Editors, the Gauntlet,
Re: “Christ makes sense from a marketing standpoint” Oct. 14, 1999
Yes, you did go out on a limb, Tyler Shandro. You may have offended a few Bible-thumpers, but to enlightened Christians, your argument was rather dim.
Let me clarify. Although I am orthodox Roman Catholic, I do not pretend the Church is perfect. It is a human institution that makes human mistakes. But organized religion has a purpose: to provide an avenue to spiritual maturity and offer meaning in compassionate works. In order for religion to remain useful for us in fulfilling these needs, like government, it too must be subject to criticism.
Unfortunately, your fallacious logic did not offer valid critique. Let me begin by obviating the first major glitch in your thought process: the fact that Christ was not the first to set forth such ideas as “turning the other cheek” is not relevant. Such truths have always existed alongside our race; if Buddha was the first to notice it, this is not evidence of his moral superiority. Good ideas will always be good ideas, and if Jesus’ so-called pr permits better knowledge of such philosophies, does it really matter who made the observation first?
Secondly, with regard to your uninformed discussion of Jesus’ belief in Hell as being indicative of a more sinister nature, the tenets of your argument are pitifully ignorant. It is Christian to believe that God chose not to force our hands to do what is right, but rather gave us the freedom to choose for ourselves. If we choose to reject God, we must live in absence of Him. Hell is not being strewn across an eternal barbecue; it is the result of one’s liberal decision to repudiate goodness (regardless of who defined goodness). This is the ultimate form of tolerance–respecting one’s choice of fate.
If people choose to interpret Jesus’ teachings to their own liking, all the power to them. Organized religion exists to enhance life’s spirituality, and life is personal. To declare that the religious are “merely followers” is not entirely untrue; people like to follow (ask Hitler, later, if you end up rejecting goodness). Perhaps what matters most is that people are lead in a good direction.
Please, Tyler. Blind religion-bashing is a stage reserved for angst-ridden escapees of the Nirvana era. If you are going to criticize, do it properly.
Editors, the Gauntlet,