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Specialness


Jim Ramelis
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Specialness

By Jim Ramelis

When my children were small they watched a television show with a dancing, singing dinosaur named Barney. They loved Barney and almost every day Barney sang a song about everybody being special. Somehow it resonated well with young developing egos and Barney was a big hit.

The desire for specialness seems to be a key human ego trait. New Yorkers are special, as are Alaskans, Texans. Cajuns and Okies. Where I live people call themselves “Yoopers”, because they are from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the U.P. for short, thus comes the word “yoopers) . They aren’t like the trolls of Southern Michigan, who live below the Mackinac Bridge, a bridge that connects the two peninsulas of Michigan, they are special.

Christianity too says it is special. An intelligent guess would say that this started about the time Christianity became the state religion of Rome and then later when we started having the councils of faith in the fourth century, the idea of specialness became dogma. We sometimes forget that Christianity sprang from an Asian religion, Judaism, and Asian religions are often tolerant of the spiritual paths of others. The Romans had an empire to hold together and its official state religion needed to be special. Christianity had been oppressed as a threat to Rome prior to this and its followers were brave pacifists that often were chow for the circuses that were part of Roman culture.

Christianity is now the world’s largest major religion. Fundamentalists and traditional Christians assert that Christianity is the only way to salvation. The other religions aren’t as good as theirs. We are special, we are chosen. All that is required for this specialness is “believing” in the correct dogma and/or following the prescribed rituals, depending on which denomination of Christianity you belong to, then you too are special, and can judge and condemn your brothers and sisters of other faiths. The Nazis called themselves ‘the master race”, they made themselves very special. All other races were inferior to them. Similarly, Fundamentalist Christians have declared Christianity ‘the master religion” and condemned all other faiths as inferior and not as good as theirs. They prove themselves special in this way, and their out of bounds, but self doubting egos, are fed. They can stop doubting for a minute, they have declared themselves special and better than other religions.

Over the centuries, since Rome declared Christianity special, we have did much harm in the name of our specialness. We have conquered, killed, and enslaved, in the name of Jesus Christ, and now we still judge and condemn and assert that our brothers and sisters less than us if they follow another path. How un-Christ like!

 

Yes, we Christians are special. We have been especially arrogant, hard hearted, and as the Hebrew Bible says “stiff nicked”. Christians need to ask the followers of others faith to forgive us for our pride, foolishness, and hatefulness, as well as asking Jesus for forgiveness for the mockery we have made of his teachings. So many of those who claim to be Christians, behave more like the self-righteous Pharisees and Sadducees of the gospel stories, that the example of Christ himself.

It is time for Christianity to grow up. The adolescent can be a very self-centered narcissistic creature. The teenager thinks of his/herself as very special, very unique, and is quite certain that they are right and everyone is wrong, yet is nagged by self doubt and quite vulnerable. Christianity was much like that typical teenager. Self obsessed and tyrannical at times, yet knowing somewhere in the recesses of its collective mind that something is wrong. Now, like the other great religions of the world, it is time for to mature and to even learn something from our older religions. It is time for Christianity to grow up, stop its arrogant boasting, and join hands with its fellow religionists, as equals, all approaching God in their way, on their own paths

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Jim, You are so right. In the time of need, when people need help for example divorce or same sex issues, Christians have turned their backs or have been part of the problem. We have many things to ask forgiveness for. We must forgive ourselves first so we may love and start new to remedy the problems we have cause others. May we love our neighbor as if he/she was Christ.

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  • 9 months later...

I found a large disparity between the fundamentalist dogma and what the Gospels really say, with a neutral, investigative mindset. The church would say that Jesus was anti-religious authority because he came to establish the true church. In reality, he was a radical mystic.

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