Give ‘em a little time, the merely rancid turn rotten


I’ve criticized both atheists and the religious for trying to turn the recent tragedy in Colorado into an ideological battleground. You’d think at some point they’d learn that the best thing to do is shut up about how it shows Christians or atheists are evil, but no…one evangelical fruitcake, Jerry Newcombe, has taken it to the next level. He’s now arguing that not only did the shooting occur because Americans aren’t fearful enough of hell, but that the victims who were not Christian are now burning in hell.

While I appreciate his honesty and commitment to the principles of his religion, I can’t help but feel a little nauseous.

Comments

  1. terrellk70 says

    “While I appreciate his honesty and commitment to the principles of his religion, I can’t help but feel a little nauseous.”

    You are of course right, and your last sentence sums it up.

  2. Beatrice says

    If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.

    It’s fascinating (in a really nauseating way) how he manages to be incredibly hurtful towards the families of both Christians and non-Christians. The horrible thing he says about non-Christians is obvious, but the way he dismisses the tragedy of Christians’ deaths is also quite staggering. I know that people take comfort in the idea that “they are in a better place”, but this sounded very callous and dismissive. It’s totally cool that they’re dead, according to him, tragedy what tragedy?

  3. Larry says

    The xtian compassion and empathy for the victims and their families is just so… overwhelming. You can just feel the love.

  4. says

    You know, I try to refrain from saying “This is what religion does to people”, because there’s a lot of things that religious people do, that atheists will gladly do too, but this notion of hell and vilifying victims of horrible crimes because of some just-world hypothesis… This is what religion does to people.

  5. says

    Part of me looks at this and thinks, “Sadly, I’m not surprised, I’ve known for a long time that fundies believe a lot of evil shit.”

    The other part wants to shove this in the face of everyone who’s complacent about fundamentalism and say, “Yo people! This is what fundamentalism carried to it’s logical conclusion looks like!”

  6. mildlymagnificent says

    I was wondering how long this would take. I remember some dreadful people infesting Virginia Tech a couple of days after that shooting.

    And these ghastly women were smiling, smiling, as they told these traumatised kids that their friends had gone to hell and there was no hope for them. But they now had the chance to avoid that fate for themselves.

    Smiling!

  7. anubisprime says

    Just when it seems to any reasonable onlooker that the fundamentalist ‘world view’ had well and truly scraped the bottom of a very filthy shit stained barrel…they always, and without fail, manage to go just that little bit deeper, time and time again,…it seems unending the depths of sheer inhuman depravity where the committed are willing to go for jeebus!

    Jeebus must be so proud of them!

  8. thisisaturingtest says

    If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.

    I’m pretty sure this asshat doesn’t consider the ones who (he thinks) are going to “a terrible place” to be the victims of a tragedy either. So, to him- as Beatice says “tragedy, what tragedy?” And this is the thing about organized religion that makes me ill- this institutionalized ability to densensitize themselves to tragedy that its adherents arm themselves with. What kind of “loving” group so easily dimisses not just the ones who don’t belong (“meh- they’re going to hell”), but the ones who do (“meh- they’re going to heaven”), and calls that the end of the story?
    Now, the thing is, I don’t for a second believe that Christianity, as an institution, causes a tragedy like this- obviously, this is an individual act, no matter what the perpetrator’s rationalizations for it. However, I think most Christians would basically agree with the pastor’s ideas about the ultimate fate of the victims; and think that it’s arguably worse for an individual to give up a normal human response to a tragedy in favor of their institution’s dogma-based dismissal of it as not really such a tragedy after all.
    Hell. I’m groping badly for words here. All I’m really trying to say is, no, Christians as individuals, and Christianity as a whole, are not responsible for the tragedy. But Christianity certainly seems to enable them to dismiss it as one, and to dodge any human responsibility for preventing more such tragedies. Christianity is childish comfort in the face of tragedy that simultaneously enables the believer to avoid taking any steps to prevent future ones.

  9. tubi says

    And some dipshit has put up crosses for each victim as a memorial. I don’t know the background of the victims enough to know if they allidentified as Christian, but if they didn’t, what slap in the face to use a cross uniformly as their symbol. Pisses me off.

  10. says

    I am always amazed by the number of people who think they are God’s Social Secretary. That must have been one heck of a Help Wanted Ad:

    Needed: Efficient multi-tasker, detail oriented, fluent in ancient Mid-Eastern languages, must be good at separating sheep from goats.

  11. says

    And some dipshit has put up crosses for each victim as a memorial. I don’t know the background of the victims enough to know if they allidentified as Christian, but if they didn’t, what slap in the face to use a cross uniformly as their symbol. Pisses me off.

    This topic came up in a newsgroup I posted to back after the Columbine shootings. Even though one of the most frequent posters was a devout Orthodox Jew, the fundamentalist Christians in the group just couldn’t get what the problem was in putting up crosses to honor the dead.

  12. Sastra says

    I’ve heard ‘evil’ defined as the ultimate belief that people are not ends in themselves, but only a means to an ends. You could look at that definition and see a strong parallel to the primary assumption of most religions. Without some sort of cosmic purpose, some “objective” storyline outside of our human lives and humanistic values, then people and what they do have “no meaning” — meaning no real meaning, that is. Only God/Spirit can provide a world view which holds that intention goes all the way down. Only divinity/transcendence makes who we are and what we do really truly matter. Otherwise, who cares?

    From a humanist perspective, this solution to nihilism sounds suspiciously like nihilism itself. And shoving a plotline and theme into the unfolding of history turns human beings into characters. The saved and enlightened are the heroes: the rest are plot devices. Of course they can’t care about the damned when the damned story can’t get along without them. When you know the Big Picture you can’t get sensitive about the niggling earthly details.

    I think atheists would have an easier time dealing with tragedies like this because we’re not going to try to twist our minds into pretzels coming up with ways this was done or “allowed” in order that we might learn lessons about our attitude towards God. And like other commenters have pointed out, the lack of this concern — this Primary Need of the abject believer to justify, accept, and appreciate the workings of the God in a higher world — frees us up to do some serious rational work on understanding and preventing tragedies in the real world.

  13. reynoldhall says

    And wouldn’t you know it, the Phelps clan has to take advantage of this also.

    People are planning to stop them fortunately, or at least isolate those bastards:

    Almost immediately, members of the community launched a campaign on Reddit and Facebook to form a “wall of love” around the memorial service to block the group from getting close. Church member Fred Phelps Jr. said these efforts would be in vain:…

    I don’t think it will be:

    Earlier this morning, the Denver Comic Con released a statement on their Facebook page urging patrons of the convention to assist in forming a human barrier in front of the service.

    “If you volunteered for Denver Comic Con 2012, or any other Con, and are planning to attend tonight’s vigil, please consider wearing your volunteer t-shirt. I’m asking my DCC volunteers to be prepared to help form the barrier, should Westsboro show up.”

  14. thisisaturingtest says

    Sastra: I think your last paragraph says well what I was groping after. To me, Christianity (any organized religion, really) is a well-meant effort to cope with reality that ends, by its nature, in avoiding it (and often, in the process, losing sight of the “well-meant” part). So, if we’re all (all humanity, I mean) just basically stumbling around in a dark room, then the ones who passively accept their religious dogma without ever really thinking about it are like the furniture we need to avoid on the way around the room; while the active ones, like the Phelps clan, are the furniture come alive, thrusting themselves in our way.

  15. raven says

    They are just fundie xian ghouls.

    Routine, Everybody (and everything) needs to eat.

    According to fundie xian mythology, god is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

    I suppose the shootings in Aurora were just god’s way of feeding his favorite creatures of the night.

  16. Beatrice says

    Why? What sort of monstrous motivation can someone have to picket a funeral?!*

    *you may consider this question rhetorical. I don’t wish to derail the thread, I just don’t know a coherent way to express my horror at the moment.

  17. Pyra says

    Ugh, sad to say I called the WBC showing just after the tragedy. I wish they weren’t so predictable. And they feed off of anyone crossing the lines, to make money from suing everyone that they can for doing things they know they cannot do. They’re all very sickening. I guess I just know the mentality too intimately, having grown up with it, in every nook and cranny around me. The saddest part is that this is not considered fundamental here. This is not considered fringe Christianity. Shouting at people that this is sickening rhetoric would lead to massive confusion. These people worship death as the ultimate in punishment/reward just-world fantasy. It is disheartening, in the least, to think that it is exactly what I expect to hear from almost everyone I know, and that no one would even consider it terrible to minimize the tragedy in this way.

  18. RFW says

    While performing this morning’s meditation ensconced on the porcelain throne, two thoughts occurred to me about why fundie thinking is bad: it’s bad even from a religious point of view.

    First, fundies denigrate learning. They may claim it’s not so, but they’re very proud of their ignorance. When they go to the doctor for treatment, they don’t understand what’s going on; it’s magic. They are willfully ignorant of even the rudiments of biology, perhaps out of fear they’ll be exposed to evull evolooshonary konseps.

    That’s no way to go through life, particularly when you live in what was once one of the world’s most advanced countries.

    Their world view is hardly advanced beyond that of your common or garden variety animist. Instead of understanding, even rudimentarily, the way things work, it’s magic all the way down the line, complete with Jeebus, angels, Satan, and lord only knows what else in the way of supernatural entities.

    The Pharygulentsia may be convinced that religion and science are utterly incompatible, but there have certainly been scientists (and good ones, at that!) who were church goers, yet weren’t willfully stupid about the world around them.

    Summary of point 1: fundie-ism = belief in magic and dismissal of cause and effect as the explanation of all things.

    Second, by referring everything and anything to the mysterious workings of Gawd and Jeebus, blithely overlooking the adage “God helps those who help themselves” (according to Wikipedia, not biblical and traceable to the ancient Greeks). This converts their world view to one of fatalism: whatever happens is due to divine intervention and cannot be explained.

    Fatalism is a common criticism of Islam, though the literary expressions may be parodies of fact. Whatever, it amounts to abdicating one’s intelligence and ability to rearrange the world to suit one’s needs. When everything is “the will of Allah”, nobody does much about even the things that are easy to change. [Again, possibly a parody of the Moslem point of view, but certainly true of many fundies.]

    Summary of point 2: fundie fatalism amounts to abdication of personal responsibility. It substitutes canned platitudes for thinking.

  19. Gregory Greenwood says

    If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.

    As has been noted upthread, Newcombe doesn’t even see this terrible event as a tragedy – he thinks the christians go to heaven, so no harm no foul (callously ignoring the suffering of the families of the christian victims by repeating the toxic trope “well *insert sadly departed person* is in heaven now, so why mourn?”), and the non-christian victims are apparently unworthy of any consideration because they backed the wrong godly horse or had no interest in deities at all.

    I agree with thisisaturingtest @ 8;

    I’m pretty sure this asshat doesn’t consider the ones who (he thinks) are going to “a terrible place” to be the victims of a tragedy either. So, to him- as Beatice says “tragedy, what tragedy?” And this is the thing about organized religion that makes me ill- this institutionalized ability to densensitize themselves to tragedy that its adherents arm themselves with. What kind of “loving” group so easily dimisses not just the ones who don’t belong (“meh- they’re going to hell”), but the ones who do (“meh- they’re going to heaven”), and calls that the end of the story?

    Religion is one of the few social movements I can think of that endorses such a lack of empathy and calls it righteous, and it is certainly the most powerful, widespread and accepted.

    And, of course, Newcombe manages to wade even further into his self-made mire with;

    For those who are not ‘in Christ’ and see this incredible tragedy, this would be a good time for soul reflection and consider why have you not accepted Jesus Christ.. I would urge anyone who is not in Christ to repent of your sins.

    He actually tries to use this horrific event as a recruiting sergeant for his delusional cult of preference – clearly implying that all non-christians go to hell to be tortured for all eternity at the instruction of his ‘loving’ god, and so you should ‘get right’ with the psychotic sky fairy now, because who knows – you may be dead tomorrow, and Yahweh is always looking for more people to star in heaven’s premier prime time entertainment show…

    The man is nothing but a vulture, picking over the bones of the Aurora victims, like all too many of his ilk.

  20. gragra, something clever after the comma says

    What shits me is the FluffPo regulars writing in the comments about how this Jerry Newcombe is not a “real” christian and he’s being hateful etc etc… what do they think mainstream christianity believes? That we all go to heaven? These idiots think it’s really mean, what he’s saying, but they don’t consider where this thinking leads them.

  21. vaiyt says

    Quoting my own fictional quote from another forum:

    “All mythologies have on thing in common. They order the natural world so that it agrees with human values.

    Mythological thinking eventually leads to turning people into characters and human experience into a story. Since Christians are into moral parables, they want their stories to have “a lesson” at the end.

  22. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Back when I was in college, a woman in our dorm accidentally fell out of a window to her death. A Catholic friend of mine reacted by saying something like he couldn’t understand why everyone was crying, because she was better off.

    The thing is, if you’re a Christian, you believe in an afterlife. Maybe you don’t believe in Hell, but you certainly believe in Heaven, and so when you die you think you’re going to “a better place”. And so as despicable as this sort of reaction is, it’s really just the logical extension of Christian theology.

  23. Patricia, OM says

    What Pyra @20 said is exactly what is being said in my town too. I heard the same conversations in the VSO and the local bookstore. They don’t have a clue what a bunch of Good Christians sick fucks they sound like.

  24. DLC says

    Truely repulsive people. No doubt they also believe that if you’re a Jew or Muslim and die you also wind up in hell.
    I’d be worried, except that I’m fully aware that when I die I will simply cease to exist as an entity. Poof. No more. No sensation, no love no hate. NO Chocolate !? Aww now I haz sad.

  25. Pyra says

    I also really hate those who turn tragedy into a moment for their own self-righteous pet-project “teaching moment.” It is something that happens at every funeral and wedding that is in a church. It’s been this way since I was a child. And the chance to belt out a sermon about how this pales in comparison to the genocide of blastocysts. Urk. Yeah, I’m stuck in the wrong town.

  26. unclefrogy says

    Well they all if them are doing and saying just what you would expect them to do and say if they really believed any of their religion was true.
    Dam it is well and good if you should privately believe in christ and god and redemption in an after life that’s a big so what. It is OK with me if they are so detached from life and living that that is the only way they can cope with the idea of their own mortality “to believe that they will live forever with god”.

    The attitude that they have about telling everyone else what they think will happen to them unless they do as they say is really repugnant.
    They all cry about being with jesus when they die but I do not hear about many that are eager to die!
    I hear plenty that want to make sure others should go to “eternal punishment” for disagreeing with them.

    uncle frogy

  27. Rich Woods says

    I kind of like his protective hand being present

    If Gohmert really believes this, perhaps he and his ilk should demonstrate their faith by getting rid of all their guns.

  28. truthspeaker says

    Sastra
    23 July 2012 at 9:32 am

    From a humanist perspective, this solution to nihilism sounds suspiciously like nihilism itself.

    And Sastra nails it again.

  29. konradzielinski says

    So has the nut job actually left some kind of publicly available rant on why he decided to do this? It seems rather pointless to make up motives, and claim that he must have been atheist and or theist, or indeed that theological questions played any part in his decision at all.

    PS my inner grammar Nazi wants to point out (regarding the first comment) nauseous means causing nausea, and nauseated means feeling nausea. Yes the word is commonly misused,

  30. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    PS my inner grammar Nazi wants to point out (regarding the first comment) nauseous means causing nausea, and nauseated means feeling nausea. Yes the word is commonly misused,

    As is often the case with Nazis, your grammar Nazi is authoritarian, sanctimonious, and wrong (or at least misleading).

    From The Online Etymology Dictionary:

    c.1600, “inclined to nausea, easily made queasy,” from nausea + -ous. Sense of “causing nausea or squeamishness” is attested from 1610s.

    Which doesn’t indicate that one usage is more right than the other, just that they’ve been in the English language for about the same amount of time.

    As for modern usage, from Merriam-Webster:

    1: causing nausea
    2: affected with nausea

  31. arakasi says

    If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place..

    I wonder if he realizes that this completely undercuts any religiously based argument against abortion

  32. kimberlyherbert says

    #10 – Yes their lives should be ruined for what they did at 17. Every time someone thinks about hiring them or dating them or letting them near a human being alarm bells should go off saying these monsters are predators protect the innocent.

    Their parents should also be shunned, these boys didn’t start with this. When they were in grade school reaching up little girls’ dresses during story time – their parents excused the behavior because boys will be boys and it was the girl’s fault for leading him on. Then they slammed the girl into the wall she shouldn’t have made them mad. When they punched her during the test – well she shouldn’t have been breathing so loud. I teach elementary. I can name 4 boys off the top of my head, who will be these boys is 7 or 8 years. Their parents and my principal excuse the behavior. The victims’ parents won’t press charges (believe me I’ve tried to get them to press charges against the boys).

    I hope soon they run into parents like my parents. They pressed charges and presented the district with the paper work for a civil rights case and criminal charges against some administrators. The abuse I was subject to stopped on a dime. But nothing was really done to stop the boy when it came to other victims. Last I heard he raped and beat a woman who had the courage to press charges and didn’t take a pay off to be quiet from the SOB’s father. He was in TDC Huntsville.