Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi went undercover at a US evangelical Christian “boot camp” for new converts. This is an extract from his book about it.
An Atheist Goes Undercover
Some of it is hugely hilarious, as the camp leaders exorcise the demons of astrology, anal fissures, philosophy, intellect and “disconnect” from their flock, or tell stories about banishing the demon of Harry Potter from their lives. But overall, it sounds frightening, a solid weekend of scientology-like brainwashing in which people expose their most private secrets and undergo group therapy techniques designed to break their psychological resistance.
Taibbi came away from his experience with worrying conclusions:
Afterward, a frightening thought shot through my head. It occurred to me that over the past decades, any number of our prominent political leaders (from Jimmy Carter to Chuck Colson to W himself) had boasted publicly of their born-again experiences, broadcasting to Middle America an understanding of their personal relationships with God. But whereas once these conversions were humble things — Billy Graham whispering and putting his hand on W’s shoulder in Kennebunkport, or even (in the case of Tom DeLay) a flash of recognition while watching a televangelist program — the modern version might very easily be this completely batshit holy-vomitus/demon-exorcism deal. The thought that any politician could claim this kind of experience and not be immediately disqualified from public service seemed utterly terrifying.
Courtesy of the Pagan Prattle, a list of Christian fundamentalist idiocy, collected from forums and chatgroups. Here’s a sample:
Gravity: Doesn’t exist. If items of mass had any impact of others, then mountains should have people orbiting them. Or the space shuttle in space should have the astronauts orbiting it. Of course, that’s just the tip of the gravity myth. Think about it. Scientists want us to believe that the sun has a gravitation pull strong enough to keep a planet like neptune or pluto in orbit, but then it’s not strong enough to keep the moon in orbit? Why is that? What I believe is going on here is this: These objects in space have yet to receive mans touch, and thus have no sin to weigh them down. This isn’t the case for earth, where we see the impact of transfered sin to material objects. The more sin, the heavier something is.
I am a bit troubled. I believe my son has a girlfriend, because she left a dirty magazine with men in it under his bed. My son is only 16 and I really don’t think he’s ready to date yet. What’s worse is that he’s sneaking some girl to his room behind my back. I need help, God! I want my son to stop being so secretive!
[about a girl being born with mental disabilities]
This girl is like a leper so what she needs to do is try and find god
if she really believes she can be healed from this state, she will be healed from this state
Most afflictions like this are caused by sins committed while still inside the womb. If she can repent for what she does god will embrace her and make her as human as you or me but if she chooses not to she’ll always be like this
god tests every one of us [emphasis added]
How can anyone beleive we evolved from monkeys heres a few questions for people who beleive that
1.If we did evolve from monkeys then how come babies arent born monkeys
2.Even Darwin said his theories were wrong before he died so why do you still believe them
3.do you really not believe the bible it says we were created in seven days not millions of years
4.how come we cant speak monkey
Just for a fact ape like creatures are monkeys Just in case certain people get on this thread
The only good Atheist is a dead Atheist.
“Make sure your answer uses Scripture, not logic.”
[Talking about an eleven year old girl who was raped and then buried alive]
god was sacrificing this child as a way to show others the light. much as he did his own child. what a beautiful gift he has given us.
(Yuck – I need to wash my brain out now.)
These are of course all, or nearly all, US Christians speaking. However, we Brits can’t feel too superior – I’m sure we have a few equally insane people here in the UK.
And, never forget, these people have the vote.
Meanwhile, the US administration says that we are the ones America should be worried about.