Jesus stopping the storm? Except, of course, for his disciples'/the readers' amazement. What was that about hypocrisy?

Jesus isn't quite done being an ass hole today. As soon as they get across the lake, they meet two demon possessed men. They ask what Jesus wants with them, and if Jesus is here to torture them "before the appointed time" (why is any entity, even a demon, worried about Jesus torturing them?). It's interesting that there is apparently an "appointed time" for demon torture.

Some distance away from these demon-men is a herd of pigs. The demons beg Jesus, if he is going to drive them out, to drive them into the herd of pigs. Jesus, who apparently takes suggestions from demons, agrees. The demons are driven into the pigs, who subsequently kill themselves by drowning. When the owners of the pigs hear about this. They rush down to Jesus and beg them to leave the land. Jesus pretty well botched this one. He's taken suggestions from demons, and managed to ruin several people's livelihood.

*News*
The people opposing the mosque near ground zero sound more ridiculous as time goes on. This time, they start with a completely irrelevant Aesop's fable:
It is best illustrated by a fable. Aesop tells us of a rooster, scared by the sight of a fox sneaking towards him, who runs to the safety of a nearby tree's branch. "Why are you running from me?" asks the fox in surprise. "Haven't you heard that a universal peace has been proclaimed? I will not hurt you; please get down." "O, that's wonderful news!" replies the rooster. "I just want to ask the pack of hounds chasing a deer that I see from my perch if that is true. They'll be here in a moment." "Hounds running this way?" says the fox. "I better get out of here -- looks like they haven't yet heard the good news of the universal peace!"
We'll disregard his butchering of this story and focus on how utterly irrelevant this is. I guess every Muslim is somehow a fox waiting in hiding to eat the poor rooster-Christian(?). This just isn't based in reality.
Which is precisely the point that needs to be made. The news that Islam is a peaceful religion -- discovered by our press and our politicians on 9/11 and repeated day in and day out since that terrible day -- has been well absorbed by many Americans who are perfectly willing to believe it. The Ground Zero mosque, as we hear from its promoters as well as the New York officials and other opinion makers, is to continue hammering that message into Americans.
I know and work with people who profess Islam. We have an Islamic center on campus. The thought of them hurting anyone is just as absurd as any of the Christian organizations rallying to destroy anything. People point to the "violent" Koran as evidence that Islam is universally violent. I have bad news, the bible is chocked full of violence, and commands to kill. If violence by someone that professes a certain religion makes that religion violent, then there is no such thing as a non-violent religion.
Bottom line -- the advice to the backers of the Ground Zero mosque is this: a nice mosque is a wonderful idea. But what matters is "location, location, location." Ground zero is simply not the right location for it. Build it in Mecca, or North Waziristan, or Teheran, or Kabul -- and you will put the free world in your debt.
What happened to "freedom of religion"? There is absolutely no grounds to prevent a mosque from being built anywhere (aside from fair zoning laws, of course). If we can prevent mosques from being built, then how long is it going to be until we can prevent churches from being built. If this doesn't get the founding fathers rolling in their graves I don't know what will.

I can't believe I'm arguing that new churches/mosques should be built. I guess reading this article has officially fried my brain.

1 comment:

  1. Who was raising pigs anyway? Weren't these people supposed to be Jews?!

    ReplyDelete

 

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