‘We all have a duty to prove them wrong’

“In a Society that sees love and kindness as a sick weakness, we all have a duty to prove them wrong.”

“Any­time some­one encore­ages you to not investigate, to not dig deeper, to not seek out the truth, that’s a sure sign they’re hid­ing some­thing and that the only means they have for retain­ing their power is to con­vince you to not question that power.”

All arguments … leak.”

“While I certainly agree that many Christians have been misinformed by wrong-headed and even deceitful Christian mouthpieces, I think there comes a point that every individual needs to take responsibility for what information they accept as factual and solid.”

They could prove they were right, if they were right, and become rich in the process. But instead they ask for donations and bilk the gullible.”

“Young-earth creationism got to me in a bad way in my teens when I foolishly accepted its claims without sufficient fact-checking. It gets to me now in a different way, causing me frustration and dismay as they promote lies in the name of Christianity and distract from the core message of the Christian faith.”

“Colbert attempts to extricate what he sees as the essential message of Christianity from the piles of intellectual rot and political carpet bags that have been piled on and around it in the last 10 years.”

“It’s exactly like when your boss asks you, ‘How do you feel about working here?’ Under no circumstances would you say how you actually feel working there.”

“The evangelical normalization of conversionist discourse as a criterion of religiosity directly construed society as secular even before there were any secularists in the modern sense of that term.”

“It took about 10 rowers to haul the waterlogged head from the river near the Poughkeepsie college’s boat dock.” (via)

“Did you know that Frosty Westering, who had 32 seasons at Pacific Lutheran without a losing record in any, who never mentioned playoffs or titles to his players but won four national championships and four runner-up finishes on two levels, died at 85 surrounded by his considerable family? Please know. Please, please know.”

“I do not consider my decision to back Richard Nixon … one of my finer ones.”

“I’m thinking when this guy goes fishing he will only fish after some sonar finds the fish.”

The Scripture is clear.”

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws.”

“Is your story nice and juicy? / Say a prayer

Church Sign Epic Fails: ‘Monster of Hell'”


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  • aunursa

    Another Left Behind Movie poster: WE WERE WARNED

  • aunursa

    While some of the church signs are indeed absurd and worthy of ridicule (“MONSTER OF HELL, CHURCH BOOK BURNING”) others are actually quite clever (“YOU SAW THE TV SERIES, NOW READ THE BOOK,” “THE KEY TO HEAVEN…”) Perhaps the blogger feels that his church sign posts require a certain minimum amount of photo snark.

  • That poster says a lot. All the people except Cage seem to be disappearing into the mist as if they aren’t really real. Which is exactly how L&J seem to regard anyone who isn’t Buck or Ray.

  • Or he might simply disagree with you on what he considers clever. For example, he’s made it known in the past that he has a low opinion of cheap attempts at cultural relevance via pop culture references, which probably influences his choice to include the “You saw the TV series…” sign.

  • So, is that actually a fan-made poster? Are there official ones out yet?

    The comments, as always, are interesting. “I have a feeling we may not be here when this movie comes out in the Spring…..” (I know the feeling. But that’s what I got for growing up near Washington, DC during the Cold War.)

  • It may be that some things are clever the first time you see them, but not when you’ve seen five variations on the theme during one morning commute.

  • Carstonio

    At first I misinterpreted the first church sign as condemning a Baptist television program, supposing that the church was so ultra-fundamentalist that it viewed all varieties of Baptist churches as too liberal.

  • Vermic

    I have a feeling “We were warned” will be the tagline for most of the reviews, too.

  • “In a Society that sees love and kindness as a sick weakness, we all have a duty to prove them wrong.”
    You don’t even have to be all that kind or loving to impress people with your kindness and gentleness. If you’re dealing with people working in the service industry, they’ll often be thrilled just to talk to someone who isn’t an asshole.

  • I’ll take Colbert for pope? I’ll be Catholic if I gotta to make THAT happen.

  • Fusina

    I need to get back and take a photo of a church sign in my county. It read,

    “Manufacturer Recall coming soon. Are you ready?”

    And honestly, my first thought was, “Oh, goody, the defective humans will be removed from circulation!”

  • “The Key To Heaven Was Hung On A Nail” – I thought that was clever, and then I saw the commentary: “Don’t tell Jesus he was a Key, or He’ll be wicked pissed” — I was thinking “Aw, if only Jesus had had a big sister to sacrifice herself in his place, we could’ve avoided all this…”

  • fredgiblet


    Holy crap this. I’ve broken rules for people because they weren’t shitbags before.

    The amusing thing is how often being nice has given a better end than being a dick. I was part of a specialty team a while back that had enormous authority for providing refunds, a woman called in who I COULD have helped, despite it being technically against policy, but she started the call by screaming at me so she got NOTHING.

    On the other end of the spectrum I gave a guy an extra 2 months worth of subscription refund once specifically because he said “I know this is my fault” which so few people are willing to admit.

  • As for the “Key to Heaven” sign, it just occurred to me that Christian Piatt is not a fan of Blood Atonement Theology.

  • Panda Rosa

    Book Burning: can I bring all my old Diet Books? I’ve the feeling even the most open-minded won’t object to watching those go up in flames.

  • JustoneK

    In the grim dark future of Left Behind, we are all NICOLAS CAGE.

  • Hexep

    Whenever I read something like the first article, I feel a tremendous anger and resentment billow up in my heart, and I have to go talk to myself until it goes away. I always read these things as an accusation, or as criticism.

    “Wouldn’t the world be a tiny bit happier to live in?” In my eyes, it always becomes, “why haven’t you done more, given up more, sacrificed more? Why do you think you’ve done enough good to deserve what you have? Why do you take more than you provide?”

    I don’t accept that there’s something wrong with me, but whenever someone holds a collection jar in my face, either I fob them off – and get dirty looks and feel terrible about it – or I reluctantly give something up – and feel terrible all day because I’m a soft touch. And right now there are a lot of collection jars rattling everywhere.

    That’s the most hateful thing in my mind. Being a soft touch. I absolutely hate that about myself, that if someone gets in my face and looks suitably pitiful and makes a scene, I’ll give them money to go away. And that I have enough money to do that.

    And as for the ‘tread more carefully if someone is broken and in pain’ part – I would not associate with any such person. That is an insult more vile and contemptible than I can say.

  • stardreamer42

    Yeah, I can see where you’d get that out of that particular article; there does seem to be a certain amount of shaming going on. My interpretation of what the author is trying to say (especially in light of the first couple of paragraphs) is much simpler, and boils down to “Don’t be a dick.” Don’t go out of your way to be rude or mean to other people; don’t look for excuses to do the wrong thing — which is what those people on Twitter were doing. By simply doing that, you are making the world a happier place to live in.

  • “In a world… where bad literature gets made into bad movies….
    … where greedy theologians team up with greedy film producers to sell crap to suckers and those with no taste….
    … we were warned, that a movie this bad would come along…
    … this summer, when your friends go out to see an awful movie, you should consider…
    … being Left Behind.”

  • I have a bit of a different read on it.

    One of the things that really rankles me and stills me to anger is when kindness and generosity is treated as some kind of weakness. This might be something like cynicism or mocking someone for being kind, but that is relatively easy to shrug off. But there is another and more insidious side to it.

    What you described, holding a collection jar to your face and giving you dirty looks for turning it down, that is another way of treating your kindness as a weakness. The idea that it is some kind of vulnerability of character that someone can exploit, a trait that some con sees as the indicator of a mark, the abuse of charity freely given. The kind where a supplicant thinks that if they just keep pressing you enough you will give in because you are “weak” with sympathy.

    Sometimes you give charity freely, and those you give it to accept it with grace and appreciation. You should feel good about that, and not feel like you are weaker for it. But it is important to know when to give and when others seek to take advantage of you. Give carefully, and only when you are ready to give. If someone begs for food on the street, feel free to buy them a sandwich. If they are genuine, they will appreciate it, if they are just trying to score a little from your “weakness” they will be upset and you do not have to indulge them any further. If there is a political cause you believe in, donate money to them of your own initiative but ignore any phone calls they give you trying to pressure you for more money.

    Kindness is only a weakness if you let it be.

  • That really is the problem. So many people, for so many good reasons, have their hands out for your money, and you only have a finite amount of it.

    It sucks when you have to pass someone up because of that.

  • Thanks for sharing!

  • Lorehead

    As for people proving they were right if they were right, some of them have really tried, although they funded it by bilking others. The Israel Oil Company has made tens of millions selling drilling rights under the Dead Sea to Fundamentalist Christians.

  • I’m curious… how do you feel about cultural norms surrounding gift-giving? (e.g. birthdays, Christmas, etc.)

  • Fusina

    I don’t always give gifts on special occasions. The one that I find totally pointless, but which is necessary due to familial obligations, is the “presents” we give to my niece and nephew. It is usually a check as we don’t see them at birthdays, and my kids get a check on their birthdays. Basically the same money (presents in the form of checks) being passed back and forth. Um.

    I do presents when I find the perfect thing for someone–and I don’t care if I get something in return or not–it is fun to find just the right thing. Sometimes I will save them for an occasion, but that depends on how far away said occasion is. As the saying goes, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”

  • Panda Rosa

    And this will be a Good Thing because….

  • Lorehead

    He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs. Next you’ll be saying that a Samaritan is my neighbor, or even the Mexicans.

  • aunursa

    It’s not a fan-made poster. It’s one possible poster that the LB producers are considering. But nothing is official yet.

  • When I was working customer service, I would often remark “a reasonable customer is like a breath of fresh air.”

  • So much this. A lot of people think that the best way to get the most out of a serviceperson is to make a fuss and demand bargains.

    They don’t understand that a lot of people in the service sector actually like working with people, and will bend over backwards to make someone walk away with a smile… unless we think that person is trying to take advantage of us. Then it’s, “I’m so sorry, but I just can’t.”

  • Oh wow. That looped all the way from “godawful” to “hilarious”.

  • So much this. A lot of people think that the best way to get the most out of a serviceperson is to make a fuss and demand bargains.

    As a former service person myself, I think that I see two origins for this kind of behavior, neither pleasant.

    First, some people just love lording themselves over others. Like the guy in a well-tailored suit who comes up to your counter talking on a cell phone, refuses to go through the transaction until he completes his call, then tries to haggle you out of a few cents on what he is buying. This behavior is all about puffing himself up and letting him think he got one over on the lowly service staff. Classic douchebaggery.

    The other is a little more common, which is when someone is made to feel like a fool. A lot of people would rather be seen as belligerent than seen as stupid. If for some reason they fear that they are looking dumb, then they default to anger. This is not always the service person talking down to them necessarily, but it could be something as simple as the customer making an assumption and realizing that they were wrong in front of someone who actually knows the subject. It triggers and instant lash-back, and often a lot of resentment for the person who was a party to it, inadvertently or not.

  • I’m curious… how do you feel about cultural norms surrounding gift-giving? (e.g. birthdays, Christmas, etc.)

    Kind of odd.

    Sometimes I like to get gifts for people I know. I see something that I think that they would appreciate and I give serious consideration to getting it for them. But that does not always mesh well with established holidays, and I feel kind of constricted by the structure of them. On the one hand, I am willing to get the person the gift immediately, on the other hand I am expected to get them a gift on a specific date. Sometimes I can save a gift bought immediately until then, but not always and it is not necessarily easy.

    As for receiving gifts, I find the holiday structure even more restrictive, often because someone will feel obligated to get me something on that day, and it may not line up well with my needs and desires. I end up with something that I do not care for, but must be gracious about accepting. Or even worse, I get something that is close to what I wanted but not quite, and things like returns are not an option. Cost gets sunk into me for things I do not need and I feel guilty for absorbing others resources and goodwill (even freely given) without sufficient need of my own.

  • Lorehead

    The Young-Earth Creationists bought it. Literally. He raised at least enough money to buy an oil company, pay Israel $30 million for the rights, and start drilling. From the article, much of that was in donations. People were throwing money into the hat just so the Arabs could all die sooner (and of course, we Jews were in line along with everybody else).

    On the other hand, the fact that people weren’t even asking to be paid back might also indicate that they didn’t really think there’d be any oil, and they figured that tossing $20 into the hat was a good way to express their religious pride.

  • Alix

    I cook people dinner, lunch, or a special snack, depending on how they structured the occasion. If it’s a personal holiday like a birthday, the recipient gets at least some input. :P

    I’ve … really backed off on obligatory gift-giving in general, though. I’ve made it abundantly clear to the few people likely to give me physical gifts that I’m a minimalist, so if they give me anything I didn’t expressly ask for it gets donated, regifted, or sold. Fortunately, they’re all okay with that. And a large part of the reason I cook for people is that it’s a) fun and b) useful.

    I pretty much agree with Fearless Son’s comments, and there’s almost nothing that turns me snarly like some of the donation solicitors around here (especially the effing Salvation Army. Those goddamn bells). Another big part of it for me is that I’m not going to just give money randomly, but to organizations that I think are fiscally responsible and going to do the most good. I really, really hate the idea that crops up from time to time, that your wallet should either be always closed, or always open for anyone who asks.

  • Alix

    It doesn’t help that people phrase it to make you sound like a monster if you refuse. “Would you like to add a dollar to cure breast cancer? Would you like to help feed hungry children?” “Uh. No.” *get hairy eyeball*

    I mean, I know they do that deliberately specifically to generate money-giving guilt. But I still hate it.

  • Another big part of it for me is that I’m not going to just give money randomly, but to organizations that I think are fiscally responsible and going to do the most good. I really, really hate the idea that crops up from time to time, that your wallet should either be always closed, or always open for anyone who asks.

    Compassion is essential for ethical behavior, but to be effective it needs to be tempered with the wisdom to know when to give and when to let go. Someone who’s heart always bleeds will find that blood sucked dry and with nothing left to give, unless they can learn to know when to hold back. Someone who rushes to help without thinking the course through could do more damage in the long run despite their intentions.

    Without wisdom, compassion can sometimes be worse than apathy. Without compassion, wisdom serves no good.

  • I just wanted to say thank you to Fred for including one of my blog posts in this round-up and thank you to all his readers who followed the link to my post. I’ve received (as of five minutes ago) three hundred visits to my blog today, and I’d estimate that more than 90% of them are from people coming from this post. It’s made for a rather pleasant day for me.

  • Fusina

    Without wisdom, compassion can sometimes be worse than apathy. Without compassion, wisdom serves no good.

    This…sublime. Concise, compact, no wasted words. May I pass this on to some of my friends?

    Having friends in many different age groups, in many different financial circumstances, I have learned when to give…and when not to give. The one is as important as the other. I find it is easier to give–partly because the giver is the one with the power. I am learning to accept, that is harder. I have an older friend who is on social security. Occasionally, she allows me to get her some groceries. Occasionally, I allow her to buy me lunch.

    Anyway, as a result, I have come to a different kind of understanding of people on welfare/food stamps/assistance of whatever kind. It isn’t fun. It is humiliating. It is being powerless, and being treated like garbage as a result. And I think we need to change the perception of people who need a hand for whatever reason, because they aren’t garbage, and maybe they are having difficulties, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need dignity. How to work that out is the tricky part.

  • Wat. (O_O)

  • Walmart is doing a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network now, and when I checked someone out the other day (the only transaction I have done in weeks), the computer prompted me to ask if the customer wanted to make a donation. In fact, it only asked me if the customer wanted to make a donation to “CMN Hospitals.” Good thing I knew what “CMN” stood for in this instance. Otherwise, I would have been all, “Country . . . Music . . . Network?”

    I clicked “OK” to let the computer know that I asked. Then the computer proceeded to give me no further guidance. Afterwards, I realized that there’s probably supposed to be some kind of barcode card near the register that I should scan.

    Fortunately the customer declined to donate. If she hadn’t, I would have had to have sent her to Customer Service to make the donation because I just plain couldn’t figure it out.

  • It’s all right, except when one of my brothers decides to turn it into a spending contest.

  • Someone who rushes to help without thinking the course through could do more damage in the long run despite their intentions.

    Heh. This reminds me of what I was told in first aid and lifeguarding classes: “One person injured is bad. Two is stupid.”

  • CharityB

    I hate to blame the victim, but any dollar that these guys lose is another dollar that can’t be spent stumping for things like Proposition 8.

    It beggars the imagination that any serious investor would make a decision based on a supernatural pronouncement, especially a supernatural pronouncement made by the person asking for the money (at least with the stock market we at least hope that financial reporting isn’t being gimmicked by management to scam investors). That’s what tribalism does to you.

  • CharityB

    Weeks? Wal-mart must not be doing brisk business in your town.

  • This…sublime. Concise, compact, no wasted words. May I pass this on to some of my friends?

    I never thought of that as particularly profound. I just wanted a quick summery of my argument. But thank you, I am glad that it made such a good impression.

    Honestly, you can blame The Dharma of Star Wars for that. I got the concept from there, but the words here are mine.

  • Hexep

    It’s not even really a question of kindness, the cause they were soliciting for (Sichuan earthquake relief) is so corrupt and so badly managed that it’s already a tired joke, and I wouldn’t give to it in any circumstances. I just hate the idea, in myself, that I’m afraid of confrontation and will give way to someone because they make a scene, even if they have no good reason. And that’s how charity has always been presented – somebody makes a scene and you have to give them something to make them go away.

    I do give money to some beggars, though, or at least the ones that don’t make a scene (or try to touch me, because touching someone who was not previously aware of your presence, unless it’s to physically save them from harm or unless you previously and explicitly made that kind of understanding with them, is abso-goddamn-lutely unacceptable) because I can genuinely rationalize anything they might want to purchase with it. Are they spending it on heroin? Shit, if I was in their position, I’d spend money on heroin, too; heroin is awesome.

  • Hexep

    The red envelope makes life so much easier; I just have to decide how much I like them. Because of the significance around the number 8, I never have to spend more than 800 kuai (~120 dollars) on a gift. Most people will, instead, get 8 10s or 8 20s.

  • Hexep

    My reply – ‘I would, yes, but I have no interest in helping your director buy a new gold watch.’

  • David S.

    The problem is, working customer service, I’ve seen way too many customers get their way by pushing and pushing until the managers will do anything just to get them out of the store. If the local people refuse, sometimes corporate will override them and give the customer what they want so they stop badgering corporate.