Category Archives: The Angry Hand of God

a question of faith (? not depeche mode)

at the columbus airport the other day, i asked my grandparents how long it’s been since they had been on a plane.  “9 years,” my grandpa answered.  this, of course, was well before 9-11.  i thought they would be more befuddled with the “new” abundance of security measures, but rather, it was the fact that most suitcases are now, yes that’s right, on wheels.  but that is the subject of another blog entirely.  it has been 9 years since my grandparents have been on a plane, and it’s been about the same since i have sat through an entire catholic mass. 

although my family has gone to church on most christmas eves, it’s usually overpacked and we’re standing in the back and can’t hear or see much of anything.  it’s more of some physically close together time as we squeeze into whatever corner we can.  tonight, i broke my nine year “fast.”  tonight i attended mass because it’s what my grandparents do, every week.  well, i gotta tell you: same old station, same old song.  verbatim.  you’d think they would try to change it up a bit, just to reduce the number of grateful (and audible) sighs that ripple through the crowd after the preist’s final blessing.  but, alas, they are a big fan of the rerun;  i just hope someone is getting paid some hefty residuals.

my grandparents; my grandmother especially, are devout catholics.  it was drilled into their heads for years and years and years.  tonight before church, my mom reminded me that they are in their 80’s and that i should grin and bear it for their sake.  my mom is the bridge between my grandparents and i: she understands, to a certain extent (as a function of being raised catholic) how important their religion is to them, and furthermore, how important it is for any of their descendants to comply with the rules of that religion (you know, to get into heaven?). on the other hand, even though i know on some level how important it is to them, i can’t quite understand why i can’t say that i am not a catholic and that i do not believe in those traditions.  i’m not ashamed of not attending mass religiously; i’m happy about my life and the way that i treat people in this world. it has nothing to do with confession and eucharist and guilt and latin.  but, i love my mom and i trusted that for some reason i may never fully understnad, i should shut up and go – which is essentially what she’s doing for them.

after church, we went out for a bite to eat at sand bar (a fabulous, local marco island jewel).  my grandparents actually had a beer or a beer and a half each – amazing! – and we got into what i thought was a fairly candid discussion about religion.  it started with my grandma raving about some new young priest at their church at home, and how funny he is.  he told a story one sunday about how, as a child, he and his siblings laughed at their father when he fumbled over a line in the “our father” while praying a rosary.  as a result, his mother told them that they would all have to pray another 20 hail mary’s and some more “our father’s.” the parish thought this was quite comical, as did my grandma when she relayed the story.  i  know i was supposed to stay quiet and go along with the catholic stuff she siad (per my mom’s request), but i couldn’t stay quiet on this one.  instead i asked, “isn’t is strange how the church endorses praying as a wonderful way to communicate with god, yet that same praying is consistently used as a form of punishment?”

my grandpa and mom immediately agreed.  my grandma agreed because they agreed.  later, my mom and i talked about it.  we talked about how she grew up in a “public” catholic school; how the nuns would beat a kid’s head into the chalkboard if he didn’t know his vowels; how they would get in trouble for not kneeling at the right time; how they had to attend confession every TWO weeks.  my question: what the hell is an eleven year old doing that is so bad that she must repent over a rosary?  how are those things connected?  my mom told me that she used to fabricate sins to tell the priest, since you had to have something to say.  she would say “i fought with my sister ten times last week.”  what?! please tell me that everyone sees a problem with this.  is anyone logical anymore?  my mom, as a scared and brainwashed child, had to lie to a priest about “bad” things she never did in order to be a good catholic.  there are so many things so severely wrong with that picture.

i strive to be a good and decent person.  it has nothing to do with a set of religious rules of any kind; it has to do with human nature.  some god out somewhere probably created everything, but that god isn’t telling us to regurgitate meaningless phrases for one hour each week in order to pass the test and go to heaven.  at least a god wouldn’t do that in my reality.  i aspire to be a kind and loving human being.  i don’t need a church to tell me how to do that.  i do what naturally feels right.  i want to make days brighter and to appreciate every moment that i have with those whom i love.  no, there are no sacraments or rosaries involved, but there is true love and compassion and a good heart behind it.  that’s what matters to me.

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Ted Haggard lives up to my expectations.

Nice follow up to Jesus Camp for ya…He bought Meth from a gay masseuse (who ended up being a prostitute) who was referred to him by the many hotels he stays at while in Denver (supposedly to write) didn’t sleep with him, and then threw the Meth away when he got home…hmmmmm…

This guy is a liar. Idiot.

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Jesus Camp obligatory post.

If you have seen this film, and if you are honest with yourself, you have to undoubtedly wonder if this kind of fanaticism is borderline dangerous, not to mention crazy. This film basically reinforces my belief that propaganda is extremely dangerous, especially when it is dogmatic in nature and force fed to five year olds who cannot even decide what flavor of breakfast cereal they want on a given day, much less about abortion and the nature of God.

These children, mostly between the ages of five and twelve years old, are the targets for this complete brainwashing. Children at that age are so impressionable, so easily manipulated, and so prone to mimicry, that they cannot possibly have any definitive, and evaluative stance on life, the world, and the nature of God. So what happens? The Youth Pastor forces their dogma onto innocent children – after that kind of bombardment, they have little hope of ever contemplating or adopting an alternative worldview. These “youth pastors” think they are saving their souls when in fact, they are doing them a grave injustice. Growing crops of children without the ability to think critically or evaluate the world is a very dangerous thing. They are breeding soldiers who take orders without question. What separates this group of people from David Koresh and the Branch Dividions? Not much. And even more disturbing: a fact quoted by Pastor Ted Haggard (who meets with President Bush every Monday) that “if the evangelist vote, they determine the election.”

So do we really want these hysterical people we saw in this film running the country? People who chant gibberish and try to pass it off as spiritual tongues inspired by God? People who cry and fall to the floor, abuse children with their spiritual fiction, and fear Harry Potter? The truth is they are not running the country. They are merely the simple minded, uninformed, easily manipulated majority that keep the wizard behind the curtain.

I don’t like to get too political, but the truth (which everyone in the country is starting to understand) is that President Bush may be inarticulate, less than eloquent, and possibly partially retarded, but he does know one thing: Which group of people can be manipulated to serve the administration’s agenda. I credit him with that. Bush is a corporation disguised as a person. Nonetheless, the administration knows how to gain popular support for their ironically anti-Christian campaign. Using words like axis of evil, and evildoers to liken the war in Iraq to that of a spiritual war waged in the name of God, President Bush can easily appeal to the simple minds of those who appear in this documentary, and gain a political toehold on elections and policy. Something that the Evangelists don’t realize is that they are being used by an administration that does believe in things like evolution, in order to stay in power and to run the country as they please.

The point being, this movement in American is dangerous and volatile. Children should be outside playing and discovering; given the choice of what to think about the world, not praying to a cardboard cutout of Bush. They should not be poisoned with the illogical rantings of their evangelistic parents about issues that are clearly more complicated than if whether they adhere to the bible’s ethics or not. Most importantly, they should be taught how to think, not what to think. Less propaganda, and more propagation of thought in our young minds. A child who is ten years old should not be so disillusioned and warped that when asked, “why did you become a Christian?” Answers, ” i just wanted more out of life.” This is a problem. These children are becoming indoctrinated. The Evangelists assert that these children are being groomed to become more balanced and better equipped to engage in dialogue about the state of the nation and issues, but we all know what happens if you try and talk to a Christian don’t we? We are wrong, and they are right – that’s not dialogue, that is close-mindedness. If the country wants change, then we have to start with children, and telling them that untruths such as evolution isn’t true and the earth is only 6000 years old, and that President Bush is a God fearing man, is starting out on the wrong foot.

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A caveat of sorts…

in regards to my previous seemingly obligatory post about the Da Vinci Code, i wanted to stress (for some of my more sensitive readers) that i am certainly not trying to bash Christianity, nor am i endorsing Mr. Brown’s novel as fact; i am merely reacting to the common tendency of most Christians i know, to absolutely reject other modes of thought, and stern refusal to question. I feel that at this point with everyone and their mothers are talking about this Da Vinci phenomenon, and that it is a good time to reassess what and why you believe what you believe, and to me, “because the Bible says so” is not a sufficient answer. The Bible is not a reliable source. Christians say Dan Brown is a writer with an agenda, aiming to crush Christianity and forge a new religion with his blasphemous claims and outlandish, and incorrect theories. Well, were not the writers of the New Testament (not to mention the members of the Nicaean Council) writers with an agenda as well? I suppose it is easy to see how everyone can get swept up in a sensational idea isn’t it? I think both of the books are a little far fetched.

I just want there to be more dialogue instead of propaganda, and less close-mindedness in believers. I think that it a perfect time to strengthen your beliefs, but this cannot be achieved through ignorance. Most Christians (and i’m grossly generalizing here…) will not even talk about alternatives answers to the mysteries of the world and creation. In reading other responses to all this hysteria, i have been non-plused with their logic. So i guess that it where i have a problem…the inability to have conversations with these people without an adverse, defensive, emotional reaction…

Propaganda: A specific message aimed at influencing the opinions of people rather than impartially providing information.

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