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Thank God I Was Raped?

Wow. I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore by how badly religious belief can twist one’s ideas, but this is pretty appalling. It’s a video where people thank God for horrible things that have happened to them, including one woman who says, “Thank God I was raped. This horrible, terrible thing has happened, and I’m so grateful that it happened, because now I am who I’m supposed to be.” Yikes.

Comments

  1. eric says

    God’s omnipotence in action. Clearly that was the only way she could be who she is now.

  2. says

    You would think that with God’s infinite knowledge and power he would find slightly more humane teaching tools than rape and cancer. I’m not trying to criticize God or anything. But I think I if I were all knowing and all powerful I would go with dancing panda bears that shit rainbows that spell out moral lessons, than, you know, rape. But that’s just me.

  3. says

    A follow-up video scripted.

    Cue the dramatic music.

    “Thank God I was killed.”

    Pan to a corpse.

    Let six minutes of complete silence pass.

    Back to the words moving across the screen, and dramatic music.

  4. says

    And here I was feeling offended by the statement I read yesterday that God used the Trail of Tears to bring the Indians to Jesus.

    Are they bombarding me with all this in an attempt to desensitize me to the horror of religion?

  5. says

    When you’re brought up to believe that “everything happens for a reason,” and “God is in control,” then what other possible conclusion could you possibly reach?

  6. says

    @ holytape – stop weaseling! Of course you are criticizing god… you have engaged brain cells and that’s a good thing!

  7. harold says

    These people need to work on their post-modern Conservative Christianity. It’s supposed to be “Thank God you were raped. It happened because God loves me and gives me permission to do anything as long as I fire off some cheap ‘repentance’, but He hates you and he’s punishing you for some trivial thing you did (or maybe that someone else did)”.

    (Public service notice – Someone will read this comment and think that I am endorsing the attitude reflected by the quotation. If you are that someone, a remedial reading course is in order.)

  8. Cuttlefish says

    I have a friend whose mother killed herself when he was in 3rd grade (20 years later, his teacher still tears up talking about finding him waiting for his mom to pick him up after school); being religious, he speaks of it as part of God’s plan for making him stronger and more independent. He really was astonished to hear me argue against it–to actually say that there is pretty much nothing positive about a kid’s mom killing herself, and that there is nothing wrong with calling a terrible tragedy a terrible tragedy.

    But if their god is by definition omnipotent and omnibenevolent, what other option do they have in the face of such things?

  9. ArtK says

    When your entire religion is based on torture and martyrdom, this isn’t surprising at all.

    Somehow “Some infinitely wise and beneficent being has a plan for me and this horrific event is part of that plan” is better than “shit happens, deal with it.”

  10. Timid Atheist says

    I don’t believe I’ll be watching that video if that’s the content. I’ve always been puzzled, even when I was religious, by those who said they were grateful for the hardships god gave them because it made them stronger. As if they wouldn’t be just as good of a person if they hadn’t suffered a tragedy? As if they can only be a good person if they’ve paid for it by suffering?

  11. justsomeguy says

    Blech.

    Part of me likes this. I like the notion of overcoming extreme challenges and attempting to better yourself through them. I like the notion of searching for a silver lining. I like the notion of letting go of anger and resentment over terrible things that have happened in the past.

    This thing takes all of those positives and twists them around into something grotesque. Not only are these people effectively saying “thanks, god, for using me as an expendable pawn in your convoluted scheme”…. they’re not-so-subtly implying that blind gratitude is the only acceptable response to tragedy, and that they’re better than the rest of us because of it.

  12. Taz says

    Some of the terrible things they thank god for:

    Being Raped
    Being Blind
    Having Cancer

    and of course…

    Being Gay

  13. Randomfactor says

    The greatest advantage of being an atheist is that we can accept the concept that “shit happens WITHOUT there being a reason or a lesson involved.”

  14. badweasel says

    There is that loving God again with his own brand of ‘tough love’.

    I think reality has just made Chris Morris redundant

  15. robnyny says

    Randomfactor:

    As a corollary, the biggest disadvantage of being an atheist is not having anyone to talk to while you’re having an orgasm.

  16. Gregory in Seattle says

    Funny, isn’t it, how their God is indistinguishable from a lowlife who punches his wife in the face for her own good and beats his children senseless so they will remember how much he loves them.

    Actually, it’s not very funny at all.

  17. Gregory in Seattle says

    @robnyny #16

    As a corollary, the biggest disadvantage of being an atheist is not having anyone to talk to while you’re having an orgasm.

    Your partner(s) aren’t around when it happens? (Insert innocent look here.)

  18. Stacy says

    And here I was feeling offended by the statement I read yesterday that God used the Trail of Tears to bring the Indians to Jesus

    It was a common thing to say about slavery: that it was a good thing, because it introduced the slaves to Christ. Even the great poet Phillis Wheatley wrote

    Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land

    (Wheatley was born somewhere in West Africa and kidnapped and brought to America as a child.)

    Christian belief + the Just-world cognitive bias is a very powerful thing. (In Wheatley’s case, she was “lucky” in that the family that bought her were progressives for the time, and educated her.)

    I think I if I were all knowing and all powerful I would go with dancing panda bears that shit rainbows that spell out moral lessons, than, you know, rape.

    I nominate you for god, then, because that would be pretty awesome.

  19. Pinky says

    Just when I thought the Christians could not get any more cruel a video pops up to tell us we should be grateful to their Yahweh for all the evil that befalls us.

    The video makers must be the Christian Masochistic sect that is overtaking the US religulous. Considering the Christian Sadistic sect has been around since Jesus was invented, its nice to see some balance.

  20. robnyny says

    No, quite the contrary. Sometimes there are so many that I couldn’t thank them all in time and I wouldn’t want to include some and omit others, and it’s just the polite thing to do.

  21. footface says

    So, in other words, there are people out there for whom God says things like:

    “Now let me look at John Smith down there. I think his destiny will be to rape Mary Jones so that she can learn valuable lessons about strength and forgiveness or whatever. And so that he can be thrown in jail for 20 years where he can learn valuable lessons about mercy and humility.”

    Thanks a bunch, God.

    He can’t think up better ways to teach people? He might be omnipotent and omniscient. No one said he was omnicreative.

  22. lofgren says

    This is just a Christian version of owning the tragedies that befall us. We are the accumulation of our experiences and if you like yourself even a little you have to admit that in some abstract way the terrible things that happened to you were “beneficial” since you can’t know that you would like the person who you would be with different experiences.

    I think that the thankfulness they are talking about is more about acceptance and control. I don’t think it implies that they think there should be more rapes or cancers, or that we shouldn’t work to stop these things they way that, for example, “I am thankful for pizza” suggests that you really want more pizza.

    I guess I just don’t find this all that remarkable, other than the fact that these people are doing the hard work of taking control of their lives after difficult and tragic circumstances. It sounds counterintuitive but many have found this to be step in that process.

  23. busterggi says

    Gregory in Seattle says:
    June 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm
    @robnyny #16

    “As a corollary, the biggest disadvantage of being an atheist is not having anyone to talk to while you’re having an orgasm.
    Your partner(s) aren’t around when it happens? (Insert innocent look here.)”

    I believe this is how the expression, “Talk to the hand” got started.

  24. interrobang says

    if you like yourself even a little you have to admit that in some abstract way the terrible things that happened to you were “beneficial” since you can’t know that you would like the person who you would be with different experiences.

    Um, I like myself perfectly well, and I still think that the terrible things that happened to me were terrible and generally not beneficial in any way. I’m also secure enough in my identity and sense of self not to worry too much about whether I would like the hypothetical Me-Alef who exists in some other timeline where X, Y, or Z terrible thing didn’t happen to me. In fact, I think that’s kind of a fucking bizarre way of thinking about things, sort of on a par with asking someone “Well, how would you feel if your mother had aborted you?”, i.e. it’s totally a moot point.

    I understand wanting to own one’s own experiences, but it’s totally twisted to think that gratitude is an appropriate way of doing such a thing…unless you’re totally bent, like these religious people appear to be.

  25. KG says

    Funny, isn’t it, how their God is indistinguishable from a lowlife who punches his wife in the face for her own good and beats his children senseless so they will remember how much he loves them.

    Actually, it’s not very funny at all.- Gregory from Seattle

    I’ve seen this thought expressed thus:

    Love God? You’re in an abusive relationship.

  26. lofgren says

    it’s totally a moot point.

    This is equally true of all the good things that happen to you. It’s also kind of my point. If you’re here and you’re happy with yourself then the bad things that happened to you were exactly equally significant in terms of determining your presence and happiness as the good things that happened to you. If you’re thankful for your first born child and that week you spent in Disneyland when you were five, you might as well be equally thankful for that time you lost your teeth to scurvy or you got hit by a bus.

    I don’t think anybody can say what is or isn’t an appropriate way for another person to take control of their own experiences. That’s pretty much what it means to own your experiences – you control how you feel about them and how you channel that influence, and you don’t let other people tell you how you should feel. I don’t think it’s fair to pick on somebody who has survived a horrible experience and found a way to integrate it with their image of themselves in a productive way just because they use a word to describe the control that you personally find inappropriate. Unless you’re a narrowminded judgmental prick, like you appear to be.

  27. lorn says

    I guess one has to make wine with the grapes one has, even if they are sour grapes. Of course if the Bible didn’t explicitly say that all events are ordained by God, sparrows falling from the branch and all that, and that God is all good, by definition if not act, than there would be no need to plumb the depths and twist yourself out of shape to find the good in such evil events.

  28. says

    This horrible, terrible thing has happened, and I’m so grateful that it happened, because now I am who I’m supposed to be.” Yikes.

    This woman has been deeply traumatized and this is called paradoxical gratitude–it’s normal, and it’s beneficial for many people. Many people also have the experience of trauma ultimately being tranformational in a positive sense.

    The subject of trauma is too complicated to do justice here, but I will say that this isn’t really about religion. This about how people handle the shattering of their lives and the collapse of their normal defenses and coping mechanisms, and what they do to integrate these devastating experiences into a reworked or recreated sense of self that allows them to live again with the traumatic experience as something that doesn’t feel like a constant alien and alienating presence. Sometimes people are grateful because they do, in fact, end up becoming much better people and they know that it’s because the traumatic experience forced them into places they’d never have gone otherwise, because their pre-trauma sense of identity, with all it’s defenses, couldn’t allow it.

    I’ve been there, and just as importantly, I’ve been privileged to work with people who remake themselves after they’ve been shattered to the point of barely recognizing themselves. The experience of a person who is traumatized is simply not commensurate with the everyday bad experiences.

    @25,

    Your sense of identity may be strong, but it’s still an illusion and it can be shattered. This isn’t about coping with bad things. This is about shattering experiences that sometimes occur in one heretofore unimaginable, horrific instant, or sometimes in a protracted experience of sheer, mind-shattering terror.

    Watch your best friend blown into a pile of slop and severed body parts right before your eyes. Get raped and held for hours by your rapist and be absolutely convinced he’s going to kill you at any moment, or survive after watching your spouse take a bullet to the head during a robbery, and deal with the emotional sequalae of such an experience. These experiences create horrifying memories of things seen that can repeatedly blast into your awareness, unbidden. Your strong sense of identity no longer feels strong because you’re seeing and feeling things you’ve never felt and you can’t control it. What is your identity then? These new, horrific phenomena are part of “you.” Or you feel numb in a way you’ve never felt when your own mind is working overtime to keep these memories and feelings out of awareness? How are you still “you” when you feels nothing but a disconnected dullness?

    I can promise you, you wouldn’t be in this thread crowing about how strong your sense of identity is. You’d be amazed at the unfamiliar, mental gymnastic you’d go through to cope with it, including how many different ways you’d review your experience and look at alternate possibilities, because you inevitably think that way to contend with unbearable images and thoughts. And later, you think about who you might have been if the defining event for the remainder of your life had not happened.

  29. teawithbertrand says

    Well, I got me a wife
    Got me a fiddle
    Sun comin’ up
    Got cakes on the griddle
    Life ain’t nothin’
    but a funny, funny riddle…

    Thank God I’m a country boy!

    Sorry. Had to.

  30. Pinky says

    Lofgren said:

    If you’re thankful for your first born child and that week you spent in Disneyland when you were five, you might as well be equally thankful for that time you lost your teeth to scurvy or you got hit by a bus.

    I don’t think anybody can say what is or isn’t an appropriate way for another person to take control of their own experiences. That’s pretty much what it means to own your experiences – you control how you feel about them and how you channel that influence, and you don’t let other people tell you how you should feel.

    Lofgren it may be I am misunderstanding your argument, however as a person who was run down by a hit & run drunk driver resulting in severe physical disabilities and PTSD, I am not going to go up to the drunk, shake his hand and thank him for making my, and my family’s, life an eighteen year (so far) decent into hell.

    I do not sit around and think about the drunk anymore – its a waste of negative energy and counter productive to the life I am left with.

    I do sometimes meditate how the gestalt of all experiences shape a life. On one particularly bad day many years ago I lost my job and my girlfriend in a matter of a few hours. It was a rough time for me then, but from those losses precipitated a better livelihood and marriage to a woman I was, and still am, much more compatible with.

    My anecdote does not prove your point. The events happened when I was still quite young and I did not have much difficulty finding better employment and companionship. Those experiences are in no way equal to the horrendous events the people on the video were thanking their deity for; losing a spouse, having cancer or having been raped.

    I am finding a method of copping with my difficulties that does not include thanking a caprices Yahweh for allowing me to be its mistreated toy to torture or throw aside at will.

    Lofgren I ask you to review the final paragraph in your words I quoted and think about how they may be applied to commenters on a blog which is discussing a video made public for the most likely reason of influencing others.

    With respect – Pinky.

  31. jaytheostrich says

    Finally, an explanation for the ‘I hope you get raped’ comments usually sent to atheists that are noticed by Christians, like Alquist.

  32. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    “Now let me look at John Smith down there. I think his destiny will be to rape Mary Jones so that she can learn valuable lessons about strength and forgiveness or whatever. And so that he can be thrown in jail

    You’re kidding, right?

  33. redgreeninblue says

    lofgren,

    I think I see what you’re saying (that you are the sum of your experiences, and that therefore if you are happy with who you are that means that the sum of those experiences is positive). However, there are plenty of people who lead a fulfilling life doing socially beneficial things without needing to have been raped, suffered from cancer, etc. Negative experiences are negative experiences, and long-term psychological trauma that demands extensive re-evaluation of your identity is a process which takes months or years. You might come out the other end a “better person”, but then you might just come out the other end paralysedwith anxiety or depression, with dysfunctional or broke relationships, physically disabled, or just dead. How is this at all positive? Just because some people are able to pick up the pieces afterwards does not make such experiences in any way something for which anyone should be grateful!

    I would say that a better way of producing adults who are happy with being here and with who they are is to bring up children in a loving, affirming, stimulating environment with consistent boundaries, and to do our best to prevent rape, find effective treatments for cancer etc. so that their personal development isn’t set back years by trying to be grateful for God’s all-fucking-up love…

  34. pa747sp says

    Isn’t this a sort of displaced Stockholm Syndrome?

    In passing, I’m also very thankful that God made me gay. I often cry out his name in praise when I’m enjoying the pleasures of his gift to me

  35. says

    “Now let me look at John Smith down there. I think his destiny will be to rape Mary Jones so that she can learn valuable lessons about strength and forgiveness or whatever. And so that he can be thrown in jail for 20 years where he can learn valuable lessons about mercy and humility.”

    What, you’re not giving him cancer, too? Do you really want him to learn a lesson? Cancer, well, cancer and boils and maybe killing his firstborn. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    On a personal note:

    I WAS happy, in retrospect, that I got popped for DWI thirty years ago. It led to my stopping getting drunk which left me with money between paydays. I bought my first decent camera a year or so after I stopped getting hammered and that led to some good stuff, including a 10 month tour of the U.S. in 1985/86 during which, among other items, I lost my fear of dying in my sleep. Those are positives.

    I was also sexually abused for several years when I was young. I am not now, nor have I ever been grateful for the experience.

  36. d cwilson says

    I have a friend whose mother killed herself when he was in 3rd grade (20 years later, his teacher still tears up talking about finding him waiting for his mom to pick him up after school); being religious, he speaks of it as part of God’s plan for making him stronger and more independent.

    Wow. What an incredibly egocentric way to view a tragedy. So, God thinks he’s a special snowflake that needs to learn this Important Lesson at a really young age, but his mother? Not so much.

    God: I want to make little Johnny Smith stronger and more independent. I know, I’ll make his mother blow her brains out.

    Saint Peter: Doesn’t that kind of suck for her? You’re sending her to Hell for eternity just to make a small child more independent.

    God: I never liked her anyways.

    Gah!

  37. dontpanic says

    d cwilson,
    Exactly. Everyone but me is simply a meatpuppet who’s only purpose in for their existence is to shape my life.

    Gah!

  38. footface says

    @34: Not sure I know what you’re asking.

    If you believe God makes bad things happen to people (for instance, getting raped) so that they’ll learn valuable lessons, then don’t you have to believe that God determined the rapist’s destiny, as well? We would al like we’re God’s favorite actors on the stage, but aren’t we all just extras in someone else’s show, too?

  39. equisetum says

    “Thank god I have a dysfunctional family.”

    Yeah. This one hits home. I grew up with a mentally ill mother and a child molesting step-father. I was talking to friend about this once and she said “But if you hadn’t gone through all of that you wouldn’t be who you are now.”
    My response? “You’re right. I would have been a much better person, much sooner.”

  40. Pinky says

    Footface said:

    If you believe God makes bad things happen to people (for instance, getting raped) so that they’ll learn valuable lessons, then don’t you have to believe that God determined the rapist’s destiny, as well?

    Your statement lead me to the thought that it would be wrong to punish a criminal in any way because they are only following the will of Yahweh. It would make as much sense as Judas, who only acted as Yahweh’s enzyme, being thrown in hell forever.

    In the “Thank God” video the people are saying they appreciated the tribulations Yahweh sent their way because, I assume, it helped them grow spiritually. So to punish a rapist or murderer, thinking of the attitude in the video, would be like fertilizing your lawn then, as the grass grew strong, suing the fertilizer company.

    Its those type of illogical pathways that make me thankful I had enough sense to become an Atheist. I do not feel hypocritical when I say: “If you do the crime, then you’re gonna do the time!”

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