Why I Got Back Into Christianity

Repost from the old site.

Kind of a long story, but I was associating with a lot of radical Arabs, mostly Palestinians. They all had a religion, even though a lot of them were Leftists. I thought that was really interesting. It was religion as identity. I got really interested in the Arab Christians. They seemed to take all of the good out of Christianity and none of the bad.

Like Catholics, they never talked religion, but they did believe. It seemed like more of an identity thing than anything else. Everyone was either a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, or a Yezidi, a Druze, an Alawite, or some kind of religion. Everyone had a religion! I thought that was actually kind of cool. Religion as identity – like ethnicity.

I did see Gibson’s movie and read a book called The Case For Jesus which offers an empirical basis for the New Testament. But I was heading there anyway. But what difference does it really make, in any important way, if I believe? Or if I don’t believe? What are the real, hard and fast consequences? None? I’m still going to die. My life won’t change one iota. So why just say the Hell with it and be a believer?

Atheism is crap. It offers me nothing at all. I don’t care how scientific it is. I die and rot in the fucking ground. There are no morals. There is no right and wrong. There is no afterlife and no soul. Who cares if that’s the truth? I don’t want any part of it. If there’s even a 1% chance Christianity is true, I’m in like Flynn.

Christianity is good because it teaches us to be good people. Too many people I meet, Whites and non-Whites, Christians and not, are just not good people. They are mean, nasty, snake-like, vicious people. They’re rude and stupid and have no manners. They use others and have no sense of give and take. They’re manipulative, animalistic shits.

Starting in 2001, I went to the Usenet groups because I got into the Middle East. It was my first real exposure to the region and its problems in depth, and it showed me for the first time about my Christian values. At the time, I was an agnostic, having left Christianity a long time ago. But I learned that I still had Christian values even though I left the Church 20 years before.

In the ME groups, we debated Jews. These Jews had values alien to me. You were with them or against them. You were either a Judeophile or you were with those guys who threw them in the ovens. Black and white.

I was raised in a Christian culture that told me to love my enemies and try to find common ground with those I disagreed with. It taught me that we all sin, so I’m not so special, and the bad guys aren’t as bad as I think they are. Christianity is its own kind of moral relativism.

So I didn’t hate these Jewish Zionists. I don’t care how much they love their shitty little country. We’re all fucked up in one way or another. But they hated me. I mean they hated me. I could never get beyond that. It wasn’t a Christian way of thinking.

We were also taught to have gentlemanly debates and to fight fair. You didn’t bite, scratch or pull hair, and when you played “Smear the Queer” you were supposed to go light on the target, not too hard. There were rules about debating, arguing, even play-fighting.

These Jews just seemed to throw out all the rules. That was alien to my Christian values. Now, lots of Christians don’t have these kind of values, but you’re supposed to.

There was also sort of a “fair play in business” thing I was raised with. Not because it was right, but because it fostered a harmonious community.

Another one was controlling your emotions in debate. Don’t raise your voice, don’t get irritated, don’t get angry, control your emotions. Be a gentleman. I don’t know if that’s Christian? I was raised with that. That’s just civilized to me, but to me it seemed Christian. Maybe it was just White middle class.

You give and take in relationships. You don’t blatantly and grotesquely use other people. You don’t steal. You don’t demand things. When you go visit someone, you ask permission for everything. You don’t walk in the door and start demanding stuff. You don’t turn the channel on the TV or radio. Whatever is on is on. It’s their house, dammit.

You address people as “sir” and say “pardon me.” You repay all debts and even offer to pay interest. To not repay is a shame upon myself, and it degrades me. It taints my soul. You vote in elections. It’s your civic duty, and it’s the right thing to do. You work or go to school if you are able to. You don’t leech off others. You pay your workers. You don’t shaft people or rip them off.

You don’t try to sell people your stuff all the time without offering to buy some of their stuff too – this means you are just trying to get money out of them. When you pay a visit to a potential client, you buy a little something in his store, even if you don’t need it.

You don’t demand or even ask to use other people’s stuff. You don’t demand rides all the time. You apologize when you offend people or make them mad.

It took me a long time to figure out why I wasn’t acting like an asshole or an animal like so many of those around me. I knew I had values, but where were they? Where did they come from? I finally figured out that even though I had left Christianity long ago, my values were Christian values. That many were abandoning them meant that our culture was abandoning basic Christian values.

This made me realize the positive aspect of Christianity. It tries to force people to quit acting like animals and start acting like humans. It forces you to be good even when you don’t want to. It’s hard to be a good Christian. A lot of people just want to be assholes. Our capitalist society tells us to be as big of assholes as we can be. Christianity is very demanding, and many just can’t hack it. But that’s what is good about it.

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19 thoughts on “Why I Got Back Into Christianity”

  1. There you go. What’d I tell ya? It’s compassion innit? Da jews got no time for it. I actually read an op-ed in the Guardian ( trendy lefty mainstream broadsheet) by a prominent jew (can’t remember who) making a case that our Christian culture was ‘ the bad old ways’ which we are now beginning to see was holding ‘us’ (he means the rich of course) back until the jews showed us how to do it right. And he pointed out that it was compassion that was our weakness, and how judaism rejected compassion – of course on the familiar Ayn Rand/ Thatcher ” if we don’t throw the cripples out the lifeboat we’ll ALL drown” lines.
    I couldn’t be sure if Judaism really does lack compassion ( I suspect so) – it could just be that their beliefs are infinitely malleable, so that they can the more easily be pimped to the rich and powerful. Whatever, who are they kidding? Strikes me that Christianity had some sizable part in binding and cohering our Western civilisation, the most creative and materially successful in human history. What has their lack of compassion achieved, except to fuck it up for us when our compassion opened the door to them? Some famous jew said ” In the warmest of hearts, there’s a cold spot for the jews” . Maybe we should remember that there are limits to compassion – like compassion for the irredeemably compassionless.

    Anyway, ” Jesus is just alright with me” – do you know the Byrds’ version of that ( with the great Clarence White on guitar)? Check it out if you don’t. A real treat.
    Great message, great stories, but I don’t know about the Son of God bit – I’m with the Muslims that far.

      1. Well, it WAS the topic, if you read Robert’s post.

        I must admit it’s pretty hard to see Christian civilisation as compassionate – the natives of North and South America, and the transported or murdered Africans might find that counter-intuitive. But it could have been a lot worse, and I think it in fact will be. ” No more Mr Nice Guy”.

  2. You got one of the odder takes on Christianity, I’ve seen. It’s hard to be that rational about it and still be a Christian.

    I’m more into American Constitutionalism. A damn great document that lets all kinds of people assemble. A cold, effective piece that cools the hot-heads of all religions. Except Muslims, apparently. Muslims seem to be the exception that sustains the rule.

  3. Anecdotally, I’ve heard the mormons are similar to the jews in business. Really emotional, throwing out the rules, creating ingroups, etc. I don’t know from my own experience though.

  4. Cultural. You simply adopt Christian values as your cultural values. Helps if you were raised in a White Christian neighborhood though.

    I have a pretty low opinion of Latino, Black, Native American and Polynesian “Christian” values. Sure, they’re Christian, but that ain’t the same thing as White Christian. Sorry!

  5. So you envision Christianity as a sort of dominant allele, if you get it from either your parents or your culture you might turn out ok, but otherwise you’re screwed?

    Dunno, I suppose there are non-Christian cultures that turn out decent human beings.

    All I know is those Jews on Usenet had a radically different moral value than I did that was in total contrast to White Christian values. They used to ridicule Christians all the time as do-gooders and “trying to be nice.” Those Jews thought that was ridiculous. Judaism seems to enjoy hate, hate the enemies, and the enemies are everywhere. It culturally values it. I think that sucks. Very Machiavellian and Manichean people.

    1. I don’t know. Muslim culture is ok. There’s very little crime, especially street crime. That’s very good. Middle Eastern Christian culture is supposed to be good. Once again, very little to no crime, especially street crime. I don’t know how honest they are. I’m told that no one really trusts anyone in the Middle East business wise. That’s not a very European White Christian value.

  6. What about the other Middle Eastern religions?

    Jews are ok in that they commit very little street crime. You can invite a Jew into your house and be confident he won’t steal from you when you turn your back, unlike these Mexiscums who live around me.

    I know nothing about other ME religions. Alawism, Druze, Sabeans, Yezidis, all seem to commit very little street crime. How honest they are otherwise, I’m not so sure. In that part of the world, people are only loyal to their tribe, religion or ethnic group. Everyone else is the Other and you might be able to screw them over.

    1. Maybe. I’m not very impressed by Black Christian societies in the US, Caribbean and Africa, nor with Latino Christianity, nor with Polynesian Christianity, nor Filipino Christianity, nor with Native American Christianity. It seems like they just don’t get the culture right. All of these are pretty much latecomers to Christianity though, which originated in the Middle East and has been incubating in Europe for a good 1,700 years in a major way.

      Polynesians, Black Africans, Filipinos, and Amerindians created some pretty well-functioning societies, but those were utilizing native religions, not Christianity. I think Christianity is just grafted onto their pre-Christian culture and they have not gotten into it in a big way.

      Korean Christianity is a good thing though.

    1. Being cultural Christian is a good thing. Your average White Christian is pretty much of a self-righteous idiot. Most of them are very rightwing, and around here, they’re all crazy fundamentalists who don’t believe in evolution, vote Republican and hate abortion, homosexuality and Catholics. That wasn’t the Methodism I was brought up with.

      Your average serious Christian has been telling me that I’m evil for most of my life. And most Protestants have been telling me I’m not really Christian because I don’t believe every word of this or that or some list of beliefs you have to check off.

      People who are casually Christian or the Latino Catholics have a much better attitude.

    2. He’s an asshole, but he is probably right in that book unfortunately.

      There are a lot of problems with this country, but they are not those that the PC crowd, the Islamists and the 3rd Worlders rant about. Point is that we liberals have been very successful since the 1960’s in creating a good liberal society. Minorities are probably treated better here than just about anywhere else on Earth. So are gays and women.

      The Islamists are coming from a POV of reaction. They want us to open our society up to Islam, but they won’t open their societies up to Christianity. Screw that.

      The PC crowd is nuts. America is not the most evil country on Earth. Modern liberalism has created a pretty progressive society. The 3rd World countries that the PC idiots love so much are in general much more backwards and reactionary than the liberal US is. The culture war is over, and we liberals won.

      1. The PC crowd is nuts. America is not the most evil country on Earth.

        Even the most anti-white, anti-white American people will admit this.

        Their main criticism of the U.S. is not so much our evil, but rather our hypocrisy about it. It’s not so much that we behave like your typical empire, but that we preach freedom and democracy in the process.

        Believe me, these U.S. bashing types KNOW that they, and minorities have it much better here in the U.S. than dissidents and minorities have it in China, Russia, and most places in the world.

        I think the problem is

        a) this country has a ton of power, so while I don’t think it’s more immoral than any other part of the world, it’s immoral actions have far deadlier consequences than more immoral, but weaker countries.

        b) people have ridiculously high expectations of this country. They measure this country against its stated ideals. I, on the other hand, don’t measure this country relative to its stated ideals. I look at this country, I look at the world (and I’m not talking about the good countries such as Finland, Sweden, Japan, Germany, South Korea, etc) and I tell myself, “things are far better here.”

        For all of our flaws (and believe me, there are many, particularly our foreign policy, which is why I’m currently reading “The Israel Lobby”), we could be far worse.

        Unfortunately, it seems that we’re moving closer and closer towards far worse.

      2. The culture war is over, and we liberals won.

        I’m gonna have to disagree on this one.

        Conservative and reactionary discourse still dominates the hell out of politics on the ground in the United States.

        If liberals had won the culture war the Democratic Party would be an actual social democratic alternative (as the mainline left party is in many nations of Europe and Latin America) as opposed to a marginally liberal corporatist party.

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