When you examine the life and the teachings of Jesus Christ you get the impression he was a compassionate man with tremendous humility. The accuracy of these accounts is highly suspect as there were certainly those who had much to gain by exploiting his following, and twisting those facts to suit their needs, but I believe that the historical evidence supports the existence existence of Jesus Christ. So yes, I believe in Jesus.
However, I am still an atheist. I don't believe that Jesus was a deity or the son of a supreme being. I don't even believe in a supreme being. However I understand enough about Christianity to know that most of the people claiming that they are Christians aren't practicing a religion that Jesus Christ would have wanted anything to do with.
That's what makes this hostile brand of Christianity so prevalent today so frustrating. The irony would be amusing if the ramifications weren't so dangerous. Jesus Christ made a name for himself by denouncing in the Jewish church the same sort of institutionalization we see in Christianity today. Consider the hot button issues of the day:
I don't know why this matter is of such pressing importance to Christians. If homosexuality is such a horrible sin, why didn't God take the time to mention it to Moses when he wrote the 10 Commandments. Did Mel Brooks get it right? Did Moses actually drop third tablet? And what about the Seven Deadlies? Homosexuality isn't mentioned there either. Even if you can find some passage in this bible that condemns homosexuality, I seem to recall something about not judging other people. Somehow I think that Jesus wouldn't be overly concerned about homosexuality.
Jesus talked a lot about not throwing stones and removing the log from your eye. To condense his teachings into succinct modern vernacular, Jesus was trying to say mind your own business. The expression 'Love each man as though he was your brother' is a call to treat everybody with compassion, not a condemnation of homosexuality.
Christians are stupid because they think Republicans really want to ban abortion. Republicans like abortion because they can milk it at each and every election. It's a smoke and mirrors issue. Moderates don't feel strongly enough about a woman's right to choose to side with the more liberal Democrats so the Repuiblican candidate can pander to the pro-life crowd by taking a pro-life stance. Then they can dodge the issue until the next election. They won't ever overturn Roe Vs. Wade because then they'd have to discuss real issues like healthcare, social security and taxes in great detail.
Again, this is a mind your own business matter. If you believe abortion is a sin then don't do it, and if somebody else has one they'll have to answer to God. You don't have to butt in. I doubt Jesus would have wasted his time on this topic. Somehow I think that god would be more forgiving of the women having abortions than he would of those who would bomb a family planning clinic.
Why are we even talking about this subject in this day and age? The Bible hadn't been written in Jesus' day, but many of the stories in it were widely circulated in one form or another and I am sure that Jesus and many of his contemporaries took a lot of those stories with a grain of salt.
It wasn't all that long ago that people believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the sun was a small ball of fire that revolved around it. Any reasonable person accepts the fact that the Sun is a rather massive ball of fire that is actually 93 million miles away and that we revolve around it. The bottom line is that our beliefs change in direct proportion to what we learn. There was a time when I used to believe in Santa Claus, but on my 28th birthday my Mom finally let me in on the truth.
Evolution doesn't answer all the questions, but it is a plausible scientific theory and makes a lot more sense than the fairy tale outlined in the bible. Perhaps there is something to this Intelligent Design idea, but until you establish a scientific argument for Intelligent Design it can't be offered as science in our schools. Nobody has established any scientific logic for Intelligent Design. It's underlying theme is that Evolution doesn't explain everything. That's not science, it's circular logic and there's no place for it in our schools. There's a big difference between a scientific theory and what we lay-people tend to call theories. In science a theory requires a little more effort than a six pack of Miller and a hair-brained idea.
WAR ON TERROR
We mock Islamic extremists for Jihadism, but American Christians are caught up in the very same theocratic pandering that has crack pots like Osama bin Laden convincing young Muslims to trade their lives for Allah's love. Jesus would have been disgusted at such a display of religious extremism, but would have been more disappointed in the response of those who worship in his name. Christianity is a religion of introspection and compassion. Whatever happened to turn the other cheek?
I'm not insinuating that we should not defend ourselves against terror and respond to an attack by doing nothing, but Christians should not be invoking their faith as we go to war. It's shameful that political leaders would conspire to exploit superlative concepts such as good and evil in the context of this war on terrorism and it is abominable that religious leaders would allow religion to become a part of something so violent.
Can you believe that we actually had people complaining about the use of so-called secular greetings such as "Happy Holidays"? Some of those generic phrases were created by Chrsitians to keep the commercial frenzy of the holidays out of the spiritual celebration of Christ's birth. Now, because some conservatives have made the subject of moral values a rallying cry, people are suddenly overcome with this desire to impose Christianity on everything. Jesus told people to pray in the closet. He ridiculed public expressions of faith as insincere...why is it so many Christians seem to miss that little tidbit?
I understand that Christmas is a major Christian ritual,regardless of its ties to Pagan rites, but somehow I don't think that waiting in line for an x-Box 360 has anything to do with Jesus. The wise men did not bring Madden 2006 to Bethlehem.
There's nothing wrong with religion as long as it's personal. Somepeople need the rigid structure of a dogmatic theology to guide them on their spiritual path, others prefer a less confining approach and still others don't need to fret much over their beliefs, opting to contend with more tangible issues. To each his own. The problem with religion is that it is too often publicly exploited by political and religious leaders who hope to parlay faith into power. Throughout history religious corruption has been a devasting force. From Islamic Jihad, to the Spanish Inquistion, to the Crusades nothing good has come from the combination of religion and politics. Let's not head down that dangerous road again.
In short, don't worry about my relationship with your god.