Huffington Post
Dec 30 2011

I'm With Stupid: A Sweeping Indictment of Sectarian Stupidity

Todd Hartley.Columnist, screenwriter, playwright, lyricist, novelist,
blogger and stand-up comedian

I have a confession to make: Unlike all you good Christians out there,
I've never actually read the Bible. (You have read it, right?) I am
pretty sure, however, that when people say "the Bible," they're all
referring to the same book. Sure, there may be different translations,
but I think it's safe to assume each version says roughly the same
thing: God made the world, Eve ate the wrong apple, the Jews escaped
from Egypt, Mary got pregnant, Jesus was born, Jesus died, Jesus came
back to life. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea.

With that being the case, I've always found it odd that Catholics and
Protestants, who ostensibly believe the same thing, so frequently find
themselves in bitter confrontation with each other. Northern Ireland
is the most obvious example. What is even more astounding to me,
though, is that there are, by some counts, more than 33,000 different
Protestant denominations in the world. Let me repeat that so you know
it's not a typo: Somehow, against all odds, there are more than 33,000
different Protestant denominations.

Wow. How on Earth can there be 33,000 different interpretations of the
same book? There are only about 200 or so languages that are spoken by
more than a million people, and most of those are spoken by people who
don't believe in Christianity. So let's say, for argument's sake, that
there are 100 languages spoken by Christians. That would mean that the
average language has about 330 different ways of interpreting the
Bible. How is that even possible?

The stupidest part of the whole thing is that the differences in the
various Protestant denominations probably have less to do with what
really happened to Jesus and more to do with what sort of absurd hat
should be worn while worshiping Him. Nevertheless, such pointless
sectarian divides have festered over the years to the point where
Protestants of different denominations -- who believe exactly the same
thing -- go at one another as viciously as Jews and Muslims.

A perfect case in point is the situation that took place earlier this
week in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. The 1,700-year-old church,
which is one of the holiest sites in all of Christendom, was built on
the spot where Jesus was supposedly born. (In Palestine, mind you,
lest you think Jesus was born in eastern Pennsylvania.) It's also the
site of near-constant bickering.

Despite its being nowhere near either Greece or Armenia, the church is
for some reason administered by Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic
priests. The problem is that since they belong to differing Protestant
sects, the Greeks and Armenians don't get along and frequently clash.

Earlier this week, as they were cleaning up the church to get ready
for Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on Jan. 7 (don't ask me
why), about 100 priests got into a huge brawl, pummeling one another
with brooms and fists in what essentially amounted to a turf war.
Things got so out of hand, apparently, that Palestinian police armed
with shields and batons had to break the fight up. Yes, that's right:
Palestinians, of all people, had to keep the peace.

Fortunately for the priests involved, nobody was badly injured, and no
one was arrested. This was due in part to the fact that "all those
involved were men of God," according to the local police chief, but it
also stemmed from the fact that this particular disagreement "occurs
every year."

Now, I don't mean to belittle anyone's religion here. You go ahead and
believe whatever you want to believe. That's fine by me. But how can
each of Protestantism's 33,000 denominations expect people to take
them seriously when the two that have been chosen to maintain the most
important spot in all of Christendom fight each year over who gets to
clean what part of the church? That seems a tad petty to me.

Even worse, the Church of the Nativity is evidently falling apart, but
no repairs have been made to it for years because the priests whose
job it is to look after the church can't decide who should foot the
bill. I'm guessing that little disagreement has probably led to
fisticuffs too.

The Bible, in whichever translation, claims to teach love, forgiveness
and brotherhood, right? Those sound like wonderful things. It's just
too bad that no one bothered to inform the priests in Bethlehem that
they have that in common, despite their perceived differences.

Todd Hartley hopes the new year sees the Greeks and Armenians cleaning
in harmony. Actually, no he doesn't. It's much funnier when they
fight. To read more or leave a comment, please visit

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress