Religious Tactics: How to tell the Crips from the Bloods

There is nothing better than a blog about religion to offend everyone. But it’s really not about religion. It’s about tactics. Street gang tactics, actually.

I was raised a Roman Catholic and I still count myself as one. But Catholicism, like all religions makes up rules to distinguish the brand, so to speak. Catholics can’t eat meat on Fridays during lent. We also cannot purposefully miss Mass on Sundays and high holy days. Both sins are punishable by eternal damnation. Seriously, they are mortal sins, just like murder and abortion. The nuns in grade school told me this is how God can tell we are Catholic.

The Jews keep kosher for much the same reason. This all goes back to the folks that lived in the holy land before the Jews. They supposedly boiled kids (baby goats) in their mother’s milk. The Jews did not want to be mistaken for them. So they have many dietary rules and their men have to wear these little hats, called yarmulkes, and get ceremoniously circumcised so God can see that they are Jews.

Other religions do similar things to brand themselves for God; Sikhs wear turbans (that contain nifty little knives), Mormons wear “garments” under their clothes and can’t drink liquor or caffeine. Other faiths have their adherents wear robes, eat only meat from animals killed in a certain way, eat no meat at all, wear various specific items of clothing, etc.; all so God can tell them from all the other people He created. .

I think we would all want to worship a God who at least knows who we are without resorting to some kind of key, you know like how biologists can tell one fish from another. Are all these faiths proclaiming that their God is too dumb to know His own without making them display their colors? No. They are forcing their followers to stay together and avoid outside contamination. When you have to eat only certain foods, or dress a certain way, well, you find yourself often relegated to that sofa way off to the side of the room sitting with Mohammed, Jugdish, Sidney, and Clayton. And that’s the plan. You will only hang out with folks of your own faith. Rules like these attempt to ensure theological purity.

Why can’t they all come out and say so rather than blame God for all these nit-picky rules? Sorry, I just can’t imagine a God who has fashioned all the galaxies in the universe caring whether I wear boxers or briefs or what I had for lunch.

Sigh. Ok, I feel better. By the way, no where in the bible does it say one cannot eat meat on Friday. It doesn’t even say anything about wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day. However it does say that if you make fun of bald men, you will be eaten by bears. No, really, it does. Look it up: 2 KINGS 2:23-24. It is a dreadful little tale about the prophet Elisha and forty-two children. As my hairline recedes, I find I quote it more often….

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Sam Allgood

Some great thoughts, Ed. I especially liked your comment that ‘I think we would all want to worship a God who at least knows who we are without resorting to some kind of key,’. It reminds me of a thought I had a few years ago. Many years ago, when doing evangelism, we would often ask, ‘If God asked you “Why should I let you into heaven”, how would you answer?’ As I thought about that more recently and considered my own answer, it would be, “Uh-oh, I’m in big trouble, because I thought we were talking as friends just a little while ago. You should know me and be welcoming me!”.

BTW, I recently created a new GovLoop group called Christians in Government. Come join us and help stimulate some good discussions.