Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ripped from the Comments Section

Just like Law and Order! Kevin made a great comment on the post from yesterday and I was simply going to respond to it in the comments section. But my response would have been really large and I would have probably had to split it in two. So, I decided to turn the whole thing into a post. Why not? I’ve got to post about something, right?

Here goes. Here’s what Kevin had to say:

I can understand a non-Christian not wanting to hear the rantings of somebody who acknowledges Jesus as part of their life. But why is it that it's always Christians that bring their faith into daily life? You never hear about a Muslim acknowledging Allah at graduation or a Hindu thanking Buddha for continued strength. It's just an observation. Maybe they do and the press just doesn't cover it. I don't know. Personally, if I were at a graduation and someone started talking about how Buddha has helped them through trials and tribulations, it really wouldn't bother me. Good for them. Glad he helped ya out. Maybe other "Christians" would be upset, but I don't think I would. I don't believe in Buddha. He's never helped me. But I don't think it would upset me if someone else talked about him. Buddha doesn't threaten my beliefs. To me, that wouldn't infringe on freedom of speech. For some reason, Christianity evidently infringes on some peoples' ideas of freedom of speech. I'm not judging or complaining. Simply making an observation. Like I said, I can understand others being upset. But for me, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

Now me:

I think the reason that I’m most upset is that this girl was told not to be specific about her faith. I’m sure that if she had said “my faith has been the thing that…blah, blah, blah…” then the event would have gone off without a hitch. But she wasn’t interested in sharing the fact that her faith is important to her in a personal way. She was more interested in testifying. Preaching the specifics of her belief system. Even though she was told not to. And I’m not one to do stuff just because someone told me not to (especially when I feel as if I’m being repressed by that someone), but…

Her actions made the graduation ceremony all about her. It was a selfish act of defiance. It was her opportunity to do what she wanted to do and damn the others. This was her graduation after all and nobody was going to tell her what “might” or “might not” offend her fellow classmates. And I’m pretty sure that there were more students in her graduating class than just her, right? How many of those other students were offended? I would have been. More because of this girl’s selfish behavior at my graduation than the actual words that came out of her mouth (does that make me selfish? Am I more selfish for not wanting to be offended than she is for not giving a damn?).

So how many students were actually offended? We don’t really know. Brittany McComb (the girl) doesn’t know. And furthermore, she doesn’t care. See, because in her mind, she’s right. She’s convinced of it. The question never crossed her mind. Yes, she told the administrators at the high school that she wouldn’t mention God in her speech and then later reneged. But, according to her, it was never a question of ethics…she was bullied into agreeing to their terms.

And that’s another frustrating part of this. How do you explain to someone that is so convinced that their beliefs are righteous, that other people may not agree? It’s impossible. And it’s not a noble task either. Destroying another person’s beliefs. It’s not admirable. That’s why these rules are in effect, so the debate doesn’t have to take place at someone’s high school graduation.

Kevin mentioned that he doesn’t hear a lot of people talk about Buddha and Allah at events such as this. That’s true. At least in this country it’s true. I’m sure that in the Middle East there’s a lot of Allah in people’s high school graduations (Allah is very popular at suicide bombings). In Tibet, they probably bandy Buddha’s name around quite a bit. The reason we don’t hear it much around here is that this is a very Christian-centric country. We all know that. As a non-Christian, I’m pretty darned aware of the fact.

And this is my point. Christians are always accusing us non-Christians of being too thin-skinned. What they don’t realize (actually, they do realize it, they just don’t care because they think that they’re “right”) is that by talking about Christianity at events that we non-believers have every right to be a part of, they are in essence excluding us. They are dividing the audience. They are taking away our common experience. As soon as God gets mentioned, I don’t belong anymore. And I’m not one to be a joiner, but if it was my high school graduation, I would want to feel like I was included whole-heartedly. That’s what ceremonies like this are for. That’s why kids go to these things (that’s also, incidentally, why I didn’t want to go to mine, but I did and It was pleasant). That’s why the kids all dress in the same robes and get the same diploma. It’s a collective right of passage. Bringing religion into what is essentially a non-religious event only works to polarize the group.

It would be the same if I had been the valedictorian on my graduating class (that would have never happened) and I had gotten up to give a speech only to start talking about how my faith in the absence of God and disbelief in the martyrdom of Jesus is what made me the top in my class. I would have been run out of there on a rail. Why? Because what I would have essentially been saying is that “I’m the top of my class because I’m smart enough to not be brainwashed by mythology.”

And one last thing about Brittany McComb. A good deal of people in the “Christian community” (whatever that means) are treating her as if she’s some kind of martyr for standing up to the oppressive, cold, God hating federal government. But after Jesus was nailed to the cross, him mom didn’t turn around and sue the Romans. If you’re going to play the martyr, then do it right or don’t do it at all.

Fun Fact: According to the US Geological Survey, dinosaurs first appeared around 230 million years ago.

What the USGS doesn’t know is that dinosaur bones were actually planted in the ground around 5000 years ago by God to test man’s faith.

Makes sense to me. Evolution is such a complicated process. So complicated that it’s nearly impossible to believe.

The God idea is way easier to swallow. I mean, we all know how to bury things.

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