Fucking with the Message of God

Here’s a funky site that the spirtually complex J.A.Y.S.O.N. passed on to me the other day: entrancestohell.com. It features such insights as this one:

Walking to what he after three years still thought of as “the new school”, Jeff Phillips realized that he had gotten used to how much his stomach hurt every morning. [Mamou, LA]

Weirdly variant takes on religion have been on my mind lately. My wife has been reading Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, feeding me choice tidbits; when she’s done I hope to read it myself. It apparently concerns the actions of some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, an offshoot sect of the Mormon church that believes in things like forced marriages of 14-year-old girls to aging patriarchs who already have lots of wives, and abandoning teenage boys on the side of the road in order to adjust the sect’s male-female ratio to facilitate the aforementioned polygyny.

It seems to be human nature to fuck with the message of God. Mormonism itself, for all that it has many devout, upstanding adherants, strikes me as a prime example of that. I can’t see any other way to read the life story of Joseph Smith than as that of an opinionated kid who really wanted to bring more Old Testament-style fire and brimstone to the practice of Christianity, and told a chain of preposterous lies in order to accomplish it.

You can see a similar process happening with Westboro Baptist, which I came across the other day via this funny posting by C. Monks of Utter Wonder: Fashion highs and lows of the Westboro Baptist Church.

At first I couldn’t tell if the church was real, or was a parody like Landover Baptist, but after some investigation I’m forced to conclude that Westboro Baptist, along with its spiritual leader, Pastor Fred Phelps, are all too real. For one thing, I don’t think the droll subversives who create sites like Landover Baptist would stoop to this kind of child abuse just to make a point:

child abuse

What is it in human nature that makes us so anxious to imbue God with our own hatreds and fears, then use our faith as a stick to beat up on each other? I thought about that yesterday while browsing the FAQs posted by Tim Boucher, Occult Investigator. They include the folllowing:

Are you aware that you’re going to hell?

I’m absolutely dumb-founded by people who call themselves Christians but who go out of their way to be spiteful and mean-spirited. If you can show me how that is part of Christ’s message of love and forgiveness, I will eat my hat. And when I poop it out, I will eat the poop.

Christianity itself, from a certain perspective, is based on a perversion of Christ’s original teachings. The Church as a political entity isn’t based on Christ as much as it’s based on Paul, and a strong case can be made (and in fact, has been made, by A. Victor Garaffa of The pauline conspiracy) that Paul actually pulled off a coup de main, overthrowing the disciples of Jesus and erecting in their place a church that more-closely matched his own authoritarian leanings.

From what I’ve seen of the religious mutations taking place in my own time, I find that explanation easy to believe.

17 Responses to “Fucking with the Message of God”

  1. adam_blust Says:

    What’s up with that entrancestohell site? I feel that I’m not “getting it,” somehow.

  2. Anonymous Mark Says:

    Ah yes, I just posted on Phelps a few days ago (http://braving-the-elements.blogspot.com/2005/06/poison-friend-and-former-mentor-brian.html) .

    Sadly, he’s all too real. You can find more about phelps by going to: http://www.rickross.com/groups/westboro.html.

    Or, of course, godhatesfags.com, godhatessweden.com, godhatesamerica.com, godhatescanada.com.

    And if you really want a stomach wrencher, go to http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/shepard_monument.html

    Oh no, Phelps and others like him are all too real. In his own words:

    “It is my job to make these people mad as hell,” he says. “It is my job to harden their hearts. It is my job to blind their eyes and it is my job to stop up their ears…Have a Nice Day” (http://www.rickross.com/reference/westboro/westboro31.html).

  3. Rise Against Says:

    These guys just proved my point about religion. I am obviously a better person than Christians, because I beleive in treating all people equal.

    I wonder if I were to put a “God is a Fag” t-shirt on my little sister how would the old religous right react? What really gets me is http://www.godhatescanada.com. Good, because the if the people that follow God are any indication of the ‘man’ himself, I hate him too!!

  4. onan Says:

    I have to admit that I’m having a hard time discerning any categorical differences between recent sets of arbitrary nonsense (the book of Mormon) and somewhat less recent sets of arbitrary nonsense (the Old Testament/Torah).

    I find that they fall down about equally in the face of any inquiry into their likelihood or consistency; I can only assume that people who find them to be vastly different are starting their evaluation from the standpoint of one being Truth, and another being perversion of that Truth.

  5. Craig Says:

    I would submit that there is also something in our human nature which compels us to build buffer zones for what we each value as morally or spiritually true, by pointing out the extremes of other’s beliefs and using it to make generalized condemnations.

    (far-right or mutated fundamentalist Christians equal Christianity; radicalized Muslim terrorists equals Islam)

  6. leftbehind Says:

    Rise Against – I would like to think all of us here are better people than someone who would put a “God Hates Fags” shirt on a child – it’s not all that hard. Most of us, myself included, would have to improve our characters a great deal to be half the people a lot of the Christians I have met in my life have been.

  7. leftbehind Says:

    There is a problem with the people who put those shirts on those children, and it’s not Christianity. The way they express Christianity may be symptomatic of the greater problem, but it is no more the root of it than are the shirts themselves

  8. Anonymous Mark Says:

    left behind wrote: “…and it’s not Christianity”

    Possibly. These people would (probably) have their hatred and find some avenue to vent it, religious or otherwise. However, religion (be it Christianity or Islamic) does preach an “exclusive” message – believe as we do or suffer the consequences. There is no acceptance of diversity and alternate points of view (for the most part), you believe as Christians (or muslims) believe or go to hell. We are better than you because we believe. We are the chosen ones, etc. In that sense, Phelps and his ilk ARE Christianity. Perhaps taken to an extreme but it is Chrisitianity.

    (substitute Christianity for Islam, Hindu, etc., at your discretion).

  9. macromayhem Says:

    That picture is reminds me of Jonbenet Ramsey. Creepy mommy and daddy – forcing the worldview on minds that can’t fend for themselves.

    Talk about child abuse!

  10. leftbehind Says:

    Perhaps taken to the extreme? I’d say definately taken to the extreme, wouldn’t you? I know a lot of Christians, and I don’t know any of them who would put such a tee shirt on a child, or who entertain the same caustic rhetoric as Phelps and his crowd. Do you? Is the “kill a Queer for Christ” sentiment high in your community? It isn’t in mine.

    True enough, it is the nature of religion to present itself as having exclusive answers to life, the universe, etc., but most people in our society seem to have tempered that with a high degree of tolerence, don’t you think? Speaking personally, I am an athetist married to a Jewish woman and I have never been met with the kind of hostility from those Christian neighbors who know of my philosophy that I have been subjected to by some Democrats simply because I vote Republican.

  11. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    To paraphrase Bryan Appleyard, atheism is just the one of the newer and stranger Christian cults.

  12. leftbehind Says:

    An atheist is simply someone who doesn’t need a God to tell him how to behave. If too many people confuse this with their need to shock Mommy, impress some liberal arts professor or get back at John Ashcroft, that’s entirely their problem.

  13. ethan-p Says:

    Leftbehind,

    I don’t need any God for answers. However, any possible negative affect that my athiesm has on John Ashcroft is definitely an added benefit.

    -Ethan P

  14. Occult Investigator » Entrances to Hell Says:

    [...] 7;re at it, also check out another similar UK-based site called Entrances 2 Hell. [Found via Lies.com]

    Read Similar Articles:

    D.C. Dead DropCrowl [...]

  15. CaseyMegan Says:

    Being a Christian and a Baptist at that, it really sucks seeing someone taking God’s word and twisting it around. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are better than anyone else, and it definately doesn’t mean that you can use God to inflict your hate on others.

    I personally believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like gay people. Love the sinner, hate the sin. I have a few friends that are gay, and I love them to death! Yes it’s sad that those chose that lifestyle, but I don’t love them any less!

    Christianity is about freewill and making choices, some of which have dire consequences.

    The people from that church should be ashamed of themselves.

    I just want to be there when that pastor gets to Heaven and he is standing before God and God says to him “How did you use the gifts I gave you? You condemed other people to hell and spread hate throughout the world…?!” Do you really think that man is getting into Heaven? Lol.

    Love God. Love people. End of story.

  16. DJd.m. Says:

    God does not hate anyone. He loves you no matter what you think, live for, or feel. He is always there for you and never leaves, or forsakes you. He is everlasting and if you think that god hates homosexual people, well you have business to do with him. I have a gay friend and I love him as the great person he is because Jesus would do the same. But I DO NOT agree with his life style or his moral beliefs. He is mixed up down to his soul and is covering up deep feelings of hurt. God did not create Man to be with Man, neither did he create woman to be with woman. God has infinite patience and he will wait for you no matter what you believe. SO, MY POINT BEING!! If you think that God hates homosexual people, you will go right to the place they are headed and its farther south than Mexico if you get my drift!! So, let me do what most Christian, God fearing men won’t do (because most Christian’s are Luke Warm and wont stand up for what they believe in) SHUT MOUT MOUTH!!! ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO WRONG!! IF YOU JUDGE SOMEONE!! YOU ARE JUST LIKE THEM!!!

    Dave Matthews

    QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? PLEASE, BRING IT!!

    Rownes@gmail.com

  17. DJd.m. Says:

    Sorry about the type-o, I meant SHUT YOUR MOUTH!! Hope that clears things up!!

    Dave.

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