Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Christian Dictionary

Mano Paul loves alliteration. If only he spent as much time saying useful things as he did trying to say them cleverly. When Mano says “Possession, Profession, Practice”, he says little more than the clichéd “Practice what you preach.” And apparently without irony.

Mano continues another fine Christian tradition of taking words that already have specific definitions and trying to make them mean something different in a Christian context. Aren’t there enough syllables for Christians to make new words if the ones we have don’t mean what they want them to mean?

Granted, love is one of those words that probably lost any hope of having a well-defined meaning. At least the Greeks tried to separate romantic love from sexual love from familial love. But let us hope it never has to mean “obedience” and “fear” the way it does for Mano, if battered wives and other abused spouses/lovers are to have any hope of learning to escape their torture. Austin Cline details all the similarities between God and an abusive partner. Now those are some points for Christians to ponder.

Without With one further comment, Mano likens the touch of God to evidence at a crime scene. Christians certainly are victims of their God belief.

The 7 Steps of Obsequiousness

Mano Paul claims there are 7 steps in Christian Life. There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement on the subject:

xian steps

(Source)

It’s odd that 16 got so many hits – probably a bug in the code. However, even those that agree that there are seven disagree on what they are:

J.W. Depson: 1. Live by faith; 2. Read your Bible; 3. Pray; 4. Go to church; 5. Get baptized; 6. Witness; 7. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

1st Baptist Barberville: A.Virtue B. Knowledge C. Temperance D. Patience E. Godliness F. Kindness G. Charity

Jen Davis: 1. God is Number One ; 2. No one’s perfect but try anyway; 3. Read God’s Word (presumably the Bible); 4. Create your vision; 5. Know thyself; 6. Live like an eagle, flying over your troubles; 7. Pray

So Mano, like all Christians, just made up his own rules, probably because he had only gotten as far in his dictionary as the “A” words: Accept, Acknowledge, Abide, Align, Act, Associate, Agree. It’s interesting how all of these verbs except one are deferential to some authority. What does Mano say about Act?

Step 4 in Christian life is to Act – act in accordance to his will, in service to him. What kind of service are Christians called to? We are called to serve one another, but not merely as servants, but soldiers as well.

Oh, well. (Wait, I thought Step 4 was Align, and Step 5 was Act? Oh right, he made them up.)

Mano, and many Christians hold this slavery and obsequiousness in the highest possible regard:

To be a servant of Christ Jesus does not necessarily mean, being a slave to him (although being called a bondservant (slave) of Christ would indeed be one of the highest accolades, active Christians can be honored with). It is not a sign of weakness but a sign of meekness and power, because as a servant of Christ, Christians are not called to be a doormat to be trampled upon, but they are called to bear the mighty weapons of God as soldiers for Christ. We are enlisted in God’s army and we serve behind enemy lines, fighting not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces, because the god of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of many.

These mental gymnastics are amazing, the contortions into which Christians pretzel their minds to redefine their bondage as virtue, their weakness as power. They believe with all their hearts that joining the ranks of God’s soldiers give them some advantage over the rest of us. They believe that their delusions are the true reality, that they are the ones who are immune to the “Devil’s blindness”, with no more authority than a dusty tome of Bronze-Age goatherd myths. How do they know that the Bible wasn’t written by the devil?

Points to Ponder:

Who is more likely to be enslaved – a flock of sheep who have made virtue out of ignorance and slavery, or the skeptical who demand evidence and reason for their beliefs? If this mythical devil exists, it is certainly has the power to deceive any human – why toss out the one weapon we have (rationality), if that is the enemy we must fight? And if the devil doesn’t exist, rationality is the only means we have of living right in this world, anyway.

In the Year of Our Lord 1984

Mano Paul says slavery is power. Does that sound like Doublespeak to anyone else? Or does he really see actual parallels between the Gospels of JC and Snap?

The Power” starts with a clip in German about the start of production of a line of personal computers. It would seem that even Snap sees more power in science and technology than in faith. Turbo B goes on to rap about basically how awesome his rhymes are. How exactly is Mano using this song to claim that a “proud, arrogant, and egotistic attitude” brings “absolutely no power”? Does he think that Turbo B is being ironic?

The authors of the original version of the song stole samples from Chill Rob G, Jocelyn Brown, and Mantronix. Before the US release, a new version had to be recorded to replace the samples, and the artist name “Snap!” was adopted. Christianists defend against arguments that the Jesus mythology is stolen, too.

In 2011, disciples of “The Power” threatened the architectural stability of a skyscraper. As an exercise for the reader, what analogies can be made about a group of followers acting in unison that leads to destruction?

There seems to be a tradition in faith blogging to pick some pop culture reference and try to tie it back to the Bible somehow. This repetitive exercise is basically doing nothing but reinforcing the cognitive bias toward confirming interpretations. Or maybe it’s simply a form of “here’s some shit I like; maybe I can use it to make Bible study more interesting”.

The trouble is that Mano has actually stumbled onto something like truth about the ego and self-importance. (Just because the Bible isn’t always true doesn’t mean that it is always false.) If he actually had the philosophical chops to have learned about the ego from Freud and the Buddha and everyone else who has discovered the same thing about it, instead of starting with Turbo B, he would likely use that as justification for all of the other nonsense tied up with it in the Bible. (Just because the Bible is sometimes true, doesn’t mean it is always true.)

The ego is a nasty little beast, always looking out for itself. Maybe you can keep it from making your identity about “high-ranking titles and positions”, but then while you were congratulating yourself about your humility, suddenly it takes on “slave” and “martyr” as your new identity and defends those with the same ferocity and blindness. You think you have power? Try winning the battle with your own identity. Good luck finding all the right mirrors.

A Terrible Story That You Should Tell No One

The story, retold by Dan Barker:

Imagine you are strolling down the sidewalk and a man excitedly calls you over to his front porch to share some “great news.” The man’s got a gruesome torture chamber in his basement, but you don’t have to go down there. Instead, you can come over, hug the man’s son, say you love him and you can all move in together in the attic and tell them how great they are forever.

“Isn’t that great news?”

Oh, and by the way, in this story the man has killed the son whom you’re hugging and brought him back to life, just so you can feel like all the bad things YOU have done are forgiven.

If you have any sense at all, you will run screaming from that house and never look back.

Mano Paul asks his fellow Christians if they are proselytizing enough. If they want this awful mythology to last, probably the best strategy actually is to just shut up about it.