Monday, November 2, 2009

Christian Twitter - I'm not making this up

Before you go getting all mad in the pants over this topic, please note that I found out about it from a Christian who found this to be as absurd as I do. Not only that, but a lot of Christians have responded to his post and commented that they agree that the notion is ridiculous. Of course, I'm going to probably have a slightly different angle on this whole thing, but you can't accuse me of just randomly lashing out at Christians (this time).

What's so absurd, you ask? Apparently, there's a "Christian alternative" to Twitter. You can find it here. And at the risk of sounding like I "doth protest too much" I'd like to point out that there are even some Christians on the site who are questioning the reasoning behind why such a site even exists. After all, can't a Christian just get a Twitter account and post things like "We are all just sinners saved by the free gift of salvation"? What is the purpose of this?

I'll tell you what I think. First, I'll put yet another disclaimer when I say that I don't believe that most Christians are cult-like in their behavior. However, I will say that Christianity, just like any other faith system, lends itself to cult-like behavior. How is this cult-like? Think about it. It's all about segregating themselves from the mainstream. That's exactly how cults behave. Everybody who's not a member is "the other" and will never truly understand "the truth" the way the members of the cult will. Why else do you think that there are things like Christian bookstores, Christian TV channels, and Christian music?

No, I'm not saying that all of those things are necessarily cult-like on their own, but they do encourage Christians to think of themselves as being different and apart from the rest of society. As I've mentioned before, there are a lot of great songs out there with a definite Christian message, yet they aren't marketed as "Christian music". Think of the music of U2, Ben Harper, Al Green, Johnny Cash, etcetera. Those artists wear their faiths on their sleeve, but they're willing to sing about other things and engage the world a little.

I have a Christian friend who's broken away from the more fundamentalist aspects of the religion. One of his complaints is that so many of his fellow Christians completely shut themselves off from the world. They only associate with their fellow Christians, and they have probably never honestly engaged somebody who doesn't share their faith in their lives. This of course makes perfect sense, as some of the arguments I hear from Christians are obviously the types of things that sound really good so long as they continue to go unchallenged.

My current personal favorite is the assertion that a "proof" of Jesus is that there were 500 eyewitnesses. Yeah, that sounds really good, but that's using The Bible to prove The Bible. Another favorite is that Jesus "proved" he's the son of God (I thought it was "Son of Man"?) when he came back from the dead. Well gully gee, I guess that means, Hercules, Osiris, and Balder all "proved" that they're legit too, 'cause they all resurrected as well! The point is that these arguments betray a very isolated mindset - one that rarely engages in any kind of challenge or critical thought.

Speaking of cult-like behavior, a co-worker gave me a Christian tract that's intended for children (not because he thought it would save me but because he thought I would find it amusing). Reading through it, I can't help but think of my experience with the Scientologists. After filling out their little survey, I was told that I was "unstable" and "withdrawn". And wouldn't you know it? They had a program that could help me!

That's the way a cult works - convince the person that he or she has a problem and then offer the solution. The Christian tract works exactly the same way. The problem that it invents is "sin" which you are automatically guilty of committing. Somehow, the god who created everything is free from blame for our sinful natures, but never mind that. Of course, there's a solution which is that god sent himself on a suicide mission so he could forgive us. According to the tract, "The Bible says that without the giving of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin." Does this mean that there's something that God can't do? If so, then he's not exactly omnipotent, and then he's not exactly God, now is he?

Anyway, I'm trying to inject too much logic into this whole thing. The point is, the M.O. of the Christians who made this tract is exactly the same as the M.O. as any other cult. To top it off, it's aimed at children. They're the ones whose minds are easier to mold, so it only makes sense to go for them. As I said, I don't think that most Christians are cult-like, and I don't think of Christianity in general as being a cult. However, I'm not entirely sure where the line is between the ones who are cult-like and those who are not.

One thing's for sure, Al Green ain't no cultist:


Ingrid said...

Good song.

The Bob The said...

It's unfortunate for any group to feel the need to subtract themselves from the conversation, even if it's in the name of strengthening the group. It's good bonding to get to spend time around "people that talk like us" - that's not the question - but when you stop bridging to others, you lose the ability to grow (as well as test your faith). Look at me - I'm reading DC.