Skip to main content

Compassion and Punishment

By Carl S ~

Compassion: Deep awareness of the suffering of another. Sympathy. Tenderness. Empathy.

Something that rankles me is the fundamentalist attitude of "Tough S**t" for the misfortunes of others. For example: I remember one discussion, initiated by a member of Teen Challenge, where I brought up the inefficiency of prayer, citing the fact that thousands of babies and children died every day in Africa while they were being prayed over. The teen, echoing what he'd obviously been taught, said this was due to the fact the people of Africa were being punished for their "immoral promiscuity." His breezy answer impressed me for its heartlessness, but it shouldn't have; after all, he was only repeating a fundamental Christian belief. Consider the rationale: Punishment is his God's knee-jerk answer to most problems he has with humanity. If the human race deserved to be drowned nearly out of existence for its "immorality" - even that of infants - then who are we to question God? According to Christian doctrine, Jesus, too, weeping over the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem's inhabitants, nevertheless said they had it coming because they didn't accept him. There is no depth in Jesus' weeping, let alone "deep awareness" of their suffering to come. His tears are maudlin, shallow, and uninvolved. And so was this Christian teen's answer.

Constantly, examples of Christian non-compassion keep appearing: Hurricane Katrina's devastation, the thousands of lives lost in tsunamis, 9/11/2001? All due to the immorality of gays, secularists and non-believers turning away from God. Compassion? You've got to be joking! When news reports of gays dying from AIDS first came out, the evangelical response was they were being rightfully punished by God for their immoral life-style. Who cares, since they had it coming? If women die from back-alley abortions, or become infertile from attempts to self-abort (and according to reliable statistics, approximately 100,000 women in the state of Texas have attempted to self-abort in the last 2 years alone), well then, they should be forced to bring their pregnancies to term. If they're that opposed to the will of God, then let them suffer and die. God is punishing them. And so should God's people, doing God's work, make even more laws denying abortions in a clinical setting to them, even if it means denying them access to essential health care. That'll teach them. Compassion, my eye!

The state of Maine, headed by a vetoing governor as close to a Bible belt politician as you can get, is the only New England state to refuse federal funding to expand Medicaid. That isn't all: forty thousand MaineCare recipients have been cut from the rolls. The "holy values" religious right keeps trying to scrap the Affordable Care Act, is behind building more prisons, is in favor of the death penalty, and for barring illegal immigrants from entering the U.S.

Why don't the fundamentalists have compassion for the poor, the needy and the wrongfully imprisoned?Ever since I sent a 60th anniversary note thanking the monastery for throwing me out, I've been getting petitions from Catholic organizations. One of them is Priests for Life, an anti-abortion PAC. They have a mania for "fetus rights" even at the cost of a woman's life. They demand rights for a fetus or an embryo, and not for women who have a right to how their bodies are used; after all, they're murderers if they abort, and deserve no compassion. Although scriptures say nothing about the subject of abortion (but plenty about killing undesirable infants), they persist in spending millions of dollars and thousands of hours for the "person-hood" cause. I have to be angry. What the goddamn hell about compassion for all the thousands of victims of pedophilic clerics in every single country where they've been trusted, some of whom committed suicide? All I've ever seen of compassion from churches was applied solely to the perpetrators

Why are so many Christians opposed to the Affordable Care Act, which has already brought heretofore unavailable health care to millions? Why aren't evangelicals raising hell over the fact that the federal minimum wage is not being raised? Why aren't the "personal prosperity gospel" faithful seeking prosperity for all? Consider RFRA prejudice. Why does "religious freedom" mean denying freedom to others? ("We won't serve gay citizens. "Tough s**t. They choose to be homosexual and it's against my conscience to wait on them." But, as my friend said, even if homosexuality could be a choice, it's still wrong to deny rights to gays. The Christian fundamentalist moralist values emphasize punishing others for not being as "moral" as themselves.

Fundamentalists see the world as a battle between "us" and "them." When it comes to religious righteousness, anything negative is permissible or overlooked whenever it befalls "them." This is the evangelical mind-set that explains how so much prejudice, hatred, and injustice is perpetuated. Nobody cares about the victims, because their God doesn't care about the victims - he blames the victims.

Why don't the fundamentalists have compassion for the poor, the needy and the wrongfully imprisoned? Why don't they protest because the bottom 90% of American households averaged, for 15 years now, zero income growth, while the wealthiest 10% received 100% of income growth? Is it because wealthy interests/politicians elected by Christian voters advance their agendas? The religious business interests - the Greens of Hobby Lobby, the Koch brothers, the Duggars, Falwells and Pat Robertsons of this nation - can't and don't care to relate to the suffering of others. Could it be that it's because, like so many fundies, they've got theirs, and want to keep adding to theirs? ls it because they, after all, are God's chosen, so they have no compassion for those suffering as a "result of their choices?" Doesn't this make us the "them" who deserve being punished? It should be no wonder that those of us who are compassionate oppose them and their shallow, punishing God.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

ACTS OF GOD

By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro