Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On Christianity Without Research

  • As is appropriate, I shall begin with a confession.
  • The last couple of these, I’ve been cheating my ass off.
  • Sorry?
  • I hereby redouble my efforts towards the philosophy and practice of Without Research.
  • In other words: get ready for some high-level guessing, bullshitting, and probably some blasphemy; there is going to be blasphemy.
  • Also–and I have informed you of this before–the North Jersey town I grew up in was so Jewish that I thought “Christ” was Jesus’ last name until my mid-20’s.
  • I have been in a church maybe three times in my life.
  • Been in a lot of church basements, but not churches.
  • Anyway: Christianity is like all stories in that it starts with “There’s this guy.”
  • Jesus.
  • Actually not “Jesus:” his name was Joshua, but it probably wasn’t pronounced Joshua, and also the letter “J” did not exist until fairly recently.
  • But we call him Jesus.
  • Mom (Mary) cheated on Dad (Joseph) with God (God) and nine months later, Jesus was born in a barn.
  • This was not the Immaculate Conception: that refers to Mary, who was born without filthy sex and therefore was without Original Sin, which enabled her to be Jesus’ mom.
  • Miracles run in that family.
  • Like some families are tall?
  • The Christs were miraculous.
  • To make short order of an important life: Kid Jesus beat the Sanhedrin in a trivia contest, then He and his first disciple Biff roamed the world learning magic and kung-fu and yoga, then He came back to preach and heal and was recognized as the Messiah by John the Baptist, then he gathers the Disciples and annoys the fuck out of everyone powerful, then the powerful people do the usual powerful-person stuff and crucify Jesus, then He comes back three days later but only for a little while, and then he goes to live with his Dad in Heaven.
  • Like Elvis, Jesus generated most of His income after death.
  • There is disagreement amongst experts over Christ’s historicity: several contemporary writers (Josephus, Flaccus) mention a troublesome rabbi (I don’t remember whether either writer used the name “Jesus”) but they do not report on the fact that said rabbi can do magic and raise the dead.
  • You would think they would mention that part.
  • I would’ve made the whole book about it.
  • It truly does not matter whether Jesus lived the life ascribed to Him, nor even that he existed at all: billions of people interrupted their lives to sing songs about Him today.
  • You’re real.
  • How many people sang songs about you today?
  • The authenticity of Christ and the reality of His miracles are beside the point.
  • Anyway, now that Jesus is out of the picture, Christians could take over and do whatever they wanted without Him telling them, “NO. THAT’S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT I SAID.”
  • Christ had put Peter in charge, because Peter rocked; the rest of the Disciples (except Judas, obviously) went far and wide preaching the Gospel.
  • This annoyed Rome, who was in charge at the time, and people were fed to lions and crucified and Christianity was banned, but still the religion grew.
  • There were a lot of religions at the time, because before the innertubes, people would invent religions for fun, but none of them are around anymore; Christianity is.
  • I think it’s the forgiveness: people need a little forgiveness in their lives, and Jesus was offering it.
  • Within a few hundred years, the Roman Emperor was a follower of Christ and declared the entire Empire Christian.
  • (Not to be confused with the Holy Roman Empire, which was none of those three things.)
  • Diocletian?
  • Fuck it, final answer: Diocletian.
  • The Church took its seat of power on one of Rome’s storied Seven Hills.
  • Vatican Hill.
  • That’s where the name comes from: the Church is the direct continuation of Rome’s authority.
  • Which technically only exists for a couple square miles, but in reality exists worldwide.
  • The first major schism in the church was when the Orthodox faction split off from what are now called the Catholics: there were deep theological divides between the parties.
  • Such as how many fingers one should make the sign of the cross with.
  • Swear to God.
  • There was also another ecclesiastical dust-up: was the Christ the same as God, or was He made of the same stuff as God.
  • (I’m sure money and power and personal disputes figured into the split, but the semantic bullshit and the finger thing were part of it.)
  • This happened some time between Jesus’ death and, let’s say, the year 1000.
  • Around there.
  • I can also imagine that the Orthodox folks had been bothered by the Pope, because Popes used to be simply dreadful.
  • Some had armies.
  • Most had children.
  • Thievin’-ass priests, the lot of ’em.
  • Europeans in the Dark Ages were a superstitious, cowardly lot; they loved that old-time religion.
  • So the Pope was kinda the king of Europe for a long time: he outranked the other kings because–while all of them could defeat him militarily–he could just excommunicate them.
  • His subjects would not appreciate that.
  • One guy had to walk from France to the Vatican barefoot to get un-excommunicated, so it was a lot easier to just pay the Pope.
  • Everybody had to pay the Pope: God demanded His tithe, and since you couldn’t just hand the money directly to God, the next-best-thing was to give it to the Church.
  • There were also Crusades.
  • Many of them.
  • Islam was founded in the 8th or 9th century, so the Crusades started after that.
  • Maybe 1100 or so?
  • Muslims were living in Jerusalem and Christians wanted to do so.
  • Didn’t go so well.
  • Saladin.
  • Saracens?
  • One of the Crusades was the Children’s Crusade, which sent an “army” of children from Europe to Jerusalem.
  • They did not make it.
  • The luckiest ones were killed immediately, I would guess: the Children’s Crusade was perhaps the worst idea humans have ever come up with.
  • The past was terrible.
  • All the while, Christianity’s reach was growing, and this was no accident: the Church was always looking for new members and markets; many places were conquered in Jesus’ name.
  • You know: Jesus the Conqueror.
  • That’s what He would have wanted.
  • Like it does.
  • That seems to happen a lot.
  • A monk named Martin Luther, who was an utter fuckhead, developed a holier-than-thou attitude and was all “Selling indulgences is wrong.”
  • He said it in German, though, so it was more like “MarketPlazen der HevenPassen ist nicht gut!”
  • And he got rid of confession and communion and all the other fun stuff.
  • (Luther was a ranting creep obsessed with his own shit. Also, Jews. And not the normal 16th century Jew-hating: he was notably anti-Semitic. Hating Jews so much that it stands out even for the 1500’s is actually pretty impressive. That’s commitment.)
  • This was Protestantism, and it spread: the Germans took to it, the French had a complicated relationship with it, and Henry the VIII found it very useful
  • Henry the VIII was not married to Catholicism.
  • Since then, and especially since getting to the New World, everybody and his brother has formed a new denomination of Christianity: Quakers and Shakers and Mormons and Baptists and Southern Baptists and Episcopalians and Evangelicals and Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists and others.
  • The core tenets of Christianity (Jesus was the Son of God, died for our sins, can only get to Heaven through Him) are simple and flexible enough to be adapted to whatever crazy bullshit you want to dress them up with.
  • No blood transfusions?
  • Sure.
  • Jesus resurrected in Missouri?
  • Why not.
  • Like the Roman Empire it was born out of, Christianity will gladly fold whatever local nonsense exists into itself and make itself open for donations.
  • American Christianity has always been a dominantly Protestant one, and rooted–at least currently–in a load of Victorian hogwash called Muscular Christianity, which is precisely as awful as it sounds.
  • Cold showers and Asian land-wars.
  • Kennedy was the first Catholic president and he had to give a speech about how he didn’t take orders from the Vatican; whether it’s London or Rome, Americans have always bristled at being told what to do by Europe.
  • Regardless of what’s been done in His name for the past two millennia, Christ said this:
  • The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

  • How did you greet the powerless?
  • With an open hand or a closed fist?
  • Did you treat the poor well?
  • Did you throw a bum a dime in his prime?
  • Or didn’t you?
  • However you acted towards those who couldn’t help you: this is how acted towards the Lord.
  • Only one Christ, but so very many Christians.

8 Comments

  1. Stop knowing more about my own religion than I do

  2. Can’t wait for your Ramadan Without Research post……just kidding.

  3. Luther Von Baconson

    March 28, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    this is much better than a salty spiral ham, escalloped potatoes, and green beans. also pairs well with Mateus, Hochthaler, or Blue Nun.

  4. For a hilarious researched history of the universe, including Christianity and other religions check out the cartoon history of the universe vol 1& 2. I thought it was the guy whom did fabulous furry freak brothers, but now thanks to Wikipedia I now know it’s not, but it sure reminds me of it.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cartoon_History_of_the_Universe

    Your no research posts are obviously brilliant.

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