Raising a godless child in a bible-thumping culture….

28 Oct

If you took 3 steps into anything I have posted online, you’ll know I have no god (and I’m not going to capitalize the word “god” throughout any of this.  It’s not to offend- it’s just that I since I don’t see god as a ‘being’, I don’t feel the need to use the word as if it’s a name).  I will admit that I have truckloads of religious baggage (guilt, shame, and threats of eternal hell and damnation for natural human behavior and feelings will do that to a person).  It took YEARS to reclaim my soul from the Christians, and I’m pretty fucking psyched to have it back.  And I’m working through the religious baggage, piece by piece, and eventually that will be gone to.  But until it is, I’ve got a bit of a knee-jerk hatred for Bible Thumpers (I WILL capitalize “Bible Thumpers” throughout this, because they ARE actual beings, and that is their name).  Bible Thumpers make me really really fucking mad.

Now, I’d like to explain something before I get into the main topic for this little soapbox rant.  I have NOTHING against religion.  I have NOTHING against Christian beliefs.  In this sick, jaded, and overwhelming life, if someone can find something that gives them safety an hope- I’m all for it.  I don’t care if it’s Buddha, or Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or Satan, or Captain Crunch… it’s all fine by me.  I’m 100% behind safety and hope, and I’ll pull out my old cheerleading uniform and do leg-kicks and backflips all day long for that safety and hope.  What I have NO FUCKING PATIENCE for is religious pressure, judgment, and intolerance.  And that is what a solid 95% of the Christians that I’ve encountered are all about.  I was raised in the church- and when I say “in the church”, I mean I was in the choir, and went to bible camp, and did the “Young Life” youth group ickyness (and to this day, sing-alongs give me the fucking creepin’ willies), and I lived in a full-blown WACKADOO Southern Baptist group home for 2 years in the middle of the woods in Missouri… so I’ve known shit-tons of Christians.  They were my peers, teachers, family, family friends, counselors, doctors, etc etc etc.  And that 95% of the Christians that were filled with religious pressure and judgement (which is what made them hateful and intolerant of anyone that wasn’t Christian) grossed me the fuck out.  I’m in NO WAY saying that ALL Christians are like this… because parents are Christian and they are amazing.  My neighbors are extremely religious and they’re some of my favorite people.  I have friends who are devoutly Christian, and they’ve never once judged me.  But those are the Christians who act like Jesus- and not like Christians.  Do you get the difference?  95% of the Christians don’t.  And they’re the ones I’m talking about here.  They suck so many balls it’s ridiculous.

So, with that being explained, I happily have no god.  Both Sully’s dad and stepdad think there’s a slight possibility that there might be something bigger than us- but neither of them give a shit about what it might be.  And since there is no god “in our hearts”, it would be a monumental life-fraud to raise Sully with any sort of religion.  What I did do was teach him about ALL religions.  I then told him that no matter what his family believes, if he finds a religion that makes him feel safe and gives him hope, we are 100% behind him.  But I did tell him that he had to wait until he was at least 18 to really dedicate his life to any specific religion, because it is one of the biggest decisions that a person could make.  For a while when he was 5 he said he wanted to worship Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon when he grew up (he was going through a Greek Mythology phase).  But aside from that, he’s had no personal interest in any spiritual path.  And because he’s such a mini-Spock, he thinks that bible stories are hilarious because they’re so illogical.  Instead of having a god to teach Sully right from wrong, we use his logic, reasoning, and The Golden Rule.  We have raised him to never judge others on anything but their actions (and if they’re acting mean, take a look at why they’re acting that way, and try to help if you can).  We’re devoted to empathy, tolerance, understanding, and love.  And because of this, Sully is polite to the point of annoying, has a heart so big that even at age 11 he still tears up when he sees someone else is hurting, and tries to be a friend to everyone (even the kids that don’t like him).  Doesn’t sound like a damned child to me… but the Christian kids at his school see differently.

HERE is where my rant comes in.  HERE is where I say “Fuck you, ‘god’, and fuck your people”.  Because “god’s” people are fucking with my kid… and mama lion is PISSED.  We live in Huntington Beach, California.  To those of you who aren’t familiar with Orange County- it is VERY conservative here.  Mormons, zealots, and right-wing evangelicals are the main population (if you want the liberal Californians, you’ll have to go about 40 minutes into Hollywood… you’ll find them there).  Since it’s so very evangelical-Christian here, Sully is going to school with the Christian’s spawn.  And this year, the Christian’s spawn have decided to make Sully’s atheism their business.

Sully has been taught to not talk religion to people besides us because it is a very personal thing.  He used to be really bad about this- but the past couple years has gotten really amazing at respectfully staying away from religious debates and conversations that may cause trouble or hurt feelings.  I’ve felt this was really important in order to teach him respect and tolerance of other people’s beliefs.  But this year at school, it’s gotten around that he’s an atheist, and kids have been confronting him more and more about it.  The final straw was today in his gym class, he was cornered by 3 boys who were demanding that he talk to him about god, and telling him that he’s going to hell.  Sully politely told them that he doesn’t believe in hell, and that his religious beliefs were none of their business.  They started to get intimidating and threatening, and Sully dodged them and went straight to the gym coach and said that he was being “degraded for his religious beliefs” (Sully’s exact words… he’s pretty awesome).  The coach thanked Sully for handling it so maturely, and swept the other boys into his office.  But nothing else was done.

Here’s where I get pissed.  If this was 3 Christian kids vs a Jewish kid, or a Muslim kid, or a Hindu kid- there would be serious repercussions because these are accepted as valid belief structures.  But because it’s an atheist kid… no big deal.  It’s just a “boys will be boys” situation when Christian kids gang up, threaten and mock another kids beliefs because those beliefs don’t have an imaginary friend tied to it.  And what’s really ironic is that even though I’ve done everything to try to teach Sully to be accepting of ALL people’s beliefs and ways of life… the people that he’s growing to despise are Christians because they are the ones who mock, terrorize, and humiliate him BECAUSE of their beliefs.  I try to tell him “Grandma and Grandpa don’t act that way, and they’re Christian!  What about our neighbors- they’re fantastic and they’re Christian!  Not all of them are mean like that.  You can’t hate an entire group of people because of the actions of a few”…. but he only knows what his daily experiences have taught him.  And his daily experiences are teaching him the Ways of the Bible Thumpers are sick and wrong.  And I’m finding it harder and harder to put on a sympathetic smile and continue to teach tolerance when his belief structure is being belittled and mocked.  What I really want to tell him to do is beat the shit out of them with  the complete printed works of  Darwin, and then jump up and down and scream “SATAN HAS DEFEATED YOU AND I NOW OWN YOUR SOUL!!!!” just to scare the stupid little fuckers.  But that won’t do any good.  We ARE going to get him into karate so that if these kids decide to corner him again, and try to throw a punch, he can- in self defense-  beat the Holy shit out of them (pun very much intended).

What I want to know is how much tolerance do I teach him?  If he was just getting picked on because him and these kids didn’t get along- that would be one thing.  But this is because the God Squad doesn’t like that Sully isn’t on their team, and their using mafia-like intimidation to try to get at him because of it.  How do I keep explaining to him to not hate the Christians when all they show him is hate because they are Christians?

I think that Jesus would tell Sully to beat these stupid kids to a pulp.  Jesus seemed like a pretty ok guy for his time… his followers, on the other hand, are making me want to sacrifice their young.

 

 

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53 Responses to “Raising a godless child in a bible-thumping culture….”

  1. kat October 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    Wow… that’s a really sticky conundrum. At what point does tolerance become “thank you sir may I have another!”? My personal rule of thumb is to tolerate open dialogue that furthers understanding. I do NOT tolerate proselytizing, brow-beating, or bullying. In my perspective, evangelical behavior says to me two things about the person evangelizing: One, they have not understood a single word of Jesus’s teachings. Two, they are so horrifically insecure and unsatisfied with their faith that to justify their belief system they must force others to follow it. And, I tend to let them know what I think about that.
    For the record, I believe that faith can add to one’s clarity of thought and one’s personal strength, but organised religion can foster delusion and a false sense of superiority. Basically, faith is a road map to a lost soul, while religion is Mapquest.

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

      I agree with you completely. With all your points. To add to what you said, I find it fully offensive when a total stranger comes up to me and inquires if I “know their good friend, Jesus”. How the fuck is my personal spiritual journey any of their business??? Someone’s spiritual beliefs is more private and personal than how they like to bang between the sheets… and to walk up to someone you don’t know and inquire about it, AND THEN try to convince the person who’s privacy you’ve just violated that your way is the “right way” is SO INSULTING!!! Why is my soul anyone’s business? Instead of praying for my soul, they should pray that I don’t kick them in the throat.

      And faith can TOTALLY add to people’s life. That’s exactly why I think it’s important for Sully to be taught about all religions, and spiritual beliefs in general. I personally find more strength in myself than in something I can’t see or hold onto. And if there is a God, I think he’s a total jerk for not formally introducing himself to me before expecting me to dedicate my life and soul to him. Is a simple “hello” and a handshake too much to ask? Geeeez!!

  2. christine October 29, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    I think its soo great not one religion is pushed on Sully..honestly you can raise a kid in one religion and one day they may just find something that speaks to them more. And to the Bible Thumpers…UGH they need to give it a rest!!!!! I have been going to church with my family all my life, since all my family has come from countries that were religiously repressed, and now they finally have the freedom to do that, they took advantage. But we were never taught that we were better than anyone else, or that we should force people to believe that we do. The crazy evangelical christians here have no idea what it means to sacrifice themselves for religion, they have it pretty easy here, and this country makes it totally ok for them to go out and hate other people all in the name of their ‘loving’ religion.

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

      I don’t know how such a large group of people can be so socially dysfunctional. Nobody likes to be badgered with someone’s opinion… especially if you don’t agree with them, they tell you you’re damned to spend eternity in the fiery pits of hell. How do they not know how creepy they are??
      Anyone can believe whatever they want. But it’s just awkward and odd to assume that everyone should believe what YOU believe… not to mention FULLY narcissistic. I don’t expect for everyone to be satisfied with no god, and that when we die there’s nothing. Most people aren’t comfortable with that… but I am. I find peace and security in that. BUT because most people aren’t comfortable with that, I don’t try to convince people that I’m right.
      And in the end… none of us can be 100% sure what’s right and what’s not. It’s all a toss up. So really, who cares?

  3. amyjeen October 29, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    thank you for this.
    that sully is picked on for his religious beliefs and the way the offenders are treated is one hundred percent valid.
    as a person that was raised by a pagan witch, i caught hell from everyone. kids/teachers/neighbors because they believed paganism-equals satanists.
    those people equal ignorance, one hundred percent.
    now, i don’t believe in anything other than just decency and manners and the occasional bitch slap to those deserving as such.
    you are doing a good job raising your son, i applaud!

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you, lady!! 🙂

      Whether you believe in God or not- if everyone just followed The Golden Rule, we’d all be just fine.
      But apparently these little bible-thumping kids haven’t gotten that lesson from their parents yet.
      Jesus told me he thinks those kids and their parents are douchbags, and he wants them off his team because they embarrass him.

  4. hayley October 29, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    I was raised catholic, and those kids that gave Sully a hard time are just as vicious as the ones I came in contact with. I remember at our little bible groups, there was this girl who liked to poke me with needles and throw books at me (not fucking kidding).

    My theory on why the little christian kids are the worst, is because they’re so young, they are easily brainwashed by their parents. Mommy and Daddy shove their beliefs down their throats, and because some kids just want to please their parents, they eat up every word of it. Those parents don’t teach tolerance or diversity, they just feed their kids what they want them to learn.

    The good thing is as SOME kids grow up, they become a little more accepting of other’s beliefs. I consider myself agnostic, and lots of my best friends are christian/catholics. And lots of my friends are atheists. There’s no attempts of conversions or exorcisms. There’s no insults. We all get each other. My best advice, is just to explain to Sully that these kids are just too immature and that he’s the better person for being smart and tolerant. You’re dong a great job of teaching him 🙂

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

      I think it’s cute that both my Hayley’s responded one after the other. 😀

      If these kids were REALLY raised by what Jesus taught, they would know tolerance, and acceptance, and the beauty of diversity. They would know to teach with your actions, not your words. They would know that you love someone- no matter what. But Jesus has nothing to do with modern Christianity anymore. And, for the record, Jesus hated organized religion. He trashed a church because it’s leaders were behaving in hateful, elitist and disrespectful ways in the name of God. I think that Jesus would be a church bomber if he was around today.

  5. haley October 29, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    Man, oh man. It really is sad that kids that young are being taught to bully and hate other people.
    I grew up in a hick ass town, and the kids at school also told me I was going to hell because I celebrated Kwanzaa(which is so bullshit because kwanzaa is one of the most all-accpeting and giving holiday). My mom didn’t even have us celebrate strictly kwanzaa, we just half assed all the winter holidays because she wanted me to see each of them, and we had friends that celebrated kwanzaa, hannakuh, christmas, solstace and the whole shebang. But of course, since I didn’t celebrate JUST christmas, I was going to hell.
    It’s so stupid how kids are so brainwashed by whack job parents.
    And you’re right, not all religious people are like this. My english teacher is VERY religious, but she told us on the first day of school “If I ever hear you say ‘gay’ or ‘retarded’, you’re out of my class.” She’s totally nonjudgemental, pro choice, and one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, but she doesn’t let her beliefs on faith dictate her beliefs on life. I wish more people saw the difference.
    And I wish people would stop taking shit out of the bible so seriously. It’s being taken way out of context and really fucking shit up.

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

      A couple Sully quotes about the Bible:
      Age 5: “So people behave bad because a lady ate an apple from a snake that talks? That’s stupid!”

      Age 6: ” That guy that lived in the whale’s stomach would have died because the acid would have eaten him. That’s stupid.”

      Age 8: “OUR Easter is now called Zombie Jesus Chocolate Bunny Day”

      The latest (and my favorite): “Soooo…. God made Eve from Adam’s rib, right? And Adam married Eve, right? So Adam married his rib. And God is mad about gay people getting married? That’s stupid.”

      Yes… people shouldn’t take the bible so seriously.

  6. Misty October 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    First off–karate isn’t that great for self-defense. Jiu jitsu (straight or Brazilian), judo, or even tae kwon do are much more effective, in that order.

    Second, I’m taking a page from your book. My children will now be taught that they can study and experiment all they want, but I’m not okay with them picking a religion before they turn 18. That is brilliant.

    I wish my kid went to school with about two hundred Sullys. You have done a pretty amazing job, you know that?

    We haven’t encountered anything like that from school–yet. But I am constantly struggling to keep my uber-Catholic MIL from indoctrinating my daughters. The husband and I are both agnostic, but I admit to using my Jewish heritage as a weapon when telling her to back the fuck off with her Jesus shit, because she can respect that, but the idea of letting our little one decide for herself? Unthinkable. She baptized that baby in her kitchen sink when she was about a month old, and I cannot tell you how much that pissed me off–not because I was like, oh noes, my Jew-baby got defiled by Jesus water, but because it gave me a pretty clear picture of just how much the woman was going to respect our decisions on our children’s religious education or lack thereof.

    It seems like your Sully is doing a great job of dealing with Thumper shit so far. Like you, though, I hope that he can get through this without lumping the Christ-like in with the TrueChristians (TM). Maybe now is the right time to introduce him to LandoverBaptist.com while at the same time arranging for someone like your neighbors or parents to sit down with him and explain that some people act like asshats in the name of their religion, but that’s not what Christianity is supposed to be about. He sounds mature and intelligent enough for a conversation like that.

    Keep us posted.

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

      You have to be 18 to get married (in most states), get a tattoo or pierced, join the army, and buy porn. So if there’s an age restriction for any of those things, then you should be AT LEAST that old before you dedicate your life, soul, and entire way of living for the rest of your life to one spiritual structure. It’s a much bigger decision than which Hustler video to buy, or whether you should get that Tasmanian Devil tattooed on your ankle or your shoulder.

      And if you are going to raise your child to believe what you believe, at least give them the opportunity to believe in something different when they grow up. Everyone is different and needs different things out of life… and your god might not be the one for them. When parents maniacally force their god onto their kids, all it does is limit their child and set them up for feelings of guilt and isolation if that god doesn’t make them feel safe.
      It’s all so loaded and weird… which is one of the billions of reasons why I have no god. Life is much easier and stress-free this way.

  7. whitney October 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    wait…… you can do a back-flip??!!

    • Kristen Ferrell October 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

      I haven’t done a backflip in a really long time. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if I did one now, I’d end up with a spinal cord injury. 😉

      • whitney October 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

        haha, totally worth it!! ;D

  8. whitney October 29, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    but on a more serious note- i think you are teaching and steering sully in a nice direction as far as tolerance goes. i can imagine it being hard for him… especially because the people he was told not to mock because of their beliefs are mocking him for his….but like you said, he is logical enough to know to hate the people for how shitty they are and not judge them just off their crazed religious beliefs. the best to you both!!

    • Kristen Ferrell October 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

      Right now I’m just trying to keep his tolerance intact. I keep trying to tell him that we show people our hearts through our actions more than our words… so if he stays tolerant and patient, they will probably back off.
      And if not, then take a cue from the 11th Law of Satanism:
      “11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.”

      If all else fails, Satan is there for you.
      😉

  9. haley October 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    So yeah, how ’bout the synagogue shooting today? Fucked up. I’ve never been stalked and hunted down by anyone Jewish, so I’ve got some mad respect for the people. I’m tired of people’s religiously motivated violence. Can we get over this bullshit and just have a giant tea party now? Pretty please?

    • Kristen Ferrell October 30, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

      The synagogue shooting made me ill. The people of the Jewish faith have been through enough torment, torture, discrimination, and hate for their beliefs. I think that world just needs to come together and agree to leave them alone.
      It makes me really mad.

  10. daMamma October 30, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    Sully is a truly amazing young man who has learned many wonderful things from you. Most important is the ability to think critically and come to logical conclusions for himself. Good for him, to take these lessons seriously and not become just another of the sheeple.

    Those bullies are not Christian, although they may wish to call themselves that. They are Christianists.

    Christians are followers of Christ. That is what the word Christian means, to follow the teachings of Christ. I’ve met many of these and they are amazing people.

    Christianists on the other hand are followers of the leader of whichever organized religion claiming to be “Christian”. These people wouldn’t know Christ if he walked up and slapped them in the head. They are hateful, mean, spiteful, bossy, demanding, demeaning and all round evil jerks that cherry pick from their holy book what ever passages they want. Twisting them to justify their bad behaviour towards others and on a personal level. Controllers all about power, money and more of both. I’ve met many many more of these and not a single one has a good heart.

    • Kristen Ferrell October 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

      Sully is really good about being logical about it… but his patience is wearing thin, and they’re teaching him to hate… and that makes me FURIOUS because I’ve worked so hard to teach him tolerance, and they’re undoing it. I don’t think they understand that their tactics are gross, and make everyone around them uncomfortable. It makes me laugh so hard whenever they talk about “God’s love”… because their God’s love seems like it’s from an abusive husband from some Lifetime TV movie starring Valerie Bertinelli. Their god should be brought up on charges while the rest of us are whisked away to a safe house.

      I’m terrified of anyone that I meet who has that much hate and judgment in them. I know that seems kindof funny coming from me (who is the queen of bitching and yelling about things that I hate)… but the things I hate are usually tied to situations or behaviors that hurt or oppress others. So I see my kind of hate as being ok. Right?

      But your classification of the 2 different kinds of Christians is dead on. I like that word, “Christianists”. I know about a dozen people that I see as true Christians… the rest are just bad people hiding behind a Bible. What are they so afraid of? Why do they have to have EVERYONE believe the same things they do? It’s so creepy and weird.

      • daMamma October 31, 2009 at 9:28 am #

        It is so hard to see all your good work undone by others. I had worked so hard to teach my own children the same moral (and Christ-like) values too. The continuous pressure by those that claim to be Christians, and the blatant hypocrisy of many of these same people undid much of what I tried to instill.

        The moral values are still there, but the tolerance of the stupidity of others is stretched thin. Sully’s road is a hard one because you have chosen to teach him to think critically for himself rather than to blindly follow the sheeple. Fortunately he also has something a lot of kids don’t and that is a great deal of love and support from you to help smooth his way.

        • Kristen Ferrell October 31, 2009 at 11:09 am #

          “Sheeple”… hahaha! You make great words!
          I know that alot of positive parenting gets undone as kids get older and peers begin to be more important than parents- so I had already prepared myself for some of what I’ve taught him to go right out the window. But one of the things that I was relieved about with him was that he was being raised without religious baggage… but it seems that the Christianists want to damage as many kids as they can- despite whether it’s their children or not.

    • Kenna December 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

      da Mamma,

      I completely agree with your definitions! As a Christian, it is hard to tolerate Christianists. You are right; they are so caught up in legalism and judgment that Christ could be posing as a beggar and they’d cuss at Him while driving their Hummer through a puddle that splashes Him and soaks Him to the core.

      Keep preaching your tolerance Kristen! Your open book is the right track. I’m sorry Sully is being badgered. I am glad to see he can hold his own, the lil genius!

      For what it’s worth, this Christian is rooting for you. Other people’s spiritual beliefs are not my business. If someone is curious about Christianity, it should be spurred from witnessing my actions, etc and inquiring. It should NOT be crammed down anyone’s throat. Proselytizing rarely achieves little more than resentment.

      Take care! Much love to you and Sully!

  11. Michelle November 3, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    I totally agree with you about the whole Christian’s thing. I was raised southern baptist and well, I feel that explains WHY I no longer am christian or believe in a specific god. It’s the intolerance (and the sick judgement day movie they showed when I was 14. Seriously, the end scene was a bloody guillutine falling as people screamed. I walked out of sunday school and told my mom I’d never go back and she couldn’t make me.)that made me stop believing.

    Luckily my kids haven’t gone through any of the christian pressure and living in Lawrence helps with that alot. But I went through a ton of it when I was younger. Young kids (18-19 yrs) wanting to get into long debates and even though I’d be completely polite they’d still tell me I was going to hell numerous times.

    My advice to you & Sully would be to continue to take the high road because at least at the end of the day, he can look back and say “Well, I’m not the one acting like a hateful dick”. I really believe that it is more important to be a good person because it’s the right way to live…. not because of fear (hell) or the promise of rewards (heaven).

    • Kristen Ferrell November 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

      My mom gets sad about us being atheist because she says that when we die, we won’t all be together. But I tell her that if I’m wrong, and there is a God, and he’s the super nice guy that my mom believes that he is- we’ll get into heaven. I would think that a God that’s all about love and forgiveness would look at a life filled with love and forgiveness and say, “well… ok… you get an ‘A’ for effort”. And if god ISN’T all about love and forgiveness, and my mom goes to heaven and we don’t- she’ll never know. If her eternal bliss is being around her family, I’m sure there’s something set up where there will be a “fake kristen” up there for her to hang out with while I’m burning in hell.
      But really, if there is a god, and he’s such an asshole that I won’t get into heaven because I didn’t jump up and down and scream “You’re the BEST!!”- even though I live my life more “Christian-ly” than most Christians…. then I don’t want to spend eternity with him anyways. He sounds like a self-righteous prick, and I’d rather be in hell. I grew up in Kansas summers… I can take the heat.

      • Michelle November 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

        Okay, seriously, that’s what I tell my mom too.

  12. daMamma November 4, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    No religion OWNS the the “high road” or “morality”. Not killing other people, not stealing, not telling lies, respecting our parents, helping those less fortunate whenever possible and so on are natural to our hearts. We know that this is the right way to be. That is part of being human. One should not have to have religion to tell them what is right and what is wrong.

    If one follows these rules because they fear retribution and an eternity in some place called hell where they will burn and be tortured forever, that is a scary thought. These are frightened little bunnies and will push all their boogie-men fears onto everyone they meet so that they are not alone in their personal darkness. In their fear they become hateful and spiteful as individuals. As a group they are downright scary! I pity the lot of them.

    God did not create man, man created god to explain the things they did not understand, to control others and to justify their own bad behavior.

  13. hayley November 4, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    if you haven’t already seen this, another example of right-wing freaks trying to make the rules for everyone

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/11/04/maine-voters-repeal-same-sex-marriage-law-in-close-vote/

    • daMamma November 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

      How very sad indeed. I don’t care what someone else’s religious beliefs are, more power to them if they are happy. However, I do NOT want their religious laws and beliefs made into MY secular law.

      Two guys or two gals getting hitched is not going to affect my marriage in any way shape or form. Nor will it affect whom my children will choose to marry if they decide to walk down that road.

      • Kristen Ferrell November 6, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

        I will never never never never ever understand this at all.
        EVER.

        Again, to quote my 11 year old son:
        “Soooo…. God made Eve from Adam’s rib, right? And Adam married Eve, right? So Adam married his rib. And God is mad about gay people getting married? That’s stupid.”

        But Sully has been taught that marriage is about love, respect, and commitment… not about penis’s and vaginas (what is the plural of ‘penis’? Peni? Penis’?). He has been raised around our gay friends and their partners, and he has never even thought twice about it. It was a sad day in our house when I had to explain Prop. 8 to him, and why it wasn’t legal for our gay friends to get married- because he had never experienced homophobia before and didn’t know that it existed. And it really upset him.

        Everyone just needs to get the fuck over it already and let the people who are in love get married. GEEEZZZ!!!!

  14. melancholymonday November 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    Jumping in here late (as always), but I just want to let you know Jesus said to tell you “Sorry.” But sounds like you already heard Him on that.

    Unfortunately, His “people” aren’t perfect. Which is supposed to be part of the beauty of His gift. I’m a screw-up, you’ve known me long enough to know that I don’t care who sees my flaws, I’m living the best I can and looking up Jesus’s advice to make this life as easy as I can, while loving others in hopes of lightening their load (eternally, too) as I go. But, yeah, these kids got it wrong.

    Our daughter has been wanting to get baptized for as long as I can remember, but we keep telling her not until she’s 12. It may sound young to you, but other people in the church are baptizing their 6 year olds and it is SO hard to understand where they are coming from for the very reasons you stated. We picked 12 because it is the more traditional age of “adulthood” in most religions. The bar-mitzva and bat-mitzva are the coming of age for Jewish children and since Jesus was a Jew (who, by the way, was baptized at age 30!!) then we figured that their number is an okay number. Jesus said don’t hinder children from coming to Him, so of course we teach our kids to pray and seek God and try to follow what Jesus said to do, but they can’t make a public commitment until they are at least old enough to get a grip on what it all means.

    You think you have it tough? Try being a Christian and dealing with these people. ;p

    • Kristen Ferrell November 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

      You are specifically one of the people I’m referring to as “my Christian friends who are awesome”. I can’t tell you how much I ADORE you for being so open and accepting of other people, and truly practicing what you preach (and when I say “preach”, I don’t mean wagging a condescending finger at “sinners”, but being all about love, acceptance, and leading with your big-hearted actions).

      And I totally understand teaching your children about your faith, because I’ve taught Sully about why we don’t have one. But when I’m talking about the folks who push their children into their faith, I’m referring to the people who are teaching their kids that their religion is the ONLY religion, and all others are wrong. Because that just isn’t true. One faith cannot speak to everyone the same way. Some people will find strength and safety in Buddhism, or Hinduism, etc. With 6 and a half billion people on this planet, there can’t be one faith for everyone. Raising your kids with your beliefs but allowing them to see light in other beliefs is one thing… but to raise your kids that your belief is the ONLY belief is only hurting the child and narrowing their world.
      You, dear Amy, are open, accepting, and loving… and you’re teaching your children to be the same way. I hope you know by now that when I go on a God-rant, that you are never a part of that. You’re one of the good ones. And thank you for that.
      🙂

  15. melancholymonday November 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    Oh, and by the way, you would be the one to find a place in California that is more conservative than the place you lived in KANSAS.

    • Kristen Ferrell November 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

      Seriously, right? Why me?!?!?!

      • daMamma November 7, 2009 at 9:07 am #

        When my children say that, (Seriously, right? Why me?!?!?!) I always tell them: “Because you’re the cute one, that’s why!” 😉

        • Kristen Ferrell November 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

          Hahahaha! Can I use that explanation for this situation and put that on a t-shirt? “Christians hate me because I’m so cute”

          Does that work?
          😉

          • daMamma November 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

            Go for it!

  16. hayley g November 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    i actually just started reading the Bible last week to see what the fuss was about. Only i’ve ended up just making a list of things that make me go WHAT THE FUCK, and yes, it’s a long list. I’ve only gotten to like, page 35 too. 🙂

    • daMamma November 9, 2009 at 8:15 am #

      You’ll find a whole lot of contradictions in there. If you take it as a story book it can be very interesting. If you take it as literal history and apply all the “rules” you get pretty disgusted with the whole thing.

      • Kristen Ferrell November 9, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

        I’m with you, daMamma- I actually like reading the bible as a work of fiction. It’s got great stories, and all kinds of drama and weirdness, ceremonies and war. And Revelations is so nutso awesome!!! But to take it as a factual account- it just leads to bad feelings and contradictions.
        You’re going to find umpteen billion things in the old testament that will make you climb the walls… slavery, the place of women, the wrath of god for mundane behaviors, vengeful tests that god inflicted on devout followers, rules and regulations, etc. If you take into account the time in history that it took place, then it’s easier to swallow, and just an interesting historical book of mysticism. BUT the fact that people are relying on this ancient book (which has been re-translated countless times), and taking the slavery, misogyny, hate, wrath, and damnation literally and trying to apply it to modern times is madness.

        • daMamma November 10, 2009 at 8:29 am #

          Oh wow, tell me about Revelations! You just know someone was on some sort of strange acid trip when they wrote that one. (*giggles*) Just crazy tripping weirdness.

          Can you imagine the wildly fantastic stories that writer could come up with if he had your art works to inspire him? Totally cool! (*grin*) Now that would make some excellent reading for sure.

          • Kristen Ferrell November 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

            Revelations is 100% bananas!! I should try to illustrate it… it would be fun! I’m rereading Dante’s Inferno right now and I want to do paintings and drawings of the 9 circles of suffering. I’ve been wanting to do a whole “Belief” series… and I’m trying to make this next year have enough free time to allow for it. I want to design and manufacture my own Ouija board and tarot deck, recreate images of existing patron saints and create some of my own, a whole phobia series (because phobias dictate behavior sometimes more than religion can), etc.
            But I never seem to have the time I need to really dig in and tackle the series that I want to do. 😦

            • daMamma November 11, 2009 at 6:40 am #

              Now those are some wickedly serious projects. You have such a wildly amazing imagination, I hope you are able to find a bit of time here and there to do these.

              • Kristen Ferrell November 12, 2009 at 9:05 am #

                Thank you, lovely lady!!! 😀
                I hope I have the time too, because I think they’d be super fun projects!!
                xoxo

  17. jerriselaina December 3, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    Hello, all. I’ve just stumbled upon this blog- via Bloodmilk- and want to say a couple of things.

    First off, Kristen, the art is amazing.
    Next, I just want to empathize. I, too, am a survivor of the Southern Baptists and have full-on Post Baptist Stress Disorder. Recently I thought it would be cute and funny to go to the Holy Land Experience (the TBN theme-park here in Orlando) and that was, like, a HUGE mistake. I literally nearly threw up from the stress of that place. It weirds me out even thinking about it.

    When I met my partner, she tried to get me to go to her “church” with her and I was sooooo reluctant b/c just being in a church freaks me out. But I gave it a whirl ’cause I was in love, and it was pretty cool. But it wasn’t really a “church-church.” It’s a Unitarian Universalist congregation- if you’ve had any brushes with the UU’s they are a wildly eclectic and religiously liberal bunch. We volunteer with our youth group, and we’re athiest, totally gay, and feminist. So.

    Anyhoo. Just sayin’ howdy!

    • Kristen Ferrell December 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

      “Post Baptist Stress Disorder”…. hahahaha!!! That’s hilarious!!! I’ve been back to Branson (where my Baptist Abuse took place) once for a wedding- and I couldn’t take it. Too much baggage and bad feelings flying back in my face for me to stand. Gross.
      That is so fantastic that you’ve found a place where you feel safe and secure! I’ve yet to see that anywhere- so consider yourself extremely fortunate!! I’ve heard that Unitarian churches are really accepting, as well as alot of Episcopalian churches (I’m not sure I spelled that right- but you get the idea).
      Thanks for saying ‘howdy’ and thanks for the art compliments!!
      xoxoxo

    • Lex Azagthoth January 31, 2010 at 9:37 am #

      OMG…Post Baptist Stress Disorder, that is SO fucking hilarious. We’re utterly hated on our cul-de-sac for being Catholics. And worse, I didn’t grow up Christian. My Mom used to tell everyone she was a Druid when I was a kid. When she was a kid she was not allowed to join school clubs because her Cuban/Spanish family was (duh) Catholic. They even used to call her a “Cuban N**ger” on her street.

      Ugh, that makes me sick, and I wish Sully could play with my kids. They both got beat up regularly by the “Pottery Barn Ruby Ridge” family for being “not real Christians”. And that was 7 kids not including the one in college.

      And being new to Christianity, what did I do when this woman would make her snide “not real Christian” comments? I would smooth it over and pray for her. I helped her when she needed to landscape her yard. I don’t think she had ever even READ the Gospels, which if you read a red letter edition or just the words attributed to Jesus Himself, he was pretty fucking cool. He even said things like no foods being unclean but going into your mouth and out “into the shithole”, which NO one will translate correctly due to this “cussing is sinful” shit.

      I’m so sorry that happened to Sully, and I totally relate. My kids were beat up so much, I didn’t even think my now 7 year old would ever develop normal, those kids told mine that “all Catholics are bad and they teach the wrong things about God at Catholic churches”. When I responded that that was kind of like saying that all black people are bad, little Michael (age 6 or 7 at the time, he’d be 10 now) actually said, “But all black people ARE bad! That’s what my dad says, except for the ones who play for KU!” I almost rolled down the hill in shock.

      Dad was in his 50s and he went to Bob Jones University, in other words, when they only accepted white people. So when the kids started to point at me and my girls and started being pointed at us and yelling “dirty Mexican!!!” it just got ugly. Sheesh, the Mom even had the audacity to walk up to my house and tell me that my kids were “forbidden” to speak of their Uncles (yes, ooooh, the terror, we call my brother’s partner their Uncle as well as him) or my cousin’s goofy death metal band. I’m not ashamed of any of these relatives. The singer may sound goofy, but my cousin’s a fucking awesome guitarist, now with his own line of guitars.

      Whatever. Religion shouldn’t even come in with kids playing. The Baptist and “Evangelical Free” (yes, that is now a denomination) keep begging me to let them take my kids to their camps. Justlike they go to Moldova and Romania to “convert” those non-Christian Orthodox to Southern Baptist.

      Ugh. My kids don’t do this. I have Skype, Sully is invited to play dates any day with mine. They don’t even mention religion, and I may suck ass, but my 10 year old is a major badass who is persecuted constantly at school for being “different” and draws cartoons all the time.

      OK, I changed my link, just do a search for “pottery barn ruby ridge” for my tales of doing yard work while blasting either mariachi music or Morbid Angel, getting my rainbow flags stolen (and replacing them every time), explaining “sexual orientation” to Mama Strehlow and other goofy antics. They lasted about 2 months after I stopped (as Kristen suggested, and as I had done) following the Golden Rule and turned my front yard into what my husband called a fair imitation of the Castro District.

  18. Diana December 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    I was going through my regular sites I watch today, and there was a link to your blog on one of them. Several things caught my eye and made me click the link (which I’m glad now that I did!). The anger in the writer’s words was overwhelming, and I was disheartened to hear of intolerance towards religions- so I came to your site to see what this was all about.
    But on the contrary- I found a hilarious blog about a family living with unorthodox views trying to coexist in a very orthodox world. I did find it interesting for the Christian woman who was so upset with you to feel such oppression since we exist in a Christian society governed by Christian laws. How does one family not being Christian affect her life? I’ve seen so many minority religions persecuted and degraded, but not Christians, and not in America. Especially after reading your blog (and looking over previous entries), Christians feeling oppressed seems insulting to what non-Christians must go through.

    Good luck with all you do, tell your child to keep his chin up, and I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

    • Kristen Ferrell December 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

      There are posts from her on other blogs? Man oh man… that’s awesome! Please just ignore that… she was just an acquaintance, and that was a silly disagreement via email that she wanted to be public (ie: on my facebook page), but I thought it was more respectful to her to keep it private. She went bananas, I severed contact and had to block her (because who has time for that?!), and apparently that made her mad. I was wondering why I was getting a bunch of messages from people telling me they enjoyed my babble-y little blog and website! Apparently her negative press is good for me! That cracks me up.

      I don’t have a problem living in a Christian culture- but when it keeps people from being who they want to be, and living in a way that’s healthy for them. Do I expect everyone to be atheist? Of course not! Because it’s not what everyone needs. But do I want for my son to be allowed to feel how he wants to feel, ESPECIALLY when he’s not imposing it (or even talking about it) on anyone else? Absolutely. And I’m going to get really mad when he’s getting threatened with violence by other kids at school because he doesn’t have a god. It’s insane.

      But thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement! You rule!! 🙂

  19. Lemissa December 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    No publicity is bad publicity! You rock lady!

  20. Jen January 30, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    I know I’m commenting very late in this post, but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry that you’ve had to encounter so many Christians who are judgemental, and condemning. And I’m so sorry that your son has had to deal with this too (and how young he is!), how awful. I HATE HATE HATE it sooo much, when I have to hear about another “Christian” telling someone they are going to hell, or tell someone they should be living this way or that, etc. UGH. I am a Christian, and I would NEVER EVER EVER EVER EEVVVVVEEEERRR say that to someone. Ever! How completely and utterly horrible. I just want to commend you for telling your son not to let those kids bother him, to keep being tolerant of others, I think that it so great of you to do. Please keep up the great work! I liked that you mentioned about that Jesus actually did scorn the “religious” of his time. He called them hypocrites and openly debated them, and called them all out on the horrible things they did. He hung around with “sinners”, prostitutes, etc. and thats exactly what he’d do today! He’d be condemning those who are going around telling everyone they are going to hell!!! That is NOT what following Him is about. I have 3 year old son, and while I do teach him about God, I tell him that we are to be loving to EVERYONE, no matter what. I will tell him when he’s older that it is not okay to pressure anyone into talking about religion, etc., and its especially never okay to tell someone they are going to hell. EVER. I will not tolerate hatefulness towards others. I’m sorry this is so long, I just wanted to comment because this is something that makes my heart so heavy, to have to hear about this over and over and over. 😦 I’m sorry this happened to your son, and I hope it won’t happen again!!

  21. Laura January 31, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    Also commenting on this late (I haven’t read this blog in quite a while) but this post made me think of the Center for Inquiry’s summer camp (http://www.campinquiry.org/why.html, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93174374) for kids interested in skepticism. I’m friends with the director of CFI who tells me it was established in large part because a lot of non-religious kids face the same kind of negative reaction from overzealous religious kids–I know I did when I was growing up. It’s basically a normal summer camp with a little more emphasis on science, critical thinking, and humanism, but mainly it’s a place for non-religious kids to meet other non-religious kids and know that they’re not alone or nuts if they decide they don’t want to be religious when they’re older. It doesn’t push atheism, just critical thought. It might be worth checking out if your son is interested in that type of thing.

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