I had to go to church this morning because I'd agreed to assist with the music while the choir was off for the week. I grew up in this Episcopal church and it used to be a nice atmosphere to spend a Sunday morning in, even for an atheist. But the current priest is an idiot that nobody likes. There's a long story there, but for now, suffice it to say that his sermons are always terrible. He was absent today, but he wrote a sermon and had someone else stand and read it. It didn't have a coherent point; first it was on about Jesus sending out the 70 followers with absolutely nothing, not even a bag of supplies, to do deeds in his name.
His point about this was that God sent those 70 people out to do his work empty-handed because he wanted them to know that whatever good they did had absolutely nothing to do with their own efforts; it was all about God doing the good things by using them as pawns. How could anyone view a being so unabashedly arrogant as being worthy of worship?* I hate this attitude so much, and it was annoying to have to sit there and listen to it without arguing. Anything good can't possibly have been our own doing, and anything bad that we do is our fault for being weak and succumbing to temptation. Horrible attitude to have, and horrible attitude to teach your children. Sets people up for badness later in life.I know firsthand; that shit was what opened me up to the brainwashing I received in high school.
Then, somehow the first amendment was thrown in there, and he was going on about how it was there to protect freedom of religion, but that America had erased religion from the public eye and told Christians it should be private, and shouldn't have any place in public affairs, and that it is because of this that we have religious extremists because the moderate majority is silent and confused about the role their faith should play in their daily life, and blah blah Christians are so persecuted. I swear, it was like I was sitting in a goddamned Baptist church, not an Episcopal one. He, like so many other misguided Christians in this area, conflated "keep government-run affairs secular" with "you have to shut up about your religion at all times."
Why do these people forcibly miss the point? He went so far as to equate those of us who value secular approaches to state affairs to the intolerant religious extremists who keep trying to push their beliefs on everyone else. Why is it so fucking hard to understand that secularists are PROTECTING their right to worship their own way by keeping religion in church where it belongs? If we let the religious moderates inject their faith into public/political affairs, then at least it's not an extremist version of Christianity, but it's still exactly the same principle as if those extremists were to take over and do the same thing.
I almost clawed my atheist husband's hand off during that hateful tirade. It was either that or cause a disruption among people I love and respect, and I didn't want to do that...
*If we were supposed to be made in his image, why are we held to a different standard of morality than he is? YHWH displays very human thought processes (obviously that's because he was invented by humans, but let's take it as hypothetically true for the sake of this point), and he's allowed to indulge in those while we're supposed to resist and be sinless, because he "hates" the "sins" we commit, even though they're due to exactly the same thought process he has? I can understand loving an imperfect being, because we do that with our fellow humans all the time. We overlook their flaws and forgive them their transgressions. But to worship an imperfect being, and to delude ourselves into believing that this being is actually perfect, which he demonstrates by having the same human impulses that he condemns as sinful in us? No fucking way. The only way someone could worship a being like that is by either being brainwashed into believing he's not a tyrant, or by being made afraid.