Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
Salman Rushdie: The Trouble With Religion


This article was originally published in the Calcutta, India Telegraph, but is no longer available. I am reproducing it here from [info]atheism.


Wherever religions get into society's driving seat, tyranny results
Salman Rushdie

I never thought of myself as a writer about religion until a religion came after me. Religion was a part of my subject, of course — for a novelist from the Indian subcontinent, how could it not have been? But in my opinion I also had many other, larger, tastier fish to fry. Nevertheless, when the attack came, I had to confront what was confronting me, and to decide what I wanted to stand up for in the face of what so vociferously, repressively and violently stood against me.

Now, 16 years later, religion is coming after us all and, even though most of us probably feel, as I once did, that we have other, more important concerns, we are all going to have to confront the challenge. If we fail, this particular fish may end up frying us.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
The Demon-haunted World


Astronomer and well-known atheist Carl Sagan once wrote a book called The Demon-Haunted World about science being a light in the midst of darkness. In it, he challenges people to look at the pseudoscience that is part and parcel of our world, and use the ultimate weapon to conquer it: learning to think for yourself. Knowledge- real knowldege- is power, and that power can conquer all sorts of 'demons'.

In many Dominionist churches, the opposite is taught- that knowledge and common sense are actually evil, and one must entirely trust God, Scripture, and the preacher to tell you the difference between fact and fallacy. To think for oneself is considered 'demonic' in itself, because it permits 'worldly' thoughts to interfere with the crust of scriptural pseudoscience that keeps the fear and hate and spiritual helplessness constantly churning.

[info]dogemperor wrote:

"One of the biggies with dominionists is "deliverance ministry" in which *everything not associated with the church* is literally infested with demons and even one's own mind is an enemy (because if you have doubts about the church this is a sign, in their theology, of "demonic oppression" aka a prelude to possession--and furthermore if these thoughts, or in fact *anything* outside the church, are entertained these lead to "doorways for demons to enter your life"). If you are diabetic, etc. it is literally seen *not* as an unfortunate disease but as a "demonic generational curse"; if you are poor you're letting yourself be oppressed by demons and need to give more "Faith seed offerings" and get closer to the church/further isolate yourself, etc.

Interestingly, it seems the whole "body thetan" stuff is seen as one of the single most damaging bits (psychologically) regarding Scientology--as in documented cases of people literally going insane or worse. I can't see how the dominionist version (which has been around even *longer* than the Scientologist version and is actually believed in by more people) is any less damaging. (One doesn't hear that much press about the dominionist versions, though.)

The active breeding of fear/anxiety/hate is specifically designed to keep you uncomfortable outside the church, to see the coercive group as the one *solitary* source of comfort. Again, it's not so far removed from traditional brainwashing."

That is pretty scary- the constant threat of demonic or 'thetan' possession to keep someone from straying. It keeps the individual believer in a constant state of 'fight or flight' and worry, fear, and spiritual uncertainty that often flames into panic. Dogstar continues:

"The scary thing is I also have known dominionists *specifically* to attempt to essentially hex people in the name of Christ to be miserable to the point of suicidality to "drive them to God". (Yes, this includes hauling out Wesson oil as "annointing oil", ranting in tongues, and literally *cursing* them in the name of Jesus to be miserable unless one was spending nearly all one's time in the particular dominionist group they were in. Yes, I was actually a target of this by my own mother.)"

I had that 'hexing' happen to me. It nearly worked- I was pounded with horrible panic attacks. But I survived it- with that weapon of being able to think for myself, reason it through, and find help to vanquish it. I directly faced what I feared, and did the unthinkable: walked straight into it,looked it in the eye, and used my own inner light of understanding upon it. That act destroyed it, and it can no longer harm me. Understanding the mechanics of cursing holds within it the ability to neutralize them.

The Dune "Litany Against Fear" is a great tool which uses the art of thinking for oneself as a means to conquer fear:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Could this be used to help heal 'walk-aways' from demon-ridden faiths? Possibly. It couldn't hurt to try it.

dogemperor [userpic]
Mark Juergensmeyer on religious violence


Professor Mark Juergensmeyer ("Terror in the Mind of God") had these thoughts about the root of religious violence:

"[Religious violence] has much to do with the nature of the religious imagination, which has always had the propensity to absolutize and to project images of cosmic war. It also has much to do with the social tensions of this moment of history that cry out for absolute solutions, and the sense of personal humiliation experienced by men who long to restore an integrity that they perceive as lost in the wake of virtually global social and political shifts."


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