SEB Mailbag: Obnoxious “I’m a Christian, dammit” emails.

So here I was wondering what to write about seeing as I haven’t posted in a couple of days when I open up my email client and find he following missive forwarded to me by one of my relatives:

From: [Family Member]
To: Les Jenkins
Subject: Jesus Test

HE is the only one that can save this country from the people that want Him removed from government.
Our great nation will not stand if we delete HIM from all aspects of our government as the atheists want.

[Big Jesus picture that didn’t come with the email for some reason, but which still shows up as a big empty space kinda like the reality of God.]

Jesus Test
This is an easy test.  You score 100 or zero.  It’s your choice. If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions.

Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven;  but whoever disowns Me before men, I
will also disown him before MyFather in heaven.”  MATTHEW 10:32-33

Not ashamed?  Pass this on . . . only if you mean it.

Yes, I do Love God.
He is my Source of existence and Savior.
He keeps me functioning each and everyday.
Without Him, I will be nothing.  Without Him, I am nothing.
But with Him “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. “
PHILIPPIANS 4:13

[Smaller Jesus picture that also didn’t come along with the email like it should have.]

This is the simplest test . . .  If you love God, and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things He has done for you, send this on!

Now this relative, I’m not naming them or which side of the family their from because I’m not out to publicly ridicule them, knows that I’m an atheist yet they included me in the group of friends and relatives that they emailed this missive to. So I wrote up a small reply and here it is:

[Name of Relative],

I already know you’re a believer and I have no problems with that. I’m not sure what the point of this email is other than to make decent Christians act in an obnoxious manner. The government is supposed to represent people of all faiths including those without any faith. It was established to be secular and neutral on issues of religion and slowly over the years the Christians have slowly gotten their faith ingrained where it shouldn’t be.

Above and beyond that, however, do you really think Jesus would be impressed by your ability to forward on an email proclaiming your love of him? Or do you think he would rather you were out doing something significant in his name such as helping to feed the poor or some other similarly charitable act that falls in line with what Jesus himself supposedly did in the past?

I guess my challenge to you is: Is this what Jesus would do?

Les

I’m going to guess said family member will apologize and claim that I was included in the list of recipients by mistake and that’s entirely possible, but not receiving it wouldn’t have changed its obnoxiousness to those who did get it. The email serves no real purpose other than to make the sender sound like an ass and I’m not sure thats among any of Jesus’ supposed teachings.

52 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Obnoxious “I’m a Christian, dammit” emails.

  1. My ex-mother in-law used to do that to her (very unreligious) daughter and it made her go ballistic.  No variation of “Don’t send me this crap” seemed to work.

    It seems her mom refuses to give up hope that her daughter will somehow find Jesus and be saved.  It’s not quite the same as spamming the family, but it’s close.  They don’t see it as annoying you.  They see it as doing you a favor by giving you the opportunity to say “I was wrong, Jesus IS my savior, thank you for not giving up on me”

      They just can’t get it into their heads that they’re being very rude, or they think the results are worth the rudeness.  It’s kind of a double-standard, because when you preach at them, they get mad and demand to know why you want to take their religion away from them or harrass them or teach evil things.  My ex-MIL hyperventilated everytime I brought up Wicca, sometimes even if I just said the word.

    Yeah.. it makes me retch sometimes, but Christians can be stubborn SOBs.  When they’re doing something good, they are fantastic.  When it’s evangalizing, they’re worse than telemarketers.  Most of the time, I smile and go on with life when I run up against their advertisements.  I wish more of them could do the same.

  2. I had those stupid email forwards people send out.  Especially the religious one.  But I like the closing question, is this what Jesus would do?  It’s a great question to ask Believers.

  3. Assuming they existed I would like to be able to give god+jc the credit of not being egotistical enough to create people simply for the satisfaction of being worshiped. If I were god/jc I would feel somewhat insulted that people would think this of me. At least that would be my response to pro-worshipers

  4. not being egotistical enough to create people simply for the satisfaction of being worshiped

    From what I’ve read this seems to be all that matters to God. You can do anything, but as long as you accept him as Lord, you get into heaven- contriwise, doesn’t matter how good you are, No God=No Heaven.  And if you’ve been to my blog (shameless plug) you will know about JC throwing a temper tantrum over a fig tree not having fruit.

  5. lh- Which is the xian attitude, i think we all agree that needs to be reviewed by xians if they are to be decent people. Remember that there are other versions and posibilities out there; lines of inquiry that attempt to apply logic to theism, dont dismiss it all as blind.

    As i see it there are several posibilities, i dont know enough to decide which is correct but as possibilities I need to be ok and prepared for whatever may apply, including oblivion. Extrapolating on possible theories allows prepare

  6. elwed- that is indeed better as a fundamental foundation of a credible theory, both do have a use though- applying to is part of probing the reasoning behind an established posibility so as to help narrow things down

  7. Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven; but whoever disowns Me before men, I
    will also disown him before MyFather in heaven.” MATTHEW 10:32-33

    This tells you all you need to know about JC from the gospels- “Be my bitch or you don’t get into heaven” Did he actually mean this? We will never know.

  8. LH-Correct- We will never know (in life certainly) as the bible has had oppertunities for manipulation. JC couldve been complete fiction and even if he did exist not even he would know for certain that he was as claimed, and even if he was he mightve misinterpreted/misunderstood, but even so JC is not a prerequisite for god, god(s) might exist w/o jc needing to

  9. Big Jesus picture that didn’t come with the email for some reason, but which still shows up as a big empty space kinda like the reality of God

    Teh W1n!!!!!

    Again, I’m too quiet on these issues with my families.

    I think they know I’m an atheist. My mother tries to blunder about “sharing” JC and bible stuff with the kids. She gives me apologetic looks for some reason when she does this. What? Like its an incontrollable tic?

    *sigh* But I usually say nothing in the name of keeping peace within the family.

  10. My mother-in-law sent me a crocheted cross for my birthday.  What’s funny (aside from the fact that she knows I’m an atheist) is that I live with THE master crochet artist, who makes those things all the time, along with other goodies.  Kind of like sending coals to Newcastle. 

    (Here’s an example of MrsDoF’s work, a Star Of David she made for a friend of ours at her Bat Mitzvah.)

  11. At first I thought the writer was talking about Bush!!! But then neither he nor God really value the lives of the people fighting a war about other people fighting about a difference in the religions they believe in. All this under the guise that we have to protect ourselves from these misinformed people.

    Please don’t tell me he is the only one who can save this country from the people who want him removed from government.  That is ridiculous! If he could save this country and these people dying in the war then where the hell is he?  Why has he let this massacre continue for so long?  I know you are going to say to punish the wrong doers and non believers.  But not all those who are dying are non believers or wrong doers.  Do we go by the old saying—kill them all and let God sort them out? 

    It is time to stop trying to convert everyone religiously and politically and start helping our own people through employment, education, health care, and the daily needs to survive decently.

  12. I have no idea how she made that, complex shape, multiple connections, different edge. It doesn’t look possible by any method yet it exists

  13. Momma: That is ridiculous! If he could save this country and these people dying in the war then where the hell is he?

    If there were gods/spirits then I can only assume their ability to influence here is limited, otherwise you’d have some appear in public and try to tell people stuff. Also problems in human nature indicate that even if there was something it isn’t 100% good, influential and intelligent, at least one of those isn’t being fulfilled.

  14. LH: “Be my bitch or you don’t get into heaven”

    LOL

    J: What?

    Double LOL

  15. *shrug* If people send me crap and spam I block them even if they’re my mom. If someone wants to punish me with their chain letters then at least they should have to go to the trouble of printing them out and sticking a stamp on it, and if my relatives want to talk to my about their superstitions then they can dial me on the phone. Hell, I’ve blocked people out of work for crap like that and just shrugged until they eventually had to make up a new email address, which they have since used more responsibly, for contacting me electronically.

  16. Why not just tell them…OK I am ready to be born again, I am ready to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I want you to pray for me now. Then we can swing by Church for the Baptism. And after we are through with that, will you please SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.

  17. Les, you could try sending out your own chain emails!

    [Insert your favorite Mark Twain/Jefferson/Dawkins quote here, in BIG BOLD LETTERS]

    Rationality test:  You score either 100 or 0 points.

    I reject all superstitions and imaginary friends, including gods and demons of all shapes and colors.  I am ready to give up years of meaningless ritualized activities such as talking to myself, bowing in front of empty air, reading the same book over and over again, killing and oppressing people in the name of my delusions, and inflicting my delusions on everyone within my reach.  I am ready to go out and do something charitable and to improve the world around me, to treat all of my fellow human beings as equal (because they ARE), and to save others from the same horrible, narcissistic, self-inflicted fate that I just rescued myself from.

    If you are not ashamed, forward this to every True Believer you know.

    [Insert another atheist quote in BIG BOLD LETTERS, dammit]

  18. Why not just tell them…OK I am ready to be born again, I am ready to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I want you to pray for me now. Then we can swing by Church for the Baptism. And after we are through with that, will you please SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me there would be no showers hot enough to sterilize myself in afterwards.

  19. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me there would be no showers hot enough to sterilize myself in afterwards.

    Yup. The very thought makes me feel dirty.

    Paul, here’s a better suggestion. Get a free ordaination from the Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic and send the religious hecklers copies of your ordination certificate. Tell them that you seek an active ministry and invite them over. Turnabout is fair play, eh.

  20. I could ordane anyone who asks into the Chrch of Jenkinanity- Basic Belief- the evidence is usually correct.

    Do YOU believe that there is an Evil Bastard?

    Now, as virtually no-one who comes to this site has met Les, you have to take it that he actually exists, and this isn’t just some sort of elaborate fake.

    You therefore have faith. Now Fuck Off (what, is it, I should say what?)
    Oh Sorry- apparently the correct phrase is “Go Forth and Multiply” which I thought meant the same thing.

    Yours in the love of Les
    Lord High Arch Pope.

  21. My mother used to do the same thing to me and my brother…but over the years, she’s started to get the hint that neither of us are ever going to change our beliefs (or lack of, depending on your p.o.v.).

    Her attempts to ‘save us’ started waining when, during family holiday get-togethers, we’d share things like the origin of the Celtic cross (the sun. pagans. etc), that there were NEVER snakes in Ireland, that “Xian” isn’t blasphemous, it’s shorthand smile

  22. Thankfully my mom does not send me those as I have trained her that I do not accept any of those retarded forwards (and if you do, be prepared to hear a 20 minute lecture on why they are retarded and a waste of both of our times and if you really loved me that you would just call and not have me as part of a mass mail).  *chuckles*

  23. Les – love your response. Very civil and understanding of those with a different view.

    I actually want to borrow some of your language and respond to all those chain bulletins I get from family and friends on Myspace with the same message. I’ve drafted my own verson (last like: Would Jesus be bulletin’?) but some of your language is too good to not use directly if you don’t mind.

    GeekMom – same thing. Would love to borrow your idea for a future bulletin if it’s okay.

  24. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

    Peace Be With You
    Micky

  25. I’m also pleased you’ve found a form of peace, Micky, I’m 100% behind you. All you have to do is survive and you’re a success, and if you don’t know what to do, I find just laying down and doing nothing good, or breaking the cycle with entertainment. I’m going to talk in analagies here so it might sound a little odd.

    Once it’s fully over it’s over for good. Though certain lines of thought can lead you into what looks like a black hole, it’s really a tunnel that you can think your way out of, through the other end, never back. People I know are put off thinking about things that they think will lead into a black hole, where they don’t see an end, and the kind of happy ending you see in films i think is sometimes the relief of not having to go into one, and possibly life isn’t like that because people need to be forced into the tunnel. There is always a way out so never be afraid to explore, and you’ll hopefully be pleased to know, there is no going back to before that tunnel.

    You have found a what i’d call a pillar of strength, something you can rely on and trust in, something that will help you find the keys that you wish to look for, even if only by letting you refocus. I’d expect that before you based your pillar of strength on something unreliable that you came to lose, so now you’ve found firmer ground, for me my pillar changed to financial security, which though not guaranteed is safer than the social needs of before. In my case I was distressed that I hadn’t (and still haven’t) had a romantic relationship yet, but now I banish loneliness and anything too painful to the subconcious, which is a little mind trick you can do, but it won’t work permanently, just until the situation changes

    Micky: I actually thought I was in hell

    You could conseider certain mindstates like a manifestation of hell, of which there is more than one form. Hell is, I think, a way of giving people extra drive to proceed through the dark tunnel, give them a strong reason/need to metamorphasise (they can never be forced to change by the nature of what we’re talking about, just given more reason to)

    However I am perplexed at why people have the need to metamorphasise in the first place, why they started off at the other end of these ‘tunnels’ in the first place

  26. Maybe I’m just an asshole.

    I read through Micky’s story. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why I should pat this guy on the back and say good for you, Micky, your imaginary friend got you through your hard times.

    It’s a crock. An illusion.

    And any “cure” based on an illusion isn’t a cure. It’s just trading one problem for another.

    I want to tell Micky to stand up and grow a pair. To stop relying on fantasy and start relying on himself.

    Like I said, maybe I’m just an asshole……

  27. KPG, you’re not alone.

    I’ve heard stories like Micky’s before and I’ve always had mixed feelings about them.

    On the one hand, subjective improvement is a good thing. On the other hand, I doubt that religiosity cures a clinical mental health condition and to put it bluntly, I’m wary of people with potentially unresolved issues who “got religion” on top of that.

  28. I am personally of the opinion that Micky needs some genuine help (i.e. going to the root of his issues and resolving them once and for all). To simply “find” religion and claim to be cured is, to me, sort of like dressing up a turd and then claiming it’s no longer a turd. But to each his/her own. If Micky has truly overcome and grown from his past dire straits, more power to him.

  29. KPG, Elwed, I understand the mixed feelings.  But I’m not inclined to debate someone who found a surcease from suicidal pain. 

    Unless he were running for a school board or public office and wanted to push his religion onto public policy, I suppose.

  30. DOF, I’m normally not inclined to debate someone in that position, either. In fact, my normal inclination would be to just say nothing and let it go. No matter how I feel, it’s his life.

    The reason I spoke up is that I suppose I’m somewhat inclined to debate those that know better who would pat him on the back and say “good for you”.

    It seems to be, well, is “enabling” the word I’m looking for here?

    This isn’t a crack at you or anyone else, just some weird misgivings on my part…..

  31. I respect the restraint in debate from all, I’m with DOF on this, I don’t know enough about Micky to know how ready he is for debate, especially if it’s concerning the thing that’s holding him together. True or false, it may well have prevented a suicide, and so serves a purpose even if it is fantasy. Perhaps he knew about SEB’s stance and so wasn’t vulnerable (or knew what he was doing), I don’t know, it would appear to be placing a lot of emotional trust in an open forum but it’s not so if he’s immune, which he very well may be, things aren’t always as they seem

  32. I don’t get it.

    Be grateful that you don’t then. 

    To put it simply KPG: Your perception of reality is your reality.  Whether your perception of reality matches reality, well, that is an entirely different issue. Micky has found something that has helped him alter his perception of reality such that he finds it possible to go from day to day without a sense of fear, pain and shame.

    A lot of therapies involve changing one’s perception of reality so that there is a level of acceptance for the individual sufficient that they can function in society.  Very few therapies actually involve changing reality. Micky has found the same.

    Now if in light of that explanation you still want to take a pot shot about growing a pair, well, I’m going to be inclined to call you an asshole. 

    If you’re concerned about unresolved issues, like Elwed, and you engage the person so that you can ascertain for yourself whether there is anything to your idle speculation, I would applaud your sense of humanity.  If instead you sit on the sideline taking potshots under the guise of your concern about religion’s effect upon humanity without being willing to do any of the lifting yourself, well, again, I’m going to think you’re an asshole.

  33. (DOF) But I’m not inclined to debate someone who found a surcease from suicidal pain.

    Expression doubts with regards to the efficacy of “getting religion” as a cure to one of a number of personal problems isn’t the same as debating an individual. In general, I question if the “cure” isn’t worse than the disease. In particular, whatever floats your boat.

  34. Consi: Now if in light of that explanation you still want to take a pot shot about growing a pair, well, I’m going to be inclined to call you an asshole.

    I’m just going to take that one on the chin. Yep, I’m an asshole at times. The growing a pair remark was uncalled for and stems from my own beliefs that people should face their problems and not turn to religion (or drugs or other mind altering solutions) to deal with them. But it was a bad way to say it.

    If you’re concerned about unresolved issues, like Elwed, and you engage the person so that you can ascertain for yourself whether there is anything to your idle speculation, I would applaud your sense of humanity.  If instead you sit on the sideline taking potshots under the guise of your concern about religion’s effect upon humanity without being willing to do any of the lifting yourself, well, again, I’m going to think you’re an asshole.

    I’m not really concerned with the unresolved issues. This is going to sound a bit like I’m channelling Gregory House, but I’m not concerned with the “patient” at all. I don’t know him, his issues are his own.

    What concerns me is the idea of atheists comforting the “patient” in a manner that appears to lend credence to his religous beliefs. It seems just a touch on the hypocritical side.

    And I feel the need to repeat, I’m not blasting anyone. I really don’t feel that strongly about this, it’s just what came to mind and you all know that the filter between my brain and my mouth (or in this case, fingertips) often doesn’t work real well…….

  35. My disinclination to debate Mickey was not prescriptive, KPG – you have your own navigation system.

    Yes, it might be enabling to just wish him well and move on.  Specifically I hope it enables him to go on another day and not suffer the tortures of the damned or hurt himself or someone else.  I have looked into that dark hole before and seen one of my family members down there looking back – a painful and disturbing experience in itself. 

    Recently one of the conservative bloggers I read went off on people who suffered PTSD in Vietnam.  He criticized them for saying ‘Vietnam made me this way’ and said that others had ‘come home and gotten on with their lives’ and that should be prescriptive for everyone.  But that individual never saw combat, himself.  It was very unseemly. So that is my reasoning for saving the debate for someone else.

  36. I’m of the opinion that if religion helps someone sleep better at night and keeps them from climbing a clock tower with a high-powered rifle then, by all means, be a believer. Not the best solution to be sure, but if it works and doesn’t cause any additional issues then so be it.

  37. I’m a great believer in Frank Sinatra’s: Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    But, Clutching at Crutches like Saviours and Drugs are only temporary solutions that keep you as enslaved as the original problem. Eventually you have to confront the demons if you are to have any REAL peace in freedom.

  38. Yup. It’s ok to do what you have to do when you need to get through the night, but eventually you’ve got a whole new day and all the rest of the days that you need to get through too.

    Believing in magical pink unicorns might help, but it’s not the unicorns that are going to be doing the heavy lifting in the end.

  39. it’s not the unicorns that are going to be doing the heavy lifting in the end.

    Yeah; that’s what I found; unicorns are lazy fuckers.

  40. I’m with Les.  Many people forget that freedom or religion means freedom FROM religion too, but as long as you’re not in my face, I will let you believe what you want, support your right to practice your religion and even try to understand your morality.  Everyone’s hell is not the same, and it stands to reason that the road to salvation can’t be the same for everyone either.

    For instance, who else here uses Doritos and an obscene amount of beer?

  41. 1/2 a pint at a part is obscene.

    I know there’s a joke there – I just don’t get it.
    Something to do with ‘everything’s relative’?

  42. an obscene amount of beer

    I would NEVER put obscene and.
    I would NEVER put beer into the same sentence.

  43. For instance, who else here uses Doritos and an obscene amount of beer?

    Well, I’m known to dabble with a substance that makes me crave Doritos. Can’t stand the taste of beer, though.

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