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... the replacement of my secular education with a curriculum guided by God. ...
January 12, 2007 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Through a Glass, Darkly How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history--from Harpers. ...producing a flood of educational texts with which to wash away the stains of secular history. ...
posted by amberglow (111 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
from there: ...
“God uses ordinary people,” McHugh said. Anyone might be a key personality. The proper study of history, he explained, includes the student as a main character, an approach he described as “relational,” a buzzword in contemporary fundamentalism that denotes a sort of pulsing circuit of energy between, say, pleasant Betty Johnson, your churchy neighbor, and the awesome realm of supernatural events in which her real life occurs. There, Jesus is as real to Betty as she is to you, and so is Sergeant York, General MacArthur, and even George Washington, who, as father of our nation, is almost a fourth member of the Holy Trinity, a mindbender made possible through God’s math. ...

posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on January 12, 2007


God uses ordinary people

I want a t-shirt now.

"I've been used by God."
posted by eriko at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2007


I read this is the dead tree version of the magazine a little while back. Harper's is great.
posted by chunking express at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2007


I've run into this on Wikipedia. Well meaning American kids trying to push Christian Encyclopedia content and then complaining that Wikipedia is not supposed to have "late 20th century secular systemic bias". Frightening. Where do they come from and are more on the way?
posted by stbalbach at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2007


I read this article last night. Sharlet's articles consistently articulate the danger this country faces from the religious right, without demonizing his subjects or resorting to hyberbole and handwringing. His site "The Revealer" is one the live bookmarks I keep on my Firefox toobar, right next to MeFi.
posted by Biblio at 2:13 PM on January 12, 2007


Thanks, its been at least several days since I've read an article about how Christianists are threatening democracy.
posted by empath at 2:20 PM on January 12, 2007


“‘Those who control the present,’” Federer continued his quotation of 1984, “‘control the past.’” He paused and stared at me to make sure I understood the equation. “Orson Welles wrote that,” he said.
posted by box at 2:29 PM on January 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


It;s not polite to clal them Christianists.

It's Chri$tianists, with a dollar sign.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on January 12, 2007


"We don’t like to consider the possibility that they are not newcomers to power but returnees, that the revivals that have been sweeping America with generational regularity since its inception are not flare-ups but the natural temperature of the nation."

And we also forget and forget and forget again that not once have the feared theocracies of past revivals come to fruition.

Less than 15 years ago, it was the Christian Coalition and the Promise Keepers who were a-fixin' to turn us into Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale.
posted by gsh at 2:31 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's easy to forget in our comfy secular bubbles that the US is by far the most religious developed country.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:39 PM on January 12, 2007


Fucking fuckers.

That's about all I can say.
posted by grubi at 2:47 PM on January 12, 2007


I'm not finished reading this yet, but this is the scariest passage I've seen so far:

a white-and-blue police van rolled up behind me and squawked its siren. There were four officers inside.

“What are you writing?” the driver asked. The other three leaned toward the window.

“Notes,” I said, tapping my headphones.

“Okay. Whatcha listening to?”


Oh. My. Gods. The concept that listening to an audiobook and writing while in a public place can be considered suspicious behavior is absolutely frightening to me.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:48 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Christian right is so 3 years ago.
posted by smackwich at 2:54 PM on January 12, 2007


Fucking fuckers.

You got that right!
"They don’t silence sex; they promise sacred sex to those who couple properly—orgasms more intense for young Christians who wait than those experienced by secular lovers. Intensity! That’s what one finds within the ranks of the American believers."
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on January 12, 2007


"Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!"
posted by caddis at 3:08 PM on January 12, 2007


Hmph. The best orgasm I ever had was on weed. I though I had given myself brain damage, it was so good.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:08 PM on January 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hmph. The best orgasm I ever had was on weed. I though I had given myself brain damage, it was so good.

When I mixed opium with weed, I thought I broke my kneecaps.
In regards to the article itself, I'm so frightened that I'd rather this discussion focus entirely on orgasms and drugs. But one thing-

STONEWALL JACKSON?
God damn it! As a Southerner, can we stop bringing up the Civil War every three minutes?
A) It was 140 YEARS ago, and
B) We WEREN'T THE GOOD GUYS.
Stonewall Jackson may have been a great guy. He might have spent every spare moment teaching slaves how to read the Bible so they could read the instructions on the cotton gin. He might have shat diamonds and kittens. But he was on THE WRONG SIDE. He's not a role-model; at most, he's a TRAGIC FIGURE.
posted by 235w103 at 3:16 PM on January 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


One time, at Civil War Re-enactment camp...
posted by hal9k at 3:25 PM on January 12, 2007


235, that, and the MacArthur thing about bringing Christianity to those heathen Japanese (which he didn't even succeed at)--even when it is a real bonafide hero they focus on the weirdest things. When i think that millions of kids are getting this stuff as their only history, i shudder. I want to send them regular history books, which aren't even that good (let alone stuff like Zinn).
posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on January 12, 2007


The more I read and hear and learn about Christian fundamentalists, the less I understand them.
posted by SBMike at 3:30 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I checked out the Vision Quest catalog mentioned in the article. Literally, OMFG. It seems they have a chest of gold coins up for grabs, too...
posted by headless at 3:34 PM on January 12, 2007


edit: Vision FORUM. Seems I was on some kind of vision quest myself. Those shiny gold coins must have distracted me.
posted by headless at 3:38 PM on January 12, 2007


Wow, that guy really hates fundamentalists.
posted by Slap Factory at 3:39 PM on January 12, 2007


I look forward to the day that a modern Martin Luther takes apart the bible and focuses on what Jesus was actually trying to teach, and nails it to the door of a megachurch.

I think it would start something like this:

1.) Be kind to one another.
2.) Give up your wealth to help the poor.
3.) Demonstrate compassion to those others consider "beneath you".
4.) Don't judge others.

And so forth. I'm not a big fan of religion, but there might be a message here that people could get behind. My observations lead me to believe that modern Christianity has very little to do with what Christ was trying to teach and more about accruing power and pushing an agenda. Which is a pity because the guy had some reasonable ideas that would be neat to have put into practice.

Of course the cynic in my suggests that were someone to offer this kind of biblical deconstruction, the fundamentalists would call it an attack on their religion and an affront to God. Or something.
posted by quin at 3:48 PM on January 12, 2007 [6 favorites]


The Vision Forum catalog (.pdf) is very slickly produced and attractive, and it's really, really scary.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:58 PM on January 12, 2007


From the Vision Forum Website on a lady:



The Beautiful Girlhood Collection aspires, by the grace of God, to encourage the rebuilding of a culture of virtuous womanhood. In a world that frowns on femininity, that minimizes motherhood, and that belittles the beauty of being a true woman of God, we dare to believe that the biblical vision for girlhood is a glorious vision. It is, in fact — a beautiful vision.

Now read it again and imagine the voice of Barry White.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 4:12 PM on January 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


This is just about the most spiteful, bilious, hateful article I've ever read. Just one more article from Harper's wherein a self-serving author seeks to answer the baffled question "how could anybody think that?" with the silly answer "well, Johnny, because they're not really human."

Pure shit.
posted by koeselitz at 4:14 PM on January 12, 2007


amberglow, they don't want Zinn, they want zalvation.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


America, and Americans, are dominated by fear. Much of the appeal of this sort of mega-fundamentalism seems to be the result of some deep-seated fear - fear of the Other, fear of being wrong (because if it turns out the secularists were right, then they are the dupes who missed out on a lot of fun), fear of being confused and overwhelmed by the complexity of life. And so many liberals, what are we? We are scared of the fundamentalists, we are scared that we are "regressing" as a country. Scared that the crazies are getting involved in politics and have wormed their way into public positions, even military positions. The sky is falling for everybody, it seems. We are a nation of cowards. Though some claim that Americans are always spoiling for a fight, it's not us that do the fighting - it's our poor, uneducated mercenaries that stand behind machine guns and artillery guns and blast away the citizenry of other countries. We need to sack up. If these stupid dipshits want a fight about the direction of our country, let's punch them in the nose. They seem to have some sort of cultural momentum now because they believe that they are the underdogs and so they are fighting - fighting damn hard - to preserve their understanding of the world, no matter how wrong it is. Well, fuck them. No more coddling. No more talk about the beauty of religion. We don't care as much because we've gotten over our warped childhoods and the perverse peculiarity of American Christianity, and we assume that they should, too. Well, they need to be told they're wrong, they need to be told why they're wrong, and there needs to be a lot of people doing it. Yeah, ok, so they're kind of scary, but to me, they're not as scary as the endless hand-wringing of educated, liberal, middle-class America. Do not worry about these people. Worry about yourself, and ask yourself why you feel threatened by these people and their views. Are you disappointed in yourself, in the system, your parents, humanity? You cannot change them, but you can change how you react to them. Also, this was a really great article. Thanks for the link.
posted by billysumday at 4:16 PM on January 12, 2007


we're not all cowards and ruled by fear, billy--they're not, either.

Metafilter: they don't want Zinn, they want zalvation.
: >
posted by amberglow at 4:22 PM on January 12, 2007


Just one more article from Harper's wherein a self-serving author seeks to answer the baffled question "how could anybody think that?" with the silly answer "well, Johnny, because they're not really human."

Skipping over your obvious straw man, perhaps you could provide a better answer to the admittedly baffling question?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2007


The Women and Children First Collection:

The battle against feminized men and masculinized women is ever present. There is no neutrality in this war. We fight it or we lose our children. We must gird up sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers with heavy spiritual ammo.

He's absolutely right in that the fundamentalists believe they are in a war, at least in part with what they call "a savagely feministic, anti-Christian culture". No wonder tey gay scares them so much.
posted by jokeefe at 4:26 PM on January 12, 2007


Erm, teh gay. Teach me to mess around with memes.
posted by jokeefe at 4:27 PM on January 12, 2007



Looking at that pdf from the vision forum it says that Jamestown was 'evangelical zeal to see the spread of Christianity.'
Most came to Jamestown to make money. There were countless reports of the riches found overseas, and so many came to better themselves because it could not be done at home. The pamphlets that were handed out in 1609 to promote Virginia told of wealth and riches to be made.
God was not the main factor.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 4:28 PM on January 12, 2007


Wow. "Six Thousand Years of Earth History In a Box." This catalogue is tons of fun.
posted by jokeefe at 4:28 PM on January 12, 2007


This article is a good proof that religion is a mental illness. These people need help.
posted by interrobang at 4:33 PM on January 12, 2007


Do not worry about these people.

I don't. When they're at church late Sunday morning, I'm sucking down Bloody Marys at brunch with my friends. Usually leads to an afternoon of drinking, hooping and hollering, too!
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2007


This catalogue is tons of fun.

[This locket symbolizes] "the importance of purity and remaining as a joyful daughter under her father’s protection until the time of release to her future husband."

I wonder if they have a catch-and-release program?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Erm, teh gay. Teach me to mess around with memes

And, genes.
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on January 12, 2007


From the description of that precious locket:
"Market values for these precious gift lockets range from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Conscious of limited budgets, we have taken care to find a quality sterling silver pendant that is a perfect introductory locket for younger daughters. We look forward to expanding our offering to higher-end options. Remember that this time-tested jewelry was crafted anticipating tender care and made for gentle wearing use."
Meaning? It's a piece of shit.
posted by ericb at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Armitage Shanks: "Skipping over your obvious straw man, perhaps you could provide a better answer to the admittedly baffling question?"

That would take me a long time to do. I started to type something out, but it seemed somewhat ludicrous for me to describe people that everyone here probably ought to be familiar with. Understand that, in saying this, I'm not a follower of their kind; as someone who loves and respects Christianity, I'm saddened and disgusted by the actions of their leaders. Ironically, that's one of the reasons why articles like this one piss me off; it's incomprehensible that this huge group of people be so little understood, and vexing to me that the real reasons why they're so unhealthy be ignored.

Suffice it to say: Harper's is probably the wrong place to look if you'd really like to know the reasons Christians think what they think today, as no one who writes for that magazine seems to be Christian.

Americans hate history more than any other culture that has ever lived. That hatred has seeped into our bones, and extends naturally to our neglect to get to know the people who live among us. We merely hear about certain words they say, sneer, and move on. Some of us, like Howard Zinn, are compelled to write books about how little we've understood history, and how we wish more of the people in the books we read were like Eugene Debs and less like everybody else. But almost none of us really want to know what other people think, or why. It's too painful.
posted by koeselitz at 4:44 PM on January 12, 2007 [2 favorites]



I look forward to the day that a modern Martin Luther takes apart the bible and focuses on what Jesus was actually trying to teach, and nails it to the door of a megachurch.


Perhaps that's why the megachurches and "christian centers" now have glass doors. Maybe scotch tape would be more appropriate?

P.S. I've seen churches (along with a bunch of new churchgoing friends) turn formerly caring and generally right-minded people into intolerant, selfish assholes. One very recently, in fact. I guess that's the downside to living in the bible belt..the people with the curiosity to actually "try it" get sucked into the mindset of small town bible thumpers.
posted by wierdo at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2007


There's only one good way to fight against this stuff: Infiltrate and destroy from within.

"Meaning? It's a piece of shit."


Indeed, designed solely to extract money from the pockets of the credulous, who absolutely must display visible proof of their family's piety to their churchmates, so that everyone (who matters) knows just how very very Christian they are.

Just like keeping up with the Joneses, or buying a new iPod every time they update it.

The folks at the top are laughing all the way to the bank, which lets them buy their way up the power ladder.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:49 PM on January 12, 2007


Weird, I came in here expecting to see tons of comments about how overwritten the article was. I'm amazed anyone even got far enough to draw content out of it.
posted by tkolar at 4:51 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and re: Stonwall Jackson:
"Civil War buffs study his military maneuvers and wonder whether, had he not been mistaken for a Yankee and shot by his own men in 1863, he might have outflanked the Union Army and fought the North to a standstill." (emphasis mine)
So, if God is controlling every little thing, then I guess he really didn't like Jackson very much, did he?
posted by zoogleplex at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fundamentalists, whatever color or name they give their god, are all the same, very scary people. Let em twirl, fine, but we can not let them impose their nut hatch beliefs on the rest of us.
posted by chance at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2007


I've run into this on Wikipedia. Well meaning American kids trying to push Christian Encyclopedia content and then complaining that Wikipedia is not supposed to have "late 20th century secular systemic bias". Frightening. Where do they come from and are more on the way?

They really are kids. Most of them are burned out on it by 25. And where does it come from? The same naivete that gives us all sorts of other embarrassing high school/college idealism.

Sharlet's usually pretty good with these articles, but on a few passages he's really brandishing his axe. It's annoying when he does that. When he's just telling it as it is (as with that excellent deconstruction of Ted Haggard's church), he's one of the best writers out there.

This stuff has always been at our violent fringes. We prop up bogeymen based on them, as if they're coming to take away abortion or make us all gay or force us to bow to Mecca. But they're not what we should be fearing. We should be fearing ourselves, and the dark core inside of us that empowers the bogeymen and say things like "Fuck 'em, they all should die."

The killers of Rwanda were not religious zealots or Bolsheviks. They were normal people, farmers, housewives, doctors, wielding machetes and butchering their neighbors.

The Dominionists and Christian History people should have their "versions" of history judged with critical minds and found as lacking as they are. But they should never have their humanity denied, even as a handful seek to devalue human life themselves. To do so makes liberal people no better than those who prop up Gitmo, torture, and the abrogation of human rights as "a good start."

And I've said my peace in this weekend's Atheist Army vs. Christian Navy matchup. Have fun fighting this edition of MetaFilter Ypres!
posted by dw at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2007


Aww, koeselitz is vexed! Vexed, I tells ya!
posted by interrobang at 4:53 PM on January 12, 2007


Americans hate history more than any other culture that has ever lived

I think hate is too strong a word here...I would say that Americans really misunderstand their own history, because it's quite clouded by what is considered the politically correct way to explain our roots.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 4:54 PM on January 12, 2007


Whew, thank goodness these manly men and their submissive bitches exist to carry our ne'er-do-well bohemian asses through this stinky-poo American life without so much as a scratch on our morally relativistic, pansy heads -- I say, send 'em up to Heaven, amen! (Yes, Heaven exists! But you have to . . . be a good, wholesome citizen of America to get there!)
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:59 PM on January 12, 2007


As I mention here often, I went to a "Wall Builders" presentation that was the bulk of a church 'service' down at a megachurch in Riverside County.

The presenter was a former Republican state assemblyman guy.

I learned that Governeur Morris wrote the constitution there, and other cherry-picked factoids to demonstrate the whole Christian Reconstructionist thing.

Quite a mythology they've got going, I'll give them that.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:01 PM on January 12, 2007


interrobang: "Aww, koeselitz is vexed! Vexed, I tells ya!"

The price of being open-minded. You ought to try it some time.
posted by koeselitz at 5:03 PM on January 12, 2007


Some people are trying to push the term "Christianist" in order to avoid lumping in Christians who don't buy this B.S.
posted by delmoi at 5:10 PM on January 12, 2007


Huh, for all their submissive girlhood stuff, they still make sure that they know how to shoot.
posted by jokeefe at 5:11 PM on January 12, 2007


Ah, here we go:

Our reading of Scripture leads us to conclude: (1) Man is to have dominion over the animals; (2) Such dominion includes using animals for food, clothing, preparation, training and other activities which bring glory to God include child training; (3) Dominion presupposes responsibility and resource management, which is why everything, including the pelts of the animals, should be used to the fullest extent possible and practicable given the circumstances;(4) While it is cruel to torture an animal, it is not cruel to kill him through trapping, hunting, etc; and (5) Finally, we believe it is important to give our children a distinctively biblical worldview. This is why we specifically hope to train our children to love self-sufficiency and environmental stewardship (both of which are dominion principles) through hunting, and to reject the philosophy of the animal rights activists, a belief system which is not only rooted in two Satanic dangers (Evolutionism and the New Age movement), but is inconsistent, intellectually indefensible and incoherent as a system of rational thought.

I've got to stop reading this...
posted by jokeefe at 5:13 PM on January 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I would like to point out that as someone who has been homeschooled, and as a Christian, some of whose theological doctrines could be described as fundamentalist (for example, belief in the virgin pregnancy of Mary), I find the cited ideas weird, disturbing and thankfully not as widespread as stated.

On Jefferson: I think it's pretty obvious that he believed that belief in the protestant God, or at least some form of popular belief in a Divine, was a necessary component of civil society. I mean, we did inscribe this quote of his on the Jefferson Memorial in D.C....

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

I understand that the act of inscribing says at least as much about those who put up the quote as it does about Jefferson's views. But still...

Does it matter so much what Jefferson thought? I wasn't aware that dead people get more votes than the living. I do suspect that Jefferson's statement is untrue (although one's concept of liberty is bound to be different if one thinks it's the result of a social contract rather than a gift of God). But it's hard to argue, as Sharlett seems to almost argue (he rather avoids making any actual historical statement) that the guy who wrote the quote inscribed on his memorial also wanted clean-room separation between religion and the state, unless he changed his mind radically in-between making these statements.

Polemics are fine, but the author doesn't even bother to research some of the claims to give us any sort of reasonable debunking of these ideas. He just leverages hyperbole and straw men to freak us out. He's not even careful enough to give an internally consistent argument: He tries to simultaneously argue that (a) the suggested hegemony of the Christian Right is not new, but rather a recurring pattern going back to the beginnings of American society and that (b) Christians who argue that same point are lying to themselves and their children.

What Sharlet's actual content fails to do, his style accomplishes to brilliant success. After reading this, I *was* freaked out by the ideas and behaviours he describes, and I'm a home-educated Christian myself. Richard Hofstatder's essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics is, sadly, still dead-on. This paranoid style is often employed by Christians in the public sector, but it also often characterizes critiques of their ideas. Sigh.
posted by honest knave at 5:14 PM on January 12, 2007


The price of being open-minded. You ought to try it some time.

I was alluding to the morons in the article talking about how vexed they were, how put-upon they are, how, even though they control this country, they're under constant siege. You might try questioning your mythology's persecution complex some time.
posted by interrobang at 5:16 PM on January 12, 2007


Well, they're right about one thing, hunting is an integral part of managing wild animal populations these days.

Of course, that's because the only way we've been able to establish man's dominion over wild predatory animals is to hunt them to extinction. We can't allow them to eat our sheep, now, can we!

Some animal-rights activists are pretty wacko too, IMO.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:20 PM on January 12, 2007


"talking about how vexed they were, how put-upon they are"

Well, ?!, the article does fairly point out that at least some of the vexation is caused by their inability to stamp out the sins of all of us, which is a primary mission. They feel as if they have failed if they cannot stop everyone on earth, as opposed to just themselves, from sinning.

They're under siege from our sin, you see? As long as there is anyone sinning, they are at war against the sin.

They're likely to remain vexed about that one forever.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:26 PM on January 12, 2007


Understand that, in saying this, I'm not a follower of their kind; as someone who loves and respects Christianity, I'm saddened and disgusted by the actions of their leaders. Ironically, that's one of the reasons why articles like this one piss me off; it's incomprehensible that this huge group of people be so little understood, and vexing to me that the real reasons why they're so unhealthy be ignored.

I'm sorry, but I still don't understand what you think are "the real reasons why they're so unhealthy".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:33 PM on January 12, 2007


I personally would start from examining how many people (in general, not just Christians) are pathologically desperate for someone, ANYONE, to tell them what to do and how to live their lives.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just...ergh. This all just really depresses me, because I grew up in a fundamentalist church. I was told, from childhood, that gays had sex with animals, that short hair on women was an offense to God, and that everyone outside of OUR sect was going to hell- literal, fiery, eternal torment. Luckily, I also met a lot of very different people for other reasons as a child, and I also had some relatively shitty stuff happen to me- an experience that made me both question the reasoning of God and the piety of the churchgoers, who resolutely ignored major and obvious problems in my family.
The thing is- these are all very nice people. They are good people. And sometimes, I think that I can appreciate them that way- as good people with beliefs that may be misguided, but who aren't really harming anyone.
Then I remember being 8 and being told about how much it would hurt to have nails driven into your arms, or how much hell was going to hurt for all of my non-Christian friends. Or I find out that a branch of my church runs a website called Ladies Against Feminism. I have close family members who I can't really talk to now, because they have been told that they cannot associate with non-believers for any purpose other than evangelizing. And none of these people have any of the high-minded live and let live ideals about what I think or believe. They will not hesitate to deny me religious freedom if they have the ability.
I can't deny that religion is a beautiful thing, and I hope that one day I can work past my own issues enough to explore it more fully. But I have no idea how to interact with these people at all. Anybody got any bright ideas?
posted by 235w103 at 5:38 PM on January 12, 2007


> You might try questioning your mythology's persecution complex some time.

Yeah, like us denizens of metafilter question our persecution complex so unremittingly.
posted by jfuller at 5:39 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who here feels persecuted? This is a voluntary-participation website.

If you feel persecuted here because your viewpoint is not as popular as others, you're forgetting the fact that you come in here knowingly, probably with the intention of defending your views. Lots of people here seem like self-styled defenders of their various "faiths," if you will, here fighting the good fight to keep your views visible and alive.

If you're feeling persecuted from being on MeFi, you're being silly. You may be facing real persecution out in the world among people, but it's your choice to be here or not.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:53 PM on January 12, 2007


235w103: Yeah. It's depressing how easy it is for people to be selectively nice. In Luke 6, Jesus condemned people who are like this. Although most people aren't as extreme as cutting people out of their lives, it can happen in everyday ways, when we get angry at the guy behind the counter, when we ignore the janitor, or fail to keep an eye open for those in need.

It's possible that your family/friends either they lack the faith to realize that hanging out with you is not going to poison them, or they're building up their own self-impression by distancing themselves from you -- you haven't tried to antagonize them, have you?

In this situation, my best idea (for what it's worth) is to accept their lack of initiative-- not as a reason to give up, but as a starting point. Just because they don't want to follow Jesus doesn't mean that you can't take an idea from his play-book: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.[....] Do to others as you would have them do to you.. Even for non-religious people, I think this is a beautiful and helpful piece of advice. It reminds us that positive relationships and good change can start with us.

When my dad converted to Protestant Christianity, his Catholic family cut him off. It wasn't until my parents got married, and they carried their first child to the grandparents, that the connection was restored. For some people, when there's a baby to hold, it's hard to be angry :-)

Send them notes to tell them you're thinking of them, or invite them over for dinner. Plant a garden. Share a recipe. Try to engage them in ways that allow you to interact as family, not as the object/target of propaganda. It might take time; people change slowly. They will probably never stop trying to "evangelize" you, and you might just have to grin and bear it (that's one way of seeing the turn-the-other-cheek part of Luke 6). Even if your efforts to reach out to them are unsuccessful, you may even find that some of the hurt and regret and bitterness you no doubt feel can be replaced with a care which is much warmer, even if it is ultimately unrequited.
posted by honest knave at 6:16 PM on January 12, 2007


He tried to explain. “We may need another 9/11,” he declared slowly, a teacher reciting a lesson, “to bring about a full spiritual revival.”

Was no one else chilled to the bone by this quote?

I know he doesn't speak for anyone but himself, but there seems to be a itsy bitsy step from "we need another 9/11" to "let's make another 9/11 happen."

On a lighter note, the title for this book in the Vision Forum Catalog made me shoot tea through my nose: Holiness for Boys: Thoughts for Young Men. Really, it sounds like the title of a gay bodice-ripper set in a seminary.
posted by Kattullus at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2007


Even if your efforts to reach out to them are unsuccessful, you may even find that some of the hurt and regret and bitterness you no doubt feel can be replaced with a care which is much warmer, even if it is ultimately unrequited.

Sure, you could do that. Or, you could happily live your life without sucking up to a bunch of people who have openly sworn to destroy you. Guilt and martyrdom or strength and freedom, your choice.
posted by vorfeed at 6:59 PM on January 12, 2007


Americans hate history more than any other culture that has ever lived. That hatred has seeped into our bones, and extends naturally to our neglect to get to know the people who live among us. We merely hear about certain words they say, sneer, and move on. Some of us, like Howard Zinn, are compelled to write books about how little we've understood history, and how we wish more of the people in the books we read were like Eugene Debs and less like everybody else. But almost none of us really want to know what other people think, or why. It's too painful.
posted by koeselitz at 4:44 PM PST on January 12 [+][!]


Americans may neglect history somewhat, but they certainly don't ignore it completely and study propaganda instead like the Chinese do. Oh glorious Mao... The Germans and the Japanese aren't big fans of studying history either, and I don't have a clue about the Russian school system but I could take a guess.

I read this article with an open mind and didn't think it cast anyone in a particularly bad light. I found myself empathizing with everyone described up until the incident where 700 (!!!) people marched on a NC school to shut down a GSA club (successfully!). That's fucking hateful.
posted by mek at 8:10 PM on January 12, 2007


(b) Christians who argue that same point are lying to themselves and their children.

I didn't get this from the article at all. If anything, I now realize Christians are more right about the nation's history in many ways; we may disagree about the founding father's intent re: church and state, but it's undeniable the school system was rabidly religious for a very long time, as has most of the country. I don't think anything is stated about the truth-content of the teachings described by the article, anywhere in it.
posted by mek at 8:21 PM on January 12, 2007


When you're through with this article, head back to this earlier post about American Fascism by Chris Hedges. Not only is it one of the better discussion threads I've seen here on MeFi, but my immediate decision to order the book turned out to be a good one. I finished it in no time, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see the intent (and extent) of this Apocalyptic brand of Christian Fundamentalism.

And if you've read any of the recent anti-Hedges rhetoric, let me clear up a few things:
- He was raised a Christian and still maintains a very definite faith (which he lays out in the first chapter of the book), so claims that he has abandoned Christianity are false.
- He is not calling for the "illegalization of Christianity." At all.
- There are passages in this book that will seem ridiculous, descriptions of Christian Right thought and action that defy all logic, so much so that Hedges might sound like a crackpot ... until you remember that Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist that takes his craft very seriously. And this time around, he's angry.

And just so this isn't a total derail, Hedges mentions America's Providential History and other reality-revisionist home schooling textbooks throughout the book.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2007


And for those wanting teaching samples:

While many secularists view the world as over-populated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large, with plenty of resources to accommodate all the people He knew would come into existence. There is plenty of room and food for the entire world population today. All the five billion people on the earth could live in the state of Texas in single family homes with front and back yards and be fed by production in the rest of the United States. Present world agricultural areas, if developed by present technology, could feed 31 billion people. Our earth has plenty of room and plenty of natural resources.

- from America's Providential History.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:07 PM on January 12, 2007


He tries to simultaneously argue that (a) the suggested hegemony of the Christian Right is not new, but rather a recurring pattern going back to the beginnings of American society and that (b) Christians who argue that same point are lying to themselves and their children.

i think it's a confusion between government and culture ... and perhaps the elite and the commoners ... there's no question that the elite meant our government to be secular and wrote the constitution to reflect that ... there's also no question in my mind that culturally this was a christian protestant nation until the late 1800's and it still has strong traits of this

they've noticed that they're losing their grip on the culture and are now interested in using the government to correct this ... eventually, they'll give up on this, as other groups have, when they realize that those they elect to accomplish the job are hardly immune to the corruptions of power and the rank and file succumb to the temptations of affluence ... intensity, says the article, but compared to previous decades, it just isn't so ... i've heard people comment that the "old pentecostal" church was much more lively and intense than the current one, for example, and interestingly enough, that change occurred right along with moving to a modern building, getting better jobs and living a better lifestyle

truth is, if forced to choose between a strict version of biblical truth and their livelihood, 90% of them will come up with some kind of rationalization about why they had to choose the money ... generally, "god wants me to support my family, too" and "god put those people in authority over me, i may not agree, but as a christian i have to obey for now" ... those who even bother to think about it, that is

still, it's not a good sign of self-examination or historical reflection that a person can believe that vietnam was one of "god's left hooks" - as if a bunch of young american men suddenly found themselves magically transported from baseball fields to rice paddies without our government doing a thing about it ... no, guy, that was our country hitting itself in the face

nor is it very reassuring that there are some people in this country who agree with the 9/11 terrorists that they were doing god's work
posted by pyramid termite at 9:23 PM on January 12, 2007


All the five billion people on the earth could live in the state of Texas in single family homes with front and back yards and be fed by production in the rest of the United States.

and where would you get enough running water?

morons
posted by pyramid termite at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2007


For example, about 100 years ago, the American Indians wiped oil on their faces.

but thanks to our vastly superior civilization and its technology, we now can coat our lungs with oil
posted by pyramid termite at 9:27 PM on January 12, 2007


interrobang writes "This article is a good proof that religion is a mental illness. These people need help."

And what about those of us who don't do this shit? What about those of us who are extremely happy to keep our religion well out of the public sphere? Are we mentally ill as well?

ericb writes "I don't. When they're at church late Sunday morning, I'm sucking down Bloody Marys at brunch with my friends. Usually leads to an afternoon of drinking, hooping and hollering, too!"

Now that's my kind of religion.

chance writes "Fundamentalists, whatever color or name they give their god, are all the same, very scary people. Let em twirl, fine, but we can not let them impose their nut hatch beliefs on the rest of us."

And that's pretty much the whole issue in a nutshell. Religion isn't the disease; fundamentalism and blind adherence to blind dogma are the diseases.

delmoi writes "Some people are trying to push the term 'Christianist' in order to avoid lumping in Christians who don't buy this B.S."

I approve of that. Christians are, as I understand it, fairly universally horrified by these antics.

jokeefe writes "(3) Dominion presupposes responsibility and resource management, which is why everything, including the pelts of the animals, should be used to the fullest extent possible and practicable given the circumstances;(4) While it is cruel to torture an animal, it is not cruel to kill him through trapping, hunting, etc;"

I don't particularly see what's wrong with that... the idea that, if you must hunt, you must therefore utilize the entire animal, is a good one. The applications to farming of livestock are fairly obvious. 'Dominion', of course, is rather problematic. But the rest of the sentiment isn't.

interrobang writes "You might try questioning your mythology's persecution complex some time."

That's just not fair. The persecution complex is part of Fundamentalist mythology, and as such is not really represented amongst those who post to MeFi, except for konolia.

zoogleplex writes "Some animal-rights activists are pretty wacko too, IMO."

Just another form of fundamentalism and blind adherence to blind dogma. And thus as marginalized--as they should be. Balance is key.

Armitage Shanks writes "I'm sorry, but I still don't understand what you think are 'the real reasons why they're so unhealthy'."

Again... blind adherence to blind dogma, flying in the face of what is known about how our society actually works. Also a basic and complete lack of respect for other human beings.

235w103 writes "The thing is- these are all very nice people. They are good people."

No, see, that's where you're wrong. Fundamentalists are not nice people. They are not good people. They are intent on hatred and destruction of the social values that the civilized world holds dear. The idea that all people are equal, whatever their race or gender or sexual orientation is anathema. They may be very pleasant and nice to their own kind, but that is just a mask (to borrow a concept from someone in a previous, similar thread) covering the vile hatred underneath. Don't mistake the mask for the person.

Kattullus writes "Holiness for Boys: Thoughts for Young Men. Really, it sounds like the title of a gay bodice-ripper set in a seminary."

I would read that book.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:40 PM on January 12, 2007


Fundamentalists are not nice people. They are not good people. They are intent on hatred and destruction of the social values that the civilized world holds dear.

oddly enough, some fundamentalists would say that about liberals

funny how that works
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 PM on January 12, 2007


Fundamentalists are not nice people. They are not good people. They are intent on hatred and destruction of the social values that the civilized world holds dear.

I don't think that what people believe makes them "evil" people. I think it makes them misguided- how they act according to these beliefs is what matters. To be honest, despite their talk, the people at my church were pretty civil to everyone (barring the really crazy ones, who somehow always ended up behind the pulpit). I think that most of them believed what they did by default- someone told it to them, and they didn't question it.
I mean, maybe I'm just hoping that this is the case. As I mentioned, these are my family members. If you'd allow me, I'd kind of LIKE to think of them as nice people.
posted by 235w103 at 10:20 PM on January 12, 2007


Of course, think of them as you like. That's your prerogative--just as it's mine to think that youre completely wrong for doing so.

See--and this aplies to you too, pyramid termite--the difference between us and them is that we will allow them to believe. We will allow them, with the bile rising in my throat, to spew their venom.

They would never allow us the same, if they had the choice. And that is why we are better than they are. Yes, that's a value judgement, and yes i'm aware that cultural and moral relativists think it's horrible for me to say such things. But it's the simple truth.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:36 PM on January 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


dnab : And that's pretty much the whole issue in a nutshell. Religion isn't the disease; fundamentalism and blind adherence to blind dogma are the diseases.

A really well said point in a remarkably well expressed comment.

It sort of speaks to what I said earlier, I would really like to see these people, who claim to subscribe to a well laid out faith actually try to live up to the standards set by their own acknowledged messiah. He was, by their own words, non-materialistic. Yet they build megachurches. He was, according to what they say, accepting and forgiving, yet they persecute gays and non-religious folk with a vengeance.

I know that this is a supposedly 'vocal minority' of the 'faithful', but to me, and perhaps the rest of the country, these are their spokesmen. And when you distill their points down, it usually comes back to money and hate.

And if you believe in Jesus, and what he was selling, you can't make their points work with his without some serious cognitive dissonance.
posted by quin at 10:54 PM on January 12, 2007


The thing about modern Fundamentalists is that their politics really are unique in American history. In the past christian fundamentalism was almost always combined with anti business populism, (e.g. William Jennings Bryant). Yet modern fundamentalists have formed a bizarre alliance with big business, even though this often goes against their economic interests. This was basically the thesis of What's the Matter with Kansas.
posted by afu at 1:32 AM on January 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Christian Slater.

.
.
.
....Christians?

Later!
posted by ELF Radio at 2:01 AM on January 13, 2007


afu, Andrew Carnegie wrote "The Gospel of Wealth" in 1889.

I'm seeing you half-way, but the ties between Christianism and Capitalism are hardly new.
posted by bardic at 3:38 AM on January 13, 2007


I like the terms Christianism and Christianist. It makes it clear that one is speaking only of the fruitcakes.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:10 AM on January 13, 2007


See--and this aplies to you too, pyramid termite--the difference between us and them is that we will allow them to believe.

you will "allow" them? ... how paternalistic of you ... i do not "allow" them, or anyone else to do anything, because i don't possess that kind of power or superiority over them, and don't believe i should

it's revelatory that you think you do

believe it or not, there are fundamentalists who are either apathetic about politics or who actively believe that politics are a great distraction that they as christians shouldn't get involved in ... but don't let a little fact like that stop you from what you believe ... or from generously proclaiming that you will "allow" them to believe things you don't like

They would never allow us the same, if they had the choice.

some would and some wouldn't ... and quite bluntly, i have my doubts about you sometimes ... you're pretty intolerant

And that is why we are better than they are.

speak for yourself, please ... some people, like myself, actually try to be liberal and unarrogant
posted by pyramid termite at 6:47 AM on January 13, 2007


American fundamentalism—not a political party, not a denomination, not a uniform ideology, but a manifold movement—is moving in every direction all at once, claiming the earth for God’s kingdom, “in the world but not of it” and yet just loving it to death anyway.

Great read. Christian fundamentalism, despite its hypocrisy, brutality, and revisionism, really does seem more "alive" than liberalism. Evangelists have good sex, kick ass at sports, and usually live pretty exciting lives. For a computer nerd or scientist or hipster to observe their personal vivacity along with their horrendously skewed worldview at once is probably pretty frustrating.

If only there was a way to capture and promote that kind of enthusiasm while leaving behind all the discrimination and prejudice that comes with it.
posted by Laugh_track at 7:42 AM on January 13, 2007


pyramid termite writes "some would and some wouldn't ... and quite bluntly, i have my doubts about you sometimes ... you're pretty intolerant"

*sigh* Yes, pyramid termite, I am pretty intolerant of intolerance and hatred and bigotry. Sue me.



pyramid termite writes "speak for yourself, please ... some people, like myself, actually try to be liberal and unarrogant"

I'm not arrogant. You can believe I am if you like, but I'm not. What I am is sick to death of these people trying to make me a second-class citizen, alright? When someone is actively trying to make sure you can't have the same rights you do, I'd love to see how you'd react. I really would.

Until then, there's really not much point talking to you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:59 AM on January 13, 2007


When someone is actively trying to make sure you can't have the same rights you do, I'd love to see how you'd react.

somehow, the fact that these people in the article live in MY country and not YOURS has escaped you ... and your country, as you well know, has advanced considerably over ours in some areas concerning rights

so i guess you already know how i'd react ... calmly, with tolerance, even handedness and lack of dramatic hysteria

you should try that sometime

Until then, there's really not much point talking to you.

because, if you were to actually consider what i say to you, you'd have to examine yourself and your beliefs more closely and we can't have that, can we? ... after all, other people disagree with you only because you "allow" them to, and having been that generous, you hardly have to go so far as to listen to them, too

keep believing that you're a liberal in practice ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:26 AM on January 13, 2007


speak for yourself, please ... some people, like myself, actually try to be liberal and unarrogant

You are truly Best Mans In Universe.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2007


pyramid termite writes "because, if you were to actually consider what i say to you, you'd have to examine yourself and your beliefs more closely and we can't have that, can we? ... after all, other people disagree with you only because you 'allow' them to, and having been that generous, you hardly have to go so far as to listen to them, too"

No, because you're incoherent and mean-spirited. Bye bye.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:33 AM on January 13, 2007


and you, dnab, are a hard-headed narcissist who has the soul of a fascist, whether you admit it or not ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 AM on January 13, 2007


If it comforts you to believe that, then by all means do so.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:43 AM on January 13, 2007


Some people (with Belief Systems - tip'o'hat to RAW) have a gift for avoiding reality. Gifted at directing their life according to rules written by authorities claiming divine inspiration ... they'll believe what they want anyway ... so fine, just keep it away from me and mine.
posted by Twang at 10:34 AM on January 13, 2007


fundie historian j. steven wilkins, quoting and riffing on stonewall jackson in the article: "'shoot them all, i do not wish them to be brave.' the only path to peace, he believed, was total war."

if we're gonna have a religious civil war in this country, let's get it on! all my life i have offered christians the liberal, secular values enshrined in our first amendment: your freedom to exercise your religion simultaneous with our government's freedom _from_ your religion, and if this isn't good enough for you, i would be happy to feed you to a lion and post the video on youtube.
posted by bruce at 10:53 AM on January 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Uh oh, bruce isn't being a good lickspittle liberal.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:30 AM on January 13, 2007


no, he's not
posted by pyramid termite at 12:26 PM on January 13, 2007


pt, any idea what the backstory is on that clip? I'm just curious what the hell the guy was thinking.
posted by quin at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2007


Some how, this seems relevant to the thread. Just don't ask me to explain why.
posted by Doohickie at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2007


bruce: and if this isn't good enough for you, i would be happy to feed you to a lion and post the video on youtube.

Let's not retread *every* misstep of the Roman Empire. "American Gladiators" was bad enough.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:13 PM on January 13, 2007


And that asshole walked out of there alive? Fuck's sake, shoot the guy, not the lion.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:34 PM on January 13, 2007


kid ichorous writes "Let's not retread *every* misstep of the Roman Empire. 'American Gladiators' was bad enough."

Speak for yoruself, buddy. American Gladiators was wonderfully camp. Professional wrestling with better props!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:03 PM on January 13, 2007


He shook his head, eyes squeezed shut. The church had allowed women to murder their children and men through sodomy to damn themselves and all their brothers. It was his fault more than theirs because he knew the “blueprint of God’s Word.” He had pored over the Bible and the Constitution and the Mayflower Compact, had memorized choice words from John Adams and John Witherspoon and Patrick Henry, Jeremiah and Nehemiah and John the Revelator. Scripture and American history are in agreement, he had found: beneath God, family, and church is the state, with only one simple responsibility: “The symbol of the state is a sword. Not a spoon, feeding the poor, not a teaching instrument to educate our young.” Rusty stepped back, fists clenched. “And the sword is an instrument of death!” he yelled.

All right, I've been thinking about this quote from the article for days now. Emphasis mine.

"The symbol of the state is a sword. Not a spoon, feeding the poor..." he says.

Last summer, I developed the idea that perhaps the religious were less evolved--that maybe they were incapable of telling the difference between fiction and reality. Maybe they see things that go on in the world not as cold impersonal events, but as chapters. When something happens, they think, it's part of the setup for the next chapter. Bombs being tested in North Korea are just foreshadowing for the next chapter, where North Korea gets its ass kicked.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I read the new issue Acme Novelty Library, where Chris Ware's stand-in character is talking to another teacher about an obscure (?) philosopher who, when writing about the state of being--I suppose, in the age of mechanical reproduction--said "how can bad things happen to you? After all, you're the main character!"

So let's look at this "the symbol of the state is a sword" business. If the guy saying that can't understand that symbols are not immutable, that we can decide what they mean, then no wonder he's a fundamentalist Christian! He can't tell the difference between reality and a story!

"The symbol of the state is a sword [...] not a spoon, feeding the hungry [...]" he says. You know what, dumbass? It doesn't have to be that way. We are not trapped in a world of unchangeable symbolism. This is your problem.
posted by interrobang at 9:56 AM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


As long as he and his brethren are the ones wielding and swinging that sword, they feel safe and mighty and potent and armed and protected, i guess?
posted by amberglow at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2007


The problem is that they're convinced that order can only be wrought through force, and that's one of the main symptoms of their primitive thinking. Like I said, it doesn't have to be that way.
posted by interrobang at 10:54 AM on January 14, 2007


I used to be a part of this type of group, when I was fifteen and had just moved from Houston to Oklahoma. They were friendly and intolerant, welcoming and judgmental as hell. They were fun and they were mean, holy and horrible. They were exactly what you'd expect, and nothing in this article was an exaggeration.

The church ended up splitting over this segment of its congregation and an incident in which they tried to publicly humiliate a teenage couple who had been sleeping together, so I can tell you that they don't represent all - or even most - American Christians. As far as I can tell, there are three types of protestants in this country. The vast majority are casual, going-through-the-motions types, family men and women for whom it's a habit and tradition, and a source of comfort and guidance when needed. Then there are the true believers, who take a scholarly approach to discover what Christ's message actually was, deep down, and who's faith is unshakable by the actions of non-believers. Then there are the fundamentalists, who I refuse to call Christian. I'm deeply agnostic myself, but I have enough respect for different faiths not to mix fanatical nutjobs in with the rest of them.

The nutjobs need to know that they're correct, and so they latch onto the comforting notion of "God" and then claim that they alone understand Him and that their beliefs are in line with His works. To take the teachings of Jesus and then claim it as an imperative for consumerism and living by the sword is sacrilegious and dangerous, especially when indoctrinated into their children. The Stonewall Jackson bit goes further than anything else to explain the logical disconnect they require. Jackson prayed, Jackson was often victorious, thus Jackson was often victorious because he prayed, thus his tactics were holy, thus, because he prayed, his tactics were the embodiment of Christianity, despite being diametrically opposed to Christian principles. And that doesn't even go into the trouble of God's hand moving in everything, Jackson being shot by his own men, and his fighting for the South and the South losing the war, but Jackson's undertaking being blessed by God.

Yes, we've got one of these in the White House (kind of) but this isn't the majority of Christians, let alone the majority of the country. Any religion will have it's zealots, and when the zealots get together they'll just become more cult-like, and yes, that may be the "disease," as was said above. But the syndrome now is a widespread eschatological feeling over the country, that the end is nigh, be it through war, famine, pesitilence, or rapture. The Boomer generation has always been notoriously myopic, and the subsequent generations aren't looking much better. To add an unconscious feeling that there's no NEED to look out for future generations is the biggest problem that we face, and it's my real problem with the fundies. To claim that acting in a belief of a soon-upon-us apocalypse is a value to be praised is evil, no matter how well intentioned the perpetrators are.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:32 PM on January 14, 2007


Any religion will have it's zealots, and when the zealots get together they'll just become more cult-like, and yes, that may be the "disease," as was said above.
John Dean on Authoritarian Cultisms (tons of similarities, i think)

But the syndrome now is a widespread eschatological feeling over the country, that the end is nigh, be it through war, famine, pesitilence, or rapture.
Says who? Widespread among Christians? Widespread among fundamentalists? Widespread among all? I don't think so. People are angry and pessimistic, but they were that way in the 70s, and in the 30s, etc. It swings back and forth, and there's always hope to be found--even if religion is not providing it.
posted by amberglow at 12:54 PM on January 14, 2007


But the syndrome now is a widespread eschatological feeling over the country, that the end is nigh, be it through war, famine, pesitilence, or rapture.
Says who?


a lot of people ... peak oil, the singularity, global warming, weapons of mass destruction, ecological collapse ... i could go on and on, but i don't need to as there are no shortage of people who DO go on and on about it

it's been pretty much a constant theme in this society since the bomb was invented ... and one doesn't need religion to provide fatalism and despair, either

i don't think we're doomed but people of all kinds would disagree

The symbol of the state is a sword

those who live by the sword, die by the sword ... i read that somewhere
posted by pyramid termite at 2:56 PM on January 14, 2007


those who live by the sword, die by the sword ... i read that somewhere

Oh, I guess it must be true, then.
posted by interrobang at 3:44 PM on January 14, 2007


an eye for an eye--and the whole world goes blind.
posted by amberglow at 7:45 PM on January 14, 2007


Actually if modern history is any indicator, those who live by the sword, die in their beds as old men.

The expression is supposed to be a nice metaphor for Karma. Pity that reality kicks that kind of thing to the curb pretty regularly.
posted by quin at 9:41 PM on January 14, 2007


Big University of California vs. fundies case going on now--the Univ system rejected some of their classes.
posted by amberglow at 4:12 PM on January 28, 2007


Thanks amberglow, that's an interesting read. This story deserves an fpp of its own.
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 PM on January 28, 2007


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