Thursday, October 19, 2006

Civilizing the Debate Table

I recently ran into this, via Matt.
The only “Christians” getting any media exposure these days always seem to be the extreme fundamentalists who are busy proclaiming “God hates fags” or promoting similar hate-speech. If it’s not that, they’re busy condemning our nation as wicked and predicting God’s wrath raining down upon us in the form of a natural disaster. The biggest churches in America are now promoting the “prosperity gospel” where followers are promised financial prosperity through faith, thus turning evangelizing into a form of bribery....

....We must ask ourselves why we let those who call themselves “Christian” do those same things. Why is no one standing up and proclaiming “Hey! That’s not right! That’s not what it means to be a Christian!”? I once heard a great story about a bag of Oreo cookies that nicely parallels our current situation. A husband and wife bought a box of snack-sized bags of Oreo cookies. When they arrived at home they decided to open up a bag for a snack. The bag looked like all of the other bags, but when they opened it there were no cookies inside! The bag contained nothing but air, so they threw it away and opened another one. Again, though the bag looked normal from the outside, they found no cookies inside the bag. The husband turned to his wife and asked “How many bags of cookies will you go through before you give up and assume they’re all empty?”

How many times does a nonbeliever have to get burned by someone claiming the mantle of Christ before they give up on Christianity altogether?
I often find myself trying to expose the fundamental immorality of fundy trolls when I find them. I spend too much time trying to get them to see their hypocracy and lies, I often wind up being unable to discuss the real issues out there.

If people like this Christian can marginallize the fundies into effective invisibility ("Oh, there goes that fake 'Christian' Jack Chick spouting off again! Let's all ignore his now-tiny cult and get back to the issue of finding a way to make Intelligent Design testable."), we can get on with our lives. Who knows, they may be able to find something that all the Jerry Falwells of the world have been distracting humanity from.

Once all the fundies are shoved into a dark theological corner, the debate table can become more civilized, and I won't have to just go by pattern recognition.

I doubt it'll happen soon, though, but I wish all the non-insano Christians the best in their efforts.

11 comments:

bigdumbchimp said...

Problem is, the squeeky (or in this case insanely destined on our destrution as a culture and civilization) wheel gets the oil.

The most vocal and wingnutty of the religious groups will be the ones we hear about.

Infophile said...

And of course, the calm ones generally feel no need to proselytize, and are also the least likely to come on the internet to argue with others about their faith.

The Ridger, FCD said...

"And of course, the calm ones generally feel no need to proselytize, and are also the least likely to come on the internet to argue with others about their faith."

Which is just what she says about the reaction she's getting to her statement...

Anonymous said...

So then, what do you think the solution is? Obviously there's something wrong. Folks on both sides of the spectrum see it. But the ones who are causing the problem don't. And they aren't generally in a position to see it when someone calls them on it.

Bronze Dog said...

Don't know if the problem can even be solved, but I think at the very least, you could keep trying to stir up all the noise you can, Amanda. I'll be cheering from the other side of the stadium.

I think we need to get our society so that "fundy" is a REALLY nasty word and "atheist" isn't.

One thing I'm fond of doing with some fundy trolls is to show them how they out-"atheist" all the real atheists in the world.

One potentially entertaining scene just popped into my head. Big conference or something among sane Christians. On a big screen, they show various fundies and the sins they've committed, the wealth they flaunt from donations, and, of course, the hate they spew.

At the end of each segment, the audience votes to declare them "not a Christian." Results are ruthlessly advertised.

bourgeois_rage said...

If nothing else, that should teach them what Argumentum Ad Populum is.

Anonymous said...

1. The coverage in the media is negative not positive. This is the objection that you were asking for. I think this escapes you.

2. You do not understand fundamentalism. The majority of fundamentalist condemn hate-speech similar to those extremist that are getting news covereage. Secondly, the prosperity gospel is not fundamentalism. Its neoevangelism.

Hopefully that educates you.

Anonymous said...

Also it would also help you to read the positive comments by Christians made in agreement to the post in question.

Hopefully that does not escape you as well.

IAMB said...

Weapon, here's something to mull over...

The Christians responding to Amanda's post with positive things to say are not the ones the post is directed at. You are a perfect example of the sort of Christian she's trying to reach, and you don't even know it. If you doubt this, ask yourself why you get banned or insulted at places like PZ's (and I have to say, your obsession there is not healthy... you're as bad as Jason from Shock and Blog), or here, or likely at my blog, should you care to show up... yet people like Amanda are perfectly welcome and are treated with great respect by the other posters. It's not because your arguments make us uncomfortable, if that's what you're thinking.

And really it doesn't make any difference at all that the media coverage is negative... if you don't have the other Christians in the world very vocally showing that these people aren't what it means to be Christian, you're basically condoning them by doing nothing.

People don't need to hear them being condemned by the media... they need to hear it from the ones whose reputations are being damaged by allowing Christianity to be painted in a negative light.

Bronze Dog said...

Weapon, you're one of the lesser sorts being denounced: You lie. You cheat.

You accused me of semantics games for trying to end your semantics games. You make up, out of whole cloth that evolution is random, despite it being non-random.

If only people read "The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf'" more often.

You ignore the bulk of our arguments and assume that any knowledge that falls short of absolute certainty is faith.

austinatheist said...

Speaking of "civilizing the debate table" and "painting Christianity in a negative light," check out today's blasphemous broadcast for a fine example of a bad example. And I have a few others in mind for future broadcasts, so tune in on Sunday's!