Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thin Without

So, you remember when the Christian "study mentor" referred me to a bible-based online fat camp, right? Apparently, they've got communication problems internally, because (without any reference to my first mentor Pat) I've got a new one.

Len used the actual survey answers and responded to each. Most of the responses were "that's right" in nature, and so I've left them out here for brevity. Below is my response to her response to my response to a question. (Question is in black, my original response is in purple, her comments are in blue, my most recent response is in black.) And yes, I did have all those Bible verses linked in the email I sent her :)
Hi Len,

I'll just respond to a few specific comments of yours.

*5: Define a person with true beauty. What does Peter 3:3-5 say beauty is?*
I would define a person with true beauty as someone who is compassionate and generous. That passage defines beauty as "gentle and quiet" and "submissive". That sounds more pathetic and victimized than "beautiful" to me.

Good definition - but what's wrong with gentle and quiet spirit? I know that in this day of equality we scoff at the word "submission". That is because we have swung to far the other way. It does not mean that women are to be slaves. If husbands and bosses were, first of all, submissive to God, then women would not find it so difficult to fall in line with directives of a man. For the sake of order, someone has to be in charge of things. Without it our society crumbles as we see it happening now. As far as importance in God's eyes is concerned the woman is on equal level with the man.
The problem with promoting a gentle and quiet spirit and submission is that it lends itself to abuse - over and over again, across cultures and religions. When groups adopt a patriarchal model, women and children ARE abused. As a children's rights activist and anti-cult activist, I have to tell you that your promotion of essentially "being a quiet non-complaining helpmeet" is *extremely* dangerous! I am trying to get a neighbor to leave her husband right NOW because he is attempting to kill her, but she's so damn submissive and gentle, and such a quiet-spirit and so obedient to her husband that she will probably die before she leaves him. It is *heartbreaking* and it is the kind of work I do everyday helping people make their lives BETTER.

I suggest you read the book "Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement" by Katherine Joyce a very well-researched and well-written book examining the Quiverfull (complimentarian or "separate but equal" gender roles) lifestyle and the damage that it inflicts on the women, children, and even men involved. Here is an article she wrote on the subject for

As a single mother who left an abusive alcoholic adulterer, I will say that "for the sake of order" (and probably my life) it was absolutely important that someone was in charge - ME. Equality is absolutely necessary, or else abuse WILL occur! Your god hates a vagina - read your Bible. Menstruating is a sin requiring days of isolation, followed by cleansing and a blood sacrifice. Supposedly God cursed *all women forever* with the pain of childbirth (which is caused by totally natural things, by the way - We ARE products of evolution, after all) because one woman - who didn't know right from wrong - displeased Him one time. He turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for looking back, but when Lot offered up his virgin daughters to be gang-raped, or when he later had incestuous sex and impregnated BOTH of them, that's absolutely fine. Wanna know how much God thinks a man should be paid if his daughter is raped? 50 Shekels! (Of course the victim gets nothing except she has to marry the rapist - or be stoned to death, depending on where she was when he raped her.) It's all in the Bible. I don't believe the book is true, but if it was - clearly, God HATES women.

And yet you DO think the book is true, and you're trying to tell me that men and women are equal in God's eyes? What could you *possibly* be basing that on? Because it's certainly not scripture.
*6: When are times that you feel like you have no control in your life?*
When my unemployment check gets deposited late and my landlady knocks on my door.

That's scary unsettling time for sure and there could be many others - every time there is a situation that you cannot fix on your own.
Who said I couldn't fix it on my own? In fact, I did - I've ironed out the problem with my unemployment check, and gotten my landlady to agree to a payment arrangement until the balance is caught up. Instead of sitting on my hands, or praying to God, I recognized that there is no Sky Daddy to come kiss it and make it all better, and so I make it better myself. Humanism is incredibly empowering, and much more productive for a happy life than Christianity. I speak from personal experience, but also the experience of the thousands of members of and other deconversion sites.
*8: How do you think God views you? How do you think God feels when you’re harming your body?*
God is imaginary. No real medical doctor should ever ask me what unicorns or gods think of my issues with food.

I am sorry you feel that way but you have a free will to choose to believe or not believe that God exists, but that is a very important topic of its own. We could talk more about it if you wanted to.
God has the free will capability to reveal himself to be, and yet he hasn't. Is this because He wants me to go to hell because I lacked evidence, or does this mean He is imaginary? (Hint: It's the second one.) I know you're probably thinking, "But that would interfere with your free will!" but it wouldn't. Case in point? Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels had *absolute knowledge and proof* of God's existence, yet they chose not to worship him. Clearly, it would be possible for God to reveal himself clearly, and not in some poorly written in-dire-need-of-editing hodgepodge of genealogy, myth, half-truths, parables, and proverbs, entirely reliant on human copying, printing, and translation efforts. And yet he hasn't and doesn't. To me the most logical explanation for why an all-powerful, all-loving god who desired to spend eternity with mankind would not save billions of nonbelievers through this simple gift of knowledge is that he doesn't exist. How do you rationalize your belief in a god there is no evidence for?

And people don't choose to believe or disbelieve the gospel. You can't choose to believe the earth is flat or that lemons aren't tart. You know better. Knowledge impacts belief. I know too much about the brain, sociology, group dynamics, delusion, propaganda, history, and other world religions to ever believe Christianity is true again.
*10: I have the following questions/comments about this study. Also, please pray for me in these areas:*
Are you aware of the term "push polling" and do you see how this "study" does more to suggest that the real cure for an eating disorder is god (who I believed in during the 12 years I was puking my guts up) than it does to actually learn what women think?

To tell the truth, no I did not know the term "push polling" but I researched it and now I know. I don't think that it applies totally to what these lessons are intended for. We did not conduct large polls in order to manipulate people. I will admit we offer the lessons to point people to a resource - God - that many people have not considered for their problems. That applies to problems of many kinds not just this one. You have the option to disregard the evidence, but countless stories are available fom people whose lives and hope for the future has changed for the better because of their faith in God. But it's your choice - we only point you in that direction.
I find it very deceptive that your magazine claimed to be conducting a "study" (really more of a survey) to find out what women with eating disorders thought, when your actual motive was to proselytize. I don't know why Christians think that being deceptive or "lying for Jesus" is somehow morally okay, when it's one of those Ten Commandments your "brothers and sisters in Christ" keep trying to plant on *my* courthouse lawn.

You seem to think I had never tried the God solution - as I stated above I was a Christian (just like you!) while I was unhappy, suicidal, miserable, anorexic and severely underweight. As an atheist, I'm happier, I'm healthier, I take better care of myself and I'm a better mother. Faith in god was the *problem* and knowledge about the real world around us - not the fantasy tales of heaven with streets paved of gold, but this life! right here in front of us, passing us by - THAT has been the solution. I don't want to go to heaven - I want to stay right here as long as I can, and soļ¼©*embrace* this short, temporal, insignificant life and take it for all it's worth. THAT is the way to deal with problems - by actually dealing with them, not praying and waiting for Jesus to come fix you.

What evidence am I disregarding? To my knowledge, there IS no evidence for God. If you think you have some, I'd be thrilled to hear it (and frankly, so would the Nobel committee).

And as for the personal testimonies - there are Scientologists who will tell you how much Dianetics and the Tech have improved their lives; there are Mormons who will tell you that Joseph Smith was the latter-day prophet of God and they *know* it because they prayed and asked God and he told them that the Book of Mormon was true; David Koresh still has some followers who admire him even now, far from him. I study cults. Personal testimonies of a spiritual nature don't tell us ANYTHING about whether or not what they believe is helping them is actually real or true (or even helpful).

I'm looking forward to your replies.

What do you think ATAT readers (Aters? ataters? Anteaters?*) is Len going to write me back?

Place your non-monetary bets below and I promise to keep you updated if anyone from this study/survey/we-just-wanna-point-you-to-god-because-we-think-you've-somehow-never-heard-the-gospel group contacts me again.

And now here is THE best "Jesus LOL" video.

I may have done nasal-cranial damage from laughing so hard at that. *sigh* Freaking priceless. You sing it, Jesus! (Seriously that's going up there with WWJD as one of my favorite Jesus music videos.)

Okay, here's the LMB quote of the day. (By the way, I will keep posting these until y'all let me know you've gone out and requested her books from your library or book venord, mm'kay?) From Mirror Dance, p. 722
She gave him a half-salute and turned away. He puzzled over the look in her eyes, as she descended out of sight down the lift-tube. It wasn't love. It wasn't fear.

Oh. So that's what respect looks like. Oh.

I could get used to that.

* Whatever shall I call you?? Suggest names and I'll let y'all vote on them! There's only so many times I can type "y'all" in a post and "you guys" just seems weird since I have so many female readers. But "readers" sounds totally boring and non-branded so come up with an ATAT reader nickname, please!