Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dear Biblethumpers: You're doing it wrong. And making the rest of us look bad.

Dear Biblethumpers:
Stop. Please STOP.
You don't get it. You're doing it wrong, and you're making the rest of us look bad.
You're making those of us who were already on (what you claim to be) your side want to jump ship.
So quit it. Stop the hate, stop the intolerance, stop the stupidity.
Thanks,
Criss.

So, apparently, today on Twitter someone started a #nogod hashtag. I saw it this morning; didn't like some of the stuff I saw tweeted, because, since I do believe in God, those insults included me as well.

But then this afternoon I saw this. And, really, how can you argue with that?

When I see stuff like the #nogod hashtag/trending topic, or people defending atheism by condemning Christianity, part of me has to agree with them. I mean, look at what those people were saying? Really?

I know when people attack God and religion and Christianity they are not attacking me, they are not really saying I'm stupid because I believe in a higher power and go to church. They are attacking those who blindly follow a leader who tells them pretty things. And they are attacking those leaders who twist the words they read in the Bible for their own twisted, hateful, small-minded bigotry; those who use the Bible and religion to control.

And so many of the people on Twitter who claim to be "Christians" spew so much hate against anyone who might perhaps think just a little differently than they, and they do it "in God's name." It's hard not to hate them back. I can't blame the people who were using the #nogod hashtag.

I know I'm not the nicest person in the world. I know I have a huge issue with forgiveness -- I don't give it. I spew hate on my blog. But I don't do it "in God's name." I don't condemn you to Hell because God says so. I don't tell you God's going to send you to Hell.

I also have enough faith in my faith, and I believe what I believe strongly enough that some stupid hashtag isn't going to threaten my faith or my beliefs. Do you think God cares about that stupid #nogod hashtag? Puh-leeez! There are several hashtags that probably hurt God, but #nogod wasn't one of them. #lame, #retarded, #gay... I bet God feels a stab or two when he reads those. (And I'd give you more, but frankly I don't look at the trending topics and don't follow hashtags other than #prochoice, #NaNoWriMo... and that's about it.)

Yesterday, one of the students in my tutoring group asked me if it was true that the Bible says piercings are bad.

Dude, I really don't think they had body piercing parlours in Nazareth. Or am I missing something? Did Judas have an eyebrow ring? Was the reason Sara had such a hard time conceiving because she had a belly-button ring? Didn't take it out until she was, like, eighty, and that's when she finally got pregnant?

No, the kid was talking about the Bible saying your body is a temple. So you shouldn't get a piercing or a tattoo.

I tried to explain to the kid that he should be much more worried about what kind of food he eats -- puts in his temple -- than about an earring. But he wasn't paying attention.

An authority figure, his parents, or a priest/preacher, told him the Bible says this and this is what it means. Period, end of story.

"You can't get a piercing or a tattoo, because the Bible says that's bad. God will hate you. And you will go to Hell."

"Oh. Okay."

What about respecting your body? Taking care of yourself? Eating right? Exercising? Loving your body as it is, instead of telling yourself you are too fat? Too tall? Too short? Your body is a gift from God, God made you just the way He/She wanted you to be. Love your body, it was custom-made for you.

No? That part's not important?

Nope, just the "no-piercings" part.

Eat all the high-fructose corn syrup you want, and stay on the couch all day playing your stupid XBox. That's what the Bible says.

What most people tell you the Bible says is rarely ever what it does say. Too many people take one line, one verse, and tell you the Bible says THIS. They ignore the pages upon pages of Jesus telling them to "love one another, as I have loved you."

That's what the Bible says. That's what religion faith is. That's what I believe in.

And I wish others would stop ruining it for me, dammit.

14 comments:

  1. Wow - I hadn't seen that hash and I have to agree with you. I wasn't raised Christian - I became Christian of my own personal choice and sometimes I just don't understand the Christian culture.

    On the tattoo's/piercing's issue I can at least talk like I know what I'm talking about. There's one verse in Leviticus where it cautions the Hebrews to not tattoo themselves but what you don't get unless you research where and when it was written was that the Hebrews were living among a culture where people tattood themselves in ancestor worship. The verse is in context saying - ancestor worship is a no-no, you worship God. There's more to it but I won't ramble about historical-context. I could also be biased, considering I have a number of tattoos; I really don't think God cares about the color of my skin - I think he cares far more about what's inside of me. My body is my temple and I choose to decorate and redecorate it as I so desire.

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  2. Historical context!!!! Ramble on, PLEASE!!! :)

    That's what's missing from SO MANY of these discussions about "what the Bible says." Looking at the WHY is a pretty important step, which many people overlook.

    The only thing I miss about living in Houston is the pastor at my church. He would go into the historical context of stories and situations in the Bible and the linguistic history of the words used, and how they were translated (and re-translated). That's where I learned that the reason why sex is "bad" is because in those times, large hilltop orgies were a way to worship pagan gods. Like you said with the tattoos -- the problem was not the action, but that the action was done in worship of other gods. Sex isn't bad, pagan gods are.

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  3. Exactly! A big thing in the Jewish culture back then was that they created moats/motes (myspelling today is baaad) around things that were "bad" or that they shouldn't indulge in a lot. Alcohol, for example! In the context it says to not drink to excessiveness, in a few places it cautions that should a person have problems (read as addictions) then yes, they should not drink it. However, the Hebrews thought that the best way to remain holy and not sin was to put a fence around what was "evil" or "sinful" - thus drunkeness. What causes it? Alcohol! Thus ALL ALCOHOLIC drinking is evil and sinful! Nope - not what it said. Granted I don't drink by choice, and I am in no way promoting drinking alcohol, it's just an example that springs to mind easiest and we hear a lot of. A lot of the Hewbrew/Jewish laws on cleanliness arose from this practice and is how a lot of Jewish customs have come about. Think of all the different, consecrated articles for eating and what can and cannot touch eachother. On one hand it's fascinating, on another it's a monster I would run away from.

    *sigh*

    I love historical contexts... I'm toying with the idea of researching and writing a year long devo series that's based on that research and is really rooted in layers of knowledge. I'm just a little too excited about research I think... :)

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  4. Hmm... Personally, I would actually take greater issue with the "my god is the only true god" concept than "sex and tattoos are bad"... but I guess it doesn't really matter anyway, since I'm agnostic.

    I will agree that there is a sub-set of Christians who have a warped/hypocritical view of Christianity, but really, isn't that true of many ideals/belief structures? I think the problem is less that these individuals "make the rest of you look bad" as that people need to be more understanding of the concept that the actions of one individual should not represent the whole group. (And that's true whether discussing religion, race, gender, or any other descriptor.)

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  5. Great post, Criss. I hate to get into conversations about religon because I'm not doing really well with my own faith right now. Still, you're absolutely right. The problem with many so-called Christians these days is that they don't think for themselves which, in my opinion, is what growing in faith and having an adult relationship with God is all about.

    Danine
    http://www.danine.net

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  6. Very nice post. I am the owner of the blog you linked to with the foul language tweets (thank you for the link, by the way).

    I would like to say, to explain a little bit about atheism, the majority of us agree with your sentiment and know there are good christians out there who have helped the world in many ways, especially through charity work. Most atheists are former Christians and know first hand that there is indeed good to be found in organized religion, and though we may take issue with contradictions in the Bible--many atheists would agree with many of Christ's teachings. It is the manifestation of how these teachings corrupt those without the will to think for themselves that we take issue with, and when people like that interfere with the first amendment we get upset.

    I'm not saying atheists can't be rude and foul either--we can and have many times. But this is just us engaging in debates, sometimes stupidly. Atheists do not want the world to ban religion; on the contrary we would prefer people to question authority and pursue doubts. Those questions may indeed lead them back to religion, which is fine. Atheists just choose knowledge over faith. The fight for us to keep the separation of church and state.

    So I agree with you, that the debate between theists and atheists will never get anywhere if people like those who tweeted what was on my blog continue to force those types of opinions (and those atheists who do the same). Freedom of speech is a great thing, but it should be done respectfully.

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  7. not much to add, sorry it took me so long to read the post but just wanted to say you wrote this extremely well and I very much agree with you.

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  8. Hello
    This is really good post and its interesting to read about piercing.I completely agree with some of your points.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.I like your views.

    rooibos

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  9. There's also a bit in Genesis that mentions piercings - a new bride (somebody important, sheesh, I'm terrible) or maybe a servant?

    Anyway, she comes into this family and has a nose ring, and that was okay, since it was done in her region.

    Someone pointed me to that verse to justify my nose stud, if tons of women in India weren't enough.

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  10. I'm an atheist and have quite a few very devout Christian friends. So we just don't talk about religion - no conversion attempts or I cut off the Bollywood! ;)

    I've always found belief in God to be an issue of faith, and I just think it's wrong to go to church when you don't believe, when you're just going because "you have to" and you don't even get to duck out early for Sunday School.

    I got my family off my back by a) "smoothly" changing the subject and more effectively by b) explaining that if I should believe one day, it will happen when it happens. I can't force myself. It made sense at the time.

    HA - word verification is MANON!

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  11. Kaitlyn: I'll have to look up the piercings thing. Even so, I still think "BECAUSE I LIKE IT" should be justification enough for your nose stud. Whom are you hurting by wearing it? How could it possibly offend God if it's not hurting someone?

    Rational Behavior: Thanks for having the link to illustrate my point! I usually give the blog's name when I link, but when I wrote this post I was too angry to take time to think straight.

    Laura: if you're referring to "my God is the one true God" in the context of oldentimes (those passages Cid and I mentioned), if I'm not mistaken (which I might be, since I'm no Bible scholar) those other gods were the kind who requested virgin sacrifices. I think we can all agree that a "god" whose worship involved killing girls is one everyone should be encouraged to shy away from. (And if I understand ancestor-worship correctly, ancestors are humans, not gods, so they should not be worshipped.)

    If you are referring to present day "my God is the one true God," then I agree with you completely. This is one of the many issues I have with the Catholic Church -- they don't even accept other sects of Christianity. One of the reasons I am happy with the ELCA is that -- let me qualify this correctly -- the ELCA Lutherans I have met are accepting of other faiths and viewpoints. My personal view is that there is one God, we just give him different names (in most cases, because we speak differenty langauges), but if you look at the heart of the major religions, the ideas are the same. There is one God, and that's all there is, we just give him different names. Again, the main point is love yourself and love your neighbor. Which religion is against that?

    (Yes, there are radical sects of all religions that condone violence; Islam has Al-Queda, Christianity has the KKK and Naziism. And anti-choicers.)

    Cid: you should totally write that book/devo. Because I will read it.

    (Sorry it took a while to respond to some of you. Had an unprescedented afk period... But I'm better now.)

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  12. I wandered into this post from http://disabledfeminists.com, and I want to say thank you--I recently converted and a close friend of mine isn't speaking to me because I "fell for the brainwashing and joined an organization that supports taking away peoples' rights" and this gives me better words than I had to explain that that was very definitely NOT why I became Christian.

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  13. I agree with you here chris...

    As a wiccan, I too get offended when those of us of ANY spiritual faith gets lumped in with those who misuse religion for their own petty agendas.

    As far as the piercing/temple thing goes...

    Ive noticed that all too often, christians...Both fundemental and true...Forget that jesus was always more concerned with the spiritual state of folks rather than the external appearance of them.

    Sadly...This has led to worrying more about what people think of you instead of worrying about what your god/goddess thinks of you.

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  14. Hi!
    I just want to say that as a Christian and a Feminist from the UK, the insane Bible-bashing bigots do come to our attention more often, so it's always awesome to be reminded that not every Christian on the other side of the pond is like that.
    It's good to know that there is a rational voice of tolerance over there, even if it isn't always loud enough to be heard from across the Atlantic.

    Peace, and thank you,
    Alex

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