The Unbearable Banishment: Jesus saves. Except when he doesn't.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jesus saves. Except when he doesn't.

I'll probably catch a lot of hell for this one but this is *my* sandbox.

* * *

I recently read a piece in The New York Times about Bethany Hamilton. She's a professional surfer who, at 13 years old, had her arm bitten off by a shark while surfing in Hawaii. They made a movie about her.

During the course of the very brief interview, she said the following:

"[The movie] tells of the struggles that me and my family went through after the attack and the passion we have for both surfing and God."

"I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe he gave me the passion and determination to continue surfing."

"I...enjoy Bible study and making dinners."

"[My parents] have encouraged me in my relationship with Jesus Christ and in my passion for surfing."

10 questions. Four of her answers mentioned Jeebus. When people shoehorn their religious beliefs into every facet of the conversation, they always come off as sounding kind of brainwashed to me. Like they're stumbling around in a narcotic stupor.

My mother did it the right way. She had a strong bond with the Catholic church but never militantly so. She never berated me for falling away from the church. Never proselytized. And certainly never spewed any of that "Jesus is the only way to heaven" rhetoric. (Somehow, I can't picture Gandhi in hell.)

If I were Bethany and I had a special relationship with Jesus, I'd ask Him why the hell a shark ate my arm. And, as long as I had his attention, why entire villages were swept out to sea in Japan.

Oh...excuse me...I forgot my place. My catechism classes are long behind me. We are never supposed to ask questions. Keep your head down. Give thanks. I'm a sinner. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. But don't ask why.

God gets all the credit, but none of the blame. That's a pretty sweet deal. How can I swing that at work?


Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Hey, you won't catch any hell from me. I feel the same way. "God" gets all the praise and takes none of the blame, but isn't he supposedly responsible for absolutely everything that happens on the face of the planet??? Not exactly fair, now is it? Sounds rather like a big bully, in my estimation...

Which is exactly why it doesn't hold any water with me. Or one of the reasons, anyway.

April 6, 2011 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Ahhh a fellow Heathen, welcome to the sinners club. Can I get you a virgin from the bar?

April 6, 2011 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

I have long been suspicious of all regimented philosophies/religions.
Especially this crowd!

(And I'm not sure there *are* any virgins left.Especially in bars!)

why would word ver be pagan, do you wonder!

April 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: Thank you for your support. I think I'm going to need it. Hope I don't truly insult anyone but that's what I think.

Jimmy: We should start a support group. Something tells me there are a lot of folks who would agree with this but are afraid to say so in mixed company.

dinah: I'm getting older and crabbier. My feelings have gone from casual indifference to borderline hostility.

April 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

You would be surprised how many would agree, whatever kind of company. Where do I sign for this club then?

(Oh dear, WV = krumbsnar, I'm sure that's an anagram?) :¬)

April 6, 2011 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

a woman i worked with in theater is now fighting what appears to be end stage leukemia. i offered to help feed the family, as they live nearby. as a result, i'm on the 'prayer update' list.

recently, there was a brief improvement. the message read in part "Thanks to all of you who have continued praying! Things are better today!" But when things went back to shit, there was no follow up "God damn it, PRAY HARDER, YOU SLACKERS! She's gonna DIE!"

i'm with you... and i don't want virgins, thankyouverymuch. i prefer a man who knows what's up...

April 6, 2011 at 7:09 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I'm with daisyfae... no virgins for this girl. I much prefer a man with experience who actually pays attention to what he's doing and if it's working... Just sayin'. ;-)

April 6, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

map: Still waiting for that one angry comment. Or is everyone really that enlightened?

daisy: I have NO PROBLEM with people turning to religion for strength. My mom did her whole life. It did her a world of good, especially at the end. It's the in-your-face stuff that irritates the hell out of me.

April 6, 2011 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I think you are preaching to the converted, Mr Banish!

April 7, 2011 at 3:38 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...


April 7, 2011 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: I think you might be right. It turns out that I'm not as courageous as I thought I was.

kykn: One of us! One of us! One of us! One of us! One of us! One of us! One of us!

April 7, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

agree that if it's personally strengthening, and the faith isn't broadcast, that it's not my business...

i just can't buy the logic fault - so are they saying that everyone who dies of cancer simply didn't have enough people praying? oh, that just falls under "It was part of God's plan". Which, if we can't know what the plan is, why should we pray just in case this time we can change it?

April 7, 2011 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Sausage said...

If you are passing out virgins at the bar, I'll have a red head and a brunette.
I have been around many a brainwashed drone and sometimes I find it to be a crutch for something else, I have no problem with their toting the holy line but they better make sure you are on the righteous path before they start pointing any fingers at others...

April 7, 2011 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

When such a shattering thing happens to a young girl don't begrudge anything that gives her strength to cope. Come now.

I can't get into a religious argument as my beliefs wouldn't make sense to anybody else after being reared as a Unitarian and 'got at' by an RC grandmother.
I don't believe God is responsible for everything that happens on the planet. We aren't pawns - we have the freedom of choice and are free to make a pig's arse out of things and often do. Probably better just ignore this.

April 7, 2011 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

SF: FLA is a hotbed of fundamental activity. I'll bet you've seen your share.

Pat: I certainly don't begrudge her anything that will provide comfort and help her get through this horrific accident. Better Jesus than whiskey. But when you become THAT consumed by your religion (Christian or otherwise), the tendency is to damn others who think differently. Therein lies my discomfort with the forced promotion of her beliefs.

April 7, 2011 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Kono said...

Duuude, Jeebus was the best fucking surfer of all time, i mean the dude didn't even need a board, had the best weed and the hottest surf betties, it was a never ending party.

As for young Bethany, what can you do? if someone asked me 10 questions i'm sure at least 4 of my answers would somehow incorporate my dick because that's like my favorite thing to talk about.

April 7, 2011 at 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kono your dick is my favourite thing to talk about too ;-)

April 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

No arguments from me either. I think it sounds brainwashed. It makes me very uncomfortable but maybe that's because I feel oddly threatened by it? I don't know.

And yeah--constantly proclaiming like that always makes me think...hmmm...trying to convince yourself are you? Or trying to convince us? Maybe that's not fair, but...

And I know I've mentioned it before, but Jews love to rail against God for his failures and failings. LOL.

April 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Eryl said...

She's been indoctrinated since birth, as her parents were before her, she'll probably never have her own mind. To me that is tragic, and I feel sorry for her. And I think Leah is probably right, she is trying to convince herself because, as you point out, there is nothing convincing about the arguments. These things used to make me incredibly angry, but now they just make me sad.

April 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Zen Mama said...

Whatever gets you through the night, is alright, it's me.

I have seen this first hand, the transformation and proclamation from a desperate soul trying to justify his actions. My children's father recently told them God only punishes those he loves the most, hence, that's why daddy is "away". In a federal country club camp.

To read it from a young lady who actually overcame great obstacles, it sounds much different. So I say, who am I to judge?

Just as all those ultra religious peeps would attempt to force their beliefs upon me, I will not judge them for their courage or convictions.

Live and let live.

Props for quoting Lennon and McCartney lyrics in one comment. Oh yeah.

April 8, 2011 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

It's kind of a hard one because while, on the one hand, I believe in a higher power and afterlife; on the other, I don't think of myself as being religious. I certainly don't go to a church and I never talk about my beliefs to anyone. Still, I can't help feeling that a lot of atheists bang on about NOT believing in God as much as people of faith bang on about their beliefs. I don't care either way, as long as you can leave me to my own thing and not try to indoctrinate me in your particular way of thinking, if I dont' think it's for me. As I said, that goes for atheists as much as for religious types.

And I'm not saying you're trying to convert anyone one way or the other, I just think everyone could stand to be a bit more tolerant.

April 8, 2011 at 2:44 AM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

Questions are encouraged at my church. They're the easy part--it's the answers that are hard to come by sometimes.

April 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger LẌ said...

Jesus tends to get lots of credits in football post-game victory interviews, too! I guess He hates the other team!

April 9, 2011 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

i like the verse in the quran that says, to you be your way and to me be mine and for me at this time of the year, it's a vodka tonic with a lemon twist... xoxoxoxo

April 10, 2011 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger JZ said...

this would interest you:

April 10, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

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