Occasionally, I post comics from NakedPastor David Hayward. I subscribe to his site, and find his thoughts provocative. They inspire a sort of Christianity that I find cool.
He posted this one today, titled “Jesus Kills,” (link) which raised my eyebrows and made me react on his blog:
My response was:
Ever brave, David.
Keep up your all-too-important work.
The other responses range from appreciative to back-handed criticisms.
Artistry is taking liberties at truths. And this certainly takes liberties. Of course this scene never happened. And Hayward cannot tell me, or you, how to interpret what it is you’re supposed to think about this.
My interpretation was that human influence helped shape his views. And there comes a time when humans must take humans by the shoulders and say, “No, Stop doing that (unequal rights, human slavery/trafficking, etc.)! We do not live in Old or New Testament times! We live now!”
Jesus lived in a weird time when getting bathed in blood to cleanse sins literally meant you were standing under an altar when an animal was killed, and the blood flowed over their bodies. This is a ritual lost among believers, but I wish they still did it between the bread and wine of communion.
Could you imagine standing outside of a church when it let out. Everyone is drenched red in fake blood after doing a ritual, blood shower/bath?
Those were my thoughts.
One woman named Brigitte responded and it made me want to troll Hayward’s blog, and I decided not to.
Brigitte wrote (emphasis mine):
The sacrifices were also eaten by the families. A celebration of forgiveness by all together. Something like turkey Christmas dinner.
Hitchens will tell you that this is the most despicable religion he has ever heard about, how terrible and barbarian it is. (Butchering, eating meat, death, and sacrificing is something that goes on everywhere, all of the time, except perhaps among vegetarians. It is human beings who actually nailed Jesus to the cross for doing nothing wrong.)
Hitchens’ sins are obviously not so scarlet that they require such drastic actions or illustrations.
Brigitte didn’t think through her response thoroughly as she should have. Hitchens criticism is in reference to the idea that Jesus replaced animal sacrifice as the ultimate sacrifice. To reflect on that sacrifice, Christians perform the ritual of communion (Eucharist). Eucharist is the belief that Christ’s believers are consuming his body and blood as a metaphor or a literal consumption of Jesus’ flesh and blood. This allows you to become one with Jesus. It lets him enter into your life, so that he can sustain you, influence you, help you.
There is no modern agreement with cannibalism, is there? Yet, the ritual of communion or eucharist wreaks of a sort of barbarian cannibalism.
How do we view cannibals? We see it as a deviance, right? We paint them as the bad guys. We make movies about them. We see them as lesser evolved.
I know my believing readers aren’t going to agree with what I’m writing. Bare with me.
The Need for Forgiveness
That leads me to my last point, Brigitte wrote that animals were sacrificed and eaten out of the celebration of forgiveness. As a former insider turned outsider, why and what do we need forgiveness for? And why should we think that a ritual is going to absolve our wrongs?
When I wrong Tina (or anyone), I may (or may not) ask for forgiveness. If Tina is merciful, she’ll give it to me. But she can choose not to forgive me, too. I find that there is much more accountability in the idea that I am responsible for my actions. If I break her trust, if I am unfaithful, or if I hurt her, she shouldn’t be forced to overlook my failure to respect her.
When you are a believer and forgiveness comes from a supernatural source, the accountability factor flies out the window.
This idea of supernatural forgiveness pervades our culture and it psychologically ruins people’s perception of what they can get away with. Herman Cain believes admission of asking forgiveness absolves his infidelities.
The truth is that we shouldn’t forgive nor think people are forgiven without accountability for actions.
Celebrating each other and gastronomy
What I agree with in this situation is that, as a carnivore, giving proper understanding to the fact that a living, breathing creature died for your sustenance and that celebrating life with each meal is a must.
When you eat, celebrate your life, the life of others, the life of that which lost life for you to live.
And don’t expect to do whatever the hell you want in life and think that it’s everyone else’s duty and honor to forget your wrongs.