Monday, April 3, 2017

Playing God and the Fundamental Problem of Fundamentalism

Let's have a bit of a thought experiment, shall we?

If you espouse at all to Judeo-Christian mythology (because that is the correct term to use in this case, so don't go getting your undies all twisted in a knot and stuck in your bunghole) and, actually, to Islam, since it has the same roots, then there is a basic premise you have to acknowledge. Actually, it is the basic premise, the one without which there is no Judeo-Christian mythology, no Judaism, no Islam. That premise? Free will.

Yes, the basis of Christianity is the idea that God gave us choice. This is the fundamental concept of Christianity: God made man so that man could choose to love Him. Or not. Love has no meaning without the power to choose not to love.

Or to obey.

[I'm not offering this point as up for debate. This is my given, and I'm not going to enter a discussion in order to prove it. For one thing, that would be a whole other post. Also, it's been an accepted idea for... I don't know how long, so plenty of other people have already argued the point. If you don't agree with me, go find some of those arguments. Or offer your own counter argument, though I probably won't engage in some long, drawn out discussion over it. Not that I might not want to, but I just don't have time for that these days.]

The truth is that, on the whole, people are bad at "choice." We don't want to have them -- or, at least, not too many of them -- and we don't want other people to have them, especially if they are choices we feel like we don't get to make (because, you know, then that's not fair). We so much don't want to have them that we -- again, if you follow Judeo-Christian mythology -- demanded to God that He give us some rules to follow and, thus, we have the Law.

Conservatives love rules. I'm not being snarky. Conservatives tend to be rigid thinkers, and they like clearly defined boundaries and parameters. Rules. If you have a rule, you don't have to stop and figure out what choice you should make: It's clearly laid out for you. And, more importantly, it tells you what other people ought to be (or not to be) doing.

Also, if you are good at following the rules, that makes you better than everyone else.

Sound familiar Republicans?
(Now I am being snarky.)

Fundamentalists are the BEST at following the rules and doing what they're told. So good, in fact, that they come to believe it is their job to enforce the Rules, as they see them, on everyone else. In effect, they choose to play god.

How is this playing god, you might ask. What's wrong with making sure that people are doing the things they're "supposed to do"? What's wrong with enforcing "the rules," the Law?

[I'm going to use Christianity as my example religion here, but this behavior is by no means restricted to Christianity. Christians, however, seem to believe that they do NOT engage in these behaviors, so I think it's important, especially in the United States, to deal with this from the "Christian" perspective.]

Problem One:
You are choosing to enforce your version of "the rules," and those rules are not necessarily correct or moral. "But! The Bible!" Sure, I believe you believe your rules are in the Bible or are "Biblical," but, cherry-picking is an all too common occurrence with Christians, so it's quite likely that your rules are not going to match the rules of the denomination next door.

Now, I bet you think I'm going to get into that whole thing about who's rules are the correct ones and all of that, don't you? Well, I'm not. Because, you know what? No one is correct, because it doesn't really matter if anyone is correct. As soon as you try to enforce your version on someone else, even if it's 100% correct, you are in the wrong and it completely invalidates what you're doing. Yeah, crazy talk, I know.

Look, God gave us free will, gave us choice. Who are you to come along and take that away by trying to make me follow your version of the rules? We'll even go with the assumption that you are correct, but big deal. If God Himself as left it up to me, who the fuck do you think you are to come in here and tell me that it's not? God? Of course you do.

Problem Two:
Yes, really.
Jesus came along and said the Law didn't matter anymore. See, prior to Jesus, you proved you were "good" by following the Law, but Jesus said that wasn't going to work anymore. Well, it never worked to begin with because people followed the letter of the Law and tried to enforce it on each other without paying much attention to what it was all really about: being good to each other. So, Jesus (God) said, "No more Law." And, of course, what did everyone do? They double-downed on the Law.

What that means is that when anyone starts "Bibling" at you, they are saying that what they are saying is more valid than what Jesus (GOD) said.

Problem Three:
And Paul is a problem. Paul is the reason so many "Christians" are still clinging to the Law.

See, people are pretty savvy, and people realized that since the Law was no longer valid (everything was grace) that there was no more sin. Paul's response? Well, Paul said, "You know what, you're right; there is no more sin. Follow the Law anyway."

Paul, with a full understanding of what Jesus said about having done away with the Law, said that people should do it anyway, then he went around exhorting everyone to keep following the Law.

And "Christians" for the last 2000 years have done all they could to follow Paul's example and make people do as their told. Because, you know, they know better than God what ought to be going on. Forget "love your neighbor" and shit like that; just do as you're told. So say the Republicans.


  1. Actually, my underwear IS all twisted in a knot and stuck in my bunghole. Not because of the terminology or this post, but from continually popping my collar to such extremes, because I'm a bad boy that doesn't follow ANY of the rules. Including, spelling, and grammer.

    (I'm sorry. That actually hurt to type)

  2. I agree with all of this, and I think you wrote it perfectly (and explain your points well). Republicans like rules, but I would also say that it comes from a greater desire to control the lives of those that don't concern them. On the one hand, they talk about the tenants of pure capitalism with a starry-eyed look. But what they really want is to be able to behave and do anything they desire in the pursuit of making a buck and be protected from being sued. If they could, they'd abolish all the laws allowing them to sink to levels where decency doesn't exist because that's where the potential to make the greatest profit lies.

  3. Right on target, Andrew. Somewhere along the line, those who follow certain religions want to contain the herds and set themselves up as the be-all, end-all. Don't the M**mons have their own vault in place in Utah just for when the clouds open up and all hell breaks loose? Only those who follow the 'laws' may enter. . .

  4. I think you hit the nail on the head. They want to enforce their rules on everyone and think anyone who doesn't want it is lesser in some way. But you can be damn sure they're against Sharia law and want to make even mentioning it illegal. And when you point out that their rules are no different they of course dismiss you as one of the evil sinners trying to destroy the country.

  5. Christian churches have always been about controlling the masses, with rules and laws evolving to maintain their authority over deed and thought. The most dangerous people are not those who challenge thought, but rather those who simply accept it without understanding it, then attempt to strong-arm those who do. We know them today as Trump-supporters. Their church is the GOP, and their chalice is full of Kool-aid.

  6. Well, I wanted to respond to each comment individually, but all I can think to say is "yep, yep." Well, except to Bryan, and I don't know what to say to that except, maybe, seek help? That sounds painful.