Don't have all that much to say about this… It's crazy town.
So, a few weekends from now there will be a big deal in Salt Lake City. Every Spring and Fall, the LDS church (ya know, the Mormons) have their "General Conference", and people come from around the world to attend. For two weekends a year, downtown SLC is awash with white dress shirts and floral patterned dresses. And bad shoes. Always and consistently– the true hallmark of Mormonism– really bad shoes.
|"Is that Joel Osteen?" "Shut up."
If you've never experienced the Mormon General Conference, please, allow me to set the stage: Imagine a huge room, tastefully decorated in warm wood tones and understated but classy decor. In it, 20,000 faithful members sit in quiet decorum as the top leaders of their religion impart messages of scripture and doctrzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Oops. Sorry. Dozed off for a moment there. As I was saying, the "brethren" give heart-felt talks about how to live better livzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
What? Huh? Oh… sorry. What was I saying? Oh yeah- I was saying that General Conference is TORTUROUSLY BORING! It's old men in dark business suits intoning the same old recycled messages year after year after year after year after year…. If you're used to Catholic or Anglican church (or the like), just imagine if the "sermon" part of the service (as opposed to the stand-up-sit-down, recite, recite, recite part of the service) lasted much, MUCH longer and was given by someone who never formally studied theology or public speaking, but just had to pick it up as they went along. So they all just mimic each other, with the effect being that there is a distinctive "General Conference" cadence. A drone that is absolutely unique to this event, and is instantly recognizable to Mormons the world over. Mormons who, sadly, are expected to watch and/or listen to this miserable broadcast semi-anually (can't we do something to help these poor people???).
|Look-they even bore themselves!
You may ask yourself, if G.C. is so boring, what's to keep members paying attention? If they've heard the messages before, why don't they all just glaze over and go to their happy-place for two hours? First- you should know that most Mo's will tell you that Conference is their happy place. They will say this because they get the glorious opportunity to hear their god's message through his appointed representatives here on Earth. They will tell you that Conference is a special time, because they feel "the spirit." They will tell you how much they LOVE conference. They are liars.
NOBODY can love that drivel! It's awful! However… people can so muddle their own brains that they can convince themselves that they love it. When I say that the "conference lovers" are lying, I don't think they mean to purposefully deceive you or me. I mean that they are constantly and completely lying to themselves. It's fascinating. I've even tried confronting some of my hard-core Mormon friends about the lie that they love conference. The mental twists and turns that they've had to navigate to convince themselves that conference is even tolerable is far too thick a maze to ever penetrate with logic.
I'll say something like "But at it's core, he's saying EXACTLY the same thing they always say, just with a different [made up] "inspirational" story to illustrate the point."
Then they'll say something like "Yes, but the story was so beautiful, and it's always good to be reminded of god's love/forgiveness/laws…"
Then I'll say "Yeah, but… it was… such a long talk, and not particularly well written…"
Then, they won't say anything, because they're too absorbed in feeling sad about how I'm not going to be with them in Heaven, but I have free agency, and I make my own decisions, so I'm bringing it on myself, and why would I be trying to make them feel bad about the church, anyway, when it brings them so much happiness, but that's Satan's way of luring people away from god, and it's really sad that Satan has such a hold on me, but maybe there's a way that they can bring me back into the fold if they just can be a good enough example and show me how happy the gospel of god has made them…. Then their eyes glaze over and their mouths freeze in an awkward (and frequently Prozac-enhanced) half-smile. That's when the conversation is over.
It's tricky inside a Mormon brain.
Anyhoo- if you want to see this phenomenon for yourself, you can come to downtown SLC this April or October and wander among the flock. Just mind that you don't get stepped on- those shoes are DEADLY!
This is a remarkable display of rudeness. It would be shocking if Christians in the U.S. hadn’t proven themselves time and again to be totally willing to flaunt their absurdly un-christian behavior. But it gets us to a deeper question: why do we have prayer of any kind, by anyone, in government chambers? How the hell does that jive with the constitution?
|The face of integrity
Remember Scott Roeder? He's the guy who freely admitted to killing abortion doctor George Tiller in the church Tiller attended back in May. Well in January he was convicted of premeditated, first-degree murder.
That's a good thing. He's a murderer and he'll hopefully spend the rest of his miserable life in jail. As a matter of fact, I hope they offer him parole a couple of times, and then take it away the day he thinks he's going home. Since he's into killing, maybe he'll take his own life and save Kansas taxpayers some money.
That said, I also must say that, as despicable as this murder was, it was also the action of a Christian with integrity. The number of times faithful followers of the Bible's god are commanded by that god to murder someone who has acted sinfully is… well, I'm not going to go through and count them, but it's high. (If you want a list of 130 instances of horrific violence in just the first four books of the Bible, here you go). That crazy book actually commands the murder of several kinds of sinners explicitly.
My point is that if you read the Bible, with so many references to killing as an appropriate response to perceived sin, and you believe that the Bible is true and that its prescriptions are in any way applicable today, shouldn't you be out on a killing spree? It makes sense to me… I mean, Old Testament is absolutely chock-full of thou-shalt-kills, and the New Testament, which many argue supplants the word in the O.T. actually affirms the philosophy as well. Check the last verses of Romans 1:
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Of course, nowhere in the Bible is abortion expressly forbidden (as a procedure, it's a pretty new phenomenon), so maybe Roeder's actions are based on a questionable premise, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He believed somebody was killing dozens of humans, and the government was doing nothing about it. What else is a good Christian to do?
As far as I'm concerned, this bastard Roeder is one of the only real Christians around. Christians were expressly commanded to kill. For a hell of a lot of reasons. If it's important to be true to your insane beliefs, then get out there Christians! Y'all have some killing to do!
I was thinking today about healthcare. And Jesus. And miracles. Here's what I came up with: miracles are nothing but dangerous! They don't help. They only hurt.
"But miracles are so much fun," you might say, "how could they possibly be bad?" Well, hypothetical reader, I'll tell you. The real trouble with miracles is that, aphorisms to the contrary, they don't happen every day. They certainly don't happen to everyone. The promise, however, is that everyone could have a miracle, if they live good enough lives and their mercurial god happens to be in a miracle-type mood that day.
|But they're praying so hard…
Therein lies the problem: if folks think that a miracle can happen to them, especially if they think that all they need to do is have enough faith to make it happen, they start acting accordingly- and getting screwed!!! They take what they read about in the bible as true (always a problem), and they think that if some chick can be healed of her leprosy or whatever just by touching the hem of Jesus' garment, surely Jesus can cure their cancer. The problem is, how do I show Jesus that I have enough faith to earn my own healing?
I could pray every day and read the scriptures… but my grandma did that, and the lord saw fit to kick her ass. I could ask my congregation to pray for me, but we all prayed for sweet sister so-and-so, and she died a painful, horrible death. How do I show Jesus that I have faith in his healing power? Well, if I'm trying to show faith, what kind of message is it sending that I'm actually letting the doctors try to treat me? As long as I'm going to doctors, Jesus is going to think that I don't fully believe he'll heal me… My chemo is killing my miracle!!!
So, the truly faithful stop treatment, believe in the lord, and die. Or they trust the lord will save them from the jaws of a wild animal and they pray rather than learning and utilizing appropriate wild animal evasive maneuvers. Or, and this is one of my favorites, they stop to pray instead of taking emergency action.
The real shit of it is that every once in a blue moon, somebody does something they shouldn't, and it works out well. And of course, while hundreds of morons the world over are dying and getting horribly sick because they think Jesus is more reliable than the hospital, what gets publicity? That one "miraculous" recovery. So the whole ridiculous process propagates itself, and a new generation of miracle seekers is born.
But hang on a tic- if people are stupid enough to think that prayer will keep them alive, and it kills them, perhaps it's just a Darwinian means of thinning the weak-minded out of the gene pool! I'm going at this all wrong… by pointing this out, I'm slowing human evolutionary progress… I should be encouraging people to let god heal them!
The new official ThankGodImAtheist stance of faith-healing: If you think there is the remotest chance that Jesus will cure you- stop all other treatments immediately, and take to praying! Blessed be. Amen.
I was just reading an evangelical believer's blog (I'll spare you the link, though they are a dime a dozen so you can find one if you really wanna…) and HOO BOY! With all the pressure they put on themselves and each other to get out there and "witness" to the rest of us, all I have to say is this: I thank god, Jesus, the holy ghost and the spirit of Jerry Falwell that I don't live in the South!