Friday, September 24, 2010

C'mon, Really?

I have Christian Post newsfeeder in my reader, and I don't generally try to review 76 posts at once, but man these people are freakin' delusional.

Survey: 4 in 5 Americans Say Students Should Be Able to Pray at School Events

So, what's stopping them? I know we liberalCryptoFacistIslamatheists are this close to ruling the world, but no one's in control of your thoughts. You can pray all you want, whenever and where ever you please. So, apparently, 4 in 5 Americans don't really mean "pray" so much as they mean "make a big spectacle of praying so everybody notices".

Man, have I messed up. I’m a Christian, but I walked away from the Lord and got involved with a non-Christian girl. I think I love her. She is sweet and we get along, but she’s not a believer. We got involved in some stuff, sexually, that we shouldn’t have (and I was the one persuading her to do it). Before long, I became convicted about the sexual sin and about being unequally yoked with an unbeliever. I broke off our relationship.

I just heard from her though, and she is pregnant, with my baby. So here’s my question. Do I marry this girl, and become unequally yoked or do I not marry and have my child be born into a family in which his or her parents aren’t married to each other?

I know I’ve really messed up. I’m just trying to figure what to do now, to keep from making it worse.

You're a jerk. You talked this "sweet" girl into sex, then decided it was sinful and she wasn't good enough for you and bailed. Now, you don't even feel bad about that at all, you're just trying to make yourself feel better about things. Here's what I want to know, and what nobody really addresses, is why the fuck would she want to marry you? You're a jerk. You got what you wanted and left, no doubt slut shaming her on the way out. And now you expect her to make a lifelong commitment to you as your spouse? I hope she laughs in your face.

Christians Will Make Capitalism Work in China

A faithful BreakPoint listener alerted me to an article from the BBC, written by Christopher Landau. Landau reports that the valve company’s owner, Weng-Jen Wau, believes that the more Christian employees he has, the better his business will prosper.

“If you’re a Christian you’re more honest, with a better heart,” Wau says. And if they do something wrong, “they feel guilty-that’s the difference,” he notes.

An employee at Wau’s factory agreed. “If everybody became a Christian,” he said, “it would have a very big impact, and would really help the development of our factory.”

First of all, no. Secondly, I can prove it. 75% of Americans are Christians, and in case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And the country wasn't exactly crawling with nonChristians in 1929, either.

Given the Yay! quality of the article, I guess Christians want the US to start emulating China now. My how times they are a'changin'.


  1. So here’s my question. Do I marry this girl, and become unequally yoked or do I not marry and have my child be born into a family in which his or her parents aren’t married to each other?

    And here we have a prime example of something I was trying to explain in my post called Shit, Part 4. The guy has a genuine problem at hand here. It started with the guy having a genuine "problem," namely that he was horny.

    There are things that he has to work through. What does he really feel about pre-marital sex? What does he really feel about the girl in question? What does he really feel about fatherhood and marriage? Is he ready or able to handle any of that stuff?

    Yet he dodged everything with religion. "I walked away from the Lord," is a good way of dodging, "I wanted to have sex." "I decided to go back," is a good way of dodging, "I realized I didn't want to be with this girl any more." Finally, "I'm not sure if we should get married due to religious concerns," is a fantastic way of dodging, "Do I actually want to marry her, would she actually want to marry me, and am I mature enough to be able to be a father, anyway?"

    Ultimately what happens is he externalizes everything that led to this moment. The things that he can't externalize he blames on transitory states ("I walked away from, then came back," implies that being with god is the default state and you'll return eventually, so everything that happens outside of that is something that can't possibly happen again). The net result is that he won't learn anything and if this ever happens again he'll be just as surprised and confused as he is now.

    The weird thing is that I don't assume he's a douchebag. He could actually be a genuinely nice guy who genuinely didn't want any of this to happen. The problem is that this particular form of religion creates a sort of default asshole setting. Contemplation of how you really think you should behave and really feel about what's going on is suppressed, if not discouraged outright. So everything becomes external.

    The key point I see in the narrative is this: he says he walked away before he got involved. He says he pushed for the sex. So he is aware of his own culpability and aware that he was an active participant and aware that he has the capability of doing these things. The rest of the story, though, tells me that he's scared of what those things mean to him.

    This isn't to defend him. It's an attempt to explain what thinking like an Evangelical Christian does to a person. If you're not encouraged to take responsibility for your own actions and actively encouraged to wait for the cosmic sky daddy to tell you what to do you'll spend your entire life a petulant, selfish child.

  2. Wow, Geds, I'm a Christian and I pretty much assumed he was a douchebag....

  3. As to the 4 out of 5 Americans survey, studies have shown that prayers are more effective when done in a conspicuous setting, where others are literally forced to physically acknowledge the divine devotions of one's public worship...
    Genruk of Idle Truth

  4. Jason:

    Hey, now. I didn't say he's NOT a douchebag...

    Really, though, it's just one of those things. It struck me earlier this week just how much stuff I didn't want to deal with that I covered with, for lack of a better term, pious sounding excuses. Obviously your mileage may vary, depending on specific churches, which bits of the message you absorbed and which bits you missed, and how self-aware you (that being the editorial "you") actually are.

    There's also the fact that I'm running amateur psychoanalysis on two paragraphs worth of some guy trying to justify his own shitty behavior on the internets in order to drive my own narrative about how it's possible to end up thinking like that. I suppose it's my own "Don't Be a Dick" speech, but I figure that if you just automatically say, "Wow, what a douchebag," without considering the actual way the self-justification is presented you'll never actually learn anything about the person you're demonizing.

  5. See, I'm seeing this from the receiving end of "You gave me what I want, now you're a SLUT!"*, so it's a little hard for me to say anything other than "douchebag", so I will cede to Geds' superior understanding of a) evangelical culture and b)guys in general.

    *There are few things you can do to a young woman in our culture that are more likely to result in serious damage to self esteem.

  6. Yeah, I've always been extremely uncomfortable with conservative evangelical culture and though I bought into parts of it when I was younger, the older I get the more uncomfortable with it I become. It is probably a little unfair and judgmental of me, but there are certain words and phrases that those types use that other Christians don't. Like in this post, I can't imagine anyone in my church saying "walked away from the Lord" or "unequally yoked." Its like a subculture with is on language. When I hear someone talking like that, my internal nutjob alarm starts going off and I assume that person probably doesn't have anything good to say.

  7. PF: See, I'm seeing this from the receiving end of "You gave me what I want, now you're a SLUT!"

    That's one of those things. This sort of story is extremely context- and framing-sensitive. I read it as the guy at least tacitly admitting that he was a willing participant and claiming that he was the one trying to get her, not her using her feminine wiles to trick him in to participating in her sluttiness.

    The problem is that we don't know what "before long" meant. Was it the next day, was it the next month, was it the next year? We also don't know if the realization of sinfulness was a post hoc rationalization or not.

    Basically, if he got her in to bed, woke up the next morning and said, "Oh, god, what have I done?" and started looking for a way out, which became, "Baby Jesus is crying! I have to go pray for my soul!" there's a strong, strong chance that the dude's a douchebag and should be smacked upside the head.

    If, instead, there was an actual relationship and he was gradually realizing that it wasn't working out and he didn't really like the girl as much as he'd thought at the start, then we hit a different territory. At that point religion becomes a dodge to avoid painful conversation. This doesn't rule out douchebag-ness, either. But it could just as easily be a sign of immaturity.

    Then, of course, there's the "unequally yoked" part. He obviously does not want to make this a permanent arrangement. But rather than work through the ramifications of his actions he's dressing up his unwillingness with Christianese and pseudo-piety.

    So it kind of ends up with the evil or stupid dichotomy, but it's more of a "douchebag or immature?" The problem is that if he's a douchebag he'll probably be a douchebag no matter what. If he's simply immature then his religious beliefs are encouraging him to remain immature and never get to a point where he honestly has to assess what he's done.


    Yeah...I'm still fluent in Christianese. The thing is that the people who set your nutjob alarm off are the sort of people I went to church with. So I've got names and faces and I know that most of the people there are genuinely well-meaning, but they've been taught to believe in a stupid system and told that everything revolves around believing in it. So I have a certain level of compassion and understanding that fights against my own annoyance and anger.

  8. Geds, you would love to read my ex-wife's reasons for why our marriage didn't work out. It is an exact exercise in what you describe and parallels a lot of what this guys said too.

    She is still of the faith too.

  9. "default asshole setting" , I love it.

    This is what I notice about these outraged Muslims (also catholics etc). It's always "this [external thing] upsets them, and should be changed". It's never "I let this shit upset me, I should change".
    It's how toddlers act.

    Their own tantrums are due to the cartoonist that offended, the 'slut' that enticed, or if all else fails, there's always Satan to blame. The alternative is to grow up.

  10. oh man, that poor girl.

    aside from being pregnant, i've *been* that girl.
    i mean, i don't flaunt my religion, i don't tell every. single. person. ever. that i'm pagan. [most people have zero clue. i've been complimented, OFTEN, for "being a good Christian". especially when i could still mentor and volunteer at the women's shelter]
    but if i'm going to be in a relationship with a person, i *DO* tell them. i know [and sort of understand why] some people don't date/marry outside their faith. and, so long as one is HONEST about it, i'm ok with that. the really really hot guy who was FUNNY and SMART and NICE and we CLICKED who, upon hearing me say "i am not Christian, i was raised Pagan and still am. i don't care what religion you follow, if you do at all - but if YOU care about what mine is, now is the time to tell me" tells me that yeah, he does have a problem, sorry - that's ok. good, even. better to find out NOW. [and we're still friends. and 8 years later, he tells me he wishes he'd been more flexible. too late, lol, but hey, at least he's growing, right?]

    no, problem is the guys who IGNORE it, or don't think about it.

    the worst was the Mormon guy. who, let me be clear, left me with HORRIBLE "female blue balls". who'd'a though a 22 yo guy would turn down sex with a girl he claimed to find more enticing than Helen of Troy and Cleopatra combined? [his words!] and then, after several months, out of the blue, it was "ya know, i want to get married." i said "erm... not ready to get married yet." he said "oh, no! not to YOU! i couldn't marry *YOU*!" and then didn't understand why i kicked him out with extreme prejudice.

    or the guy who claimed to be an atheist, and so he didn't care about my "little fantasy", so long as he wasn't included - and then, out of no-where, suddenly it was of paramount importance that i convert to Catholicism. and when i said NO, because hello i HAVE a religion and i'm HAPPY with it, he pulled the "if you loved me" card. which i pulled right back [if you loved me you wouldn't ask me to abandon the religion i grew up with and love], with an additional "why the fuck do you care, you're an ATHEIST?!" turns out his MOTHER is still catholic, and "wouldn't approve" of him marrying anyone but a "good catholic girl". so i could convert or i could break up. guess which i chose? at that point, i broke up because of his rampant hypocrisy!

  11. Denelian: whoa. Assholes. As someone who lacks the capacity for non-humorous douchebaggery, that sort of thing stuns me.

    Dammit, how do people like that pick up people of the opposite sex? “If you loved me” is such a fracked up phrase that I would have to suppress some pretty strong homicidal tendencies if I ever heard it used by anyone other than Tim Minchin (man-crush, squee!).

  12. Quasar;

    every asshole i've ever interacted with who was like this didn't ACT like it at first. akin to partner-abusers, i think. mental torture and manipulation, na da? 'course, some of it was my fault, in a way - child of abuse and manipulation, it took me over a decade of therapy to learn that it was NOT love, that if someone loves you they don't do that, and that i don't HAVE to deal with it. *shrug* it's a truism that children raised on abuse tend to find partners similar to those who abused them.

    i don't know, the world is just fucked up.

    but Tim Minchin does help :)


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