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Friends of God

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Don’t miss the HBO documentary Friends of God. It has two more airings on February 26 and 28. Set your TiVo or find a friend who has one. Other than Jesus Camp, I don’t think I’ve seen a more horrifying film about American culture. That it was made by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has special significance.

We really do have two different countries within our borders. There’s a group of people who as far as they’re concerned, live in an American theocracy. They don’t give a rat’s ass about tolerance, pluralism, the constitution or live and let live. As one spokesman put it “If you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, you are a loser.”

Central to the film is the recently disgraced Ted Haggard. He smugly rants on and on about how happy Christians are, and how they have the best sex! I’m sure he never suspected we would ever find out he was talking about his meth-fueled man-shagging. Equally revealing was that he questioned two other men about their sex lives–pointedly asking “if their women came every time,” to which they replied “every time!” Did anyone think to ask the women?

One family boasted 10 children, with the mom wearing what could only be described an American burqa. She enthusiastically talked about how she had originally wanted to be a lawyer and get into politics. By barely the age of 30, she had pumped out 10 kids. As the camera showed her children eagerly poring over religious textbooks, she talked about how (indoctrinating) her children was the most fulfilling thing she could ever imagine.

We are treated to the spectacle of grown men using state-of-the-art computers and video projectors in front of auditoriums full of wide-eyed kids, to show them slide shows about why evolution is bunk. The kids were eating it up. Alexandra: “Do you believe in evolution?” Kid: “No.” Alexandra: “Why?” Kid: “Because the bible says so.” In a similar techno-irony, Haggard and others are seen bragging about their satellite linkups.

Then you have the man who spends $25,000 apiece on giant (over 100 ft. tall) white steel crosses all over the country.

What struck me about this phenomenon is its sheer scale. Not just the giant monuments, but the fact that so many people have so much leisure time on their hands to engage in these pursuits. Of course America is a rich country, but does it really escape the minds of the Evangelicals that their prosperity is due to massive siphoning of worldwide resources? Could it be that the reason why it’s so convenient to engage in unquestioned patriotism is because American dominance provides the “good life” here on Earth? This is about as far from a message of true spirituality as it could be. Even if we took Christ at ‘his’ word, (the fake words we have in the bible, to be sure) Americans are in no way justified in using roughly 1/3 of the world’s resources with just 5% of the population. Not very charitable of us.

This point is literally driven home, by such absurdities as the Christian Cruisers for Christ, a hot-rod club, endless proselytizing highway billboards, and the drive-thru churches. Megachurches themselves with their vast parking lots could not exist without the automobile’s central position in our society. And this is dependent upon the cheap energy we enjoy, which most decidedly does not come from “on high.”

This leads me to wonder if these caricatures of American life can survive peak oil and the energy transition. We shall see. This type of faith might just turn out to track an inverse relationship to the price of oil.

Or maybe not. People who are mentally prepared for the end of the world and a “rapture” might not be fazed by having to walk or take buses to church. One thing is for sure. Modern evangelical Christianity is a rampant meme, which has as its primary goal self-replication. As tax-exempt organizations, evangelicals push the boundaries of involvement in politics to the absolute limit. Falwell: “The church can’t tell you how to vote, but I can personally!” But it is the fecundity of adherents, and the success with which they’ve managed to instill circular reasoning in their young that I find most horrifying.

We should all take this film, along with Jesus Camp, as a warning. The evangelicals are on the march. We ignore this menace at our peril.


Comments (24 comments)

a / February 23rd, 2007, 2:31 pm / #1

Interesting, scary, and provocative. I will leave before I sound like I’m being paid…

cheers!

a

Doris Tracey / February 23rd, 2007, 5:21 pm / #2

Hi Sean,

I believe the evangelicals are very sincere and the atheist are also very sincere in their hearts and both are on the move. Many people are turning to Biblical Principles and quite happily discovering the principles are making a dramatic change in their lives. The founder of Joyce Myers MInistries, Joyce Myers is living proof that these principles work, she walks her talk. Her own father sexually abused for 15 yrs. and she is very open to the world about the abuse and of course she is no longer the same mean, nasty , emotionally disturbed person she was. It took many years to change her life. She began a bible study in her home with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and wearing the shortest shorts you could find. Joyce had every type of Psychological Shadow and she ,right before peoples own eyes is tearing them all down. Joyce appears on the Trinity Broadcasting Station every morning. Many of her teachings are new age. She is now feeding and helping people all over the world. One man in the audiance said he saw 10 angels around her with flaming swords.

There is another very fine man and evangelical who was on this film and that is Joel Osteen ,Rev. John Osteens’ son. Joel had no idea what he wanted to do with his life and he sure did not desire to become a minister and walk after his fathers foot steps, even though he was extremely close to his father, well sure enough, his father died and he did not want to see his fathers ministry go under ,so he took over the ministry and his ministry has become hugh in a very short time; he is also teaching New Age and Biblical Principles. He also appears on the Trinity Broadcasting Station. He has so much gratitude inside him that when he teaches ,tears come into his eyes. He is truly a very joyful individual !!!

There is another group of people I find to have big caring and in my eyes godly motivations and that is the so called atheist and agnostics. Many have turned their hearts from God to the secular world because of the pain they feel for all humanity. Many of the Atheists are no different in
their expression to other people then the Christians; they call themselves a different name,atheists and a rose called by any other name smells just as sweet.

BlackSun / February 23rd, 2007, 6:05 pm / #3

Doris,

Sincerity is not a substitute for awareness. While there may be some evangelicals who do not fall into this category, most have shut down their critical thinking skills, oppose science, and are trying to drag this country back to the middle ages. (While taking advantage of all of its energy, wealth, and the most modern technology, I might add.)

No amount of so-called joy or love can make up for the serious cognitive dissonance, indoctrination, and outright child abuse they are perpetrating. (By forcefully miseducating their children about the principles on which the universe operates).

Sometimes, Doris, ya gotta take a stand. There is no way to reconcile what I and other atheists are doing with the evangelicals. Much as you and others might like it to be, it can’t all be about people’s “hearts” and “good intentions.” There are principles at stake and you can’t have it both ways.

Doris Tracey / February 24th, 2007, 2:36 am / #4

Sean,

I do know what you are saying, you have to discern spirits. I think people see whats happining on this earth and they want change and some would like to control. The good people no matter what their beliefs, will win. A new form of Government will start to take shape in the future, a world government based on the best interests of all mankind .

BlackSun / February 24th, 2007, 10:57 am / #5

“you have to discern spirits”

I prefer to use reason and logic.

“A new form of Government will start to take shape in the future, a world government based on the best interests of all mankind”

Let’s hope so, and also that it will be limited, secular, and allow the maximum freedom for the individual, balanced with laws requiring sustainable and renewable use of our common resources.

Doris Tracey / February 24th, 2007, 12:24 pm / #6

HI Sean,

Do you theorize that the Science and Religious Community will be able to reason together in the future? Do you theorize that life mechanically evolved? The big bang theory is still going on in the galaxy; every few seconds a star implodes and scientist cannot completely explain why. I believe scientist will discover in the near future many hidden truthes. The religious people may become quite shaken when the reality hits them. What is lacking in the religious community is progressive revelation, which is never a fantasy. What is seen is temporal or secular and what is not seen is eternal. I can’t imagine life evolving mechanically, without the electrical side of life, can you?

The colors of the implosion is gorgeous! Without scientist there would be no religion.

Marc / February 24th, 2007, 5:27 pm / #7

Hi Sean

I’ve just seen Friends of God on movie network. It made me angry, especially the part where this man show the photoshop picture of a mix ape-grand-ma…..and ask the kid ” did your gran-ma look like that ?…………………this is really indoctrination at the worst level, really horrible !
You really have two country in one. Hope it gets better…

Marc

say no to christ / February 24th, 2007, 9:21 pm / #8

Hey Sean

My husband and I got to see part of ‘friends of god’ and we are looking forward to seeing the whole thing soon. There really isn’t much the christians do to shock us any more. Sadly.

Doris Tracey / February 25th, 2007, 3:23 am / #9

Sean? I don’t know who Ted Haggard is and I shouldn’t judge because I normally make friends with any kind of individual, but I’m wondering if Ted Haggard is homosexual or was.

Doris Tracey / February 25th, 2007, 3:29 am / #10

Hi Sean,

I won’t be able to watch friends of God because I don’t have access to cable. Thanks for the information.

Engineer-Poet / February 25th, 2007, 11:02 pm / #11

Doris, I sure hope that your grasp of morality is better than your understanding of astrophysics… and even basic logic.

What worries folks like Sean and me is that people like you have absorbed relativism that you do not even understand as such (because your reasoning skills have been atrophied by uncritical belief).  Could you go from “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to “All for us, nothing for them because they are unfaithful” like the muslims?  Perhaps without realizing it?

Remember, who can get you to believe absurdities, can get you to commit atrocities.

Doris Tracey / February 26th, 2007, 3:22 am / #12

Mr Engineer- Poet

I ‘m not 100 sure what your saying to me about astrophsics.I know I’m very interested in all types of sciences and I read books like the National Geographic , astrology, astronomy,and religion, which to me is the ultimate science of the unseen world. You see I wouldn’t be drawn to what I read if it were not inside of me already. I also love Political Science and I have a desire to help poor humanity come into a higher awarenes ,so we can all work together and not against one another. Not one of us on this earth is clear on critical thinking and none of us knows anything as we ought to know. People are desiring to find a better way and some people are trying to hinder others from the natural seek and find nature we all have. Yes we all need clean air and and energy efficient cars and a multitude of other things on this earth need to be changed, but we also need clean minds and hearts so we can all work together to make this happen. “What man has done man can do”. It’s alright to criticize me ,it helps me to come up a little higher.

BlackSun / February 26th, 2007, 11:48 am / #13

@a, marc, thanks!

@say no to christ, yes, you are right, it’s not shocking any more, but still should rally us to pay attention and continue to raise consciousness about the indoctrination which is out-and-out child abuse. BTW, have you entered protect.org into the Atheism Online directory?

@Doris. Yes, Haggard is gay. Apparently, you haven’t been following the story, which I covered in this post:

http://www.blacksunjournal.com/religion/268_the-harder-they-fall_2006

Also, I have to second the motion by Engineer-Poet: When you say things like:

“Not one of us on this earth is clear on critical thinking and none of us knows anything as we ought to know.”

If you don’t know, that’s relativism. You are essentially stating that no one knows any better than anyone else, and what is most important is just to get along with each other. That works just fine until any important question of conflict of interest arises. Then you have real problems.

Science is built on a strong foundation of understanding and without that foundation there would be no progress. This is why it is frustrating to read your postings where you seem to value conflict avoidance over truth or knowledge.

It really does bode poorly for our future that some people think the earth is 6,000 years old and humans were created from scratch by some deity. It’s obviously a bigger problem than you realize.

I’m not trying to criticize you, but it would be good for you to understand a little more about critical thought, logical fallacies, and why relativism is such a pernicious philosophy.

A great book to start with is Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World.” It is an enjoyable read, and will also explain in much better terms why this is an important stand to take.

Doris Tracey / February 26th, 2007, 4:45 pm / #14

Sean,

Thanks for the input, but could people reason through the conflict?

Engineer-Poet / February 26th, 2007, 6:01 pm / #15

Doris, that’s exactly it. You don’t know what I’m saying to you about astrophysics. Let’s look at one of your statements to clarify what you don’t know:

The big bang theory is still going on in the galaxy [1]; every few seconds [2] a star implodes [3] and scientist cannot completely explain why[4]. I believe scientist will discover in the near future many hidden truthes[5]….. I can’t imagine life evolving mechanically, without the electrical side of life, can you?[6]The colors of the implosion [7] is gorgeous! Without scientist there would be no religion. [8]

Aside from the grammatical errors, the gross misconceptions in those few sentences are legion:

1. The Big Bang was a universe-wide event about 13.7 billion years ago. This event determined the physical laws we see today, and nothing remotely like it has happened since. Supernovae are in no way like the Big Bang. They are far too small, and are determined by the laws of physics rather than re-arranging or even creating them.

2. Supernovae occur roughly once per century in our galaxy.

3. The visible part of a supernova is an EXplosion. Some supernovae begin with implosions, but others appear to start with a runaway fusion reaction in a white dwarf star which leads to the star blowing its entire mass into space, leaving no remnant.

4. Nuclear physicists do a much better job than theologians.

5. Scientists will find these truths by testing their ideas about how the universe works against the universe itself. This appears to be a foreign idea to you.

6. Electricity is a well-understood part of physics. My own degree would have been impossible if it were not.

7. Obviously you do not understand the difference between color, a color photograph (often very different) and a false-color image. Most of the astronomical images you see are false-color images. Even the color photographs are sexed up by the characteristics of film; the Orion nebula looks great on long exposures, but it’s kind of blobbish seen in the eyepiece. Oh, and colorless.

8. The institution of religion is at least twenty times older than science.

Given the number of things you claim to know which are utterly wrong, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be contributing to any of the advances which fascinate you. You will remain forever on the outside looking in.

Doris Tracey / February 26th, 2007, 7:51 pm / #16

Hi Mr Engineer-Poet

I never claimed to know any of this. All I said is that this is what interests me and this is what I read in the National Geographic, about stars imploding
every few seconds. The book never said it was the big bang theory,but I thought it might be similar to the big bang theory. Right before the star dies it sings a swan song. I certainly am interested in all of these sciences, but as you can see I need some help. Maybe you would be delighted to be my mentor!

CompSciNonPoet / February 27th, 2007, 7:34 am / #17

Mr Engineer Poet. Doris Tracey may seem to you, and to me to be naive or fanciful in her ideas, but I couldn’t ask for someone with much more of an open mind.

She may be under illusion NOW, but time moves forward and so does she.

Why not offer some direction for her to discover more?

It does seem that the more people learn, the further from religious dogma they go. Some people don’t WANT to give up the ghost of meaningful forces outside this existence. For many it’s too scary to think of the loss of purpose.

If someone can’t fathom worlds without gods, deconstruction of existential angst isn’t going to be on the plate for a while… but there’s no problem in helping people open their eyes to see more than Ted Haggard or christian zombies do. It’s going to take a million steps and at least ten more supernovas to shake the evolved primates off our backs.

Doris. Many people never remove their requirement of the universe having unknowable mystery. Please pull away from such a paradigm and view the world without it. What if nobody ever told you stories about how things became and why? No narrative theory has ever explained it well, so why continue to look for the narrative? Science, for all its historical human error has a striking history of getting it “righter” at most every step. whether it be rotation of the planets, medicine, etc. Instead of being in awe of how scientists getting it wrong, why not see the awe in the history of religions getting it wrong – and yet belief addicts can get enough?

Engineer-Poet / February 27th, 2007, 2:17 pm / #18

Let’s see if that closes that open tag… (Sean!  Time to implement a preview!)

CSNP:  I’d be willing to spend time on Doris if I saw any indication that her mind was open to new understandings which don’t fit in her old dogma.  I’ve seen no hint of this so far; she appears to be here to preach.

Doris Tracey / February 27th, 2007, 3:13 pm / #19

Mr CompSciNonPoet,

Thank you so much for trying to understand me you have a very kind open heart. I really enjoy coming on Seans’ site and very many interesting people pass by here like your self and Engineer- Poet. I do have an open mind and all ideas are welcome in my world. I guess if you limit your mind in any area you could be devastated when things do not pan out the way you thought . I’m sorry Mr. Engineer-Poet for sounding like I’m preaching,I’d rather teach then preach any day. Mr Engineer- Poet I’m always open to new and old dogmas. I see Scientist as the most exciting ,adventurous people in the world! Thanks again CompSciNonPoet !

say no to christ / February 27th, 2007, 7:57 pm / #20

Sean

No I havent I didn’t know I could do such a thing. What do I have to do?

Jason / May 7th, 2007, 3:10 pm / #21

In respect to Doris Tracey / February 23rd, 2007, 5:21 pm / #2 post about Joyce Myers.

I was a fool for 11 years for giving her ministry money. Want proof that her “gospel” is just pop psychology motivation speaker see the link below.

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/tele-evangelist_lifestyles.html

she is a FAKE! and is using donations to pay her and the bills of her children, buying homes for all her kids, buying a home for her armed guard (head of security), buying boats and skidoos for her self with donations. She says 80-90% of donations go to the needs, when in fact its 10% of the 8,000,000 thats made a month.

Im so upset that I was taken in.

Please check out the website, and pass this along to all the other churches and ministries and your friends, its time to stop giving her money that she spends on herself and her family. The worse part, is that she says not only does she deserve the cash (remember she gets a salery of $500,000+), but paying all of her families bills and her personal bills is because none of them have the time…

Come on……………….

As least I gave in the right way and God knows my heart. So, find a good church and go toa lot of them, and when you find the right one, you will know it. Dont let this kind of thing put you off God.

Rich / August 19th, 2007, 4:06 am / #22

There is a way to resolve all the conflicts in all the above-written comments. See The Urantia Book for a New Age Cosmology that explains it all, from Jesus to Evolution.New and fresh revelation that is not a fantasy.

BlackSun / August 19th, 2007, 9:56 am / #23

Rich, the Urantia book is a fraud like all the rest. You can’t be that naive. From a scientific standpoint, the book is completely ignorant, and reads like it was written in the early to mid-20th century. According to the Wikipedia article:

Skeptics like Martin Gardner see the science in The Urantia Book as clear reflections of the views that prevailed at the time the book is said to have originated. The claim by the authors that no unknown scientific discoveries could be imparted is seen as a ruse to allow mistakes to be dismissed later. That presentation of post-1955 scientific knowledge is avoided is taken to be evidence it was written by humans and not by celestial beings with superior knowledge.

Rich / August 21st, 2007, 12:11 am / #24

Oh, yeah, so sorry to have bothered you.

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