A blog about what the Christian fundamentalists believe, and taught me to believe, before I escaped. It will curl your hair.

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This piece of paper is going to GET you! [Source: Instagram user evelyn_illustrations

Evangelical/Fundie Christians are supposed to have been saved from pagan superstition. But in fact, they are deeply immersed in it; they merely ascribe their own superstitions to Jesus rather than, say, Odin or Herne the Hunter.

Case in point. A recent post on the Last Hiker blog is all about adult coloring and mandalas (Adult Coloring Books and Mandalas, A Warning for Christians).

There’s a whole whack of info there on what other people think of mandalas and how they use them (Hindus and Buddhists, and even poor Carl Jung gets dragged into this). But all through this post is the fact that because some other people (not all, by any means; some just like art) use mandalas for some sort of “mind opening” purpose, these things somehow inevitably lead a Christian to opening their mind to Satan. (By this same reasoning, because these people all wear clothes when engaged in pagan worship…)

What this is doing is giving utterly inanimate objects some mysterious, virtually irresistible power. This is akin to the old pagan practice of believing that a small creek has a “spirit” that hangs out there. A piece of paper with swirly lines and colors has mysterious power over you? So does the “spirit” of that reputedly “sacred” rock over there. What’s the difference? There is none.

What these mandalas actually are is pieces of paper with swirly lines and bits of color on them. They have no power whatsoever–except what people voluntarily attribute to them. (I don’t say “voluntarily give to them,” because even if you decide to “give” a piece of paper some power, it remains powerless. Everything is all in your own mind, and nothing you do will ever produce any extra “power” in that object. Sorry to tell you this, guys, but our minds don’t have extrasensory powers over inanimate objects.)

And these Christians are supposed to be all about knowing that the only power is in God, while there is no power in inanimate objects.

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Even more threatening when colored! [Source: The Herbandgardener]

But almost every evangelical/fundie Christian I know is this superstitious about inanimate objects. They are afraid that pieces of paper will somehow “lead them astray.” If that’s not superstition, even by their own definitions of “pagan superstition,” I don’t know what is.

And why are they afraid that pieces of paper will undo them? My guess is that it’s because their faith is utterly weak–and they know it. They have to avoid pieces of paper or they just! can’t! keep! believing! This is extremely sad.

So why am I mentioning all this? A niece on Facebook posted a link to the above post, and I (more briefly) responded about this being superstition, and no inanimate object having power over Christians. I received a chastising private message telling me not to post such things but to keep it all quiet and only talk to her about it privately if I have something to say. (Meaning that all her superstitious Christian friends who read that post of hers won’t have to see any reasonable, and yes, dammit, biblically-based response. Fuck that shit.) I am so sick of being chastised by someone thirty years younger than me for something I know way more about than she does, so I unfriended her. Alas. I will miss the pictures of her kids.

But also, I posted a similar response on the Last Hiker blog itself. However, the comment is “awaiting moderation,” which means it will never see the light of day on that blog. One thing evangelical/fundie Christians are very good at is blocking out any view that might give them more accurate information or might–*gasp*–point out any errors in their world view.

They are vastly more afraid of contradictory information even than they are of pieces of paper. Which is saying a lot.

So here is the comment I made there. But alas, none of the readers there who have commented enthusiastically and embraced the superstitious fear of pieces of paper with lines and colors on them will ever see it:

Christians are not supposed to be superstitious. (“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”)

Giving some sort of mysterious power to a piece of paper and pigments on the paper is superstition, pure and simple. Remember how the gold and silver of pagan Egypt was used to create the tabernacle of God in the wilderness? It’s the heart of the USER that decides whether some inanimate object is put to good use or to bad use.

There is NO power in an inanimate object, no matter who else has chosen to use it in a bad way. To say that these bits of paper with lines and colors can have some mysterious influential power over you is pure, PAGAN superstition.

Christians are supposed to be better than this. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back — look at some swirly lines, be led astray” — these are BOTH bits of superstitious nonsense that Christians are supposed to be understanding enough not to fall for.

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I have been an avid and glad listening to CBC Radio’s weekly program, The Sunday Edition, for many years. But this morning, I am shocked and horrified and absolutely furious. The host, Michael Enright, used his opening essay to complain that atheists are becoming too “whiny” and should stop complaining and be nicer.

Michael Enright of CBC Radio

Michael Enright: “Stop complaining and sit back and take it. And smile, please.”

Note this: just last week, the Christian-dominated Tea Party/Republians in the United States used their religion to justify removing aid from hundreds of thousands of poor people, single parents, disabled people, and damaged veterans who fought in the wars this party was so eager to send them out to fight. (Republicans Must Believe that Jesus Hates Hungry, Poor People and has a Deep-Seated Love for the Rich)

In the United States, over the past couple of years, Christian legislators have passed more than a thousand — that’s right, more than a thousand — anti-woman bills in legislatures all over the country, trying to make sure that women can’t avoid becoming pregnant, can be fired for using birth control, and absolutely must stay pregnant when they get that way. And of course, have to stay home when they are forced to have all those children. Those bills attack women as their primary targets, but they also turn doctors into government tools and snitches and deny poor women basic health care (mammograms, for example) as a happy sideline.  (Proof of the GOP War on Women) Thanks so much, Christians.

And Michael Enright objects to the fact that we atheists are angry about this and are starting to fight back. And that we’re being loud about it. And not polite. And we’re not laughing.

I have been a longtime fan of this CBC Radio program for years and years. When Mr. Enright’s interviews touch on history or religion, especially, I often simply stop what I’m doing in the morning and sit down and listen so I don’t miss a single word. I love the show.

But I never been as furious about anything I have heard on The Sunday Edition as I am right now. Nor have I felt so hurt. Does Mr. Enright seriously expect that if the political trend in a country is to try to take away my rights and freedoms and force me to conform to the majority religion, I should just shut up and take it? Not fight for my life?? How can he seriously want me to let that be done to me, and insist that I should “stop complaining” and be nice about it?

I’m not sure I will continue listening to this program.

You can listen to s the essay itself here: Could Atheists please stop complaining?

Sidewalk cracks

“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, E.W. Jackson, thinks that doing yoga leads to Satanic possession. (E.W. Jackson, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Candidate, Says Yoga May Result In Satanic Possession)

Jackson is being mocked for his outlandish views. But the thing is…a large percentage of fundies believe it.

I was taught the very same thing myself. And this didn’t occur recently, in the current freakish fundie religious anti-woman, anti-black-president, anti-everything-that’s-good right-wing political atmosphere. I got taught this stuff in church, in the 1970s.

I still remember hearing a guest speaker one Sunday evening, teaching us all this stuff very diligently. Not only did you open your mind to Satan if you “emptied yourself” in meditation (I heard this again later in Bible school), but the very movements of your body in yoga somehow were designed to weaken your spirit and make you vulnerable to temptation, sin, and Satan. (What they really were objecting to, of course, was all that stuff from foreigners. Even if they didn’t actually realize it.)

This sort of thing is being said even more often now, with a straight face, looking people directly in the eye. And to most people saying it, it seems perfectly obvious and reasonable.

Except…I sat in the audience that evening, and for probably the very first time, there was a stirring in me of…something. I found myself thinking, “Well, that’s certainly superstitious. Why, that’s no different at all from ‘step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back.'”

That might have been the moment of my very first glimmer of a question about the faith system that I had been taught all my life. It was one of the seeds that was planted, that’s for sure. And whether or not it started everything, there’s no doubt that it contributed. That may have been my very first step on the long, arduous road OUT.

Let’s hope there are hordes of people like me among the Christians in Jackson’s audience, having their very own “first glimmers” with every word he speaks.

Phoenix Pastor Draws Protests After Telling Church He Prays For Obama’s Death

This man is full of hate. “I disagree with him so I want him to die.”

And these are God’s representatives on earth, are they?

No turn the other cheek for these self-righteous evil people, eh? And no — we’ve never heard the exact same type of words that have spewed from Steven Anderson’s mouth from the mouths of the Taliban in the name of their God, have we? Nope, nohow, noway. Uh huh.

Oh yes. It’s the Libruls and Teh Gays and the Uppity Wimmin who are going to destroy the world.

And my fundie relatives wonder why I no longer participate in this evil, hate-filled spew any longer.

Good little Christian pastor Rick Warren was on Larry King on CNN, on April 6. Here’s a transcript. Please note his remarks a little over halfway down in the transcript:

I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.

During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

Then go watch this YouTube video of Rick Warren endorsing and supporting Prop Hate, and encouraging people to do the same:

As one of my online friends says, “Doesn’t it make baby Jesus cry when you lie, little Ricky?”

Be sure your sin will find you out, bucko.

(Many thanks to Tonya J for the heads-up on this.)

Oh goody.

Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology gets asked a question about science (“do you believe in evolution?”), and he answers religiously (“I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate”).

Read the full story in this Globe and Mail article: Minister won’t confirm belief in evolution.

He might have had slight — just slight — justification in mentioning religion, since the basic question was whether he believed in evolution as our government Science guy, people being worried about that because he is a creationist.

And yet.

Do you get what he’s admitting?? Two things:

  1. creationism is religious, not scientific; and therefore its sneaky relative, “Intelligent Design” (which uses the same creationist textbooks but just changes the word “creationism” to “Intelligent Design” to try to sneak it past the regulations about not teaching religion in school), is also religious
  2. he believes evolution with all its evidence is merely a religious belief; this is a common fallacy taught by creationists, since they don’t base anything on actual evidence, but on their religious beliefs

And this is the guy in charge of Canada’s science and technology?? Damn, is this country in trouble.

Many scientists fear 10 years of gains will be wiped out by a government that doesn’t understand the importance of basic, curiosity-driven research, which history shows leads to the big discoveries. They worry Canada’s best will decamp for the United States, where President Barack Obama has put $10-billion (U.S) into medical research as part of his plan to stimulate economic growth.

Indeed. Be afraid, scientists. Be very afraid. We already know the government fires people from Health Canada if their evidence doesn’t support the neo-Con ideology. It’s going to get worse as long as these bastards hold any power whatsoever in this country.

Just when North America gets rid of faith-based “science” south of the 49th parallel, we’ve got a guy in charge of our own science who judges scientific ideas not by whether they are supported by sound evidence, but by whether Moses or the apostle Paul like the evidence or not.

Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said he was flabbergasted that the minister would invoke his religion when asked about evolution.

“The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions,” he said.

But at least we’ve got it on record now, and the moron can’t escape it. Creationism is not science, but religion.

Otherwise, he’d have had no problem whatsoever discussing it in the context of a conversation about science. Right?? Right.

A new study of American states has revealed that those that are most “red” — i.e. the most religious and conservative — experience a higher consumption of pornography than those that are “blue,” i.e. criticized by red state people as “liberal and decadent.”

As the New Scientist website reports in its article, Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers, “Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption.”

Benjamin Edelman from Harvard Business School did the survey, using two years’ worth (2006-2008) of anonymized credit card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider.

We can rest easy, though, about our super-religious brethren. At least they gave it a teeny tiny rest on The Lord’s Day:

Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.

There’s also an interesting correlation between states’ judgement of gay people, and the use of porn:

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.

[snip]

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.”

Edelman believes that all of this has something to do with the repression that religious conservatives teach, when it comes to sex.

I agree with that, being an ex-fundie and ex-conservative, and knowing how that repression just makes things boil inside until they have to explode outward. And this ties in with another interesting fact I learned several years ago.

Studies have also shown that among identifiable sub-groups in society, the highest rate of spousal and child abuse also occurs in fundamentalist religious families. I was pretty stunned by this (though I shouldn’t have been, knowing a couple of my own fundie relatives as I did). I might even have been tempted to raise my eyebrows at this fact, if I hadn’t read exactly the same thing from both a fundamentalist feminist and an anti-religious feminist. If even the fundamentalist female sociologist acknowledged these studies — they had to carry some legitimacy, and the evidence was very disturbing.

It’s also no surprise any longer, when we see preachers and lawmakers screaming loudly about how awful The Gays are, and then watching as those same men are discovered in motel rooms having homosexual dalliances, or watching them arrested for soliciting men in an airport bathroom. (See: fundie preacher Ted Haggard and Republican Senator Larry Craig) The louder they yell and the more vehemently they condemn, the more likely, it seems, that they are repressing and desiring the very thing they condemn.

Of course, the fundies will say that this little pornography thingie just proves their point: we are all terribly sinful, and only the conservative Republican fundamentalist God can save us.

Um, no. All this proves, guys, is that you are terribly sinful, and your nasty stomping deity not only doesn’t save you from your natural urges, but makes them worse. After all, the porn trend among those liberal decadent blue state types was lower than yours:

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

So perhaps those religious types in the red states who want to trumpet how righteous they are and how evil we are…? Should just shut up and slink away to their dank corners.

(Thanks go to the Carnal Nation website for pointing out the above article and study.)