Jessica Williams proposes applying New York’s Stop and Frisk policy to Wall Street bankers.
There are days when I go to bed thinking that day to day religion isn’t harmless. Right? As long as someone isn’t part of a cult such as those by Charles Manson, Malachi York, Jim Jones, or some other fanatical group of individuals, being part of a religion is no big deal. It makes sense right. You can join any group and knock on my door and proselytize all you want and you are good since you don’t have a bomb strapped to your back.
That’s the thing, religions harm people in more ways then just physical means.
I have many friends who have “converted” to their current religion and it baffles me when I hear their testimony. They make it seem that in their lives prior to conversion they were the worst people ever. I know that this is used to make their conversion story more compelling. I get that. It sells the story better. While I find it disingenuous on so many levels and this reason doesn’t make it right, but its how companies sell products. It’s embellishment and we all do it all the time.
What bothers me is that when you talk to them, they lament at how miserable they were or how wretched and wicked they were before converting. They believe this so strongly that sometimes even I question the history of our friendship. I hear people I know and love berate themselves for past decisions they made when they weren’t saved as a product of their deviant behavior.
I have even heard my mother, who was a saint before converting to a 7th Day Adventist, lament at how poorly she raised us. While my mother is not perfect by any means, she is an awesome parent who I take many cues from. She is also an awesome human being who instilled the idea of giving back to our community in all 4 of us very early in our lives. She always gives but her religion got her thinking otherwise. That is extremely harmful.
This idea that everything in the “world” is harmful is dangerous. It makes people distrust anyone outside of that religion. This is how cults thrive. The thing is that religions that don’t physically harm their congregants start the ball rolling with this idea that everything outside it’s doors shouldn’t be trusted. So when that person goes to a more fanatical religion, it’s easier to accept the party line. So mainstream religions are the “gateway drugs” to the more fanatical ones. The mainstream religions like the fanatical ones stamp out all doubt and don’t allow for questions to be asked. They are subliminally oppressive to their members because if you do question, you are ostracized or told to be careful.
If religion allowed for questioning and dissent, it probably wouldn’t be so bad. If it didn’t sell the idea that outside ideas and even doubt is bad, it would probably be harmless. But alas, it doesn’t.
— Dan Tres OMi
Selling Superman as Jesus: Man of Steel marketers offer Christian pastors free screenings and sermon notes (To read the story, click image or here; For a related video, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/379666137/a-promo-video-for-the-christian-superhero-show)
Ugh. Just started reading some of the Goodreads reviews of this book, and people are just terrible.
It’s not enough for a woman of color to write a book in which she harnesses and subverts common speculative fiction tropes in service of an African protagonist in an African setting, something…
First thanks for asking a question. Its a rare occasion and I really appreciate it.
I did read your piece http://imnewblack.tumblr.com/post/51567818820/36-die and let me say, its a typical straw person’s argument.
1. As an atheist, I don’t blame accidents, natural disasters, wars, etc. on God at all. I have yet to see anything that proves that God exists. So if i find that God doesn’t exist, I cannot place blame on him. What we do say is that if prayer works as theists claim, then 20,000 children should not starve each day. If prayer works, as theists claims, millions wouldn’t die of malaria each day. I am sure that the parents of said children pray probably harder then even my mother (who is a 7th Day adventist preacher).
2. Since I find that God doesn’t exist, i find no validity in the claim that he did intervene when asked. Bad things happen to good people. That’s life. Good things happen to bad people who are undeserving of those good things. That too is life.
3. A good book to read is Sam Harris’ “Free Will.” there is alot of new science out there that says that there is no such thing as free will. Yes its daunting. But i was raised Catholic because my mother and father were catholic and they were raised that way as was my grandparents and so on and so forth. At one point my ancestors WERE not Christian at all. They were polytheists until white folks showed up. If i was born in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, chances are I would have been raised muslim.
4. Here is where the straw person’s argument of free will falls short when it comes to the Christian God: he offers his children “free will” then says “believe in me or rot in a burning hell for all eternity.” that’s spiritual slavery. He is not giving me a choice.
5. You bought up the concept of original sin. It’s probably the worst way to guilt someone into becoming Catholic. So if my father commits murder, i have to pay some sort of penance for that? No court of law will do that to me. That is simply ridiculous. Let’s not forget the fact that you have to prove Adam and Eve existed much less prove they committed some crime (of eating forbidden fruit - geez what a merciful God that we are forced to love). Original sin is probably the most ridiculous concept created by Catholics to maintain power. While I find the idea ludicrous, the church has used this to torture and kill millions over the century.
the best solution any country has in dealing with the example you provided of accidents in the street (which all of my Naija in laws have been a victim of and complain about all the time - yes my wife is from Lagos) is better streets and highways, street lights that actually work, more police who are not corrupt, more lighter and efficient cars, etc. we can go on and on. my point is the solutions to our problems can be fixed. waiting on a sky daddy to do them, is a horrible idea.
will do… I know my “religious history” is brief but its actually longer than just Catholicism. But I shall read your piece.
Even as a Catholic, I distrusted the Pope. I remember visiting the Vatican and thinking to myself “so the rumors are true!” The opulence was true and clear. Anyone who wears the title of the Pope is not to be trusted. So even as a Roman Catholic who at one time considered being a priest, I knew the Pope was full of it. Then again, it was the former Pope Ratzinger who ran out all of the priests who taught me Liberation Theology. So when the new Pope (what’s that guy’s name?) says that even atheists are redeemable, I have to laugh and ask for less cream in my coffee. While it is about the moral high ground which the church does not occupy, this is the attitude that too many people have about atheists. To many believers, atheists are heretics and deserve a special place in hell. We are hedonists who have no regard for anyone but ourselves. There was a time where I would get upset when someone said this to me. This still happens every day. Now I really rolls off my back. And you know the Pope, whichever one it is, always says some choice things about atheists. While it bothers me and many others that these idiots have so much influence on hundreds of millions of people, I have come to realize that as an atheist, the Pope and his minions are just a bunch of old guys with funny hats. If the pope walked into my job right now, I can refuse to shake his hand or bow or whatever people do when he comes in the door and no one can say a damn thing. In other words, the Pope doesn’t mean diddly in my world. When I think of that, I am like “what did the pope say?” At the end of the day, what he says really has no relevance to my daily operation or anyone else’s for that matter. He can dish out decree after decree and we can make parodies of them and nothing will happen. This isn’t 1240 AD in Spain. It’s 2013 and what you kick doesn’t make any difference. On almost every point in history, the church (with the exception of the Civil Rights movement and Liberation Theology) has been on the wrong side of history. Guess who has been on the right side almost 99% of the time? That’s right the skeptics. It must suck to be filed in the dustbins of history.
Vintage Christian book: How to Pass Out Tracts for Jesus (For more info and images, click here; Found at Stuff Fundies Like; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/46647172456/satisfied-teen-ager-a-vintage-christian-tract)
While many of the leaders of the Black Freedom Rights Struggle during the 1950’s and 1960’s were pastors and lay leaders, the concept of non-violence that they preached and practiced was not based on Christianity. Many Christians love to kick that Jesus was this long haired hippie but there were several instances in the Gospels where Jesus was far from that. While we can discuss the myriad interpretations of Jesus, that’s not the point. My point is that the concept of non-violence practiced during that time came from the teachings of Gandhi. While Gandhi practiced Hinduism, he did not get that idea from his religion. Gandhi pulled his ideas from Jainism. If there is a religion of peace, Jainism is it.
It was Bayard Rustin (a socialist and an atheist by the way) who introduced the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to these concepts of Jainism. If one were to check King’s life after the March on Washing in 1963, one would learn that King began to do research on Jainism and the teachings of Gandhi. I am not trying to take anything away from those church folks who put in work. I just want folks to realize that those concepts and tactics used during that era did not come from Christianity.
The thing about Christians, and yes I mean ALL of them, is that they like to pick and choose certain quotes in the Bible. The problem with the Bible is that it contradicts itself on almost every page. While Jesus did discuss “turning the other cheek” there were moments in the Gospels where he was violent and talked about violence. Let’s not mention the fact that Jesus was really exclusive about who was down and who wasn’t. So this idea of tolerance in Christianity is fiction.
It’s unfortunate that folks like Rustin and A. Philip Randolph get written out of the Black Freedom Rights Struggle. The narrative that is written is that church folks did it all when that is not the case. And yes, the black clergy came from the stance of Liberation Theology as preached by Martin Delaney (another Martin you should read about) in the 19th century. And it’s a crime that Liberation Theology has also been written out of history or seen as a form of “communism.” But that is another post for another day.