In the spirit of the season, I’d like to take a break from my usual snark to ask this question:
Who Would Jesus Hate?
Now, if you ask Rick Warren, it’s Jews, women who have abortions and are not properly submissive to their husbands, and teh gays. (Whew – that’s a lotta hatin’.)
If you ask the pope, it’s teh gays. (Yes, homosexuality is hot! Oh, that’s not what he meant?)
I know I’m a Jooo, but so was Jesus. And if we’re going to cherry-pick the Bible to make it reflect our beliefs (as all Judeo-Christians do, since the book is full of contradictions and outdated restrictions), then why can’t we pick the most enlightened parts, the most tolerant parts, the most loving parts?
Like this one:
“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing….
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
And what about this, which is directly attributed to Jesus himself?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Personally, I don’t know if Jesus even existed. I believe the Bible is the work of men, not God, and so I don’t venerate the Bible in any way. But the fact remains that billions of people all over the world think the Old and New Testaments are holy, and base their personal morality on these ancient pieces of literature. And many spiritual and political leaders seem to be focusing on, and promoting in very loud and nasty ways, only the most divisive and hate-filled interpretations of Biblical passages.
This holiday season, my wish is that all of us all over the world – atheists, agnostics, of Judeo-Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or other religious beliefs – start to focus on our commonalities, not our differences; that we begin to rise above the divisions that politicians create among us and start demanding action, not empty symbolism, from our elected representatives; and that we start to create a better world, where hatred of The Other is finally understood as hatred of ourselves, and it is recognized that all humans, no matter who they love or what they look like or what sex they are, deserve equal justice under the law.
We can do this, and we will.