I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

The Sad State Of The Greek Orthodox Church: Woe Unto You

[Previously on The Sad State Of The Greek Orthodox Church: Who said religion’s got the final word on guilt trips, or insults?]

I learned from the best. I was raised Greek Orthodox, not strictly, far from it, but I once thought of myself as a Greek Orthodox Christian, once upon a time, pack and parcel of my core identity.

It was a long time ago, but I still know a thing or two about being righteous and starting a fight, or seeing one to its end.

Just like modern-day believers.

The difference is, I do what I do by adding a dose of critical thinking to my actions, plenty of it, which makes the process all the more effective.

And I have no time for bullies, prima donnas, or self-righteous zealots.

If you’re a bully, terrorizing others into submission, not listening to what they have to say, trying to shape the world according to your partial and intractable beliefs, chances are you’re going to get dragged out on the street and have the shit beaten out of you.

If you’re a zealot, unwilling to accept other people’s points of view, screaming bloody blasphemy whenever someone criticizes you and your dogma — if you’re a prima donna, thinking the world owes it to you to do as you say — you’ll get what’s coming to you.

If you’re a pious know-it-all who knows little and listens to no one except those who drag you by the nose into your pen, getting angry at whatever upsets your natural order of things, your divine arrangement of the world, you’re in trouble. You’re probably threatening everyone who disagrees with you with punishment in the here and now, or with damnation later on, but the truth is that sooner or later you’ll end up suffering the same fate. I’ll see to it, one way or the other, literally or metaphorically, starting with the here and now, and building up to the later.

No, I’m not mean, but there’s this thing I like called self-defense, no holds barred. And then there’s that other thing known as going on the offensive.

See, I never said I was a saint. A critical thinker, yes, and deeply hurt that I was threatened with violence and intimidation at the drop of a hat. Just because I’m partial to common sense doesn’t mean I’m going to let your shit-show get away with things. I’m not fond of all those who run around threatening people into submission, in fact, I’m wary of them, and unimpressed by them. I’m a fan of science, a man of reason, and a goddamn artist, but a saint, no sir, I am not. Force is sometimes the only ingredient that matters, the only thing to which the bullies of the world respond.

Time to respond, wouldn’t you agree? One look around will make you think twice before letting things slide. The jihadists of our time, semi-light or full-fat, will run away with this world if we let them, if we don’t push them out of the way and prevent them from terrorizing those who don’t subscribe to their dogmas.

Or, as dear sweet Jesus put it — make that the words of his disciples, the individuals who purportedly sat down and wrote accounts of their experiences with him, twelve in all, none of them identical — as the Disciples put it, Jesus said to the Pharisees and their followers, in fact, to the corrupt zealots of the day:

1. Ye blind guides. (Matt. 23:16)

2. Ye fools. (Matt. 23:17)

3. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s [sic] bones, and of all uncleanness. (Matt. 23:27)

4. Ye serpents. (Matt. 23:33)

5. Ye generation of vipers. (Matt. 23:33)

6. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Luke 11:44)

7. Ye are as graves which appear not, and the men [sic] that walk over them are not aware of them. (Luke 11:44)

I think that sums it up nicely!

Strong words from the son of God!

See, even sweet Jesus had words of scorn for those who abused their faith, who used it to terrorize and control others.

The pious ought to pay heed, plenty of it, at least those who deem themselves Christian. They wouldn’t want to resemble the very people Jesus Christ, their Lord, pointed at and scorned.

As for all other religions, they have their share of indignant believers — people so pious and fanatical, so scared shitless into submission, so brainwashed from the moment they were born they could never envision a world that didn’t abide by their scriptures. They detest all things incompatible to their beliefs, and actively try to scare people into conformity using peer pressure, charges of blasphemy, physical and psychological violence, threats and shame.

These people, these zealots of non-Greek-Orthodox disposition, I’ll deal with them another time. I may not be as familiar with their dogmas as I am with Christianity, but I’m pretty sure I can demolish their brand of righteous indignation, too, any time of the day, showing it up for the small-minded, regressive, oppressive stance that it is, one that has nothing to do with the basic tenet of religion, which, as everyone with a sense of decency knows, involves love and respect for one another, and for life in general.

Quotes taken from J. L. Meredith, Meredith’s Big Book of Bible Lists, (Inspirational Press, NY; 1980), p. 137, and from the King James Bible.