Tag Archives: Christianity

Why traditional Christian roles have no place in modern marriages

I grew up attending church on a semi-regular basis. Although my mom wanted us all to believe in Jesus and be active members in the church, there was never a whole lot of pressure on us to live a “Godly” life. My parents were, and are, a pretty progressive couple when you look at the households they grew up in: both my parents had stay-at-home mothers who adored their husbands and took a traditional motherly role.

Although for a large part of my childhood my mom was a stay-at-home mom, she had several jobs that I can recall. My parents were never the same as their parents were. Although my dad was in the Air Force and my mom spent her time with me and my two siblings, my parents were always a team. When one of us kids got in trouble while my dad was at work, my mom would of course fill my dad in when he arrived home, but they always made decisions on how to punish us together.

Even in 2016, however, there are families who choose to raise their kids in traditional, Christian households. Recently, I saw a diagram showing three umbrellas over top of one another, each one getting progressively smaller than the one above it. The first and biggest umbrella said, “Jesus” on it. The middle umbrella says, “husband” and the things he covers include “spiritually leading the household,” “provide for the family,” and “love wife like Christ loves the church.”

Meanwhile, under the smallest umbrella entitled, “wife” her duties are listed as being “a helper to her husband,” “raise Godly children,” and “submit to husband’s authority.” The bottom of the photo entitles the entire diagram as, “natural order of the family.”

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To begin with what I find so troubling with this diagram, I’ll start with the title of the diagram, “natural order of the family.” For one, I view religion in itself as unnatural. Sure, we as humans may have had a natural need to explain things around us with stories of a supernatural being, but that was before science.

Science, as a natural law, tells us that the earth wasn’t molded from clay by an all-powerful being. We weren’t put on this earth 6,000 years ago as many evangelicals like to think. It’s also not natural to view one being as more or less than another simple because of sex and societal expectations of what a woman and a man’s roles are.

The next and probably most personally troubling issue I find with this diagram is the fact the woman is to be “submissive” to her husband. This may have made sense in biblical times, but in 2016 there is no reason to adhere to this traditional societal expectation. Women are now taking on the role of being the head of the household and being the breadwinners, while more husbands are taking on the role of stay-at-home dads. The wife, according to this diagram, is supposed to “raise godly children.” This is putting pressure on the wife to bear her husband’s children, which therefore puts pressure on the husband to create little god-soldiers.

Again, in 2016 there is no need to reproduce. Expectations and pressures towards couples to have children are unnecessary and the idea of not having children is becoming less taboo. As a matter of fact, in my experiences, pressuring one to have children is more taboo than not having children at all.

The expectation of the father to be a provider and leader of the family is simply primitive. As I said before, women are taking on the role of the “head of the household” more often than ever. To expect the husband to take on the role of leader of the household is just as anti-feminist as telling the wife she must be submissive.

What if all a man ever wanted to do was be a stay-at-home dad? According to this diagram, he would be considered a failure if he wasn’t the main “breadwinner.”

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“Once she’s married, she becomes the “property” of her husband.”

Overall, as someone who identifies as agnostic, I feel that running a household based on scripture can be a very toxic thing. While some may find comfort in it and feel that they’re doing the right thing, I believe that the idea that one person in the marriage holds more power than the other can attribute to domestic violence and emotional abuse.

The bible pushes this family structure because overall, women aren’t very valued in Christianity. One can trace back to Genesis where it’s believed that man was made by God, and women were simply made of mans rib. In other areas of the bible, women are often outcast and disrespected to the point of violence.

Deuteronomy 22:28 states that if an unmarried virgin woman is raped and the rapist is caught, it’s not the rape victim’s loss, it’s the father’s. The bible, specifically the Old Testament, view women as property: before the woman is married, she’s the property of her father. Once she’s married, she becomes the property of her husband. In the case of rape, the rapist is, in a sense, defiling the property of another man and therefore “pays” by remaining married to the woman, giving her a “purpose.”

This information from the bible is the basic roots for the toxic ideology that a woman is somehow beneath her husband, and that by being “above him” it would be the same as the man being “owned” by his own property.

Being a Christian is by no means “wrong,” however, I believe it’s important we look at the consequences, side-effects, and root causes of the basic beliefs of Christianity in regards to the “order” of marriage. Many times what seems to be an innocent practice of belief has a sinister heritage when examined closely and from a progressive standpoint.

WWCHNT: Starbucks Holiday Cup Fiasco of 2015

2015 has been dubbed, “the year everyone was offended by everything.” As the year comes to a close, some groups are going out with a bang and continuing that title with their narrative of “the War on Christmas.”

Starbucks loves fall and the holidays. During the fall, everyone trips over themselves to get their paws on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. During the winter, everyone loses their mind over the delicious peppermint mocha. Every year, Starbucks gets in the holiday spirit by decorating their famous white cups with their logo in red. In the past, the red has been accompanied by traditional symbols of Christmas such as a cute penguin ice skating, snowflakes and Christmas trees. This year, however, Starbucks opted for a cozy, minimalist style of just plain red.

And so started what I will call the Starbucks Holiday Cup Fiasco of 2015.

Although my Facebook demographic consists of mostly left-wingers, there was a notable outrage over the lack of Christmas cheer appearing on Starbucks cups on November 1st. As usual, radical Christians are citing this as part of their made-up War on Christmas.

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“We can’t have nice things because of the idea of a War on Christmas.”

“We can’t have nice things because of the idea of a War on Christmas.”

We can’t have nice things because of the idea of a War on Christmas. As soon as Halloween was over, everyone began freaking out about Christmas. Sure, Christmas isn’t too far away and I fully encourage getting shopping done a bit early. However, we still have Thanksgiving to be excited over. Thanksgiving has become a source of controversy the past few years as Black Friday has, in the words of Jon Stewart, “eaten Christmas.”

Black Friday, in the past, has started the morning after Thanksgiving. In recent years, it’s started as early as Thanksgiving morning.

Nice things are also hard to come by because people, specifically radical Christians, take any respect for other religions as disrespect for their own. Starbucks hasn’t even made any public announcement stating that they have traded their usual holiday cups for warm red ones in order to be “politically correct.” Besides the obvious Christmas symbols being absent, red itself is still a Christmas color. However, radical Christians are always on the lookout for signs that the world doesn’t love Jesus and that there’s a war on not only Christmas but Christianity.

I find it ironic that many times, these Christians who are getting up-in-arms over a paper coffee cup, are the same people who laugh in the face of other groups when they have blatantly been discriminated against. Some of these same Christians who think Starbucks has an anti-Christian agenda are the same people who support a historically racist symbol.

Overall the idea of a War on Christmas is what’s really ruining the idea of Christmas for me. Because people take a silly holiday so seriously, it’s made me take it less seriously. If we could all just get along, stop reading into everything and taking it as a personal attack then maybe–just maybe–we could have nice things.

 

An open letter to the Westboro Baptist wannabes

If you haven’t seen the crazy Westboro Baptist wannabes standing by the Heth clocks with their children, consider yourself lucky. This group comes to campus almost weekly to spread the word of the Bible in the most insane, cult-like way. They specifically target Radford University because they’re behind a couple years and think we’re still the out-of-control party school we once were. Dear Westboro Baptist wannabes,

On Thursday I, along with my fellow students, stood in the rain from roughly 2 to 5 p.m. We were face-to-face with your group, which seems to be unnamed, as you spewed your religious bullshit by word of mouth. Along with the three adult men of your group, there were a number of small children, a wife, teenage girls, and a newborn baby. It was about 50 degrees outside and rainy all day, which made the conditions unfavorable for such small children to be outside for hours on end.

You held your signs, listing the groups that would be thrown into the imaginary lake of fire. You held your little black Bibles with the word “REPENT” printed in plain white. You yelled at students, including myself, whom you called a “Jezebel.” Virtually any woman who spoke up to your ringleader (the short chubby guy with the anti-porn hat) was called a Jezebel and told to get in her place. Although you claimed that you “loved us” and were only here to save our sinners’ souls from a horrible eternity, we all see straight through your facade.

We don’t know what makes you think we’re an open audience, or that you’re going to change anyone’s mind. If you haven’t realized, it’s 2015 and people aren’t easily scared by threats of hellfire and brimstone. College students these days are more like likely to be atheists now than in the past and therefore, your shouting and threats are going in one ear and out the other.

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Photo By: Camden Lazenby

The people I feel for the most in this situation is your poor, brainwashed family. You use them as an example in order to push your shitty agenda. At one point in your protest, you allowed your son to stand up on a footstool and spew your religious nonsense. Students were just about as kind to him as we were to the adults. The youngest adult male in your group openly admitted he hadn’t gone past the third grade. I’m assuming, since your children were present on our campus during typical grade school hours, that your children are homeschooled. I can only imagine their curriculum doesn’t include a drop of factual science.

At one point as your ringleader stood on his footstool, his wife came and whispered to him. The ringleader then announced to the crowd, “See, men, this is the kind of woman you need– a woman who will submit to you.” I can only imagine the amount of brainwashing that had to take place for that woman to be okay with someone talking about her like a dog. You also told me directly that I needed to find a “Godly” man, but that I would have no luck here at Radford–poor me.

Since World War II, women have been taking leadership positions in the home. When their husbands were away, they took up jobs to keep the family afloat. After their husbands returned, they realized they didn’t mind working and being breadwinners, and many men allowed and encouraged their wives to keep working. Women in 2015 aren’t submissive dolls for you to order around and impregnate every chance you get. Marriages these days aren’t defined by a man and woman in a relationship where the woman is expected to keep quiet and do what her husband says. Marriages these days consist of same-sex, mixed race, heterosexual and various other identities combined with one simple commonality: love and respect for one another.

I don’t know why you’re so insistent on coming to our campus. It’s your First Amendment right to come here to talk about whatever you want, but don’t be offended when we talk back unfavorably. The thing that’s so unique about Radford’s community is that we stand up for each other. When you called me a Jezebel, there were several young men around me who would have loved to step over your (illegal) barrier and knock you down from your footstool. By the way, you essentially calling me a whore doesn’t make you a saint, which you claimed to be several times.

If God were real, and I don’t believe he is, he’d probably not be too happy with you. Believe it or not, I used to be a good, Bible-obeying Christian who walked through life afraid to make a wrong step and displease my overlord. As I recall, the Bible calls good Christians to bring people to God. Your group is doing nothing but making people turn from the church with their middle finger in the air. Groups like yours, you Westboro Baptist wannabes, are the reason so many have chosen to turn their backs on the “kind word of the Lord.” Also, I think you missed out on the bit from the Bible that says “only he who is without sin may cast the first stone.” Because you’re not a saint, I don’t believe you have the right to invade our campus with your hate-speech to judge us for having sex and drinking beer.

You repeatedly say in your rantings that you’re here to save us, yet how many people have actually approached you seeking the Lord? I’m guessing that number is an absolute zero. Obviously your methods aren’t working, and no minds are being changed. There isn’t a place for you here, so why not move on to another audience who will be more captive?

So, please keep returning to Radford. Keep spewing your bullshit and watch as it pours in one ear and out the other. We’ll all be here with our signs in hand, holding pugs over our heads and chanting obscenities. You’re doing nothing but creating a day party for us, where we will continue to support our fellow students, be proud sinners and applaud at your departure.

 

God the serial killer

For us agnostics and atheists, the Bible has a lot-and I mean a lot- of fallacies that make us shake our heads. I used to be a Christian — so yes, I’ve read the Bible. I never had the desire to read it cover-to-cover, but I’ve read a majority of it. Since I left the church, I often find myself reflecting back on those readings and thinking, “Wow, God’s a psychopath.”

Before you assume I’m a God-hater, remember that atheists don’t hate God; we simply don’t think he exists. However, assuming the God described in the Bible were real, by today’s standards, he’d be a complete psychopath. Think about it. How many times in the Bible does it mention that people were made in “His image?” Often one of the biggest confidence-boosters for Christians suffering from self-esteem issues is to be reminded that they were made in God’s image, and to accept their flaws and imperfections.

Are people just dummies to a great ventriloquist? Graphic by Danika Padin
Are people just dummies to a great ventriloquist? Graphic by Danika Padin

This is where the Bible begins to contradict itself. Of all the evil-doers and wicked human beings in the Bible, God personally executes way more people than any mortal. God repeatedly commits mass genocide for crimes such as disobeying Him, worshiping other deities, and doing things that are considered evil in His sight. According to the Bible, God also killed innocent children as a way of punishing their parents for not obeying him. Remember the Holocaust, when Nazis killed children in front of their parents to  punish them for being Jewish? That sounds strangely similar to what God does in the Bible- killing innocent babies because their parents weren’t followers of the Lord, or even for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Lord also sicced two bears on 42 children simply for mocking an old man’s bald head (2 Kings 2:24)

So if God created man in his image, why does he create them to be bad enough that he feels the need to kill them? Many argue that God gave man free will, but those are usually the same people that accept horrible diseases killing innocent children as”God’s will.” I can’t help but think of the episode of “Criminal Minds” where a serial killer captured, tortured, then released his victims–only to hunt them down. I feel that God and this guy would get along really well. God creates these people “in his image” just to put them on Earth and smite them if they do anything he deems punishable.

As a woman, it’s hard for me to understand how so many women can be so devoted to a deity that created them imperfectly, then punishes them for being imperfect. Many times women are regarded as property in the Bible. Women are considered property of their fathers until they get married.Once they’re married, they’re the property of their husband. If a woman is raped before marriage, the rapist, whom I’m assuming God created, is supposed to be stoned to death. Although this may seem fair, the logic behind it is a little strange. The rapist isn’t stoned to death for violence against a woman. Instead, he’s punished for “stealing” the father’s property. If a woman is raped when she’s married, the rapist is put to death for stealing the husband’s property. Not only is the rapist punished, but the woman is also punished for adultery against her husband.

I find it amusing when any religion argues that their deity is a loving, peaceful god. If those deities really did exist, I would have a lot of questions and would likely not worship them anyways. I see no logical reason to worship a god that punishes his people for being who he created them to be. When people do good, they praise God or Allah for helping them . They may even be revered by their friends and family as good men or women of God. In the eyes of the religious, doing good means you’ve been blessed by God. However, when they do bad, friends and family blame the person. How is that if God is this good, all-knowing, all powerful deity that he still couldn’t override the bad thoughts and feelings people have? Why didn’t he just make that person good? Or does God actually create bad people?

Even for those rooted tightly in their faith, these are important questions to consider. It’s important that we question our beliefs and the way we think. Even as agnostic, I find myself thinking, “maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there could be a God, but I need solid evidence.”

 

Not all marriages are Christian

In the debate over whether or not gay marriage should be legal, I’ve often seen Christian right-wingers cry that marriage is a religious act. Although many marriage ceremonies involve religious text or traditions, marriage didn’t form from Christianity by any means.

There’s plenty of archaeological evidence of ancient marriages. Marriages were once considered a contract between two families. Fathers would often marry their daughters off to someone whose family was deemed valuable or powerful. The families would enter a sort of alliance, wherein the families would support each other. Women in the ancient world were often considered property and their importance was found in the title of being someone’s “wife.” Women were considered vessels in which men would grow their offspring and spread their genes, therefore spreading the family’s “empire.”

In ancient times, men would often have multiple wives to produce more children and make the family more powerful. Polygamy also served the purpose of fulfilling duties. For example, polygamous families who lived on farms never had a shortage of hands to get work done quickly and efficiently. In ancient Greece, wives were meant to be baby-making machines and housekeepers. Men in Greece were often expected to have sex with courtesans for pleasure; the wives were simply child-bearers and kept the house clean and safe.

Wives weren’t for emotional support. Ironically, in those times, the most ideal situation was for people to marry someone of the same sex. The most elite members of society who had no need to reproduce, or could afford servants to keep up with the housework, often married someone of the same sex. It was understood that people of the same sex could understand each other’s emotions and provide support.

Early Christians believed that celibacy was the most ideal thing for a person to commit to. Marriage only became acceptable because its purpose was procreation. Early Christians believed that sex was evil, but was tolerated for married couples who wished to spread their genes. Thus came the idea of abstinence before marriage.

Only in recent centuries did it become ideal for people to marry someone because they were in love. Marriage has become a symbol of great affection between two people. Married couples often support each other emotionally and financially. To think that marriage is only for procreating and that men and women have specific roles is sort of barbaric. Humans are much more advanced than that these days.

In Franklin County, Virginia, an atheist couple who wanted to get married in the courthouse were turned away by one judge-appointed officiant. The judge agreed with the officiant, and sent the couple to a different officiant. The new officiant agreed to marry the couple. Although the problem was easily solved, it just goes to show that religious discrimination of married couples still exists.

Marriage is a legal right of everyone, and the fact the officiant turned the couple away because of religious bigotry should have been enough to get him fired. He’s a public servant, which means he should serve every member of the public and leave his personal beliefs at home.

Christians who want to claim that marriage is specifically a religious act need to crawl out of the rock they’ve been living under. Many couples choose not to have children, or simply can’t have children. Many Christians may argue that marriage is for procreating, but with the world quickly running out of resources and facing overpopulation, it’s a good thing that marriage is evolving out of the old idea that it’s meant for making babies.

Couples in the United States are embracing the idea of religious-less marriage ceremonies– and instead focusing on the love they have for one another. If they choose to turn that love into a human being, that’s ultimately their choice.

Religion and science can’t be friends

Most people think of religion and science as two very different entities that often conflict. Religion is based mostly on faith. The Bible, for example, constantly preaches to “walk by faith, not by sight.” No one has ever seen God, and the Bible does little to try to argue against this. However, it encourages followers to rely on faith and not be discouraged by the lack of physical evidence for the God detailed in the Bible. Although religion and science tend to disagree, many in the religious community try to marry these two entities.

Can religion and science mix? Graphic by Katie Gibson
Can religion and science mix? Graphic by Katie Gibson

The Bible, or other religious texts for that matter, provide a vague explanation for questions that science has more reliably answered. A family friend of mine recently shared a video of a woman angrily reading a vocabulary assignment for a class, wherein the teachings of Islam were obscurely placed throughout the assignment. The woman argued that the teachings of Jesus Christ would never be allowed in the schools. Ironically, the woman didn’t even have a child in the school or school district. She claimed her husband was outraged by the teachings of Islam being placed in these assignments, but only because passages or teachings from the Bible would never be allowed in schools.

Although I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam (or any other religion) being placed throughout a school assignment, I found it absurd that this woman would take the time out of her day to voice a completely inane theory that Muslims are trying to convert children. I voiced my opinion to this particular family friend that children shouldn’t be taught any religion in school unless, of course, they’re taking a course on religion. Children should be taught how to think, and not what to think. In my personal opinion, I believe teaching science and logical thinking should take precedence over spiritual teachings in a child’s life.

I’m not an anti-theist by any means. I have no issue with people raising their children in a religious environment, so long as the child is raised to be accepting of those who don’t share the same beliefs. If a child is brought up to persecute and demean those who don’t share the same beliefs, there’s a huge issue. However, I find it hard to find a happy middle ground for a child to be a free-thinker and a theist at the same time. Science and religion have no place together. Period.

This family friend that I’ve mentioned earlier argued that she loved science and had somehow found a happy middle ground where she could both be a hardcore Christian and a scientific, logical thinker. This semester, I finally got the chance to take an astronomy course, which I’ve been wanting to take since I first came to Radford. In just the second day of class, my professor took the time to define the requirements for a thoughtful, legitimate scientific theory. He defined science as an, “exploration guided by natural law, is explanatory by reference to natural law, testable against the empirical world, has conclusions which are tentative, and is falsifiable.”

In Dover, Pennsylvania, teachers were barred from teaching intelligent design as an alternative to natural selection. Judge Jones defended the ruling by saying, quite eloquently, that “the breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.” In other words, the judge found that there was no true scientific backing behind the teachings of intelligent design. The defense showed, again and again, that their intentions behind wanting to teach intelligent design were religiously motivated, and not used as a legitimate alternative to Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

There’s no plausible way that religion and science can be found hand in hand. The religious tend to reject science and use God as an explanation for many natural occurrences such as evolution, natural disasters, life and death. Science and scientific theories are typically based on observable occurrences. In the last few hundred years,  many scientists and free-thinkers have stepped out to publicly reject God. Many religious folk cry persecution as atheists speak out against religious indoctrination. In reality, their empire of thought-suppression is slowly crumbling, brick by brick. I find it hard to accept their cries of persecution when for many years, atheists has been persecuted for speaking out against extremist religious leaders. Even now, I find admitting to being agnostic much more terrifying than when I once admitted to being Christian.

Monster Origins: Ghosts and Halloween

Ah, Halloween. The one night where all spirits can roam the Earth freely. The holiday itself can be traced back 2,000 years when the Celts believed the dead could walk among the living the night before All Saints Day, or ‘Hallow’s Eve.’ Though rooted in pagan belief structures, the idea was adopted by the Christian faith as a time to honor their dead and the martyrs of the faith.

Children would often go door-to-door and offer prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cookies. Jack ‘o Lanterns were intended to light the way so the spirits would not haunt good Christian folk. To this day, the Mexican tradition still calls this holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

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Spirits of the dead may be among us. Graphic from Discovery

Throughout history, there have been witch doctors, shamans, necromancers, and many other professions that believed they could call upon the spirits of the dead to intervene in the affairs of the living. Today, such professions have been largely discredited, save for those that continue to pass themselves off as mediums and palm readers.

The concept of ghosts is mostly rejected in the scientific community, yet this seems to be one of the most common movie ‘monsters’ during the month of October. The belief in ghosts is so popular, that people are still looking for ways to communicate with their lost loved ones using modern technology.

However, science hasn’t closed the books on the dead just yet. Since 1941, American photographer Attila von Szalay believed he could capture the voices of the dead using a 78 rpm recorder. He did this in an effort to justify his claims that the dead can be captured on film.

Since then, the concept of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) has become the go-to for ghost hunters to seek out the dead where they’re most likely to be. Made mainstream by the movie White Noise, the practice uses recording equipment to capture evidence of a spirit, but experts consider this to be a pseudoscience that results from applying words to sounds where there may not be words.

No one likes to deal with the concept of impermanence. Everyone wants to think that we can live on forever in some way, either through Heaven or through haunting people eternally on Earth. Ghosts have mounds of anecdotal evidence, none of which can hold up in the scientific world. But what else can we use as a placeholder for all of the unexplained bumps in the night?

Happy Halloween!

Is raising overly-religious children dangerous?

This summer, a Texas court ruled against a couple who took their kids out of school in 2004 to be home-schooled. A family member had started to notice that the children weren’t being educated, even at home. Instead of teaching them, the parents, Michael and Laura McIntyre, told the nine children that they didn’t need to go to school because they were going to be raptured. Further investigation revealed that the children weren’t being educated properly, according to the states standards. In 2006, one daughter  even took it upon herself to run away so she could go to a real high school.

In 2007, an attendance officer filed complaints against the McIntyre’s, who responded by claiming that their rights to religious freedom were being violated. But alas, they failed. The court found that no religious rights were being violated. It’s simply impossible to home school kids without some regulation.

Personally, I agree with this ruling. I understand that many parents fear that their children will stray from their god and start believing in the blasphemy that is science. (Insert extreme sarcasm here.) But let’s be honest, the reason it’s required for children to go to school is so we don’t have a nation of warped idiots. I’ve met a few perfectly normal home-schooled kids. But I’ve also met a few people who were home-schooled and seemed to be totally brain-washed. I’d say in most cases, the reason parents want their kids to be home-schooled is either for religious purposes or because parents don’t trust the school system.

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“I’d say in most cases, the reason parents want their kids to be home-schooled is either for religious purposes or because parents don’t trust the school system.”

Public school systems can be very iffy. Many worry that public school kids aren’t experiencing a wide enough array of subjects, and aren’t being able to explore their interests. I will agree with that reasoning for home-schooling kids, but I don’t agree with home-schooling for the purpose of forcing your kids to be religious. In the documentary “Bible Camp,” (available on Netflix) there’s a scene with a mother home-schooling her child. She explained that she pulled him out of public school because he was being taught evolution and the Big Bang theory. She couldn’t understand why creationism wasn’t taught as a theory and even told her son “science is wrong.” Creationism is such an old idea that has so much evidence stacked up against it, which the reasoning behind it. But to only want your child to believe in one theory, and not allowing them the option to explore others is simply cruel.

Children are naturally curious. In watching my nephew learn about dinosaurs, I’ve always thought it was great to see children being so curious and wanting to learn more. I know that when I have children, I’ll expose them to all sorts of sciences and theories so that they can make their own decisions. I can’t imagine being a parent and not wanting that for your child.

In the last few years, there’ve also been cases where parents have neglected to take their children to the hospital when care is needed because they believe that “God will provide” and somehow their child will be magically cured if they pray hard enough. For example, a couple watched as their daughter died of diabetes. She was in pain because of this chronic condition, yet her parents just watched her deteriorate. It’s so hard for me to imagine being a parent and watching your child die when prayer is obviously not working. I feel like any reasonable parent would go to the ends of the earth to heal their child, even if it could screw them financially. There are so many parents who have put their entire life savings and put themselves in crippling debt to save their children. I don’t understand how anyone could accept their child dying as “God’s will” and just let them go when there are doctors who’ve gone to school for years in order to save people’s lives. I suppose if someone is crazy enough to believe that God will magically intervene and save their child, they probably also believe that doctors are of the devil because they’re trying to “play god.”

Some try to argue that parents should be allowed to make decisions based on their child’s health care, and that calling this “child abuse” is infringing on religious freedoms, but any case where a parent knowingly endangers their child’s life because they’re too proud to admit they’ve been wrong, they should never be allowed to have children again. Keeping your child from basic health care is essentially the same as starving or neglecting them. Prayer may work coincidentally, but if it doesn’t seem to be working, how can anyone just let their child die?

Seeing parents who are so set in their ways that they kill their children’s curiosity, endanger their lives and tell them “science is wrong” makes me worry for the future. The reason our country and states have specific laws and regulations on what kids are taught is so that we won’t have a generation of idiots. Science has provided us with the amazing technologies, medicine and many other amazing applications. Why anyone would deny that, and force their beliefs on their children is beyond me. Why anyone would allow their child to die and accept it as “God’s will” is amazing to me. One can tell that the McIntyre children knew what their parents were doing was wrong, considering one daughter ran away to receive an education. The girl who died of diabetes as her parents prayed over her also begged her parents to take her to a doctor. We need to take it upon ourselves as human beings to make sure every child has the opportunity to receive a real, practical education, and real, practical medical care. Parents are supposed to protect their children, not endanger them with stupidity.

Thank you for being Christ-like and not Christian

I was watching Bill Maher’s “Religulous” recently; there’s a scene where Maher speaks at a truck stop chapel (there’s such a thing!) and tests the church-goers with many questions about the hypocrisies in Christianity. A few of the church-goers got angry, called Maher some choice names and left. But a small group of them stayed and even prayed over Maher, asking that he get his answers and see their point of view. Maher then said something that may have completely altered the way I look at Christianity forever: “Thank you for being Christ-like and not Christian.” Continue reading Thank you for being Christ-like and not Christian

Islam and Christianity: From Al Qaeda to Westboro

Many ignorant and uneducated Americans believe that all Muslims are terrorists, and that every single Muslim participates in and/or supports terrorist groups. After 9/11, many Americans created and subscribed to this very negative stereotype. I’m not blaming anyone other than the attackers and plane-jackers for this. Yet we, as Americans, have to move on and educate ourselves. Continue reading Islam and Christianity: From Al Qaeda to Westboro

My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

I have spent most of this semester meeting new people, most of whom I’ve been lucky enough to befriend. I’ve always thought this initial phase, the time when acquaintanceship starts to deepen into something more real and relaxed, is one of the best times of any friendship — but it comes with a lot of information exchange. Where are you from? What do you do? How many siblings do you have?

Do you drink?

Continue reading My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

Representatives in North Carolina want official state religion

This week, two North Carolina Republican representatives submitted a resolution to make Christianity the official religion of the state. Their argument is that North Carolina doesn’t respect Federal court rulings regarding the establishment of religion in state, public schools or other governmental functions. They want to protect people like the county commissioners in Rowan who end their public meetings with “In Jesus’ name, amen” from the scrutiny and lawsuits of non-Christians. They claim they are “… not starting a religion. We’re supporting … freedom of speech … ”

I personally don’t care if the county commissioners of Rowan, North Carolina, chose to end their meetings with a reference to Jesus. However, one of their residents took issue with it and decided to file

The state of North Carolina on a map. Image from Greenwich Mean Time.
The state of North Carolina on a map. Image from Greenwich Mean Time.

a lawsuit. Continue reading Representatives in North Carolina want official state religion

Fill the pews — or say you do

It’s no secret that Americans as a whole are more openly religious than our counterparts in other developed nations. About 79 percent of Americans identify with an organized faith group, and more Americans believe in the devil (and that Barack Obama is a Muslim despite his clarification that he’s Christian) than in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Continue reading Fill the pews — or say you do