As I have promised before (Welcome to the Involuntary Agnostics Association), I will not pointlessly argue the existance of any deity. However, this evening while I sipped my mocha and read my book in my favorite cafe, two young men sat near me and debated semantic religious crap over a table piled high with bibles, bible study guides, bible study guide study guides, bible study guide study guide outlines, cheat sheets and who knows what else.
"...well define sin!", one challenged heatedly. Define sin?
The bible tells you all the sins in length. Read Deuteronomy. Its like an instruction manual for the conceptually retarded.
"Don't touch your pee-pee"
"Don't touch his pee-pee"
"Don't fuck goats, bats, armadillos, cows, pidgeons, camels, ducks, (etc)..."
Or, for the more advanced jr. theologian, there is always the ten commandments. They pretty much sum it all up for you in ten basic "guideline" rules.
Then, the sandle wearing hippy showed up. He had a rather interesting idea: "Love your neightbor as yourself, love God above all else."
The god part I am unable to give endorsement for but will you kill your neighbor if you are busy loving him? Its the golden rule people, must I get my ruler out? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
or the wiccans... "Do as ye will, lest ye hurt none."
Most religions have a similar universal guideline. In my humble yet usually misguided, misspelled and often offensive opinion; if you attend "Church" once a week and are obviously taking some sort of class, this should all be quite apparent.
If you cannot already tell, I was once a victim of Catholic schooling and by far the most annoying part is the unrelenting mental thrashing they perpetuate upon themselves and their children as they hurl themselves headlong against the archaic walls of the Bible with the expressed purpose of comming up with the exact same conclusion they have for the past 2000 years.
I am again, a firm beliver in admitting we know nothing and trying to handle that fact as gracefully as possible, but if you are going to insist upon being a devout christian please do me a favor and stop embarrassing yourself in the intellectual arena.
You choose faith, and so I now submit to you that by the time you have chosen to follow in faith, you know all that you need to know. You have heard the entire bible in church sermon or read it yourself and it hardly offers much insight that cannot be inferred by the perceptual. Nothing new has been added, and when it has the church will be sure to notify you and where they fail the media shall surely succeed.
"So did Jesus think (blah)?"
"What do they really mean by (blah)?"
I have a question for you jr. theologian...
When will they cure aids? Can you help? What about Cancer, hunger, beaten wives and children? That slob hopped up on a few too many glasses of the blood of christ about to get into his car and plow into a mini-van...
Like golf courses are a waste of land, semantic disection of faith is time lost, money lost and brain power wasted.
Do you need the intellectual reassurance provided by mind numbing facts and figgures to insure your faith? I think thats sad. I don't belive in God and I think the redundant frame by frame reduction of the simple faith of a child into something like a 10 cassett PBS documentary on the Kennedy assasination is as far from the proposed goals of the basic christian doctrine as you can possibly get.
Stop being so fucking high and mighty, get out of your class rooms, your churches and towers and go HELP someone. You want to make it to heaven; the collection plate ain't gonna cover it compadre.
If you want the key to getting into heaven (because we all know thats the only reason anyone is good; won't get into heaven if you don't behave), I can tell you.

Be nice...
and stop being such a self serving prick.

Remmeber? 2000 years ago the "son of man" told you all this, and now you are being reminded by an Agnostic who can't spell. You don't need a fucking rule book or divine interpretation, you need swarms of locusts and a nice long walk in the shoes of Job. argh... *breath* </RANT>

If I tried to say I was not Ignorant and lazy, I would then be a liar too. ;)
I suppose I did not clarify enough during my little rant and was misinterpreted on a few points, but in the interest of not being pitch-forked I won't defend myself against any of the other accusations.
Its not that I don't think you should be intellegent and use your mind but for the most part, Christians I have met do not partake in the teachings of Jesus, the golden rule. They know the dictionary definition of sin, but do they do anything that warrents calling themselves christian? I am not going to sit here and talk bad about christians as one lump of people, what I am disappointed in is the fact that you can sit here and waste time teaching a person how to be nice. But WHY? They don't teach sociology in religion class.
If you sin, you go to hell.
If you are naughty, Santa will put coal in your stalking.
What the hell is the spiritual value of that crap? Be nice to save your own hide. A favorite teaching of mine to be sure.
Teaching a person how to look inside themselves for their own spirituality would be of a much greater value. I have been to Catholic school, and you can call me a moron all you would like. Did I pay attention? Yes. I got A's in religion. Frankly, it makes me sad because I didn't LEARN anything of value. It was like a bad history class. They don't teach you how to look inside yourself, or even touch on more advanced reasoning for being a good person. That is what I am getting at. Religious history is static, does one need to learn it over and over to be a good person?

Better yet, how about sitting in a church with 200 bored, rich, white, old people who spend the entire sermon thinking about what sort of doughnuts they are going to have at the reception. Can you possibly hope to explain that to me? You don't need to justify your faith to me, but if you could explain that part to me as a favor, all sarcasm aside, it would be a great insight to me since I have never been able to figure it out.
I mean, the two young men I was speaking of in the beginning went on later to disect some Psalm while one of them calmy tried to justify pre-marital sex. I belive in pre-marital sex, but really...
I just find it sad that spiritual education lacks the spiritual so very badly and compensates by making it cerebral.