Binary Belief System

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“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18)

Some things come out black and white even in color. Take Jesus, for example. He doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass for religious pluralism or cultural relativity. He doesn’t seem to buy into the many roads to God scenario or the all truth is God’s truth crapola. He doesn’t seem open to divergent spiritual experiences or venerable religious traditions. In fact, what Jesus does seem to think is that anybody who doesn’t agree with him is eternally screwed. Jesus, of course, is a total wacko.

If he wasn’t already voted in as the savior of the world, Jesus would qualify as a bona fide megalomaniac. Megalomania is a conviction of one’s superiority, extravagant abilities, and even omnipotence. It is characterized by a demand for total power and control over others, and is marked by a lack of empathy for anything that does not bow to the self. Megalomaniacs think they’re freaking God. Let’s just say that the Nazarite carpenter hits that nail on the head. But since Jesus had already assumed deity status before clinical psychology was invented, it’s probably not fair to go retro Freud on him.

Now take this whole “no one comes to the Father except through me” thing Jesus was hung up on. This one-stop salvation shop was definitely ahead of its time and I like the idea of depositing all my spiritual needs into one account. Unfortunately, Jesus wasn’t satisfied offering that in the free market; he wanted spiritual domination, a religious monopoly with him as the exclusive service provider. Sure, he offers you a free iPhone, but you have to sign on with AT&T to make the thing work. Tricky, tricky.

This kind of market manipulation rarely goes over well. It got Jesus killed, for one thing. Worse, it makes for a very embarrassing religion to have to deal with. This Jesus or hell thing is so damn medieval that it’s hard to say it and look somebody in the face at the same time. It’s got all the sophistication of a snake-handler at a astrophysics conference. To reduce the infinite algorithm of God down to a thumbs up or down on the Jesus guy is enough to give Christianity a bad name.

But that’s what we got from the man himself, so I supposed we’re stuck. It’s too late to change poster boys anyway. Besides, his monogram is on all the good linen.

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