Monday, November 26, 2007

Quazy Quistian Question # 3

Today's installment is not just your everyday inane query. This one is actually seasonal. I hope my ideas will be easier to follow than a mythological star.

So my wife and I were sitting around on Saturday night, reading, watching TV, munching on various unhealthful snacks — we’re famous in our social circle for being able eat our way through a family-size bag of Crispy Cheetos in less than an hour — and just generally relaxing after the pig-out of Thanksgiving and its aftermath. At one point, although I didn’t notice it, my wife must have checked her watch. Sure enough, it had been a few hours since I’d last been given a chore. She likes to suggest little projects for me just to make sure that I don’t wind up starving on the streets like the rest of the deadbeats who hate doing dishes. Anyway, she looked up and said, “Why don’t you jump in the car and go get a few lottery tickets?”

What I should have said was “I don’t feel like it; I’m comfortable.” But, through long experience, I’ve learned: A response like that doesn’t work. My comfort isn’t an issue.

So I needed a good, rational excuse. “I don’t want to give any more of my money to the state than I have to.”

My wife rolled her eyes. That’s when I made my mistake. Like the smart-ass I am, I quoted the bible. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Caesar isn't really entitled to those four bucks I’d spend on some stupid game.”

To which my wife, an atheist like me, said, “Well that money sure as hell isn’t god’s.”

That’s when I decided to run out the clock. There was only a short time left in which to purchase chances for that day’s drawing. I said, “Well, buying lottery tickets is like an act of faith. We don’t want to start being religious all of a sudden. Do we?”

She said, “You have ten minutes.”

As I was driving to the nearby Jiffy Spend, I found myself still chuckling over the Caesar-god dollar dichotomy. Then, as I passed a group of holy-shit-not-already! Christmas lights, I had a thought: According to the Christian fairy tale, the three wise men presented the baby Jesus with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Today we know, of course, that those things should have cautionary labels on them, stating that they’re choking hazards for children under 3. But this was back in the day when parents actually watched what went into their kids' mouths.

Anyway I started wondering: What did Jesus — or his folks — do with those things? The three wise men came from afar, traveling for days over hot desert sands by camel, without air-conditioning, to bring gifts to a tot they thought was the king of kings. There must have been desert-boatloads of the stuff they brought. They were no dopes, remember. So if they really wanted to ingratiate themselves, their presents would have been pricey. We’re talking about major expenditures.

I’m supposing the Jesus family burnt all the frankincense and myrrh over the course of the next few years to make their humble home smell a little less like donkey. But what about all that cash? Did they put it into a college fund for Jesus so he could go study theology, or worse, Aramaic lit? Did they invest it in Joseph’s carpentry business? (“Need a new table or bed? Crazy Joe’s prices are heavenly!”) Maybe they used it to buy toys and clothes for the child? (“Jesus! That’s the fourth pair of gilded sandals you’ve outgrown this year.”) Or did they just piss it away on lottery tickets?

Whatever they did with it, the gift sure set a lousy precedent. Nowadays, Christians still throw money at Jesus in an effort to suck up to him. They do it indirectly, maybe, by supporting god’s houses and his allegedly good works. But most of them feel, somehow, that they’re handing their hard-earned loot over to their lord. And Jesus’s collection agencies sure rake it in.

But why can’t god just take care of his own business without having to resort to cash, checks, and credit cards? What could money conceivably buy for him that he can’t just make for himself? How come he can’t finance his houses on his own, and pay for his ventures without having to ask for handouts? And where does he keep his assets? In a bank? In an offshore trust? In an omnipresent wallet in his omnibenevolent pocket?

Quazy Quistion Question # 3:
Why does god need your money? Explain your response.

23 comments:

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Well, I can't speak for the historical record, but we know that now, at least for the Catholic Church, with real esate values declining, they need it for the lawyers. And to pay off all those plaintiffs whose bums their priests rimmed. Though if you think about it, they really don't even need our money for that. Surely god could slip them the numbers for a few future Powerballs or Mega-Millions.

John Evo said...

I'm still laughing about Mrs. Exterminator's clear domination of the Exterminator residence. At least you are honest about it.

She said, “You have ten minutes.”

As I was driving to the nearby Jiffy Spend...


Too funny! I'll probably still be laughing about that while doing the laundry tomorrow morning.

the chaplain said...

The Protestant God needs lot of money to build and equip churches. In addition to the brick and mortar structures in which he dwells, he needs state of the art audio-visual systems to keep the faithful awake throughout the services.

Having built himself a home and equipped it with an awesome stereo system, he needs some of the money to buy buses with which to transport the next generation of little believers to Sunday School and summer camp.

If there is any money left over after paying for home, stereo and transportation (the staples of a divinity's life), he will give some to support missionaries in foreign lands. After all, the faithful are commanded by the divine son himself to go all over the world and share their lunacy with all manner of unsuspecting souls who have no clue what's about to hit them.

So, write a check today. You can make it out the chaplain. You know my address. ;-)

PhillyChief said...

Well you know money just doesn't go as far as it used to, which is why you see such things as crucifixes being made in Chinese sweatshops. I wonder if they used lead paint?

Sure, there's the lavish lifestyles that have to be maintained like the Oral Roberts family and of course have you seen the Vatican and those fancy pope costumes? The lawyers and insurance premiums are high for the pedophilia as well as lobbying against abortion, condoms, HPV vaccines and gay rights.

Well good luck hitting the lottery. Sounds like you have a better shot at finding a winning number combo than finding where your wife has your sack stashed. Man, you're whipped. LOL

Ute said...

Well, according to the bible Jesus said "be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt 5:48) In order to be perfect "go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor." (Matt 19:21) Now you could argue of course that the church is not poor, BUT it would be without all the Christians money. Therefore the believers are now (sort of) living up to the high standards that the bible throws at them (so... why does my very Christian neighbor drive a Mercedes?). They give to the "poor" and buy their way to heaven. And if the bible makes sense to them, then so does this answer to your question, right?

:)

PhillyChief said...

I wish it was like the old days where rich bastards as they got old simply paid for big religious murals with themselves painted in for the church as a way of buying into heaven. At least that really did help the poor, us artists. Now it's being squandered on Chinese sweatshops and Mercedes dealerships. Pity.

The Exterminator said...

SI:
You said, Surely god could slip them the numbers for a few future Powerballs or Mega-Millions.

See, that's why I think it's not worth playing the lottery. You're competing against a higher power.

Evo:
You wrote, I'm still laughing about Mrs. Exterminator's clear domination of the Exterminator residence.

Well, I'm glad you think it's funny. By the way, when you're doing the laundry, be sure to separate your wife's delicates and fold them neatly.

chappy:
You advise me to write a check today. You can make it out to the chaplain. You know my address.

Actually, I've opened up a joint account in my own name and the name of Jesus Christ. I figure, that way he'll have immediate access to the cash. He can take whatever he wants; the funds he doesn't use, I'll keep for myself.

Philly:
You said, Sounds like you have a better shot at finding a winning number combo than finding where your wife has your sack stashed.

I know exactly where my sack is stashed. It's in our "fancy clothes" closet with my good pants.

Ute:

You said, Now you could argue of course that the church is not poor, BUT it would be without all the Christians money....Why does my very Christian neighbor drive a Mercedes?

Well, you could argue that your neighbor would be poor if he weren't so rich. So Christ decided to give him some financial aid. If your neighbor needs even more money, have him ask Jesus to withdraw some cash from our joint account.

Everyone:
Between you all, you've commented about how much money churches need for their leaders to maintain themselves in lavish splendor, pay for legal bills to defend criminal priests and pastors, go spread their filthy propaganda all over the world, and lobby for political favors. So here are some slightly more serious questions than the one I posed in the post:

Why do church-goers fall for this bullshit? Can't they see the huge disparity between the lifestyles of their religious leaders and themselves? Don't they get enraged when their so-called spiritual advisers turn up in the crime news? How do they justify their professed belief in selling everything and donating the proceeds to the poor, against the tasteless ostentatiousness of the edifices they enter every Sunday? Given these blatant exhibits of money misspent, how can they still keep shelling out?

John Evo said...

By the way, when you're doing the laundry, be sure to separate your wife's delicates and fold them neatly.

I don't need YOUR help on that, Pal. She doesn't let me hear the end of it if I do otherwise.

Given these blatant exhibits of money misspent, how can they still keep shelling out?

Cognitive dissonance is nearly always resolved through denial. It's the same process that allows them to look at all of the evil done by other Christians and proclaim that it's because "Those guys aren't real Christians." Every case of blatant hypocrisy is resolved in their minds in exactly this fashion.

PhillyChief said...

They shell out for the same reason they do all the rest of it, it makes them feel good. This isn't just a religious thing. My local Jiffy Spend has a collection box in front of each register. At some time, long ago, I'm sure there was a sign on each one announcing what it's for. It's been a couple of years since I've seen a sign on them, yet they always have money in them. For all I know it's for the cashiers to buy heroin after they close.

JP said...

Come on now, we can all use money, god is no indifferent. He could clearly snap his fingers and erase this whole "money to religion" business, but I guess he chooses not too. He would rather allow a family who has no money to begin with to dive into their accounts and tithe away their money to support their locals pastors salary and the new church they are building to make it more presentable for poor atheists to feel inclined to enter its doors.

JP said...

By the way,

off topic, a christian asked a question on my blog that was poorly answered by me. It was a sad attempt by yours truely but if you are willing, think you can do the question justice? It's posted over at my blog.

Sarge said...

And here the twice born are running about the landscape shouting "Jesus saves!" His investment habits, though, seem to be wanting since 'his' representatives are always poor-mouthing.

When I was a kid I got my jacket dusted for singing (to the tune of Battle Hymne):

Jesus puts his money in the Chase Manhattan Bank,
Jesus puts his money in the Chase Manhattan Bank,
Jesus puts his money in the Chase Manhattan Bank,
Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

The adults who heard that little ditty were not amused.

PhillyChief said...

I believe a message of fiscal responsibility would have been a nice addition to the new testament.

The Exterminator said...

Evo
You said, Cognitive dissonance is nearly always resolved through denial.

One man's cognitive dissonance is another man's stupidity.

Philly:
My Jiffy Spend has those same collection boxes. And, here, too, it's been a couple of years since I've seen a sign on them, yet they always have money in them.

I even asked the clerk once, "What charity are you collecting for?" His response: "I dunno." I'm sure if it had been for some after-hours heroin, he would have told me.

You also said: I believe a message of fiscal responsibility would have been a nice addition to the new testament.

Have you forgotten this line from the sermon on the mount? Blessed are the fiscally responsible: for they shall not be beholden to Capital One.

JP:
You talked about the new church they are building to make it more presentable for poor atheists to feel inclined to enter its doors.

Yes, I just can't resist the sound of an organ and the smell of a collection plate.

You mentioned that you might be off-topic, but asked if I'd respond to a Christian's question posed on your blog. Just to let other readers know: I did so, Philly did so, and SI did so. Your request wasn't off-topic at all. Talk about Quazy Quistian Questions. This guy's was absurd. Go take a look if you're curious.

Sarge:
It's nice to know that even when you were a little kid, you were busting the establishment's chops.

John Evo said...

One man's cognitive dissonance is another man's stupidity.

I disagree. Well, I can't exactly "disagree". If you think its stupidity, then who am I to disagree with what you think? But I THINK we are not all stupid, but we all do suffer from cognitive dissonance.

The difference between me and what I would call a "stupid person" is that I recognize that I'm having cognitive dissonance and attempt to use reason, rather than denial, to resolve it.

The Exterminator said...

Evo:
I said, One man's cognitive dissonance is another man's stupidity. You said, I disagree.

I know we all love to contradict one another around here because in actuality, we're embarrassed to admit that we're in complete agreement about 99.9% of the time. But I absolutely refuse to debate the content of jokes.

So I'm giving you this round. You're right.

John Evo said...

So I'm giving you this round. You're right.

If it's ok with you, I'll be saving this to break out every time you and I disagree.

ordinary girl said...

To answer more seriously, my parents tithe because they believe God commanded it and that he'll reward them by causing them to prosper.

Even after they found out their money was taken by hucksters a few times, they believed they really gave the money to God and God would still reward them.

I remember as a kid wondering if there was something in the back room that they used to teleport the money to heaven.

Babs said...

God needs people's money because he has a gambling addiction. And a shoe fetish.

The Exterminator said...

OG:
You said your parents tithe. Even after they found out their money was taken by hucksters a few times, they believed they really gave the money to God and God would still reward them.

See, now I just can't understand that kind of mind-set. If they give money to a bum on the street, and he uses it to buy drugs instead of food, do they still think their god will reward them? Maybe they believe that Jesus "looks into their hearts," and doesn't actually care how the money is spent as long as they intend it to be used for his purposes (whatever nefarious schemes those might be). But if that's the case, why can't the big guy just check out their hearts before they actually pony up the cash, and stop them from contributing to the criminal career of some bum, their pastor?

Babs:
I don't know about the gambling addiction, but the shoe fetish sounds reasonable. He leaves his footprints everywhere, doesn't he?
Also, maybe he has to pay a mortgage on that bakery where they emboss his mother's image into bread.

PhillyChief said...

My guess at the christian mindset is that they believe the important thing is the act of giving. That's what their big guy is going to see and judge them on, not what the end result of the giving ends up being.

Babs said...

Well, Philly, the belief I was raised with was that the more you gave, the more stars and shit you got in your crown once you got to heaven.

Wow! That seems even dumber when I see it written, and they may not have actually used the word shit.

sARGE said...

Yeah, I've always liked to sort of run in and nip at the heels of The Authorities.

There was a song we also sang at the end of Sunday School,

"Now Sunday School is over
"And we are going home,
"I'm Glad, I'm glad..." and ther e was a continuation about the gratitude for the chance to learn.

I simply sang the first part, was emphatic in my rendition of the "I'm Glad! I'm Glad!" and laid out for the rest.

This, too was viewed with an extremely narrowed eye.