Saturday, September 15, 2007

Evangelicals are going to eat me

Now I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not anti-religion. I have read holy books from most major religions and studied others. The basic tenants are good, but it is impossible these days for many people to seperate the politics from the religion. I was raised strict Roman Catholic and I was an atheist at age 10, partially because I couldn't understand the conflicting depictions of God (on one had he is all-loving and all-forgiving and on the other he's vengeful and spiteful) and how people who would go to church week after week and then throw out all the things Jesus preached once they left. Hypocricy does not sit well with me, nor did it as I was a kid. While I am now currently agnostic, I believe that religion can be a positive influence on peoples lives. I do not think that everyone can live in the existentialist way that I use and the religion can teach them to be moral people. Sometimes people need fear or guilt to make them moral (evidence to this can be seen all over the news) and whatever can do that is good in my eyes. Now if only people would follow that in their daily lives.

And then I watch things like Jesus Camp.

This movie is going to give me nightmares, I just know it. The youth ministers and the kids themselves (most under the age of 10) talk about creating and being in God's Army. I learned that 75% of children that are homeschooled in the US are evangelical Christians. They are taught that the earth is 6,000 years old, and that science is just a belief, that there is no way that science can prove anything* and that things that have become commonly accepted as fact are bullshit. (I used to think Catholics were the crazy ones, but at least they believe in the big bang and that evolution is compatible with the Christian faith. Which is one of the things that still confuses me to this day. It started when I was a kid, and if you listen to Genesis who says that God's days had to be 24 hour periods? It's God ffs. S/He can do whatever the hell s/he wants and who says a day in the bible does not equal millions upon millions of years?) How will these children do in college without the basic knowledge all children learn. Now I'm a big fan of homeschooling b/c I know some very brilliant people who came out of it and learned at a very accelerated rate, learning much more then they ever would have at public school. (Has to do with the multi-age classes, etc.) It's the same problem I have with Amish kids only being taught through 8th grade, because any more learning makes them 'too proud.' Then what real choice do they get when they go on Rumspriga (sp?)? They don't have the education to go out into the real world and many people never try (or know that it's available) to learn at a higher level, so they go back to what they know. I don't mind people going back to their religion, or choose a religion, but I think they should be given a true choice. Give them a chance to think about what they are doing and understand that this is what they truly want and believe.

OK, now I've read the Bible and nowhere in it does Jesus preach intolerance, hate, war, or persecution. Then the woman pastor tells people that if Harry Potter is an enemy of god and if he had been alive while Jesus was alive then he would have been killed for being a warlock. Say what? It's fiction, people AND Jesus would have been tolerant and forgiving. Witchcraft is nothing like in the books, but that's another story. (I spent a few years experimenting with witchcraft/paganism. But it all came down to the fact, and this is really what pulled me in, is that nature is a higher power. It is everywhere, it is everything. It is a powerful force to be respected and honoured. I went back to being atheist, because in my own ways I honour nature and the universe around us by fighting for our environment constantly. Which is one thing that the Evangelicals seem to miss b/c they think they can use all our resources now b/c Jesus is coming soon.)

These children are being brainwashed. The whole reason I became agnostic is because my parents taught us kids to think for ourselves, to question everything and not to follow blindly. They're getting indoctrinated at home (which is also their school for most the kids in the video) and at churches that tell them they must be Evangelical Christians to be saved. I had a problem with being confirmed when I was 12 because I felt that that did not fully reflect what confirmation was supposed to be. It is supposed to be a personal decision to say yes, I accept Catholicism as my religion. It's supposed to be a choice made when you have the ability to do it for yourself, not because your family wants you to. 43% of Evangelicals are 'born-again' before the age of 13. They are not given time to make a decision for themselves.

OK, 'take back America for Christ?' Where does this Christian persecution complex come from? Last I looked the US was predominantly Christian. And look at our government. So incredibly Christian. The only non-protestant to ever be elected was JFK who was, *gasp*, Catholic. There's a war on? Between who? The evangelicals on one side and the evangelicals on another? The 'true christians' (evangelicals) and all of us who are going to hell even if we are moral people?

Another annoying thing is the fact that whatever they do, they do because God is doing it. How is god sanctioning people who kill abortion providers? How is god sanctioning the idea of hate and believing that people of other faiths are all going to hell? How the hell can they bless President Bush when he has done so many unChristian things, like attack a country for oil which results in the death of so many lives, some of them Christian? "This means war!" That is what the lead minister was yelling at the congregation of children. War? Jesus was no fan and I will never EVER be ok with a religion that preaches war in any form. Also it teaches these poor kids to not take responsibility for their actions. Whatever they do is what god wants. How many needless deaths have occured because of this very belief that they can do no wrong because it's 'God's will.' The man who killed Dr. Slepian thought he was doing God's will. That's very VERY unChristian. And immoral.

Speaking of abortion, how much does a 4 year old know about the complex matter of abortion? Well at this camp they learn a bullshit version of what one side believes is the truth. I'm sorry, but basic medical fact is that a baby is not fully formed at a couple of weeks. They're teaching them lies, and these kids have little to no oppurtunity to learn the truth before they make up their minds. Again, I call this brainwashing. (It is also not uncommon for anti-abortion activists to get abortions and think that there is some special exemption for them. Ask your local abortion provider if you don't believe me.)

OK, now I'm off to have nightmares about being killed for being 'an enemy of God.' Also I have to be up for Greek Orthodox mass tommorrow morning. I've always wanted to check it out (I like going to different religious services barring a few crazy ones.) and I thought tommorrow would be good b/c after mass the annual Greek fest is happening. Woo Woo. Next week I'm going to check out the local Quakers. I love the Friend's Center in Philadelphia, afterall they were the 'pro-choice cheerleaders' at the 2000 RNC in Philly. I wonder if they are one of the more radical/liberal sects. Well I'll find out next week.

Also, Christian Heavy Metal? Isn't that an oxymoron?

*While we can't conclusively prove anything, the rigorous scientific process will either prove or disprove theories pretty well. What these people don't understand is that any theory that is posed goes through a long period of others trying to disprove the theory. Theories are not adopted lightly, nor should they be. My math and science profs always told me that when I write something I have to also look at it through the eyes of someone who hates me or vehemently disagrees with me to see where my arguement is weak to make it stronger, because if they can people will disprove what I have to say.


Southern Grad Girl said...

It's hard to believe, but it is as crazy as it sounds. Evangelicals truly believe everything you said, and there's no arguing with them that'll change their mind. I was raised in a Baptist church down South. I went to the school associated with the church, had Bible class 5 times a week, chapel twice and went to church three times a week. It's intense. I was "born again" at the age of 4. Obviously, I was unaware of other options at that age.

You did leave out that God directly tells these people to do whatever they're doing. Sometimes it's not that it's in the Bible, but rather that God led them to do it. (My parents had God tell them to read my journal when I was in high school.)

I was lucky in the sense that my parents encouraged me to be successful as an individual (instead of just marrying a successful man). That has led me to be a scientist, which means my current beliefs don't really line up with how I was taught. But no one back home seems to really think that I would believe all those awful things, and I just keep my mouth shut. The absence of logic really is astounding.

That's awesome that you're taste-testing all different kinds of churches. I want to do that (crazy ones included, though). I did go to the local Christian Science church in college, but that's as far as I've gotten. It's also really, really important for me to at least expose my children (as yet unborn) to all the different religions/sects. I want them to be much more educated about other people and cultures than I was.

Oh, and yes, you are going to hell even if you are a moral person. There's no big scale that weighs your good stuff against your bad stuff. It all depends on whether you have "by grace through faith" accepted Jesus as your personal saviour. (This is why lots of Catholics are going to hell, but they just don't realize it yet.)

In case the sarcasm couldn't be read, I wasn't serious. Just giving you the evangelical answer. I know them all. ;-)

lost clown said...

I got that, don't worry. It made me grin.

I like going to different churches and holy places. I regularly attend Sedar with my friends (and I have followed the tradition of Chinese food and a movie for Xmas). There's a few nonChristian centers I'm really excited about: Baha'i, Buddhist, Islamic, and Sikh. I plan to go back to St Sophia's for Orthodox Easter, because that'll be an elaborate ceremony which would be nice. I'm still firmly agnostic, but something about religion fascinates me, probably because I'll never really understand it.

Next week it's the Friend's meeting (Quakers). My partner attends from time to time and assures me that this is one of the more liberal groups. (The Philly friends center is really liberal/radical. I love them.)

The week after I hope to check out Baha'i because it just sounds so cool to me.

Rebecca said...

Yeah, those people are scary. I have a number of fundamentalist family members. Sometimes my jaw just drops to the floor when they start talking, because they believe the most incredible things.

I guess my skin is not thick enough, because I can't go to any church without getting really angry. The impossibility of reconciling an omnipresent, omnipotent, and all-caring deity with the state of this world really gets me riled up.

My husband wants to regularly take our son to Quaker meeting, which in principle is at least better than other alternatives, but I still have mixed feelings. It's okay for him to do that, I guess, but I outright refuse to attend myself.

For a more humorous take on scary fundamentalist Christians, I recommend the movie "Saved!" ;)

MaggieH of Against Pornography said...

I'm glad to be 100% secular. I hate patriarchy!

hexyhex said...

Which is one thing that the Evangelicals seem to miss b/c they think they can use all our resources now b/c Jesus is coming soon.)

Disturbingly enough, some of them actually believe that deliberately using up the world's resources will prompt Jesus to return for the second coming sooner.

Yeah. Seriously.

I'm a fan of religious sampling too. Some religious services are just beautiful, and it's a chance to interact with a subset of people I wouldn't ordinarily encounter.

My partner, on the other hand, goes to atheist meetups. *sigh*

Lorraine said...

Thankx for sharing your early experiences with religion. My parents raised me unchurched, but a childhood mental diagnosis (apparently a hot topic at your blog) resulted in my being put in a state institution, and later a Catholic one. This was at the tender age of 8. I mis-heard "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" as "Father, Son and Holy Experiment." Apparently the word 'experiment' entered my active vocabulary before 'spirit.' I had heard the word/name 'God' (in the formula "God is great, God is good...") but had no idea until Catholic institutionalization that this utterance referred to the Creator of Everything. My understanding for several months was that He created it as an experiment, which is to say, to see what happens.