July 22, 2006

Religion: But Do They Mention Anal Sex?

There's a signpost in our town that points to various and sundry locations in our direction. It reads:

Pentacostal Church
United Churches
Sikh Temple
Tennis Courts

The last being for poor lost souls who just can't let go of the '80s, I suppose. I wouldn't mind if they added

Atheist

to the sign. Not out of any need for noteriety (gosh, I've got this just amazing blog for that!), but to give the proselytizers a bit of fair warning. They always seem surprised when they knock on the door and I actually come outside to speak with them. Before today, the last couple visibly deflated when he asked "when do you recall becoming an atheist" and I told him that I was seven. Apparently, they expect some big event or crisis of faith that causes people to reject god(s): instead it was just that as I was saying the pater noster (yet again) at the beginning of assembly in school, I thought "Why am I saying this?" A kid becoming an atheist all on his own was to depressing to argue with, so the god botherers left.

It's been over a year since any came by until today.

It was a couple of guys, instead of the usual man-ahead-woman-behind duo. So we chatted for a while, and the older fellow asked if I thought evolution had all the answers, and I reminded him that evolution says nothing about how the universe began, and he wasn't sure where to go after that. So I talked about how any god that planned on the continuous extinction of various animal and plant species would have to be awfully darn subtle, and pointed out that those extinctions were caused by both man and animal, and he said: Hm.

I don't know how long these two have been going door-to-door, but I don't think they were very experienced. A hollow victory, at best.

They did, however, leave behind the usual magazines, and one of them included an article on How to Build a Happy Marriage, which has been nicely entertaining. Now, these articles come in a format as predicatable as any Harlequin romance: the first half is about how miserable the world is, and how Nothing is Good and True Anymore; and the second half is how everything Could be Good and True (Though Still Not as Good and True as Before) if you Only Read the Bible. The reason is simple enough: Christianity is, and always has been, as much an apocalypse faith as any Norse mythology. The only thing that matters is what's coming up (Death! Whee!), not what's here and now.

Think I'm kidding? What other faith has a Rapture Index ("The prophetic spedometer of end-time activity")? An Index Rating of 145 or higher is supposed to mean that you shouldn't start any long books, yet the lowest that's been in two years is a rating of 143! Who else is quivering with (potential) extacy over the current conflict in Israel/Palenstine? From the message boards at the website "Rapture Ready":

Is it time to get excited? I can't help the way I feel. For the first time in my Christian walk, I have no doubts that the day of the Lords appearing is upon us. I have never felt this way before, I have a joy that bubbles up every-time I think of him, for I know this is truly the time I have waited for so long.

And:

Ready, waiting and excited here! Still telling others whenever possible that the rapture could take place at any time because this world is in such a big MESS and evidently it goes through one ear and right out the other.

And:

My brother has witnessed to some of his friends over and over. He finally prayed to God and asked Him to spare their lives when the rapture happens. Dan has told them, "When the rapture happens, go to my house and read everything I have in this folder." They roll their eyes, but............I'll bet they run to find that folder when the rapture happens!

There are others, but you get the point. (Personally, I love the fact that the site has a "In case you're left behind" section!) The entire faith hinges on the thought that things have gone for shit right now, but just wait until you're dead! Then life will improve no end!

Bearing this in mind, the article on marriage goes through a list of why it is that everything (including marriage) has gone for shit: Eve's selfishness; people's selfishness; therapists; marriage counselors; cohabitation; the '60s; single moms; same-sex unions; living longer; Catholics... And, of course, Satan, but isn't it always?

The second section, as you may expect, talks about making a happy marriage. Lots of passages from scripture are mentioned, with my favorite being:

"Husbands and wives can learn a great deal about marriage by considering how Jesus delt with his desciples. How so? In the Bible the relationship between Jesus and those who will rule with him in heaven is likened to that between a man and his wife. (2 Corinthians 11:2)"

Um, is this anything like Gilgamesh embracing Enkidu "as he would a wife"? I don't see it, myself, but whatever floats yer boat, mate; though I'm surprised that many Christians are as adamantly opposed to homosexuality as they are if this is an accepted interpretation... In any case, it boils down to one quite good piece of advice: don't be an ass. All the biblical quotes and passages they refer to are about being polite to your spouse. Mostly it's advice to women of course. But somehow, they left out this New Testament gem:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
-Ephesians 5:23 - 24

They're the ones that caused this mess that we're in after all. I did mention the world is going for shit, right?

The real problem the god-botherers face in dealing with me is that they're trying to convert a happy man, and frankly that just ain't easy. I pointed out the article's title to my Significant Other (9th anniversary coming up), and she said this:

"How to Build a Happy Marriage? Do they say anything about lots and lots of kinky sex?"

I am indeed a happy, happy man.

I kind of wish the Sikhs would send someone around: I don't really know much about their religion. I guess they're just too happy to be here instead of having serious troubles in the Punjab or having another Komagata Maru to consider winning converts.

But I shudder to think of the day when I hear: "Good morning, sir. Could we to talk to you for a minute about New Wave music and Reaganomics...?"

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posted by Thursday at 10:05 pm

9 Comments:

Blogger Rob Cottingham said...

You just inspired my latest blog post: "The Rapture has happened. None of us made the cut."

5:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't there theories that Norse mythology acquired its destruction-and-redemption elements after exposure to Christianity?

9:33 am  
Blogger Thursday said...

It's most likely that the "redemption" part was added after contact with Christians - in the original, the good guys lose. It was just destruction.

With a world view like that, you can't really wonder why they were a psychotic pack of bloodthirsty maniacs,eh?

9:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious as to how and when the ballyhooed rapture view promoted by LaHaye etc. really began? Go Googling and put in "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Pretrib Hypocrisy," "Open Letter to Todd Strandberg," and "Famous Rapture Watchers." All written by the leading expert on such matters who spent years in Britain etc. locating long lost and forgotten "rapture" manuscripts. Great reads, folks. ANN ONYMOUS

11:27 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

ANN -

Since you're talking about another "true believer" (ie. Dave MacPherson), it seems only fair to point out Rapture Ready's counter claims here:
http://www.raptureready.com/who/Dave_MacPherson.html

I have to admit, Hal Lindsey (a favorite target of MacPherson's) has long been one of my favorite Armageddonists, though I see there's a new book by Gary Patch that says Christ's back in 2032, so I may have to check it out. P. J. Hanley insists that "this is the last generation", but never gets around to mentioning which generation he means (my grandfather? My kids?), so the edge still goes to Patch on precision.

I'm thinking that the ready belief in a Rapture was primed by constant preaching about the ability to look down upon the Earth and into the fires of Hell at all the sinners left behind on one and sent to the other. This gloating was a major catechism of the church, and very popular among the more, shall we say, fierce-minded of the god botherers. It's been toned down a lot in the past century, though it still flies high in many evangelical and revivalist churches.

12:01 am  
Blogger vjack said...

Great post. I really enjoyed it. Only one suggestion for you. Remember that we are all born atheists. You may have been indoctrinated like most of us and then rejected this indoctrination like those of us who are able to utilize critical thinking, but you were still born an atheist.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Nah, not so much a rejecting of dogma as a realization that I was an atheist.

It takes a while before you, as a child, actually bother considering questions of that nature. The rest of the time is usually spent in gleeful, self-absorbed chaos.

3:31 pm  
Blogger peter said...

You were very polite to your doorsteppers: a friend deals with them thus. Uses spyhole, sees mormons/JW. Undresses down to briefs (he favours pink). Opens door. Informs them he is a Buddhist who works nights, invites them in. There have been injuried trying to get out the garden gate.

4:45 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

When I was (much) younger, I did answer the door at a friend's house naked. Y'see, the living room was MY room when I was over, and there was a bit of a party the night before...

Give them credit, though, the fellah kept going with his pitch! The woman went back to their car. Just unimpressed, I suppose. *sigh*

6:14 pm  

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