Friday, March 14, 2014

The Culture War and Christianity

Recently, I watched this movie called Holy Ghost people which is a fantastic little low budget indie film that manages to pack a hell of a lot into its 88 minute run time.  When I went to go post a link to the trailer on my facebook wall so that my friends would look it up and possibly watch it my eyes unwillingly flicked to the comment section where I saw things like:

"just another movie to make Christian people look bad and blaspheme God. What a shame!" -chazbo34
"Oh, Christians are the bad guys again while satanism promoted by Gaga, Katy Perry, Jay Z, Marilyn Manson is good..." ImmortalCataphract

"Making vampires, demons, ghosts look fun & cool. Also, making churches, religion look bad and anti social, that's the weird, evil, satanic hollywood's plan now, too obvious." -~ Bright Romeo ~  (this one is my favorite)

Here is the trailer for those to lazy to look it up themselves:

Normally I laugh off the contents of the youtube comment area but this struck me.  Holy Ghost people is a low budget independent movie that you would only hear of if you follow an indie movie news feed like twitch or something like that.  How these people, who have no interest in the movie, heard of it I will never know.  I am curious though.  Anyway though out my work day it stuck with me.  Since I wanted to write more here in this blog I figure this would be a good time.  

So lets begin shall we?  This movie isn't unique in putting Christianity in a bad light.  There is Red State which is a direct slam against the Westero god hates fags assholes, Jesus Camp, But I'm a Cheerleader, the last season of Big Love, and all that's just off the top of my head.  Christians like to talk about persecution.  I think it is mostly because they are afraid of actually experiencing it rather than experiencing it proper but what do I know.

As an outsider looking in, yes there is indeed a conflict of culture going on.  It is also one that Christians aren't doing to well in.  The problem is that it is mostly their fault and they don't like to hear that but come on it is really easy.  Setting aside Westero Baptist, the fact that christianity has been stolen by the tea party, the kkk, and any other group of nuts that want to justify whatever fucked up thing they are up to.  Heck we can even set aside the occasional abortion clinic bombing or its really fucked up history in America.  Taking all that and setting it aside we are left with two culturally problematic pieces of resistance.

1) They have little to no interest in policing themselves as a religion as a whole.

2) Is that a large number of Christians are dead set on everyone else following their code of morality no matter if they like it or not.

Before I go further I'd like to say that most Christians are nice, mentally balanced, well rounded people, who have a mix of wisdom and compassion.  When I say most I fucking mean it.  I don't mean most of my friends so in case one of them read it they know I am not talking about them because they should know that already.  I mean MOST OF THEM in America as a whole are pretty decent god damn people.  However, that doesn't matter because of point 1.  See a lot of people have a superficial view of Christianity and lets face it for a religion that talks so much about flocks and shepherds they don't do dick when it comes to policing each other.  Let's set aside the Westboro fuckwads and focus on the local scene.  Churches form a community within the church themselves but most churches are isolated from each other.  I've been a to a fuckton of churches over the years and I haven't seen very much in interchurch events, churches banding together in times of crisis to help the needy, churches working as a team to tackle social issues.  No for the most part churches are in of themselves insular.  As a result some churches end up weird.  Really weird I went to an honest to god cult meeting once dressed up like it was a normal run of the mill 1st Baptist Church.  There are some large Christian organizations but they aren't doing enough to undo the damage that some of their lost flock members are off causing.  As a result their overall perception suffers.  For those local to Pensacola Father Nathan Monk is a bit of a local hero and rightly so.  He's a good guy and if more people stood up like him against the tyranny of the terrible flock members then Christianity could get some serious legs under it again.  Unfortunately to many Christians just give the extremists a pass.

I don't know or really care how this is supposed to come to pass.  I am not a Christian nor do I plan to become one.  However, if Christianity is everything it is supposed to be then it is the most important thing those people are going to do on this earth and they can't really get some good going if they are going to allow the behavior of their extremists to continue unchecked.

Part of the problem that comes with checking the extremists is the conflict of, "Well they are right...we just don't agree with their methods".  Harking back to Westboro, "Does god hate?" yeah well sure and since a lot of Christians don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle then what do you do?  Tell them to please not be so mean about it?  To have some tact?  How do you tell someone to shut up when you agree with them?  It is a tough question to answer but then again I don't have a problem with homosexuality so it is a lot easier for me.

This brings me neatly to point two.  For the first point I focused heavily on Westboro but they aren't the real problem.  They are a problem.  But it is something that could be easily solved is the Christian community got together and told those people to shut the fuck up or at least if the Christian community banned together to say we condemn these people and pray that they come back to the light.  There should be a constant prayer circle in front of their church trying to help them.  However, they are, at most, a side show.  A cartoon that this there for the amusement of the news and nothing else.  All they do is ruin the days of the people whoes lives they affect.  The bigger problem is that Christianity demands that everyone needs to believe what they believe.  Gay marriage needs to remain illegal because the bible says so.  Not because of any demonstrable danger to society and not to protect individuals from hurting themselves or others.  Nope just because they believe, with no actual evidence to back it up.

Abortion is even worse.  If they wanted less abortions.  I mean REALLY wanted less abortions then they would set up an interchurch foster care system, they would pay women to bring their children to term and they would take care of them.  They would offer women who bring their children to term support and a home.  They would go out of their way to give women as many alternatives to abortion as possible.  Instead we have the call for laws and protests.  The laws are a particular brand of fucked up because they don't actually stop the abortions they just make sure that women get punished. We've all heard this shit before moving on.

Then there is the evolution debacle.  Holy shit when Christians wanna get weird about something they go all out.  These people are actually building a fucking ark.  Millions of dollars have gone into this completely useless testament that Noah's Ark happened and that evolution is shit.  Over 30 million dollars have been raised to build this stupid thing.  Imagine all the good these people could of done instead of spending 30 million on a boat?

As an outsider I see all these things and I see a drive to force non Christians to conform to Christian law if we like it or not and that's messed up.  As an outsider I don't like it.  No one likes it really except the Christians who are to wrapped up in themselves to see reality.  So on the one hand we have Christians complaining about the lack of faith in the millennial generation and how the country is slipping further away from Christian beleifs.  Then on the other hand we have, God hates fags, giant boats, abortion clinic protests, and  Christians who feel the need to walk up and pester you while you are reading. I called it a culture war in my title not because it is the rest of the world versus the Christians though it may feel like that from time to time.

The worst enemy of Christianity is Christianity.  For every 100 amazing Christians there is one lunatic.  The problem is that the lunatic is 100 times louder than all the good Christians and that's what we see.  We see a group of people who want to pass ineffective laws so they can feel smug in their own morality, and who want to push their beliefs on us and it doesn't work.  I don't hate the religion any more than I hate its practitioners.  I recognize that it is a vast religion with people from all walks of life.  But when they let the lunatics stand at the forefront then it becomes much easier to see why people don't like them very much.  Failure to deal with the internal problems will rip the religion apart.  Oh well.

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