11 January, 2007

Moma, Don't let your babies grow up to be Christians?

This blog tends to be about Library stuff and ADHD stuff but of late I have been talking a lot about Christianity and in an effort to understand what the hell I think, I have decided to put a few things on paper.
Probably just this once, so don't feel you have to take me off your blogroll.

So the title of this post,
Well I have been very worried of late that taking my children to church is brainwashing them to a certain level of unthinking acceptance of my religious experiences. The church I attend at present is not particularly hard line, in fact it is damn liberal in a lot of ways, but still there is that simplicity in the way children are taught which teaches all sorts of things theologians would call debatable as if they were fact. Now I tend to teach my kids to question what they are being taught, "why do you think they said that", "ah but do you believe that?", "what if that is not correct" and so on
But basically the title is just the hook to get you interested (to be controversial if you like).
Some time ago I started writing a book, being ADHD I am fully aware that chances are I will never complete it, but I tentatively titled it Why are Christians all Idiots*
Same theory, get a bit of controversy.
Yet to a degree that is how I feel. I am constantly asking myself how the hell can people be such morons about this religion. Now I know Christians don't have a monopoly on idiocy but the fact that I have to deal with idiot Christians so often just because I happen to believe a couple of the same things as them is quite painful.

Now, before I actually start saying anything, let me assure you that I have no answers. Were I to be made Supreme Overbeing of all Christendom tomorrow, I would not be in a very good position to solve the problems. This is in part because the Christians are all idiots theory is just a subset of the People are all Morons theory to which I also subscribe.

Background (go go Gadget dotpoints)
  • parents atheist - but bible literate
  • first time I went to church - 10 or 11 years old
  • next time I went to church - 15
  • started attending a (Sydney Diocese) Anglican church from 16-18
  • first book of the bible I read - Isaiah
  • switched to AOG at 18 (because my mates went there)
  • did some bible study through AOG (under hills auspices) it was a complete joke,
  • did some theology as an undergrad (St Marks in Canberra) and the difference was several orders of magnitude
  • switched to Baptists at 31

So where do I get off with the idiot stuff?
Well, I am constantly meeting people who have been completely screwed over by organised religion. I am bombarded by people who use their Christianity to justify all sorts of social and societal practices which have nothing at all to do with anything Jesus is ever reported to have said.
For example, I was having a discussion on Christianity and the political sphere and I happened to mention that Democracy is not a biblical principle. There were shocked looks of realisation from a few people, but I had one person argue with me.
The argument isn't the problem as such (as I see it) the problem is that people just accept the current socio-political norms and assume that they are Christian. They don't think about the realities of things, in Australia we get force fed enough American bullshit that it just becomes part of the air you breathe and fluffy thinking (republican = God, Democrat = soul eating sodomites) eases its way into our minds and bypasses critical thinking.

So, onto critical thinking, for a start there are lots of places within Christianity where thinking critically is seen as being tantamount to denying the existence of God. Moreover, in the Pentecostal church as it exists at the moment (mega-church style, as demonstrated in Australia by Hills, Paradise, CCC) there is a determined and deliberate attempt by the leaders to suppress critical thinking. Teaching such as; follow the man of God and let him decide what's right and wrong or the social aspect where those who think critically are not given opportunities to lead small groups let alone to speak from the pulpit.
While Australia doesn't seem to be breeding Christians as thick as many of those in American mega churches, we are following hot on their heels copying all of their marketing and brand positioning.
Think about it folks, brand identity, billboards, Pastors (not theologians) who have certificates in Biblical Leadership, rather than Degrees in Theology. Morons who act more like motivational speakers than ministers, with Doctorates that they bought from fourth rate American online Bible Colleges. And Christians are flocking to that mindless bullshit because it is 'relevant' and 'meets me where I'm at'.
lets try and fit that into this little pearl
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim 4: 3-4.

People want to have Brian Houston tell them that they too will be able to afford $2000 silk ties, $8000 racing bikes and a Harley for when they feel like cutting loose. Why, because it is a church that meets them where they're at by not making them feel bad about their consumerist overindulged western lifestyle and beyond that, it celebrates this and promises supernatural intervention to increase your wealth if you follow the magic formula.
Because the alternative would be listening to Tim Costello telling you that you are part of a society which is raping the world and that your excess is not God's gift. Some good people are poor, some evil men are rich and that there is no God Given get rich quick scheme and there is on earth no God given method to even the playing field. After all even Solomon (covered in fine silks and sitting in his palace didn't believe he had done anything to deserve his position) If I may paraphrase Ecclesiastes. All is vanity, we're all going to die, shit happens, enjoy what you eat and drink, enjoy being young - because being old sucks, God isn't going to fix all your problems.

this post is proof of my hypothesis because it sure makes me look like an idiot, so with my point proven to that degree I shall shut up.

*idiots was not the original word I used in this post, it has been edited as my confrontational language has offended some people and I would hate to have people miss the underlying point just because I was being deliberately provocative.


Anonymous said...

I quit reading somewhere in there, mostly because I kind of agreed with you from the beginning - except for the insulting part. Okay, I agreed with that also, I just wouldn't say it that way myself.

Anyway, my thought from the beginning was that you might want to try a church like the one I was raised in and still sometimes attend. Here in the USA it is called Unitarian Universalist. I believe there are some UUs in Australia as well. Or I've found Quakers to be often similar in views, though less prone to discussing them (which can be a good thing, UU discussions can be extremely longwinded). UUs do not indoctrinate their kids -- would have been easier for me as a kid if they had, I think. But we aren't going for easy, are we? No, librarians like complicated and nuanced!
Andrea the loud librarian

Cecilia said...

Dear Sir
I am sorry that you met some Christians who weren't nice to you. I have ADHD too, and some people just let Satan put hate in their heart for anyone who is a little different.

I like to watch Daystar TV. There is a lot of loving attitude on the Celebration show and on Daystar in general. For me, love is the only thing that works. I don't care how much a person knows until I know how much they care. I don't even care if it's fundamentalist, as long as people are nice to me.

Also, I notice that you tend to cuss. Now I'm in no position to judge you for that, as I've had a filthy mouth in my younger day as well. But on the Joni show a couple years ago, a rabbi came on and talked about the spiritual problems with cussing. It really curses your own life and gives you a lower quality of life. I said, "Oh, so that's why things don't often work out for me." They also said that if it's a habit and it becomes a stronghold, that it's hard or impossible to stop cussing. They said a cure for that is to read the Bible out loud, especially pslams and proverbs. It seems that when you hear yourself read the word of God, it gets it in there and it literally pushes the bad words out.

I'd tried to stop cussing for a long time. I'd almost stopped, but sometimes, something would slip out that shouldn't. So I tried reading psalms and proverbs out loud. It worked. I finally beat the cussing habit for good. If it does start to sneak back in, I know how to drive it away again. I don't expect that to happen though. So just for your own blessing, you now know a way to stop cussing.
AKA: Ceecee