I cleaned up the language on this essay...
Love thy enemy
The seemingly humane edict, "Love Thy Enemy," if it was not merely mouthed, but actually practied by Jesus, reveals him to either be far more hypocritical than any of the many people he called hypocrites, or of representing such a twist of language that slander is a formo f love. "Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you," is already passive aggressive, as we recognize in those Christians who say they "pity" their enemies, who sneeringly say, "I will pray for you." Any God willing to hear such prayers is beyond contempt.
"Love thy enemy" as practiced by Jesus pragmatically means, "slander your enemy." This is clearly the case, since the very term "Pharisee" has been so thoroughly bastardized by the career of Jesus that we think it refers to somebody who is hypocritical or bad -- though history does not bear out this characterization of the Pharisees. Jesus' willingness to call them vipers, unmarked tombs, white washed tombs, fools, liars, hypocrites, hell-bound, hell-worthy, illustrates exactly what he meant by "love your enemy": egg them on until they hurt you. After all, then you can play the "innocent" martyr.
In the especially legendary gospel of John, Jesus even ascribes the Jews, the whole race, as "children of Satan."
The Church fathers and Christians throughout history have picked up on his lead, talking endlessly of their love and of Jesus' love, the whole time damning anybody who disagrees or believes differently, of calling the gods of other peoples -- older gods -- demons, and the practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, even of their parent religion, Judaism, as damnable, hell-bound, demonic, and gross.
When a Pharisee or other challenger hit Jesus' left cheek, metaphorically speaking, challenging his authority and his right to teach, Jesus never turns the other cheek, but arranges things to look clever and to shame his opponent. The people often remarked upon Jesus' tendency to outsmart and shame the religious teachers, and were impressed.
As a man judges, so he is, for a man's humanity is exposed in how he characterizes his enemies; and those ready to condemn the world are the chief destroyers of the world's innocence and beauty.
So how are we to address our own enemies, if we take this hypocritical passive-aggressive teaching to be our enemy? How do we take these men and women who shamelessly spit on high spiritual beauty in favor of their mass-produced, ready-for-the market religion?
Shall we treat them as they've treated the ancient Mystery Religions, where they learned the idea of a dying and rising God, of baptism, and the Eucharist, only to damn who they took from? They invented all sorts of tabloid stories about what went on in the "mysteries" -- all of it ugly and none of it true. The lies they invented about the Jews -- claiming they killed Christian infants to make a demonic Eucharist of their blood, and many other evil lies coming from evil imaginations -- not only lead to over a thousand years of violence against the Jews, but fueled the propaganda of WW2 (the writings of Luther, for instance, were highly relevant). Or how about the way the early Christians characterized the Gnostics, a rival Christian sect? What dark lies they told about their brothers! And wherever anything is secret, such as with the Freemasons, they invent the most dastardly balderdash -- not to mention damning each other in their sectarian warfare. How do we, who are humanists, who don't necessarily believe in "loving thy enemy" but do believe in respecting his humanity, take the Christians?
We understand that certain pitches of zealously are impossible without utilizing the human-all-to human instincts to cruelty. They spread because they were cruel, and hypocritically cruel, calling their cruelty "love." Yet most the believing world is beyond that mindset -- unless provoked.
We take it all as human, sometimes lamentable, but not all too surprising, as history is replete with similar intersectarian warfare and cross-religious slander and deceit. Most importantly, though we too believe there are eternal consequences for our actions, we also know that there is a limit to how much damage they could do with their doctrines; therefore, if the hell they imagined really existed, they would no more deserve it than their enemies (though they do deserve it more than their enemies). The Universe structures herself in such a way that we all grow up and grow out of our mistakes -- and they do too. They are still valuable and despite the ugliness of some of their doctrines, there are praiseworthy aspects in other of their doctrines. Their cruelty, and their cruelly inspired violence, must be limited by humane laws and the reasonableness within and outside of their groups. Christian love must be counterbalanced by a genuine love for humanity and for the Christian. This, it seems, is the best way to control an ugly thing.
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