Big Butter Jesus & Your Personal Alignment
It seems that all the ingrained Bible Study and fear of God that was shoved down my throat by the Jehovah Witnesses during the years of my youth have not slackened my like of the "sacreligious" or as I have changed it to, sacrelicious! Yes, I was a Jehovah's Witnesses from basically two years old to eighteen years old. I did the Bible study thing every week, book study on Tuesday night, Theocratic Ministry School every Thursday night, the two hour Sunday meeting thing every week AND sporadically throughout my years ages 12-18 I was a person who went door to door - sometimes reaching "Publisher" status by spending 40 hours a week knocking on people's doors during the day trying to spread 'the good news of the kingdom'.
After a good break from the religious scene from 1990 to 1996, I jumped back in joining the United Church of Christ as...get this...a Minister of Music. Yes, a paid member of the church providing musical selections that went along with the church calendar, scripture readings, etc. We had a processional, Anthem, and at least three hymns every service. Besides the weekly changing music there were responses that were done after each part of the service and special music for special occasions like communion, baptisms, holidays, et al.
So, for me to get off so much on something so totally sacreligious as the Heywood Banks song "Big Butter Jesus", you have to admit that I've mellowed religiously and am pretty open to good natured jokes about religion. Go to www.youtube.com and in the search type in Big Butter Jesus...you'll see what I mean. This is totally not for the easily offended. Thank you Heywood Banks and thank you Bob and Tom!
I shared all this with my husband. We had a good laugh and then I asked him what his father would think. My husband's father is an ordained Mennonite pastor. Yes, he went to seminary school, graduated, and has pastored a church consistently for the last 31 years. Granted, not the SAME church, he's been moved around a lot. Virginia, Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania...not in that order of course. Currently, he left the traditional Mennonite denomination and is now a pastor for a Church of the Brethren.Ed's Church Page
How do the Mennonites differ from the Church of the Brethren? I asked my husband and his response was "F**k if I know." As you can tell, neither of us was sure nor did we really want to put much thought behind finding an answer. So, I turned to the Internet in search for a quick check because I wasn't about to call my father-in-law and say "Dad, what is the big difference between the Mennonites and the Brethren?" From what I can find out on the Internet it comes down to foot washing. Everything looks about the same. I'll have to ask him about all that.
This all brings me back to the original question...what would Ed think about Big Butter Jesus? I think he'd laugh. He's good natured and understands tongue in cheek. He also probably feels as I do...something along the lines of the ten commandments, commandment number four "You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." I think the 60 foot statue of Jesus not only breaks this commandment but blasts it back to Mount Sinai. Is Moses turning in his forgotten grave somewhere? Well, if he is, he's drilling through the earth by now because how many of these Jesus statues are there...Rio de Janeiro comes to mind, that's 128 feet tall (I looked it up) and is on top of a mountain peak overlooking the city that's over 2,200 feet tall - nearly half a mile! How about every Catholic Church out there with statues of Jesus, Mary, the apostles, etc, all accompanied by little candles and incense and kneeling people praying to the statue and the person it represents rather than to GOD?! It is amazing.
I am not perfect, nor do I REALLY attempt to live the 'Christ like' life purposefully. I don't really know if I ever did since I can't remember a time when I didn't mess up and do something woefully sinful. Basically, I try to be good to others, charitable, loving, as forgiving as an imperfect person as myself can be, and most of all, I try to enjoy life. Is that Christ-like? Not sure many hardcore Christians out there would think so. Why are we here if not to enjoy the life we've been given? Here is the big 'thing' behind that idea though...everyone enjoys life in a different manner and some of the ways people enjoy life cause pain to others, or outright break the law that society has placed upon those who live within it. What if that law is unjust? Well, that's a personal dilemma then isn't it?
Now THAT sentiment earns me the alignment of Chaotic Good I guess. What the heck does alignment have to do with religion or with how you live your life? What's alignment anyway? Well, for those gamers out there who partake in Dungeons and Dragons, you know exactly what I am talking about. For those of you who don't do the D&D thing, alignment is a categorization of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game. Here is an explanation of alignments:
Nine distinct alignments define all the possible combinations of the lawful-chaotic axis with the good-evil axis. Each alignment description below depicts how characters of that alignment typically act. Individuals, however, may vary from this norm. Any given character may act more or less in accord with his or her alignment from day to day.Lawful Good"Crusader"
Lawful good characters act as good people are expected or required to act. They combine a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. They tell the truth, keep their words, helps those in need and will speak out against injustices. A lawful good character hates seeing the guilty go unpunished.
Lawful good characters believe that an ideal society is one with a well-organized government and law-abiding citizens.Neutral Good"Benefactor"
Neutral good characters do the best that a good person can do. These characters are devoted to helping others, and believe that the forces of law and chaos should not moderate the need for people to do good. These characters will support social structures only when they are for the good of the community. If overthrowing an existing social order is what needs to be done to foster good, then they will not be afraid to do so.Chaotic Good"Rebel"
Chaotic good characters act where their conscience directs them, with little regard for the expectations of others. They believe firmly in making their own way in life, and dislike others who try to intimidate or use their authority on them.
Chaotic good characters always follow their own moral compass, believing that goodness and righteousness have little use for laws and authority. Although they are always kind and benevolent, their views often do not agree with that of society.Lawful Neutral"Judge"
Lawful neutral characters act as law, tradition, or a personal code directs them. Order and organization are paramount to them, and believe that order and organization come about moral righteousness.
These characters may believe in a personal order and live by a code or standard, or believe in order for all and support strong, organized governments.Neutral"Undecided"
Neutral characters do whatever seems to be a 'good idea'. They don't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or order vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction, or bias rather than a commitment to true neutrality. Such characters think of good as being better than evil (after all, they would rather have good neighbors and kind kings than evil ones), but are not personally committed to upholding good in any way.True Neutral"Balancer"
Some neutral characters commit themselves to a philosophy of neutrality. These people are extremely rare in a world where most people make value judgments, and are said to be "true neutral."
True Neutral characters see good, evil, law and chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate that the middle way of neutrality is the best and most balanced road in the long run.
Some true neutral characters will actively support neutrality and balance in the world. They will avoid having to support any one side, whether that be good or evil, order or chaos; and will work to see that all of these forces remain in balance.
Other true neutrals are simply characters who are tired of this concept of 'morality', and find that they draw no meaning from it. These characters are not neutral out of choice, but simply that they care not either way - they are passively neutral, but still falls under the banner of true neutral.Druidic True Neutral
In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, all druids were true neutral. The true neutral alignment is central to the philosophy of neutral druids.
This is because a druid's main charges ? plants, animals, and the health of the planetary ecology ? essentially lack alignment or ethos. Therefore, druids can feel free to use almost any means necessary to protect them.
The druidic order works to maintain the natural balance among the alignments. However, druids do realize that the actions of others ? including their own ? will prove significant to the cosmic balance. The druid sees the friction between alignments as the driving force in the world.
When faced with a tough decision, a druid usually stands behind the solution that best serves nature in the long run.Chaotic Neutral"Free Spirit"
Chaotic neutral characters follow their own whims. They are an individualist first and last, and values their own liberty (but will not strive to protect the freedom of others). They avoid authority, resent restrictions, and challenge traditions. However, they would not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. This is because to do so, they would have to be motivated either by good (a desire to liberate others) or evil (a desire to make those different from himself suffer).
Chaotic neutral characters may be unpredictable, but their behavior is not totally random - they are not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. However, they do act on momentary whims, and are known to be unreliable. As some would say, "the only reliable thing about them is that they cannot be relied upon!"Strongly Chaotic Neutral
There are some Chaotic Neutral characters, such as the Xaositects, who choose to act in a manner that is as random as possible. Such people will regularly change their appearance, their attitudes, even the way they speak . These characters see chaos as the most important force in the universe (similar to how Lawful Neutral characters may see Law as a force upheld regardless of consequences). As a result, these characters might intentionally disrupt organizations on the simple basis that organizations are lawful entities which oppose the chaos. Such characters may appear insane to those not similarly inclined towards chaos.Lawful Evil"Dominator"
Lawful evil characters use a society's structure and laws to their own advantage. They will play by the rules without mercy or compassion, to take what they want without regard for whom it hurts. They care about tradition, loyalty and order; but not of freedom, dignity or life. They are comfortable in a hierarchy and enjoy ruling, but are willing to serve out of fear of punishment. They will condemn others not according to their actions, but according to their race, religion, homeland or social rank.
However, because they depend on order and law to protect themselves against those who oppose them on moral grounds, they will almost always Honor a lawful oath or contract that they have made, even if it turns out to be unfavorable for them. Because of this, Lawful Evil characters tend to be very careful when giving out their word.
Lawful evil characters may have particular taboos, such as not killing cold blood or not letting children come into harm; and like to imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains. Other Lawful evil characters will commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good.Neutral Evil"Malefactor"
Neutral evil characters will do whatever they can get away with. They are out for themselves, and will shed no tears for those they kill or harm, whether it was for profit, sport, or convenience. They have no love of order and hold no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make them any better or any more noble. On the other hand, they do not have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil individual has.
Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake like the way a neutral good character believes in good for its own sake. Such characters are also often devoted to some dark deity or society.Chaotic Evil"Destroyer"
Chaotic evil characters do whatever their greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drives them to do. They are hot-tempered, vicious and arbitrarily violent. They are simply out for whatever they can get, and are ruthless and brutal in their ways. Typically, the plans of a chaotic evil character are haphazard, and any groups they form are poorly organized. Chaotic evil characters can be made to work together only by force, with leaders lasting only as long as they can thwart uprisings and assassinations against them.
Sooooo...those alignments having been spelled out for you clearly, now...what alignment are you?
I feel I hover between Neutral Good and Chaotic Good, but definitely on the Good scale of things.
What about these men:
George "Dubya" Bush
Osahma Bin Laden
Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber)
What about these women:
Queen Elizabeth II
I don't know anyone's alignment, I merely bring it up as a conversational piece. So there you are...everything from religion to social alignment in one post. And hey, don't go doggin' on the Unabomber's Manifesto, he's not totally crazy. *wink*