Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Son of the more famous Billy: Not Waving But Drowning

Franklin Graham is a loony right-wing extremist who considers himself a Christian despite making comments like this.

(One of the commenters on that post wrote: "Franklin Graham has given his life to help all people, including Muslims". I think s/he is confusing Franklin Graham with Jesus Christ, a confusion he probably encourages. In any case, Graham is sadly still with us, as we shall see.)

Presumably with the more than 4000 Muslims on active service with the U.S. armed forces in mind, the Pentagon told Graham he would not be welcome at its National Day of Prayer. This did not go down well in some far-right circles. Or in others. (Note in the first of those links the comment about "Jewish conspiracy", and in the second the idea that someone being censured for child marriage by the Nigerian senate is somehow "Related". Loonies: ya gotta love 'em.)

Anyway. Graham turned up outside and made a fool of himself.

I wonder how Franklin gets on with his Dad these days?

You know the religious right is getting seriously weird when it considers Billy Graham insuffienctly Christian. (My late father-in-law saw Graham preach, and while in no personal danger of shifting from his lifelong Church Of Scotland flavour of Christianity, he said he could understand why so many people were leaving their seats and going down to be - as we would now put it - born again.)

My personal take on Christianity in general and Graham in particular is neatly summed up in this essay by Alan Watts (thanks to FuckImAwesome for making the piece available in a postable form.) My Watts collection is currently boxed in storage but I think it appears in "Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown". Graham's critics clearly believe that he has moved to the Watts end of the Christian spectrum. I don't buy that for a moment, though perhaps he's taken a step in the right direction.....

Was Jesus A Freak?

A few days ago I gave a ride to a rather pleasant hippie couple who seemed to have no particular destination. I asked, “What trip are you on?” He said, “Like spiritual trip?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “We’re on the Jesus trip.” “Whose Jesus?” I asked, “Billy Graham’s or mine?” “Well, it’s all sort of the same, isn’t it?”

It is not. For Billy Graham follows a long tradition, both Catholic and Protestant, wherein the gospel (or “good news”) of Jesus has been eclipsed and perverted by pedestalization, by kicking him upstairs so as to get him out of the way, and by following a religion about Jesus instead of the religion of Jesus. Obviously, Jesus was not the man he was as a result of making Jesus Christ his personal savior. The religion of Jesus was that he knew he was a son of God, and the phrase “son of” means “of the nature of,” so that a son of God is an individual who realizes that he is, and always has been, one with God. “I and the Father are one.”

When Jesus spoke those words the crowd took up stones to stone him. He said, “I have shown you many good works from the Father, and for which of them do you stone me?” They answered, “We’re not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” And he replied, "Isn’t it written in your Law that ‘I have said: you are gods’? If he addressed those to whom he gave his words as gods (and you can’t contradict the Scriptures), how can you say that I blaspheme because I said ‘I am a son of God;?” But the self-styled Christians, and especially the fundamentalist bibliolaters, always insist that Jesus was the only son of a woman who was also the son of God, and thus call upon all the rest of us to follow the example of the one human freak who had the unique advantage of being the Boss’s son. This is not a gospel: it is a chronic hang-up, a self-frustrating guilt trip. It isolates the career of Jesus as an exhibit in a glass case - for worship but not for use.

It is obvious to any informed student of the history and psychology of religion that Jesus was one, of many, who had an intense experience of cosmic consciousness - of the vivid realization that oneself is a manifestation of the eternal energy of the universe, the basic “I am.” But it is very hard to express this experience when the only religious imagery at your disposal conceives that “I am” as an all-knowing and all-powerful monarch, autocrat, and beneficent tyrant enthroned in a court of adoring subjects. In such a cultural context, you cannot say “I am God” without being accused of subversion, insubordination, megalomania, arrogance, and blasphemy. Yet that was why Jesus was crucified. In India people would have laughed and rejoiced with him, because Hindus know that we are all God in disguise-playing hide-and-seek with himself. Their model of the universe is not based on the political states of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Persians, whose awesome dictatorships still hold sway through the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions, even in the Republic of the United States. In Hinduism the whole universe is like the Holy Trinity-one as many, and many as one. (And, of course, the Hindus are the despised of the earth, having been reduced to utter poverty by Muslims and Christians.)

But Jesus had to speak through a public address system, the only one available, which distorted his words, so that they came forth as the bombastic claim to be the one and only appearance of the Christ, of the incarnation of God as man. This is not good news. The good news is that if Jesus could realize his identity with God, you can also - but this God does not have to be idolized as an imperious monarch with a royal court of angels and ministers. God, as “the love which moves the sun and other stars,” is something much more inward, intimate, and mysterious - in the sense of being too close to be seen as an object.

So it turns out, alas, that our new breed of Jesus freaks are following the old nongospel of the freaky Jesus - of the bizarre man who was unnaturally born and whose corpse was weirdly reanimated for a space trip into heaven. (One can, of course, interpret these ancient images in a more profound an nonliteral way, as I tried to show in my book Beyond Theology.) But to identify Jesus the man as the one and only historical incarnation of a divinity considered as the royal, imperial, and militant Jehovah, is only to reinforce the pestiferous arrogance of “white” Christianity - with all the cruel self-righteousness of its missionary zeal. They may perhaps be forgiven for their ignorance, but today, when we are exposed to all the riches of Earth’s varying cultures and religions, there is no further excuse for the parochial fanaticism of spiritual in-groups.

Jesus freaks are still in a state of enthusiastic innocence, as yet unaware of the frightful implications of their claims. But they must realize that Christianity would seem ever so much more valid if it would stop insisting on being an oddity. Christianity has universality, or catholicity, only in recognizing that Jesus is one particular instance and expression of a wisdom which was also, if differently, realized in the Buddha, in Lao-Tzu, and in such modern avatars as Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, and, perhaps, Aurobindo and Inayat Khan (I could make a very long list.) This wisdom is that none of us are brief island existences, but forms and expressions of one and the same eternal “I am” waving in different ways, such that, whenever this is realized to be the case, we wave more harmoniously with other waves.

Alan Watts


At 15 May, 2010 05:17, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What kind of wine has Mikey Weinstein been drinking?
As an anti-Christian Jewish supremacist and as the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, he's doing all he can to create an anti-Jewish backlash and help bring about the predicted endtime Holocaust of Jews that'll be worse than Hitler's.
Neither Falwell, Hagee nor any other Christian initiated this prediction. But Weinstein's ancient Hebrew prophets did.
In the 13th and 14th chapters of his Old Testament book, Zechariah predicted that after Israel's rebirth ALL nations will eventually be against Israel and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed!
Malachi revealed the reasons: "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this."
Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the hate-filled back-stabbing by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher etc.) against followers of Jesus such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
Weinstein wouldn't dare assert that citizens on government property don't have freedom of speech or press freedom or freedom to assemble or to petition the government.
But God-hater Weinstein maliciously wants to eliminate from government property the "free exercise" of religion - especially by evangelicals - a freedom found in the same First Amendment. Significantly, this freedom was purposely listed FIRST by America's founders!
And Weinstein wouldn't try to foist "separation of church and state" on strongly-Jewish Israel, but he does try to foist this non-Constitution-mentioned phrase on strongly-Christian America.
In light of Weinstein's Jewish protectionism and violently anti-Christian obsession, Christians in these endtimes should be reminded of Jesus' warning in Mark 13:9 (see also Luke 21:12) that "in the synagogues ye shall be beaten."
Maybe it's time for some modern Paul Reveres to saddle up and shout "The Yiddish are Coming!"

PS - Some, like Weinstein, are so treacherously anti-Christian they will even join hands at times with enemies, including Muslims, in order to silence evangelicals. It was Weinstein, BTW, who put pressure on the Pentagon to dis-invite Franklin Graham from speaking there on the National Day of Prayer!
PPS - Weinstein is an echo of the anti-Christian, anti-American Hollywood which for a century has dangled every known vice before young people. We seriously wonder how soon the lethal worldwide "flood of filth" (global harming!) that Hollywood has created will engulf and destroy itself and help to bring to power the endtime Antichrist (a.k.a. the Man of Sin and the Wicked One)!

At 16 May, 2010 21:20, Blogger Rob said...

Hi Anonymous,

The only reason I am not deleting your nasty piece of antisemitic filth is that it seems to me an excellent example of just how utterly beyond parody the American Christian Right has become. All the boxes ticked: End Times bollocks (check) Sarah Palin (check) Islamophobia (check) antisemitism (check) hatred of Hollywood (check) hatred of the mainstream media (check) school prayers (check).

BTW I haven't the vaguest idea who Mikey Weinstein is, but if he was actually responsible for the withdrawal of the Pentagon's invitation to Graham I like him already. (Though I suspect the large number of Muslims putting their lives on the line for the USA in the armed forces had more to do with it.)

You, on the other hand, are a despicable speck of shit who brings shame onto the Christian religion. You can stay here as an example of what happens to people who don't pay attention when they read the Bible. There's this guy Jesus: I commend his teachings to you.

At 16 May, 2010 21:26, Blogger Rob said...

OK - now I know who Michael Weinstein is. Seems a decent bloke to me. Go Weinstein!


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