ruminations on religion thanks to Lauren Green & Pope Francis

Let’s start with Lauren Green.

Lauren Green works for Fox News and interviewed an author, Reza Aslan, about his book Zealot: The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth. In the interview, she obsessively hung on to the fact that Aslan is a Muslim and couldn’t seem to understand why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus.

You can find video of the interview and some typically inane commentary from one of Slate’s bloggers here: http://tinyurl.com/l25u4fr.

The truly embarrassing things about this interview aren’t the interviewer’s obsessive grip on a Muslim writing about Jesus, it’s these 3 things:

1. Jesus didn’t start Christianity. His followers did.

2. Jesus was a Zealot, making the title of the book, though provocative, pretty much accurate. He was a Zealot (note the capital Z) in that he grew up in a region populated/influenced by a group of Jews known as Zealots. This was, at the time, more or less equivalent of calling myself a Libertarian or Marxist. It was one of the four major sects that most Jews identified with in the Roman province of Judea. The Zealots were especially interested in throwing off the yoke of Roman oppression, used Talmudic writings to reinforce their position and acted – often violently – to that end, which is why in modern times we call religious fanatics “zealots”. There’s no indication that Jesus adhered to their political agenda; indeed, Jesus’ teachings would seem to speak directly to the opposite – remember his whole “Render unto Caesar” bit?

3. Muslims believe that not only was Jesus a great prophet, but he was indeed the Messiah, sent by God to one day lead the chosen into the promised land and given the ability to perform miracles by God in order to make sure people knew he was the real deal. The problem was that Man didn’t listen, so God had to send another messenger – Mohammed.

(Muslims, it should be noted, consider Jesus to be a Muslim, because the Arabic word ‘muslim’ translates as “one who submits to God.” That means that, if you believe in God and follow a God-centric religion, you too are a Muslim in the strictest sense of the word.)

The major difference (for the purposes of this post) that separates Christianity from Islam (other than that, while Islam considers Jesus a great prophet, Christianity in its typical myopic nature doesn’t return the respect to Mohammed) is that Islam denies the Trinity. In addition, Islam says that Jesus was not of the same essence as God, was clearly subordinate to him, and was never crucified nor resurrected as told in Christian mythology.

When morons are allowed to ask questions like these in the guise of an interview, they make everybody else that does that same job look like a moron, too. Fox should be ashamed of Lauren Green, who is clearly not qualified for her job. She is so painfully ignorant of Islam that it’s completely laughable and anybody that calls her a reporter or a journalist should be slapped – twice – viciously.

Now, let’s get on to the pope.

After his record-setting trip to Brazil last week, Pope Francis said this:

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

On 21 Dec 2012, Pope Benedict 16 denounced gay marriage, saying that homosexuality destroys the “very essence of the human creature.” B16 was, throughout his reign, vocally committed to “promoting traditional family values.”

On 31 Oct 1986, Pope John Paul 2 issued a statement on homosexuality in the form of an open letter to bishops. Interestingly, it came through a department called the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which is the modern name of the Inquisition. The statement was, in part: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” JP2 reinforced this position throughout his reign.

Now, back to Francis’ question, “Who am I to judge?”

Dude. You’re the fucking pope. YOUR WHOLE JOB IS TO JUDGE THE REST OF HUMANITY. IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION.

On the one hand, I am glad to see the head of the Catholic church lightening up a bit on the whole gay thing, until the church starts marrying gays at the altar, it’s lip service. Of course a good Christian won’t treat a gay person with unkindness or disdain just because they’re gay; after all, Jesus said, and I may be paraphrasing here as I am not a Biblical scholar, “Whatever you did unto the least of us, so you did unto me.” As a Christian, when you spit on, assault, disparage, disdain or denounce a gay person, doctrinally speaking, you do that exact same thing to Jesus himself.

Allowing gays to enjoy the religious consecration of their relationships through the sacrament of marriage is the only statement any Catholic leader could make that would have me believe that they’re not truly anti-gay at a fundamental level.

I’m pretty sure that won’t happen in my lifetime, if ever.

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