Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 6.11

  • In case you were wondering – cell phones do not in fact pop popcorn.
  • Gawker also brings us the report on Jesus Gyms – helping to ease Christians out of mainstream gyms, the dens of sin they are.
  • There’s a new breast enhancement cream on the market. I’m sure that, unlike the hundreds before it, this one actually works. Its website URL is even thisworks.com!
  • You have been left behind: a new service allows you to stick out your tongue via email at all the poor saps who get left behind after the Rapture. (Thanks to a few readers for sending this one in.)

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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18 Comments

  1. Though you only wrote a short blurb about it, I think it is wrong to presume that Christians would use a “Christian” gym for moral reasons. In fact, I think it is wrong to presume that Christians use Christian Churches for moral reasons.

    There was a study a long while ago, and I can’t provide a link, or even a reasonable summary of the results. But I can provide a dim recollection of what I recall of the results and the impression it gave me. The study indicated that in a poor neighborhood, a dollar is spent once before it leaves the neighborhood. In a wealthy area, that same buck gets spread around. In concrete terms, poor people spend their money at Walmart and McDonald’s, and the money instantly leaves their neighborhood.

    Christians, by building a “Christian” Gym, and a “Christian” Book Store, and a “Christian” Hardware Store, and a “Christian” Daycare Center, are keeping their money close to home. Just like wealthy people in “tight” communities, they know that if they give their money to unsympathetic institutions, when push comes to shove, those institutions will abandon them, because their is no reciprocity, no relationship.

    Of course, they aren’t doing this consciously. But they probably aren’t doing it for “moral” reasons either.

  2. ronstrelecki – I really wasn’t “presuming” anything, but just going for a joke, -which is better or worse depending on your outlook :)

    I don’t really have any problem with private businesses doing whatever they want and catering to whatever clientele they want, however much I personally disagree with their focus. I mean, I may joke or talk disparagingly about that focus, but I’m not going to argue that they don’t have the right to do that.

    But, the quote in the linked article also says that there are strict clothing rules in this gym, especially for women, and one patron says this type of atmosphere is good because “I don’t need anything to lead me into temptation.” So, yeah, I think there is definitely a moral factor, and it plugs into the same messed-up body issues and responsibility of women not to incite male lust that irritate me about aspects of Christian culture.

    There’s also the fact that gyms are often seen as a big part of the gay lifestyle, and I have a hard time believing that there isn’t some defense against that operating here. If that is not in fact the case, good for them. But I’m dubious.

  3. I understand you weren’t presuming, you were making a blurb, so in one sentence you made a joke, which was funny. I was only commenting because the topic is of interest and I wanted to expand upon it.

    I am not suggesting that they should be restricted from opening a Christian gym? How did you come to that? I was suggesting that morality is often the surface rationale for the actions of Christian Communities. But when you look underneath, you see that there are often powerful financial and social reasons for why Christians do the things they do.

    As a Lefty, I am often frustrated by the fact that it is impossible to exist without handing HUGE amounts of money over to the Right Wing / Christian / War Machine. Spend money at Walmart? You’re funding an anti-Union Juggernaut. Eat a Dominos Pizza? You’re handing money to a Christian Nutjob.

    I was merely pointing out that by opening a “Christian” gym that they are keeping their money close to home. They are keeping it in their circle. And linking it to that study which shows how the rich keep money close to home.

    Yes, of course, they can claim that “morality” is the rationale for their gym. But like every other aspect of a church-going life, there are financial and social reasons backing up the “morality.” Morality is spending money where more of it comes back to you.

  4. I used to go to Christian aerobics (in the 1980s, so this is hardly new) and I did it for 2 reasons. All my friends were Christian and I wanted to hang out with them instead of going to a class with a bunch of strangers, and our class was all women, and the other gyms in the area, which had mostly male members, were considered “meat markets”. If women went there, it was like they were putting themselves on display for the guys. I don’t know if that was really true, but that’s what we said about it at the time.

  5. I didn’t think you were suggesting they not be allowed to run their own business at all – I just wanted to make it clear I’m okay with that part of it. That was entirely my own addition, just because I’m particular about personal freedom and rights and all that fun stuff.

    And I do understand how financial concerns often underly “moral” decisions. I guess that bothers me even more, though, because it seems hypocritical. I would rather they just come out and say that they want to give money to people like themselves, instead of claiming some moral justification for doing so.

  6. TeamBanzai: Ha Ha! You get my point exactly! If one examined how Christians utilize their Churches and the Communities centered around Churches, I think a very strong case could be made that while there is a veneer of “morality” at the center of the Church experience, in reality, being a member of a Christian Community is all about establishing cultural identity, business networking, recipe exchange, social interaction, etc… Very little of what these churches are about revolves around the Stone Age Mythology they claim to “worship” (whatever that means).

    Look at the Mega-Churches in Colorado City and Texas. They have Starbucks’s right in the Church! (Or the “Christian” version of Starbuck’s, at least).

    I don’t mean this to be critical. The same sorts of identity and culture building happen with sports teams and musical groups as the focus. Most of what being a Church Member is has very little to do with things like Theodocius’ Epistle to the Messolonikons or what have you…

    I think Atheists should do the same thing, by the way. But, as many have said, getting atheists to act in concert is like herding cats. It’s the Christian’s ability to defer their individualism that makes them such a powerful force.

  7. This is probably where the problem comes in for me personally – I’m a hardcore individualist. It’s also one of the biggest reasons why organized religion doesn’t work for me in the first place.

    I do see how this works for others, though. My mother and sister are very active in their church, and it is very much a community thing for them.

    But, as for myself, I like being a cat who can’t be herded :)

  8. Ironically, given certain demographic information, the folks on Madison Avenue could do a very good job of predicting many, many aspects of yours and my respective “artistic, creative, individualistic” lifestyles… And strangely enough, most of the Christians who we might see as moving in great herds like Lemmings off a cliff would all identify themselves as “complex individuals” just the same as the 18 year old “individual” leaving Hot Topic with his pierced tongue and $30 Misfits iron-on patch.

    A cat that can’t be herded is easy to corner…

  9. I think you’re completely right, but it also depends very much on the, well, individual. For example, I don’t really see my younger sister, who is right now considering a career in youth ministry, a groupthinker – she’s a smart young woman with a big heart, and she has just as much individuality as I have. And while there was definitely a time where I was that Hot Topic kid (still have the pierced tongue and Misfits concert tales to prove it), I’m many, many more things now, including a mother and career woman. I’m always encountering people in my daily life who think it’s weird a mom has tattoos and listens to punk music, or is happily unmarried – or is a woman who works with technology – or is a woman who is into skepticism. Those are the reasons I’m so into supporting individuals. And what I support is not so much the trappings of “individualism,” (which I agree is a concept that has been largely taken over by advertising), but a commitment to allowing every one to find their own ways, wherever those ways might go.

  10. That was one of the reasons I put Skepchick in my rss feed, writerDD! I should have commented then. Your interview and the book, which I’ve only read an excerpt of (at Skeptic Magazine’s site… I think…) have really informed me on this matter. Thank you!

    I got Jehovah’s Witnesses today! I tried to be as patient as possible… at one point, they actually asked, “Do you believe in Evolution?” and then said, “Well, it’s just a Theory.” and I couldn’t contain myself… Those idiots make me so mad. Come to MY door and tell me that Your “God” is going to “smite” me so that your nineteen children can “inherit Paradise”?

    Agh! They are SO infuriating!

  11. They actually used the “It’s just a theory,” defense?! I thought we managed to kill that one with the whole theory of gravity thing. Maybe they didn’t get the memo?

  12. I just had a funny thought as an aside: If I promise you virgins on the street in Thailand, I’m a pimp; Do the same thing from the Pulpit, and I am “Reverend”.

    The disturbing thing about “It’s a Theory” is that they had it ready on the tip of the tongue. Now, they can pretend that they are doing “God’s Work” or whatever fantasy that makes them feel good about their meaningless lives, but the truth is, they are in sales. They are sales reps for the Pyramid Scam that is their fairy tale religion. And while they may have an ideal system of coming together in prayer, or spreading the illumination of the word of God, or what have you (some fantasy fairy tale about “illumination” while reading “The Word”)… They are faced with a choice: Either utilize modern sophisticated sales techniques, or get the door slammed in your face every time.

    What this means to me, is that when their back is against the wall… ideologically, they will grasp for whatever tools they deem to be most effective. Therefore, it is reasonable to surmise that while the “It’s just a theory” argument isn’t going to hold water with me, the mere fact that they used it indicates that it probably works. Again, the reasoning here is that they, like any other scam artists, are in “sink or swim” territory, and therefore only the most effective tools will get utilized.

    And the fact that “It’s just a theory” works for them (as is evidenced by the speed with which it was available to their “super” minds) is very troubling to me. It says a lot.

  13. a new service allows you to stick out your tongue via email at all the poor saps who get left behind after the Rapture.

    I saw that site a while back and this prompted me to do a quick analysis (not super-thorough or anything) of this service from a security/risk management perspective.

    Left behind?

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