Why Christians never stop managing to piss me off
I know Mr. Cranky touched on this issue recently, but I had been thinking about putting fingers to keyboard for some time and today was the day to do so, so without further ado here is a short list.
1. Their endless misuse of the concept of persecution
Christians believe that somehow my right to not be a Christian makes me a persecutor of Christians. Think about it for a moment; here I am, minding my own business in the grocery store, and the lady 10 feet away from me sneezes. Being polite (or at least attempting in my own way to be), I turn to her and say “Gesundheuit” with a light smile. I turn back to continue my shopping and instead of hearing “Thank you” or “Excuse me” or even nothing, what do I hear? “Why didn’t you say bless you?” Already knowing where a continuation of this conversation will lead (yes I’ve been down this road unfortunately before) I pretend to not hear her and finish putting the carrots I’ve chosen in a bag and move to leave the produce section. Not content with my reaction, the lady all but sprints to get in front of me and block my path. “I said why didn’t you say bless you?!?!” she demands. Taking a deep breath and subduing the involuntary urge to roll my eyes I reply “I was merely being courteous.” with a weak attempt to regain a smile. “You don’t know what courtesy is if you can’t say ‘Bless you’ to a god-fearing Christian!” she exclaims. “Well Ma’am, I had no idea that you were a Christian.” I state before my editing program can stop me. “How dare you not think I’m a Christian!?! I’ve been to church every Sunday my entire life and I deserve to have Bless you said to me!” At this point I can tell by the foam forming at the sides of her mouth that I’d not simply ruined two shopping trips but there was no out for where I’d somehow gotten myself. I brushed past her and went on my way hearing her toss insults that ranged from my parents to my devil-worshipping. Fortunately being an atheist I don’t believe in the devil any more than I do the Christian god. Somebody needs to explain to me how a random act of manners gets twisted into being an insult of not just a person but a religion. From my personal experience and those that others have shared with me, Christians are far and away the chief instigators of persecution. That Christians were persecuted in the distant past is true, but simply because they were doesn’t mean Christians in America are today.
2. The endless asterisk
The Bible. The most proliferated book on the planet. Ever since Gutenberg there have been Bibles available for the masses. To read, to learn from, to study. To a fundamentalist the Bible is irrefutable, its words are the word of god and therefore concrete and absolute. So how is it that Christians the world over have this habit of determining which words are direct statements as opposed to those which are mere metaphors to those which had meaning only during Biblical times? Did I not go to church as a child the day they covered this? Are there markings I’m missing in the text? How can a clergyman stand in front of a congregation and proclaim what the meaning behind the meaning is? Are there teacher copies of the Bible with all the accompanying red text? Why is it that one passage is sacred and the next verse arbitrarily overlooked for convenience? How is it that some devout Catholics can claim that there are two gods? The Old Testament one and the New Testament one? Doesn’t that make the Old Testament null and void, does it mean Catholics are reverse Jews, (see Lewis Black) or does it mean monotheism never really existed for Catholics and therefore Christians? To me if you’re saying that parts of the Bible are allegories, how can anyone possibly claim to know which parts are or aren’t? Doesn’t that make the entire book an allegory? I don’t get it, and probably never will.
3. The issue of redemption
Whether it’s a matter of convenience or not, the whole concept of redemption is to me a far too easy out for Christians. You can swear on a Bible, in a courtroom, to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, lie in said courtroom to serve your own purposes, then ask god for forgiveness afterwards and all is good and heaven is just right around the corner when the time comes? You can rape and/or murder any number of people, be thrown in jail, and yet with the power of redemption comes the ability to have all your life’s work washed clean? What about an aboriginal tribesman who’s never been exposed to the Christian concept of god? He leads a good life, provides for his family, does nothing against his neighbors his tribe his environment or anything else, and because he hasn’t ‘heard the word’ he’s condemned? If this is true then I’d rather laugh with the sinners because if nothing else none of them pretended to be something they’re not, rather than the ‘good Christian’ who perjured themselves in court for whatever the reason or sat in a deserved jail cell and found god.
There are close to 7 billion people on this planet. Almost seven billion. The average person can’t comprehend that figure to be honest. Each and every one of them wakes up in the morning, goes through their day, goes back to sleep, and repeats the process until they die. How many of them play powerball? How many of the ones who do win powerball? The odds of winning powerball are stated to be 1 in 195,249,054. Long odds, but people win powerball. What are the odds of climbing to the top of a 10 story building, leaping off the roof, and landing on something that allows me to survive that fall? Not good. But what if it does happen? Does that make it a miracle? What if I don’t hit anything but survive? Does there being a passing doctor witnessing the event and rushing to my aid so that I survive make his presence a miracle? With nearly seven billion people having events that affect themselves and those around them on a daily basis, uncommon and rare occurrences are bound to happen. Does that make the beneficial ones miracles? What about the bad events? Those happen too, what are they? Dismissing them as ‘god’s will’ is far FAR too convenient. Basically, shit happens; sometimes it’s good shit, sometimes it’s bad shit, but either way it’s random shit. Is the need to believe in a higher power such that god is shit? Is winning powerball a mriacle? I don’t get it.
5. The abhorrence of science
What is it about science and scientific discovery that makes Christians have the kneejerk reaction of denouncing it? From my perspective it’s very similar to their interpretation of the Bible; if it doesn’t conflict with or contradict their interpretation of the Bible then it’s fine, i.e. gravity, light, electricity, magnetism. But don’t tell them something that they feel does conflict or contradict them. The earth is 6000 or so years old. Those fossil records? Chemistry only works for tabletop volcanoes and preserving food not for determining how old rocks are. If not out and out falsified, god put the dinosaur bones there, possibly during the flood of Noah. The flood of Noah couldn’t happen because there’s simply not enough water content on the planet to flood the entire surface? God made the water and made is disappear when he was done with it. Man is different from apes and therefore could not have come from apes. Forget the whole concept that all primates had similar ancestry millions upon millions of years ago. It’s just not possible and anyway the Bible says god made man in his own image from dirt. Planets around other stars that may be capable of supporting life? Earth was made by god and therefore is the only place life exists. (Giovanni Bruno is sobbing) The idea that god made other life forms isn’t mentioned and therefore cannot exist is as geocentric as believing that the sun orbits the earth. I don’t get the concept that it’s only real if I agree with it. Reality is what it is. Faith can exist within that reality but there are things one simply has to accept, like them or not.
6. What would Jesus do?
That’s an all too common catch phrase these days, what would Jesus do. But what WOULD Jesus do? To the best of my understanding Jesus was a kind compassionate person who gave as best he could. Whether it was food, medical help, confidence, or of himself for the rest of humanity, Jesus was a giver. This is a good thing and made a good role model out of Jesus. Today what would Jesus do? Would he aggressively find ways to take money away from others? Would he knowingly create false news events? Would he stand in front of others and knowingly lie in order to spark fear? Would he give definite opinions in mass media outlets about detailed subjects he didn’t have all the facts on? Would his philosophy be ‘Do as I say not as I do’? Would Jesus hate everyone who didn’t automatically agree with him? Would Jesus be telling lies about the people who didn’t agree with him? I’d have to say no to all those examples based on my understanding of the man and what his beliefs were. What happened to forgiveness? What happened to loving one’s neighbor as yourself? Once again, I don’t get it, or the hypocrisy that goes along with it.
I get that it’s about faith, I really do. If you have faith in god and/or the Bible then you yourself can be a better person for it. So why is it that Christians continually come across as hypocritical fanatics who are no better than the Jihadists they also rail against? I understand there are good Christians, who do have their faith and stay sane while making the world a better place, or at the very least not a worse place. But it’s the (hopefully) minority who make non-Christians anxious, even fearful, and should make other Christians fearful as well. Not fearful of the Christian god, but fearful that the lunacy which they generate and what the outcome of that lunacy may be. I couldn’t care less about conspiracy theories about the founding fathers, but they emphasized the separation of church and state. To me that means not just the laws that govern the land but the intent and meaning behind those laws. Everyone has beliefs, whether it’s in a god or something else or nothing at all (yes nothing at all is still a belief, just as no opinion at all is still an opinion). Those beliefs should not impact others.
By the way, how many Philistines are still roaming the American countryside waiting to take Christian’s property away from them because they are Christian? How many crucified Christians did I pass by while driving around town this weekend? Persecution my ass.