Thursday, July 22, 2004

Speaking in thumps


Hate in the name of love Posted by Hello

A while back, I stumbled upon a blog from my hometown, The Rock. It is the work of a twentysomething ex-felon who has found God. And while I'm for anything that gets you through the day, especially after some seriously hard times, I do take exception when that belief system turns into hate for anyone different.

Even in a predominantly Catholic area, I know a lot of people whom you might call "fundies": fundamentalist Christians of the Pat Robertson or Fred Phelps strain. Yep, the ones who just looove to endlessly harp on "the unsaved" and "those filthy sodomites." They're such good Christians that they even hate Catholics and other differently Christian sects!

I think that fundie Christianity is less about God or Jesus or adherence to morality as much as it is about pushing religion. See, it's not enough to them that someone leads a moral existence, does good things for others, loves everyone, and attends church only twice a week. YOU'RE STILL GOING TO HELL! In fact, you're WORSE than the worst filth rotting on death row! Why? Because you don't attend MY church and you haven't gotten on your hands and knees right here in the coffee shop to scream out your desire to be saved in front of everyone! It doesn't matter if you're the most perfect and faultless person in the world, because in my God's eyes you aren't fit to shine His shoes. But if you join my faith then you can gain a heart full of love just like mine, SINNER!

In the end, does all of this matter? Was it really necessary to fight thousands of years of wars over how someone gave a message of peace? To the fundies, apparently it is. Then again, many of them talk about how Jesus was filled with the war spirit, so at least they're consistent in their hatred, if not in their logic.

What does all of this have to do with The Rock? Well, I asked him a simple question. He had written a post that I reproduce here, with all caps and sloppy typing intact:

WHY IS IT THAT ALL THE LIBERAL MEDIA, THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SINNERS SUCH AS MADONNA ANDPAUL MCCARTNEY, & THE POPE ALL HAVE THE SAME THING IN COMMON: THEY ARE OPPOSED TO THE WAR IN IRAQ. COULD IT BE THAT THE SPIRIT THAT DRIVES THE ABOVE MENTIONED IS THE SAME SPIRIT WE REFER TO IN THE BIBLE AS THE god OF THIS WORLD IS THE SAME SPIRIT THAT WOULD LIKE TO SEE GAYS MARRIED , AND ALL OF OUR CHILDREN ON DRUGS LIVING IN VIOLENCE WITH ONE ANOTHER. I AM NOT A BIG BUSH SUPPORTER, I AM NOT A PRO-WAR ACTIVIST. I DO AGREE WITH THE WAR HOWEVER BECAUSE I CAN TELL SATAN IS NOT IN AGREEMENT WITH IT.

My question, then, was this:

Whatever happened to "let he who is without sin cast the first stone?" What is Christian about indiscriminate killing? Or implying that people are demonic because they don't support a disastrous and utterly pointless war?

I had forgotten about my comment until I got this e-mail reply from The Man himself. Keep in mind that I asked him specifically about the Christian ethics of supporting the War in Iraq. What I got was the standard fundie template answer for everything:

Ian,
There is a time to have mercy on sinners. Like for example when I got saved. At the time I was 21 years old was a convicted felon, had spent all together 12 months of my life in rehabs and halfway houses trying to get straight and none of that had power to change me , then God came and had mercy on me the sinner. While it is true that no man is without sin there is one who came to earth as a man and he did live a sinless life. He was a perfect man a perfect sacrifice. The Bible says clearly without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Jesus Christ came and shed his blood at the cross , died , and rose from the grave on the third day. He died so that we who put our faith in what he did on the cross would not only be forgiven of our sins, but have power over sin. The Bible is clear "he who has died is freed from sin" by faith we die on the cross with Christ our old life is buried and we are given new resurrection life. We are made whole in Christ.
Now anyone who is in opposition of this redeeming work of Christ is any ememy of the Cross of Christ ie. Militant Islamics, Liberal Media, Evolutionist, the Pope. Cathilocs are in strict oppositon of the gospel of Jesus Christ because they have no clue what it means to be born again of the Spirit through death to sin. Now let me clarify myself I say I have power over sin , I do not mean I am sinless like Jesus Christ no what I mean is I no longer practice sin. I am no longer a slave to the sin of drug addiction, immorality, and rebellion. I will put it another way before I was saved I had 99% corrupted thoughts and maybe 1% pure thoughts, now that I am saved I have 99% pure, righteous thoughts and maybe 1 % corrupted thoughts. Ian I noticed you live in the same town as me. I challange you to let me sit down with you and discuss this. I believe that I can prove to you that God is real and that not only are His commands very possible to obey but we must obey. I can prove it you given the chance. HIs Word is real and if it turned a son of iniquity like me who had no joy to a Son of God who is full of joy and peace it must be a very powerful thing.

respectfully,
Daniel

Well, that cleared up the issue, didn't it?

Another question: If it takes this guy 448 words to respond to my question without venturing anywhere near an answer, then how does he expect me to sit with him and be converted? I just hope he doesn't find out that I'm a liberal journalist who once considered himself Catholic. Would he shoot me on the spot?

This world will continue to destroy itself as long as people have no respect for the private beliefs of others. I respect Daniel the Rock; but if he cannot defend his beliefs without tearing down mine, than he is part of the problem.

On the other hand, anyone who can profess their deeply held beliefs in a reasonable and earnest manner; who can explain their faith's role in their understanding of world issues; and who can do all of this without resorting to vague platitudes, is certainly someone whose opinion I will value.

6 comments:

oyster said...

I found this Letter to the NYT (7/23) funny (emphasis mine):

To the Editor:

Re "Jesus and Jihad," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, July 17):

Comparing my book "Glorious Appearing" to "fundamentalist Islamic tracts" is a real stretch. The Islamic radicals who bomb the innocent are not nice people!

Should Christ overlook their rebellion and welcome them into his kingdom? They would ruin it for everyone. You don't choose to live around people like that today; would you want to spend eternity with them?

"Glorious Appearing" does not "gleefully celebrate religious intolerance and violence against infidels." The prophets tell us that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. That is why Christians do not dance in the streets when tragedy befalls our enemy, but instead send aid.

The wonderful plan God has for the future of mankind may not be attractive to those who reject Christ, the Bible or God. But compared with plans for the future life (if any) taught by the other religions, it is the best thing going!

Tim LaHaye
El Cajon, Calif., July 21, 2004
The writer is a co-author of the "Left Behind" series.


Well, if that letter is evidence of this guy's mind and literary skill, I should really start investing in his collection.

Zachary said...

Religion is such a wonderful idea. I remember reading in the trust Reader's Digest probably a year ago that there is a certain part of the brain that latches on to ideas of a Supreme Being and the likes.

Perhaps that would explain why you have non-believers -- their part of the brain is inactive, or deficient. And perhaps that would explain why you have the fundamentalists -- their part of the brain is overactive, almost obsessively compulsive.

And the rest of us are somewhere in the middle. Afraid to condemn what religion has become (a multi-billion dollar enterprise -- the Vatican -- and all but godless) and too afraid of the fundies to join their ranks.

Religion was a wonderful idea, but it's frightening anymore.

Ian McGibboney said...

I remember that issue of Reader's Digest. I had a subscription at the time that I think started with the very next issue. It had the typical letter about athiests probably having brain damage.

I don't know whether the concept of being hard-wired to believe in God is true, but I do know the power of subconscious. And I would believe that people are hard-wired for some kind of moral code. However, I reject the idea that people are predisposed in believing in Jesus Christ or Allah or Buddha or anyone else. It really is mostly what you're given to fill in the gaps.

As for Tim LaHaye, I'm pretty familiar with him. And that does sound like something he'd say! I had the "pleasure" of seeing him on Fox News while waiting for a tire rotation (of COURSE my local tire place and oil-changing joint both play Fox News incessantly...I better not get anything done again until I take off my Kerry bumper sticker). Anyway, a lot of my friends are into "Left Behind," even the very liberal ones. Having no belief whatsoever in the rapture or Armageddon (at least at any god's hands), it doesn't compel me. I'd rather live my life free of that dogma and not base all of my hopes and dreams on being called up into the sky in the middle of the day. Though, I have to admit, Chelsea Noble (Kirk Cameron's wife) is a cutie.

Ian McGibboney said...

By the way, have you noticed that when you publish a comment, it says, "Your comment has been saved"? Does that mean it gets to go to comment heaven?

Shannon said...

Did you happen to look at "The Rock's" user profile? You know those random questions Blogger shoots at you? Well, this guy was asked "Do you believe that the fork evolved from the spoon?" His response: "I don't believe in EVILOUTION."

Priceless.

The Left Behind series is wonderful, by the way. I listened to the first book on tape. Hilarious. The reader said everything with equally extreme gravity. From "The plane crashed into the mountain" to "He put on his shoes."

Ian McGibboney said...

Shannon,

I saw that too, along with all of his other links. There must be a medical term for "one-track mind." That's why I found him so ripe for rebuttal; his fundie-ness is apparently his only quality.