I feel pretty uncomfortable commenting on this thread because I'm definitely not
a Christian in the generally-accepted sense of the word.
I was brought up in a right-wing conservative-Christian, MISSIONARY family and have come to see the way that the Church has colluded in injustice, hypocrisy, and oppression all over the World.
I have a great deal of respect for Jesus and his teachings, but I sincerely believe them to have been bent completely
out of wack - often being interpreted as the exact opposite of what (I feel) Jesus was trying to say.
I reject any notion that the Bible is God's Word without any room for human error. I reject any notion that God is so petty that he gives preference to people who have been born into Judeo-Christian culture over those born into a Buddhist, Hindu, Pantheistic, Druid, or Muslim culture.
I reject any notion of a God who allowed Satan to devastate one of God's faithful (Job), killing his wife, his children, his servants, covering him with boils... just so God could win a bet with Satan that Job would remain faithful through it all. If that's your God, you can keep him! I don't want him. He's a nasty
piece of filth!
I reject any notion that God considered gathering firewood on the Sabbath a crime so terrible that the culprit deserved to be stoned to death.
I believe that Jesus (who spent his early youth in Egypt, coming in contact with non-Jewish faith systems [there were even Buddhist monks in Egypt at that time... and The Golden Rule is a paraphrasing of Buddhist teachings that predate Jesus' citing of it by millenia]) was grossly misunderstood by his own disciples. I'm not going to Google chapter and verse for you, but at one point he gets really brassed off
with them and exclaims (frustrated?) "Have I been among you so long and still
you don't understand???" Is it surprising that they should have bungled writing it all down (in some cases, decades
later)? And I have seen enough blunders in translations to know the scope for further mangling here.
But let's come now to the greatest perverter ever
of Jesus' teachings, "Saint" Paul. This is a man who (before his "conversion") spent his free time persecuting Christians.
Well, at risk of sounding blasphemous, Paul was a little crazy, with a religous fever not even Peter could match. I don't think he gets a pass just for being a church leader, but he was probably the world's first overzealous convert. Remember, most of the others converted with little guilt, but Paul had a lot of baggage to atone for, (at least in his mind) for persecuting Christians before his conversion experience. His faith may have changed, but the personality didn't, it would seem. Also, I'm wary of anyone that didn't learn firsthand from Jesus Himself and claims having had a vision or heard a disembodied voice. Not saying it wasn't genuine... just take Paul with a huge grain of salt.
My attitude towards Paul is "Thanks for the bacon but dude, lay off the gays".
Personally, I do
believe that his "conversion" wasn't genuine. I honestly believe that Saul / Paul thought: "Well, if you can't beat 'em [from the outside], join 'em [and corrupt the whole movement from within]."
Again, I'm not going to Google chapter and verse for you, but this man had the arrogance to say (I'm paraphrasing here, of course): "If anyone else tells you what to believe, do not credit them, but if I
tell you something, you should give it as much credence as if it came from Christ himself
I can't imagine Jesus as being as down on women as Paul. "If a woman has a question in church, she should be silent and wait until she reaches home, to ask her husband and let HIM interpret it for her
Paul was a world-class hypocrite
"I, the least and most unworthy of God's servants..." while setting himself up to be the ultimate authority on any
point of doctrine!!!
And yes, brainfreezy
: I believe that Jesus wouldn't have been down on homosexuals as Paul (widely suspected of being a closet homosexual himself) was.
It was Jesus who said: "Let him who is without sin throw the first stone."
It was Paul who threw a spanner into the works of the early church... and it has never
, how Paul would have hated polyamory!!!