“It Just Won’t Do, Pigs”: reward based systems of salvation and unequal distribution of sin

I’m going to pick on Christianity a bit, but there are other religions that use the same reward-based type system for salvation. As a species, humans are consumed by the need to get things “right”. And honestly, I am too, so I’m not going to say that looking for the “right way” is a bad thing. I’ve been searching for my proper path my entire life; I will likely always look for that path. Three important things first.

  1. It’s the searching for that path that is the most important.
  2. There is no single “right way.”
  3. It should really be stressed that there are a lot more wrong ways than right ways.

Now,  onto our topic. One of the by-products of Christianity that drives me absolutely bonkers is that it all distills to a single truth from which believers extrapolate that the entire world’s moralities can be likewise condensed. To be a Christian, one MUST believe that Christ is the way to Heaven. This is not the part that makes me bonkers. I get it. I might not agree with all of it, but I am not going to actually get mad at someone who self-identifies as a Christian and believes in the divinity, life, death, and resurrection of Christ and that salvation is possible through that. I mean, that makes sense, not always my  sense, but logical sense. What drives me nuts, is that this single identifier somehow leads to entitlement, exclusivity, arrogance, self-righteousness, and an all-around judgmental culture that….wait for it…

is completely at odds with the actual Bible.

I do not want Christians to give up their Bible. I don’t want them performing marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples or celebrating pagan festivals (though some of them do), what I want, is for them to actually live by the Book.

 If you can’t earn your way into heaven, if we’re all equal in the eyes of God and sinners just the same*, then someone please explain to me why the adulterers and child molesters can sit in church with heads held high, while the homosexuals are persecuted?

For the record, I am pro-Love. This means that I am not for homosexuality any more or less than heterosexuality. Honestly, I think that a large majority of RELATIONSHIPS out there are broken, faulty, or flawed. I think we’re a hyper-sexualized culture and I don’t want to see porn of any sort plastered all over god, creation, and pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actually a prude, but through material culture, media, and religious propaganda, we’ve done serious damage to both genders. We don’t know what being strong, useful, or healthy is, but humans perpetuate unrealistic, unhealthy, unnatural body and relationship images at every turn. Kids don’t even know what love is, much less True Love, but they know what to wear to catch a man who’ll knock them up, or what slick phrase to use to get the girl with low self esteem to spread her legs.

I am pro-Love, and from where I’m sitting, it looks like only about a quarter (and that’s being optimistic) of the world knows what love is. That said, I don’t actually care what tradition, religion, or politics say about the superficial characteristics of that love. I’ve met straight people, gay people, celibate people, etc who are both good and bad.

Morally, I do not judge a person by who they want to have sex with as long as:

  1. They are consenting, sentient adults.
  2. I don’t have to see it or hear about it.
  3. Non-consenting, non-sentient, non-adults do not have to see it or hear about it.

But that’s where the problem comes in isn’t it? The seeing and hearing about it. We over-share. Social media ensures that in order to be someone’s friend I know WAY more about their lives than I want to. Since Vietnam (both related to the war, the social upheaval around and also unrelated to the war) Americans have taught themselves not to self-censor, and with your nearest and dearest or when requested (going to someone’s blog btw is basically requesting), such an open stream of consciousness style of communication is fine, even encouraged.

But this is not the only nature of human interaction. Human beings still have to relate at the professional level, the casual level, the acquaintance level. There are actually very few people with whom I interact whose sexuality is remotely important to me. And technically, the Darkling is the only one of those that REALLY matters.

So my questions revolve around this: why do we need external approval for something that is by its very nature intimate? I understand that legal rights are a separate issue entirely and I am for those rights and recognitions, but I’m talking about nonlegal terms. The only reason I’m offended with how the majority of American Christians treat homosexuals is because they don’t treat the bigots, adulterers, liars, thieves, and child abusers with the same disapproval. Personally, I have my own little hierarchy of what ‘sins’ are less acceptable than others, but I do not claim to be a Christian at all, so I can hate on the adulterers and liars and be kind to homosexuals and prostitutes. I can even decide what I think is evil and what isn’t, but I am actually not talking about me.

I want to know why those who call themselves Christians, who hold the Bible up as Truth, choose to persecute one group of sinners and allow the others to be deacons in their churches, leaders in their youth rooms, and directors of their choirs. I want to know why churches are full of sinners, but some of them are not as bad as others. I want to know why these men and women are allowed to sin, find redemption, continue to sin, but they’re “good Christians struggling with the devil,” while homosexuals are treated as if they are the devil.

I thought at first it was the openness of the sin. Many of the church leaders hide their sins in darker closets than the homosexual community, especially as times keep a-changin’. But that can’t be it. There really aren’t that many secrets, especially in church communities.

Then I thought maybe it was intention and this has some theological basis at least. A sinner of the other sort at least (in theory) intends to do better when they ask for forgiveness, while a homosexual who is not renouncing themselves (don’t get me started on that bs, for all of our sakes) would be looked at as fully intending to willfully continue with their sin, therefore negating repentance. This seems most likely, but also the most hypocritical. I know plenty of “Sunday Christians” who sin all week like it’s Mardi Gras and then stumble into church for their weekly refresh of redemption, knowing that they’ll go right back to doing the same thing tomorrow. You can argue that these people aren’t Christians (and gods know that I have) but these are the people filling the pews and Sunday School rooms, and putting “vote this way!” signs in their yards.

So my question becomes: Just what in the hell are they doing?

Are they trying to earn their way into heaven? Are they so desperate for peer or divine approval that they would rather spend all their time calling attention to another’s misdeeds than resolving their own? Are they really that scared?

I know that I don’t work right. I know that my brain is flawed, but I decided a long, long time ago that I’d rather do what I thought was right than what someone else said was. Put simply, I’d rather go to hell for what *I* believe than go to heaven for something that I don’t.  Nevermind that I don’t, for one instance, believe that it’s that easy. Being a good person out of the fear of retribution DOES NOT make you a good person.

It makes you a dancing pig.

And those pigs that aren’t dancing….well, so what that they might end up bacon before you do? At least they were their own pigs…right until the end. (Also, bacon is tasty and bbq is a staple of all life, whereas, once the novelty wears off, a dancing pig really isn’t worth that much).

But they know that…those dancing pigs, so they make all kinds of fuss and point to the rebellious pigs, the ones that refuse fall in line, and they make sure those pigs get the bolt gun first, because they hate them and they fear them, and they really really really need someone to pat them on their heads and say “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

I wonder why, of all human characteristics, we have continued to encourage the one that begs for external validation. Don’t get me wrong, Darwinistically I understand. The ones who don’t have a need for that approval end up bacon while the dancing pigs get to breed and produce baby pigs that they in turn teach to dance and sacrifice the “bad” pigs. And the bad pigs, by their very natures, aren’t the most evangelical, so they don’t encourage the other pigs to stop dancing.

Well, I’m going to try. ’Cause the way it is now just won’t do, pigs. It just won’t do.

*A quick note on verses. I will post be posting an entry soon on my approach to and use of the Bible in this blog. I will also be posting a handy entry for why I am a bad Christian. I am not saying that you have to accept the Bible as truth, I am merely showing what it says about something. I am also not simply picking and isolating a verse when it suits me. I will also try not to overwhelm with those verses, but I would be an utter hypocrite if I argued against Christianity without the Bible in hand.
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6 thoughts on ““It Just Won’t Do, Pigs”: reward based systems of salvation and unequal distribution of sin

  1. “I know that I don’t work right. I know that my brain is flawed, but I decided a long, long time ago that I’d rather do what I thought was right than what someone else said was. Put simply, I’d rather go to hell for what *I* believe than go to heaven for something that I don’t.”

    I’m not a fan of the word right… but I will say that you work well, and you work in a healthy manner. I do not believe that your brain is flawed in the least. It, like the rest of you, is a beautiful expression of personal truth.

    I’m just going to say ‘ditto’ to everything else here. I’ve had conversations addressing a lot of these points with several people over the past few days. And the phrase I end up repeating is, “Fear is the greatest evil.”

    So much hypocrisy and pain can be traced back to fear. Of rejection. Of ourselves. A fear that needs continual outside validation in order to sleep at night.

    I am totally stealing your dancing pigs line.

    • I understand. I’m not a fan of “right and wrong” in the finite senses, but I do firmly believe in right and wrong in the broader senses, and I think that the only way to redefine them is to reuse them. If that makes sense. Also thank you. The pig thing really just came to me and I ran with it cause it made me giggle.

  2. You a right in a number things. Your question a valid one for instance. The only thing you very wrong is that not all Christians belive as you suggest in your post. The Bible does speak out against homosexual acts. Any one who says differently is just plain wrong. But like you said, it speaks out at least as much against those sins that all of us commit everyday so those who condemn homosexuals must beware because the Bible says that one is judged how one judges. The other thing you are wrong about is that Christians believe salvation is rewards based. That is Islam.

    God Bless,

    Christopher

    • Christopher,

      Thanks for commenting. I will likely post a host of disclaimers at some point (as this is a relatively new endeavor and I’m still catching up), but the quick version is this: I don’t assume that “all” of anyone believes a certain way. In fact, I am very very grateful that they don’t. I am speaking from my own experiences, which have been rather varied and with multiple groups of Christians. I am, of course, not criticizing those who actually live by the faith that they profess, and even on points that we might disagree upon, I would never criticize them for being faithful. Instead, I criticize and call attention to those who do, and sadly there are large numbers of cultural Christians to hurt the others. I did not mean that Christian theology teaches rewards based salvation (because I agree that it most certainly does not) but that it seems many are living their lives as if they believe that and are thus teaching others that such is the way. That very thing is what I was hoping to critique. I’ll reread to make sure I said what I intended. Thanks again for commenting!!

      TheSecondSeal

  3. The simple message is this: Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, He was raised back to life on the third day. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me of sins. I believe this. It does not take intelectual understanding to be saved, It takes believing the gospel. God has not made it difficult. Faith is not difficult. Thanks for sharing. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    • Connie,

      Thanks for commenting. I agree with much of what you said and the power of that simple message very much. In fact, my point of contention is that Christians do not spend enough time in the word and living it. It makes everything a tangle and my first impulse is to simply rebuke it and shut it out of my life. But I hope that somehow, somewhere soon things will change, and I’m enough of a revolutionary to think that you have to stir things up to get change. 🙂 Thanks so much!

      TheSecondSeal

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