The Old Testament Is Not A Christian Book

The Old Testament Is Not Christian Book

We must be careful when accepting the dogma of a group that seems to have a confused understanding of the message of Jesus.

OPINION:

The Old Testament Is Not A Christian Book

By I.B. Freely

God Hates You

There seems to be a particular reputation which Christians have gotten over the last few decades. One that has lead several disaffected youth to “go atheist.” Nothing wrong with being atheist if that is what you want, but going against “The Rules” because they are there is just another kind of conformity. Particularly considering that anyone who would claim to be Christian and then judge, let alone hate, anyone for “religious reasons” are doing it wrong.

Thou Shalt Not

Christian Conservatives can quote the Old Testament chapter and verse all they like, a bit ironic considering their general attitude to our Jewish friends, but it won’t make a lot of difference. Not least because, stay with me here, THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NOT A CHRISTIAN BOOK! Forgive me the shouting but few things bend my wand like so-called “Christians” who don’t seem to realize that the Old Testament (otherwise known as the Torah), was mostly the Bible as background for Jesus. It is part of the Christian story but not the main plot. Including that bit in Exodus, 22:18 to be exact, about not suffering a witch to live.

Cool Guy Christ

Jesus was nothing but clear on his opinion when it came to accepting others. Unafraid to sit with outsiders he made friends and disciples of the dregs of society at the time. Lepers, both social and literal, accepted by him. Jesus making friends and even disciples  of prostitutes and tax collectors. He is mostly known for driving money changers from the temple but that was a special case.

Choice Quotes

Some of J-man’s most famous and memorable quotes are on this theme.  “Judge not lest ye be judged” could not be any clearer.  The “treat thy neighbor as they self” also seems pretty cut and dry.  Apparently the judgmental and pious among us are just as open to the same sort of treatment. Otherwise they would be massive hypocrites.  The clearest indication of what Jesus really meant, particularly for those who take the bit about being made in God’s image to mean they are literally God, is the bit about stones.

Sticks & Stones

The clearest indication that the rules had changed between Testaments is “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  Stoning was a popular mode of punishment before the arrival of Christ, used for “infractions against the lord” from adultery to working on the Sabbath and mixing fabrics.  What Jesus was helpfully pointing out is none of us are perfect.  So if you are going to punish someone for their sins, you’d better make darn sure you don’t have any yourself. The general idea being that judgement properly lies with God.  As does vengeance as it turns out.  The full quote on which the phrase vengeance is based is “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”  Judgement, punishment and vengeance are not for humans to take.  At least for those who call themselves Christians.

Wise Words

Someone who laid things out in a cogent, and funny, way was Frank Zappa. In reaction to the attempts by the Christian Republicans at the Parent’s Music Resource Center to label records they didn’t like, Zappa opted to apply his own warning sticker to his 1985 album Frank Zappa Meets the Mother of Prevention:

“WARNING GUARANTEE: This album contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress. In some socially retarded areas, religious fanatics and ultra-conservative political organizations violate your First Amendment Rights by attempting to censor rock & roll albums. We feel that this is Un-Constitutional and Un-American. As an alternative to these government-supported programs (designed to keep you docile and ignorant). Barking Pumpkin is pleased to provide stimulating digital audio entertainment for those of you who have outgrown the ordinary.

The language and concepts contained herein are GUARANTEED NOT TO CAUSE ETERNAL TORMENT IN THE PLACE WHERE THE GUY WITH THE HORNS AND POINTED STIK CONDUCTS HIS BUSINESS.

This guarantee is as real as the threat of the video fundamentalists who use attacks on rock music in their attempt to transform America into a nation of check-mailing nincompoops (in the name of Jesus Christ). If there is a hell, its fires wait for them, not us.”

The Loudest Voices

That’s it. Don’t let religious fundamentalists take away the right of free speech (guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution) in the name of Jesus, when those folks keep proving they are taking their message from the wrong book.

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/category/more-topics/brexit/

 

EDITORIAL: Peace On Earth

Christmas and Pagans

EDITORIAL: PEACE ON EARTH

I.B. Freely

A Matter of Tradition

There are many traditions around Christmas. One of the more recent traditions being the speech, usually given by the sort of edgy atheist who moves all the Bible’s in a book store to the fiction section. The local TV reporter goes out to listen to the rant that basically goes on about how Christmas is bullshit because it was stolen from the pagans. Which path of paganism is rarely, if ever, specified. This isn’t technically wrong, the modern version of Christmas contains several traditions dating back to early Germanic pagans but it is not as simple as some would have you believe.

Common History

There are many Christians who aren’t going to want to hear it-but the church is not eternal. There were large swaths of history when much of Europe, particularly the north-west area was dominated by, if not entirely pagan. One of the definitions of paganism being those who worship the old gods. Old gods, as opposed to the new gods of monotheism.

Further North

It was the 5th century before Christianity reached the southern portion of the Germanic nations. The population of the far north, what is often referred to as Lapland, held strong to paganism until the 17th century. Many in the far north still practice their pagan traditions.

Rebranding

It isn’t fair to say that Christianity ‘stole’ Christmas from European paganism. The truth of it is more a matter of rebranding the familiar. Many of the traditions and beliefs having been held by the peoples of the area for a thousand generations. The primary difference in terms of Yule (pagan winter solstice) and Christmas is that Christmas is specifically the celebration of the birth of Christ. Christ of course had nothing to do with any European traditions. But it was a convenient holiday that just needed a name change to take it from pagan to Christian.

Survival

Truthfully, the Yule celebration was a big deal. When Christians wanted to celebrate the birth of Christ what better way than to choose a time on the calendar that was already marked by celebration. Christmas is based in European pagan traditions that have carried over and survived into the 21st century. Nearly every element of the Christmas celebration draws its origins directly from the European, particularly Germanic pagan tradition.

O Christmas Tree!

The Christmas tree is the most obvious example of the cross-over between Christmas and Yule. Christmas trees, are a pagan symbol of the strength of nature, standing up to the harshest weather without yielding. The ritual cutting of a tree to set up and then decorate, originally with candles against the winter dark, dates back thousands of years in Germanic nations. It was originally a way of paying respects to nature by bringing it into the home. The lights are meant to represent the coming of the new sun.

Another Log On The Fire

An element of the Christmas celebrations that makes no secret of its Yule origins is the Yule Log. This is a particularly long burning log used by the occupants of the Northern European region to keep warm during the long winter nights in the time before heaters. A tradition later picked up by the British and then Christianity in general as a part of Christmas. It is also interesting to note that the popular seasonal song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” has an explicit reference to ‘make the Yuletide bright’ a reference to this. The main way to do such a thing for centuries was to put a Yule log on the hearth. This is also the basis of the popularity of candles in both Christmas and Yule celebrations.

Deer and The Fat Man

Another easy and obvious one, reindeer are indigenous to northern Finland and are a main resource for the indigenous Sami people. Santa, a Germanic name when pronounced correctly, while commonly believed to have been invented by the Coca-Cola company, actually has his origins in the pagan notion of the Holly King. Being the son of this self-same deity. A connection hinted at by the Ghost of Christmas Present from A Christmas Carol, in nearly every depiction or rendition, with his holly crown and Santa-style fur-lined coat. The hat that has become synonymous with Santa is also of a Norse origin.

Mistletoe 

Then there is the origins of the mistletoe tradition. Mistletoe was used by Druids for millennium to increase vigor and sexuality. We now hang it in doorways hoping to get caught under it. It is also worth noting that Santa’s sleigh is of a distinctly Germanic design, one much like it, pulled by a reindeer no less, showing up in Frozen which is set in an old Germanic region. The names – Ana, Elsa, Olaf etc. – make that abundantly clear. Yule even has its own tradition of seasonal music, which can have a lot in common with Christmas carols, if you listen closely. Much of the original sound surviving the conversion to Christianity.

Breaking Bread

Rather than focusing on the supposed difference, which are actually pretty slim, I propose that this Team Jesus and those on the side of the old gods, set aside the precise difference, possibly their suspicions, to enjoy this lovely, shared season together. Generally taking a tow-may-tow, tow-maah-toe approach to the exact terminology.

 

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2018/12/28/truth-about-wiccans-wiccan-religion-7323/

OPINION: “The Least Among You”

OPINION: “The Least Among You”

The Bible and rosary

By Trevor K. McNeil

Misinterpretations

There have long been instances of disagreement when it comes to the interpretation of religious texts. This has happened more with the Bible than most texts, not least because of the multiple translations. One of the oddest interpretations of the story of Jesus so far, aside from  polygamous Mormons and the Snake-handlers who intentionally handle poisonous snakes as an act of devotion, are the Fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals. The fundamentalist groups emerged in the American South in the early 1900’s, and have tried to sway every federal election since. To the point that no one who didn’t at least claim to be Christian has ever had a chance at becoming president.

God in Office

Going back many years there have been American Presidents of a distinctly Christian persuasion. Most were Republicans oddly enough, who have claimed that God chose them to be president. These are also the presidents who have gotten the most Christian support. The most recent leader to make this claim being George W. Bush. While not quite making such claims, a rare instance of humbleness, Donald Trump has a shockingly high level of support from Evangelical Christians. This despite many Republican policies that are in direct conflict with Christian principles. Many so-called Christian Republicans oppose abortion rights on the grounds of “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Oddly, they support the Death Penalty. The “right to life” apparently ending after one turns 18.

A New Low

Despite often getting a lot of things wrong the Evangelical Right out did themselves with their support for President Trump. It is not an exaggeration to say that Trump is the most sinful president in American history. From a purely religious perspective Trump has almost no redeeming qualities. Trump has never been seen going to church. He avowed no particular religion until starting to get support from the Christian right. The president has been married more than once, a big no-no if one actually takes the Bible literally, and is a serial adulterer.

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