Monday, February 11, 2008

Modern Religion

It sometimes amazes me that there are people who have lived into and beyond middle age believing myths about what Christianity truly is. Take for example John Cleese, a really funny comedian, but apparently a very ignorant person about Christianity. He said this in a recent interview:

AVC: Speaking of wickedness, when you were shooting Life Of Brian, were you concerned with the fate of your immortal soul?

JC: No. No, because it's not in any way against Christ or Christ's teachings. It's all about criticizing people who make something of Christ's teachings, which I think he himself would not recognize. There's a lovely line that an idea is not responsible for the people who hold it. A lot of people in America who describe themselves without any hesitation at all as Christians are, in my opinion, completely missing the point of most of his teachings. It was like Tom DeLay, who said, with reference to turning the other cheek, that he never understood that bit of theology, which is absolutely the key to everything that Christ says. Here you've got a guy who's made a political career out of being supported by evangelical Christians, and he's totally missed the point of the teaching. So is he a Christian?

AVC: It seems like Christianity was removed from Christ at a certain point.

JC: Oh, exactly. And it's very interesting to go back to the early history, because the cross itself as a symbol doesn't seem to come in until 300 A.D. And the belief in reincarnation in Christianity was not labeled a heresy until, I think, the 400s.

AVC: Religious traditions as a whole are constantly revised, yet you kind of have to hold onto the fiction that there's an objective truth that stands the test of time.

JC: Here's what I think in a single sentence: I think that the real religion is about the understanding that if we can only still our egos for a few seconds, we might have a chance of experiencing something that is divine in nature. But in order to do that, we have to slice away at our egos and try to get them down to a manageable size, and then still work some practiced light meditation. So real religion is about reducing our egos, whereas all the churches are interested in is egotistical activities, like getting as many members and raising as much money and becoming as important and high-profile and influential as possible. All of which are egotistical attitudes. So how can you have an egotistical organization trying to teach a non-egotistical ideal? It makes no sense, unless you regard religion as crowd control. What I think most organized religion—simply crowd control.

So, let me sum it up:
*Religion = crowd control
*The cross isn't historical
*Reincarnation is historical and part of Christianity
*Ego control is the heart of Christianity

As I said before, great comedian, but a terrible theologian. He is close to with the "ego control" stuff, as long as his idea of humility is true emptying of self in order for God to enter in.
Tip O' The Hat to Mark Shea.

No comments: