05 September 2008

Church Peeves: Part 1

As an atheist who keeps up with the writings of PZ Myers, Ebonmuse, Greta Christina, etc. I am well aware of the damages inflicted to the human thought process by religion and the dangers posed thereof. But that’s not to say there aren’t things about church/churchgoers (not all of them, but a significant portion of them) that piss me right the hell off that are of little or no consequence whatsoever. And since I really need to vent, you’re going to read about them in a 5-part series. Here’s the first:

1) Bland Omni-Happiness

You know the type: the kindly middle-aged lady, the smiling and squinting old gentleman greeter, the pudgy junior pastor – all sorts of people at the church united by one common element – they are always, always happy-looking. You come in the door; they smile. You sit down next to them; they smile. You engage in half-hearted small talk; they smile. It doesn’t matter if times are good or times are bad; if it’s raining, snowing, or sunny; if a group of orphans just got run over in the parking lot; or if you’ve just insulted their stinky old grandmother with a limp: they keep on smiling that same soulless lobotomized smile. They are like freaking morning TV show hosts.

Here’s a news flash to all the smiley automatons of the religious world: it’s okay to show emotions other than bland omni-happiness. It’s what makes us interesting as human beings. If God* had wanted us to only smile, he wouldn’t have given us all these wonderful facial muscles that can make us look angry, bored, confused, frustrated, and (here’s one to try) genuinely happy – not the phony-looking blandly happy garbage that these guys put on.

That said, I’m sure some of them really are that happy; for some, they who have drunken deeply of the Jesus cool-aid, I’m sure that there is a genuine euphoric response to being holed-up church surrounded by people and things that have been Jesified. However, I’m also sure that some of them are fakers and just going along with the crowd.

Regardless, I badly want to kick one of these guys in the nuts just so they will express some emotion other than the bland omni-happiness. Even though it may not be “emotion” so much as it will be “agonizing pain.” I’m sure there will be other emotions in there such as confusion and anger even if you can’t quite tell by looking at them. No matter; at least the smile will be gone.

Scratch that, I’d bet some of them would merely wince and drop to their knees, yet maintain their smile and reach out, saying, “Isn’t it a wonderful day to be loved by Jesus?”

Grinning bastards.

* Note: not actual God, but it’s much easier than writing, “If evolution by means of natural selection had selected for us to only smile…”

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At September 08, 2008 7:29 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

Strangely, my religious mother also complains about the exact same thing. Like all social clubs, churches attract the kind of people who crave attention and go out of their way in order to convince others that their lives are in some amazing state of bliss. In particular, my mom likes to point out the little old ladies who arrive at church late, and make an over-exaggerated show of piety and/or donation. I've never really understood how 'God-fearing' people are really any different than non-God-fearing people in terms of gross behavioral quirks.


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