Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Clearing The Air

One of my commenters expressed a sense of confusion about the way that I "scoff" at Christians.

With respect to that commenter, because I don't want to discourage people from expressing their views in response to something that I've posted...I don't believe that I scoff at Christians.

I hope that those of you who have been reading Blogs Are Stupid for any period of time have realized that I don't paint all Christians with the same brush.

Indeed, I know some Christians who are truly amazing people that I admire and even envy. Why do I admire them? Because they live as they believe with grace and kindness. Why do I envy them? I envy them because they have the solace of a convicted heart.

What I scoff at, is intolerance. And forgive me for saying so, but a large number of Christians that I have encountered are terribly intolerant, hypocritical, and judgemental.

One of my most important and far reaching goals as a mother, is to foster tolerance and even love, for all people. I want to teach my children that a person's heart is their beauty; not their skin, not who or how they love, and not who or how they worship.

As a result of that, I've had to open my own mind. It hasn't always been easy. And because I am and imperfect person, I don't always succeed.

When Diminutive One told me that children in his class were calling him "stupid" for believing in Evolution, I had to bite back a most uncharitable retort about the intelligence of those who place blind faith in fairy tales.

(Not trying to be offensive here, just honest about the fact that I struggle with my own prejudices)

But that would not have been constructive, or honestly, fair. So with Herculean effort, I held my tongue and tried to take a more diplomatic tack.

So I try. And we take the teachable moments as they come.

A while back, when the story first hit the airwaves, Diminutive One came home one day and posed a question.

"Mom....I heard that there's a man who's going to have a baby. Is that true?"

I explained the circumstances of the case as matter of factly as I could and he seemed to accept what I told him without much question.

Tonight on TLC, a program about the "pregnant man" aired, and I thought that it would be a good way to satisfy his curiosity and also let him see that there is nothing freakish about Thomas Beatie.

There was some frank discussion about sexual issues. I know that some people might find the content of the program wholly inappropriate for an 11 year old boy. It's true that these issues are sensitive. But I think that just means we have to handle them conscientiously rather than sweeping them under the rug.

I believe strongly that by hiding things which are awkward to deal with, we confer upon them a sense taboo. I learned that first hand from my own conservative upbringing. There was nothing I longed to know about more than the things of which my mother refused to speak; those that caused her to purse her lips and flush uncomfortably before turning away in stiff shouldered embarassment.

At one point, as I said, the discussion turned to the mechanics of their intimacy. Diminutive One wondered aloud why anyone would tell those kinds of personal private things to the whole world. I explained that they just wanted everyone to see that they are normal people who just want a baby to love.

"Does he seem like a freak to you?" I asked.

"No. He seems pretty nice." answered Diminutive One earnestly.

Later on in the program, Mr. Beatie played a recording of a message he and his wife had recieved. The caller's voice was shaking with rage and his voice had a sharp, clipped sound; as if they were being spoken from behind tightly clenched teeth.

He told Mr. Beatie to ask God's forgiveness for the "slap in God's face". He said he hoped he would get "right with God, or else leave this earth." He called it a sin, with a capital S. Then he expressed that if he did not repent, he would burn in hell for all eterntiy. The caller finished up by telling Mr. Beatie that he was disgusting and had almost caused him, the caller, to lose his lunch.

Really?

A kind, gentle, person in a committed relationship; a business owner and productive member of society; a person who desires to have a child and raise it in a stable, loving home...

THAT is grounds for burning in hell?

See...

It is THAT, people, at which I scoff. Scoff loudly.

If there is a God up there, and in my reality, that issue is still open to debate...

I have a hard time accepting that he would consign a person who is essentially good and kind to the fires of hell.

If I am going to believe in a God, it's a kind and loving God. Not a vengeful, jealous God who uses his omnipotence to punish and torment. It's a God who espouses love of all people, not just those who fall in line behind the shining beacon of Christianity.

I can't and won't honor or worship a God who teaches that hatred is ever justified, or one who would sanction the kind of behavior to which Mr. Beatie and his family have been subjected.

Diminutive One asked, "Why is that guy so angry, Mom?"

I wish I had had an answer for him. But I didn't and I don't. I just don't understand that kind of loathing from people who have placed themselves above others because of their religious idealogy; people who use their beliefs to justify the persecution of others.

Nor can I accept their judgement of me or anyone else.

I hope that clears things up a little.

I don't hate Christians simply because they are Christians.

And I'd like the favor returned, please.

17 Comments:

  • At 6:20 AM, Blogger Simon said…

    Ah yes, those old friends Bigotry, Intolerance and Hypocrisy. And for some reason or other they usually rear their ugly heads when religion is the focus.

    Why can't we all live together in peace? It isn't hard to do and the world would be a far better place for it.

     
  • At 8:09 AM, Blogger All Things BD said…

    I've read your blog for a couple years, and have never found you to scoff at Christians. As you've stated in the past, it's the intolerance and condemnation that is so off putting and insulting.

    I'm a Christian, and I also don't understand how those who call themselves such can turn around and pass judgment and damn people to hell for their sins. My God is a loving, forgiving, full of grace God, and I believe He would want me to behave in the same manner.

     
  • At 9:14 AM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    AMEN (don't scoff)

     
  • At 9:40 AM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    Yes.

     
  • At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "What I scoff at, is intolerance. And forgive me for saying so, but a large number of Christians that I have encountered are terribly intolerant, hypocritical, and judgemental."

    "What I scoff at, is drunkenness.
    And forgive me for saying so, but a large number of Gingers that I have encountered really drink too much".

    "I don't hate Gingers because they are Gingers".

    "What I scoff at, is lousy drivers. And forgive me for saying so, but a large number of women that I have encountered are really lousy drivers."

    "I don't hate women because they are women".

    Why does the religion of the folks that you hate/scoff at enter into the equation at all? From the little bit that you posted about what the caller in your story said, there is no evidence that caller is Christian.

    If you really hate bigots or you really hate people who are intolerant of your beliefs, what does their religion have to do with it, unless you are trying to make the case that it is typical of their "group". If you are trying to make that case, how is that different from people who do the same with homosexuals, african americans, women, jews.. you name it.

    I don't think you are bigot, but I can see why some people may take offense at some of the things you say.

    Terry

     
  • At 11:57 AM, Blogger Terri said…

    I've been reading your blog for a while, and I'm a Christian. I enjoy your writing. I also understand the attitude in many Christians at which you scoff. I do, too, especially because they give the rest of us a bad name. However, by the same token, I find that there is an increasing intolerance of Christians in general (not necessarily geographically speaking) perhaps because of the type of Christian of whom you speak. Yet, as a Christian, there are certain things I hold to be absolutely true, and I don't feel I should have to apologize for my beliefs any more than an atheist, Muslim, or Buddhist would. However, I am NOT going to go around hitting everyone over the head with what I believe and calling them stupid for not agreeing with me. Do I believe in a literal hell? Yes. Do I believe everyone who is a "good person" will go to heaven? Sadly, no. Do I believe in a literal six day creation? Absolutely! I can't fathom evolution especially when I contemplate the complexity in even the simplest organisms on earth. I don't believe there is any real proof of evolution, but I realize that those who don't believe in God have to have some way to explain the beginnings of the universe. Do I believe homosexuality is wrong? Yes. Am I going to go around calling up all the homosexuals I know and leave angry messages on their answering machines? No! I am not their judge. The Bible does clearly say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." At any rate, what I'm trying to say is that you're right about the general "religious" atmosphere that pervades the South and the general religious attitude of superiority by many
    southerners. I also live in the South; however, I happen to know that should I move to certain parts of this country I would be, as a Christian, the one facing the ridicule and intolerant attitude because of my beliefs. It would certainly be nice if tolerance would go both ways in all parts of our country, but sadly I don't see that happening. You may feel quite in the minority as a non-Christian where you currently live, but as far as our country and culture as a whole, I believe intolerance towards Christians is on the rise. Again, it the kind of Christians you describe that only foster this intolerance.
    Unfortunately there are always a few extremist zealots associated with any group and they are usually the loudest members, too. I can only answer for my own actions, and as for myself, I am in no position to judge anyone else. Like you, I only ask the favor be returned.

    (Sorry about the lengthy comment.)

     
  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger IIDLYYCKMA said…

    I feel very compelled to say the following -- take what you need, leave the rest, and I am going to apologize ahead of time if I offend any Christian or Non-Christian alike:

    The last time I checked this was "Blog Antagonists" place in the world for her to write her thoughts, feelings, and spin on what happens around her in her world.

    With that being said "BA" has the right to say whatever she wants in her own blog. Because she writes a public blog and leaves her comments open we have the right to agree or disagree -- We can argue with her, we can disagree with her, we can think she's stupid -- or uniformed, or any number of things but really at the end of the day this is her space, her words, her thoughts, and her feelings. IT'S HERS.

    Therefore, she doesn't have to nor should she ever have to justify Jack in regards to her thought process or how she feels about anything.

    Even if she did scoff at Christians -- so what? Who are we to tell her she's wrong for doing that? This is her blog.

    There are those of you who read this blog who scoff at Democrats and Republicans alike -- (I know I have read your blogs :) -- and so what if you do. There are those of you who scoff at stay at home mom's, working mom's, over weight mom's, religious mom's, athiest mom's, coconut, or the color purple.

    Everyone has their own opinion and is entitled to it -- but don't ever feel like you have to justify your position or feelings on an issue because you feel pressured.

    This is your space sister, revel in it, wear it, own it, love it.

    I personally wouldn't want to have you any other way -- and for the record, I am Roman Catholic, and one of "those" supposedly scoffed at Christians. Forcripesakes you are entitled to your feelings.

     
  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger jess said…

    I've never felt scoffed. Scuffed, once when I got my shoe caught in your front door, but never scoffed.

    I agree with IIDLYYCKMA that it's BA's blog and she certainly has the right to say whatever she wants. But the way I see it, blogging is a public activity. The whole point is that people come, read, and sometimes respond. I don't think there's anything wrong with expressing an opinion to a blogger (as long as it's done in a kind & polite manner) and I think BA's response was perfect. She clarified her feelings and if that doesn't clear things up for you, well, why are you here? (I mean not "you" IIDLYYCKMA, "you" whoever takes exception to BA's writing). I'd much rather have people tell me when they disagree with something I've written. If I feel they've misunderstood, I'm happy to try and explain my view. If they have a fundamentally (ha!) different POV, then I agree to disagree without apologizing for my beliefs.

    There will always be people who crave conflict and come just to stir things up. That's obnoxious. But the only thing you can do without adding more hate into the mix is to respond with kindness.

     
  • At 4:27 PM, Blogger Candy said…

    I share your opinions about the oftentimes inflexible and intolerant nature of those who call themselves Christians but then do or say things to others that are completely un-Christ-like. It seems to me, those people use the term and the religion when it is convenient for them, and not as the barometer for their lives. Interesting post. I'm new here, anxious to see what comes next ;)

     
  • At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    I am a Christian and a scientist (tho' not a Christian Scientist, that being something else altogether :) ), and I believe in evolution. I've never felt the two were mutually exclusive.

    Add Ignorance to Intolernace while you are at it. Growing up in the highly WASP suburbs of Chicago (though we had lots of Catholics too), we had a Christmas concert in high school every year. It was a Christmas concert and not a "Holiday" concert. We performed secular and religious songs and read the story from the book of Luke. I didn't even meet a Jewish person until I went to college and graduate school, and while now I can see how that concert could have been offensive to someone, I had NO idea at the time.

     
  • At 8:08 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Just wanted to say "Hope you have a great week"

    I enjoy reading your thoughts.

     
  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Traceytreasure said…

    I love your honesty!

    Hugs!!

     
  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger nancy said…

    Very well said. I agree with everything you said. I found your blog, because I have a google alert for Marcel Marceau. I am confused, because there was nothing in this post referencing him. Did you write something with his name in it?

     
  • At 8:18 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Hi Nancy,

    Thank you for your comment. I have a quote by Marcel Marceau in my sidebar, which must be why you were directed there.

    Regardless, I hope you will stick around!

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Intolerance is the reason I left the Catholic Church. No, not all Christians and Catholics are intolerant but those who are leave a bitter taste in the mouth of those who aren't. As they say, one bad apple...

    Well said as usual, BA.

     
  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Great post, Mama.
    I feel very fortunate that I (as an agnostic bordering heavily on the side of atheism) have not had much first hand experience with Christians' intolerance. The only real exception to that is my beloved mother. The things she says about my gay friends and her opinions about the way I raise my boys to be open to all religions so that they can pick the one (if any) that most suits their needs and beliefs cut to the core. I love her but it's hard to stomach such ignorance and intolerance. I scoff at that side of her and my husband and I often shake our heads and tsk at her ignorance and general bad attitude... If she were anyone but my mother, I'd be very tempted to slap her for some of the things that come out of her mouth.

    I would love to live in a world where we were all free to believe what we wanted because let's face it ~ religion is a very personal choice and really no one else's business. Just because we believe or don't believe in a specific dogma doesn't make it true or false.

    That being said, in response to the evolution comment.. I really don't get why people think evolution is up for debate. It's been proven that the process has happened. It doesn't in any way explain how life on earth began, but what happened to the life that eventually turned into what we see around us today.

    Sorry for the long windedness :)

    I love that you have the ability to speak your mind respectfully without being offensive to your readers who may or may not agree with your thoughts.

     
  • At 8:20 PM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    I am Christian, and I believe that people sin, and that God is forgiving if asked. But I try not to judge the sins of anyone else (I'm not perfect, so a thought or two creeps in), I know that we are not to judge others (not our job), and we are supposed to love one another. Whatever sin I may see in another is no greater or lesser than the sins that I commit - regularly. I have too much of my own junk to deal with to worry about what others do.

     

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