Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Unexpected Use of Religion

I won't go into the usual pros and cons of religion: suffice it to say that philosophers, theologians, and scientists more learned and wiser than I have weighed in on this issue.  However, I would like to advance a new one rarely mentioned but already discovered by errant Fundamentalists and politicians:  It provides a basis of the concept of sin and therefore repentance.

Why not spare oneself the trouble, and remain sinless?

It happens that there is a useful social role in being a repentant sinner.

Consider the occasions of public confession favored by some Fundamentalist congregations.  There you can stand up before all and confess all manner of wrongdoing; and because you Got Religion, your sins are washed away and everyone has treat you as a lost sheep returned to the fold!

Here's a Lewis Grizzard story to provide some flavor:

A minister pressured each member of his flock to stand and confess their most egregious sins.  Assuring them of God’s forgiving grace, he exhorted them repeatedly to “Tell it all, Brother! Tell it All!”  After a shocking litany of admissions to theft, adultery, drunkness and the like, the only unconfessed sinner left was a squirrely little guy cowering at the back of the church seeking desperately to avoid the preacher’s gaze as the Reverend and the rest of the congregation bombarded him with a relentless chorus of “Tell it All Brother!  Tell it all!”

Finally, seeing that there was no hope of escape, the little guy rose meekly, and all but whispered, “Well, Preacher, one time I had sex with a goat.”

At that point the church falls deadly quiet until the pastor finally admonished, “Damn Brother! I don’t believe I’d ‘a told that!”

Sinning, seeing the light, and telling all about having done so, may be a way of sequentially having your cake and eating it too.  Also, by hanging around other repenters, the person might find some new leads for persons to sin with!

Politicians had discovered years ago that having a Come to Jesus display if one had been caught with his fingers in the cookie jar can go a long way to rehabilitating their reputation.  In a way, religion has replaced partiotism as the last refuge of a scoundrel.



8 comments:

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Outstandingly true! It even can apply to former White House staffers from the Nixon days.

Mike said...

'Why not spare oneself the trouble, and remain sinless?'

Or at least silent. Move along now, nothing to see here.

Deena said...

I googled: there is such a product! Now we can be as wicked as we please.

Hell Hound said...

Thanks for the Lewis Grizzard joke.

Bilbo said...

I am absolutely putting that Louis Grizzard joke away for future use...it will go well with my hellfire-and-brimstone preacher imitation. Oh, and what Mike said...

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thanks for the comments, you all....

Mike, what about Sloth? And some people say good things about Lust. Those sins are on the slippery path to perdition.

Svejk said...

I practice my sloth and lust in moderation. Gluttony is another matter.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Religion is fine as long as it doesn't intrude on sex.