"I consider Christian theology to be one of the great disasters of the human race ... it would be impossible to imagine anything more un-Christlike than theology. Christ probably couldn't have understood it." -Alfred North Whitehead
"The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with the superstitions of the Christian religion." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton
[Ah, but the people who prance around like holier-than-thou peacocks, talk about the faith of our founding fathers. First of all, most of the so-called "founding fathers" were Deists and not Christians. And even those who might claim a tie to the Christian religion wanted to have the new United States of America freed from religious goose-stepping...to wit:]
"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion." -John Adams (1735-1826)
"The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system." -Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Of course if you have surrounded yourself with like-minded fundamentalists or Christian zealots, they will give you a very trumped up, abridged, re-invention of Christianity to suit their selfish requirements and lead you through a maze of man-made alterations that are in total denial of all that the known teaching of Jesus proclaimed. A sample that may shock both you and your pastor follows. It is directly from the Sermon on the Mount [translation for clearer understanding by a great biblical scholar, J.B. Phillips, and with the exact meaning of the Douay and King James versions:]
Matthew, chapter 5: "How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given courage and comfort! Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! Happy are those who make peace, for they will be known as sons of God! Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!" [see any George W. Bush or neocons in there? See anything about our resorting to war to "solve" our problems? See anything about our commitment to give big corporations astronomical profits at your expense?]
Later in Matthew, chapter 5 from Jesus: "You have heard that it used to be said 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy,' but I tell you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father. For he makes his sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you?"
[And the kicker for all the well-dressed, well-housed, and well-fed "Christians" who strut into Church each Sunday"]
Matthew, chapter 6, Jesus words: "No one can be loyal to two masters. He is bound to hate one and love the other, or support one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and the power of money at the same time. That is why I say to you, don't worry about living -- wondering what you are going to eat or drink, or what you are going to wear. Surely life is more important than food, and the body more important than the clothes you wear."
I could go on and on about Jesus saying how difficult it is for rich people to be saved, or remember how he overturned the tables in the temple and severely criticized the clergy, but there should be no need to be told that again if you are truly a Christian and pronounce your knowledge and faith. But we have made Christianity the servent of capitalism, and that, above all, is totally anathema to what Jesus taught. And now we are turning capitalism into empire fascism.
What is written above should have each of us take seriously the wonderful example of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
"The faith in which I was brought up assured me that I was better than other people; I was 'saved,' they were 'damned,'... Our hymns were loaded with arrogance -- self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, what hell everybody else would catch come Judgment Day." -Robert Heinlein