04 July 1996

Canned Theology

Junk Food for the Soul

Conservative Flavors

God is just waiting to get you the minute you screw up.
This is taken by many practicioners of the Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — as the basis for moral behavior. Since externally imposed order is repugnant even to those who believe in it, they occasionally rebel against such order, either openly, or by willfully misinterpreting the commandments, as in "Thou shalt not kill, except for that heretic over there."
Christ died for your sins, so now you really better not screw up.
This is the distinctively Christian form of the item above. God in the form of the God-Man, Jesus, allows himself to be murdered by bad people so he can come back from dead and say, "See, I died for you. Now you really owe me bigtime, so you better shape up!" In Games People Play, Eric Berne called this game, "Now I've Got You, You Son-of-a-Bitch!"
You must build the Kingdom of God on earth by making it impossible for anyone else to screw up.
When people are full of this one, they try to control the behavior of people whose beliefs differ from theirs. Used in repressive legislation. Also a prime ingredient in recipes for religious and ethnic conflict. Used as a condiment in some liberal environmental agendas.
You must purify God's Kingdom on earth by killing those who screw up anyway.
Consumed by those who have no taste for mercy. Typically, when they partake of this one, they screw up bigtime.

Liberal Flavors

God's justice cannot be fulfilled until the world's wealth is equally distributed.
A saccharine version of the belief of the earliest Christians, who embraced poverty as a virtue, which they achieved by holding all their goods in common. Mostly consumed by those who live in gated communities.
Meaning well is more important than achieving results.
Used to simulate barnyard odor. Hitler wanted to purify his people so that they could become like gods. He thought he meant well, but millions of people couldn't live with the results.
No one can really pass judgment on another. Each must judge for him- or herself.
A watered-down decoction of "Judge not, that ye be not judged," used by the guilt-ridden to deny God's judgment, because they also deny his forgiveness.
Tolerance is the highest good.
Often regurgitated by people who will hate you for disagreeing with them.
Thanks to Andy Busch.
Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
A "lite" sweetener and feel-good remedy if you want to "love kindness" without having "to do justice, and to walk humbly with your God." Often consumed by those who "practice charity when it is sufficiently convenient."
Thanks to Mike Szilagyi

Wacko Flavors

We must of our own accord shed our mortal form to progress to a higher plane of existence.
Practically inhaled by those who don't realize they were put here by God to "Get a life!" Although they occasionally give up what they never got, at least they respect the rest of us, and let us continue on our journeys. May they get a better pilot for their higher plane than whomever they've hired so far.
God tells us to tell you to do whatever we say.
This cult version of "Father Knows Best" satisfies power cravings without guilt, because partakers consume it with submission to a higher cause. A tasteless version for speakers of superficially polite psycho-babble is being test-marketed as "I'm OK - You're OK, but some of us are more OK than others."
Thanks to Charles Perry
There really are no such things as "right" and "wrong."
A non-nutritive flavor-reducer used by college professors to get students to swallow anything. Also, an anti-clumping agent used to unglue civil societies. Toxic to children.
You must stockpile weapons because you are the the People of God, and everyone else is out to get you.
Very spicy, especially the Branch Davidian variety. Savored by those who like it hot.
You must create the earthly Kingdom of God by killing or controlling everyone who isn't like you.
Drunk by those who like to slam it down fast (like the Aum Shinrikyo and various racial supremacist and terrorist groups), instead of waiting for the apocalypse.

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