Today’s Mixed Metaphor: Beating a Dead Scapegoat

Yep, this is bad. Yep, it’s an exception to the rule. No, it doesn’t mean that all of Christianity, or all organized religion, is evil. There are bad apples in every bunch. Secular charities pull the same kind of crap, only towards different ends.

What am I going on about? I’m just a little sick of seeing some misbehavior by an isolated group posted under the heading “this is why I think all organized religion should be abolished”. And I just went straight from reading status emails from my dad, who by dint of being in the right place at the right time has become a coordinator of his denomination’s relief efforts for a large chunk of India, to seeing this little nugget being singled out as representative of all Christian relief efforts. Perspective, people. A little goes a long way.

I’m a little suspicious of the fact that the story doesn’t mention where the missionaries came from, or what group they were with, too. Based on my experience in India, I’m sorry to say that this sounds more like the behaviour of a local church than a foreign missionary group. There are numerous accounts of locals using equally dubious tactics to pad their conversion scores – often without the knowledge of the Christian missionaries they are “assisting”. And then the article mentions “nuns”… and while I’ve been known to call catholics crazy, if Mother Theresa’s order is at all representative of Catholic charity in India, this is wildly out of character. The Missionaries of Charity were known for their lack of conventional prosyletizing, to the point of summoning Hindu or Muslim clerics to administer last rights to the dying, rather than trying to convert them to Christainity in the last moments of their lives.

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  1. and they are suppose to be the “good christians”> i remember history of good christians, ie, the crusades, the inquistions, the witch trials, etc and the list goes on.

    1. God*ahem* Darwin forbid we ever forgive Christianity for the sins some of it’s adherents have committed in centuries past. Why not excoriate ideologies which are far more recently, unrepentantly, and massively evil, like, oh, Communism? Nah… everyone else gets a free ride so long as we’ve still got those god-bothering christians to beat on.

      1. so i say this,
        all hail eris!!

  2. Myself I am all for taking all the fanatics (irregardless of religion or creed), putting them in a cage together, and making them battle to the death.

    As for run of the mill harmless types, I have plenty of friends in that category, but still get a strong knee jerk reaction at the very mention of religion.

    1. Wow. I didn’t even realize you read my journal. Hi there! I hope my entry didn’t offend.

      but still get a strong knee jerk reaction at the very mention of religion.

      May I ask why? I have a lot of friends with this attitude. Having myself had a relatively amicable parting-of-ways with organized religion, I’ve never fully understood the vehemence with which they react to religion, particularly christianity. Any insight you can offer would be valuable to me.

      1. I read your journal as much as I read any journal. Which means I sporadically check myfriends list about once every month or two when I am bored or procrastinating over doing something productive.

        As for offense, I am not easilly offended. I am a pretty middle of the road individual, and have friends on both sides of a lot of issues.

        In answer to your question…I started out with a pretty live and let live attitude. My father is agnostic, my mother was jewish, and my stepmother was xtian. Growing up in this environment, you learn tollerance. For most of my life I was pretty indifferent to religion. Untill I hit the age where I started getting interested in pollitics.

        To put it succinctly, my problem is not with Christianity as it is written in the bible. It is with Christians as a group. On an individual level, I can get along with Christians. Even ones whose beliefs differ on topics such as abortion, gay rights, womens rights, freedom of speech, what defines pornography, what musicians should be allowed to write, what a person should legally be allowed to do within the comfort of their own home, what should be legally shown on tv and in movie theatres, whether religion should be taught in school as a required course, whether teachers should be allowed to teach evolution, whether youth should recieve education in the use of condoms and the risks of STD (or just be taught abstinence and eventually face these risks in ignorance), and for that matter whether my tax money should go towards faith based charities and pay for the creation of city funded religious symbols and statements. Even with these differences, I can get along with individual Christians.

        As a group however, Christianity weilds great pollitical power. And when you see Christians weild that power in the media, or see Christian funded commercials and fliers, or see the Christian community as a whole write letters to senators and companies, that power is generally used to oppose the values and liberties that I hold to be true and valid. I have lost count of the number of times that I have listened to Christian leaders rail against all that I hold dear as sinful and try to make it illegal. I can count on one single hand however the number of Christian leaders whom I have genuinly respected and agreed with.

        So when I mention this knee jerk reaction, it is because right now our culture and legal system are pretty sharply polarized between right and left. At one point, I was pretty firmly in the center, but the actions of the religious right are driving me into the left wing. Simply because I fear what they will do to society. Yes, Islam has also had its share of radicals, but I fear being killed by a terrorist far less than I fear living under a governmental system that has bowed to preasure from the religious right and become as restrictive as Soviet Communism. This is where my knee jerk reaction comes from.

        1. Oh, incidentally, I hope i did not offend, I tend to enjoy debate and having friends with conflicting viewpoints.

          There are christians I respect such as Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King, I just resent the Religious Right for Hijacking the Conservative party.

          1. Not in the slightest. Thanks for answering! I too enjoy a good debate… so long as it doesn’t result in hurt feelings or greater misunderstanding.

            I doubt we have much to debate, though, at least on this topic. I think I’m generally in agreement with you on the detrimental effects of organized, politicized christianity on life in this country.

  3. Did you really find the article so critical of christianity?

    When I read through it, it ended with the comment that this was an exception to the concerted charity that has gone on… and it didn’t really have much or any editorial at all about how “all of christianity must really suck because of this..”

    Basically.. it is just a story with the claim that one group of christians started putting stipulations on giving out of aid… While I can believe that these kinds of things happen… (I’ve experienced the same kind of behavior personally from certain people claiming to be christians).. I also know that there have been a number of incidents recently where fundamentalist hindus have attacked–and even killed–christians in India for doing things like helping the untouchables be treated with justice.. (and the previous gov’t in India was a very radically right hindu gov’t that, at the very least, indirectly supported such activities)… so it goes both ways….

    Personally.. I still just find Christianity–when it is formulated as a system of belief that tells you that you are dependent upon some external supposed supernatural being for your entire existence, your worth, your dignity, etc etc–to be stupid at the least, and downright destructive at the worst… If it is formulated more with reference to Christ’s humanity and his attempt to spread the radical idea that, you know, it might be kinda cool if we all tried being nice to each other… then I find it a beautiful thing… (The Movie, the Last Temptation of Christ is much more my style…)

    Personally, again, I think Jesus would be appalled at what has become of his teachings….too many people focus on the god part.. and don’t focus on the humanity part…

    oh well.. that’s why I’m an Atheist…

    1. Re: Did you really find the article so critical of christianity?

      PS–Note, my reasoning for why I think christianity is stupid applies to almost all other religions too.. when they have such traits…

    2. Re: Did you really find the article so critical of christianity?

      I didn’t find the article critical of christianity; it was the context in which I found the link to the article that I found inordinately hostile to Christianity and/or organized religion in general.

      The only problem I have with the article is that it’s way too short on details.

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