Thursday, February 5, 2015

Saint Paul and Kim Jong Un - spot the difference!

I was trying to show off my biblical chops when I replied to the article Through a Glass Darkly: Social Media and the Paradox of Virtual Intimacy. It was a dreary piece worthy of an soporific sermon by an octogenarian vicar, so perhaps I shouldn't have bothered.

When I read articles like this they reinforce my distaste for Christianity. The absent Paul, writing to his followers at a time of theological battles for the control of the early church, warning “I will not be lenient” comes across as an authoritarian cult leader threatening punishment of wayward followers. Psalm 119 wouldn’t need much adaptation for it to become a song of loyalty to the Dear Leader of North Korea. There’s so much reinforcement of power, and indeed, that was how growing up in a Christian environment felt to me.

The blatant doublespeak of theology shows that the power wielded by clerics has not been earned. Here we have an article decrying the pitfalls of social media with its remoteness and depersonalisation. Then there’s a comparison to the writings of a Christian leader who never met Jesus, yet we hear of a “temporary” absence of Christ.  All of this is communicated to us by a so-called “friend” who hasn’t updated his status in 2,000 years. And in those 2,000 years, it’s pretty hard to justify calling the absence temporary.

Let me not be too curmudgeonly. 1 Corinthians gave us that beautiful phrase “through a glass darkly”, and also “when I was a child I spoke as a child”. But to see clearly and to grow up require leaving the nonsensical parts of the bible behind.

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