Saturday, May 4, 2013

Just cause.

Every once in a church sign will strike me as just plain mean-spirited. In the church I grew up in, we heard it in every single service: "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Although I've not attended a service in years, I can stil hear that passage being intoned from the Book of Common Prayer and I could say it in my sleep. It's a simple command, really - love God, love each other, and the rest follows. And even as a nontheist, I still like it. Because the emphasis is on Love. Not judgment, not damnation, not reveling in the idea of those who see the world differently being consigned to an eternity of torture by a crazy, spiteful god.
Is it any wonder, then, that some people react to that attitude with mockery?

34 comments:

  1. "Is it any wonder, then, that some people react to that attitude with mockery?"

    Yup...and you already know how I feel about that :)

    Have a FAB Saturday!

    X

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  2. oh i have it bad....lol...and i even consider myself a christian (in belief) with a little buddhist influence...we laugh at the church signs here all the time...some are brutal, others just stupid, cheezy attempts at engaging culture...you know there is a subscription many get to tell them what to put on their signs...ugh...lack of creativity there...

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    1. I knew about the canned church signs - does seem awfully unimaginative.

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  3. To quote John Lennon...."All You Need Is Love"

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    1. And the Dali Lama who said, "My religion is Love."

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  4. I have tremendous difficult with even the basic tenet of spending eternity with a mean, spiteful and revengeful Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper. Would I get to be mean and spiteful too if made in this image? H'm.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. It's is a bizarrely illogical notion, isn't it?

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  5. yikes. that sign really is just selling faith as an insurance policy and that's a rather awful message. that the two greatest commandments are summed up by love seems so lost a concept some days. the same way that is seared into your memory a phrase from ezekiel that was in the assurance of pardon always spoken at my grandparents' church is burned into my mind and heart. i always think of it when i hear the more self-righteous gleefully condemning others to hell. "god has no pleasure in the death of the wicked." therefore, i think...neither should we.

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    1. And I feel that way when I see people partying in the name of God at an execution - it's sickening to me.

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  6. Fear should not be the basis for love and faith. Seems so backwards.

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  7. The mean-spirited messages given out by just about every religion are what turned me away from religion very early in life. I soon discovered that the non-religious can often be more loving and compassionate than those who claim some special religious enlightenment.

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    1. I believe everyone, religious and nonreligious, has the capacity to be loving and compassionate and everyone also has the capacity for mean-spiritedness. It's a choice.

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  8. As a non believing family I was very moved when a family friend, who also happened to be a Vicar, came to visit my mother when she was dying at home. After he left i went in to see her and found my mother's face literally transfigured by joy. I do not know exactly what he said but I asked him after she died. He said that all he said to her, was that as she had loved as well as she was able, that was all that was necessary. And if she found that there was an afterlife after all, she would also find she was truly welcome there, because if God was anything, he was love. And since she believed in Love, she also believed in God.

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    1. I don't know that I'd agree that believing in Love is synonymous with believing in God, but i know the Vicar was speaking within his own framework of understanding, and I applaud his compassion and inclusiveness.

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  9. I so agree with you. I remember going to my (then) husband's Lutheran church and feeling "yelled at" by the sermon. Such a negative approach. Needless to say, my children were not raised in that faith. I believe in the spirit of love, that we are all in this together. I read a quote on facebook the other day that said "We all are just walking each other home..." and it really resonated with me :)

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    1. I really like that. And "home" can be whatever fits for your own heart.

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  10. We should definitely concentrate on the Love of Jesus and be sensitive to the needs & experiences of others.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    1. Christians should concentrate on the Love of Jesus. Yes. For me, I just concentrate on Love.

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  11. There is love without a Christian (or any other kind of ) God.
    There is kindness, consideration for others and the environment, there is decency and tolerance and friendship and charitableness, all without a God of any kind.
    For those who need to hold on to a deity for moral support, fine. Any others could just practice what are known as ‘Christian' virtues.

    That phrase has always annoyed me, no religion ever preaches being beastly.

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  12. I've had good discussions with people (people I know I can talk religion with) when I ask, what if there was only heaven and no hell?

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    1. I don't believe there is either, so it's not a relevant question for me.

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  13. The only church I've ever seen with signs like that is a Baptist church. They seem notorious for believing its their way or the highway (to Hell, that is!)

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    1. Notorious for putting it on their signs, but I know other denominations that also think they ave a lock on the truth.

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  14. Geez, how many times have I thought about this in all it's forms.....dunno, a lot. All I've come up with in these last 68 years is that it's (religion) indeed a opiate of the masses, it's been used for the focus of much evil, it's empowered people to do wrong to their brothers and sister without compunction, and it's used (and invented) by humans, to control others.

    I know about the good that's been done in the name of god, by people, humans. I doubt their human heart would have let them do less were they never in that faith.

    To those who have taken this path, I hope they don't loose their compass of rational and humanity......not to be the locus of bigotry and hatred.

    Ah, got carried away here, sorry.

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    1. I agree that plenty of people do good in the name of God although they would do good regardless. Religion has certainly been used to justify all sorts of evils - slavery, the repression of women, and so on. And the delight some people take in the idea of hell is truly creepy to me.

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  15. Like every other business, the religion business is about money. Money from guilt. Money from fear. Money from good intentions. With that money comes power. Here, the Catholic church has spent millions (!) of dollars to fight against same-sex marriage. I guess a message on the little business sign is appropriate advertising.

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    1. That's so crazy to me - seems like churches out to be pushing for allowing gays to marry - doesn't that fit in with the whole no sex outside marriage thing?

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  16. Yeah, that one's a doozy. The church signs around here are a lot more conservative - usually someone trying to clever yet still kind.

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