Okay, before I get started here, I want to point out that there are a lot of Christians who do not subcribe to the beliefs that I'm about to criticize. In fact, many of them feel as offended, if not more offended by them than I do. So please, don't sit there in protest saying to yourself, "Hey! I'm a Christian and I don't believe in any of that stuff!" I'm not referring to you (you know, the kind of Christian with a brain in his or her head).
There's a thing that fundamentalists like to use called the "Good Person Test" in order to win over new converts. It starts by asking, "Are you a good person?" Of course, most people would say, "Yeah, I think that I am." (Unless they're like, The Joker, or something, ya know.)
Then the test begins. The first question is, "Have you ever told a lie?" Well, who hasn't? Of course, the person says that they have, and the response is, "That makes you a what?" Then the person is prompted to respond, "a liar".
The questions continue, but I want to stop right there. Telling lies makes me a liar? That's absurd. Now, if lying was a regular habit of mine and I deceived people on a massive scale (say, if I was Bill O'Reilly or Ben Stein) then that would be one thing. But I don't think that any of my friends or family would think of the word "liar" when asked about me. In fact, sometimes I wind up telling the truth at innoportune moments. (Like when my wife's aunt pointed out that I wasn't talking much, to which I responded, "I'll talk when I have something to say." It was the truth!) So, does this make me a truth teller? I don't think that's quite accurate either, but it's more accurate then labeling me a liar. (And let's not even get into the fact that you could argue that sometimes lying is the morally correct thing to do! I mean, what if a guy who was beating his wife wanted to know where she was and she was in hiding? Would it be better to tell the truth? Ooops...looks like I just got into it.)
So, this whole notion is lame. Next question is about stealing. Now, I can't make many justifiable excuses for stealing, but I still don't think that it's right for me to carry the label "thief" because of a 25 cent bag of pop rocks that I took when I was twelve. If I was still stealing on a regular basis, then you'd have me on that one.
The stealing thing is not as lame as the lying one, but it's still fairly lame. What takes the cake is the question, "Have you ever looked at a person with lust or desire?" Now, for those of you who are Biblically illiterate, the first two are from the 10 Commandments, but this one is from something that Jesus said. When asked about adultery, Jesus said that anybody who looks at another person with lust has committed adultery in his or her heart.
Okay, look, I genuinely like a lot of what Jesus says. However, this is where I part with him. This is something that proves to me that he was a person from a more primitive time when people had less understanding of the world around them. Of course everybody looks lustfully at others. It's a simple, biological reaction. There's no way to not do it. If we didn't have that sort of a reaction to the opposite sex then we'd never survive as a species (no offense, gay people - but you know what I mean). I'm sorry, but I don't see myself as being "guilty" of anything here. For me to feel bad about this is to feel bad about being human, and to me, that's just hateful. If I acted upon these feelings, that would be something else. If I could press a button that made me not have feelings of lust for women other than my wife, then I'd gladly press it. Shoot, it would make life much easier! But gosh dangit, I will not feel bad about it!
After that, the test asks if you've ever been angry at somebody without a good reason. Apparently, this makes one a murderer according to what Jesus says. Now, I have a hard time believing that Jesus was being literal here. But let's play along and say that he was. If so, that's ridiculous as well. While I don't think it's good to be angry at people without cause (who would?) it's not even in the same ballpark as muder, fer Pete's sakes!
Lastly, it asks if you've ever taken God's name in vain. Well, this is only a bad thing if you believe in God in the first place. (And God isn't his name, God damn it!) Okay, okay, I try not to do that when I'm around people who I know would take offense.
Of course, the conclusion to all of this is that we are all guilty in the eyes of God, and therefore deserving of hell. So, in the eyes of God, I'm just as bad and deserving of the same punishment as Hitler. Seriously. That's what these people think. And they say this shit with a straight face. The very notion of this is so repellent to me that I don't even know where to begin. I mean, I don't believe in a god, but if there was one, how ridiculous would he be if he saw absolutely no shades of gray? Of course, the response of these fundamentalist types is, "Who are you to question God?" I don't question God any more than I question Zeus. I question the people who say this shit.
From there, they go on to say that the only way out is to accept Jesus Christ as your blah blah blah etcetera. Apparently, Jesus is willing to forgive a Nazi necropheliac who lies to old people in order to cheat them out of their life savings, but he just won't forgive you for not believing in him. That one's just too tall an order for an omnipotent being. What a fragile ego these people assign to their deity. (And ya know something, I recently read the Book of Revelation - twice in it it talks about how people are going to be judged for their works. Not only is this whole thing nonsensical, but it seems to be plain old bad theology on top of it all.)
Ugh. I've never heard of a more misanthropic religion. While I realize that these fundamentalists would accuse me of being arrogant and having too much pride, but I don't think that I'm being too full of myself when I say that I don't deserve to be tortured forever because of the bad things that I've done.
But now that I know how they think, I'm going to go out and tell a bunch of lies and then ask Jesus for forgiveness. Apparently, that will make it all okay. Shoot, I can even continue with it after that, apparently!