Thursday, October 19, 2006

Christians: They're Everywhere!

When I was young - gosh, it seems like it could have been a whole other century - most people practiced their faith, or lack thereof, quietly. It was considered to be a personal affair. One's religious belief was not a public issue. Generally, the faithful attended church, sent the young ones to Sunday school, went to a few pot luck suppers, but otherwise went on with their lives, doing their jobs, raising their kids, most of whom went to neighborhood public schools, and maintained their households, without making an issue of their particular religious affiliation. Only the fringe - the wackos - jehovah witness, pentecosts, tongue talkers - were likely to be knocking on your door to scam you into joining their flock.

Our next door neighbors until I was around 13 or 14 were Lutherans. We were not. Their son was a year older than I, but we were best friends during most of that time. They were active in their church, but did not at any time make an issue of it with me or my family. After they moved away, their son, Jerry and I drifted apart, but it had little to do with religion. We just moved in different directions with our interests and activities. For instance, Jerry paid attention in class and received As and Bs, became a pharmacist, an executive and community leader. I spent a great deal of time staring out the window and frequently scratching where it itched and received the consequent Ds and Fs, and well, here I am in my basement writing this drivel. A truely qualitative difference.

Over the last few years it seems that christians have been coming out of the woodwork. I know they've always been around, but they weren't usually so obvious about it. Now, everywhere you go, christians seem to make themselves conspicuous. Most certainly it had pretty much everything to do with the political swing to the right this country has endured over the last 12 years or so - at least since the '94 mid-term elections. There are christian bookstores, christian gift shops, christian restaurants. One such establishment here serves pretty good food, but the piped in music is a constant din of 'happy, upbeat, ain't we wonderful that god is great and loves us all' pop junk. Here in Indy there is a christian appliance repair business, a christian tree trimming business, christian lawyers, dentists and doctors, and a even a christian pawn shop. (or shoppe - if you like.) I'm sure there are many others.

Whenever a commercial building or store front in a strip center comes up vacant, within weeks or perhaps a few months it almost invariably becomes some kind of church. Churches of all sizes and denominations are popping up like mushrooms. And then there are the "mega churches."

Even the hated Hollywood TV moguls buckled under the pressure and paid homage to christians with the unbelievably sappy and even more unbelievably successful Touched By An Angel and its less successful spinoff Promised Land. A plethora of other spiritually based shows hit the air waves over those years and some remain. The premise of Touched was that god sent as many as 5 or 6 angels to put some pathetic bastard's life back on track. It would generally be some upper middle class yuppy type who is having a substance abuse problem, who's marriage is on the rocks and the fellow has lost his right to coach daughter Muffy's soccer team. So all these angels work their slight of hand and, BINGO!, after a proper amount of agonized soul searching while sitting amongst the ashes and gnashing of teeth, Mr. Yup discovers god's grace, and his life achieves heavenly bliss. My problem with the conceit of this show was its having angels so involved with someone's relatively trivial problems while millions of people remain starving and dying all over the world. How many of god's angels are looking out for them? Oh, of course, I'm forgetting, most of those folks aren't christians, are they? Guess they aren't covered by the proper 'holier-than-thou' insurance policy. Tough luck for them. They didn't read the fine print. Programs like Touched By An Angel just add to the absurdity.

The only one of those programs I found palatable was Showtime's Dead Like Me with Mandy Patinkin. At least it had an edge. The main character, Georgia Lass, an 18 year old slacker is struck dead by a toilet seat from a falling Russian space station, and then is drafted into service as a grim reaper. That's pretty good.

And, of course, we were also blessed with Mel Gibson's even handed The Passion of the Christ. Mazel tov!

People of all faiths have come to brandishing it like a badge of honor. In time, if left unabated, they may come to wield it more like a bludgeon.

I do sense a change in the wind. As approval ratings for republicans across the country are plummeting, it seems that public attitudes toward religion are also shifting, if only slightly. A couple of the new network shows I've seen (namely Studio 60 and ER) have openly christian characters who are looney or at least a little ditsy.

Of course christians will be up in arms about such a shift and will continue to point fingers angrily at the liberal media for unseemly attacks on the godly.

I believe, and I assume most non-believers would agree, that religion and a belief in god are the stuff of fantasy. Wishful thinking. A giving over one's earthly humanity in favor of cowing to some mythical, king-like, supposedly all forgiving, yet ultimately vengeful lord, who is going to make things all better for eternity. But you gotta give it up for him completely, or he will drop the dime on you springing open the trap door beneath your feet sending you sprawling headlong into the broiling abyss of hell. You damn well better get it right!

In other words, the derision is earned.

TLS

Tongue talkers???




19 comments:

Zoe said...

Well...*big grin* I happen to enjoy your drivel and am glad you have a basement.

How's the itch though? ;)

I'm such a brat!

provoked said...

I can count the number of times with one hand that I watched Touched on one hand, never watched the spin-off. In fact, never knew that one existed (that must have been excruciatingly horrible). They've started playing Dead Like Me on the Sci-Fi channel, I may have to check that out as I've never watched it.

I absolutely love Studio 60 and I hate ER. And have done so since they cast Clooney :D -- and that has nothing to do with idiot Christians. I watched Passion back when I was still a fundy, and haven't since.

I used to be a tongue talker, does that count? Anyway, gonna go swill the Jesus Fantasy Juice, now. Hey, that sounds like a good movie, or short movie (what are those things called?)!

I used to frame houses for a living and we absolutely hated working for people with the fish on their cards. They were the ones that would cheat you blind and we had several that did. I don't what was worse that the so-called Christians ripped us off or that we fell for it more than once.

Seriously, though. I agree. Christians for the most part bring most of the crap that happens to them on themselves. They want to claim the whole "because of My Name" thing out as the purpose of such "persecution" but it's because they act the way they do. The whole happy, happy, joy, joy crap. It irritates me. And, yet, I find myself believing anyway. *shrug*

Maybe we all need to get together and have a beer, talk about politics, and make fun of my fellow Christians. Granted, I'll have to trust your taste for beer 'cause while I've tried a few and have yet to find one that taste's as good as everyone claims. I did drink some wine-coolers once and actually like them but I hear those are for pansy's (not that I have a problem with pansy's) and with my ear rings and less than rough demeanor, I try to be as tough as possible while drinking. 'Cause in the deep south, you just gotta be a REAL MAN.

Oh -- and I agree with Zoe. I enjoy your drivel, it makes me think and I wish I had a basement. I have no idea what she means by the "itch" and I don't think I want to know. And she can be a brat, I hear.

And if you've actually read through my comment, then I applaud you simply because I'm in a weird state of mind today and it shows in this comment. So please forgive the rambling and discombobulation of the post and carry on.

*walking off muttering* I have got to get more sleep.

Terry S said...

A good deal of the southern "real man" stuff has crept its way into Indiana - and pretty much everywhere I've been. I did spend 2 years in Texas (Ft. Hood) while in the army. There is a uniquely "Texas" macho bravado that I think far exceeds most of the rest of the south.

Actually, my wife was a fairly dedicated "Touched" watcher. I watched it a number of times, but, it would usually put such a bad taste in my mouth due to its absurdity, that I couldn't sit through an entire episode.

I like STUDIO 60 as well. Unfortunately, it is not doing well in the ratings. Aaron Sorkin is a great writer for TV. Of course the 'walking and talking' scenes are reminiscent of WEST WING. But CSI MIAMI is kicking butt. I have to admit that I have been an ER watcher from its first episode. Not sure why, but both my wife and I still watch it.

If you get a chance to see DEAD LIKE ME

Terry S said...

(Not sure what happened there, I hit something and it published my comment before I was finished. Oh, well.)

As I was saying, if you get a chance to see DEAD LIKE ME you may well enjoy it. It is really off beat. Only slightly preachy. Not much god talk.

I never saw PASSION. By the time it came around, I was too far removed from that world - that of religion, god, etc., that I just couldn't foster any interest in it. That was without knowing how anti-semetic it was. Of course, I'm not any more concerned with jewish sensibilities than any other godsters. To me, there god is no more real than any others.

Mel Gibson has shown his true colors, though. What a nut case. Almost as crazy as Tom Cruise, although I don't think Gibson has ever been a couch jumper.

Actually, I've come to like Clooney in recent years. He was pretty good in BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU, and his most recent films SIRIANA and especially GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK,

Terry S said...

CRAP! I did it again.

. . .GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK were quite good.

I don't particularly want to "make fun" of christians. I just wish I could make a dent in their unflinching belief in a myth that has caused so much grief and death over pretty much of civilized history.

I've never developed a taste for beer. Every once in a while I have one, maybe with dinner. Sometimes it tastes pretty good at first, while its at its coldest. But I rarely finishing one. As it warms up, I become more aware of its bitterness.

I did get through your comment. It rambles no more than most of mine. Most of my comments are the product of a stream of consciousness or thought. I labor over my original posts a good deal, though. It doesn't always make them better, but at least I feel like I've considered them carefully before I publish it.

The "itch" Zoe mentions is a reference I made in my post about how I spent time in school.

Later,

TLS

Terry S said...

Er, I mean "I rarely finish one..."

provoked said...

LOL -- I watch Syriana. I really enjoyed it and I was pissed at the ending (I won't explain why in case someone else hasn't watched it).

I watched Oh Brother when it first came out. I can't remember if I liked it or not. I forgot about Good Night and Good Luck. I've wanted to watch it since I viewed the trailer online.

About the "making fun": I usually make fun of us as well. I think it is good for a group to make fun of themselves. Or at least let me make fun of us. :D

Peter said...

I ask you my friend would you consider yourself to be a good person?

Do you think you've kept the Ten Commandments?

Well lets try a few and see how you do? Ok?

Have you ever told a lie?

Be honest with yourself...

And what does that make you?

(I'll give you a hint. It starts with an "L"...)

Have you ever stolen anything? The value doesn‘t matter...

And what does that make you?

Ok and here’s the one that got me...

It says in the Bible you shall not commit adultery. But Jesus said if any one looks with lust he has already committed adultery with him/her in his heart. Have you ever done that? Looked with lust?

Ok and just one more for good measure...

Have you ever used the Lords name in vain?

If so... then you've taken Gods Holy name and used it as a curse word to describe disgust. The God that gave you life and has blessed you with your family, friends and money. That's called blasphemy.

Ok so if you answered honestly and that's all I ask....

By YOUR own admission, your a lying, thief, an adulterer at heart and a blasphemer of God...

On judgement day when you stand before God and His throne...
Will you be innocent or guilty of breaking his ten Commandments?

Which is the standard He will Judge you by...

So do you think you'll go to heaven or hell?

If you say heaven, then why? Because God is a good and loving God? Or because you don’t believe in Him?

First if you were in a courtroom today before a judge and you had committed a crime and you knew you were guilty, you were caught red handed. And the judge was about to pass sentence on you. And he asked you if you had anything to say for yourself. And you got up and said "Yeah, Judge I know your a good judge and I'm really sorry for what I've done can you forgive me and let me go?" Will that judge let you go if he's a good judge? Of course not, if he's a good judge he'll have to give you your sentence or they'd through him off the bench for letting people go for such a thing. And God's the same way...he must punish sin.

Now if you don't believe in Him, that doesn't change the fact of being before the throne. If I say I don't believe in gravity and walk off a ten story building I'm still going to fall and us believing in God does not make Him exist. God exists with out us as He did before us and will exist after the first heaven and the first earth pass away. Eternally.

Now knowing that you've broken the law...Gods' Law... and unfortunately the punishment for breaking Gods' Law when it's all said and done is being thrown into the Lake of Fire.

I don't like this fact of a second death but it's a reality and you may ask how I know that? It's because God said when He made us that His law was written on all men and women’s hearts. Those questions I asked you... Are to show you that. It's called your conscience. We all have one and even though some of us have shut it off. It's there, it's real and like a smoke detector in your home if you remove the batteries it doesn't warn you of a fire. Same with your conscience when you shut it off, it stops warning you of the Lake of fire.

I only took the time to write this cause I care about you...Maybe no one's put it to you like this before and you need to turn your conscience back on like it was when you were a child and remember the first time you lied or stole something. God remembers that. Every thought, every deed God has seen and made an account of.

So since your guilty of breaking His Ten Commandments and your going to be thrown into the lake of fire.

Do you know what God did so you won't have to be thrown into the lake of fire?

If you said He died for me, your right. That’s what it all boils down to....the whole bible is the story of Jesus paying the fine for the world that chose to disobey the Ten Commandments.... Through one man sin entered the world and through one man sin was atoned for.
That sin, which many have lost sight of, is breaking the ten commandments.

So now that you've taken the time to read this and I really appreciate that you have....

I leave it to God to do the rest....

Please repent (turn away from sin) and ask God to forgive you of all your sins (name them) and let Him completely wash you of all your filth and fleshly stuff. Give your life to Him and He will deliver you from the wrath to come....
Put on Jesus as your covering on the day of judgement. Jesus is not something you just try on to see if he'll make your life better. Jesus is the only way into Heaven!!!

So if you decide to get right with God today... Read your Bible everyday and find a good church to share your new found faith.

Thank you once again and I wish I could do more to show Gods' Love for you in a practical way...

Terry S said...

Peter,

I suppose I should thank you for your comments. I assume your motive was a concern for my soul.

Just to put your mind as ease, I have no soul about which to be concerned. All there is of me is my rather overlarge body.

Have I ever lied, committed theft, used (your) lord's name in vain?

Yep.

The lord's name thing doesn't bother me. I am very aware of the various wrongs I have committed in my life. What lies I've told. What larcenies I have committed and what other personal failures I am responsible for.

In the big picture, my offenses are pretty small potatoes. But they are, nevertheless, mine. I own up to them, but I have no need to profess them to a non-existent god.

I will not soft-sell this. I do not believe in your god - any god. I have no concern about being judged by any higher power.

As a courtesy I will suggest to you that you should consider the possibility that there is no god, no afterlife, no final judgement.
You have dedicated your life to a myth, a myth of no more substance than any we know of from history.
There is not one iota of proof supporting the existence of a god.

You congratulate yourself for being a true believer. You have given your life over to a phantom. Read something other than your bible. Read something, anything which might open your mind to other possibilities. Find and read Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." It is written for you.
It will broaden your horizons.

TLS

Peter said...

How do you know anything that Richard Dawkins has said or written about to be true?

Have you read the bible cover to cover?

Can you prove that God doesn't exist?

I only reffer to the God of the bible the creator of the heavens the earth the seas and all that is in them. The God who chose the isrealites as His people to bring His salvation into this fallen world. All other gods and religions including evolution (the producer of more agnostic so called athiests in history) are not gods at all just man made gods to suit thier carnal and fleshly needs and yours for example.

How bout taking the athiest test?

1. How many grains of sand are on the beaches in Hawaii?
2. How many hairs are on a shetlin pony?

is it possible that you don't know if God exist because you don't wanna know?

Terry S said...

Grains of sand in Hawaii? Hairs on a Shetland pony? Hmmm!

I don't know.

Man, I guess you got me.

You've got the answers, though, right?

TLS

Peter said...

I apoligize for not finishing my comments to you
I had to go. My point about the questions of the sand and the pony are simly that I don't know either and more than likely no one here does. However God does know, cause He made them. This is my point. I will not defend or really even discuss any other gods or religions including evolution (the maker of more agnostic/athiests in history.) My only point I'm attempting to get across to you is that there is no such thing as an athiest, because in order to be an athiest you would have to have all knowledge of everything in the universe. And only God of the Holy bible has such knowledge. I am not angry with you or any fallen person. I admittedly get a little fustrated with some of the nonsense the unconverted and even the converted come up with to justify their sins. I am no better than you I am only doing what I've been comanded to do. I do read other books than the bible and understand that you are in darkness now and you probly like it. I find it funny that you claim the bible is to full of sex and violence for you. And you expect me to believe that you don't watch mainstream tv? Mabey you don't, I don't know, all I know is you are lost in your sins and actually believe that God needs you to believe in Him in order to exist like meny of the man made gods of this worlds history. Thats just sad. Ok your free to comment back this is fun for me too.

Peter said...

excuse my typos too I'm still learning to type. and my spelling.
You know the bible says the cross is foolishness to those who don't believe and He uses fools like me to get His message out.

Terry S said...

Peter,

You are so deeply set into your faith that you have little contact with reality.

I don't really follow your reasoning. I am an atheist. I simply do not believe in the existence of any god. The probability of there being any such entity is extremely low. There is simply no evidence of god's existence.

I am not fallen. I have, in fact, risen above the miasma of religion. Religion is the source of literally millions of deaths and uncounted suffering throughout the history of human civilization.

Yes, the bible is filled with an incredible amount of violence, most at the behest of your supposedly all forgiving god.

You speak of your following a "command" to spread god's word. That "command" comes from within you, not from any all powerful god.

You should step away from where you are and look around you. Our life on this world is all we get. It is a shame to waste it believing there is something beyond for which you must qualify. This life can be joyful. Even more so if you don't spend it as a warrior for a non-existent god.

TLS

Peter said...

So if I'm not mistaken it seems as if I'm attempting to show you theres no way you can know with %100 certanty that God doesn't exist, and you seem to be trying to convience me that God doesn't exist when I know He does. So we have a delema or a debate, if you will. Oh and congrates on surviving your surgerey. I say thank God you made it and that the only reason your not now before the throne of God facing His Holy and rightious judgement. I'd like to think He let you live so that we might be able to have these talks about Him. And since you have gone to such great lengths to determin if God does exist, like not ever reading your bible cover to cover, one of the ways inwhich God does reveal Himself, I think your content with thinking there is no God that you have to answer to, so you can go about your life as you see fit and there is no consequence for your choices or actions on the eternal scale, sure there are consequences in the here and now for your choices in this life, if your caught in this lifetime, here while your still carnal. I'll even agree with you that religion has given God and other gods a bad reputation. However all the things God did to the isrealites and others in the bible are His way of showing His disgust with sin in our fallen nature. It is by the mere grace of God that He allows you and I to live at all. I ask you to explain how the universe around us is governed by laws like the law of gravity or the law of relativity. How did these laws come to be? Did they just happen by chance or did God create them to reveal Himself to us? I ask you to look around at creation and all the beauty within it and say this happened by chance? I don't think so and I know it didn't. The bible says that all creation speaks of the glory of God. I also recomend getting a new King James version of the bible or another modern translation cause even I struggle to understand the old english of the original King James, tell ya what give me your address and I'll send you one. Ok your turn...

Terry S said...

I do NOT know with 100% certainty that god doesn't exist. I am certain that the PROBABILITY of god's existence is VERY low.

I am curious. What specific evidence do you have, beyond your belief that proves to you that god does exist?

I don't have answers as to the origin of the universe. That does not mean that the only, or even the likely answer is god. I believe that one day, it is possible that science will in fact provide those answers.

Here is another question for you. If this omnipotent, omniscient god exists, what possible reason could he (she or it) have for creating this universe? How could this universe and all that is in it hold any interest whatsoever for such a being? Is this all a game? A very cruel game, at that.

Do you believe that the millions of people who have and continue to be starved and murdered throughout the world are doomed to such an end because they have not seen the light? What kind of petty, cruel god would inflict such misery on his own creation? To what end is all this? What possible purpose can you conjure in your mind for an existence under such a vengeful god?

I don't have a need for another bible. It has nothing to offer me. I am perfectly content in my godless life.

TLS

Peter said...

How do I know God exists? Well other than being born again and experiencing His grace first hand, He has continually been in my life since as far back as I can remember even before I gave my life to Him. He has been there guiding my life to glorify His purpose. Why did God create the universe and the earth we live in? For His own glory. Why do people suffer and starve, disease, and other horrifying things happen all around us? because we live in a fallen world, the devil said to Jesus if you will bow and worship me I will give you all the kingdoms of the world. Because the world belongs to satan and even though the world belongs to satan, he is still subject to the authority of God, the devil would wipe us all out if he could, if it were not for the hand of God holding him back. The devil waits about like a ravenous lion, expecting to have his prey, Jesus said that we are from beneath, and He is from above. Until you have a personal relationship with Him you are bound to eternity in hell. Not realizing it now, that the air you breathe and the life you have is in the presence of the Lord. The eternal seperation from Him that you now face is extremely more painful and agonizing than any pain and suffering you could face in this life. The difference between christianity and all other religions or so called ways into heaven, is that in all other religions it's about what you can do to get into heaven, in christianity it's about what Christ did that gets us in, nothing we do is of any value in the eyes of the Lord, the Holiness, rightiousness, and justice of God are so beyond are understanding that few have lived to tell about it. There are numerous stories in the bible of men who thought they could come into the holy of holies and were killed instantly for their attempts. No man shall see the Lord in their fleshly state and live. Moses only saw the backside of the Lord and his face glowed for days after. Only God can reveal Himself to you. I can only show you through your conscience that you need a savior. Until you admit that you've sinned against God, by lieing, stealing, blaspheming, adultry(lusting in your heart), and that's only a few of the ten commandments that you and I have broken, the only difference between you and me is I'm covered in the blood of Christ and you, to this point, are not covered. Remember its not my believing or yours that makes God exist, He exists with or with out us, all the pain and suffering in this world is here to show us our need of a savior, God allows it to happen to achieve His purpose. His ways are not our ways, His plans not ours. God is in control even when you don't acknowledge Him as being such. Being right with God is a personal relationship not a mass marketing scheme or world order, thats satans plan for the world. hope this sheds some light on things for you, I am only an instrument in Gods hand to reach you, all the miracles and other signs God could give you may be of no use because of your unwillingness to acknowledge them. How do you explain people who are miraculously healed from cancer or cripples who walk or diseases that are cured by no intervention of man? I am not reffering to those healing crusades that make a mochary of Gods healing power. There are true acountable stories of these kinds of healings, and my final question to you for this round is this, How would you respond to a group of christians showing up at your house to mow your yard for free, or wash your car for free, or clean your bathroom for free? If christians would show this act of service to you would you mabey consider theres something to this christianity thing?

Peter said...

P.S. Can we move this to another comments section? of a different topic?

Terry S said...

Peter,

We can move this anywhere you'd like. I will continue my response to you as a comment on my latest post regarding Tim Haggard.

TLS