The Hard Sell of Low Tactics

#Death

Mon, Sep 1st, 2003 04:00 by REVSCRJ ARTICLE

A question that has plagued me ever since early teens is: 'How the hell has humanity let Christianity get to the level of control it now holds?' Really? I mean: any religion that would, with a straight face, sell blessings to help get one into a better spot in the afterlife is so obviously not connected to the forces that run this universe that it would be funny were it not for the Crusades, Inquisition, or Salem Witch trials.

So with that in mind I constantly keep answering that question with another mantra-like question: "Are ya’ll fucking stupid?"

Despite my general dislike of what the species has become, I really don’t believe that the average person really is stupid. In fact I see the basic individual as containing the seeds to messianic level greatness--thus the reason I continue to ask instead of simply saying: "Ya’ll are fucking stupid."

Recently I was given a very close personally biting look example of how they've managed it and continue to hold on to it. My mother died. I will not go into the degrees of inner tumult that it caused, or maybe I will, I dunno--that’s the nature of grief: it cripples you momentarily. Grief takes all the normal defense mechanisms you have built up and punches a very jagged ugly hole through them. You have loss. You have absence. You see the meat of the deceased and wonder-in-anguish: "Where is the being that moved that slab of flesh?"

Tangentially: if you have ever discovered the body of a familiar or loved one who has died there is an obvious lack of something there, as if light does not reflect off of their skin as well or as if there comes an incredibly inanimate quality over the meat. When you see the body dead it is no different than the bed it lays on, or the dirt it will be buried into. From a detached perspective this is obvious but subjectively there is a disturbing confusion felt when you look at the body that held the life to know that what you are looking at is not what you were looking for. The lights are off and nobody's home... but I digress...

Picture the small church filled with folk, many of whom I have not seen for years but was, at some point, close to. In good nature they want to console, in good spirit they want to comfort. This is natural, but for GODSAKES PEOPLE: the last thing someone needs to do in the midst of trying to work out their feelings is to have to repeat the progress-thus-far dozens of times! All that accomplishes is a mythification of the feelings or a cartooning of them.

The self becomes a story, 1st person becomes third and where healthy resolution/acceptance may have been possible there is suddenly now scar tissue that will get buried but will take a lot of active effort to ever get healed. Honestly I want to talk to these out-of-state family members and old moved on friends about anything aside the matter at hand, but they too are either grieving or are in consolation/comfort mode.

Every "Are you okay?" or "How are you doing?" I get now is like an accidental kick in the shins from a passing person. The first few times it sucks, but you're okay... after that there is nothing but a rattling growl in the throat for them, a misplaced will to hurt. You can’t really justify lunging as they don’t realize that everybody is kicking you in the shins "on accident" but you sure do want to!

The services commence and I am sitting front row next to my Father and my Son. I do not cry. The Catholic priest says a few generic things then asks the assembled if anyone wants to speak. My Father goes up and delivers a vaguely funny series of jokes about her in a way that appears loose and casual to all but myself--I see subtle nuances that show him as holding back the flood. The dam breaks once he's off the mic.

Now finally I get to the part that I wanted to mention, the Christianity control and maintenance theme. The priest comes back and starts talking about her as if he knew her. He makes presumptions statements about her based on things that my Father had said, but were outrageously stupid to say had he known her. Example: "Remember on this day how our Sister Jennifer and how she would give without want of returns, comfort selflessly in times of need..."

Hmmm, she was a schizophrenic morphine addict with a dominating control complex compounded by paranoia... none of the above apply... and as I am listening I wonder why the Hell would one say these things? Why assume when you have a whole group of people to talk to who might do well with a bit of a pep-talk and a "kiss the beloved off toward eternity" kind of speech?

I am a Reverend, and though my general writing may not echo it, I take the role seriously. I have always tried to ease pain, and aid those in need whom I considered 'good' or at least 'not known as bastards' so I hear his words and the approach is odd. It magnifies qualities that are a safe bet to assume exist AND THEN as it is doing so, he does it. Fucker. Unconscious dupe. He kicks in with a bit about how these qualities are those most beloved by God etc. etc. etc. AND IF YOU'VE LOST YOUR WAY FROM CHRIST NOW IS THE TIME TO RETURN TO HIM!

My thoughts about that go like this:

"How dare you try to convert me right now old man!? We call lawyers that do that 'ambulance chasers' shall you be known as 'coffin converters' or 'casket recruiters'? Fuck you and your spiritual attempt at a sucker punch!"

Later, after I calm down, I acknowledge that he too was likely acting out of good nature--y'know, really concerned that everyone be his religion lest they suffer eternity in a Jacuzzi of fire. Since he really believes that is the way the universe works he is doing his best to help. Fuck him and his whole religion. That kind of aggressive missionary mannerism gets no respect from me, despite his motivations. To weaker psyches his methods might get a few converts because of the DESPERATE PAINFUL IMMEDIATE need for a grieving soul to be DONE WITH IT as quick as it can. He hands them an escape route at a moment in which they need to either work things out for themselves, process the grief naturally, or simply be treated respectfully for a bit.

His monologue offers a solution, which effectively is like having your hamstrings cut but thereafter dragged by the one who cut them. Sure you continue to function... still get places... but its like you’ve folded up under another... It REALLY bothers me! Why would one want to inspire the kind of belief you get from that methodology? You see this kind of convert in AA or EST places--'Stepford missionaries'. Its the same kind of belief that is all saturating in the Junkie-turned-social-worker-jesus-freak. The people that this angle works on are using that which you call holy as a heroin to hold back pain, this leads to psychological atrophy and ultimately to some really creepy mother-fuckers. Hollow. Personally they are the last folk I'd want professing what I found to be sacred.

It occurs to me later: "Oh... wait... I see... its not about truth or the celebration of a divine force... its about numbers of followers which equal sums of tithes... its about whose religion is releasing the lions on the others... its about spreading at all costs, using people like bullets in an uzi to mow down the competition..." and amid my loss I feel a disgust that is transcendent. It was no new revelation, but it wandered out into the light and I got a real close look at just how fucking ugly it is...ugly and shielded with dupes who mean no harm just like the Nazis would march with women and children around them so the opposing soldiers couldn’t shoot them down... just like an evil CEO will use innocent office shmucks to ply the face to face horrors of their business... Fuck that.

So to the Nazis, advertisers, CEOs and hard sell holy men of the world: regardless of your intentions IT IS YOU who performs the evils and therefor YOU are equally the enemy.

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