Quite a storm went across my state yesterday, with high winds and flood warnings. An hour west of me, a EF2 tornado touched down in the town I grew up in. My parents were across the street at a restaurant and hid in a bathroom as the car wash business across the street was ripped to shreds. Someone died. Several houses were wrecked. As I was looking through pictures on-line I ran across a picture with three houses in it. Two had clearly been wrecked by the tornado, while the one in the middle was not visibly damaged from that angle. In their front yard stood a sign that said "Thank You Jesus." (above is the exact image I am referring to) Of course, the Christians in the comments section took this as a sign. Literally. Look at that. It's a miracle. That house wasn't harmed because they had that sign out in the front yard.
So let me get this straight...God spared this house from a natural disaster because they put a sign in their front yard thanking Jesus? Of course, the other two houses could have had the same sign and those signs were sucked up by the tornado that descended on them. But let's say that they are the only people proclaiming their religion, doesn't the Bible and Jesus state directly that you should not be proclaiming his name loudly on the streets? Aren't you supposed to do so quietly, living your life as an example of love? And what about your neighbors? Does God just not love them as much. I'm sure the people in all three of those homes were probably praying? (I live in the Bible belt. Most people are Christian and most people pray) Would God really allow someone's home to be destroyed because you didn't put a sign in your front yard?
Now, the God of the Old Testament would have destroyed everyone's homes. He wouldn't have spared anyone. Whenever the Israelites got out of hand, God punished all of them. Surely, there were some people who weren't all complaining or stealing manna or whatever, but God didn't care. God of the Old Testament also doesn't seem to care about people having homes. After all he destroyed the earth with a flood at one point, kicked Adam & Eve out of their home, exiled his chosen people several times, and most of his people lived in tents for hundreds of years. It must be assumed that at one point, someone's tent blew away in a sandstorm and I don't think God gave a shit. But what about the New Testament? Does Jesus care where people live? Well, he was homeless and told people to give up everything they had to follow him. This included homes and families, so I would say no. Paul would have asked people to open their homes to others if they had it, to be available for communal living.
This story gets more interesting though, because the most extensive damage to occur happened to a church. Now, they were openly telling people about who they believed in and loved and God didn't spare them. So with this logic, God only spares people who put signs in their front yards, but no other kinds of declarations of faith.
Of course, I mention this sign issue to my mother, mostly to gauge what crazy Christians think of this and her response was "miracles do happen". But why? Why would God, who clearly doesn't care about people having houses, spare someone's house because of signage? You know the answer. "God works in mysterious ways. Maybe God has a plan for those people. We may never know." Oh I can tell you...we will *never* know. I have always hated the, this-makes-no-logical-sense-therefore-it-is-mysterious crowd. To me, the answer is simple. If there is a god, he doesn't give a shit about your house, whether it has a sign out front or not. Natural disasters destroy things. That house probably did have damage, it just wasn't obvious from the angle that the picture was taken. It may have been minimal but things like pressure, the materials that the house was made out of, the age & repair of the house, how the other houses protected it, all come into play. Most likely they have insurance on the home and the damage will be repaired within the next year. The houses next door may either be repaired or take the money from insurance as a loss and buy a new house. This may make some people think about their mortality or whatever, but since no one was seriously injured, it will probably get boiled down to an interesting story to tell their kids and grand kids. The butterfly effect from this event may alter someone's life, but it is more likely that it is just a blip on life's road that is full of beautiful and shitty things.
This kind of thinking from the faithful is not good thing. It suggests that some people are better or more deserving of God's grace, even though scriptures tell us that God's grace is for everyone. It suggests that outward signs of faith will somehow cover you, like lamb's blood on your door, protecting you from harm, which is downright superstitious. (something else Christians are told to avoid) It also suggests that when a "miracle" happens, the cost doesn't matter because God spared one of his faithful. There's no way you can't get a bit egotistical if you believe you are the one God spared for a "reason". And although my mom wants to believe in miracles, someone died in this tornado and one house being spared will never replace that life. If what my mother believes is true, then it makes it seem like this god is more concerned about outward confessions of faith then human life.
Today I had a phone conversation with my mother that turned to my complaints about how PC my work is. I work for an academic publisher and everyone here really likes to believe they are super woke, to use a popular colloquialism. Although I absolutely agree that we desperately need to hire a diverse group of people, some of the things my co-workers are doing just feels more like slacktivism than actual change. For example: Some of my co-workers have begun introducing themselves at the beginning of meetings with something like, "Hello my name is [insert name]. I go by the pronouns she, her, and hers." And then they launch into the meeting. And it is stupid. People, I get that there are folks out there who do not subscribe to gender norms. I am okay with this. I will call you whatever you want to be called. I'll even ask if it isn't completely obvious or I am unsure. The ownness isn't just on the other person. I'll call you whatever you want. But there is no way in hell that I am going to introduce myself with the pronouns I use. I am female. I look female, act female, and present as female. I have never had anyone in my entire life doubt that my pronouns are she, her, and hers. I'm not adding it to my email to give some outward sign that I am cool with whatever it is we are trying to say we are cool about.
So anyway, that's just a setup for what my mother says next: "Well, they just want attention. That's what [the gays] want, right?" My reply went something along the lines of, Of course not. Not everyone wants attention. Gay or straight. Most just want to live their lives. Especially trans people who are in serious danger if they made themselves known. It's very dangerous to be trans in this country. Most just want to live their lives and have some happiness and fulfillment. Just like anyone. My mother then said something about the "people she works with really are dramatic and want to be known". She is now referring to the homeless people she serves food to once a week. Umm, mom, I don't think you should be using homeless people with serious mental illness issues as an indicator of how most gay people act. I have known gay people who are loud and proud, and I have known straight people who are that way too. No one gets mad and threatens to kill the overly macho dude who talks about how many girls he has slept with though. That's the difference.
What I didn't add was that she doesn't get upset about an in-your-face Christian with an obvious agenda who flaunts their spirituality and sexuality as if they are righteousness police.
My mother did not agree. Even though this is simple logic. Not every gay person is out of the closet. Not every gay person is effeminate or butch. (for lack of better terms) Not every gay person is political. Some quite literally are just trying to live their lives. Some are more conservative. I have a gay co-worker who doesn't think gay people should get married. Some are activists and have agendas. Others just want to be left alone to raise children, work, play D&D, and binge-watch their favorite sci-fi show. I've known a lot of gay people over the course of my life. Once I was able to knock down the wall that my indoctrination had created, I was able to see them as normal people.
Logic and my mother are not friends. I doubt this little conversation did anything to change her mind, despite the truth in it. Her fear and hate has led her down a dark path of contempt and prejudice.
When I first met my husband, he bragged about how he used to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. This did not sit right with me as, by that point, I very much felt like abortion was not such a black and white issue. Certainly not in the way that my fundy parents had taught me. A few months into dating, I was having some issues with my period and headed to the lady doctor to see what the problem might be. I was put on birth control. I figured this was good as I did plan on having sex eventually, but most definitely did not want to have a baby. My husband, upon learning this, got uncomfortable and stated, "They won't let me volunteer if my wife is on birth control." To which I blithely replied, "I guess you won't be volunteering then."
But seriously, who the fuck are these people? Who are you to decide whether me and my husband get to use birth control or not? Why in the world would that be any of your business? Other than the obvious misconception that some people have that birth control is like abortion. There is no concern or nuance when it comes to these people. It's all or nothing. There is no box to check for volunteers that says, yes my wife is on birth control but we plan on adopting an abandoned/neglected/abused child. I have a friend with Type 1 diabetes. Having a child could literally kill her. She has decided not to risk it. How dare you suggest that she is doing something wrong by making that choice.
But most of all, how dare these people lie and trick people in order to get their way. The Bible makes it clear that there is no sin worse than another. So lying is on the same level as murder. Even if you think abortion is murder, you are no better than them if you lie and cheat your way into convinving them to not do it. Nevermind, that the attitudes expressed in the above video show very much that there is very little concern for women and their children after birth. The end does not justify the mean.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.