Butterfly Cauldron

Monday, August 14, 2006

Thank you, but I'm my own moral agent

This may be the clearest explaination of the fundamentalist mindset I've come across yet. Even after growing up in the middle of it, I find it hard to articulate exactly how foreign their worldview is to outsiders.

First, you're born wrong. Corrupted. You're never going to be a good person, not on your own. Sure, you may do good things, but that doesn't make you good. Nothing in this world can make you good. In the fundamentalist world, Mother Theresa is burning in hell because she wasn't a "born-again" Christian, she was just Catholic. Also in the fundamentalist world, a serial killer who accepts Jesus on his death bed is going to Heaven, regardless of the things he did in this life. That's how it works. People are powerless on their own. They cannot be anything other than sinful and corrupted. Moreover, they are joyful in their sin, making them even more wretched and vile. There is no complete list of sin, so you can never make certain what to avoid. The rule of thumb that I used when I was still involved in the church was this: If it makes you happy, and it isn't centered around the church, it's probably a sin. Or close to one, so you should confess anyway. It's standard procedure to pray for forgiveness for sins you weren't away you committed. Because you did committ some, being human and all.

Then, because you cannot be good on your own, it stands to reason that someone has to make you be good. That would be God's job. Now, God could do this by being loving and giving you rewards and being accepting. But no. That's not how it works in this world. You are punished for stepping out of line. Not just for major transgressions. No, for anything. Look at a man who is not your husband? Bad! You'll be zapped for that. Tell a lie to get out of detention? Ha! Punishment is on the way. Forgot to read your Bible? What are you, stupid? You are so going to get in trouble for that. And don't even think of skipping church. Even though you want to, even though you disagree with what's being taught. That just means you're not faithful enough. It just means you need to pray harder. You just need to be better. Because if you don't, you'll be punished. And how does God punish you? Well, that could be anything, really. That new promotion you didn't get? That was God. The car accident? God too. Not getting into the college you wanted? Should haven't sworn at your mother.

There are rules, so many rules. No one can follow them all. But if you don't follow them, then you could get cancer. Or your child could be sick. Or maybe your teenage daughter will get pregnant. All punishments from God. Nothing could just happen. No way you could be responsible for your actions. You can't be. You aren't good. You can't make good decisions. You have to be told what to do.

All other faiths are cults. Catholics? Not christians. Mormans? Definately a cult. Unitarians? Ha. Everyone goes to Heaven? Clearly, they must be of the Devil.

Oh, yes. The Devil. He's more powerful than you can ever imagine. Clearly, he's as powerful as God, otherwise why does the church spend so much time talking about Him and so little talking about God? Sit through a sermon on any given Sunday and you'll hear about sin and Satan and punishment. What you won't hear about, until the very end when they're trying to get you to come forward and be saved, is the God loves you. God Loves you? What sort of love is it that is going to send most people to Hell for eternity? What love is it that inflicts all this punishment? What love is it that tells you you were wrong from birth and there's no changing that fact?

They truely believe that, if left to their own devices, humans would do nothing but run around killing and raping and doing the worst things possible. Because they honestly believe that's our true nature. Our true natures is to be animals.

And that's why Fundi churchs are loosing young people at a rapid rate. Because no one can live like that. No one can stand the stress and the pain and the anger and the self-hatred for an entire lifetime, not if they really think about it. No one can look at their fellow human beings and see depraived animals constantly and remain sane. So, those of us who value our sanity run far, far, far away. Fast.

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posted by Zan at 8:06 PM

3 Comments:

i always think of a song from tmbg in these kinds of situations. "the bells are ringing"

the bells are ringing
the song they're singing
the sound is bringing the people round
they hear the instructions
they follow directions
they travel great distances to the sound

they are persuaded by the ringing of the bells
they're not responsible for anything they do
the people know
the way to go
the bells are ringing they hear the sound

they hear the sound
they hear the sound
they hear the sound
they hear the sound

the bells are ringing
and everyone's walking
with arms extended in a trance
forgetting their washing
neglecting their children
they're dropping all businesses at hand

a voice is telling them to act a different way
they tilt their heads so they won't miss what it will say
and when it's so
their chance to know
the bells are ringing they hear the sound

a girl with cotton in her ears
is shielded from the bells' effect
as if by hidden signal
the people turn to face her
1000 eyes are staring
they pull away her earplugs

the bells are pealing
and they're revealing
the simple key to happiness
it isn't evil
it isn't good
it's only what the people miss

the bells explain what they've been lacking all along
they were disorganized and that was what was wrong
and now they know
the way to go
the bells are ringing they hear the sound...

6:57 PM  

When they tell me that without God men would kill and rape and have sex with the animals, my response has become, "Well, I'm an atheist and I haven't done any of those things, never even thought about doing them. But, if believing in God is all that's keeping you in line, I'm really glad that you believe."

7:06 PM  

I always wonder about people like that. I mean, they'd rape and kill and maim if God didn't tell them too? How fucked up is that? It indicates an extreme lack of empathy. First, I have no urge to rape or maim or kill, but if I did, I'd be able to think of how my supposed victim would feel and not do it. It's really not that hard. And isn't that the Golden Rule? Do unto others and you'd have them do unto you? So, they're telling me they want people to rape and maim and kill them? Sounds like they need intensive therapy.

7:47 AM  

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