When the Hateful Accuse Us of Hatefulness (link)

I almost cried reading this article. We’re allowed to be angry. We’re allowed to share our anger and our stories about the hurt we’ve endured and still endure. We’re allowed to point out oppressive attitudes and actions when we see it. We’re allowed to express our anger and hurt even if it makes our oppressors uncomfortable. After all, their momentary discomfort at our expressions of joy and pain is nothing compared to the generations of oppression they have inflicted and still inflict upon us.

Just because we won this single battle doesn’t mean the fight for equality is over, nor does it erase the unimaginable harm they’ve done to us in the name of “love”. We’re allowed to make sure that our immense struggles are not forgotten or toned down to make our oppressors feel better about themselves. It is not hateful for us to show them how they’ve hurt us, to make them aware of the damage they’ve caused and are still causing. It is not hateful for us to be angry at the terrible way we’ve been treated, or to celebrate a victory over their oppression of us. It is not hateful to recover from oppression and live our lives in ways that our oppressors dislike. 

Although I personally don’t agree with the term “fundagelical” to describe anti-gay Christians (I find it unnecessarily abrasive and would personally use another term), after how I’ve been treated and my LGBTQ friends have been treated and countless generations of LGBTQ people have been treated, I think a strongly worded article in reply is more than justified.

But I’m not going to play nice here: the Christians opposing LGBTQ rights have rivers of blood flowing down their hands.

Every single demand that we shut up, give them “respect” (again, meaning: silence and an allowance to keep acting as if they won rather than lost), and stop being “hateful” is being made while they peek at us through bloody fingers. Their hands are so close to their faces that they can’t even see the blood streaming down their wrists.

They have turned their gazes away from the lives they have destroyed, the children they have murdered and abandoned, the bullying they have done, or the constant stream of filthy smears they have made against a marginalized group–marginalized, remember, because of their hateful pseudo-love–that never actually posed a threat to anything of theirs. They can’t see any of that. When this information gets shared with them, they try to silence the messenger–because the message runs so contrary to their crafted and curated self-image. Their emotional paychecks depend on seeing themselves as the “good guys”: the embattled paladins of truth and justice fighting against a monstrous and agelessly-evil enemy. The truth would destroy that image of themselves they hold so dear–and would put into question all the other false ideas they hold. But all of this is their problem and not ours.

Until they wash their hands and get cleaned up, they have no right at all to try to shut anyone up for pointing out their error. We however have every right to talk about that error, and we will continue to do so.

We are not being hateful, and we will not be shamed into silence by those culture-warrior Christians feeling stung over their loss.***

We are not being hateful, any more than they were ever being loving.

Read the whole article here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2015/07/when-the-hateful-accuse-us-of-hatefulness/#sthash.C3pGWfEH.dpuf

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The Hypocrisy of Rudeness in Spiritually Abusive Forms of Christianity

funny-cat-stretching-rudeWhat makes someone rude or immature in a conversation, particularly online? I’ve noticed that the standards for some Christians are very different than standards for nonbelievers. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how nice or rude you are, what matters to them is which SIDE you’re on. These Christians who adhere to spiritually abusive teachings have such a strong us vs them attitude that they will defend a rude Christian bully over a respectful atheist.

For many Christian fundamentalists/Evangelicals/etc., it’s perfectly acceptable to be blunt and even outright rude as long as you’re promoting the right beliefs. It’s “understandable” to get “a little carried away” because your motives are supposedly golden. But atheists and LGBTQ people are given no such understanding. Even if we have been repeatedly insulted and harmed by these people, it’s still “rude” to call them out on it and tell them that they are, in fact, not very nice people.

For example:

If a Christian calls me a sinner and says my sexual orientation is abominable, it’s righteous. If I call them homophobic and point out that their beliefs have caused the LGBTQ community extreme harm, I am the bad one in the conversation.
If a Christian is condescending and says “I’ll pray you come to your senses”, they are praised. But if I suggest that they actually read a science book before bashing evolution, I’m rude and horrid.

  • “You’re going to hell!”
  • “You can’t possibly understand truth because you’re an atheist.”
  • “There are some things we just don’t question.”
  • “Atheists are the cause of all the problems in society.”
  • “Atheists can’t really love or have morals.”
  • “Your life must be falling apart since you don’t believe like me.”
  • “Gay people are unnatural sexual deviants.”
  • “Gay people can love each other if they want, but they should do it behind closed doors and not ever talk about it.”
  • “You can have different opinions than me, as long as your opinions are Biblical.”
  • “I don’t believe your story of deconversion. You couldn’t possibly have been a real Christian and then turn atheist. Either you were never really saved, or you’re lying to me about your past.”
  • “It’s your own fault that your Christian friends abandoned you. You’re a threat to their faith now, and they’re in the right because you refuse to recant your sin and they have to wash their hands of you and follow Biblical discipline.”

These are actual things that have been said to me. Some of them I hear on a regular basis.

So if I get a little irate when I speak to you, if I maybe don’t mince words as much as you’d like, remember that I’m human just like you and I have been told so many hurtful things that sometimes my fuse is a little shorter than it should be. Just like Christians don’t always say things the way they should, I don’t always either. But I will no longer fall for the guilt trip of these hypocritical standards. I will no longer let them bully me and tell me that I’M the rude one. I know that I have been forever labeled as “rude” and “argumentative” by some who don’t understand me, and nothing I do will change that unless I give in and start supporting their side again or shut up and never voice dissenting opinions. Then they’ll call me respectable.

I’ll always do my best to word things respectfully, and if I say something in a manner that was out of line I’ll apologize for it. But I will never again apologize for saying what I think, and I will no longer play this game of rudeness hypocrisy. If you’re rude, you’re rude. Being religious doesn’t excuse that. And I will call you on your bullshit.

Worship Service “Highs” Explained

0045667cdac4530c891d3feae1adc011After 20+ years in church and many, many, MANY years of participating in incredibly intense and emotionally charged worship services, I’ve learned that this kind of musical experience is not unique to Christianity, or even religion in general. I experience the same rush of emotions, the same euphoria that I felt back when I was in church: peace and inspiration and deep thought provoking responses, the desire to dance around happily, to just fall on the floor and cry, or to run out and fight a righteous battle of some kind. Except now it’s to other kinds of music with no worship or prayer involved.

Music moves us, drives us, and causes us to experience things that we can’t always explain unless we happen to be psychologists who have literally written books on how it works, or we’re one of those people who like reading those books (raises hand). In a church worship service, the addition of other people experiencing the same thing is very similar to what we feel at an intense rock concert where everyone is singing along. Many people coming together to focus on the same experience creates a sort of group high.

This isn’t a commentary about whether or not god exists, we all have our own beliefs on that count and it’s a different issue altogether. This is just my own commentary on the phenomenon of the musical “high” that churches often claim as supernatural, based on my own experience and what I’ve learned about in science and psychology. I think that much of what is thought of as “God’s presence” in a worship service is nothing more than our natural responses to being in such a charged musical atmosphere. This is probably why some religious sects don’t allow music, because they recognize the power of music in driving emotional responses that aren’t necessarily supernatural. But when you’re raised to associate these feelings with “God’s presence”, it becomes confirmation bias. If God is real or not is another issue- but the whole musical experience thing is something that all humans, religious or not, can access. You could say God made music that way. I’d disagree with you, but at least it’s a more logical interpretation of how we feel in worship services.

So enjoy your music, however you like it. View it as divine or not, it’s up to you. These are just the thoughts that go through my head as I drink root beer and listen to awesome music that I never listened to when I was a Christian. 🙂

Stereotyping isn’t Love, it’s Judgemental.

imagesI have heard some Christians claim that they have a monopoly on love, that non-believers can’t love the way they can or even love at all. It’s interesting that they say this, because I see such unloving attitudes from many of these same Christians. And I’m not even talking about the Christians who rant and bash people in online comment threads or disown their children for being atheists or gay- I’m talking about the supposedly loving, everyday fundamentalist Christians (and people of other fundamentalist religious beliefs). I hear them say “I love you no matter what”, but their attitudes and actions don’t line up. You can say you love me all you want, but your actions and attitudes will speak far louder than your words ever will. Words are cheap, anyone can say they love me unconditionally. It’s much harder to actually do it.

HEAR ME PLEASE: Stereotyping is judgmental. When you say “we don’t judge others” but then stereotype them, you are being judgmental. All your talk of love will fall on deaf ears because your actions and words don’t line up.

Love does not stereotype others. If you say that “all people in this group are this way”, then you are stereotyping. Why is this unloving? Because you are telling the person that you are satisfied with applying a stereotype to them instead of taking the time to actually get to know them and see what THEY are like as an individual.

If you claim to love people unconditionally and yet apply stereotypes to them, are you actually loving them? True love doesn’t assume. Love says “I take you as you ARE, not as I ASSUME you to be or WISH you to be.”

Here are some examples of stereotypes I have heard many times or that I’ve actually been told to my face:

  • Bisexuals don’t exist or are confused, they’re either straight or gay.
  • People who aren’t straight are more likely to be pedophiles, be promiscuous, sexually assault others, they have made a conscious choice to be sinners/deviant, etc.
  • Atheists have no morals and are incapable of love.
  • Atheists just want to sin or secretly still believe in god.
  • Atheists and other non-Christians are the cause of all the problems in the U.S./World/etc.
  • Women who don’t want to have a baby must hate children and/or men, are selfish, too focused on their careers, will regret it later, etc.
  • Women who have had abortions are selfish sluts who couldn’t keep their legs closed, should have used birth control, etc.
  • Single mothers were irresponsible and are a leech on society if they need social assistance.
  • People on welfare are all greedy and taking advantage of the system, don’t want to work, have no work ethic, etc.
  • Feminists hate men and are all lesbians and/or workaholic career women who look down on stay-at-home-moms, and hate anything remotely feminine.
  • People who don’t share your faith in (insert religious beliefs here) are ignorant, deceived by the devil, stubborn, rebellious, etc.
  • Liberals/Conservatives are all (insert derogatory comment about intelligence here).

What hurtful assumptions have you heard or have been applied to you? Comment below!
These stereotypes have one thing in common: They are assumptions, not facts, and they are very hurtful. When you make assumptions about an entire group of people, you miss out on the opportunity to get to know them as they actually are. And you’re telling them that you don’t care to know who THEY are, you’re happy with your potentially erroneous assumptions and judgments.

I am certainly not perfect in this, I’ve been guilty of stereotyping people before. But it’s something I’m conscious of, and I work very hard to eradicate stereotypes from my life. I try to see people as individuals, not just as groups. That’s why I always try to specify “some Christians” instead of just “Christians” in general, because I know what I’m saying doesn’t apply to all Christians.

Letter to Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Other Proselytizing Groups

gdfdDear Mormons: I do appreciate you stopping your car to ask if I needed help carrying my groceries home today. It’s something we don’t see very often these days. However, when your next sentence is the beginning of your religious script that is designed to convert me, it makes me wonder if the only reason you asked to help was to have a chance to proselytize.

Any respect for what you just did just flew out the window.

Why can’t you just offer to help someone without attaching strings? Could it be that people are just not responding well enough to the door to door thing so now you must push your faith on people walking home? Were you driving around waiting for an opportunity like this?

I didn’t take them up on their offer, by the way. I enjoy the exercise and fresh air after sitting all day at work (I write for a living), and I don’t drive with strangers, especially two young men I don’t know. When I told them thank you but I don’t need a drive, they went right into their script as I’m standing there with my heavy groceries. Really?? Is it so hard to just do a kind deed for the sake of doing a kind deed?? If I offered someone a ride, I wouldn’t try to convince them to become an atheist– I’d just want to help them out!

They asked if I had ever talked to a missionary before, I told them I used to be one myself. They then asked if I was a missionary with their church, and I said politely and very briefly that I was once a Christian missionary but I am no longer religious. They looked very shocked indeed! lol. I then wished them well and continued on my way with my groceries.  I kind of wish I had flat-out said I was an atheist instead of simply not religious, that would have made an even bigger impression I’m sure.

Dear Jehovah’s Witnesses: You’ve come to my door several times. It’s getting old. How many times do I have to politely tell you that I’m not religious and don’t want to be before you will respect that? I would be much more impressed if you came to my door when I first moved in to offer me cookies, building a friendship. When I never see you except when you’re pushing your faith on me, it’s a HUGE turnoff. You make it perfectly clear that you only care about promoting your religion- you don’t care about me as an individual person.

The same goes to any Christian or religious group that uses these tactics. I know some other fundamentalist/religious groups do these things as well. If you’re handing out flyers for a community outreach event or program, that I can respect, even if I don’t like the underlying witnessing that may be present there- but at least it’s something of substance.

What I respect the most is when people simply help each other- no strings attached. If someone asks you what you believe or why you’re doing it that’s great, those are the opportunities you should look for! But don’t push it on people, especially after making them feel obligated by doing something nice for them!

Satanic Group Wants to Erect Statue, Christians Should Support Them

This is great.

Ben Moushon

At first glance you’d want to think the headline is a joke “Group Unveils Satan Statue for Oklahoma Capitol“.  Then as you read, you realize it’s for real.  Most Christian’s will start by feeling confused, then scared, and finally angry.  Sure enough the same people who claimed that Phil Robertson’s rights were violated will begin to write their congressman and petition and most likely start protesting.  While others who aren’t quite sure what to think will resort to “it’s time to start praying”.  However, despite the disagreement that the two groups have, Christians should stay out of the way and even quietly support the statue.  Here’s why:

1.  The same rights that allow Christian’s the right to protest and evangelize, are the same rights that protect every other religious and non-religious group.  If you want to continue speaking your mind in public, the same right must be given to…

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