Monday, 8 November 2004

Oh, ok then! If you insist.

I know I said the picture in the previous post did not require any comment, but I am afraid I just can't shut up! Sorry.

Ok the picture is a good summary of what seems to be going on at the White House at the moment: i.e. that W is letting his religious beliefs take over when it comes to governing the US. This is why most people who have voted for him did so, it seems. However I sort of object to the choice of Jesus to make that point. I think the pope or an American televangelist (which no one would have recognised outside the US. I take your point!) would probably have been more accurate a representation of W's religious beliefs, since this is what Jesus stands for here.

I guess I should say first that I am not religious. Although I have been brought up as a catholic and have all my certificates, I have given up on religion and religions a while ago now. I find religions scary (simply look at all the bad things which have come out of them) and I certainly do not like religious people shoving their faith in my face. I let them do what they want, let them let me do what I want. Why people feel the need to govern other people's lives is beyond me. Have they got nothing better to do with their boring little lives? Like concentrate a bit more on doing some good around them?

Being brought up as a catholic however is not an armless business; like any other religious upbringing, I suppose, it does not leave you unscathed. In my case what was left behind when the blinding tide of religiosity ebbed away from my hazy little mind was a set of what I would called humanist values, of which I must admit I would be rather proud if pride was not one of the deadly sins (!). I am convinced that Christianity limited to being a philosophy of life could be a good thing (a "force for good"). It is therefore a shame that religious hard liners should want to tinge it with fanaticism and dogma. I think a big problem with Christianity and the reason for some Christian’s schizophrenic outlook on life is the Bible and the presence in it of both the Old and New Testament who are obviously irreconcilable. In one you find a god of wrath and vengeance and in the other a god of love. The latter finds himself overshadowed by the former far too often.

And this is why I am a little uneasy at the choice of Jesus for this picture; even if I understand the need of a recognisable Christian figure; an icon so to speak. I don't really find anything wrong with Jesus and what he has to say. My problem is with all the Bible-wielders all over the world who seem to know their god's will better than himself and forget far too often the basic (and most important) Christian (as in "Jesus Christ", i.e. New Testament) message of loving one's neighbour. Or perhaps they actually know it all too well: after all the second part of this "command" is to love as one loves oneself... and that's "very little", it would seem!

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