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.

4.       Miracles

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.

 


7 Comments

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Boo-hoo

Scumby's picture

1. The sneeze-blessing ritual comes from Rome, where it originated as "May Jupiter preserve you!".  They believed that when you sneeze, you risk blowing out your soul and dropping dead.  The myth carries on to today, but you should blame the Romans, not Christians, if it bothers you so much.

2. No Christian says the Old and New Testament gods are different.  Settings aside the biblical literalists, the Bible is considered by mainstream as allegory mixed with historical testament, and interpreting the literal vs. the metaphorical is an ongoing scholarly activity.

3. You don't understand the redemption concept.  It's not a free ride, it requires a genuine change in attitude and a notion of penance.

4. You don't understand the difference between miracles (impossible events) and random events.

5. You're conflating creationist wackos with Christians in general.  Certainly science has disproven a lot of creation mythology.

6. Hypocrites ruin everything, can't argue with that.

7. "Those beliefs should not impact others." That's a completely unreasonable position.  Everybody's beliefs impact others, whether it's global warming or political conspiracy theories or whether you believe OJ did it.  What you are asking for is censorship of points of view you don't agree with.  I may not like Mormons or Amway or Girl Scouts speech, but I don't have the right to suppress them.

If you are confused by these things, read about them and be educated.  I'm not a Christianist, but I'm educated enough to know that Christians don't believe in two gods, Jews don't eat babies, and Muslims don't rape boys anymore (except in Afghanistan).

Do you need a kleenex?

gamerarocks's picture

a.  The point of origin isn't the point, what you obviously missed is that because I didn't happen to say 'Bless you' the world ended for someone, and it's not an isolated incident.

b.  Perhaps you haven't run into them, but I have, and more than a few, and in more than one city.  Because the Old and New Testament god(s) act, appear and behave differently it is claimed that there are two.  Yes, by Christians.  Trust me, I couldn't make that up, as you yourself said I'm simply not that intelligent.  Until I ran into it the first time I would have thought as you do that it just isn't the case.

c.  Actually yes, I do understand the redemption concept.  What I don't understand is how it has been twisted to apply to those who 'with malice of forethought' use it so that it continues to apply.  I'm sorry but a 'change in attitude' can be brought on by a variety of things and the whole notion of penance harkens back to flagellation and neither should resolve an iota of so-called sin when the forethought occurs.  If you knew it was a sin, whether or not your conscience kicked in, when you did it and did it anyway to me I couldn't care less how many hail mary's and rosarys you are told to do, too bad case closed.  Otherwise it's nothing more than an out.  (not the Mark Reynolds kind)

d.  Yes, I do understand the difference, I was making a point or two.  Frankly, I ahve yet to personally hear of, see, or read of an occurance that I find to fall into the definition of miracle.  Statues weeping blood?  Uh huh.  Visions of saints?  Try again.  Cured of disease?  The human body is an amazing thing. I  haven't come across an 'impossible event' that can't be explained better than Project Bluebook ever did.

e.  Yes there is a crossover into the realm of creationist whackados, that's inevitible.  But those same whackados go to churches that non-whackados worship at, and we all know how fervence of intent can foster change.

f.  Hypocrits do ruin everything, but in our own ways we're all hypocrits to some degree about some thing.

g.  Ok so I overstated it a touch.  Where that thought was going was towards the area where the lines of church and state cross.  I have see no problem with youth groups meeting at schools before or after hours so long as it's not on the taxpayers dime; with displays of the 10 commandments; with crosses on mountains; with city hall displays that say Merry Christmas and the like.  When changes are made that affect everyone yet benefit only one group with laws is where I see a very broad grey area that frankly would take every lawyer (blaaaach) in the land to resolve and it still wouldn't fix anything.  Take it back to the forethought issue and it may work better.

I'm not confused by the issue, I'm confused by those whose interpretations are off on a tangent.  But yes, there are Christians who believe in two gods, I'm fairly certain Jews don't eat babies (or pork), and Muslims may or may not rape boys but that a whole different kettle of fish.  (3rd world v industrial world is just the beginning)  As I said, I'm aware it's not the view of mainstream Christianity, and there are plenty of Christians who do follow what are generally believed to be the tenets set down in the Bible.  It's the ones who dance on, around and over the edges; plus all of them hear different interpretations.

Impeach Jim Gibbons!

 

Now conservatives are rewriting the Bible

FearlessFreep's picture

"When someone smites you on your right cheek, smite him in the balls.  Then turn the other cheek and say, 'Want some more, tough guy?'"

 

New commandment?

West_Coast_Dude's picture

"Smite not the Smithsonians, lest thee thyself be smooten".

 

You're welcome.

Great post, gamerarocks!

HS's picture

I just have two comments:

1) I'm fairly certain that this close-minded, anti-science, "give me a gosh-darn 'bless you'"  group of Christians is just a minority within the whole of Christianity...and that their behavior is decidedly NON-Christ-like.  Unfortunately, this minority seems to be much more vocal than the majority, this minority all seems to live in the Southeast or Utah, and this minority will ensure that an Atheist or Agnostic NEVER gets elected to the Oval Office, heaven forbid.  There aren't even any Atheists in Congress!

2) I never heard the Jews eating babies before.  WTF?

 

HS

 

Couple of points, Homie

Coaster's picture

1)  Indeed Gamerarocks is mistaken.  It's not the Jews that eat babies, it's the atheists.  And let me tell you something: They're delicious. 

B)  Pete Stark is a congressman from California's 13th district which encompasses much of the eastern Bay Area.  He's openly atheistic and he's been in Congress for 36 years. Pete Stark Bio *LINK*

Good catch, Coaster.

HS's picture

What I meant to say was, "There aren't even any Atheists in the SENATE!"  Though I think Bernie Sanders might have Atheistic tendencies that I think he simply keeps to himself.

 

HS

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