This is a documentary from the Four Corners program in Australia. Program goes for 45mins. In Australia a real-estate boom on the outskirts of major cities is the focus of a "bible belt" fringe. Some of the cults developing here are pretty toxic. These outlying suburbs on city edges are devoid of decent transportation infrastructure and have few community services. They are really just rows and rows of McMansions bought by average families up to their eyeballs in mortgage debt. The super-fundies have moved right in with Sunday song-and-dance routines which for the poor bastards who live in these suburbs is the only entertainment around. I post this because the people interviewed (many of whom are still religious) so candidly and honestly convey the stupidities of religious belief (e.g. not being able to understand the preacher's nonsense but carrying on regardless).
The scary thing for me is that these communities are beginning to demonstrate considerable political influence in a way which I think is analogous to but not yet as serious as the US situation.
I am interested especially in the experiences of those in the US, and your advice....How would you act at an early stage to oppose Christian fundamentalism as a political force?

I hope the bloody link works after all that...

The weblink:

Views: 39

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 22, 2009 at 10:20am
Hmmm... This is a pretty touchy situation, honestly. The obvious question is how to stomp it out before it gains too much momentum. The more opposition a subculture like this gets, the tighter they'll cling on to it, and of course play the victimization route. Legislation won't do much good, by my reckoning.
I'd say the best way to deal with it is through humor. If they are mocked and embarrassed, their children certainly won't want anything to do with it and well... the parents my realize how utterly stupid they sound to the rest of the world. People don't like to be made fun of. Violence begets violence, but humiliation pretty much makes people avoid future situations that can be used for fodder.
Comment by Matt on August 22, 2009 at 10:24am
The only thing I can think of is by showing the negative effects that this community is having, or rather their negative intentions. Pose the question, what are they trying to accomplish with their political agenda. Are they trying to push their religious views on others through the political system? How about health, are kids being sacrificed in the name of faith healing? Even with these negative attributes it may not be enough though, because like in America, they will most likely just be dismissed as extremists.
Comment by Matt on August 22, 2009 at 10:28am
To comment on Misty, the problem with mockery is that is falls under that "oh you're just not open minded" category of persecutions. Look at the Mormons, they are the laughing stalk of even their fellow Christians, yet they still thrive. Instead of being part of the public though, they instead turn to either their little private towns or try the whole door to door conversion method. Mockery doesn't really make people stop believing something, just makes them a lot more close nit.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 22, 2009 at 10:40am
Give me some specifics on Mormons, because I don't quite see your point. Admittedly, it's because my experience with them has been in their stronghold.
Generally the only mockery you see towards Mormons is their specifics of belief that many don't even know their faith holds.
Enlighten me.
Comment by Matt on August 22, 2009 at 2:06pm
Let's start with the origins of Mormonism

Joseph Smith
When Smith was 17, the angel Moroni appeared to him and told him the location of two golden plates, on which was written the history of two ancient Native American Christian tribes. Joseph went to the site and found golden plates written by Ether, Mormon, Lehi and Nephi (ancient Native American authors), and a brass plate consisting of Hebrew scripture quotations and genealogies written by Laban.
Also discovered at the site was a breastplate and the "Urim and Thummim," a pair of stones that Smith said assisted him in his translation of the ancient plates. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to remove the artifacts from the site immediately. He was directed to return to the site at each Autumn Equinox for four years, until 1827.

In 1827 that Smith was finally able to remove the golden plates from their original site, at which point he undertook the translation of the plates. Sometimes seated behind a curtain, sometimes with his head buried in his hat, and always using the two special stones, Smith dictated the English translation to various scribes - among them his wife, Emma, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery. Sometimes the tablets were not even present at the time they were being translated.

The Book of Lehi became a 116-page English manuscript, but the manuscript met a major obstacle in Martin Harris' wife Lucy. When Martin brought Lehi home to show Lucy, she promptly "lost" it. It is generally speculated that Lucy was a skeptic and wished to expose Smith by demonstrating expected discrepancies between the original and a replacement translation.

Instead of re-translating the book, however, Smith reported that God had taken away the special stones as punishment for the loss of the manuscript. For his later translations, he apparently used a single seer stone. He later translated Nephi, which described the same events as Lehi. The tablets Smith translated tell the story of an appearance of Christ in America after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

Really I feel that the origins is what makes people laugh at Mormonism. A source of information that disappears, an ancient christian Native American tribe, the appearance of Jesus in America after his death, ect. All in all, they are no different from any other religion, they are shunned by those who think they are full of shit, and people who follow the teachings swear by it. Christians just get all bent out of shape because they have an interpretation of the Bible that is different from the rest of them.
Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 6:13pm
I wish we knew. All I can say is be vocal and considerate.
Comment by paddo on August 24, 2009 at 6:18am
Thanks guys,
Misty I think your strategy is probably the most effective means of combatting this kind of BS in Australia. It is pretty much a given here that anyone taking themselves too seriously will have the piss taken out of them.
Matthew it's interesting you mentioned mormons.
They recently took out a prime peice of real estate in my town and built some edifice on it topped with a golden statue which to my mind seems to be facing the wrong way. I even went out the other day to take a pic for you.

The guy on top giving us the golden arse is Moroni, I think.
He faces east.
And misses the view:

I know it's not Manhattan, but these guys need some serious cash to build here. I don't think there are that many of them in these parts but might be wrong.
Comment by Reggie on August 24, 2009 at 8:08am
What lies east?
Comment by paddo on August 25, 2009 at 8:38am
Comment by Reggie on August 25, 2009 at 10:36am
I love chili! Moroni must be hungry.


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