Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Christian Infiltration

I am reposting this at the behest of a friend. I recently posted this on a private forum. The thread was about the new film Religulous by Bill Maher, and this was my response to a friend's recent taunting of a pair of Mormons who came to call.

I just had two wonderfully nice Mormon's knock on my door with the intent of getting me to consider their religion. I decided to do my best Bill Maher impersonation, and I asked them, "But, if I go with you guys, how do I know I've made the right choice, after all their are over 2000 religions to pick from and only one can be right, right?" Next time I'll be nicer, I was just in one of those playful moods.

I can one up that.

I joined a moderated Christian singles chat group a few years back on one boring Friday night. It was filled with holy rollers. They were all milling about, chewing the fat, typical sort of chat group banter but with more "amen"s and "bless you"s sprinkled in, lots of capitalized words that oughtn't to have been, and this one twat who would spam ASCII art of fish as regular as clockwork.

Their courting rituals were studies in frustration and compromise. Most of these peeps were horny Luddites quietly keen on sin and clearly frustrated that their religion was chafing their nethers.

What I keyed in on though was that there was no swearing allowed. They were very strict about that. I decided that was my goal, but I knew I would have to corrupt them gently.

I started with, "Do we have any scholars in the house? Got a good one for you. How many times does the word cucumber appear in the Holy Bible?"

All conversation stopped. I had their attention. I got a lot of "None! Don't be ridiculous." type responses. The moderator immediately threatened to ban me for being blasphemous.

I chastised the moderator for not knowing his Bible and pointed out that it actually appears a few times in the KJV, and I got a lot of denial and incredulity, so I cited the references accurately with the help of an online Bible search engine, but quietly not mentioning that part in order to appear scholarly.

My initial success was encouraging, so I decided to go for a loftier goal, to get away with saying "God damn it" and "cocksucker" without getting banned by the moderator. It was surprisingly easy.

Their skill with logical, persuasive argument had of course been rotted to the core by their own faith, which I find is really the genius behind religion. It rewards the faithful with faith that they'll be rewarded and a side order of soggy, pliable wit, and it rewards the handful who see through it with considerable power over the rest. So I was shooting ASCII fish in a barrel.

The channel alpha male was starting to engage me in conversation, seeing his dominance threatened by the plucky new scholar. I got in a pretty spirited conversation with him, my online Bible reference always at the ready to back up any point I wanted to make with the appropriate reference. I treated it as a dictionary-based compression algorithm, and man, you can justify just about any point you want to make with the Bible. It's awesome.

It didn't take long, and his aggression and testosterone paved the way. He laid me up with, "Look, God damn it, you can't say it isn't so. Would He have besmote with such wrathful vengeance the <>..."

And I got a warning from the moderator, but by then, it was getting harder to challenge me. I was it in the channel. They were genuinely impressed with my Bible knowledge and hadn't the faintest that there might be such a thing as an online concordance.

By the end of the evening, a button-down substitute teacher in the bay area was sending me a torrent of private messages speaking of love, chastity, and similarly veiled eagerness to spend naughty time in the rectory with me.

I called it a night shortly after they nominated me as moderator of the channel. That was the second time I would fall out of my chair laughing that night. I apologetically declined, dabbed away the last tears of joy, and slept like a baby.

I strongly recommend infiltration over argumentation with them. Arguing logically with the faithful is just bludgeoning rubber toys with a bat. Feels good, but everyone knows they can't retain the meat of your argument in their bouncy rubber heads. So who is the fool, the rubber toy or the grown man who tries to reason with it?

They really are more fun to play with if you treat them like a flock of sheep, just as their leaders refer to them.

Dawkins does a brilliant job of illuminating how the most successful politicians exploit this in his TED talk on militant atheism, and discusses the direct correlation between higher education and atheism: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/richard_dawkins_on_milita...

1 comment:

  1. That is possibly the best thing ever.

    Respect for Dave +100 points.

    Also, I NEED to see that Bill Maher movie.