Good Morning Heathens and Hell-Bound friends and foes alike. I hope everyone is having a great Sunday, getting ready for atheist church and the potluck later. It’s time for another Satanic Sunday! For the last article in this series, click here:Satanic Sunday #11: Technological Advancements.
Growing up in a Christian fundamentalist home, we were taught to believe that anyone who did not go to church were evil, and yet nearly as evil were the members of other denominations and sometimes simply the members of other churches in our same denomination. Let me break it down for you.
- All the people outside the church – Definitely going to hell.
- All the people in other denominations – Almost certainly going to hell
- All the people in the church the next town over – probably going to hell.
- All the people except for yourself, maybe going to hell.
- You worry that you too are going to end up in hell.
- So yep, everyone is going to hell.
People who belonged to other denominations though, were especially heinous. Not only were they going to burn in hell but they were teaching Christianity wrong. They had the audacity to believe a slightly different interpretation of the scriptures and so they couldn’t possibly be right. It was absolutely clear that they only Christians that had ever gotten it completely right were the founders of our own particular brand of Christianity.
- Mormons – Not even Christians they believe in Joseph Smith and Native American Jews.
- Catholics – We like their Bible but they are idolaters who worship saints and drink booze.
- Calvinists No Free-Will? Go F yourself…and by F yourself we mean “Forget” because swearing is evil.
- Baptists – Once Save Always Saved My Ascot, Once Saved always burning in hell.
- Methodists – Sleepy faith of burning sinners
- Episcopal – They like Gays? Burn!
- Presbyterians – We have no idea what you believe but burn in hell!
- Lutherans – It was Adam and Eve not Luther and Steve!!!!
Seriously, if there was one thing that I was warned about more than leaving the church it was following a different branch of the church. The only real Christians were tongue talking, spirit walking, devil slaying, earnest praying, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing Pentecostals of the particular denomination we belonged to at that given point.
I say at that point because we were Assembly of God and then we were Full Gospel, when we were Assembly the Full Gospel church seemed sinful, then when we were Full Gospel the Assembly looked sinful. We then settled into another Assembly of God church and once again the Full Gospel church was sinful…it was weird…
One reason for this is that churches are incredibly competitive and they are all trying to get your business. Well, the Catholics are just kinda there, like a religious Wal-Mart, and they don’t really need to compete to stay in business, they just exist. Outside of the Catholics, the rest of the churches are fighting to gather in people from the same pool that every other church is working. The easiest way to keep the members you currently have, and gather in gullible new people, is claim that all the other churches are evil.
Ministers do not like to lose members and so they will even portray a neighboring church from the same denomination as evil. Maybe the minister isn’t quite strong enough on a certain passage in the Bible. Perhaps you heard that the kids are unruly in a neighboring church and so obviously the minister there has no control over his church. Do they have a dirty past? You’ll bring that shit up in order to keep your own members. For every evil that modern politics has, religion has been doing it for much longer.
When I was a child I can remember more about the neighboring churches ministers than I can about many of our own home church ministers.
- One minister had a gay son.
- One minister had been divorced before becoming a Christian.
- One smoked a pipe
- One drank a few beers every now and then.
- One had an extra-marital affair…..maybe…
None of them were as holy and good as our own pastor, and he let us know all about it. It wasn’t uncommon for a sermon to be completely about something that the minister heard about another minister and why he was definitely leading his congregation to hell.
One of the good things that I can say is that when I became a minister this type of thing had much less of a stigma. Most churches are liberalizing a good degree because they are losing members left and right. People no longer simply accept what they hear on Sunday as the golden truth and so outright lying about members of other churches is not as prominent anymore. Churches come together much more often for community potlucks and fellowship meetings.
It might seem strange but I was in my late teens before I even heard that members of another denomination could actually be considered as Christians. Even then it was said in a sermon that was highly criticized by the older members of the church and that pastor was voted out not long after he gave this sermon. Those older members are now gone and this sense of superiority to other denominations went with them, for the most part, Catholics and Mormons excluded.