In the Beginning…

S everal times during my childhood I heard a pastor preach on the creation story in Genesis.  While I was still a Christian I thought it was just about the coolest story I’d ever heard — every time I heard it.  Here’s the run-down:

In the beginning there was god.  God got the urge to create stuff so he fashioned a planet with land and water and light so he could put plants and animals on it.  In order to make this his crowning achievement he then placed humans and a talking serpent on the planet.  The habitable area on this planet was constrained to a garden, in the middle of which was a tree that god had created knowing that it would destroy the humans someday.

Genesis Chapter 1
In the beginning, GOD...

Pretty awesome, right?  Well, kind of.  When I was a Christian I followed along in my book while the pastor read and never asked questions.  This is how the sermon almost always went:

Genesis 1: 1 — In the beginning, GOD.  Now, that’s all I need to know.  This tells me that god was always there, is there now, and will always be there even after I die.  Praise the lord!”

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Public Opinions Are Open to Public Opinion

I don’t want this to come off as a bitch fest or anything, but I’m a little confused by the attitude I’ve seen from a Xangan who voiced her emotional opinion on the Casey Anthony trial and then got extremely angry with a couple of people (me included) when they began to address specific points she had made — even going so far as to tell someone that addressing her points was off-topic to her blog post.

It seems to me that if you’re going to post something on a public forum you should expect that it will not only be subjected to public scrutiny but that you may very well be confronted about assumptions and emotionally-charged statements you make. If I held a view that I knew would be controversial and I didn’t want to be questioned about it, I’d keep it to myself. It’s the only way to ensure that you can hold your opinion without having to defend it.

So this person started out by taking respectful comments from me and replying to them respectfully. When she made another point I’d address that point and wait for a response. Eventually she accused me of being an unintelligent troll (she also said people who don’t agree with her are idiots) and told me to get the hell off of her blog. So I did, and I never intend to go back. I was in it for the discussion, not the attitude.

Thinking of it now, I have no idea why she was on my friends list but she was. I’ve removed her in order to get away from that negativity. Do any of you have experiences like this where a person airs their views and then abuses everyone who disagrees?

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The Tithe That Binds

There’s a very strange movement in some Christian circles called “The Prosperity Gospel” that posits some kind of supernatural investment scheme where the more money you give to god (read: churches and/or pastors) the more material wealth god will give to you.  While most Christian denominations denounce this theology as false or even blasphemous most of them also have their own, more subtle versions of the prosperity gospel whether they know it or not.

 

Becoming a Millionaire God's Way
God wants you to be rich!

The churches in which I grew up always passed the offering plate/basket around during services expecting members to give at least 10% of whatever they had.  This is standard practice for Protestant churches under a doctrine of tithing.  Some churches go as far as asking (“asking” is a funny word since the whole thing is done with an air of, “if you don’t, god will know”) the congregation to make pledges as to how much they’ll give for the year.  This helps the church make a budget but it also very clearly shows the churches are just businesses.

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