Those of the Christian faith are celebrating around the world this weekend with family gatherings, ham, Charleton Heston movies, and (if there’s time) church. Our Savior died for our sins (thankfully), and then returned from the dead only to go directly back to heaven (for the record I’m Catholic and actually believe some of this). Miracles abound and all are saved. 2000 years later, there is still a contentious debate about those events as told in our holy text. Even amongst those who believe in them. I’m not here to debate happenings that occurred two millenia before I was born.
Lost in the contradictions and minutia of these debates are the meanings behind that text. God laid down 10 simple rules to follow. A reasonable number, and far simpler than the thousands of laws we have to deal with in society. They’re worded in an almost legal sense, so as not to be confusing to us his children. They’re short, to the point, and unarguable.
What happened? Mortal man got into the mix. We’re faulty by nature and we felt that 10 hard and fast rules should be 10 rule with exceptions and conditions. It’s been a while, but I don’t recall and chapter in the bible where we sat down with God and hashed this out. However, they were amended. Examples:
Thou shall not kill, unless they disagree with you or have something you want (ie- land, gold, animals, or different religion, scientist, free thinker)
Thou shall not steal, unless the person who has what you want is not of your faith or not sufficiently pious. In which case they obviously don’t deserve it and it’s yours by divine will.
Worship the one true God, however money, power, and a certain mouse are also acceptable.
The rest of the bible got it even worse. There are hundreds of versions out there that should say the same thing. I saw a passage in one that said it was a sin to eat my steak rare. Seriously? I’m still waiting on a ruling about how dark my toast should be.
I believe God loves us and wants us to be happy. I love God like a parent and understand when I need a little tough love. The rules are simple and can be boiled down to this. Don’t be an asshole and show some respect to your creators (heavenly and local).
Love your neighbor applies to all of them (actual and metaphorical), no matter what religion, age, color, or sex (assigned or preferred). It’s a universal truth. It’s in every religion, though there always seems to be someone who chooses to ignore that part. The disagreements over God’s name, who Jesus actually was, and how well done a non blasphemous steak should be, are unimportant. We’ll all find out the truth in the end.
By the way, who picks the holiday mascots? Was he on vacation when Easter needed assigning? He did a bang up job with St. Patrick’s day and New Years, but a bunny and eggs? I hope there was a memo generated somewhere about this little slip up.