The Rev. Jerry Falwell made it clear that the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, were direct and divine retribution for American fondness of homosexuality and abortion. But I blame Jesus Christ for 9/11.
If you think about it on any but the most superficial of levels, there is no doubt that James "Jesus" Henry Christ, the Great Enabler, is as responsible as anything and anyone for the September 11 attacks. Before I prove my point, I should probably make it clear that I do not believe Jesus Christ is all bad. He does have some potential, so to speak, saving graces (awkward Good News rimshot?).
Christ, in college I once attended church with an attractive girl, one who seemed to have a bigger Jesus fetish than anybody I'd met in my life, even knowing I would never, ever have a chance in hell to sleep with her because of her pre-existing relationship with Jesus. But when she asked me to come to church with her family one upcoming Sunday I couldn't turn her down, because that wonderful Christian used Jesus' influence in the kindest ways possible, always with nothing but the best of intentions.
Certainly her Jesus must be granted substantial credit (and held accountable) for the very prominent, worldwide role and grip on society religion maintains. Much like his counterparts including Allah, Moses, and possibly God's Quarterback, Tim Tebow, Jesus contributes heavily to a long-held truth shared by essentially every culture in human history: religious dedication is a very positive personal attribute. The 9/11 hijackers were nothing if not fervent believers. Misguided as hell, but devout.
And maybe we should turn to the cultural mirror and cartoon, "South Park," for godly insight. One episode, "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," focused on a fake prophet, one who defends and justifies himself by saying, "Everything I tell people is positive and gives them hope!" Elementary school protagonist Stan Marsh's prescient response lacked tact and sensitivity, but he also might well have been directly addressing Jesus: "You give [people] false hope and a belief in something that isn't real...T he big questions in life are tough! "Why are we here?' "Where are we from?' "Where are we going?' But as long as people believe in a**hole douchey liars like you, we're never going to find the answers to those questions. You aren't just lying, you're slowing down the progress of all mankind; you douche."
On the record, certainly, Jesus was officially a good guy. Possibly the Good Guy. And for millennia He has encouraged blind religious faith. As much as anything or anyone, we can all agree Jesus is culpable for the bedrock principle that spiritual fervor is a wonderful thing. For yourself, anyway.
Matt quoted Jesus saying as much: "You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. " (Matthew 17:20)
Jesus' overall message makes it crystal clear that there is, that He sort of is, an eternal and all-knowing supernatural entity ruling over the entire universe, and it is vital that each and every one of us actively act to please It, or He will be sad. Two of His divine and Leviticus-defined commandments: breed ONLY purebred cows, and don't even think about wearing a poly-cotton blended t-shirt. Unpleasing to the Lord. He'll smite ya! And mainstream religion is the nourishing topsoil that cultivates people like the 9/11 hijackers. A foundation enabling them to grow, thrive, and then branch off the deep end. As prominent atheist Sam Harris put it, "religious moderation gives cover to religious fundamentalism."
The heathenous Harris continued: "Another problem with religious moderation is that it's not only intellectually bankrupt, it is theologically bankrupt. Because the fundamentalists have actually read the books. And they're right about them. These books are every bit as intolerant, every bit as divisive, as the Osama bin Ladens of the world."
Therein lies the problem. The deadly extremist nuts are enabled by the free pass society grants them to be nuts, practically all the way to detonation before someone finally says, "Oh, maybe that particular brand of absolute commitment to any of Allah/Santa Claus/Zeus/Jesus/Apollo/Yahweh/Chuck Norris/etc. is not such a wonderful concept, let alone a genuinely and literally accurate and authentic worldview, after all.
"Just think of how good a book would be if it were authored by an omniscient deity," Harris said. "I mean, there is not a single line in the Bible or the Koran that could not have been authored by a first century person. There is not one reference to anything - there are pages and pages about how to sacrifice animals, and keep slaves, and who to kill and why. There's nothing about electricity, there's nothing about DNA, there's nothing about infectious disease, the principles of infectious disease. There's nothing particularly useful, and there's a lot of Iron Age barbarism in there, and superstition."
Meanwhile, the most spiritual of Christians insist that our ethical framework is Biblically-based. How do people know that random murder is to be rarely endorsed? Because Thou Shalt Not Kill. The pagan sort might argue that, duh, we don't need an ancient text to know that murder's no good. Humanity knew that much long before the Bible came along. But the theist disagrees. Sure, by 2012, he'll counter, that godly moral truth has for so long been sewn so strongly into our cultural fiber that even most (apparently not all) atheists understand the most basic ethics that God provides, even if they don't appreciate the divine origins of right and wrong.
One might say religious extremists are folks with an overabundance of faith. Though we can all agree Osama bin Laden was monstrously evil, the root of his problem was how he was always just too damn pious in his chosen interpretation of Islam. Everybody knows the world would now be a better place if bin Laden had been more secular and a lot less spiritual.
Because if you study the Koran or especially the Holy Bible, you absolutely can find a way to twist just about any twisted message from it that you desire (digression/link to a documentary/drinking game for the spiritually-inclined/extremely thirsty college coed: watch this, every time you see/hear the word "f*g," you drink).
Christ, the last time I visited church was with another of Jesus' dedicated and/or delusional Superfriends who asked me to join her one Sunday. At the time she was attending Georgetown Law, en route to a career with a prominent nonprofit civil rights organization. She was and is another genuinely spectacular person, who was also hoping to save me, with nothing but the best of intentions.
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