Saturday, January 24, 2009

Creepy

I try not to blog about religion too much, partly because I don't want to offend anyone, and partly because of the flurry of responses it will incite from those whose beliefs differ from my own. However, this incident bothered me so much that I just need to get it off my chest in a public forum.

My parents' vacation home was broken into recently. Nothing was taken, nothing was damaged, facts for which we are all grateful. From what the local police said, it just seemed to be a group of thrill-seeking kids.

Last weekend was the first time my mother had been to the house since the break-in, and she got more details about the incident, which she relayed to me over the phone a few nights ago. (Background for anyone who doesn't know -- I grew up in a "born-again", charismatic, fundamentalist church; while my mother no longer attends that particular church, she still subscribes to that belief system.)

The house is on a cul-de-sac along with two other houses, and all three had been broken into. My parents' neighbors both had things taken (electronics, cash), but nothing had been taken from my parents' house. The police reasoned that the thieves must have gotten "spooked" by something in my parents' house (although I suspect that it had more to do with the fact that my parents don't have many things of value in the house.)

Anyway, the point of all this -- my mom told me that on Sunday, she and my dad went to the church they attend when they're at the vacation house, and she was talking about the break-ins with a woman she knows. When she told her that both neighbors had had things taken but that nothing had been taken from their house, the woman said "well, we know whose house the favor of God was upon, don't we?"

Um, what?

That's one of the creepiest things I've ever heard one Christian say to another (and I heard a LOT of stuff like that in my almost 30 years in the church.) Seriously? God, who these people claim loves everyone and has control over everything, favors my parents, but not their neighbors, and so decided that my parents' neighbors should have to deal with petty theft and the emotional stress of having their property violated. Was it punishment? Trying to teach them a lesson? Just fucking around with them? Yeah, that sounds like a loving deity to me.

When I was a Christian, I heard all the time that we were supposed to be humble, not judge others, love your neighbor as yourself, etc. Then in the next breath, we heard about how we were a holy remnant, set apart for God's purposes, that other religions were wrong, that people in other churches were spiritually dead. Guess which message went down easier? Seeing oneself as superior to others is the character trait I notice *the* most in Christianity.

This is not meant to offend, or point fingers at anyone. I just found it so incredibly revolting that instead of compassion, the emotion this "Christian" woman felt towards the victims of a crime was self-righteous superiority. I'm sure I'll get messages and comments pointing out that this is just one woman, that not all Christians feel/act this way, that "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven!" That's fine, but the fact is, this is my experience of the Christian attitude more often than not. And why my mother chose to pass this along to me is difficult to fathom -- she knows I'm not a Christian, and that fact pains her, but she couldn't see beyond her own arrogant self-satisfaction to recognize that what she was saying could only serve to push me further away from her warped belief system, not back towards it (like, gee, I'd better go back to Christianity so none of my stuff gets taken if my house gets broken into!)

I have my own belief system. It's constantly evolving, as am I. Every life experience I have and every person I encounter helps to shape my outlook. It changes as I change. One thing I can say with absolute certainty will not change, however -- I will not and cannot believe in a God who favors anyone over anyone else. That's a human trait, not a divine one.

5 comments:

Ty-Anna said...

oh yes I've heard many many times the term "favor" ... learning how to get the Lord's "favor" in your life, what you have to do etc... pointing out those who has the Lord's "favor" on them because their life is going well and those who are struggling clearly don't deserve it from a God who supposedly loves all equally.

yep I understand what you are going through... continue to question, search, grow and learn life is truly a beautiful thing and unfortunately too many people choose not to take the time to actually think for themselves.

Misty said...

oh no... The Christian is about to reply.
Creepy. Creepy and pathetically sad, indeed.
With all of our miscarriages and failed adoptions, we found the audaciousness of Christians (not all) to be unbelievable. Since then we've witnessed people's loss of jobs, divorce, deaths of children, deaths of parents, deaths of spouses, etc... I've heard a lot of Christianese responses... "If it's meant to be..." "Well, things happen for a reason." "God loves you, it will work out."
And here is what I've come to believe. We, as people, like the idea of feeling "protected". We like the idea of being in a bubble, safe from things like death,loss, rape, crimes, etc. We like to believe that sometimes there ARE guarantees. When you add a sense of God into the mix, I think a lot of Christians believe they SHOULD feel that bubble of protection. That to be more of a realist about certain normal yet tragic situations would seem to imply to everyone else that you doubt God, (which is NOT true. Weakness, loss of words/reassurance/fear and anger are not doubting God) and so instead people tend to say something ignorant to comfort themselves as much as the next person. Does that make sense...

Maggie said...

LOL, Misty. I really appreciate your take on this, because I know you're an out of the box thinker with regard to things like this.

Misty said...

ugh... it still annoys me though. Not for your mom but for the broken people who are being told crap like this. AGH! And it annoys me for the neighbors, who it's assumed, aren't in favor. What ignorant judgment.

bloodthirsty~girl said...

well, when you look at it that way, i guess the ones god favored were the ones whose houses didn't get broken into at all, lol.

i don't know what it is about christianity that turns many people into holy snobs, but it irks me no end. i still hear a lot of this crap from my own mother (although she has learned to not quote pat robertson around me, hee hee). mostly i just roll my eyes and change the subject.

i hate that people like that make it difficult for me to be open about my own beliefs. i'm a christian, but i don't want to be lumped into a category of stuck up, self righteous, twisted people with god agendas and a mob mentality. gah.