View Full Version : "Religion Gone Bad"
09-08-2006, 02:17 PM
I received my copy of the book today from Amazon and can't wait to dive into it this weekend. Has anyone else read or started it?
09-08-2006, 08:55 PM
I just ordered that the other day. Wonder when it will get here?
09-08-2006, 09:06 PM
Mel White hits town on the 14th, on his book tour. I'm checking it out.
09-10-2006, 12:43 AM
Just got mine in the mail today (Sat). I wasn’t planning on spending too much time on it but one of the chapter titles especially caught my eye and well... Three hours and seventy pages later I'm engrossed. :reading:
There’s some really good stuff in here, very interesting, very insightful. I think the fact that he knew/knows these people/fundamentalists personally adds a lot of credibility to the story, for me and for those who may not be familiar with Mel White. I really hope this thing takes off and I find myself feeling glad that he has the momentum of having already written a bestseller. So thumbs up here so far. :tup:
Now I’ve got to start thinking about my gushing Amazon.com book review... :applause:
09-12-2006, 08:32 AM
Well, I'm 60 pages in and loving the book. There's a lot of information with regards to the people involved in creating fundamentalism in American Christianity. It's an easy read and quite thought provoking so far. Will keep you posted.
09-12-2006, 09:03 AM
Just got it last night and am reading it together with Nonviolence by Mark Kurlansky for which I've started a separate thread. Keep you posted.
Mel is in Chicago tomorrow night, but alas I have choir practice.
09-12-2006, 02:39 PM
When did y'all order your copies?? I ordered mine the day the email went out - which I believe was a week or more ago. It has not arrived yet.
Where's mine???! :(
I picked it up yesterday at Barnes & Noble. I had a bunch of time on the train today, and two loooooong intermissions at the opera, so I read a lot. It's fascinating (and kinda scary) to read about the origins of the rhetoric that I only recently became acquainted with. That is...I've been aware of it, but only recently encountered it personally when I was over at the UMC Forums. All the fundamentalist talking points that Mel discusses were in fashion over there.
09-13-2006, 11:23 PM
My copy is on its way!!! :D
09-22-2006, 10:03 PM
I received my book this week. Hate to complain but White is close to where my name is toward the end of the alphabet. Why are we always last? Maybe Mel could make it a policy here, to start at Z and work back toward A.
The day I got my book, I read the first 50 pages till 1 AM! I also got in the mail recently, a letter from my New Tribes Missionary cousin. I had come out to my fundamentalist family at a summer family reunion and he had written 2 lines at the bottom of their form letter, that he had heard about my coming out, that I know how they feel about it, but that they love me.
I got to thinking about the huge project New Tribes Mission is involved in around the world in hundreds of tribes, translating the Bible into every language, printing guides on how to "understand" the Bible. New Tribes does not permit homosexuals in their organization. So you can expect the Bible translation to have a fundamentalist slant, and also the books to help the people "understand" the Bible. (I was thinking to write my cousin, that they should let the new believers in the tribe tell the rest what it means, without New Tribes bias.) And they also have a radio station, for community service as well as the spread of Fundamentalism. Will the homosexuals in the tribe have to fear for their lives because of an error in the translation of their Bible?
Imagine the millions of dollars going to finance the spread of fundamentalism around the world. Imagine if we got to those tribes with our own bible translators and missionaries first. Imagine if we could convince world governments of the dangers of fundamentalists and not renew their visas. Instead, teach them Greek and Hebrew and let the tribe translate it themselves.
We need to get the word out to our non-christian friends.
09-23-2006, 01:31 PM
Love it, love it, love it!!!
Just turned the last page 5 minutes ago. This is an excellent book, makes me want to read Stranger at the Gate now.
This is an informative book filled with backgrounds on many fundamentalists, difference between fundies and evangelicals, etc. It weaves its way into current years and the path that led Mel to King and Ghandi.
I'm glad I bought it. Let me know what you folks think.:)
09-24-2006, 12:35 PM
Just started reading the book last night. Early on, Dr. White writes about Jerry Falwell. It's interesting that the latter is in the news for his remarks about Hillary Clinton.
A recording of Falwell's comments was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
"I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate," Falwell said, according to the recording. "She has $300 million so far. But I hope she's the candidate. Because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton."
Cheers and laughter filled the room as Falwell continued: "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."
One critic who has been observing the conference said Saturday that Falwell's words offered a rare glimpse into how religious conservative leaders are planning to inflame opposition to the Democrats with below-the-radar messages.
"He was calling Hillary Clinton a demonic figure and openly arguing that God is a Republican," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, director of the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "It's hard to know whether people thought he was joking or serious, but once you start using religious imagery and invoking a politician in this way, it's not funny."
An aide to Falwell said Saturday the Lucifer reference was an "off the cuff" comment and Falwell "had no intentions of demonizing her." In the past, Falwell has described Islam's prophet Muhammad as a terrorist and said abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians were to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.
I am also reading Mark Kulansky's book on Nonviolence at the same time (another thread deals with it). I am linking Dr. White's thoughts with that of Kurlansky here, but it seems apparent that both writers rightly point out that the defining method of fundamentalists is to first demonize/condemn the opposition, whether it is politics or gay rights.
09-24-2006, 04:11 PM
“..a media genius who can turn almost any criticism into a compliment...”
-and apparently vice versa:
"...nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton.
If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."
I guess that explains why he’s not running.
Reading Mel's book I was struck by his discussion of the idolatry of fundamentalists.
I think he's absolutely right that they put the nation, the family, and even the Bible itself on a level that rises to worship and servitude. All else--including, and perhaps especially, Jesus--must serve their gods. Where Jesus' mercy and liberality don't fit their conception of the rest of the Bible, they ignore him. Where the historical and biblical examples of family don't serve their idol of "family" they ignore them. And, I don't think there is anything they will not sacrifice to claim this nation as their own: science, truth, love...and us...they are certainly willing to cast us away, who are their own brothers and sisters.
10-13-2006, 10:27 PM
Dash-maybe I am reading the same speed as you. I just finished that chapter this week.
I identified with the end of that chapter where Mel's co-workers get silent and can't hear anything. I came out to my fundamentalist family this summer and was appalled that no one was curious about anything gay. Like obviously they don't know anything about it because they're so horrified they can't even speak. After they are sure that I've been adequately warned of hell, they are silent. Perhaps it is because half of them are bisexual-in-denial, (truluck's study).
I have come to a theory this week. What if God made us all bisexual in his image? What if everyone is at least 1% g,l, or t, and everyone is at least 1% straight. All of us with different amounts, but we're all basically made the same.
I think the key to talking to fundamentalists is to get them to see that half of the population are significantly bisexual and thats the way God made them to be. Their homosexual part is not the devil or their sin nature. I think this is why they are so silent. They are desparately trying to hide their homosexual side, however small that side is. In this case fundamentalism hurts the fundamentalist as well.
I thought I was 100% gay. And my straight friends were 100% straight. I may be wrong. Perhaps I am at least 1% straight, not enough to make any difference, but this way, we are closer to all of us being made the same. It's just my theory, but this may be the way to convince the fundamentalist that it is not a sin. (I have not heard anyone else speak of this before.)
10-13-2006, 11:13 PM
Sawyer, I don't know what everyone else will think, but to me, your theory makes a lot of sense... In my own opinion, that 1% could even just be that little unnoticed thing in many of us that gives us the ability to understand and relate to each other... That little thing within each of us, that we are rarely even aware of, but can make all the difference in our lives.
Now, back to "Religion Gone Bad".... who thinks I should read it? I'm not a very strong reader, but it sounds like a great book. Oh course, I wouldn't be able to get it for a while no matter what, because I don't have the money... but you guys know me pretty well... do you think I would enjoy it?
10-14-2006, 09:56 AM
Jennifer - The first part of the book is informative but disturbing. It's enjoyable if you like getting information about how and why some people have declared war on us. It's enjoyable to know what the other side is up to and to see it in a perspective that the other side is blind to. I haven't got to the real enjoyable part yet, but I know its coming.
10-14-2006, 02:03 PM
Hey Sawyer, I was mulling over the same "theory" this morning that you described here last night (and I just saw your post now.) If really pressed to define in any way, I'll sawy bisexual, but the experience I had was of flitting continually back and forth along that famous old continuum. The only thing I've never felt to be is 100% straight. I believe that the majority actually is a lot more fluid in potential than is generally believed. This idea tends to threaten a lot of folks, though it need not. Someone's intro on the "My name is. . ." forum put it nicely - we're all just human, here, and made lovingly to have whatever romantic/loving potentials we have.
Jen - I think that book is worth a read. Maybe wait til it comes out in a trade paperback, might cut the price down, or borrow a copy from a friend who owns it. But do read it.
I don't find it a difficult read language-wise (you know how some things are so scholarly or so dry you get bored?) I've never known that to happen with Mel's writings. In particular, I find this book to be almost casual in tone, like he's speaking and it happened to get written down. He puts the movement of certain types of "Christians" into a fine socio-historical perspective which makes it easy to see how each new piece of news fits into a larger movement. I feel like I have new insights into my local proponents of the "marriage" amendment from reading Mel's book. Be aware, it gets a little scary in places, but considering that what's happening politically IS scary, it's important to know about.
I vote that you read it.
10-14-2006, 10:03 PM
Thank you both.... I will read it if I ever get a copy.:D
10-17-2006, 09:43 AM
who has made it to the end of the book???? I just finished the part that describes fundamentalism as fascism. PLEASE tell me that the book ends optimistically..............
10-17-2006, 11:21 AM
I hope I'm not being too pushy, here, but I believe that your argument tends to support mine. That we are all both part male, and part female. And if there is no such thing as pure male or female, words like homo or hetero sexual lose a lot of their meaning. So if we are all somewhat bi-gendered, being somewhat bi-sexual is a natural consequence of that.
BodiesLikeOurs.org seems to have taken down one of my favorite web pages, one that I like to use to illustrate this point. But If you are born intersexed, as are the people at bodieslikeours, you are very aware that we are ALL both male and female.
Keltic, no I haven't read the book. But I just got done listening to a couple hours of Mel White, which gives me some background here. He had 10 handouts, and a Plan! Someone (Jerry Falwell?) said that a fundamentalist is an Evangelical who is angry about something. And anger is a mask for fear, a mask that we put on when we are afraid to admit that we are afraid. Fundamentalism as spiritual fascism? Well, the angrier someone is, the more dangerous they tend to be.
A good Christian is always an optimist, and no, I'm not always a good Christian. But we've got our work cut out for us.
Peace and Love, Chris
10-19-2006, 02:57 PM
I just took a look at "FSTDT" website for a quick laugh and the first thing I find is exactly what Mel talks about in his book:
"Dawkins, you and your atheist friends cannot win. America WILL become a Christian Republic even if we have to write a whole new constitution. Millions of us are dedicated to this righteous cause. We will suceed. And then we will invade godless countries like "Great" Britain and kill all of your heathens. First we need to take care of things at home and in the Middle East but we will get around to Europe. You Godless freaks will die but then you will roast in hell for infinite time. Goodbye you loser"
10-19-2006, 04:02 PM
I finished the book last week, and did so in a 'soup' of several other books: on Nonviolence (Kurlansky) and while also reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation. Spicy soup, you might say. It may not be the place to tackle these last two books here, but what Sawyer said about his family not really responding to his coming out set off a chord of recognition with me. After 15 years, it is still very hard for my family to talk about my being gay and their faith. I believe their silence to be more than mere politeness, and even though my husband and I are often at family gatherings, there is an essential chasm that hasn't been crossed- by them. Their beliefs hinge on near, if not, actual literalism, and if taken away, you would think their faith would crumble (is it really that fragile- one wonders? I actually think that if they really thought about things they would be embarrassed- and since they don't want to feel that way, they don't deal with things.) Is their silence a way- consciously or not- of protecting themselves? (Alert: Defense Mechanism Engaged! Stand Away From the Curb!) I think so. Idolatry, as Dr. White suggests- and Dash rightly observes- may be the MO that keeps their avoidance in play. If so, then no theorizing will be of any help whatsoever. If anything, they make sure to be impervious to anything that smacks of science. Faith- of the blind kind- isn't open to reason. In sum: we may really have to 'out-love' them. That's the part of Mels' book that makes the most sense to me.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.