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January 11, 2010

Comments

Adam McIntire

Don't know if you've heard of the Nightmare here in Tulsa but it preys on exactly this same idea. You walk through scenes of gang rapes, shootouts, Drunk drivers that have crashed and impaled themselves with a school bus full of burning children, suicides, drug houses, etc. Then at the end they tell you that Jesus can save you. I guess the idea is that I'm suppose to come to Jesus because I may, at some point, get gang raped and blow my head off while catching a bus full of children on fire and I don't want to go to hell for that. Actually I'm sure its meant to draw a certain crowd that lives their lives in extremes but it seems to me to be this same idea of saving people from gangs to some vague idea of Jesus instead of things they actually need.

Greg Horton

Sounds like someone cooked up a way to do Hell House year round. Never underestimate the ability of fundamentalists to wring the last drop of insanity from a bad idea.

Zossima

True story from a friend of mine (who is still a pastor and very focused on care for the poor): He was driving in downtown Chicago and a drunk stumbled into the street and fell down. My friend got out to help the guy up. A group of christians came up and my friend asked them to help get the guy down the street to a shelter that was in sight. They formed a circle and started praying for the guy. Then they got him to mumble some kind of assent to the "sinner's prayer" and left. My friend carted the guy down to the shelter by himself.

Phil

Okay...here's one that will get your blood boiling. After the Thailand Tsunami a number of years ago, there were reports from friends of mine, working in the area at the time, that Christian missionary groups from Waco, TX, were doing "relief work." What they were doing was going around doing this kind of crisis salvation evangelism in the face of disaster. They kept telling people to repent and accept Jesus and he will help you. The newly-converted became disenfranchised when, indeed, no help arrived. The evangelists moved on. Local Christian pastors were furious, as these outsiders had undermined years of honest-to-God gospel ministry in the form of "being the hands and feet of Christ." The name of Christianity had been sullied in the region because of this Christianist terrorism.

True story.

Adam McIntire

Its not year round. Just Oct. But the church is called GUTS. Edgy and Extreme right!?

Texan Tex

Amway is a scam, and here's why: Amway pays out as little money as they can get away with, so they support the higher level IBOs ripping off their downline via the tool scam.

As a result, about 99% of IBOs operate at a net loss, while the top 1% make several TIMES more from their Amway tool scam than from the Amway products.

Read about it on my blog, I suggest you start here: http://tiny.cc/D5oJh and forward the information to everyone you know, so they don't get scammed.

dr dobson

Hey TT--thanks for calling this absolutely brand new thing called "Amway" a scam. I would have fallen hook, line and sinker for it. I've never known anything that promises untold wealth for doing absolutely nothing other than paying my own money for soap and carpet shampoo as a scam. We're now saved from this beast of deception; thank you.

Btw, what the hell does "IBO" mean, anyway? Let me guess, "Independent Business Owner"? I just threw up in my mouth . . .

Leighton

The saddest part is that the spammer is still more coherent than most of the drive-bys around here.

The Dude

Greg, you really think Kelly wasn't interested in helping her in her situation, just because she asked about Jesus? I'd also think that the 'right frame of mind' isn't necessarily when things are all copacetic. In fact, sometimes clarity comes when your boat is rocked. The fact she busted out and asked him about Jesus doesn't necessarily ... See Moreindicate a lost mind, but a lost life in the middle of some pointless crap and in dire need of something other than the normally prescribed good buzz or another orgasm.

I understand the underlying condemnation against evangelicals caring more for the soul than for the whole person. In fact, I agree that has been a problem in evangelical circles, and isn't scriptural. But not sure this is a great example of that. There is no a priori necessity of spreading the Gospel and neglect. In fact, it's quite the opposite. However, if there is no heaven above, hell below, no God, no salvation, no justice...that hardly seems comforting when you're getting the life beat out of you.

Greg Horton

I have no idea what Kelly was interested in; he didn't say, except that he helped her "get saved," a dubious ontological state on any day of the week. Clarity comes well after your boat is rocked, after the deconstruction process is complete. That's a little truism I've experienced in my own life and on countless occasions as a pastor counseling people through crises. As for the solutions, alcohol and orgasms at least have the immediate benefit of physicality and an immediate release of tension. Not sure what benefit salvation offers in this world. Seems to me that empirically speaking, it offers nothing tangible, except for the moment of catharsis, which both alcohol and sex offer in a more visceral way.

I agree that spreading the Gospel and neglect don't have to go hand in hand; I know many churches that do a good, responsible, caring job of both physical and metaphysical salvation. Your last statement is encapsulates what I dislike about theistic thinking. Justice matters now, not in the afterlife. Salvation matters now, not eschatologically. What is comforting when you're getting the shit kicked out of you is salvation from present circumstances, not a promise of ontological reformation. "You can be a new kind of creature while you're getting the hell beat out of you." Also, whether or not there is comfort in the present surely isn't solved by postulating gods and angels and rewards and punishments in the future that can't be demonstrated to be real with any degree of success. I might just as well argue that the comfort I draw in the midst of my beatdown is knowing that I'll have a drink and an orgasm later.

Zossima

I recently had a little spat on FB over Brit Hume's assertion that Tiger Woods should become a christian. I pointed out the obvious misunderstanding of what Buddhism teaches about individual morality and asked why anyone would think christianity could help Tiger be a "moral" (by which christians always mean sexually moral) person. (The statistics are clear that people identifying as evangelical christians in America are not anymore "moral" than non-evangelicals.) What I got back is that at least he'd know he's going to heaven. So metaphysical certitude is the panacea for everything I guess. But as I pointed out and nobody could refute, it actually wouldn't save Tiger's marriage.

Honestly, who says, "At least I'm going to heaven when I die" when the shit hits the fan? Job didn't. Jesus didn't. Where does this crap come from in evangelicalism?

And why has this assumption that no other religion or philosophy has anything better to offer gone so unchallenged by evangelicals for so long? As Greg noted, straight up hedonism promises the immediate relief of a good drunk or an orgasm. Buddhism offers detachment from the effects of suffering that are due to ego. Christians need to get over themselves. Hell, Tony Robbins offers more tangible relief from suffering than christianity does.

I'm convinced that christianity is forever trying to answer the wrong question. I've given up trying to figure out why. But when somebody says, "My life sucks!" or "Why am I suffering?", Xians say, "You need Jesus so you can go to heaven when you die." No, I didn't ask about what's after death. I want to know how to make it through today. And the few Christians who attempt an answer to that (Joel Osteen?) really offer nothing that is uniquely Christian, nothing that I can't find elsewhere.

The Dude

Justice requires there be a real, objective and ontologically real set of moral values. Without God, the best you can do is relativism...subjective moral values. The problem with these is that you end up not having a moral value to adjudicate between conflicting ones (either between individuals or cultures/nations). That means someone kicking your face in isn't really immoral or unjust. It just is. You may think so, but whatever you think is the case isn't necessarily the case. Then you just embrace nihilism and pray the odds in an otherwise silent universe end up in your favor.

I think this girl realized this. It was cool to be in Wicka....probably was abused by Christians in the passed causing her to lash back. Christianity was false purely because people representing Jesus were cruel (and many times they are). But a perfect deconstructed moment is when you just had a boot kick your face and you begin to think how much of what you believed was just window dressing without regards to its merit.

Old fable about Socrates and a student sitting by the stream...student asked Socrates if one could really know the truth. Socrates pushed the student's head under water for a long period of time. Student began to kick, squirm in panic. When he just about gave up on fighting for air, Socrates brought him back up and said, "When you want truth like you wanted air, you will find it."

Without theism, you can't even hold a liberal moral view of anything unless you caveat it with the realization that ultimately it's just discourse and a power struggle, rather than a moral issue.

Salvation is very real to me and for Kelly, and for this girl I am sure....much more than an existential high...depth and breadth....existential fulfillment, reasonableness, motivating for others....involves the whole person. And by focusing only on the creeps that are in the biz acting just like the rest of the world acts, you miss the salt and light that is here. That girl encountered salt and light that evening.

Greg Horton

Kelly, the first statement you make is simply false. From within your framework, I'm sure you believe that, but you are assuming two very important things: 1. without god, only relativism, which is nonsense, and 2. definitions of justice and morality can be acquired from god with clarity, which, as the world's multiple religions indicate, is simply not the case. If you could point to a clearly agreed upon set of moral values IN the church universal, you might actually make a compelling argument. As it is, you've got nothing.

As for your first statement, justice can be derived definitionally quite simply without god. Where justice is defined as some variation of the golden or silver rule, we have a nice framework for humanistic justice. Does that make it carved in stone? No. Nor are the laws the Church can't agree on; there is still so much ambiguity that it's impossible to pretend the Church knows the Law with any degree of confidence. Most definitions of justice, law, morality are formed within a linguistic, theological, traditional, and cultural language game. The definitions aren't there waiting for us to find them. We shape them based on many factors. But the system must first start with the agreement to respect the other. (BTW, no system can anticipate or prevent all the eventual abuses). The humanistic definition of justice works just fine because we can all agree that it's best to treat each other with respect, dignity, fairness, etc. Those who don't agree won't exceed the number who didn't agree with the church's first principles under a system of Divine Command, as the church's history amply illustrates.

Greg Horton

charles, sorry. didn't mean to call you kelly.

Kelly

Greg, I am sorry if I gave you the impression that I intended to give you an exhaustive account of that event. I intended to tell you one interesting account of coffee shop witnessing in which the evangelist was sought out as opposed to doing the seeking. I was very worried about the girl... See More’s health once she revealed the abuse to be. Her and her friend assured me that she had not received any injuries that required medical aid. I encouraged her to breakup with the boyfriend and return to her parent’s home. She agreed that this would be best for her.

Greg, I assume that you wrote what you did out of compassion and concern for women in abuse, and not simply using her conversion story to mentally manipulate others into a suspicious attitude against the Christian Faith. At the beginning of your response you wrote that I am nice, but within the context of your response you assumed a lack of concern for her health on my part. Actually, I am a not very nice guy. I am actually prone to being rude; but on the other hand, I really am sensitive to others when it comes to them getting physically hurt. My heart sank as I finally realized that that girl’s “Goth” makeup was covering a big black eye. The other thing I didn’t put in that response was that the boy beat her after she told him that she was pregnant with his baby. She was going the next day to have the baby checked out.

Greg Horton

thanks for the clarification. and as for mental manipulation, i don't think of pointing out that crisis evangelism is exploitative as mental manipulation. i'm glad to hear you were concerned about her physical well-being. i still think of crisis evangelism as underhanded and irresponsible.

cheek

Dude,
As Greg points out, the without-an-objective-standard(God)-then-moral-relativism, argument is utterly empty. It conflates contextualism with relativism, and it is only ever argued by people with very few research hours into serious ethics or meta-ethics. Of course it is more difficult to derive applicable ethical principles from different contexts than it would be to look them up in a definitive moral guidebook. Alas, no one who adheres faithfully to a reasonable standard of evidential justification has access to such a resource. Even if you take the authority of some particular religious text as a first principle, there is no definitive means of parsing the moral language of any of the moral texts in existence. Lest you reply that the Holy Spirit enables perfect interpretation of the Bible, I'll preemptively respond that such a theory just does not fit the evidence of how Christians of any and all creeds actually interpret the Biblical text. So even if there are some mystical objective moral universals, I've never read a convincing argument for why any given set is the right one.

Greg Horton

Cheek, sane and erudite, as expected. I'd like to borrow your brain for a day. Actually, if I could splice you, JJ, and Leighton into one uber-brain, I'd kill all three of you for the body parts.

Leighton

Just so long as you use the money from the harvested organs to buy good beer. If I hear so much as a joke about stocking up on Budweiser, we'll sit down and prove you don't exist, making you vanish in a puff of logic.

Dave Therio

I paid a visit to the Nightmare back in October 2007. Pretty crazy stuff.

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