Monday, September 22, 2008

Love Letter

It was pretty lame being the youngest kid in youth group.

I had just turned 13, so they forcibly removed me from the safety of Sunday school class with my younger brother and made me go alone to the class with all of the scary high schoolers who were all at least 16 years old.

I felt like such a dork. Junior high was bad enough without having to hang out with these older kids who clearly thought I was a weirdo every Sunday.

During one of our youth groups we all sat in a circle and I was sure we were going to start talking about things that would make me blush.

Sure enough, our youth leader asked, "Have you ever received a love letter?"

Of course everyone in the youth group had received a love letter. They talked about who they were from and what it had felt like.

When it was my turn to talk, of course, I was the only one who had not received one. It never occured to me to consider that one that was scribbled on note paper with too many exclamation points and bad handwriting in the sixth grade from that boy who told me he really, really, really liked me. Yuck! So I said I hadn't.

This was horribly embarassing. I felt like such a moron because everyone in the youth group was so much cooler than me and they obviously already had more exciting love lives than I did.

Fortunately I recovered from my shame quickly as our youth leader informed us that we had all been given a love letter!

This love letter was, of course, from God and it was the Bible! Duh, silly!

So that got me wondering, how would I feel about getting this love letter today?

A letter that is genocidal,sexist, incestual, violent, and just plain absurd?

A letter that threatened me with eternal pain and suffering if I do not love and obey the author?

I think I would need a restraining order!

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ytseone said...

Those sites are to theology what FOX is to news (meaning, their purpose isn't argument--it's partisan hackery. The assumption [a tacit one] is already in play. The bible is absurd...). Nonetheless I do understand why you're lending credence to them. You've had a paradigm shift and you're seeking to redefine yourself. People in these circumstances strongly reject what they used to be. You're setting the faithful up as "the other" as part of this reorganization of your life. Their beliefs are absurd, primitive, incoherent, dangerous, etc. Religion is at fault for any negatives associated with it. And it's superfluous for any positive associated with it.

I think if you're as interested in atheism as you claim to be in your introductory post you owe it to yourself to flee these sorts of sites and the pop-philosophy of Richard Dawkins (which is not to say he isn't a great science writer) and find something more substantial and honest.

sisyphusfragment said...

I heard that same crap when I was a kid, if only I had realized then what kind of love letter the bible really is. Thanks for this post.
@ytseone: Religion is absurd and they are responsible for the negatives that they are soaked in.

What ytseone is trying to say is to be a timid atheist, that way you cause waves and become a problem child..

ytseone said...


Hi. :-)

I think you've made my point for me. As the great modern philosopher Zizek (an atheist, by the way) noted, "on one hand we have this so called rise of fundamentalism but something very interesting started to happen in the last years. You notice how a certain extremely vulgar, reductionalist materialism claiming religion is basically stupid, ethically harmful, and so on, is gaining at the same time extreme popularity. I think more and more that, in a way, these are two sides of the same coin." [Paraphrased from a speech]

It seems that, in your mind, one's measure of self-confidence (in this sort of matter) is determined by just how much one dares to escalate this mimetic rivalry. This is why you construe my previous comment as nothing other than a call for timidity.

sisyphusfragment said...

Negative ghost rider, your pattern is full.

Ytseone, please don't take my comment as a brash testosterone-like call for loud and obnoxious behavior. I can understand why it might appear that way. I am a "new atheist" in the sense that I don't feel atheists should be pushed around and silenced anymore, however I feel that it's important for their to be "moderates" as well. That's the only way dialog can happen. Anytime an atheist stands up for their rights we are labeled militant or fundamentalist, this is widely accepted. Just to clarify: I do not correlate high self confidence with the escalation of "this mimetic rivalry". I do feel religion has run it's course though, and it's time to shelve it until we find evidence to suggest any validity on it's part. However I do agree with you one point in small part, most of those sites and filled with anger, while it's important to understand those arguments one should also find material that explains the "gray" area as well and form your own opinion on the matters at hand. If you'd like to discuss this further you can find my email at my site because I don't want to hijack Amiable's post any further.