Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm extremely uncomfortable around evangelical christians.

I'm not saying that I can smell faith on people's clothes or anything weird like that -- I don't believe there's an intrinsic quality to the religious that renders them repulsive -- but I find myself in a social situation where there's a lot of jesus flying about I get really uncomfortable and feel an overwhelming urge to run away screaming. I've never been quite sure why this is -- I have long suspected that I'm just a prejudiced asshat with an intellectually superior attitude (which is still likely) -- but I tend to get the creeping heebie-jeebies around my (mercifully few) evangelical christian friends.

I get the same feeling when I'm in restaurants and bars in the US. The glowing friendliness of wait-staff and barmaids makes me incredibly uneasy. These two phenomena share a root cause, although they're different situations in every other way. In both examples I'm bothered by the suspicion that the person I'm talking to is feigning interest in me and what I have to say. You see, I talk a lot of crap; I'm frequently an obnoxious arse and tend to go off on face-grindingly boring monologues if someone accidentally indicates an interest in one of my specialist subjects (guitars, books, most forms of techno-nerdiness). I know this, and it bothers me. I try very hard to be a nice person and, sadly, the only way I know to achieve this is by very carefully watching the reactions of the person or people I'm talking to. If I suspect that someone is humoring me -- whether to get me to attend church or in search of a big tip -- it throws me off completely. I immediately become all quiet and introverted (which isn't something I have any conscious ability to control). If I think I'm being humored then I lose the ability to tell whether I'm being a wanker or not. It's like running around with your eyes shut in a room full of fine china.

It's the proselytising that bothers me, you see, not the jesus. I've got plently of objections to Judeo-Christian religions, but those don't stop me from being friends with religious people, or having tremendous respect for many who have done great things in the name of god. When faced with the prospect of a night out with clean-living christians -- their faces set in rapt attention at my inane babbling, or creased in laughter at my dumb jokes as if they're in the company of Oscar fucking Wilde himself -- I run away and hide.

The only way to bypass this reaction is to get me drunk, as then I cease to care how much I'm offending or boring people, unfortunately there's not generally any booze to be had at religious gatherings.


One of the things that triggered this whole rant off was this article, which I found when doing some research the other day. It clearly shows how modern Christian groups are using all the techniques of secular sociology, anthropology, and psychology, to find those vulnerable enough to willingly jump on their bandwagon.