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Sunday School, Plagues and Sociopaths

Posted by on April 5, 2020 at 3:35 PM

Not long ago I posted a thing about evangelical chuds conspicuously not jumping on the COVID thing to bleat "God's Wrath" ad nauseum since they now had the fascist messiah theyd long prayed for in charge of things - yeah, nevermind.


Here's a story for your cloistered Sunday: When was I growing up in a God-fearing church-every-Sunday heartland lily-white idyll of a town, one of the things that gave very-young-me pause about the superstition being forced down my throat was the fact that the Great Repository and Source of Love I was meant to worship also just straight murdered millions upon millions of people. A lot. This, along with vivid threats of hell with which Christianity blackmailed my barely developed and malleable brain, scared the shit out of me, as it was, of course, meant to do, but it also seemed out of whack with the other, nicer shit I was supposed to believe.


The calming counsel I received boiled down to two things. First, the standard response was to point me to the Old Testament admonishment of the hierarchical Drunk Abusive Father God, which amounts to "Who are you to question the things God does in His Wisdom?" As per Job et al, essentially this strips away the content/effect of actions and puts primacy on the hierarchy itself. It produces tautological bullshit that is not inconspicuously ascendant in our times, for obvious reasons, notably that authoritarian twats like Franklin Graham and most evangelicals identify with it. It goes like this: "God doing a thing necessarily makes it good, no matter how awful it might be, and by questioning it you are bad."


Notwithstanding that this is the argument of kings and popes and every "conservative" of posterity who used it to impose a shit unjust order - if it also puts you a-mind of certain people currently running the country and the blind, drool-flecked fealty given him, whatever his odious behavior, by slot-machine-eyed "heartland" footsoldiers, guess how much of a coincidence that is. None is how much.


The second thing a minister told me to try to reconcile Christianity with, y'know, Christianity was that those horrible plagues and disasters that an all-loving God sent specifically to enact genocide? Yeah, see, we didn't have to worry about those anymore because Jesus took all our awful shit onto himself when he died. He made us better in his sacrifice, even if there were still bad things in us that we could try to purge via living in/for Jesusness. So that would've definitely posed a nicer palliative, if - and this is a big IF - other, louder, more authoritative Christians didn't counter that with shit that suggested the opposite, weirdly when it suited their shitty political beliefs. Not just bloviating neo-Nazis like Graham. There's a trickle-down effect. My utterly pious grandmother brushed off the AIDS pandemic by shrugging and telling me very specifically that "The Bible tells us that sometimes God sends a plague to cleanse the Earth of certain people because their sins."


She said that to me when I was a teenager and I could say, "What the FUCK?" But imagine if she said that to kid me, who didn't know any better, and that fucking idea calcified in my brain and made me believe that. What if I grew up believing that, thinking gay people were lesser in my particular god's eyes and deserving of suffering and death? What if I grew into a person who just knee-jerk diminished the suffering other people because they weren't in my "in-group" and didn't conform to my closed, limited, spoon-fed interpretation of godliness, like, say, they were born on a different patch of dirt than the one I was born on? What if I heard the awful shit very Good and Pious Christians tried to teach me and took that into my heart and became a fucking bigot?


Would I have remained a Republican and voted for fascists to "cleanse" America? Yeah. Probably.


It's not just that this kind of shit doesn't jibe with the bigger, more profound story the minister tried to ease my mind with, it's that this is a different Christianity. It is a throw-back thing to what it was in times of all those dick kings and venal prick popes, a cudgel, an extortionate control mechanism to keep people in line. Y'know, like a hierarchy. It's the thing we had the Enlightenment and revolutions to try to fix, because it didn't match up with, and was in fact a bulwark against, certain commonsensical things like making society actually fucking work for everyone living in it.


And, yes, standard disclaimer, I know a ton of wonderful Christians who have figured out how their spirituality informs their behavior and makes it live in their deeds, and who have managed to figure out how science, as the deliberative unraveling and demystifying of their god's great construct, can be confluent with their beliefs. Because, this is important, their beliefs run in seamless context of measurable reality and society. not as some kind of magic license to say "fuck society" when the science or philosophy or history or their own fucking theology doesn't conform to their shitty petulant sociopathic notion of a petty, mean, human-shaped homunculus god they've created to serve their own garbage politics.


And that's all Franklin Graham does. It's all he's ever done and it's all his "spirituality" has ever been. As can be easily traced, the fact that "Christians" of his stripe are currently running the fucking country and they're the exact people who have forwarded three generations stupid, stupid, racist, xenophobe, homophobe, small-government, science-denying scumbags as "leaders" is exactly what will make this particular plague kill exponentially more people than it would have if this problem was given to people who actually materially understood science and government and knew what they were doing and just intrinsically knew they worked for all the people instead of being capricious "free-market" pricks hoarding ventilators and PPE away from states who didn't bow down and lick the king's ass.


That's all fine for Franklin Graham. New York is the "out-group" for him anyway. It is a place of sin and mongrelization and tolerance. God says it's okay for them to die. He'll suspend the Jesus thing as long as he can exploit actual unimaginable horrors to bully people into being exactly as big a piece of shit as he is.


I'm not a Christian anymore, just to be clear on that.