Explanation

Postby Frodoelf on Mon Jun 04, 2001 4:34 am

This is for all you Strange/Daves out there who are a bit bamboozled (yes, bamboozled) about why I put out a shirt that says "Religion Breeds Bigotry". Relax, take a deep breath, and stay a while.


First off, lets look into the good ol' Webster's Brand Dictionary o' Fun for the definition of "religion".

re
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Postby McMackMadWackin on Sat Jul 07, 2001 11:04 am

you got grief on your shirt "Religion Breeds Bigotry"? for all of the reasons that you listed, that is why i am athiest (i probably spelled that wrong cause i am dumb). i hate how my christian friends try to tell me that christianity is the way to go, cause it's the right thing, but yet when i ask them why it's the right way they cant explain why...i'm more than happy to listen to any person about their belief as long as it is logical, you cant just come up to me and say "god is real cause the bible says so" or at times "cause my parents said so". my dad says i am dumb cause i don't believe in god, yet when i ask him why i should the only reason he gives me is "because it is the right religion" and he cant tell me why, he cant explain how there is a god, he cant explain anything. sure some of the stuff the bible said came true, but i can say stuff that comes true too, does that make me god? that'd be nice <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/smile.gif"> i don't know what a bigot is...but i have been called one for saying "i don't like gay people if they hit on me, but they r fine if they don't" so plz explain to this dumb kid what a bigot is? but as to religion, i'm willing to listen to you as long as you don't just say "i'm right, your wrong, your going to hell for not agreeing with me", like they all do to everyone...
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Postby Flanyl on Wed Jul 18, 2001 7:48 am

There was this girl that I was seeing my senior year of high school. I vaguely knew her as a face in the halls before I started actually getting to know her my senior year. She had a rough couple of years that forced some maturity on her, while I floated along, an amiable dunce. <P>Before that school year began, she had gone through rehab, and came out, like many others, determined to further her recovery. And like many others before her, she was born again. <P>It was after classes started that I started to get to know her through mutual friends. Then there began the natural progression of us starting to hang out together more, and then lo and behold we were dating.<P>We were a "couple" for only a month when she started on me about going to church. Now I have never been a religious person, back then I considered myself an atheist (though that never really felt right to me, I didn't know what an agnostic was, and that's what I consider myself now), but she really wanted me to try going to church with her to see if it struck my interest. I like keeping an open mind about things, so I wanted to try, unfortunately I worked on Sundays, so I couldn't make it.<P>Now, with her being a rehab graduate (I hate that term, because you never really graduate), she was now a member of various 12-step programs, and one of her friends from church who was also in the program, introduced her to Club Rev.<P>Club Rev (short for Revelations) was her church's youth meeting that they held on Wednesdays, and was officiated, of course, by the youth pastor and his wife. Well, since I wanted to be more involved with my girlfriend's life (I'm sorry, but narcotics anonymous was out, I think she only went there because their stories were worse than hers), I agreed to go with her.<P>Before the service started (which was held in a renovated storage facility, though it still looked like one) everything seemed like normal church setting. I was introduced to the pastor, I ran into a few friends (on my second visit, my sister was brought by a couple of her friends). Then the service began, and the whole thing seemed more like a Christian dance club, only the music sucked.<P>I only went maybe four or five times, but as I went, things got progressively more bizarre. The people of this group were (well, I'll just put it lightly) celebrational. I think it was my third visit, this one girl (maybe 13 or 14) got so excited during a prayer, she was jumping and spinning until she fainted and fell, cracking her head on one of the lightstands. The second time I was there, when I saw my sister, during a prayer I turned to look at my sister, she had this "what the hell is going on here?" look on her face, a sentiment I shared. I have never seen a whole room of people act like that outside of a psychiatric ward. (yes, I have seen what it's like in a psychiatric ward, severe cases, and that was before Club Rev)<P>Well, my work schedule changed, so I now had to work Wednesdays and Sundays. No more church attempts with my girl for me. Can't say I was disappointed though. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it.<P>My girlfriend wanted to meet me for coffee and pie after I got off work one Wednesday night. (I was a lifeguard in high school, they liked keeping me late, mostly because I could keep kids entertained even at that late of an hour) She came and picked me up, she told me she had to get something from a friend of hers at Club Rev, she couldn't go that night for some reason or another, I never really got the whole story on that. I believed it because the youth pastor and his wife usually hung around with some of the kids after the meeting having bible discussions, or just general bs'ing.<P>I didn't think as I walked in the door, that I would be grabbed from either side, and dragged over to the stage. At first I thought it was some kind of joke, so I was going along with it. Then they tripped my feet, and laid me back first onto the stage. Then the youth pastor's wife splashed (holy?)water in my face, and the pastor was there with a bible and a cross, yelling in my face for satan to come out.<P>At first I was a little scared because I had no idea what was going on, but once I saw the other people standing around me holding candles and praying, I decided it was time to leave. I am 6 feet tall, and then I weighed a little over 200 pounds. I had just gotten out of wrestling season before my girl and I started getting serious, I wrestled at 190 weight class. When I started to move, the guys who dragged me in, tried to hold me down. One guy fell on his face because he missed me, overbalanced and slipped. The other guy got a hold of my arm and stood up with me, I just twisted my arm free and planted a hand on his chest to push him away. Then the pastor grabbed me around the chest from behind. All I had to do was duck, turn, and pop him in the chest as well to back him off. Nobody else came after me.<P>I stood there in the middle of everybody, turning a slow circle, looking each person in the face. Some were still praying, some looked away, others were staring in fear. I tried to think of something to say that would make them think twice about trying to do something like this to somebody else, but I couldn't. Anything I would have said would feed their belief that I and possibly many others needed to be exorcised.<P>I don't think I'll ever forget the fear I saw in the eyes of those people who were still looking at me that night. I did what I think any normal person would do in a situation where the find themselves restrained. At least I kept my cool. I could have lost it, and really lashed out, and ended up hurting someone. But that little bit of fighting I did just to get clear was more than enough for that handful of people to believe that the demon in me was fighting to stay.<P>My girl sat on the floor by the door crying. To this day, I don't know if she had anything to do with this. I walked out the door, she followed me. I think she was trying to apologize, and say she didn't know, but she was crying so hard and my desire to leave was so strong, I didn't understand what she was trying to say. Since I didn't know what to do or say, I just told her that it would probably be best to just leave me alone for a little while. I then walked away. <P>That was probably the longest, coldest walk back to my car I ever had. Literally, I was only wearing a pair swim trunks, a tank top, my letterman's jacket, and to date this, a pair of Nike aqua socks, and was about eight miles back to my car. In SW Washington State, early April is not the warmest time of year, especially at midnight, at least it wasn't raining. I had plenty on my mind to keep me going though.<P>When I saw my girlfriend at school the next day at lunch, I had her leave school early with me so we could talk about what happened. I took her in my car to my parent's house where we wouldn't be bothered for a few hours.<P>For the first forty five minutes she just clutched onto my shirt crying her eyes out. All I could do was hold her until she finished. Once she shed her last tear, and was ready to talk, she began to tell me why they tried to draw Satan out of me.<P>It was because I stopped going to Club Rev, and I hadn't accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior. They concluded after 5 visits to a midweek youth meeting, that since I wasn't down on the floor spasming like an LSD burn out on a permanent trip for the glory of the Lord, that I must be posessed.<P>They put a lot of research into their work don't they?<P>Needless to say, this did put a good wedge into our relationship, but we finished our senior year as a couple. Our prom date was probably the best date we ever had. After graduation, she went to school in another state. I joined the Navy to see the world. In bootcamp, I wound up being my company's protestant RP (religious petty officer). I tried accepting Jesus as my savior again, simply because before I was doing it for my girl, and this is something you have to do for yourself. All I found is that Christianity is not for me. <P>Christianity has produced a lot of great, caring, and wonderfully kind people. But the craziest, most deranged, and the most ignorant have all been devout Christians. The teenagers I've seen cause the most trouble, Christian. ("the Lord will forgive me for my mistakes, so I can do whatever I want" I heard people saying that when I was 15, and heard it again on a camping trip I took a couple of years ago from my bothersome youth group neighbors, I felt sorry for their counsellors, those kids were punks)<P>To say I'm a bit jaded towards Christianity is a bit of an understatement, but I think I have good reason to be.
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Postby Somebody Strange on Thu Jul 19, 2001 7:11 am

Somehow I missed this thread before. Thanks for giving me your insights on this, Chris. And I really do mean that, because I'd rather know how people think than make assumptions.<P>I'd like to present my side again, for the folks here who got to see my name mentioned but might not know what inspired it.<P>I am a Christian. I'm not a fall-on-the-floor shake-with-the-Spirit type. Nor am I a sit-quietly-and-listen pastor-knows-everything type. I acknowledge I'm not a "typical" Christian, in that I'm open to other ideas (although I have yet to find a reason to change my beliefs).<P>I completely acknowledge, recognize, and support the last post about Christianity spawning some of the greatest problems we've ever known as a society. Hitler, theoretically, was a Christian (although strong evidence seems to support an <i>interest</i> in the occult, it's highly unlikely that Hitler actually "spoke to Satan" or participated in any "black magic" rituals, as many fundamentalists like to believe). The KKK thought themselves to be good Christian men. The Crusades, for Pete's sake, were in the name of Christianity.<P>However, I'm not convinced that Christianity is actually completely at fault.<P>When Littleton, Colorado gained national attention for the Columbine killers, the media and several groups (including the aforementioned Christians) tried to blame violent video games and rock music like Marilyn Manson. Incidentally, Klebold and Harris actually didn't like Marilyn Manson, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, violent video games <i>did not create Klebold and Harris</i>. Instead, these two boys had problems already, and those problems may have contributed to the reasons that they enjoyed violent video games.<P>Again, I'm NOT saying that the only people who like violent video games have problems. I'm just saying that it makes sense that two adolescent boys who were repeatedly picked on and who had a limited regard for life could find release in violent games. The games didn't create them. That's confusing cause and effect.<P>Similarly, I believe that Christianity is <i>intended</i> to be all-inclusive. Even disregarding the fact that the word "Catholic" literally means "universal" (which it surely is not), most of the underlying themes in the Bible -- at least the New Testament -- talk about forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, and love. Even the word tolerance bugs some people, because it implies "putting up with something that's wrong," when most people don't want to consider the possibility they may be wrong. Tolerance actually is just "putting up with something you don't like". We all have things we don't like in other people. I don't like people saying there is no God, because I believe differently. But I tolerate it, because what's the point of arguing? I may offer to discuss it, but I don't believe in "hostile evangelism".<P>However, people who have a need to be right, or have a need for someone else to be wrong, can easily be drawn to a system in which there are moral definites such as "thou shalt not commit adultery". Historically, man has always wanted to feel superior to his neighbor -- not a great trait, but one we're stuck with for now. Most folks completely miss the point that, according to Christianity, <i>no one</i> is perfect, <i>all</i> sin puts you on the same level, and therefore <i>all men are equal and you have no right to look down on <b>anyone</b></i>!<P>I will agree with you, Chris, that parents who force their children to believe "we are right, they are wrong, we are better than them" are, in essence, "breeding" bigotry. And I agree that the heart of <i>MOST</i> religion is the concept that "this is the only way it works". And many people who abuse others in the name of Christ (for example) seem to think they're doing it out of love. "He does not believe what I believe, so he is condemned. Let's save him by overwhelming him. With love, of course." Riiiiight. You may love them in the sense that you're honestly concerned for their well-being, but Jesus never once clubbed someone upside the head and said "Hey! Idiot! Eat this bread and drink this wine! Now! NOW! NOWNOWNOW!"<P>I think, perhaps, my objection to "Religion Breeds Bigotry" isn't so much the concept that religion could be bad. It most certainly can, and frequently is. My objection is more that it's a blanket statement, such as "Republicans Hate Gays" or "Democrats Are Soft On Crime". Historically, there is some validity to both of those statements as well, but there are many Republicans and Democrats who do NOT fit that mold.<P>In essence, I think the problem with religion is the attempt to impose a complete set of rules on every person. It's like trying to make everyone wear a size large shirt. On some people, it'll be huge -- on others, it'll be really unflatteringly tight. Religion works the same way; for me, Christianity is the best option, and I have a hard time understanding how anyone could look at what it really is -- what it's <i>meant</i> to be -- and object. But that doesn't inspire me to walk around thinking I'm better than non-Christians.<P>The <i>organization</i> of churches is just like any other organization. Get enough people with their own ideas, and things get ugly. Personal spirituality, though, is almost always (in my opinion) a GOOD thing, so long as there is no attempt to FORCE it upon others. I have no objection to OFFERING it to others. A comparison I've used before is this: if you come to my house, I'll offer you something to drink. If you say no, that's fine -- I'll stop offering. But I will still reserve the right to offer again if you look thirsty, unless you tell me you never under any circumstances want me to offer a drink to you again. In the same way, I know you're familiar with Christianity and aren't interested, Chris, so I'm not going to give you any kind of sales pitch. No biggie. But if I ever see you submitting a post about how empty your life is and how you feel like there's something more out there, I may ask if you'd like to hear why Christianity works for me, even if it won't change your mind. If you say no, that's fine.<P>(I swear this is my last paragraph.) I think, Chris, if the phrase was "MOST religion breeds bigotry" or "Religion usually breeds bigotry" or "Bigots are religious" or "Keep Your Religion To Yourself" or "Your Religion Doesn't Excuse Your Bigotry" or something like that, I wouldn't have disagreed so openly. As it is, I tried to make sure my point was made maturely and logically, without resorting to the usual heavy-handed tactics of the wounded Christian -- "you're evil! you're soooo evil!" has never been a tactic of mine -- so I hope we're still tolerant of one another's beliefs. I know you can be, since you mentioned a religious friend of yours in one of your strips. I certainly can be, and frankly I wouldn't change my mind about how groovy you are even if you told me I was dead wrong. I suppose I was reacting to the unequivocal statement that <i>all</i> religion breeds bigotry -- a bit of hyperbole that seemed more dogmatic than general. The sense that religious people look down on the nonreligious seemed to be mirrored in that statement -- it felt as though you were looking down on the religious merely for believing differently than you do. If I overreacted, I apologize, but I still stand by my statement that religion is not inherently a factory for prejudice; it is, unfortunately, a place where prejudice is often created as a side effect.<P>--Strange/Dave, apologizing for the length of his sermon<P>------------------
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Postby Flanyl on Fri Jul 20, 2001 3:33 am

If you want to get political about the "Religion Breeds Bigotry" shirt, I'll agree with Dave that it is a blanket statement, a stereotype if you will. Stereotypes have been a staple of both crude and bizzare humor for a very long time. Most likely before religion even became a viable concept.<P>In the long run that's all the shirt is, humor. Just a silly, cutey thing the high school rebel will buy at a novelty t-shirt shop, just for the sake of buying it, and the person who makes it pockets a little cash. (great, now I've brought money into it)<P>Well, why not? That's another long run thing, for Frodo anyway. He's just trying to make a buck from an idea he had, like many other people before him.
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Postby Somebody Strange on Fri Jul 20, 2001 7:13 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by flanyl:
<B>If you want to get political about the "Religion Breeds Bigotry" shirt, I'll agree with Dave that it is a blanket statement, a stereotype if you will. Stereotypes have been a staple of both crude and bizzare humor for a very long time. Most likely before religion even became a viable concept.<P>In the long run that's all the shirt is, humor. Just a silly, cutey thing the high school rebel will buy at a novelty t-shirt shop, just for the sake of buying it, and the person who makes it pockets a little cash. (great, now I've brought money into it)<P>Well, why not? That's another long run thing, for Frodo anyway. He's just trying to make a buck from an idea he had, like many other people before him.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Oh, I completely agree. I never intended my comment (on my site) about being opposed to the statement on the shirt to be anything more than a personal statement, just like I'm sure that Chris never intended to actually imply that I <i>personally</i> am a bigot. The only reason I even made the comment is that I was putting a link on <A HREF="http://viciouslies.keenspace.com" TARGET=_blank>my front page</A> the exact day the shirt went up, and I know that there's a certain demographic of religious people among my readership who would be bothered by the shirt... and having told many of those people before that Chris's merchandise was usually as funny as the strip, I felt an obligation to them to separate myself from that particular statement, in the same way I would separate myself from any T-shirt that said "There are no straight actors" or "Once you've had black, you'll never go back" or "Old People Cause Car Accidents". All concepts that are (somewhat) hyperbolically humorous, but nothing I personally would choose to wear.<P>I'm aware it's exaggeration. Chris and I aren't having some big argument over this... at least I don't <i>think</i> we are... I just personally want to give a little support for those of us who are religious -- or at least spiritual -- and believe openness, acceptance, and love for one's fellow humans are the basis for our faiths.<P>--Strange/Dave<P>------------------
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Postby Frodoelf on Sat Jul 28, 2001 12:50 am

yeah, I'm sorry about that, Dave. I really don't mean to offend. BUt I really DO think that the basic concept of religion does breed bigotry. But if it brings you happiness, then more power to you.<P>------------------
----Frodo
<A HREF="http://www.thenecronomicon.net" TARGET=_blank>The Necronomicon</A><P>"I find it amusing that most rap 'artists' think that it is ok to rhyme a word with itself. But then, you have to give it to them for making up the word 'biotch'"
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Postby Somebody Strange on Thu Aug 02, 2001 1:00 am

Thanks, Chris. It does indeed bring me happiness.<P>Slaughtering those infidels just gives me such a rush.<P> <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/wink.gif"><P>--Strange/Dave<P>------------------
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