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The New Religion Fucks You All

Saturday


I am at work. Well, I am at one of the places I work. I do a chunk of private tuition these days, but I also work at a weekend school which, yes, is an unnecessary cruelty to everyone involved. But I like money so I don't frown too much. At this job, however, I teach classes, and there are other teachers, and occasionally, I even talk to them (I tend to spend most of my time talking with kids in classes). In recent months, I've noticed, by talking and by listening, that around my workplace there is a growing religiousness--and not just a nice, friendly, acceptable religious content, but a wild, out there, real mind fuck kind of religion, of which, as I walk out of a classroom, I hear another teacher say, "Jesus loves you."

That class had nine year olds in it.

On Saturday, during my break, I got talking with D who, I learnt a while back, is real hardcore Catholic.

"They need good Catholic morals," she says to me.

"Poor people with AIDS in Africa," I reply, "do better with condoms."

"They need morals. If they can't control themselves to not pass on that disease then they're no better than animals."

I don't actually remember how we got to this point. It was a jagged little map of morals relating to sex and sexuality. I seem to remember at one stage talking about homosexuality and how I, in my amazing wisdom, said, "I don't care who people fuck--and I really don't see what difference it makes to you, either," which I think was in reply to some statement that D had made about homosexuals being dirty. Well, homosexuals who have sex, that is. If you're gay and you don't fuck, you're okay. Me, I already have enough problem telling the kids not to use 'gay' as an insult; most of them do it without even thinking about why they're saying it, and it's just one of those ticks I've picked up. Say shit, say fuck, and I don't give a fucking shit, but say gay in a negative way and I pull you up on it. Go figure. At any rate, after this little comment, I got good and interesting in the conversation and it went everywhere, as these conversations do, and we devolved into how she thought having sex for pleasure was bad, and this went on to how people who have group sex, or who swap partners, have a mental illness.

It was a little insane, to say the least. I was taken back to all that LiveJournal SixApart shit from last week, where the religious fucks go up and decided to police the internet, but being in a real conversation, I found myself saying, "How's it an illness? If people want to do that, and they're good with it, how's it harm anyone?" I was about to add, "And what business of it is mine to tell somehow they can live," when D says--

"They'll care when Jesus comes."

"What?"

"There are only two choices at the end of the world: Heaven or Hell."

She is looking straight at me when she says this. Maybe she's expecting the apocalypse right now, I don't know. It's not the first time she's said it.

Sunday


You would think one day of this kind of thing would be enough, but it's not.

Back at work, there is a guy there who teaches the year twelve class on a Sunday, and who last week introduced himself to me with a different last name. I didn't ask, but I just figured that the change was due to some kind of religious bent. In my experience, people tend to change their last names for legal, marriage, and religious purposes, and nothing less. If you're a guy, you're down to two choices, mostly. Anyhow, come Sunday, and he's not there, and I'm covering his class, instead of my year four class, which is rather like a game show, of which I am the host, except I have no prizes to give away (a constant complaint, incidentally, by the contestants). Anyhow, I'm in this year twelve class for fifteen minutes, and then one of them says:

"We've spent the last five weeks being told that we're living a decaying society. That the morals of the world are breaking down. That the standards we live in are disintegrating. That we're all becoming the same. He told us all that we have the same haircuts. He's spent the last five weeks telling us what a bad world we're living in, and promising us the answer--every week he says, I'll tell you the answer, and last week, he told us."

She pauses. I wait.

She says, "He said it was Christianity."

"No shit?"

"Yes. He didn't even say God. He said Christianity."

Half an hour later, they have worked themselves into such a state that they stage a mini revolution and I lose my year four class and gain a year twelve one.

Now, obviously, I don't need to point out the problems here, since the whole preaching with your teaching is just a bad deal, full stop. Telling seventeen and eighteen year old girls and boys they all have the same haircut is, likewise, some kind of suicide. It is possible that I think that the Sunday incident is worse than the Saturday, because the first happened in private, and the second happened from a position of power. But the real point I'm trying to figure is, what's going on? Did the air suddenly catch alight with religious fever? Okay, that's probably not it, and the truth is, it's probably just one of those things, in which a few things going on round me have a similar element, and I notice them. Truth is, however, that all these things have two elements that go through them: the first is that it's all religious inspired, and it's pretty far out there on the religion scale, and comes up against my way of thinking in big ways; but the second of these things, the connection that is perhaps even more important, is that in each of these--last week's livejournal fiasco, Saturday, Sunday--is that not one of them demonstrates any respect for the other person. Not one of them acknowledges that there is another person, an individual, a unique being with thoughts, ideas, and specific needs, and that those things are going to be of a different kind than the one being spouted by those with the heavy dose of Jesus, and that these differences need to be acknowledged and respected, cause otherwise it's just hate, bigotry, and people dying where they needn't.

And there ends my little observation for the world, in which we're all fucked, and the apocalypse isn't happening quick enough. Thank you for reading.

Comments

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shadowsandice
Jun. 4th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
That. Is fucking scary.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
thirded!
frogworth
Jun. 4th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
Ugh :(
So are you saying the Yr 12 class was so disturbed by Mr Crazy Christian that they insisted you take their class instead?
That makes them pretty cool, regardless of the fact that Mr Crazy Christian's mere existence in the teaching world is really scary.
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 08:46 am (UTC)
yeah, that's what happened. i looked like the better option, simply because i wasn't going on about their decaying society. i guess we'll see if it works out.
kaolinfire
Jun. 4th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC)
Wow. The fuck?

Wow.

Maybe it's the season for this sort of thing.
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
maybe the century for it, or some fucking thing, more likely.
bodhichitta0
Jun. 4th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
I go to church almost every Sunday and I cannot even understand the temerity of these people. And they give everyone else who derives some comfort from the positive fellowship or ministry of a "religion" a bad name.
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
yeah, that's it. i know people with all kinds of religion, and a lot of them are sane bout it--for them it's a personal thing, and they realise that not everyone is into it, and that religion itself doesn't solve the world's ills. solving them requires, like, doing things that address the situation.
nballingrud
Jun. 4th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
In her book THE BATTLE FOR GOD, Karen Armstrong posits that the recent (ie. in the last few decades) resurgence in fundamentalism, especially in the political sphere, is attributable to society's steady drift into secular rationalism. The sciences are stamping out the need for belief in supernatural overlords, and those of stalwart faith are lashing back. Hence, teachers in Australia insisting on the merits of a Catholic morality, school boards in the U.S. fighting for the addition of "intelligent design" curricula ... oh, and numerous wars around the world. Yay religion!
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
go god!

it's not a bad argument, and i reckon i can see some of that, too.
porphyre
Jun. 4th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
I just read that out to my friend Michael. We feel your pain, though it's not prevelant in Canada, we're close enough to the states to stay nervous.
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
i really wouldn't have said it was prevelant in australia, either, but... well, you know. it's starting to become a little common.

on the other hand, i kinda hate this post. i was trying to write by moving between the two tenses, and it's all fucked. what was i thinking yesterday?
hollowpoint
Jun. 4th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
I've never worked alongside a batshit godfreak. I'm almost looking forward to the opportunities it would present, though I'm sure it would wear thin pretty quickly.

In the school system, however, it has no fucking place. Good luck with the new class.
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
i've worked beside a few godfreaks and, yeah, it gets tired real quick. usually round the time they start trying to get you going to church so they can date you.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Jun. 4th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
it's all the festivals y'all have ;)
king_espresso
Jun. 12th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
Maybe you just have to ask yourself WWRDD?

What Would Richard Dawkins Do?
benpeek
Jun. 13th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
whenever i think of dawkins, i think of that south park episode where he fucks mrs garrison, only to later realise she was once a man.
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