Kurt Vonnegut once said that if it wasn't for the Sermon on the Mount, he wouldn't want to be a human being. He'd just as soon be a rattlesnake. I heartily agree.
If you are, say, an atheist who happens to have stumbled onto this post and are turned off by the suggestion that the most quintessentially human-affirming moral address in the history of the world was given by Jesus, know this: that Vonnegut (who's up in heaven now -- obviously) was himself an avowed atheist. A card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wolverine atheist, who thought Jesus had it absolutely going on.
Not only that, but I'd wager that many of the things that piss you off about how many so-called "Christians" (or at least, the loudest) are conducting themselves these days are actually blatant violations of the Sermon on the Mount, itself.
How can this be, you ask?
Well, apparently there was some sort of problem with the Scantron-machines, and they've had to stop requiring novitiates to pass a test before they're allowed to call themselves Christians. With no oversight and no quality control, actually paying attention to the actual words of Jesus Christ is no longer a prerequisite.
But if you want evidence, look no further than the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus spoke (spake?) his famous Beatitudes, and turned the world topsy-turvy. Here. Read these and see if you agree:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It goes on and on from there -- all about caring for the poor and the sick and the imprisoned, and not judging, and loving your enemies, and not worrying about a thing because every little thing is gonna be all right. Not once does it say anything about raining down holy fire on Arabic villages, or starting Culture Wars and then "winning" them, or being absolutely Right about everything and playing whack-a-mole with anybody stupid enough to pop a head up and disagree.
You'd think these un-tested "Christians" hadn't even heard of the Sermon on the Mount, but you'd be wrong. The weird thing is that many of them have actually MEMORIZED it, and although they often act (subconsciously) as though it's sort of a dirty little secret (choosing instead to spend most of their time obsessing about some dude named, uh, Paul, I think it was), you would not believe the sort of energy these clowns expend trying to explain to themselves, and others, and one day God (well, we can hope) how what the Sermon on the Mount actually means is that capital punishment is cool, the environment is for pissing on, and God wants us to nuke anybody stupid enough to get in our way. Oh, and Obama is a Muslim terrorist.
Now, you and I both know that all this is due to the unfortunate "accident" with the Scantron-machines, and that these preposterous ideologues are actually just mouthpieces for the Koch brothers, who probably owned the company that made the Scantron-machines, and who've co-opted the name of Jesus in order to sell more rockets and hand grenades
At the same time, well...
They haven't exactly been open to my efforts to get them to shut the h-e-double-hockey-sticks up, and apparently there are still some folks at the fringes who're getting taken in by this malarkey -- who (get this) actually believe that the Upside-Down Kingdom that Jesus proposed is actually just a wonky wording of the right-side-up world we live in, where Might Makes Right, and screw the weak until they gibber.
My hope, then, is that this post here might convince someone who's wondering if these Carnival-Barking Bologna-Faces might know what they're actually talking about to stop listening to them, find a Bible (they're everywhere), turn to Matthew chapter Five, and actually read the actual words of the actual Jesus, himself.
TING A LING!
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