From A Branding Point Of View, “Christian” Is Kinda Spent; Followers Of Jesus Need A New Name

I’ll own it — a born atheist has no business telling Christians anything about their brand. Except, Christianity — being a sales-based religion (“Hey, have ya heard the ‘good news’ style proselytizing started with Paul, the actual inventor of Christianity) — relies almost entirely on how it’s perceived by others. After all, isn’t the point of me hearing “the good news” the hope that I’ll come to my senses and convert?

Christians are preaching to a shrinking choir. Have they ever stopped to ask themselves why? No, they haven’t — because self-analysis isn’t part of the brand. Confession is. So’s an intense focus on rules & regs at the diminishing expense of any sort of spirituality. Christianity’s problem isn’t branding. Christianity’s problem is its brand.

I’ve blogged on many occasions with receipts (so I won’t do it here) about the Christian Church’s origins. It’s entirely Paul’s invention. Entirely. Jesus’ simple (Jewish) message — Do Unto Others — got subsumed into and under the mythology that Paul created and spread to the brand new churches forming across the Roman world. Paul never met Jesus. Never heard Jesus preach or teach. He failed trying to sell his version of Jesus to the Jews (with its wild, magic-heavy “proofs” that Jesus was the messiah) and, so, turned to the Gentiles.

The Gentiles, having no knowledge of (or concern for) Jewish mythology, accepted Paul’s version — because why wouldn’t they? Paul had created something genius — a way to conquer death. Accept Jesus as your lord and savior and you can live forever.

That has nothing to do with “Doing Unto Others”. And the church Paul created was big on forcing non-Christians to accept Jesus. Ironically, those Christians were going to “Do Unto Others” on pain of death.

The Catholic Church, once it acquired political power, never let that power go. Whatever spirituality there was in the institution died. More irony — Jesus preached against having churches because churches, he said, were corrupt. What could be more corrupt than the Catholic Church? Almost from the day it hung out its shingle, the Catholic Church has concerned itself with rules & regs, getting money into its coffers, and increasing its “membership”.

There is no way to count the number of humans who have died because of religion. Christianity — with its crusades and its inquisitions and its own internecine wars — has put its stamp on a veritable shit ton of them. And all to sell a product that its own supposed creator would never ever EVER recognize.

The Christian Church and Jesus aren’t just estranged, they’re strangers. That disconnect is what’s killing the church (whether Catholic or Protestant). I have a dear friend — a Presbyterian minister — whose job is trying to keep Presbyterian congregations alive.

The proud conservative Christians running the Republican Party — bowing in total obeisance to the evangelicals — have also helped destroy any notion that such a thing as “Christian mercy” exists outside of a sanctimonious Sunday sermon. Brown Children in cages was not what Jesus had children suffering unto in his mind.

If I’m a brand that needs new followers to stay alive — that needs brand loyalty from current followers — that has to compete with a thousand more ideas than it ever had to before — I’m afraid (if I’m Christianity). I wouldn’t be however, if I were Jesus.

Is there a more potent antidote the vile, self-serving piggery of Trumpism than “Do Unto Others”? Republicanism — same question. Christianity — you, too.

Jesus and Christianity have nothing to do with each other. Followers of Jesus — even now — are loathe to associate themselves with evangelicals or the rapey Catholic Church or any of the rules & regs heavy institutions their parents forced on them when they were kids.

I would say Followers Of Jesus need a new Paul — to create a new institution that gets the mythology right. But, right off the bat, that would violate one of Jesus’ core tenants — the need for a church.

Maybe a better way to go would be to actually follow Jesus. If you want to follow him theistically — go directly to god. Skip the institution. If you just want to Do Unto Others? Well, who’s stopping you? All you have to do is “Do”.

Maybe the best new brand for Followers Of Jesus is to call themselves DUO’s. They Do Unto Others. That’s all you need to know about them (so long as their actions match their words). I’d say they don’t even need that.

But what do I know? I’m just a dumb atheist.

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Why Do They Even Call It “Christianity” When Their Religion Has Nothing To Do With Jesus & Never Did…

I’ll confess right here — lifetime atheist though I am, I am also a big time fan of Jesus. I don’t know for sure if a historical Jesus ever existed but someone like the character depicted in the New Testament seems to have put forward a teaching — “Do Unto Others” — drawn directly from the Jewish culture into which he was born and lived his entire life — that, today, still resonates loudly across the millennia.

In 1985, a group of actual bible scholars (people with actual academic degrees from reputable institutions of higher learning as opposed to bullshit degrees from bullshit Christian universities with bullshit standards and zero integrity) got together and formed The Jesus Seminar. Their goal — apply some serious objective analysis to the NT texts so as to coax out, as best they could, an historical Jesus.

The Seminar identified 15 or so phrases unanimously agreed upon by the canonical gospels which, the seminar felt, could have been spoken by a historical Jesus — so as to be disseminated by his followers. The Jesus who steps from the pages of the Seminar’s analysis has a simple message — Do Unto Others (which includes suffering the Little Children to come unto you) and, if you need to speak to god, go to “the father” directly. You don’t need a church to intercede on your behalf. GO DIRECTLY!”

If you recall from the stories about Jesus, he didn’t like the money changers. He didn’t like that the temple authorities allowed the money changers inside the temple’s forecourt. That, Jesus taught, debased the core message. It invalidated the temple’s authority to speak for god or to even pretend that they could intercede on their followers’ behalves.

Jesus advocates AGAINST having churches or religious “authorities”. So — how come there’s a Christian “church”? How could so gigantic a contradiction sit right in the heart of the Christian faith itself? The answer is ask Paul.

Paul (the former Saul of Tarsus) invented Christianity. The majority of the NT texts are Paul’s letters & epistles to the various gentile communities to which he was spreading his version of Jesus, Jesus’ story and Jesus’ message. Remember — Paul never met Jesus. Never spoke to him. Never heard his voice.

For a good, solid understanding of and perspective on Paul, I recommend A. N. Wilson’s excellent book Paul: The Mind Of An Apostle.

While Paul started by selling his version of Jesus to the Jews, they didn’t want it — because Paul’s version wasn’t authentic. Gentiles didn’t have any history or knowledge of Jewish customs, thought or mythology so Paul’s contorted version — virgin birth in Bethlehem, wise men presaging greatness, rising from the dead — seemed perfectly authentic. Never mind the fact that it was all invented, top to bottom. When Paul speaks of Jesus, he never stresses the messages Jesus himself stressed.

That’s because historical Jesus was of no use to Paul. So he invented a new Jesus. A Jesus that worked for him. Paul invented the Jesus that smiled upon the Catholic Church — an institution Jesus would have hated with every single atom of his being. Don’t hurt yourself laughing so hard, Protestants — your version of Jesus is just as disconnected from reality.

We won’t even talk about the Mormons (whose version of Jesus even visited North America — a place the real Jesus had no way of knowing even existed).

Ya know how, these days, we can’t figure out why Christians are so… “un-Christian”? This is why. The problem isn’t them, it’s us. All those people are being COMPLETELY Christian. What they aren’t being are “followers of Jesus”. To follow Jesus means all those devout Christians would have to denounce their “Christianity” — and all the oppressive, regressive, obsessive rules and regs that are the real appeal of their faith — and, instead, become spiritual. That ain’t happening.

To follow Jesus, one must be spiritual or have the capacity for spirituality. That’s the opposite of following a religion. Religions are crowd control. They are defined by their rules & their structures — and those structures don’t build or sustain themselves. The money has to come from somewhere which is why churches work so hard to get bodies into the pews and money from the pockets in those pews. Churches don’t really exist for the benefit of anyone’s faith, they exist for the benefit of themselves. Churches are like sharks (and relationships) — they have to keep moving or they’ll die.

If a historical Jesus could come back, he surely would not recognize the faith being touted as his creation. That’s because it isn’t his — and never was. It pains me deeply to quote Woody Allen but he got this one right. If Jesus were to come back to see what’s been done in his name, “he would never stop throwing up”.

No, SCOTUS — A Cross Is Not (And Can NEVER Be) “Secular” In Any Way – BECAUSE Of Its History

The Supreme Court just came down 7-2, allowing a 40-foot World War I memorial in the shape of a Christian cross to remain standing in Maryland. The American Humanist Association had sued Maryland; they wanted the state to replace the cross (erected in 1925 as a memorial to 49 local residents who died) with something more “with something more appropriate and universal.” The SCOTUS however says the cross, while “undeniably a religious symbol” is also now “secular enough” to stay.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/supreme-court-christian-peace-cross-ruling_n_5cfeb071e4b02ee3477b60cc

How to put this politely… BULLSHIT!

It’s hard, apparently, for Christians to conceive of the idea that the symbol for their faith means more than just “their faith”. It means two thousand years of persecution — if you’re Jewish. It means pogroms and massacres and inquisitions and holocausts. A cross always stands in the background of each of those scenes. The people doing the pogroming & massacring were almost always motivated to their violence — at least in part — by that cross and the people who controlled that cross’ message. That cross is the banner anti-Semites have almost always followed into battle.

I grew up in a mostly Jewish suburb of Baltimore during the 1960’s & 1970’s — a kind of gilded ghetto. Jews have been living in ghettos — gilded or otherwise — since the term was coined in Venice, Italy around 1516 to describe the part of the city where Jews were allowed to live. The ghetto.

Jews didn’t force Jews to live in ghettos, Christians did — because Jews insisted on remaining a separate group. More to the point, they insisted on remaining the “original” group from which Christians emerged. They insisted on staying true to themselves regardless of the nonsense Paul and the early Church Fathers INVENTED to distinguish the emerging Christian faith from its Jewish origins. Though Paul didn’t invent the idea that Jesus was “a messiah” (at the time LOTS of people claimed to be messiahs or were declared messiahs by their followers — it was an apocalyptic time in Jerusalem), Paul adeptly used it to create the Christian Mythology that Jews killed Jesus (never mind all the mythology’s myriad logic problems).

Whenever Christians went hunting for Jews to punish — for having killed Jesus — they did it under the banner of a cross.

I’m sorry, SCOTUS, but almost TWO THOUSAND YEARS of being beaten with a cross cannot be undone by CHRISTIANS claiming their core religious symbol isn’t religious “in this instance”. That’s like saying a noose — left dangling at a black person’s desk at work or left outside a black family’s home — isn’t necessarily racist.

Trust me — it’s racist.

There’s A Huge Honkin’ Difference Between Being “Spiritual” & Being “Religious”

Even a stone cold atheist can feel profound awe as he or she stares up at the stars. Atheists especially understand the scale — tiny human on a rock at the far edges of a galaxy in the middle of a billion galaxies feeling both his insignificance in the greater scheme of things while also being keenly aware that he “is” and therefore can “experience” this feeling of cosmic scale. That awe is spirituality. It’s abstract. It’s a riddle. It’s a quest.

But not everyone wants to go on a quest. They just want to live their lives and leave the heavy thinking to others: Just tell me what to believe and I’ll believe it. THAT is religion. It’s NOT about a journey or a search or an exploration. It’s about following rules. It’s about crowd control.

I grew up in a Conservative Jewish, deeply Humanist culture. That’s the middle ground between rule-following orthodoxy and total rule-rejecting reformed Judaism. In my house we rejected most of the rules. We didn’t keep kosher. Didn’t do any of that whatsoever. We went to shul on an occasional basis (for sure on the High Holidays). Though the ten commandments are a cornerstone of the faith, they’re not complicated. As rules go, they’re straightforward. Don’t do this, don’t do that. One thing we didn’t do — as a religion or culture — the institution (the synagogue) was not set up as your over-seer. Unlike the Catholic church, a synagogue never demanded that you confess every last bit of your dirt to it — so it could hold that dirt over your head in perpetuity.

THAT is how religion works.

Jesus was pretty clear in his message: Do unto others… suffer the little children unto me… the meek shall inherit the earth. He didn’t preach about how he wanted his church hierarchy to be structured because Jesus wasn’t about building churches. He was about teaching spirituality.

I mention this because Jesus is kinda the Poster Child for what happens when a spiritual message gets religion. Doing unto others requires a spiritual connection with the rest of humanity. Confession requires that you feel guilty mostly for just being human.

Isn’t that the whole point of “original sin”?

The Church’s genius — dark genius though it was — was to convince all those billions of people that being human wasn’t good enough. That instead of a spiritual journey, its followers needed to be locked in a box — like a veal being fattened up for slaughter without ever having seen the sun. The greatest threat overhanging any church member is expulsion from the group. Excommunication.

No one, it seems, gets excommunicated for diddling little boys. Question the church’s authority though and you’re gone.

A religious person looks up at the stars and wonders where their imaginary friend lives — and is that imaginary friend spying on them? A spiritual person sees a life-long journey of discovery, all to answer one question: how do I fit into that? How can I make my brief time as a sentient being more meaningful? How can I fill every moment with meaning? How can I…?

Spirituality is the freedom to explore. Religion is its diametric opposite.

Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…

Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…

Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…