Agendas

Some folks over at Sharper Iron seem to believe that whatever gets posted on this blog should be immediately ignored because SFL “has an agenda.” Unlike, I suppose, the Sharper Iron website which has no agenda whatsoever.

As usual, the real crime in fundamentalism isn’t doing bad things, it’s talking about the bad things that have been done.

So here’s my question to you all: what do you think SFL’s agenda is? What is your agenda for being here? And does that agenda invalidate any of the bad behavior featured here?

367 thoughts on “Agendas”

  1. And totally off topic, but let’s all remember the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy on this date in 1944. Most of them are gone now, but their legacy of valor lives on. God bless and may they rest in peace.

    My father flew 29 missions over Germany in a B-17 as nose-gunner & bombadier. He passed in November 2012 at 89. Rest in peace, Dad.

    1. My grandpa was a bombadier on B-17s as well (unfortunately he passed away before I was born). Wonder if they ever knew each other? (I realize its a bit like saying to someone from North Dakota, “Oh, my friend so-and-so is from there, do you know them?”, but, well, you never know…)

  2. My agenda… hmmmmmm

    To introduce the world to my wonderful friend and sonstant companion … george.

    (O, george! …”c”… “C”onstant companion. *sigh* ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  3. LOL….truth too controversial to bring up? Interesting how I mention the truth about the site being a pro-German higher criticism (the goal of which is to destroy Christianity) site and somehow it gets blocked. Sorry, you have zero credibility when you censor the truth because it may give you bad publicity.

    1. It didn’t get blocked, dude. Look on the previous page, and you’ll find your comments.
      When the comments run to more than 200 or so, they automatically spill over into a second page. But the first page is still there for everyone to read.

    2. Interesting assertion. False, but interesting. And old. Completely disproven.

      Fundies tend to think most anything they disagree with has a goal of destroying Christianity. Movies were/are accused of it. So were paperback books years ago. Science is accused of that. Science really works, by the way, and fundies use the results of it, even while they diss it.

      No, the German school of thought in textual criticism was not intended to destroy Christianity. Rather, it was an realistic and dedicated attempt to get as close to the original manuscripts as possible, understanding the errors, additions, and what all that had come into the texts over millennia of copying manuscripts by hand. Good work was done there. And yes, that work was not done by fundamentalists. It was done by real scholars.

      You might try looking it up.

  4. I can’t vote in that poll, because they didn’t have an option for “Don’t link to SFL, or your face will drop off and your milk cow will go dry.”

  5. The definition of courage, confidence, and and intellectually defensible discussions/ideas definitely includes the necessity to ban links to other sites from time to time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Whenever someone claims you are attacking them when you quote them verbatim, or show a photo of some item they produced for public use, or link to a video of their actions, you know their hold on reality is tenuous.

    They are crazies who think the world inside their head is the real world, and the world the rest of us live in is just lies told by their imaginary enemies. Having a conversation (or trying to) with such a delusional person is educational and scary – it’s also scary that some of them have a lot of power in the real world.

  7. I don’t know if there’s an agenda at work here, but I like to come here for reminders of all the emotional and spiritual abuse that drove me away from Christianity. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has broken free from fundamentalism, and who keeps an eye on the danger they pose to others.

  8. Agendas are always wrong — unless they are yours. (You don’t call yours an ‘agenda,’ you call it ‘following God’s will’ or some such thing.)

    To a fundy, only those who agree with them are right. Everyone else is wrong. And disagreeing with anything a fundy does or says shows you have an ‘agenda’ or worldly attitude controlled by Satan.

    Honestly, it is as bad as the Republican Party Line or Fox News Talking Points! (Yes, yes. You know I’m a liberal, and proud of it!)

  9. Now, what is *my* particular agenda?

    Well, that is rather complicated. I want to know everything I can about everything I can. I want to be able to separate truth from error, good from bad, trash from treasure while exercising compassion and lovingkindness toward others.

    I would like to write, to influence others in a positive way, be understood, and make the world a better place. Yes, it is God’s World, so it needs to be cared for. I believe in fighting injustice and inequity in the here and now instead of the great bye-bye!

    Oh yes, and my children are all under strict injunction to communicate to their children the necessity of learning and excellence. We are going to take over the world some day. Those who are running it now are doing an awful job of it, so my children and grandchildren and their after them need the preparation and ability to do a better job than the ones who are mucking it all up.

    1. Which, of course, cries for a discussion on whether or not it is even appropriate to promote a “balanced” viewpoint.

      Error, of course, wants every reporting of truth to be “balanced” by an uncritical reporting of error. Opinions based on solid evidence are often discounted as being equivalent to opinions based upon ignorance or propaganda.

      People who say they want an “objective” viewpoint usually do not mean what they say. The true objective viewpoint would not present a position from the viewpoint of the holder. It would be an outside critique of the position, the viewpoint and holder espousing it. It would explore the true ramifications of what the POV and position would create by its implementation. It would indeed be the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

      True objectivity is practically impossible. It is something to strive for. But in that sense, SFL has promoted objectivity by showing the other side of fundamentalism, the warps and twists that occur. Showing that things are not well is necessary to an objective view of the morass.

    2. There’s a reason that Fox News picked “Fair & Balanced” as the advertising slogan, and not “True & Honest” or something you’d prefer out of a news org. Sorry for possibly hijacking, but it’s very true that balance is not (or should not be) a goal in & of itself.

  10. I sincerely appreciate a forum like SFL because it promotes free and open discussion. Any religious or political group that stifles such discussion makes me suspicious, and the first question I always ask is, “What are they trying to hide and why”? Cults led by people like Jim Jones would have a hard time recruiting members if the folks they are trying to recruit are fully aware of what joining their group entails before they are trapped in its web. Of course, there will always be “true believers” whose loyalties will transcend any ethical violations. That is why preachers like Jimmy Swaggart can commit the vilest sinful acts and still maintain a following.

    I appreciate the service that SFL provides by publicizing acts and attitudes that should have no place in Christianity. Perhaps SFL should extend its ministry to include equally unacceptable behavior in other denominations.

    1. I think sometimes because the focus here is on the IFB that the impression is given that the IFB is worse than other groups. I simply do not believe that. There is gross corruption and abuse across the globe done by people for many diverse political or religious reasons. Perhaps there are people on here who DO think the IFB is the worst of any religious group, but I don’t think they can support that with evidence.

      We focus on the IFB because 1) it’s what we know and because 2) some of us believe Christianity to be true so distortions and misuse of the TRUTH are especially egregious to us! I definitely agree with you that other denominations (and religions too) exhibit equally unacceptable behavior.

  11. For a long time I have considered Sharper Iron not worth reading. The admins over moderate it, close threads at will, and keep everyone on a pretty short leash. Naturally, the freedoms allowed on SFL would make people of that mindset uncomfortable. This means Darrell is doing something right.

    1. Apparently, some are offended because Darrell “also creates athiest forums”. Creating safe places on the forum side for such discussions prevented the other topical forums from being bogged down with unending disagreements between believers and non-believers. Smart move IYAM.

        1. That was a direct quote…their spelling error, not mine – or even George! – FTR.

    2. Regardless of Darrell’s personal beliefs, I don’t look at SFL as a Christian site. There are people of all beliefs here, and that bothers people. Just because an athiest is on a site with me doesn’t mean I’m going to become one, no more than hanging out with a gay person will make me a lesbian.

        1. Yes, after I hang around with lesbians, I start finding myself strongly attracted to women.

      1. But didn’t you know that the Farcical Research Council says that you can catch teh ghey from being in the presence of homosecksuals? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  12. โ€œHe jests at scars who never felt a wound.โ€

    Some at SI might not see the need for SFL because theyโ€™ve not left their churches and felt alone and confused and in need of support. But there are people who have and who do need this community.

    I donโ€™t need the handicapped spaces in parking lots but Iโ€™m glad theyโ€™re there for those who need them.

    1. I don’t know how I would have managed after I left the fundy fold without the support of SFL. Reading all of your stories and sharing my own helped so much.

      1. I’m still stuck in Fundyland, ( well sort of, since I barely go anymore) and this site has helped me to realize that I am not making this stuff up and that I am not the only one. While I would love to be completely free from Fundyland forever ( hey that’s alliterated!!), until I am, at least I can take comfort in knowing that I don’t have to live in fear and guilt anymore. God knows my heart and that’s the only thing that matters!

  13. This poll reminds me of my former-fundy CEO and how he dictated HIS business meetings:

    First, “The deacons have proposed…”

    Then, “You have two options as we prepare to “vote.” you may vote YEA by the raising of hands, or you may obstain.” (I’m being facetious, of course, but that is the unspoken rule in practice)

    Ah, institutional fundy “leadership” permeates even to sites like SI (of which, by the way, I am a member in good standing…hehe)

    B.R.O.

  14. These same criticisms have been leveled against a variety of websites– the former FFF, the Student Voice, etc. There is some validity to them. A lot of validity to them.

    But over the years, fifteen or so, the one thing I hear over and over is “It was good to know I wasn’t the only one.” The major benefit of these kind of sites is that people realize they aren’t alone. Other people see the problems. Other people have seen the problems in the past and left sick, dysfunctional churches. In the middle of all the crazy you get some very good, clear posts.

    There should be no question that this kind of site have changed Fundamentalism. Super MoGs can’t get by with their hijinx any more. They’re exposed on the Internet for anyone to see. That sort of accountability is a good thing, even if it comes in an ugly form.

    1. Yes. When you turn over a rock to let the light in, there will be ugly squirming things in there, and people standing around will shout “Eww!” and crack gross jokes. But the point is that the sunlight is now cleaning what was hidden–and people standing by may realize they don’t have to live with that disgusting stuff right in their own garden.

    2. I agree. In years gone by Mogs answered to NO ONE. All manner of abuses were swept under the carpet. Now, we can talk about them openly and have even seen some of these same Mogs scramble to defend themselves on social media (even if they still will not openly discuss the same with their congregations).

  15. I was hoping to see what they had written but it seems to be gone. Also, Darrell, can I get a ten minute heads up prior to the next post via email? I haven’t had a first in almost a year. It’s driving me crazy. LOL.

    who was that dude that like last fall was ripping on “stuffed undies like?” Same sort of deal?

    The agenda here is none other than a great place to hang out, read, think, share ideas, argue a little, bait people into freaking out about certain issues (I’m mostly kidding lol) and just generally talk to other people. I value the folks who are kind to me here (everybody!) and the fact I can talk, argue, discuss, and share with them. It’s called community.

  16. Does SI have an agenda?
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the late BoJoNoMo was closely linked to SI… Just a hunch on my part…
    The nice thing is that SFL isn’t fighting for a piece of the fundamentalist pie so what SI thinks doesn’t matter…

  17. My agenda is to spend as much time on here so as to deprive my employer of my full attention during work hours. I never get my fifteen minute breaks so I figure this makes up for that as it helps restore my sanity during working hours.

    I originally found this blog through Slacktivist, which I in turn found while doing a senior thesis on depictions of apocalyptic times in conservative evangelical pop culture (specifically, literature, i.e. the Left Behind Books, the Christ Clone Trilogy, The Late, Great Planet Earth, with some consideration of “near-miss”-type books such as Angela Hunt’s The Immortal). I’ve stayed because I have a fascination with conservative and fundamentalist Christianity in America, and also as while I wasn’t raised IFB, I was raised Nazarene and some of the stuff that comes up here is reminiscent of the church of my youth (particularly the homeschooling stuff and Christian private school stuff; I remember as a thirteen year old being one of only two kids in my age group who was enrolled in a public school and also being explicitly told by other kids in the age group that they didnโ€™t ever want to be around me because of it). Usually I just lurk, though.

    1. As I’ve said before I’m not IFB but was raised in the Evangelical Protestant tradition of Northern Ireland which is in some respects like IFB cubed. A lot of the stuff here reflects my own upbringing and certainly resonates. There is one aspect of my upbringing which I do appreciate though – it helped keep me out of serious trouble.

      1. Eh… honestly, the kids who were home-schooled and in the private Christian school ultimately got into many more bad situations (drugs, petty theft, teen pregnancy, alcohol) as teenagers than myself or the other public school kid. My entire family drifted away from the Nazarene church while I was a teenager. It may’ve helped keep you out of trouble, but getting away from the church probably kept me out of trouble in the long-run. Also, those kids were pretty nasty to me since I wasn’t home/Christian school, so it was better for my self-esteem to get away from them.

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