Creationism chases people out of church

Creationism chases people out of church January 21, 2012

Ken Ham is slowly killing the American church,” writes Joel Watch at Unsettled Christianity.

Kurt Willems agrees, posting a video at his Pangea blog in which he says “Preaching Against Evolution in Evangelical Churches Creates Atheists.”

I’d qualify Willems’ statement a bit. Preaching against evolution in evangelical churches doesn’t create atheists — it creates not-evangelicals. They were told that if evolution were true, then their faith would be a lie. And then they learned that evolution is true. Some of them may go on to become atheists. Others may go on to become Episcopalians. But some just stagger on for years with little identity other than not-evangelical.

But the basic point both Watch and Willems are making is an important one. The creationism of Ken Ham and Al Mohler is not true and therefore belief in it is not sustainable. I’ve made this argument quite a bit, as in “The Bible vs. The Facts?” where I wrote:

When Christian teachers like Mohler insist that the non-negotiable tenets of the faith include beliefs that can be and have been proven false, they set their followers up for inexorable crisis and calamity. It turns Christians into ex-Christians with industrial efficiency.

Or see “Hold on to the good” or “The walls came tumbling down.”

I’ve written about this a lot because I’ve met so many people over the years whose Christian faith was chained to some idea of young-earth creationism that dragged it down like a millstone.

And yet the more people are driven from the church by the unsustainable, unbelievable lies of creationists, the more desperately the creationists cling to those lies and insist on their centrality to the faith.

Roger Olson recently posted an essay from Michael Clawson that I think offers some insight into why the collapse of creationism is making its proponents ever-more vehement. In “Young, Restless and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism Among American Evangelicals,” Clawson argues that the anti-science defensiveness of late 20th-century “neo-fundamentalists” echoes the laager mentality of their early 20th-century ancestors:

Some conservative evangelicals are reacting to the contemporary influences of postmodernity in much the same way that the original fundamentalists did towards the influences of modernity a century ago — namely through hostility towards the broader culture, retrenchment around certain theological doctrines, and conflict with, or separatism from others within a more broadly defined evangelicalism.

… The driving force behind neo-fundamentalism, as with historic fundamentalism, is a “remnant mentality.” Neo-fundamentalists believe they alone are remaining true to the fullness of the gospel and orthodox faith while the rest of the evangelical church is in grave, near-apocalyptic danger of theological drift, moral laxity, and compromise with a postmodern culture – a culture which they see as being characterized by a skepticism towards Enlightenment conceptions of “absolute truth,” a pluralistic blending of diverse beliefs, values, and cultures, and a suspicion of hierarchies and traditional sources of authority. Because of this hostility toward postmodern ways of thinking, neo-fundamentalists have little tolerance for diversity of opinions among evangelicals on any issues they perceive as essential doctrines – which are most of them – as opposed to the broader evangelical movement which historically has allowed for a much wider range of disagreement on disputable matters. Neo-fundamentalists thus respond to the challenges of a postmodern culture by narrowing the boundaries of what they consider genuinely evangelical and orthodox Christianity, and rejecting those who maintain a more open stance.

Clawson’s description of this “neo-fundamentalism” is particularly interested in light of the fatal flaw that Watch, Willems and I all identify in the links above. Creationism, like all forms of this neo-fundamentalism, is championed as a militant defense of the church against the world. Yet in practice, creationism drives people out of the church.

It has the opposite effect from the one these neo-fundies are hoping for.

Clawson mentions John Piper, Al Mohler and Mark Driscoll as prominent examples of this neo-fundie “remnant mentality.” For an illustration of this, check out the poster promoting Mark Driscoll’s latest book, highlighted by Hemant Mehta and vorjack of Unreasonable Faith.

The poster emphasizes hierarchical gender relationships, suggesting that this is an essential belief if the church is to survive in the big scary postmodern world. It concludes by saying:

My grandchildren will worship the same God as me, because my children will worship the same God as me.

Vorjack’s cheerfully atheist response:

My grandfather was raised Southern Baptist.

My father was raised Southern Baptist.

… Hi.

It’s not just that the neo-fundie project doesn’t work, but that it’s counter-productive — that it accelerates the problem it imagines it is addressing. By emphasizing untenable doctrines like creationism or the divine right of husbands, and by insisting that these are central, requisite beliefs, the neo-fundies are chasing people out of the church.

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  • I don’t know who Joel Watch is. Who is he?

  • P J Evans

     Typo. Joel Watts.

  • Diez

    This, more than anything, ultimately chased ME away from the church.  Any time a debate on the subject would come up, I literally had to suppress the physical urge to stand up and shout “WHO CARES?  WHAT RELEVANCE DOES THIS HAVE *TO ANYTHING?*”
    Feeding the hungry, covering the naked and cold (the naked and warm may remain so, if they wish), giving to the poor… none of these things are at all affected by your personal headcanon for the birth of the universe.

  • Amanda

    It does create atheists sometimes. I’ve met people like that, that made the leap from “creationism isn’t true” to “therefore God doesn’t exist.”

    Never occurs to them that some people believe in God and believe that evolution is true at the same time. They just can’t get out of the mindset that those two things are completely incompatible.

    And, to be honest, I thought that too for a long time, before I found out that Christians like Fred here existed. And actually, I’m glad, because now I’m a biology professor and may someday have to deal with students who think I’m trying to take away their faith.

    Reminds me of my ornithology professor in graduate school. He was an interesting character. A biologist but also a self-described “fundementalist evangelical Christian.”

    He thought that Creationism was a plot by Satan to turn Christians against scientists and intellectuals. I don’t believe in Satan myself, but supposing he did exist, that does kinda makes sense.

  • Lori

    The clearly untrue beliefs of the church in which I was raised didn’t make me an atheist, but they helped. Recognizing that one teaching was obviously untrue helped reinforce all the other questions that I was asking. After a long time and a lot of study and thought and hard work trying to believe I cam to the conclusion that I didn’t. I have no idea if I would ever have followed all my other questions and doubts far enough to actually leave religion if anti-scientific teachings hadn’t provided that extra fuel. Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don’t regret leaving belief, but anyone who wants to keep people in really ought to face that fact that creationism isn’t helping their cause. 

  • It was the church’s teaching on homosexuality that primarily drove me away.  But I would have to say the evolution thing was a close second.

  • Lori

    Also, can we talk about how creepy that Mark Driscoll book poster is? That guy, holy crap. He obviously suffers from logic FAIL—-Mr Driscoll, allow me to join vorjack in saying “hi”, my father was a preacher and my grandfather was a lifelong believer. He’s also apparently so controlling that he doesn’t even bother to hide how controlling he is. The fact that his church has 7k+ members is seriously disturbing.

  • mud man

    if evolution were true, then their faith would be a lie. And then they learned that evolution is true. Some of them may go on to become atheists. Others may go on to become Episcopalians.
    I doubt that. Once you become convinced that faith is a lie, you aren’t going to have much fun as an Episcopalian unless you enjoy etiquette role-play which granted some do. Many gnutheists plead a Baptist childhood, whether that’s most, I couldn’t say. 
    … Mark’s poster is something. “My wife will be prayed over by Me” is an evocative image, considering, but “The Bible will be opened by Me” was really eye-catching. I got an idea, let’s print it in a Secret Language!

  • P J Evans

     Put a sign on it: No Gurlz Alowed.
    That’s the impression I get from that poster: Driscoll’s church is a boy’s club.

  • Andy K.

    One of the worst public defenders of creationism is 
    Hank Hanegraaff, host of “The Bible Answer Man.” He sucks in a variety of ways, but he stands with Al Mohler on this subject and insists that “The evolutionary paradigm is daily losing ground, and cannot stand in an era of scientific enlightenment.” The utter lack of humility on that show is astonishing. 

  • Anonymous

    Everything I’ve seen about Driscoll is that not only is he a terrible person, but he’s controlling as f*ck. 

  • Deggjr

    It has the opposite effect from the one these neo-fundies are hoping for.

    Maybe.

  • Once you become convinced that faith is a lie, you aren’t going to have much fun as an Episcopalian unless you enjoy etiquette role-play which granted some do.

    There’s a difference between believing faith is a lie and believing a specific kind of faith is a lie.

    In my experience, what evangelicals and Episcopalians mean by “faith” are very different things.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Hank Hanegraaff, host of “The Bible Answer Man.” He sucks in a variety of ways,

    …and none of them are the fun one.  I’ve heard him berating people who think God has talked to them.  You just know that if this guy had been around in 30AD….

    …eh, I can think of too many ways to finish that.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    In his book “Rapture Ready,” Daniel Radosh describes a conversation he had with Ken Ham at his Creation Museum.  Radosh brought up the fact that millions of American Christians have no problem with accepting evolution and do not see a conflict with Genesis since they do not interpret that book literally.  Ham essentially said that all those Christians were false Christians, and what they believed therefore would have no meaning for him.

    This is part of the whole ego-boost that Young-Earth Creationism (and Fundamentalism in general) gives to those who subscribe to them.  They, and they alone, and the real, true, Christians, and all those other so-called Christians are no better than the non-Christians.

  • Helena

    I can only point out that the following doctrines have exactly the same evidentiary basis and plausibility as young earth creationism:

    The existence of Yahweh
    The resurrection of Jesus Christ
    The existence of the soul
    The resurrection of individual Christians

  • Anonymous

    Uh, no. We have evidence against young-earth creationism. We don’t have evidence against anything else you mention.

    In other words, shut up, you’re making me look bad.

  • Anonymous

    God, Driscoll would probably use terms like “The Wives” too. That poster is something out of V for Vendetta or The Handmaid’s Tale. People have commented on the “you’ll believe as I tell you too goddmanit!” one but I think the “bible opened by me” is much creepier. No unclean female hands shall touch it, and the opener of the Bible will serve as the first and last work on interpretation and application of scripture, look upon my works and despair…

  • Lori

     
    I can only point out…  

     

    No, you could just stop. You’re tiresome, you’re adding absolutely nothing to the conversation and you’re making the rest of us atheists look bad by association. I know for a fact that there are other places where your schtick is welcome. You need to either contribute something meaningful here or find one of those places where this sort of empty repetition is considered clever. 

  • Andy K.

    CU 5012, would he have been a Pharisaic opponent of Christianity, or a Sadducee?

    I will also say from personal experience that Hanegraff will close your audio if you try to engage him in a direction he does not want to go. He will get into some long discussions, but in the area of origins, he is VERY defensive.

  • Lunch Meat

    For myself, I think the “wife prayed over by me” part is the creepiest. It’s the one that shows most clearly that not only does the father control completely the children’s religion, but the wife’s too. As a Christian wife, it utterly squicks me out even to contemplate the idea of my faith being controlled by my husband and me only believing because he wants me to.
    And what’s so wrong with active sentences that all of them have to be passive? What’s wrong with “I vow that I will serve my church. I vow that I will love my wife. I vow that I will lead my family.” Same semantic idea, but in the passive it makes it seem, at least to me, as if the vow-er is making a vow on behalf of his wife, instead of on his own behalf. This personal vow is more about power and control than personal piety. As if a man’s faith is seen more clearly in how he rules his family than in how he loves and sacrifices for others.

  • Andy K.

    BTW, not disparaging the Pharisees. Just pointing out their role in the dialog of the Gospels, and curious about how Hanegraff would find himself in 30 AD.

  • Lori

    It’s quite telling that the Driscoll poster is so creepy that everyone has a different idea of which is the creepiest part. 

  • It constantly amazes me, the bullet I dodged totally by the accident of being born into a Catholic family rather than an Evangelical one. I was in my teens before I was even aware of this so-called controversy. And then my reaction was, “There are people who think that you can’t trust science if you believe in God? But, but, God wants us to use our brains! That’s why He gave us brains! I mean, c’mon, y’all, Taste And See Etc., right?”

    I left the Church, but it wasn’t because the Church (as filtered through my parents and our Parish*) was trying to teach me things that were stupid. I just came hard-wired with a different faith, which, once I discovered it, pulled me away.

    *The particularly Catholic stupidities, or perhaps the Vatican stupidities I should say**, didn’t play a large role in Catholicism-As-I-Learned-It. St. Angela Parish was big on beatitudes, not very big on sexual politics. Also, we had altar girls.

    **That I distinguish between “Catholic” and “Vatican” should tell you something about the full set of bones, indeed the whole skeleton, that my Mom has to pick with the Pope. I think that skeleton gained a bunch more bones when John Paul died and Benedict took over, actually. It was the sort of addition that makes paleontologists realize that the critter belongs to an entirely different class or maybe even phylum than they’d thought.

  • mud man

    If they don’t let the gurlz in, who would they pray over??? What are you suggesting???

  • Joyful Yes

    Oh my, yes. VERY different. Episcopalian here, recovering Catholic. Of course, I was never taught creationism in my 12 years of Catholic school 1973-1985. The biology nun was very clear on the reality of science, and the religion teachers, if asked about the literal truth of the Bible creation story, said things like “some of that is an allegory” or “it’s the mythological explanation people used at the time, now we know better”. We were never asked to believe untenable things about the earth’s origins. Other untenable things, yes (and for those I left the church — the crap about contraception and women priests…)

  • Joyful Yes

    Nah, I don’t think you look bad. You are correct — there is solid evidence AGAINST young-earth creationism. Concerning those other things, there may be little or no evidence FOR but also none AGAINST. I can believe in God and the soul without clashing with my rational mind which respects science. Not so for creationism.

  • Rather than the creepiest part,  here’s my take on the most hilarious part of said poster…

    Why is the “L” In “Real Marriage” crooked?

    I mean I’m just saying it looks like the definition of a “real marriage” by the image, is a broken one.  Which makes sense given the recipe involved.

    @LoriAnnK:disqus  – Yeah that’s very similar to my experience.  Evolution wasn’t the make-it-or-break it point* – but it helped pry open a door for a lot of questioning.  I mean, it’s hard NOT to question if you catch someone who is supposedly directly connected to God in a lie about something you’ve been taught is central to your belief system…  and when you call them on it the response is not contrition or even shock at a mistake, but to LIE LOUDER.

    It makes it very easy to start wondering what else is being lied about.

    *Really there was no one singular “THIS IS THE THING” – thing; it was a wide swath of problems some personal, some policy based, some just “WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?” based.

  • Anonymous

    And yet the more people are driven from the church by the unsustainable,
    unbelievable lies of creationists, the more desperately the
    creationists cling to those lies and insist on their centrality to the
    faith.

    That’s about half the tragedy, for those of us who left a church with friends in that mindset. There’s a girl about my age, a little younger, who I grew up with– she’s all of this, in spades. And my dad, up until fairly recently, was the same way. The thing is, people cling the lies more and more desperately because it’s so tied, in their minds, to their faith. If they admit to YEC being untrue, their whole faith may come crashing down, “just like Pam, when she forsook God’s way and became an atheist.” And that’s a scary thought. So they stuff their fingers in their ears, turn away, and go “LALALALALA.” And the harder you try to pull, the harder they push back.

  • Lori

     
    Also, I suspect this means we need to do some serious baking – the dark side promises cookies and deliver we must.  

    I can definitely handle this. I’m a pretty good baker, if I do say so myself. 

  • Becca Stareyes

    Nicole, my mother (raised Catholic, now is… liberal Christian something or other who doesn’t really go to church) was the same way; when my sister (a biology minor) and I (I read a lot of science blogs) were talking about a YEC book being sold at the Grand Canyon gift shop, she was surprised that 1) people believed in the literal truth of the Genesis story and 2) they weren’t all people her mother’s age.  My mother somehow spent 10-15 years living in Nebraska without realizing that, yes, people seriously do believe the universe was created in six days.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Deggjr’s comment: I’m not convinced that those who hold to remnant theology really want to keep people in the church or to bring more people into the church. The more people adhere to their beliefs, the less they can claim to be a “remnant.”

    The Fundamentals, as established back in the early 20th century, were about drawing the line to establish those who didn’t think like them as outsiders. And I suspect that the insistence on purity of thought concerning YEC is part of the same mindset.

    Of course, there’s a fair amount of cognitive dissonance they have to tolerate in order to do this. They can simultaneously claim that the majority of Americans are Christian (one definition), while very few people are Real True Young Earth Christians. And they can simultaneously believe that the majority of people are going to hell and that any given individual, including those from Christian homes, has a non-zero chance of ending up in hell … and still have children.

    I think it’s interesting that YEC had a big resurgence shortly after there was a large evangelical resurgence. In other words, “If all those ‘others’ are going to be joining our group, we need to make sure they’re ideologically pure–and if we’re lucky, maybe they’ll go away and we need not be troubled by all these new folks.”

  • Amaryllis

    Kind of a tangent here, but I spent some time on the New Jersey Turnpike recently. And that poster reminds me of the kinds of books you see for sale in the little convenience stores at the rest stops– “Three Ideals for a Christian Wife”  (submission, seduction, and… I forget, something else beginning with an S) and “Christian Leadership for Men” and “Daily Devotionals for Girls” and “Secrets of a Prayer Warrior” and other such targeted Evangelicalism.

    And it occurs to me to wonder, why are those the only kinds of books for sale in those stores? There are racks of secular, general-interest magazines, but only Christian books. It can’t be market-driven; I can hardly believe that all the millions of travelers on that road (yes, it’s bad, but it’s not literally Hell!)  only want to read Christian books, and books promoting a particular flavor of Christianity at that.

    Aren’t those facilities state-operated? Why is the State of New Jersey giving this concession to a sectarian distributor? It’s not even a Bible-Belt state; according to a quick Google, Catholics are the single-largest religious group, followed by “None” in second place. (Although, I suppose if you add all the Protestant denominations that Wiki counts separately, Protestants as a group would outnumber the no-affiliations, but still, it’s a religiously diverse place.)

    The more I think of it, the weirder it seems.

  • P J Evans

     I see racks of ‘Christian’ books in my supermarket. Frequently next to the shelves of popular books, which tend to be either romance novels or suspense-thrillers. (Except for the really political books, which are all pretty much conservative-for-Fox-fans.)

  • FangsFirst

    The fact that his church has 7k+ members is seriously disturbing.

    A friend of sorts just posted a link from someone from his church. It said “Mars Hill” and I assumed “Rob Bell” except she said “back in Seattle” and I thought “Oh no. Oh God no.”
    I was right. she said that church was awesome.
    It made me sad.
    Then again, she’s twice my age and stopped talking to me because I liked the Dexter books and hate the show. No, seriously. That’s why.

  • FangsFirst

    No, you could just stop.

    I don’t know, I think that IS all Helena can point out. Maybe Helena is a robot with a broken tape reel¹ and can’t access any other part of it’s memory bank! That would be so sad. Poor robot.

    ¹Yeah, that’s right OLD SCHOOL robotics!

  • FangsFirst

    And, to be honest, I thought that too for a long time, before I found
    out that Christians like Fred here existed. And actually, I’m glad,
    because now I’m a biology professor and may someday have to deal with
    students who think I’m trying to take away their faith.

    My mother, with her PhD in Animal Husbandry¹ and Masters of Divinity hates little more than people telling her scientists can’t have faith.

    (my very Catholic SGF working on her degree in biogenetics undergrad, to be expanded into a PhD, no doubt, knowing her…feels similarly. Though she’s often told how stupid she is for having faith by the people around her at school…)

    ¹My mother was involved in early success at transferring pig embryos to surrogate sows by non-surgical methods. Our only tiny familial hubbub in the news, with a paper article in another state and TV news report and stuff.

  • Dan Audy

    (my very Catholic SGF working on her degree in biogenetics undergrad, to be expanded into a PhD, no doubt, knowing her…feels similarly. Though she’s often told how stupid she is for having faith by the people around her at school…)

    I have to say that this attitude always makes me very sad. It is a very modern problem mostly created by YEC types being idiots and atheists being jackholes at anyone with faith as a consequence. A huge amount of early science (in the west at least) was done by priests seeking a better understanding of the majesty of God’s Creation (that and they were generally better educated and supported by a broad ‘donation’ base which left them time to think about these things). I’ve always viewed science and religion as largely being non-overlapping magisteria where, except for a few physicists dealing with the first moments of the universe, the science and the faith have very little to do with each other in any practical sense and could quite comfortably coexist (occasionally with a little cognitive dissonance but hey what would humanity be without the ability to self-delude).

  • Brandi

    Dear Helena:

    Please stop making my side look like smug douchebags.

    Thanks.

  • FangsFirst

    I have to say that this attitude always makes me very sad.

    Me, too. Especially considering she’s the only person–literally, only–I’ve ever known who took my atheism and said “Oh, okay.” Not, “So how do you…” or “Does that mean…” She said she believes God does not make people incomplete (which led to her divergence from the Catholic church on homosexuality), so the absence of faith/belief for me meant nothing about a lack/void/absence for me. It makes me very sad that someone could have faith and completely respect atheism in that way and be subjected to such asshattery. 

    Especially because I’ve never had the relaxation of a person of faith I know in reality not attempting to reconcile my lack of belief as some kind of denial, however politely or with understanding. No matter how many I explained, “This makes me uncomfortable, because it feels like you think I lack something, where I do not think, feel or act the same toward you,” it was always met with a sort of knowing wink, once someone even told me they remembered being angry at God like me, when they were my age…

    I’ve known an unfortunate number of obnoxious atheists who didn’t care if people were YECs or not, they liked feeling superior and saying “sky-ghost” and other condescending nonsense. You can, of course, see plenty of these people floating around the internet (one who shall remain nameless in this very thread. I already covered my one and hopefully only response to that person). Some of her “friends”* actually liked, as I’ve noted before, to show her studies that said atheists are statistically smarter than believers, with Catholics being the bottom of the heap on statistical intelligence.
    Of course, evidence I saw indicated those two may have been smart, but they were repellent and kind of creepy as human beings…and I’d rather be a decent idiot than a genius asshole.

  • “That’s why He gave us brains! I mean, c’mon, y’all, Taste And See Etc., right?”

    Brains to taste, Brains to see? I see where this Zombie Jesus thing came from!

    Trying out this blockquote thing, excuse me if I end up bolding the next ten comments or something. Slacktivist’s been in all italics for me since the Patheos move. 

  • friendly reader

    I’m repeating myself from one of those older blogs, but I know that the main reason I dodged the creationism-or-atheism-no-other-options bullet is that I read Virginia Hamilton’s “In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World” (beautifully illustrated by Barry Moser) when I was in third grade. As the title suggests, this book is a collection of creations myths from different cultures re-written for a children’s reading level. And interspersed amongst these were the J and E accounts from Genesis. Yes, that’s right, this book flat out tells children there are two contradictory stories in the Bible and tells them separately. And reading these stories in this context, my reaction was “Oh! Now I get it!” You see what the purpose of creation myths are in a culture, what their true function is. They’re not science, they are vehicles of meaning.

    I tried to pass that on to students in my 5th and 6th grade Sunday school class. When we had a lesson involving the book of Genesis, one of the girls asked me “But what about dinosaurs?” My answer was, “Back then, nobody had archeology or science to know about dinosaurs or geology. So instead, they wrote down important stories to them that talked about their relationship to God. And that’s what we’re going to talk about.”

    It is not a difficult concept for children to grasp. It should not be difficult for adults, either. And yet here we are…

  • Then again, she’s twice my age and stopped talking to me because I liked the Dexter books and hate the show. No, seriously. That’s why.

    That’s enough reason; words cannot describe the extent of how wrong you are in this respect. (j/k).
    Seriously? The writers of the show consistently seem much better at, well, everything, but most importantly the nature of Dexter’s mental state. The books show a remarkable lack of background research that defies my ability to suspend disbelief. 

  • friendly reader

    Oh, I forgot to add an asterisk, but the only reason we even did Genesis was because the lesson plan followed the lectionary and going to the Old Testament lesson rather than the gospel was a wimpy cop-out to keep from discussing Jesus’ teaching on divorce. Honestly, I had a lot of smart kids in my group, I think we could have talked about it. As it was, my pastor gave a great sermon that would have horrified people who don’t like it when you read the Bible in a historical context. Of course, those same people wouldn’t have listened to a female pastor to begin with, so…

  • FangsFirst

    Seriously? The writers of the show consistently seem much better at, well, everything, but most importantly the nature of Dexter’s mental state. The books show a remarkable lack of background research that defies my ability to suspend disbelief.

    I read the first two books before the show was even announced. I was severely, severely disappointed by the extremely human character they came up with, and the nicening and prettifying of a bunch of things (I don’t like to spoil either for anyone, which makes explaining myself difficult…). If you’ve read both, you can guess a few major things I mean (like the ending of the first book, or the neighbor’s dog and what we learned from it).

    I couldn’t tolerate the insane soap opera melodrama of the show after a very short period of time. But mostly the humanization of Dexter, as the peculiarly dark and utterly inhuman (admittedly unreliable, but I think I’m actually incapable of processing “unreliable narrators” most of the time) narrator, and his sense of humour were completely lost. That was severely disappointing. I couldn’t even finish the first season. Everything I read about what followed made me laugh, it was so ridiculous. And not in the weird, tongue-in-cheek bizarre way of the books (which decreased in quality until the most recent, it’s true)…just…stupid ridiculous.

    But I try not to talk tons about this. It gives people the impression that I’m a surly curmudgeon and just hate things. I don’t. I’m usually quite open. But the things that bug me seem to end up being popular with quirky people. Which is funny–I talked up Dexter and The Walking Dead before they premiered to people who had never heard of them.

    Now I go around telling those who ask not to watch either of them. I’m really not just contrarian!

  • FangsFirst

    *oops. Forgot the footnote on “friends” but I have no idea how to phrase it…They aren’t her friends anymore. Mostly because of me. So if you ever see me getting squiggy about controlling SOs, that’s why. I’m terrified I’m one myself.

  • Rikalous

    And what’s so wrong with active sentences that all of them have to be passive?

    I think it’s so that CHURCH, FAMILY, BIBLE, and all the WIFEs line up prettily.

  • Anonymous

    On this whole Young Earth Creation thing . . . Years ago I was **mostly** on the side of YEC.  Used to get all the mailings, was busy looking for evidence of an actual flood, etc.  But then there was a shift.  I can’t say exactly when that shift took place, but it probably was a combination of things.

    The first thing that got me thinking that YEC was whacked was the mandatory document of faith sent to me asking for my signature in support of their doctrines.  I don’t remember what it all included, but I’m sure there was something along the lines of “YEC is the only scientific explanation that is compatible with God’s creation of the universe.”  When you start making exclusionary claims about God and belief, you start running into problems.  And I especially didn’t like people telling me exactly what to believe about God; I am an Episcopalian, after all.

    That experience eventually led to a realization that unless I had a strong enough faith to let God out of the box I was trying to keep him in, then it wasn’t faith at all but an attempt to control an idol I had made.

    And then, of course, there’s the issue of what Christianity is based on.  Christianity is not based on a rabid defense of YEC, Christianity is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, nothing more and nothing less.  And if the resurrection is the basis of my faith, then I really don’t care how the universe came into being.

  • Anonymous

    I think those are the “Choice” books, or some such title. They are in a lot of supermarkets. I suspect it’s due to some really good marketing by the publisher. If I saw them in a state-run facility, though, I’d contact the local state representative–senator or member of the General Assembly–and ask some questions. Do the research first, though. New Jersey has some very religious areas, and some representatives aren’t going to be sympathetic to questioning religion stepping over the church-state divide.

    They’re in one of my local supermarkets, too, but this supermarket (Safeway) is one in which the manager finishes his public announcements about special sales on clementines in the produce section by saying, “Have a blessed day!” So I’m guessing he’d be happy even if they were overtly religious.

    For the most part, though, I suspect the books are marketed as “inspirational” rather than “religious,” and that’s how they get placed. “Inspirational” in a sort of Oprah-ish way, in other words.

  • Amaryllis

    Yes, I suppose so. I’ve seem similar stuff in supermarkets and drugstores too, but as part of a general selection. And I wouldn’t have a problem with them being sold at the rest-stop stores, for those who like that sort of thing, if there were other choices than Choice. It’s the monopoly that stirkes me as odd.

    So the moral of the story is, if you’re traveling the Turnpike and expect to need something to read, bring your own.

    (I don’t drive, and I can read in a moving car, so I think about these things.)

    New Jersey has some very religious areas, and some representatives aren’t going to be sympathetic to questioning religion stepping over the church-state divide.

    I grew up in New Jersey, and pretty much everyone I knew back then was at least nominally religious– but they were either Catholic or Jewish. I hardly knew a Protestant, let alone a fundamentalist Evangelical, until I went to college in a different state. Oddly, though, I believe Our Gracious Host grew up not far from my own home town, where apparently he was surrounded by Evangelicals and didn’t know many non-Evangelicals until he went to college… so there’s that.

    And when I said last night that the NJTP wasn’t quite Hell, I meant to link, but I forgot. So, have some Sunday Springsteen instead.

    Early North Jersey industrial skyline
    I’m an all-set cobra jet creepin’ through the night time
    Gotta find a gas station, gotta find a pay phone
    This turnpike sure is spooky at night when you’re all alone
    I’m living on the edge of the world

    Radio, radio, hear my tale of heartbreak
    New Jersey in the morning like a lunar landscape
    Got a counter girl at the Exit 24 HoJo
    Down past the refinery towers where the great black river flows
    O I’m living on the edge of the world
    Tryin’ to get a message through…