Glenn W. Harrell
Let’s call religion PMS—a series of Prescribed Moral Systems. Here’s how we come to know them.
-You are born.
-You discover that you have an innate ability to act out inner-feelings without being taught. (Thanks Darwin)
-You discover that these actions engender various reactions and results.
-You learn that good and bad are relative, and you like some people’s definitions better than others.
-Your parents prefer their own definition of good and bad, then you learn the definition of friction.
-You are introduced to religious figures of history and their institutions.
-It becomes obvious that you can believe and act one way or another for the desired effect.
-At some point, it is no longer an act. Strong preferences have arisen.
-Choices are made. Rewards and consequences are applied. Beliefs are shaped.
-You become a parent and it starts all over again.
ENTER RELIGION (PMS) or Santa Clause, whichever comes first—they are one and the same. Warning:
These gods can get pretty ticked-off when you misbehave. And Santa will just pass right by your house and deny you.
Most all religious leaders had beards and visions, rode animals like reindeer, camel and donkey. They stressed moral behaviors.
For example, Muhammeds alter-ego (Allah) promises virgins and celestial goodies galore IF you behave yourself according to his laws and edicts—and IF you do—well…, maybe. It’s more of a wait-n-see how your good / bad deeds balance out in the end- proposition. Allah gets very angry when you disobey or criticize him.
How do you get people to act out the PMS Prescribed Moral System? Answer:
Just Like Santa. Santa has religion spot-on! Everyone singing…
“O, you’d better watch out you’d better not cry, better not pout I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake.
Rewards for good behavior, of course. When that fails, then there are threats, laws, punishments and philosophies as needed.
- Make them join the clan or else. Become a card-carrying, bonified member of the best.
- As a member, make sure that they stay put and remain “brand-loyal” by threatening them with ex-communication and abandonment should they stray from the fold.
- Create a “sacrament” (forgiveness wafer and drink) that keeps them coming back for more of AB&C—only their brand can provide.
So then, Religion (PMS) holds us hostage to our sinfulness and mistakes! No wonder we hate religion. (PMS)
The real irony, and great tragedy, is that Religion, Santa and Christmas got connected somewhere way back when.
Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus doesn’t do Santa or religion very well. Unlike PMS (religion), Christianity rejects our “good works” and offers a sacrificial lamb instead. It is the death and life of Jesus, not my attempts at being good, that provides forgiveness for my sins and re-connects me with God in a loving relationship.
“But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.” (Ephesians 2:4-6)
Unlike Religion, Jesus says:
INFIDELS, DEPLORABLES, SINNERS, DREGS, LOW-LIFES, REBELS and UNBELIEVERS, NAUGHTY AND OR NICE… Come unto me!
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to invite good people to turn to God. I came to invite sinners.” (Luke 5:31)
Jesus says: Don’t try changing all your wrongs to rights—you can’t do it– Leave the changing up to me.
“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t anything you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus says: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!” (John 3:16-17)
Neither Santa nor the religions of this world will tell you this, but if you are tired of playing the religion PMS game, never knowing if you are ever “good enough” for God, then put the game away and come to Jesus.
“We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about His Son.
If we have faith in God’s Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don’t believe what God has said about His Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. God has also said that He gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from His Son.
And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.” (I John 5:9-12)
“Jesus is the high priest we need. He is holy and innocent and faultless, and not at all like us sinners.” Hebrews 7:26