Friday, January 28, 2011

That Ear Grating Christianese Language

Now that I’m a wicked person, I tend to get rather irritated when one of these really silly sayings comes out of a Christian's mouth. I used to take comfort in many of them myself, but they’re more of a nuisance to me these days. Let’s take the way that many Christians try to comfort each other when someone dies: “It was just his time to go.” We hear this one quite often, and it’s usually followed with a statement like, “god needed his angel up there with him more than down here.” I thought god didn’t need anything since he is the definition of perfection and since when did people turn into angels upon death? Here’s another one that the late, great George Carlin joked about in his last live performance called It's Bad for Ya: “I just know your grandpa is smiling down upon you right now from heaven and watches over you.” My concern is how often does grandpa watch me? I loved my grandpa, who died of stomach cancer back in 1996, more than just about anything, but I really don’t care to know that he has constant surveillance on me like god himself supposedly does. Is he watching me during bowel movements and smiling? How about intercourse? I’d prefer that he just go about his business and do what people in heaven tend to do, sit on a cloud and play harps. Furthermore, what does he turn his attention to when I die?

Christians also tend to rely on god to give them guidance when their stuck in a rut. One annoying thing they say is, “I’m just waiting on god to show me what to do.” More often than not, they end up going with some emotional cue that just stems off an experience of confirmation bias. They ask for a sign and something occurs that seems a bit odd, even though it probably happens hundreds of thousands of times a day to people, and they go along with it. They excuse all the times god led them into another dead end as some sort of lesson that god is only privy of. God never really helped me accomplish anything. It was the hard work that I put fourth myself, and it would be pointless to keep waiting for signs that will undoubtedly lead you in the wrong direction. This reminds me of the autobiographical novel by Dan Barker called Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist where Dan drives around for hours till he gets to a wheat field, if I remember correctly, and it was all provoked because he thought god was telling him to do so. He was looking for direction in his life, and god led him to a field. Many Christians do this all the time and end up making things worse for themselves. They connect some sort of meaning to an event and make false conclusions about what they should do next. In the aforementioned case, Dan thought god was speaking to him so he followed through despite any previous important engagements he needed to attend to.

For instance, I don’t think that I would have taken a $16,000 hit in the stock market if I didn’t think god was going to reward me for my hard work. So, I stuck with it and continued to be the best Christian I knew how to be. I tried to witness to atheists and certainly saw this as a sign that I was being led in the right direction and I would surely be blessed, but it only ended up making things worse.

Then they’re Christians who are stuck on making sure they only speak positive things into their lives. It’s this whole “name it and claim it” philosophy influenced by Word of Faith teachers and books like The Secret. My mom is one of the worst when it comes to this. I’ll be having a bad day, and I’ll say something like, “things are never going to work out” and my mom will come back with “well, of course not, if you keep speaking like that. Don’t you know that the words you speak have power?” I agree that the words we say can shift one’s emotional state, but they don’t have any sort of mystical power that I’m aware of. I know that cussing sure helps me when I’m frustrated at times, perhaps that is one of gods greatest gifts.

She might say something along the lines of, “don’t you know that you’re a child of the king and you have a seat at his banquet?” Yes, I’m glad that I can be so fortunate while children in the present day Sudanese province of Darfur are being killed by Christians who are convinced that they are witches. If only these children would speak positive words and accept Jesus as savior, they could avoid being murdered by Christians as well.

Another line that really explains nothing is “God’s ways are above our ways.” This is just the Christian’s way of saying that they have no way of explaining the apparent inconsistency of god and his word. This is an indefensible stance because they can’t make a coherent statement about who god is, and it also comes at a time when they are seeking rational answers but can’t find any. It all goes back to the whole, “it was just his time to go.” God spares the murderer but allows a popular local preacher to die prematurely. Or, God allows one person to live in the act of a shooting, such as in the case of the Arizona Senator who recently was shot in the head, and Christians call that a miracle but just call it “mysterious” or "tragic" when others die in the process. They can’t make heads or tails of it so they just conclude that "gods ways are above our ways."

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