Friday, August 3, 2012

Hitler, TV News, Church Sing-A-Longs, Gays and Facebook

I caught a case of what appears to be Captain Trips, so I am really down for the count today.  Sad, because my husband, who is also sick, has the day off.  :-(  So, I'd thought I'd share some thoughts that I've been chewing on lately...

Freaky little midget with many psychological complexes.  Right now, just finishing up a re-read of Eric Fromm's "Escape from Freedom," which is about the psychology of Nazism.  It was written in 1941 (GASP!  An old book!!!)

So, I was just reading the chapter last night that deals with how Hitler specifically manipulated the masses.  He apparently was totally unashamed of it and wrote about his plans to conquer the German psyche in Mein Kampf.

(I read Mein Kampf - or at least long excerpts from it - when I was in junior high.  A friend who had become enthralled by neo-Nazism had some pretty f###ed up notions of what Nazism was actually about.

She said I had been fed propaganda, so I read Mein Kampf.  She was particularly taken aback that, contrary to the information her far-older-than-her boyfriend had been giving her, Nazism did not include a "new feminism," and women were basically supposed to be submissive broodmares for the state.

Anywho... that's little spiel on my personal reading of Mein Kampf.)

So, the line that struck me the most last night was this:

"It seems that in the morning and even during the day men's will power revolts with highest energy against an attempt at being forced under another's will and another's opinion.  In the evening, however, they succumb more easily to the dominating force of a stronger will... The superior oratorical talent of a domineering apostolic nature will now succeed more easily in winning for The New Will people who themselves have in turn experienced a weaking of their force of resistance in the most natural way..."

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, quoted by Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Now, in many ways Hitler was an idiot.  And in thousands and thousands of ways both big and small, Hitler was an asshole.

But one thing Hitler was just totally juggernaut at was convincing people that his nutty ideas made sense.  That he was juggernaut at.

And I thought of all the people who use such broken logic... and the "news" they passively consume for hours each night...


On a somewhat connected note - well, connected by virtue of the fact that we're still talking about authoritarian personalities - I... stopped attending my little Catholic church up here.

See, they started handing out pamphlets that asked us to pray for things for the Church.  Which I'm okay with, generally.

But one of the things we were supposed to pray for is "upholding traditional marriage."  And my brain just glitched.

In my mind, when you join a church, if they tell you something is wrong or there is a right way to do things - say, that we should all eat our bread with the butter side down - that's okay with me.  Even if it's totally ridiculous.

Why?  Because I choose to be a member of a church.  I think it's a good thing to have guidance way, way beyond the guidance of just "this is okay because it doesn't hurt people and this is not okay because it does."

I don't visualize myself as a robot where we only have a problem if you literally take a hammer to my circuits.

Human social life is complicated.  It's full of games of domination and submission, cooperation and expression.  I think religion is there partially to give us rules and guidelines for how to deal with those problems.

But... what right do we have to tell people outside the church what to do?  None, imho.  Not a single bit.

See, my life isn't so spectacularly awesome where I think I have the definitive answer to all of life's problems.

Maybe... gay is better for some things.  We do have a global overpopulation problem, a large segment not breeding could help with that.  (Just giving an example.)

On the other hand, 5,000 years of human history have said there's something not right there.  Maybe there's a reason for why that is.  I'm just not confident enough to say that I know the answer to these questions.

Because... I don't know.  I think that's pretty obvious because I'm not ruler of the world yet.  If I knew how to answer all of life's problems, people would make me king pretty fast, right?  (I think so.)

So, instead of my Catholic church this week I attended Northern Lights Chapel on base.  And it was a big "ahhh..."  Because the pastor wore short sleeves and played a guitar.  We sung nice songs about Jesus.  And honestly, that's kinda what I'm looking for in a church: guidance, community, opportunities for service and sing-a-longs about Jesus.

The last thing I'm going to say is "Facebook stinks."  I could write a huge rant on it, but I think most people agree at least a little with the first 100 points of my anti-Facebook manifesto.

So, that's it for today.  This was pretty much all my aching sinuses and sneezes could handle.  :-)


  1. Fortunately, I have plenty of people in my family who will be very happy to tell you why being gay is a sin. I will send them your e-mail so they can convince you.

    (OK, I won't.)

    1. Okay, here's what I don't get: the "other New Testament guys" (James, Paul, etc.) all explain that the law without faith is meaningless.

      Sooo... why are Christians trying to make non-Christians follow their law? Won't get them into heaven, will it? Annoy them down here on Earth, sure. But not heaven. So why do they care?

      Thought about it a lot more when someone recently rang my doorbell to give me how-to-be-a-Christian literature.

      I couldn't figure out why that annoyed me so badly (although I was very polite and took it), but I realized: who is she, who has no idea who I am or any aspect of my life, who is she to tell me what to do?

      She hasn't made any investment on caring for me. Sounds like she just wants to control me.

      I dunno. Makes me angry because a big part of what Jesus said was "don't be a microcontrolling jerk."

  2. No, I've been there.

    She's just trying to save your soul, because she doesn't want you to go to hell; and if she doesn't witness to you, that is a bit on her.

    1. No, no I do understand that... it's just... argh...

      People need help. There's piles of people who need mental help, help with drugs, help with basic problems - from social to personal to stuff like shelter...

      I really think that kind of evangelism turns people off. Maybe invite someone to the church picnic or something first...

      That's how I ended up at Prince of Peace. They had a cookie swap that you could bring kids to so I baked a bunch of cookies and took along my nephews. It was really warm and caring and friendly.

      Just jackass Christians get all the press. PoP's Haitian mission isn't in the news, but the Christians lining up outside Chik-fil-A is.

  3. The Roman Catholic Church is an interesting mix of the pastoral and the dogmatic. The Church asks that its adherants pray for traditional marriage, but one priest, who was uniquely touched by the grace of G-d, Fr. Mychael Judge, the NYFD Chaplain, who was one of the heros of 9-11, was very honest about the fact that he was gay, if celibate as a priest. Someware between dogma and compassion is the actual mystery of faith.

    1. Thanks for your comment; it was very thoughtful.

      Generally I see compassion and dogma or law as diametrically opposed. But if compassion caring for the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and the hurt, then I generally see compassion as the dogma of Jesus Christ. It's a major reason I'm Christian.

      I know not all Catholic churches and dioceses are the same. I plan to try again when I go back to Chicago.

      There's a lot of wonderful things to Catholicism for me. For one, it is the tradition of my grandparents. For another, the views on the mysteries, the Holy Spirit, the saints and so much more really speak to me. The tradition of scholarship and the beauty of the rituals also speak to me. And, something that's surprisingly important to me is the eternity of the Catholic church. Protestant religions rise and fall. Nations, too, rise and fall. But the Catholic Church is always there. I'm convinced America will some day be just a footnote of history but the Catholic Church will still be there just as it has been for almost 2,000 years.

      Thank you for your thoughts.