I Dreamed a Dream

Well, I’m awake now.

I tend to have excessively vivid dreams. This is nothing new. They aren’t always pleasant, either, and most of them have a pretty high WTF factor. I can’t remember the last time, though, that I’ve actually had a bona fide nightmare.

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By Kat

Looking to Kill Some Time? Take a Poorly Written Survey!

Warning: The following post contains dangerously high levels of sarcasm. Overly literal readers should carefully calibrate their sense of humor before viewing. This blogger is not responsible for hurt feelings, head explosions, or Hulk-like rage.

Libby Anne over at Love, Joy, Feminism has posted a link to one of the worst-written surveys of all time. They’re looking for people ages 18 to 38 (because high school seniors can obviously be lumped in with people likely to have established careers and teenage kids of their own) who were raised in “religious” households. The term “religious” is, of course, used here synonymously with “evangelical Christian.” Oh, sure, they acknowledge that there are (a few) other religions out there, but they don’t count and are worth mentioning, if at all, only briefly and for the express purpose of pointing out that they’re wrong.

Don’t believe it’s really that bad? Well, you can check out the comment section on Libby Anne’s blog post for an assortment of the problems, but I realized I just wouldn’t feel satisfied until I’d analyzed it to death. So here goes:

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By Kat

What Do You Worship?

First of all, an update: I’m feeling much, much better. I went to the doctor today, and it turns out that anxiety wasn’t the sole issue, but it was seriously exacerbating an underlying (minor) physical problem. Fortunately I have drugs and recommended exercise to help with that, and even just getting a diagnosis helped relieve some of the stress. I feel more like myself than I have in weeks, and I’d forgotten just how awesome it is to feel healthy and capable. So that’s all fantastic.

Second, I plan to get back to the series I was working on sometime soon. For now, though, I just don’t really feel up to a whole lot of deep thoughts. I’d rather keep it light this evening, so I’d like to share something fun with you.

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Into the Jungle, Part II: Fear and Trembling

I was taught that once a person was old enough to understand the basic gospel message, that person needed to “be baptized for the remission of sins.” Had to be total immersion in water, had to be with full understanding of what sin is and a desire to repent, had to be in Jesus’ name. God is apparently very picky about these things.

Given how important one’s state of mind is to this whole process, I didn’t want to do it until I was sure I was really on board with the whole belief system. The thing is, I often found myself thinking the whole story didn’t make a lot of sense and seemed to be at odds with observable reality. I would occasionally ask questions about the parts that just didn’t compute, but those questions were rarely well-received. The clear, unspoken message was a simple one: shut up and believe. Continue reading

Into the Jungle, Part I: Baby Steps

This is a series I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I started this blog, in large part, because I wanted an outlet for all of the random thoughts in my head, many of which concern the religion I grew up with and the problems I now see in it. What I haven’t done yet, however, is tell my story. It’s not like everyone who leaves religion does so for the same reasons, after all, and I think knowing my background and how I got here provides a lot of helpful context for the things I’m saying now.

Just to be clear, this series is not intended to be persuasive. I’m not preaching, and I’m not defending my position. That doesn’t mean I don’t welcome comments or discussion (I absolutely do!), or that I won’t take a more argumentative approach at other times. It’s just that my purpose in this particular series is not to convince anyone of anything. It’s not meant to be anything more than a narrative.

I remember the first time I really doubted the existence of God. I was about five years old, and I was sitting in church. At that age, I was allowed to bring coloring books and crayons to keep myself occupied during the sermon, but I knew I was supposed to bow my head and close my eyes during the prayers. A prayer had just started, and I had dutifully stopped coloring and adopted an appropriately reverential pose. Continue reading

Random Thought

Sometimes my brain likes to play hooky and wander off into truly bizarre territory. I’m hoping it will settle down and get back to work if I post this.

Growing up in the Church of Christ, we were taught that being baptized was absolutely essential to salvation. (We had answers to the thief on the cross issue, but the unofficial answer seemed to be don’t bring it up because it pisses people off.) If you didn’t get dunked, you couldn’t go to heaven.

We also, of course, knew Mark 3:29:

but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.

So, here’s a hypothetical scenario for you. Pretend that you are a devout Church of Christ member, and someone you really care about has not been baptized. You think that person may come around, but it hasn’t happened yet. Someone holds a gun to that person’s head, and he tells you that if you don’t blaspheme against the holy spirit, he’ll kill your unbaptized friend. Continue reading

As a Matter of Fact, I Do Have “Issues”

I noticed something tonight that’s bothered me for years, but I never really articulated it before now. I’m sure we’re all used to vile, hateful comments all over the internet (and, come to think of it, all kinds of other places as well). There’s one particular variety that always bugged me, though, and for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on why:

“If someone saying that is enough to hurt your feelings, you have bigger problems.”

“If you’re that upset over this, then there’s something wrong with you.”

“If you can’t even handle stepping on a scale, you have serious issues.” Continue reading