When news broke of Osama bin Laden’s death, we had quite a dialogue going on Owning Pink after I wrote my thoughts in this post (and then this post to follow, about speaking my truth). It got me questioning if the celebration of death and violence is ever good, and wondering what my fave deity Jesus would do.
Turns out that a new survey reveals that Americans — particularly fundamental Christians — are a wee bit hypocritical when it comes to certain Biblical teachings, particularly with fuzzy parts that don’t favor revenge or torturing your enemies, like the Golden Rule. According to this survey, 82% of Americans believe bin Laden distorted the teachings of Islam to suit his own purposes, 65% believe the al Qaeda leader is rotting in hell, and 62% think it is wrong to celebrate the death of another human being.
Many of these people categorized themselves as Christians, which should shock me because 53% of those surveyed say the United States should follow the Golden Rule and not use any methods on our enemies that we would not want used on our soldiers. (Strangely enough, only 47% of white evangelicals thought we should follow the Golden Rule.)
Many of these same people believe we should interpret the Bible literally and that we should follow the teachings of Jesus to a T. So what part of, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) do they disagree with? Like that’s cool when you’re talking about your next door neighbor, but not when you’re talking about a terrorist? Do they think Jesus forgot to say, “Do unto others — except when water boarding your enemies?”
Now I was raised staunchly Christian. And Jesus ROCKS, in my opinion. Of all the deities out there, Jesus is my favorite. But I left the church because of hypocrisies like this, and I now practice a grab-bag sort of spirituality and pray to Jesus, God, The Universe, Quan Yin, Buddha, and the Goddesses. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Opening to your authentic spiritual beliefs
But it seems to me that way too many Americans worship a disposable Jesus, one we can roll out when He suits us and put in the closet when he doesn’t. Now I’m fine with grab-bag religion, so I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But then don’t call yourself a Christian. Admit that you’re bi-curious or tri-religious or whatever is authentic to your spiritual self.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Golden Rule, and I don’t make an exception for terrorists. And as I wrote in this post, I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe we should celebrate the death of another person, even bin Laden. Does that make me a Christian? Nah. Since I don’t believe everyone who doesn’t worship Jesus is going to hell, I can’t technically claim the title without being a total hypocrite. So I stick to my authentic spiritual beliefs and feel no need to put myself into a box that doesn’t quite fit.
What about you? Do you find yourself being a convenient Christian? Do you believe what you believe and toss out what doesn’t resonate with you? Do you worship a disposable Jesus?
And if so, can you OWN that? Can you admit that to your friends and family? Can you admit it to Jesus? Can you be unapologetically YOU when it comes to your faith? Or do you judge yourself, beat yourself up, and fail to treat yourself the way Jesus would treat you? Can you be authentic — even just with yourself — about your religious/spiritual beliefs?
This is juicy stuff. I’d LOVE to know what you think.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.