My parents aren't liars. At least, not on purpose. Yet, they have a not-so-unique ability to spread misinformation and lies at almost every term. Recently, my parents have become what I would call conspiracy nuts. To the point that when they share "news" with me, I almost always need to look it up for myself because a third of the time they actually have all the facts correct. The other two thirds are partial information or complete misinformation. Thinking back though, I don't think this is something new for my parents, only that they traded one kind of conspiracy for another.
When I was a kid those conspiracies almost always involved people who were different than us. To be clear, my parents (specifically my mother) believed them. They saw these things as truth even when they were presented with contrary evidence. My mom, to this day, believe that lesbians are lesbians because ALL of them were sexually abused by men and that is why they don't like men anymore. They just need to be healed of their sexual abuse and they will become hetero. My mom had a whole book covering this theory and often cited studies by psychologists (always Christian) that supported these "facts". They don't have a good answer for gay men other than sin, but lesbians...easy fix. Here are some other lies that I was taught and actually believed:
1. Muslims don't love. I have mentioned this one before, which is why it is first. I was actively taught that Muslim men forced women/young girls into marriage either through arranged marriages or rape. That their marriages were full of abuse, shame, rape, violence and very little love. By extension Muslim fathers didn't love their children, particularly their daughters. Muslim mothers also didn't love their children because they were a product of forced sex. I was told that Muslim children were replaceable and the mourning that we see on TV with all the crying and wailing is just an act. That's how those people are taught to mourn. They aren't really that upset. If a Muslim does seem to love their family, it is an exception to the rule. I cannot recall a single incident where my parents sat me down and told me all of this. It wasn't preached from the pulpit that I can recall. It came in fits and bursts while listening to the news or watching a movie. Pieces of information about the outgroup that were uncharitable and wholly untrue. It made them seem like monsters. If you only believe half of this stuff, it is no wonder that so many American Christians have so little sympathy for Muslims.
2. Women who have abortions are first-degree murdering monsters and hate families. A woman who has an abortion is a murderer. Period. She has taken the role of God and killed another human. There is absolutely no circumstance where this is deemed okay. None. It doesn't matter if she was raped, or is twelve-years-old, or the fetus has an extreme birth defect. God will forgive the woman of course, but she should spend the rest of her life wracked with guilt. If she doesn't feel guilty then it just shows how base and sinfully depraved she is. If they convert to Christianity, it is expected that they will take up the cause and share their testimony as a way to make up for this horrible sin. Also, it is more than implied that women who have abortions don't like children or families. The notion that a good percentage of women who have abortions already have children and are married, is completely ignored. Personally, I don't think that abortions should be used as birth control and there is a certain amount of time that it should be done in, but I don't consider the termination of a potential life the same as taking one that is already living, breathing, and thinking.
3. Men and women are very different and God knew this. The gender roles in Christianity are strongly enforced. The Bible was often used as a source to promote this idea. Women are supposed to be a certain way. (Proverbs 31) A family with a strong matriarch is looked down upon, because she is in essence ruling over her family, something that is a man's job. I have known several Christian women who decided during their Christian walk that they needed to be more feminine. This showed in name changes (ie My name isn't EJ....it's Emma) and clothing. A tomboy would go to wearing dresses even though they looked considerably uncomfortable in them. In the denomination I grew up in, women could not be deacons or pastors. Other churches who were okay with this were being polluted by "the world" and had lost their way. More extreme versions of this showed in punishing boys for playing with dolls and forcing young girls to learn how to cook and sew. Long dresses, long hair, and modest clothing were also additional factors since women cause men to sin, don't you know.
4. Buddhists are peaceful, but are also conniving. It was always understood that at heart, Buddhism was a peaceful philosophy/religion. However, Eastern Religions and their influence were also greatly frowned upon. Yoga and certain alternative medicine were seen as them trying to worm their way into the Christians' heart. Christians (at least the kind we associated with) don't meditate, don't do acupuncture, and most certainly don't do anything with gongs. These are all ways for the devil to enter your life. You open yourself up to that kind of stuff then who knows what will come next. My mom still will way things like, "I was doing yoga, but not the new agey kind. We just listen to Christian music."
5. Catholics aren't Christians. They worship idols. This was universally accepted in the churches I grew up in. The only Catholics I had ever met as a child were ex-Catholics who would loudly proclaim that Catholicism was basically idol worship. It wasn't until I got older and met actual Catholics that I realized how very wrong this was. Catholics absolutely believed they were Christian, never mind that the only thing that determines your salvation is a belief in Jesus Christ, which they had in spades. Never mind that there wouldn't be Christianity with Catholicism. Never mind that millions of people love the same God Evangelicals do, but are blatantly dismissed because they also believe they can send prayers to other people besides Jesus and tell their sins to a priest.
6. The Founding Fathers were all Christians who wanted a Christian country. The letter about separation of church and state was just a letter and should not matter. This was HUGE. That whole separation of church and state thing was seen as a way to try and secularize our country. It was ONLY a letter. It's not in the constitution. It should be ignored entirely. Our country should be a Christian country because Christianity is the best. It should be run by Christian leaders (particularly your brand of Christianity) and laws should be made to make sure Christians are taken care of and can discriminate against others whenever they like. Anything less is seen as persecution. I was in my late teens when I studied governmental affairs and learned about deists. And I was in my early twenties when I realized how terribly awful this country would be if only Evangelical Christians ruled it and were allowed to make all the laws. I'm not entirely sure what this would look like, but I am imagining something akin to Victorian England mixed with the Crusades.
7. Rome fell because they were sinners. In many Evangelical minds, America today is much like Rome. We allow homosexuality, drinking, drugs, fornication. As each year passes we slide down a slippery slope of degradation and eventually it will all burn. These Christians believe that the reason Rome fell was not because of the economy, stretching itself too thin, war or just things changing, but because they were sinful and God cursed them. This was in my home school history curriculum. It is the reason that when a city is destroyed, these types of Christians immediately jump on the, God-is-punishing-them-for-their-sin bandwagon. It's kind of silly, because by any Christian standard, sin happens wherever there are human beings.
8. God will reward purity before marriage with a great sex life afterward. Christians know this isn't true. This is one of the few on this list that I am pretty sure they know is a lie and yet they keep it going. It is a lie they tell themselves in order to feel better about their terrible sex lives. After being married for over three years now, people become a lot more open about their sex lives and it seems that a bad sex life is fairly normal for the chased Christian couple. Masturbation and porn are seen as evil, yet most couples deal with it. The really conservative ones are against things like sex toys or sex therapy. (my mother would be one of them) Logic like, "Well I have a good sex life and I don't use those things," is impossible to argue with because they believe that what works for them should work for everyone. Even though the reality is that there are a lot of people out there really wishing that they had a bit more experience and a lot less restrictions in the area of sex.
9. Atheists are actually satan worshippers. We really believed this. It is because we also believed that if you weren't for God, then you were for Satan. Satan has other names in other religions. Allah, Buddha, Shiva. Since Atheists don't claim to have any god then they must be worshipping Satan directly. Even if an Atheist made claims that they didn't, everyone still believed that even though those people didn't realize it, they were full of demons and therefore unwittingly were serving Satan. It's batshit crazy too. There are really people out there that believe in and worship Satan. They are not Atheists. Disbelief doesn't mean someone is demon possessed. But these Evangelical Christians have a real obsession with demon possession. It happens all the time apparently, not that the person knows it. Demon possession is a secret that only Christians can see.
10. We evolved from apes. I was taught songs about how we weren't related to monkeys. My parents took me to Ken Ham presentations. I took a Genesis Sunday school class that actively worked to disprove evolution. My science books were from Bob Jones University and A Beka Book. My knowledge of evolution was only through the lens of disproving it. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Evolutionists weren't actually saying we were descended from apes. Instead they were saying that we had a common ancestor, which makes sense because we have a whole lot in common, but certainly aren't the same, like wolves and dogs. We can see the similarity between the two, but they are not the same now. Makes sense now that I have the actual facts.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.