What is my problem? Why put down Christianity?
Preface to Christians: Before I ever start this post let me acknowledge that I understand it’s entirely unlikely any Christian will read it with an honest attitude and an open mind. I know how Christians think. I will offend you no matter what I say. Expect that.
Preface to non-Christians: Do not attempt to use the following to throw stones at Christians. They are, as I once was, completely and entirely deluded, brainwashed, confused and totally incapable of seeing truth. You should not blame them for their blindness. Do not count me with those who wish to eradicate Christianity or want religion itself to be destroyed. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
On with the post:
BUT FIRST, a word about shoes. The following is full of wide generalizations and blatant assumptions. Do not “yeah but” yourself out of what is written. OF COURSE there are exceptions. OF COURSE there ARE people who DO try to live as Jesus really taught. So OF COURSE the following does not apply to every Christian. I can name a few, maybe two or three, whom I’ve met in my lifetime that the following does not apply or does not apply in totality. BUT, in my experience the following is an acurate assessment of Christianity as I’ve experienced it. Therefore, from my point of view (and that’s all I have to work from) the following is absolutely acurate. I do not expect anybody who IS a Christian to accept what I wrote entirely. If you did you would not be one. I will make some angry. I will frustrate others. I might even make a few very sad, you who think I am a “bitter old man.” (It’s not true but believe it if it makes you feel better.)
But of the essense of what is written, Brother or Sister Christian, if the shoe fits… !
OK, here goes. Let’s get the end out of the way first…
“Hey, Ted! Why do you keep ragging on Christians? You should get over it. Jeeze, get a life, Ted! Stop being so nasty! Love makes the world go ’round, dude!”
Does that about cover it? Oh, I forgot the other corner:
“Oh, dear brother Ted, we’re so sorry your heart is broken. You should not be so bitter. Do not allow your heart to be heardened, brother! We love you and God loves you! Yes, Jesus loves you! Do not judge God by the way people are. You know people are not perfect, they are sinners, they will fail you. God will not fail you.”
That was rude.
So why do I keep up this unkind invective? Why, you ask, am I so angry and hateful?
I have a very bad memory. Names, dates, people, passwords, they evaporate from my mind like water on a hot sidewalk. But I do remember some things. Maybe my inability to remember more recent stuff is because my memory chip is too small and I already have it full of stuff I can’t seem to erase.
Flash back to 1977. I was an active member of the youth group at First Assembly of God Church in Lufkin. A group of kids and I went to the annual VFW carnival. I had been looking forward to the event.
Suddenly as I walked through the carnival a sense of sorrow and pain swept over me. I looked around at the revelers but did not see people having fun. I saw people hurting, sad, trying to escape their horrid worlds by throwing themselves into the absurd entertainment the carnival offered. On spinning rides and lined up at silly games, all around me, people looked sad and lonely and afraid. I felt a crushing weight of emotional pain for them. For all of them. I will never forget how I felt.
With the crushing weight of a “lost” humanity on my shoulders I headed back to my car. My friends asked me where I was going. “These people,” I tried to explain, “they’re so lost! They are hurting. They’re not happy!” I could not explain what I sensed. I was so full of compassion for the people.
How did my friends react to that? They got mad at me. “Oh come on, don’t be such a fuddy duddy! We’re here to have fun! People are having fun! Don’t be ridiculous. Come on, let’s have some fun!”
“How can I have fun?” I asked. “We need to witness to them. We need to reach them! They need….”
My words were being ignored. The only thing my friends could see was my religious fanatical attitude. They told me to do what I wanted, they were going to have fun. They did. I sat in my car and cried and prayed. I’ve never enjoyed carnivals since then. This is why I “rag” on Christians. I see things. They don’t.
This was not the first and certainly not the last time such a thing would happen to me. Sometimes I would get bitter, sometimes angry, sometimes frustrated, many times depressed that what I saw all around me was not something anyone else ever saw. I am still depressed and still see such things.
My “problem with Christianity” is that Christians claim to be part of a loving, compassionate religion but are blind to the people who need love and compassion. This is my problem. Or more accurately, this is a problem I see with Christianity.
Like Mulder’s poster declared in The X-Files: “The Truth is Out There!” But the Truth I speak of is not alien and it is not hidden. It’s obvious to anyone who will open their eyes. A religion based upon the person called Jesus could and should be the solution to earth’s great problems. It should be. It isn’t. Why? Ask yourself that, mr. christian! This is why I rag on Christianity.
I am a terrible screwup. I know that. I am lousy at most everything I do. I’m terrible with relationships. I’m awful at communicating. I can DO a lot of things but I do nothing well. I’ve never been wealthy. I’ve lived pretty close to the poverty line and sometimes way below it. My lack of talents have kept me out of the CEO’s chair, to say the least. But lacking ability and substance never kept me from doing all I could for others. I was never afraid to give everything I had or risk life and limb when I was convinced it was something I should do “for God.” And I’ve lost several jobs because I stood for ethical conduct and refused to go along when going along meant doing wrong.
Over the years in my own meager and faltering way I’ve struggled to live according to what I believe even when doing so was dangerous or considered foolhardy or even if it meant giving up money and things I could have used for myself. I was never afraid or hesitant to do the right thing. When the situation demanded it I’ve never been afraid to take risk. I never let fear stop me. But I can count on one hand the number of Christian’s I’ve known who had the guts to do what is right or the willingness to sacrifice everything they have for the cause. I’ve known plenty who kept their mouth shut when when they should have spoken up and who have sit by and allowed or even participated in unethical conduct on the job or in the church because they were too afraid to do something. This is why I rag on Christianity.
Many times I’ve been shoved away by friend and Christian “brother/sister” because I have had the guts to go and do when they didn’t. My lack of fear intimidated rather than inspired. I took the risks. I got my head knocked off many times, too, but I took the risks anyway. I was just stupid enough to believe completely that which I believed. Christians pay lip service to what they believe but in the end they grovel and whine and run. They are cowards. This is why I rag on Christianity.
I know I’m probably making a lot of Christians angry. Fine. Good. Get mad. Go off and blog away at what an awful person I am, a Christian hater, all that crap. You’re wrong. But you don’t care you are wrong. You will blog and grumble and talk bad about me because I accuse you of being a chicken. That does not excuse you from being one.
Christianity is not a religion of giving. Though Jesus’ words make it extremely obvious the point of life is to give yourself to others Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with giving. It’s about getting. In the beginning it is about saving your own soul. Cover your own ass, brother, say those little words to keep yourself out of hell! Next, it’s about “jewels in your crown.” Once someone is converted or decides to be a Christian he is indoctrinated in the ways of Christianity. It is now HIS duty to go out and bring in the sheep. Why? Well, either it’s because it proves you are a Christian or because the church needs more members so it can make more money so people can do more things. (Of course the second reason is never said out loud!) And don’t forget there’s all those “blessings” one hopes for, too. Last, how many Christians use money and give their time thinking they’re barganing with God, that their prayers will be answered if they do what they’re “supposed” to do?
The “official” reason for mission work is that “Jesus said” go out and win the lost. “Jesus said” it’s a Christian’s duty to keep every sinner out of hell. So Christians play Christian games. They do the church thing, the mission thing, the giving thing. What Christians do NOT do is live according to what Jesus said! They don’t show love and compassion to everyone they meet. What they do NOT do is forgive, overlook people’s faults, choose to love the unlovable. IF Christians actually lived the stuff they preached this world WOULD be different. This is why I rag on Christianity.
Go ahead and say it. Go ahead! Ask me what I did when I was a Christian! Of course you want to point your finger. It takes you off the hook, doesn’t it? Placing blame is what you do best. Nothing I have done in good faith matters. What matters is that I am not good at anything. What matters is that I am a screwup. What matters is that I might say “shit” instead of “shoot,” not that my heart, pathetic as it might be, has always hurt for and with those who hurt. Appearances and talent and conformity matters far more than compassion and love. This is why I rag on Christianity.
Christians do not want zealots, they want conformists. I say this often enough. They want people like them, not people who will make them feel guilty. They immerse themselves in a “Christian” world, shut out everyone and everything that does not conform, put themselves up on a pedestal and look down their blessed saved noses at “the world” as if the world is full of rats, not human beings.
In the old days Christian prejudice was more obvious. It is still around and still horrid, just more subtle. In the old days it was easier to look down on the “lesser races” than it is now. People from backwards and primitive cultures with different colored skin were not “entirely” human so they didn’t have a soul. (Never mind that EVERYONE in the middle east have always been people of “color,” including the Jews and Jesus!) These days it’s a little more difficult for Christians to find sinners to burn at stakes or hang. American law frowns on such repression. Still, it’s not difficult at all for Christians to find pagans, athiests and liberals to fill in for those pagan colored people, even though Christians can only use mean spirited words and slanderous lies to destroy their “enemies.” So much for “love your enemies as yourself.” Maybe that’s the point. Christians DO love their enemies as themselves because they love themselves not at all. After all, how is it possible to be so filled with hypocracy they cannot see it in themselves? This is why I rag on Christians.
Maybe I’m not being nice. OK, no maybe, I am not being nice. But then when one sees someone else careening out of control and about to go over a cliff (or about to shove someone else over a cliff) he does not use nice phrases or soft words. I speak as I’ve felt for decades. But because I tried to live as a Christian among Christians so long I kept most of it to myself. Now that I have been killed by Christians altogether (see previous post!) I have no reason to withold my point of view. Besides, as I said also in another post, Nobody is the only one who reads this stuff. It’s mostly a charthartic rambling for myself. Anyway, accuse me of being unkind all you want. You can’t accuse me of being a coward and not having the guts to say things as I see them.
I don’t hate Christians. I don’t hate anybody. In fact, one of the reasons I could never be a good Christian is because I could never bring myself to hate sinners like my fellow Christians did. They’d say, “love the sinner and hate the sin” but that was bullshit. I heard what they said. I saw them recoil from “the world” like they’d stuck their finger in vomit. They hated sinners. They hated sinners even as they envied them. And they hated themselves because they WERE sinners or ARE sinners. If lying is the most popular pasttime in Christendom (and it is) then hating is the most prevalent emotion. Christians think I hate them because they hate me for what I say. They cannot understand at all that I am merely describing what I’ve observed and speak without animosity and certainly without any hatred. This is why I rag on Christians, too.
I wish with all my heart Christians could live “for Christ” in the way they claim to. I wish they could see the horror of their hatred and the terrible affect their self-righteousness has on the world. I wish they cared for the lost and the lonely and the sad anywhere close to the way they say they do. I wish Christians were not so stupid. Really, seriously, what is wrong with you, Christian, that you are so blind?
You know what? I love Buddha for all the reasons I loved Jesus. I love what they both said about love, forgiveness, compassion, selflessness, right living. They said the same thing, you know. I don’t care for myself for the same reasons I never cared for myself, that I lack compassion, selflessness, and stumble at right living. What I don’t do is make excuses for myself. What I don’t do is claim to be “saved by grace” so I can overlook my failures and inadequacies. What I don’t do is put my responsibilities away or drop them on someone else like Christians do. I am responsible for myself. When I screw up I screw up. Nobody made me, the devil didn’t whisper in my ear, I did what I did. When I make a mistake I realize there are consequences and I face them.
There’s no such thing as “grace.” Christians live whatever life they want to and sweep everything they do which conflicts with what Jesus said under the “saved by grace” rug. It’s a cop-out. Because I am an “unsaved sinner” I will rot in hell, they think. Because they mumbled some words and keep their fingers crossed and play all those Christian games they think they do not have to worry. Yeah, right.
These days there are many people who teeter on the edge, unwilling to jump, totally aware of the truth of what I speak but unwilling to make the final jump out of Christianity. They fear being lost forever. They are at last hung up on the Christian definition of reality. What they can’t quite grasp is something that occurred to me in a blinding flash (well, maybe not a blinding flash, I exagerate). That something is, if so much of what Christianity says it is and stands for is wrong then the definition of reality it provides has to be wrong too. People stop being a Christian but cling to Jesus because they STILL want to go to heaven. The fear of afterlife “without God” is so strong that it alone keeps the majority of Christians inside the box. Sad.
The greatest horror of Christianity is the lie that outside of Christianity every single consciousness or human soul is doomed to hell. Christianity claims to follow a god of ultimate love and forgiveness but who ALSO in some perverted way chooses to torture in the most horrific fashion and for enternity every human that is not lucky enough to come in contact with a particularly small group who teach a peculiar religious belief. But it’s not even enough to hear that religious belief or even “believe” it. One must make a “decision.” OR, one must be dunked in water OR one must blabber like an idiot in an “unknown tongue” OR one must have a priest do something or say something. Christianity itself can’t even get the script right, how in the world are “sinners” supposed to? I am ashamed that I did not see through this insane point of view for so long. Most Christians never will. This is why I rag on Christianity.
I am delighted I finally woke up to my stupidity. I am ashamed I ever was a Christian. I am disgusted at myself for the lies I told. I am frustrated that I wasted so much of my life being a Christian. The community is full of christians and they do not care about who I am. They will judge me not for my attitude towards others, not for my desire to have more compassion for others. I desire to live Right, I desire to understand humanity and I want humans to live in peace. These things do not matter. I am evil and a reprobate and a pariah simply because I do not like, will not accept, and have no desire to be a part of their religion.
Christians honestly believe nothing I do, nothing I am, nothing I hope for matters if I have not done it all as a Christian. In other words, every good person in the world who is also a good Buddhist or a good Muslim or a good pagan will suffer the same fate, according to Christianity. They will burn. Therefore, all those people are worth less than Christians. Nobody is more conceited than a Christian. This is why I rag on Christianity.
It doesn’t matter who anyone is in my view. It matters not what kind of religion someone has. The measure of a person is in their character and there alone. Do they desire to live in peace? Do they love? Are they being the human we were all meant to be? That is the measure of a person. I don’t know where we come from. I don’t know where we’re going. I don’t know if there is a “purpose” in life. I reject entirely the “biblical” view and I’m skeptical of the Buddhist view of the afterlife. Nobody knows. I can think of nothing at all anyone can say or do to convince me otherwise.
What do I believe? I believe humanity is different. I believe something or someone made us different. I believe we have a consciousness or “soul” or whatever you want to call it that lived before it inhabited our bodies and will live afterwards. I believe we’re supposed to live according to a code or creed or whatever you want to call it. This code is found in the teaching of Buddha, of Jesus (himself, not Christianity) and of many others. I believe we’re screwed up some how, we’re influenced by something that prevents our even seeing Truth, we’re blinded by the biological part of our existence which is, like all other biological entities on this planet, only concerned with safety and survival. That is all I believe. Except that I do not believe any human is born good or bad. They become one or the other by choice and their choice is influenced by so many factors that nobody can predict or fully explain how or why every person is who they are.
Individuals who recognize Truth and follow it are worthy of respect. Individuals and groups who do not recognize or who do recognize but refuse to teach and follow Truth are not worthy of respect. Jesus told his followers they would know Truth and it would set them free. Few Christians recognize Truth and far fewer who do follow it and are set free. Christians are bound by chains and they want the whole world to suffer with them. I found Truth, I broke the chains, I am free. As long as they do not see how bound they are, as long as they try to bind up everybody else and as long as they either keep throwing ropes at me to bind me up or burn me at the stake I’ll keep on ragging.
It’s all about saving the world. Way back when, at that carnival and on and on, I wanted to save the world for Christ in Christianity. I still just want to save the world. Now though, I see that the only way to save the world is to rescue it from Christianity. The only person in Christianity who has never been a Christian is Jesus. It took me a long time to figure that out. I’ve always been noisy about Truth. I’ve always ragged on people who throw rocks at it. The only difference is that now I have a much better perspective about what it is and what it is not. That’s all. I rag because I give a damn. Go ahead and throw rocks at me. You may as well, Christians have been ragging on me a lot longer than I’ve been ragging on them anyway. I’m used to it.
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No, I am not from Bohemia. The generic definition of a bohemian applies to me:
A person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.
Convention and I have never gotten along. We disagree with each other. I refuse to conform, to be a part of the crowd. I am not a sheep. People rarely understand me or who I am. I rarely understand people. Such is life.
There are people who write, as in make a living putting together words or just run off at the keyboard, and then there are writers. Writers are people driven to write, who even when they’re not writing they are writing. This means that their head is buzzing and they’re creating prose in their thoughts. Most true writers are bohemians and eccentrics. All the best were and are totally off the wall. They make no apologies and neither do I. I see no reason to do so.
On this space I simply do as most bloggers do and run off at the keyboard. (In person I often run off at the mouth. Aren’t you lucky to be reading!) This blog has been around quite a while now, too, so there are older ramblings I might not even agree with any more. There are certainly things I have mellowed out on and do not send me over the hedge as they once did. I may not even stop by here very often. I’m not so good at juggling blogs.
May 17, 2011 – I am here today. I remain the seeker. If you’re also a seeker, let’s seek each others’ company! firstname.lastname@example.org. Friends are the stars that populate our personal universe… your friendship will brighten up my sky!
Hi! I’m the Texas Bohemian!
… writer on occasion, thinker of thoughts, father and husband. This Trailerpark Scholar (aka me!) couldn’t draw a happy face without a compass. His gift is with words, not pictures, though the power of words can draw pictures of worlds no pen could ever draw. His talent extends considerably past the proverbial pen, however. He’s a Jack of All Trades, Master of None… well, only a few. He’s pretty damn good at a lot of things!
If you are unable to resist the temptation to judge before considering all the facts and truth you will certainly jump to conclusions regarding whether or not I am good or bad, worthy or unworthy, friend or foe. Such is the danger one such as I face daily in a world where people make an art of snap judgments. Judge as you are prone to judge. It would be wise, however, to jump to no conclusions regarding my character over anything you read.
The person Ted Gresham is thus:
The person I perceive my self to be is an aging man exploring the meaning of life, discovering Truth, considering the words of great individuals including and especially The Buddha. This person is rough-edged, kind-hearted, pacifist, respectful and loving. This person lacks discipline. This person is outspoken and opinionated, struggles with judgmentalism though quick and eager to forgive. This person seeks only Truth. Nothing more, nothing less. This person appreciates beauty in a child’s hug, a kind smile, a sunrise, a soft-spoken voice, the teachings of Gautama The Buddha.
I am an eccentric so defined: ‘deviating from the recognized or customary character, practice, etc.; irregular; erratic; peculiar; odd’ (dictionary.com). Not only in attitude, point of view or lifestyle do I fit this definition but in history as well.
Of course a bohemian is by definition also an eccentric but not all bohemians are the definition of eccentric from their youth nor are very many quite as eccentric as I am.
Without bragging I can say I have been a few places and done a few things. The partial list:
- Cashier / Clerk / gas station attendant
- Air Conditioning Mechanic
- Radio Announcer / Program Director
- Truck Driver
- Welfare Caseworker
- Data Entry Clerk
- Limmo Driver
- Rental Car Agent
- Condo Desk Clerk
- Construction worker
- …I forget what else
I’ve traveled through nearly a dozen states for fun, more than forty for work. I’ve lived in every part of Texas and spent time in Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico. I’ve crossed the southern border on foot and traveled to Vancouver by air. And I’ve dreamed of and studied about places all around the globe.
In more than ten years of college on and off I’ve studied air conditioning / refrigeration, journalism, writing, history, political science, government, law, and counseling. I’ve attended two universities, two more junior colleges and two technical schools.
I’ve had countless letters printed in newspapers, written for online publications and used my writing skills in many jobs. I’ve made a few hundred bucks writing and written whole books that have paid nothing.
There’s not a whole lot of things I cannot do but some things I am quite good at. I can build houses from the ground up, fix all kinds of things, do plumbing, electrical, maintenance, painting, framing. I have driven vans, trucks, busses, tractor-trailers and all kinds of cars. I can do and have done virtually anything done in an office short of being a doctor or lawyer, from data entry to clerical to interviewing and all that fun stuff.
I’ve been a crusader, a street preacher, a religious teacher, a music director, singer, religious broadcaster and religious writer. I’ve studied all major religions, a few minor ones, and Christianity from many different perspectives over many years. I’ve been a Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal/Assembly of God. I have considered and reject a host of religious ideas and beliefs. I am at present an agnostic Buddhist and study Buddhism.
In all these years of working, learning and traveling the one thing I have learned is that I know almost nothing. I’ve forgotten more
than I learned. The answers I seek are answers nobody has. The Truth I follow is one few recognize and fewer care to apply to their life. In knowing all I know I know nothing. In seeing all I’ve seen, I’ve seen nothing. In understanding all I understand, I understand nothing.
Such is the path of true discovery.
Such is the story of my life.
What I’m Talkin’
- Tiny Story
- Little Woman, Big Impact
- So… what the fuck, right?
- DAMN! I can be morbid, huh?
- All Those Yesterdays…
- All the bullshit… and a song: Hate Me!
- The Story of Me
- My haven!
- The days of my life…
- Growing stuff!
- The Me that I Am.
- Poor Man’s Hydroponics
- Friday! And I am tard again!
- Working Man!
- Independence Day
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