Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Create a Crisis: Get Close to God!

From my grandmother's book Born in Zion, Chapter 1 "Commitment". Here's what she has to say on choosing faith over evidence:
It's so EASY to believe what we see, rather than what God has said.. We have often seen what MIGHT cause trouble and have had the choice of either beoming upset and succumbing to fear, or of ignoring the sight realm, and by our will saying what God says about things.

And what He says is, "...Fear not - Let not your heart be troubled - The battle is not yours, but God's - Be not afraid of evil tidings - All things work together for your good - Whatever you ask in my name I will do - I am not a man that I should lie - I will give you the desires of your heart..." It's a crash course in trust.

...There was a preacher once who said something I really liked. He said that we're brought close to God, into real dependence on Him, during times of crisis. So, he said, if you're not in a crisis of some sort, not in a desperate strait, crying out to God, then create a crisis. That way you may grow. And I'm so blessed; I'm in a ministry where every few days I get to enter into another crisis situation where I'm thrown into a total dependence on God's mercy.

Don't you envy me?

There are several points I want to address.
  1. The fact that it's easy to believe our senses is NOT evidence that our senses are wrong! (Like many fringey people, she regularly assumed that being in the minority was an indication you *were* right - the opposite of the bandwagon fallacy, but a fallacy all its own.)
  2. Note the phrase "ignoring the sight realm". I was consistently, systematically taught not to believe the evidence of my senses. (No wonder I have a hard time some days determining what is reality and what isn't!)
  3. The message is "Ignore the danger, trust God no matter what." This rarely turns out well.
  4. The "crisis situation" she describes is someone else's home birth.
  5. She's all giddy that she can use someone else's crisis to gain her own spiritual "growth".
  6. The Bible does really say all those things she quotes (although most people provide citation!). This means that the Bible really does say "Anything you ask in my name." So, liberal Christians, why didn't your god mean it? What's wrong with the Word of Faith doctrine - it's proof texted and has scriptural support.
  7. Knowing that she was consciously trying to create crises explains a LOT about my childhood.
  8. Her ultimate goal in life was to be envied. As pathetic and evil as she is, she succeeded in her goal (which rather sucks for the rest of us).

It's helpful, really, to have her books around. Every time I start to think "My childhood wasn't that weird" I read another paragraph or two and I feel like screaming, or blogging, or picking a fight with an ignorant theist. It really was that weird. Instead of my parent figure doing all she could to help me learn and grow and become self-sufficient, she worked really hard on making me dependent. She filled my life with crises - death and unnecessary risks and child neglect - and created for herself a theology that said this counted as parenting. Putting me in a crisis was a good thing, if that's how I was to become closer to God. After all - here she was, building her life around a structure of multiple crises per week - for her own life. Surely it made sense to do the same for me.

She removed from my teachings the concept of actual (real) cause and effect and instead taught me that everything in this world we see is the effect of some spiritual dealing. It was sort of like being taught that right was left and left was right, only I was also taught that left was EVIL. So I made right-hand turns, and didn't learn anything new, and stayed tightly bound in her circular reasoning. It's so easy, looking back, to see the different left-hand decisions I made, and how they came together over the years to pull me out of my brainwashed faith - making friends with gay kids and Muslims, dating and having sex, smoking cigarettes and smoking pot. All those little rebellions were necessary. I would never have been given to opportunity to learn anything new, as long as I followed the rules. The rules were impossible to follow.

It's amazing how well she succeeded in teaching me that I'm a terrible person. I believed her and the rest of the Christian community on that one for far too long. I am a strong person - even without the knowledge necessary to explain myself, I knew that unquestioning belief was a bad thing. I picked middle schoolers to teach Sunday School to, because I liked watching them start to really question things and decide on their own morals and values, separate from what their parents told them. Middle school kids are *awesome* for all the reasons people complain about them: They stop doing exactly what they're told. It's that all important separation phase. Mine just happened to coincide with a couple of deaths my grandmother caused, which made things a little more intense at the time.

Believe or don't believe, but know why you do or don't. If you believe, what's your reason? Is it emotional, cultural, or have you had personal revelation I haven't? And if you don't believe, why not? Is it because the claims are too far-fetched for you, because there's no evidence, or do you just like sinning? I don't think there is a good enough reason to believe anymore. And if you're going to believe the Bible, why do you pick and choose which parts to follow?

* I have no idea what the image I picked is actually advertising, and I don't care. I can't read those tiny words and neither can you, without zoom. So yeah, I'm not endorsing anything but Angie the Anti-Theist (the coolest blog on the net!)