So, there are a multitude of virgin birth creation myths in our human history but Jesus’ birth is the one true one? Right. That makes A LOT of sense. How can we Christians lay claim to the one truth? When others wrote the story first? When that story, that way forces us to deny so much about us that we are born knowing. When that story teaches us that worship of an external God is the only way. When that story teaches us to loathe our humanness and fear hell from day one. When that way loves us conditionally all of our lives. Think people.
We ridicule those “poor, brutish, heathen beasts” who worshipped the sun millennia ago. How naïve and unevolved we say. How ignorant and base and backward. To pay tribute to a “false god.” Well at least you can see the sun every day. You know it exists. You can count on it rising and setting every day. You can count on it for food, for survival. It awakens and warms our soul. You know for a fact it sustains us and breathes life into all of the earth. You marvel at it; it exceeds your expectations. And it expects absolutely nothing from you.
The native tribes had it right. But we tell those tribes to stop worshipping that which they know and begin worshipping a hidden, faceless, amorphous judge of a God. Think people, think. We are extinguishing those beautiful cultures in the name of conversion to a certain faith, a faith that lays claim to the one “true” virgin birth myth when scores of other, older religions established the myth. Right, that makes a LOT of sense.
The multitude of virgin birth myths confirms to me that all religions have threads of truth, threads of what makes sense to us, threads of good. Some of the common themes to all religions are good and true. But not all of them. We can pull the best from them and discard the crap, the crap that twists and tangles us. The crap that leaves us doubting and confused, frustrated and broken. The crap that has led us to flush out these aboriginal peoples.
For centuries, or millennia, we have told these tribes that in order to accept Jesus (and have him accept you) they must swear off their own indigenous faith altogether. Here’s an example:
Debbie Freeman, minister from Little Rock, came to speak to the Presbyterian Women about mission work with the Lacondon Indians in Chiapas Mexico. She said that about 40 years ago the Presbyterian missionaries brought Christianity to the indigenous direct descendants of the Mayans. I asked Debbie what religion they had before Christianity. She said they didn’t have one; then she said no, they had the Mayan religion, which was “very native, very primitive, very brutish, it involved human sacrifice.” (her words). I asked how the Lacondon Indians married Presbyterianism with the Mayan religion, the Mayan culture, and she said they don’t. They had to forego or swear off or turn their backs on their Mayan religion completely to take on Christianity. It was a prerequisite of “receiving Christ” (my words). The anthropologist in me cried. These Presbyterians are not missionaries, that’s just a PC word for crusaders. Sent to obliterate the local religion and culture. And that's not the whole story; they are also clearcutting jungle to build big churches. Again, my heart wept. We have to preserve what’s left of the Mayan descendants’ culture. Natives are being flushed out by Religion all across the globe. It’s why I cannot waste anymore time. Why the time for me is now. We need to change course quickly.
Think people, think. How many of these cultures are still left on earth? We are extinguishing them. It’s too late for so many of them. But we can arrest the slaughter of their truth. We can stop RIGHT NOW.
When I say “we” are extinguishing these cultures, I mean Christianity is extinguishing them, but I also mean Western Jingoism. Our government has adopted Christianity as a way to justify the beat down and destruction of others. Just like all governments before us. A government is biological, an organism, it has Darwinistic survival needs like everything else. Needs to devour other countries, other people. So it may “flourish.” The red Communist Sherwin Williams paint can, spilling over all of Europe. Religion is the same way. We are naïve if we don’t appreciate this. Since religion was created by us, it is obvious that it is a biological beast, and that it feeds voraciously on threats to its survival. It’s the old way, the old establishment, the old order. It’s the wrong way to live in heaven. And the beast is in the sunset of its life.
But don’t get scared! Post-religion does not mean to ditch your current faith. I do not want anyone to swear off their religions. At all! On the contrary, I am not crusading, I don’t need converts. Please let humans be done with crusades, for now and forever. I love what you think is truth. If your religion, or any parts of it, resonate in your heart and make you feel good….go with it! Parse the good and the bad and be your own God, be your own “theo-logy.” (from the Latin, “God-science”). You must have confidence to believe in what works best for you spiritually. And confidence to say “I don’t believe what you believe. It’s fine that you believe differently than me, but mine is just perfect for me, thank you very much.” Love yourself that much. Stop being one of the faceless flock…..start being your own shepherd.
Pardon me for my tardiness. As usual Hilary, your right on the money. Once the flock realize they can be something other than a "member", good things will happen. While sheep do have a long history of being the religious ambassadors, let us never forget natures original followers; the Lemmings.ReplyDelete
And they wound up off the cliff....we're marching off the cliff and all signs point to disaster. If we can just shed the shackles we willingly took on, we can all rise.ReplyDelete
I appreciate your thinking and writing on this Hilary--I have felt much the same, and share your frustration with "missions" that are really just imperialism. Christianity has much to atone for in this area. But, I wonder, (and I'm not saying that with any motive, just a roadblock I've run into.) Since it is true that some of the ideals in Mayan religion (in particular) included human sacrifice and a drastic hierarchy of privilege for a few--and those were the ideals, not just the realities, is the replacement of that system of belief with something that (even though the realities did not always live up to the ideals) included more egalitarianism and peace not a bad thing? I shudder to imagine all the beautiful cultures that the world has lost due to the wholesale "conversion" mentality, but is the Divine so relativistic that it doesn't want to shirk off such violent interpretations as human sacrifice? Actually, there was a lot more syncretism in the spread of Christianity than this Presbyterian woman would have you believe--just go to Mexico or Bolivia or the Congo or India or anywhere else in the world and look at the diversity of practices within "Christianity."ReplyDelete