Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Looks Like I'm Going to Hell...

In my daily Googling and checking of FaceBook and Twitter, I tend to come across a lot of material created by people who don't seemed to understand their own religions. I am well aware and perfectly willing to admit that the reason I see a lot of these because I Liked and Followed a lot of pages that post them and I have no right to complain about my seeing of them. In fact, I don't mind them - sometimes they can be funny; more often, they make me wonder how humanity got to this stage of civilisation considering all the stupid people in it. But it does make me think. Partially about how people can so badly misinterpret a book at the heart of which is "Love thy neighbour" and, more broadly, about how supremely stupid people can be.

One of the most famous examples of religious zealotry is the Westboro Baptist Church, who take the conventional "God hates... [insert minority group here]" signs to the extremes of pretty much sending everyone in existence to hell. They are the kind of people who show up at the funeral of a soldier and chant at his family saying that their beloved son has gone to hell because he fought in a war that displeased their God. This is beyond despicable and anyone who has any sense of compassion would realise this. This disgusting behaviour is passed off as patriotism and religious fervour.

It's not; it's hateful.

But when all they have on their sign is "God hates you", it's difficult to know what you can do to change to earn God's favour. That in itself is something of a clue that these people don't really care about saving your immortal soul. They just rather enjoy making you feel like crap simply for existing.

But there are some groups - usually from the same extreme-right areas of America, but not always - who make the effort to specify what you're doing wrong and why God hates you. This is somewhat more useful if you conform to their ideas of a hateful Christian God and you want to fit into their rigid regime.

Take for example the helpful young man in the picture below, who has taken it upon himself to highlight the faults of pretty much everyone he can think of that might have displeased God. To his credit, he has made a thorough and clearly thought out list of all the things offensive to God. Apparently, God also hates the proper use of apostrophes. Either that, or this guy is just making it up as he goes along; you would think that if his writing was driven by a divine hand that there would at least be a basic grasp of punctuation...

I have to admit that some of them make a lot of sense. I am certainly not a fan of Mormons, wife-beaters (the people, not the style of top), racists or Scientologists (note the absence of unnecessary apostrophes in my list). In fact, there are quite a few social and religious groups that I'm not too keen on in that list. And, if there is a God, it's probably not too happy with the atheists - but that is purely providing that there is a God. 

But who are the effeminate men hurting? Really? And the Democrats - whether or not you agree with there policies, that is purely a political prejudice and has nothing to do with religion, as well as being a political party that is exclusive to America and so it is a moot point outside of the States. Then there is the rather broad heading 'liars'. I don't know anyone who hasn't told at least one lie, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it IS best to say "No, we're definitely not throwing you a surprise party," or "Yes, I loved the birthday present you gave me; I definitely didn't think it was hideous...". I understand that emos sometimes can be a bit annoying, but I also think that sending them to burn for all eternity is a bit extreme. The threat certainly won't do anything to cheer them up. As an opinionated owner of ovaries, I also object to the phrase 'loud mouth women'. And I don't even know what they mean by 'sophisticated swine' or 'high fullutent'. I even Googled the word 'fullutent', and it didn't know what it meant either.

At this point, it would be easy to dismiss it by saying that that's just one idiot, but there are more. A quick Googling will prove this. But, if you can't be bothered to do that yourself, here's another one:

Again, it starts off with some quite sensible ideas. I would be quite happy to see Satanism, Scientology and astrology all disappearing from our culture and into the history books. I don't think that tarot cards, ouija boards, remote viewing or divination have any real affect on the world, but in general I don't care much when people do it. Lycanthropy (werewolves) and vampirism are pure fiction, so avoiding them should be pretty easy. Hallowe'en is famously a pagan celebration that has made its way into American culture, so it's easy to see why especially religious people would oppose it, but it's harmless. And, there at the end, what sensible person doesn't loathe Twilight? Although, apparently, the films pave the path to Satan, but the books don't. Maybe this person just really doesn't like Kristen Stewart and her bland, emotionless acting.

But there's Harry Potter, right there at the top of the third row, beneath video games. As a huge Potterhead and big fan of the Pokemon series, I am definitely NOT standing for that one. They realise that J. K. Rowling is religious, right? And that all the revelations about love and respect and everything that Dumbledore said in the last book was all based on the Christian teachings that she values? And Dungeons and Dragons. Really? Nerd games are going to send you to hell? Oh dear. Then fornication - not even sexual perversions or deviations, but all fornication - that's everyone who has ever had a baby; that's everyone who isn't a nun or a child. Not to mention 'skull and bones' - are they seriously trying to suggest that anyone born with a complete skeleton is doomed for all eternity?

Then, right at the bottom there's both rock music and heavy metal, which puts all that remains of my friends (that is, the ones that don't read Harry Potter or play Dungeons and Dragons) firmly in with the rest of us hell-bound fools.

It can't just be me who thinks that God doesn't really care about all these things, can it? Even if there is a God - and if even it does care intimately about people's private lives - why would these things matter? Surely, such a being would be above our choice of reading and listening material? Isn't it pretty obvious that God doesn't care too much about any of these things and that people are just using religion to justify their hatred and bigotry?

It's disgusting and a repellent use of religion and authority designed to hurt people and, quite frankly, until this behaviour is stamped out, we might as well just enjoy the efforts of winners like this dude:

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." - Anne Lamott

1 comment:

  1. if I can't have LOTR, Harry Potter, Video Games, Rock Music, Skulls & Bones or sex... I welcome hell