Hypocrites

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

(Matthew 6:5-6)

I think a lot of Christians would do well to remember this one. When they encounter yet another idiot claiming that “our God is greater” (i.e. we are better than other people) or go to a church that cost more money to build than some people earn in their whole lives, they should remember what the person they believe is the Son of God actually said. Truly following Christ is not about making a big fuss about your faith or the might of your God; it’s about living by Christ’s principles. It’s about turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, and showing mercy when others wouldn’t. It’s about giving to the poor, and not turning away those that society has cast out. It’s not about fetishizing death by crucifixion, either; it’s about loving life and the living, and being prepared to sacrifice everything in the name of love.

If you’re not willing to do that, you better STFU about “your” God.

That the Jews assumed a right Exclusively to the benefits of God. will be a lasting witness against them. & the same will it be against Christians

– William Blake

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10 Comments

  1. You are right on all of that, though I think you overplayed the importance that we place on the Christ’s death. It’s important not because he died on a gigantic hunk of wood, or even that it was the most culturally humiliating punishment of the time (probably in all of history). The reason we place so much importance on it is because that was when our sins were placed on Christ, who had no sin of his own.

    BUT, I do recall something our pastor said. He thinks that instead of having the cross as the universal symbol of our faith, we ought to have an empty tomb. The fundamental aspect of Christianity isn’t Jesus’ death, as important as it is. The fundamental aspect is his resurrection.

    I wonder if Empty Tomb Pendants could be marketable?

  2. This is so true. Jonas, you might not believe in God, but in your values, you are more Christian than any fundamentalist.

  3. Out of curiosity, what prompted this? It’s not like you to write a post of this nature without provocation.

  4. It was a series of exposures to hyprocritical Christians over the last few months. The trigger was this ode to the Antichrist.

  5. Yeah, I see what you’re getting at. Definitely not the best Christian song I’ve ever heard. Actually, most Christian music is pretty cookie-cutter. This fits that bill. If you want Christian music that doesn’t sound like everything else, I recommend Jars of Clay (early stuff especially) and Anberlin.

    I will say this, though: You really shouldn’t hold Christians to a standard of perfection. There’s not one person on the planet who isn’t a hypocrite in one way or another. Christians aren’t an exception. We’re called to live by God’s standard, but it’s still just as difficult for us as it is for anyone else.

  6. I don’t – in fact, that no-one is perfect is probably Christ’s most central and most important message (John 8:7), and a point that Muhammad also made. But that song isn’t just flawed, it’s evil. It’s a song of arrogance and superiority, of us versus them, a song that is oppossed to everything Jesus ever taught.

  7. Well, the point of Christianity isn’t exactly that no one is perfect. Actually, that is what leads to the real message: That God’s creations need their Creator.

    That aside, I agree that the song is arrogant. Please don’t think badly of me for saying this, but it actually sounds like what Muslims say about Allah: “Our God is the greater god.” Again, please don’t think badly of me for saying that. My mom attends a local Islamic Bible study and I’ve gone a few times as well. All ex-Muslim Christians. I’ve talked to them and this is what they’ve said.

  8. All the Abrahamic religions contain that notion. But they also contain more than that, and if there is any beauty in them, it is in that “more.” That goes for Islam as well as for Judaism and Christianity. But one of the major points of Islam is humility in the face of God; those who are constantly proclaiming to be acting by the will of Allah are, well, full of it. Like most Christians, they are rather out of touch with most of their religious leader’s ideas.

    I think the flawed nature of everyone (except the Creator) is actually really central to Christianity, or at least the teachings of Jesus, and has unjustly been ignored or perverted. The Catholic Church especially has turned it “you will burn in hell because you are born with original sin, five-year-old child!”

    Now terrifying generations of little children with that nonsense, that might be a real sin.

  9. Most of those terrified children grew up to be agnostics and atheists because they didn’t like Catholic school. Catholicism isn’t something I would follow. John Paul II was a cool pope and I’m pretty sure he believed more in the saving grace of Christ than the standard Catholic principle of “Christ died for your sins, now you have to pay him back by being miserable,” but Pope Benedict XVI… I’m sorry, but if the current Head Honcho of a major world religion looks like Darth Sidious, it might be time to reconsider where you get your spiritual enlightenment. I recommend Presbyterian. But then, that’s where I’ve gone since I started going nine years ago, so I guess I”m not the most qualified.

    I’m not denying that humanity’s fallen nature is central to the teachings of Christianity. But I’m trying to say that it doesn’t stop there. It goes onward into that “more” you were talking about with God saying, “You need me, and my arms are wide open.”

    The Catholic church says to five-year-old children that they will burn in hell because of original sin (actually, it’s because we’re sinful by nature). That’s actually true of everyone. We’re all fallen. But the Catholic church doesn’t go as far as Christianity does.

    This is basically what my church says to everyone (not just he kids). “Yes, we all deserve hell. God’s standard is perfection. So because it is impossible for us to make up for our sin, He sent Christ to do it. And it’s free to anyone who is willing to accept it.” You see what I’m getting at, Jonas? The first bit is there, but it doesn’t stop there either. It keeps going and going and I start repeating myself with different words like my mother does. *Whaps self on the forehead*

    Wow, that first paragraph kinda jumped the tracks and onto a pod racer course, huh?

  10. Jamie

     /  August 14, 2011

    Worse than the song are some of the comments on that video. Are these people for real? Scary stuff.