This is what religion is: they angle for fresh prey, and once they snag you, they swallow you up. You are embraced in the rugae and crypts of the gut of the church, all warm and pink and soft and wet and intimate, and each of the members is like a little villus — a multitude of villi brush adoringly against you, each telling you how wonderful and delicious you are, and each leeching away a little of yourself, your individuality, your independence. It feels good as you are slowly absorbed. Then at last, when your will is gone and your dependence is complete, you are digested by the body of Christ, and there you will be for all of your productive years. Eventually, when you are old and no longer active, you'll take residence in the colon of the church, serviced by occasional visits from a priest or a volunteer, in hopes of one final ka-ching from your will…and then your empty husk will be shat out into the church graveyard, with the leavings of other past meals. The churches of your community all ought to be viewed as predatory animals, some lazy and sated, others restless and hungry, but all eyeing you as potential fodder to keep the beast alive.Even a year ago, it is likely that I would have actually argued about this. But the argument would not really have been an argument that this is inaccurate, it would have been an argument of motivations. And the thing is, the motivations are still there - the point is still valid, but it doesn't actually refute a damned thing written in that paragraph.
The fact of the matter is, as is the case with most other woo - the victimizers are also the victims. Yes, there are a great many scam artists and pretenders - in the clergy and congregations. But there are also a whole lot of Christians out there who are honestly and earnestly seeking to save you from what they believe will be your eternal damnation and suffering. They truly believe that if you don't go to church, follow the dogma and believe/worship who and how they do - you're going to suffer horribly.
I know how they feel, I've felt it - I've been in those shoes. I was ok with being mocked, because I knew that what I had to say could go somewhere someday. If my small part to play eventually led to their salvation from eternal suffering, well, who cares about a little mockery at my expense? I know how they feel, because I spent years with an underlying terror that my own dad and eventually my brother were going to hell.
This makes it very difficult for some people to withstand the deluge. If you haven't read the whole of PZ's piece, do so. He describes a couple of situations, one written about by one of his readers and one that happened to him. I have been that proselytizing jackass, astounded that someone could be so blind to the obvious. I mean it really did seem so obvious to me and it was very confusing when people just didn't see it after I explained it all.
I was very good at helping bring people into my Faith, because I was so very genuine. Because no matter the sorts of mischief I got into - and I got into a lot - I genuinely cared about other people and really wanted them to avoid eternal suffering. I was obviously imperfect, yet entirely confident that my god loved me anyways and it was all ok in the end. I was trying and that was what mattered. That and I genuinely cared about the people I was proselytizing to - and it showed. That showering love fest that PZ describes is entirely accurate, but it's also far more nefarious for being genuine.
I feel genuinely sad for many of the people I went to church with who know that I am not a Christian. They genuinely love me and also believe absolutely that I am going to suffer eternal damnation if I don't accept their Faith. Even worse is my mom, who obviously loves me and wants me to avoid the eternal suffering that she believes is what people who do not Believe will suffer.
But it just is what it is - and isn't what so many Believe it is.
I am still working on my first post about things that kept me holding desperately onto my faith. But I think this actually can qualify as a prelude of sorts, because it was the loving community that made it very hard to leave - not to mention the disappointment of a great many loved ones.
I am going to continue with the post I was actually writing, but honestly can't say how quickly it will come. I have actually been doing things that aren't school or writing and have to get school stuff done too. And focusing is still a huge pain in the ass - exhausting even.
Speaking of, it is way past my damned bedtime - goodnight...