So, good news! I received my DVD of The God Who Wasn’t There for my participation in the Rational Response Squad’s Blasphemy Challenge, just as promised! It’s very well done and contains a lot of great extended interviews and extra commentary tracks.
Reader Alex sent me a link to this blog in which a well-meaning woman tries to assemble a group to pray for all the poor souls who have participated in the Blasphemy Challenge. On the one hand, this is very sweet. She wants to try to save the lost souls participating in the challenge; of course this means she doesn’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, which states that we’re all going to hell and there IS no saving us at this point. Anyway, what I find amusing/frightening is that she calls the Challenge “extremely disturbing” a mere two sentences after praising BattleCry, easily one of the most disturbing religious movements since the Dark Ages. This is a serious campaign by fundamentalists using violent war imagery to recruit kids into their ranks. They condemn the quiet, thoughtful Christians as “pew-sitters” who only want peace and happiness, of all things. They hold large concerts packed with teens, during which time they preach their hatred of homosexuals and telling the kids, “No souls can be saved without the shedding of blood. Blood must be shed!” Now that’s extremely disturbing — not at all like people declaring their lack of religion on the Internet. Journalist Sunsara Taylor wrote a fantastic three-part story on the movement, which you can find here.
What I find particularly amusing, though, is the incredible avalanche of replies posted to the blog — all from atheists. I mean, wow. I didn’t see a single “amen, sister.” Well, except the one that turned out to be another ironic response from an atheist. My personal favorite response came in the message Alex sent me along with the link: “Because what can be more efficient than 50 people sitting in a room silently wishing that something will go away?”
This illustrates one of the reasons I feel the Blasphemy Challenge is a wonderful idea. It encouraged a lot of people to openly declare their lack of religion in public, something that should be so simple. If I had uploaded a video saying I was gay, would it be an insult to straight people? If I said I love the color orange, would it be an insult to those who prefer black? In what kind of backwards world do we live where such a video could be labeled as disturbing, or insulting (as many fundamentalists have claimed)?
I happen to have a number of friends who are Christians, and all of my family is Baptist. They are wonderful and loving people who understand that my lack of belief has no negative implications on their own faith. A public declaration of my lack of belief contains no insult and no harm, and a number of religious friends have sent me positive notes about the video. I appreciate those who want to help by praying for my immortal soul, so long as they remember that I’m not trying to reach through their computer monitors and rip their own souls out of their bodies and sell them to Satan.
Hold on, now there’s an idea . . .