Dear Friends, Bloody on the Highway

As I’ve said here in the past, I still get emails from old friends in Texas. Some of those people have gotten so goddy over the years that we seem to have nothing at all in common anymore.

Every time I get one of these things, it’s like waking up in a cold cabin with the fire gone out. I remember how warm it used to be, and some part of me hopes there’s still an ember in the coals. Thinks that if I go back to Texas someday and feed it new fuel, the flame of our friendship will burn again.

But … damn. The stuff they send me is so STUPID. So blithely, perky, smirky, goddam BRAINLESS that it’s painful just to read it. Picture coming up to the scene of an accident and seeing someone you know all bloody and gutty on the highway. THAT’s what it makes me feel like — like my own old, dear friends have been hit by this truck of Christianity, and might not make it. I can barely even imagine how they might be put back together.

Here, look at this:

 

First off, if this was anyone but Buck and Billie, I’d email them back and suggest a little graphic punch to the background image. For instance:

 

 

Here’s the whole text of the thing:

 

Ask yourself the question, “would you run?” after you read this!!!

Imagine this happening to you …

One Sunday morning during service; a 2,000 member congregation was surprised to see two men enter …

… both covered from head to toe in black and carrying submachine guns.

One of the men proclaimed, “Anyone willing to take a bullet for Christ remain where you are.”

Immediately, the choir fled …

the deacons fled …

and most of the congregation fled …

Out of the 2,000 there only remained 20.

The man who had spoken took off his hood. He then looked at the preacher and said “Okay, Pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites. Now you may begin your service. Have a nice day!”

And the two men turned and walked out.

TOO DEEP NOT TO PASS ON …

This phony, contrived, sticky-sweet LIE is sent out in all seriousness — probably even in love — hoping that I will bite on it and come to believe the same things they believe.

Buck and Billie didn’t create this piece, I’m almost certain. They’re just passing it along from someone who did create it. But even that guy is just some smirking idiot vapidly passing along the infectious meme. There is no evil genius behind all this, just a faceless, brainless SOMETHING fishing for new victims. Because that’s what it does. Because it couldn’t survive if it didn’t.

If I could talk to it directly, I’d say “Hey, next time, bring better fucking bait.” But I’d also do my best to HURT IT for stealing away my friends.

Since I can’t talk to it, the only thing left is to fight it. Fight it, in all the ways I can, for all the rest of my life.

If you ever wonder why atheism is important to me, this is why:  In a cold, cold world, there’s this thing that steals away my loved ones. Turns them into these Stepford Wives, from the bright, lively, creative, adventurous, life-lusty people they once were.

Man, it makes me feel lonely.

.

.

.

On the other hand, as I have to remind myself when this happens, I’m finding all these new friends. Yes, you.

Even better, as became clear to me during Reason Rally, we really are making a difference. I have every reason to believe, if we continue to do all we can to make it happen, that we will live in a future in which fewer of our loved ones will be lost to us in this way.

I hope we’re all doing whatever we can, in all our small ways, to make that future happen.

Regarding which, I have a favor to ask. See the following post, Doing My Part for the Godless Future.

 

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  • machintelligence

    Here is a little parable that you might want to send in reply:
    A mountain climber was (foolishly) attempting a solo technical ascent. When one of his pitons pulled loose he fell to hang suspended by a single rope. As his shoulder had been injured, he was unable to climb the rope to safety. In desperation he yelled out: “HELP! Is there anyone who can help me?” Then the clouds rolled back and a lovely light shown through. A mighty voice said “I CAN HELP YOU MY SON. TAKE YOUR KNIFE AND CUT THE ROPE!” The climber took out his knife. He looked at the rope, then he looked at his knife and he yelled “IS THERE ANYONE ELSE WHO CAN HELP ME?”

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    If a guy runs away from a death that would serve no visible purpose, he’s a hypocrite?

    And if a guy just meekly allows himself to be murdered, just because the murderer (whom he probably doesn’t know in advance) merely says he’d be “taking a bullet for Christ,” that means he’s a sincere believer?

    Even by the standards of religious treacle, that’s just plain sick. It only makes sense if you want your church to be filled with the most pathetic gullible sheeple who won’t even protect their own LIVES when some con-man walks off the street and invokes Jesus’ name.

    These sickos give Stepford wives a bad name.

  • Ray Moscow

    I heard a variation of the gunmen story about 25 years ago, and so I don’t think your friends invented it.

  • machintelligence

    Also, given the number of armed (legally and illegally) folks in Texas, a stunt like that could result in quite a shootout. I sincerely hope no one is inclined to try it.

  • Aliasalpha

    Didn’t they actually do that recently with some youth group or other? I seem to recall some twaddle about it showing how christians are persecuted (apparently it was “by other christians”)

  • Parse

    The story in Buck and Billie’s email has always reminded of a Pratchett quote:
    “Now we’ve got a truth to die for!” “No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for.”

    – (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

  • http://nigelthebold.com/ nigelTheBold to the power of nigelTheBold

    Wow! That story has it all. Senseless violence. Smug self-righteousness bordering on a sense of superiority. A dash of martyr complex. The hint of religious persecution. A touch of No True Scotsman. And a whole lot of tribalism and exclusion.

    I reckon this is a perfect allegory for certain kinds of Christianity.

  • http://nigelthebold.com/ nigelTheBold to the power of nigelTheBold

    Aliasalpha:

    Didn’t they actually do that recently with some youth group or other?

    Yeah. I’m too lazy to Google it, but there was a group that recently kidnapped some folks (I think they were members of a youth group) to show them what religious persecution felt like, to prepare them for religious persecution.

    ’cause, y’know, we Ebil Militant Atheists have been gathering up Christians and putting them in camps.

    (If I’m too lazy to Google a recent event, I’m way too fuckin’ lazy to round up Christians and put them in camps, even if I had a hankering to do so.)

  • http://www.withinhismind.com WithinThisMind

    A while back, an acquaintance of mine posted a story about deacon telling a story about a father who took his son (Christian) and son’s best friend (not-Christian) fishing. A sudden storm came up, and both boys were swept overboard. There was only one life vest, and knowing that his son was ‘saved’, the father cried out ‘I love you son’, and threw the life vest to the other boy. It turns out that the deacon was the other boy, and was so moved by the sacrifice that he immediately understood what god did in giving Christ that he gave his life to the church.

    The first several posts were ‘I’m touched’ and ‘there are tears in my eyes that is such a beautiful story’.

    Then there was my post.

    ‘What kind of fucking stupid asshat even unties the damn boat without strapping himself and the two kids into life vests? Especially on a body of water where a sudden storm is even a remote possibility? And how big a dipshit does anyone have to be to put multiple people on a boat that only has one life vest in any body of water? I hope he rots in prison for that kind of criminal negligence and child endangerment, and if I were the dead kid’s mother I’d introduce him to my friend Mr. Flamethrower.’

    An hour or so went by, and then one of the people who’d responded with ‘that’s so touching’ responded with ‘ya know, that’s a really good point’.

  • Arakasi

    NO, NO, NO, NO, A thousand times no

    I have friends who know people who were at the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting back in 2008. Greg McKendry stood in front of the shooter so the kids performing at the front of the room would have a chance to get away, and he died because of it. This glurge is is pissing on his memory by turning the situation into a damn chain email.

    What is it with some Christians and their damned martyr envy. Here in the US, where the population is somehting like 80% Christian (and the percentage of our elected leaders is closer to 99%) they have to reframe annoyances as persecution: Oh no, that sales associate said “Happy Holidays!” – I’m being persecuted. I have to fill a perscription that I personally disagree with – persecution! I have to issue a marriage license to a couple that I don’t think should be married – EVIL! I can’t post a prayer in my school or make everyone pray with me – IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!

    They also tell themselves stories like this email. They want to pretend that they would be one of the 20 who stand up for their beliefs, even though it would be a stupid thing to do. If you want to imagine yourself being the hero, then imagine that you stand up for some purpose – Greg McKendry did because he wanted to protect others. Even if this story were true, then what were the 20 protecting? God? Even if he did exist, he doesn’t need protecting. I know – they stayed because some guy told them that if they moved, they would be denying god. Let’s see if we can use this:
    “If you don’t give me all your cash, you will be denying god”

    Wait a minute – that is pretty much what the pastors of the mega churches do every Sunday, and it seems to work for them. Maybe there is something to this after all. It’s like some giant perverse game of Simon Says.

    Sorry for rambling here – the whole email just pissed me off more than it should. If you are going to sacrifice for a greater good, for fuck’s sake do it for an outcome worth sacrificing for.

    • Baalzaire

      Beautifully put.

  • http://toad.faultline.org Ron Sullivan

    But why does Jesus want you dead?

    • kagekiri

      Haven’t you heard? Jesus really likes martyrs! They’re piping hot and taste delici…I mean, they totally glorify God!

      Hell, he even says only a seed that dies produces much fruit (John 12:24). So your wonderful story of dying for God will be used to convert others to the same brainwashing!

      Even if you die due to random disease or violence (despite praying desperately for help and not receiving it from God), you’ll still get stories told about your life testimony at your funeral so people get converted!

      They’ll brush right past the unanswered prayers for safety or healing and go on to say how God must have given you peace in the end, or that his ways are mysterious and higher than our ways, or that your time on earth was done and you’re in a better place now, or God just wanted to see you sooner.

      Oh, and if you deny Jesus in front of others for any reason, he’ll deny you in Heaven and send you to Hell (Matthew 10:33), so all those not-dead people are damned for denying Jesus so blatantly.

  • geocatherder

    I used to get stories like this from my mother-in-law once in awhile. They infuriated me because Mom is not a stupid woman, and yet she was in the mode of just lapping these up. Fortunately most of them have Snopes entries, so I just started answering them with the Snopes entry link, replying to the whole distribution list.

    I only had to do it two or three times, and the emails stopped coming. Now whenever Mom sends me anything of even a remotely suspicious nature, be it the VERY rare religion article or virus report or whatever, the message comes with “I checked it on Snopes!” and a Snopes link at the top of the email.

    • Desert Son, OM

      Wish my father had a little more of your mother-in-law’s sensibility. I’ve done the Snopes thing with Dad, too, but nope. The hits just keep coming: kidney harvests, cell phone is secretly plotting to kill you, recharging rechargeable batteries will level your house as if it were ground zero at the Trinity test site, and plenty of religious-infested schlock, especially if it has to do with children, house pets, or U.S. soldiers.

      When I’ve mentioned it multiple times I get, “Just delete it if you don’t want to read it.”

      No, really, Dad? How come I didn’t think of that! Brilliant! Except that I did delete it, and that doesn’t change the fact that you’re the one continuing to distribute misinformation despite being pointed to resources that demonstrate why the information is wrong!

      Why, no, I’m not stressing about it. Why do you ask?

      Still learning,

      Robert

  • http://wyrdwriting.wordpress.com Joel

    I love that one, I think all Christians should have a copy and take it to heart. The moral of the story is that about 1% of any given congregation is a believer, and the rest are there out of habit, feelings of guilt, or parental indoctrination. True, brainwashed to the nth degree Christians really are a minority, and that is a good thing.

  • christophburschka

    Ugh, that’s disgusting. Seriously, Comic Sans?

    Oh yeah, the rest of it is nasty too.


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