I'll get the humorous out of the way first.
Taoism: Shit Happens
Hinduism: This shit has happened before
Confucianism: Confucius say, "Shit happens"
Buddhism: It is only an illusion that shit happens
Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?
Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah
Jehovah's Witnesses: Knock, Knock, "Shit happens"
Atheism: There is no such thing as shit
Agnosticism: Maybe shit happens, and maybe not
Protestantism: Shit won't happen if I work harder
Catholicism: If shit happens, I deserve it
Judaism: Why does shit always happen to me?
Televangelism: Send money or shit will happen
Rastafarian: Smoke that shit
I have severe reservations about early Catholicism. While on a trip to Europe, I learned that there was something called a "Prince - Bishop." These fellows wore two hats. One was the religious leader of the area, being a Catholic priest. The other was the secular ruler of the area.
I found it remarkable that many of these priests had children. One, in particular, had a mere 13 children by the same non-wife. This guy's non-wife is in the same ornate casket as the priest. This casket is still proudly displayed in the church. Talk about forgiving a priest's sins over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
The reason given was that the Vatican wanted influence in the region where all of that salt was being produced and shipped. They wanted the money that it provided.
The early Church of England was no better. After all, they brought the world the Crusades. Sometimes the crusaders angered a Catholic priest enough to be arrested and kept in the dungeons of the church. What? A clever politician might be able to get said crusader released if the crusader swore an oath to the Vatican. I'm pretty sure that he didn't have to become a Catholic though. Another European lesson.
I was raised with Christian values. However, my parents stopped attending church when I was fairly young. It seems that the new pastor was not to their liking. Thus ended my "formal" religious education.
Had I stayed in Las Cruces and Father Jamie(sp?) remained in Las Cruces and remained a priest, I would have converted to Catholicism. This fellow welcomed both my brother and I as if we were long-time parishioners. I truly felt that he loved everyone who entered the Church. I really enjoyed when he celebrated mass, and he celebrated mass. He never said mass.
While I used to call myself a Christian, I have learned enough that I no longer can claim that. I cannot look at someone and tell them they are wrong. I don't believe that accepting Jesus Christ is the only way to know God. I can't tell my Jewish friends that they are wrong and going to Hell. Apparently, that makes me ineligible for Christianity.
I also have deep-seated concerns with the infinite forgiveness aspect of Christianity. I have seen too many "good Christians" spend the entire week treating people like crap and then getting forgiven on Sunday, so they can go forth and screw people the next week, feeling good about their actions.
I do have some friends that make a valiant attempt to mimic Christ. These people seem to have actually read the part about living life as Christ lived his life, thus reducing the quantity of sins that require forgiveness. In my mind, these people are the true Christians of the world. The sad news is that they seem to be in the minority of the world's "practicing Christians."
Now for my favorite quote from Gandhi: "Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians - you are not like him."
Recently, I have had some interactions with some fundamental Christians. As a result I pray that I never become like them. They are the most hateful, venom spewing people. And, they turn around and claim that Christianity is a religion of love. I cannot deal with the hate and the dichotomy of their statements.
One of my "Christian" acquaintances called President Obama a false prophet and then said she loved him. In my secular world telling someone that they were the worst thing on the face of the earth, but I meant that in a loving way, was a nasty thing to say.
If Heaven will be populated by the likes of Franklin Graham, I am pretty sure I don't want to go there. I just cannot imagine spending an eternity with such a hateful, close-minded creature. Perhaps dear Franklin is a false prophet. Something to think about.
Creation vs. Evolution
I used to think that the only conflict between the creation of the world and the slower formation of the heavens and earth was the passage of time. Recently, I read Genesis and I can't make the two theories agree. Genesis is completely illogical and I don't know where to turn.
Now, I move to education. How would God begin to teach an ignorant population about what He had done and how they should behave? Remember, when Christ was alive, zero was not really known. Forget negative numbers. And forget infinity. Really forget trying to teach someone about DNA. Yet all these things existed and obviously were known to God. I reflected on how and what I was taught and when I was taught things. I was taught things that I could understand, even though they were only slightly true. It allowed concepts to be explained, without requiring more knowledge than I possessed. For example, in fluid dynamics, I was taught that lift was could be calculated by Bernoulli's equation, because particles of air that separated at the leading edge of the airfoil would join again at the trailing edge. This forced the air to move faster over the top of the airfoil. Hogwash. As I learned later, it was known that this wasn't the way to calculate lift accurately. However, I didn't know calculus at the time and anything else would have been gibberish. Now, again, this is something that God must be familiar with. So, the creation of the world must have taught in a way that the people of the time could comprehend. As the human race has increased our knowledge, we have begun to discover the increasingly complex nature of the world God has provided to the human race.
Now some food for thought for those who believe all science is hogwash and cannot be believed and the only actual truth is written in the Bible. Well, science discovered that the Earth is round, not flat and the Earth revolves around the Sun, not the other way around. These discoveries were made and shared despite the inquisition. I also find it interesting that science redefined life in a way that is currently accepted by all Christians that I know. Life used to be defined as first breath to last breath. Due to the contributions of science, life is defined a whole lot differently today. There is nothing in the Bible that clearly states human life begins at conception. I guess the Holy Spirit has to interpret the versus to prove that.
In my opinion, the Bible is an incredible beginners guide to the world in which we live. It is also an incredible and necessary primer on how humans should behave, despite the inquisition and crusades, etc. However, there is so much about our world, God created, that we must embrace science as a compliment to the Bible and not a detractor from the Bible. They both deal with the same amazing world we live in.
Now for a comment about Pope Francis. He has come out an stated that creation and evolution can coexist. As I write this, he is in Turkey. This weekend he prayed in a mosque along side a Muslim cleric. Both of these acts are considered heinous by my devout, fundamental, Christian friends. I only ask. Who is the more loving, peaceful and caring? My friends, or the Pope?
What my intolerant, fundamentalist, Evangelical Christians friends can't see to comprehend is that they have pushed me far away from Christianity.
And those crazy practitioners of Islam, called "Holy Warriors," or "Jihadists" that we call terrorists. I wonder where in the Koran does it talk about beating the crap out of Christians and Jews and anyone else that doesn't agree with them. They even kill Muslims who disagree with their version of Islam.
I have done some reading since I wrote the paragraph above. It turns out that the Koran does have a number of verses that can easily be interpreted to destroy all nonbelievers. One article contrasted the violent verses in the Koran with those in the Old Testament. The Koran verses are aimed at all nonbelievers and the Old Testament verses are aimed at a certain group that was destroyed. So, the Bible doesn't encourage violence to all as much.
Also, there is historical evidence that Muslims can be peaceful and tolerant of other religious beliefs. I pray that this behavior can be reestablished in the world and the Jihadists can be shut down.