If you’re lost, I’ve got a bobble-head Jesus

It only costs you to get on your knees. (Dave Matthews Band)

So last night a new episode of 30 Days aired on FX. It was an interesting episode and one I had to mentally prepare myself for. It was about an Athiest living with a family of Christians for 30 days. Whenever a reality show sticks people together who have differing religious views, particularly when one or more is a Christian, you can always count on arguments and stupidity on the part of one or all participants. However, 30 Days is more about expanding the mind rather than creating conflict, so this instance of clashing beliefs wasn’t too bad.

Except when, you know, Mike the Christian drove Brenda the Athiest by the local mega church and then sat there coveting it. I mean, I covet (hello, Anderson Cooper much?) and it’s wrong of me and I need to apologize to God (sorry!) but Mike the Christian commented on how tired he was of being judged (he or Christians in general) for wanting something “nice.” Well, the mega church wasn’t “nice.” It was obscene. I mean, good for you for having a huge congregation but do you need to put them up in something that looks more like a basketball arena than a church? The gist of his statement, at least in the way I understood it, was that he was tired of people calling some Christians on their flashy, showy, money-driven ways.

I had a slight beef with Brenda the Athiest when she asked her youngest, “Do you believe there’s a higher being controlling your life?” Youngest: “No.” Brenda the Athiest: “Who controls your life?” Youngest: “…You!” Ha! That was a funny moment. But in truth, God created free will and gave us all free will (well, if you believe in that sort of thing, which I do), which means you ultimately control your life. Take Sims, for example. You have the option of turning off free will, which means your Sims will just stand there and do nothing until you tell them to go to sleep or use the bathroom or cook dinner. If you leave free will on, your Sims will do whatever they want, like swing on the swing set at three in the morning even though the baby’s diaper seriously needs to be changed, unless you tell them to do something else, like change the baby’s diaper. Sims with free will will eat, sleep, bath, clean up, and care for the kids of their own volition, even if sometimes they need a nudge or reminder.

Which brings me back to Brenda the Athiest’s question. I was a little irritated at her somewhat misinformed question until she revealed (later in the show) that she was a Christian for 27 years. Then I just wanted to shake her by the shoulders because hello, when you stop believing in something, it doesn’t necessarily change the manner of the thing in which you no longer believe.

I just confused myself. At any rate, the episode was well done. Brenda the Athiest braved a Christian radio show at a local Bible university (I think?) and I balked when the host of the show asked Brenda the Athiest what she thought about morality, right and wrong, and other such things. Morality isn’t mutually exclusive to Christianity. You can be a morally upstanding citizen and not believe in God.

The last two things that had me clawing at the screen were Mike the Christian completely and blatantly ignoring someone’s question regarding our currency (if our currency said ‘God does not exist’ would you have a problem with it? I live in AMERICA and our money says IN GOD WE TRUST. Lather, rinse, repeat. For five minutes.) and the whole evolution discussion. I’ll admit it right away, I don’t really know what creationists believe. According to the guy leading a group of creationists through a museum, man and dinosaurs existed at the same time (we’ll ignore that 60-million-year gap). Then there was my favorite “We are not monkeys!” discussion. No, we aren’t monkeys. But we descended from a common ancestor. We have roughly 98% shared or similar DNA with chimpanzees. I am too lazy to do all the Google searches for how the timeline and fossil record look but we aren’t monkeys. Relax.

I believe that evolution and God can and do co-exist. In fact, the presence of evolution proves the existence of God for me. So yes, I yelled these things at my television last night. I’m sure the upstairs neighbors were very happy about that.

Oh, and one last observation before I move onto other things. That Bible-themed theme park? You shouldn’t have to pay to see a reenactment of Jesus being nailed to a cross. Nor should you have to pay to listen to an actor dressed as Jesus (and that actor didn’t even look Jewish!) tell you that you can’t serve God and money. Oh, how I laughed when they showed that little gem.

In the off chance Morgan Spurlock comes to my blog, I have to pose just one question: why didn’t you make Brenda the Athiest tell us why she stopped believing in God? Didn’t it come up at some other point?

And now onto other more delightful topics of conversation. Okay, so Joan of Arcadia? So addicted. I mean, Netflix has been pretty awesome already and last night we watched TWO episodes of Joan of Arcadia instead of one and OH MY GOD THAT KISS WAS PERFECT. With the feathers fluttering down and his hand on her hip and all the chaos and BAM. Kissing.

I guess that’s all I have to say for now. Cheers!

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Posted on August 10, 2006, in Sparkle Pants does Religion, TV machine, You made baby Jesus cry!. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on If you’re lost, I’ve got a bobble-head Jesus.

  1. Okay so obviously I didn’t see this, I don’t have cable, but about Brenda the Atheist and the kid question thing.. I’m not sure I understand exactly where you were goin with that. And since I’m not sure what you are saying, I guess I just wanted to note an alternative way of thinking here for a second.

    I think one of the things that we all sort of lump together is the idea of religion and beliefs, but religions and beliefs can and are separate entities. Having a religion is like belong to a certain institution, a social group. Whereas having beliefs, while they may place you inline with certain groups that maintain your same set of beliefs, are just a set of values and things you hold true.

    That said, when one chooses to stop believing in something, it might not change the manner of the thing that they once believed in, but it does change the manner of belief itself. So that if I were to choose to not believe in God, I therefore would not believe that he created all things. Nor would I believe that he was the ruler of my life, the keeper of my afterlife (if I so chose to believe in one) or my savior. In fact, whatever drove me to not believe in these things would be the exact reason why I would also not believe that anything of what I had previous believed was ever held true. Does that make any sense?

    And yes, for those who believe in God, we believe that he created free will. He gave us the ability to choose what we believe and how we choose to do believe in things. It is percisely for this reason that I believe that religions and spiritual things are all things he created for us so that we would have something to believe in. When someone switches religions, they don’t necessarily stop believing in anything, they just switch their beliefs to something else. So that if I were to become an Atheist, I would not longer believe that God held the power over my life, but that I did. And to be honest, the whole “master of my own destiny” thing is a hard thing to conquer, which is why so many have a religion and believe in something. We all have to believe in something. It’s just that for some it’s many gods, some it’s God, some it’s another form of a spiritual being, for some it’s the self.

    And so I guess I might be reading your post wrong, but if she is teaching her daughter that she rules her own destiny because that’s what she believes, it’s the same as teaching your daughter that God created everything…. if you think in the sense that everyone has to have something to believe in. I’m way off track here again, but I hope that made sense.

  2. I get what you’re saying and I was having a hard time expressing what I meant. I’m fine with Brenda being an Athiest and I’m fine with her teaching it to her children and maybe my view of this as a Christian is completely opposed to that of most other Christians, but I was a little taken aback by the whole “do you think there is someone somewhere controlling every single thing you do and deciding your entire life for you?” question. It just seems that someone so vehemently opposed to something should know something about the thing she so vehemently opposes, right? Then again, if that was the brand of Christianity she grew up with/is used to, then I can’t really fault her for saying that.

    So basically that whole passage was me being all HAHA! that’s so silly! to the idea of God controlling every minute detail. Maybe that makes me a bad Christian? I don’t know.

    At any rate, I’m about Brenda being an Athiest. I mean, I can see why she is. Which is sad, I think.

  3. Oh. Okay. I figured I wasn’t getting the point. Though really, I can see where you are coming from. I’m sure she probably did grow up with the sort of beliefs that say “oh everything that happens to you is part of his plan”…

    And really, no one can say you are a bad Christian for having your own set of beleifs. Like you said before, God gave free will. Why would he do that if he had your whole life already planned out?

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