Underwear and Fundies

He can't bear fundies either

(Image from Oliebollen)

I was reading old articles at The Lay Scientist and came across this article: “How an Underwear Malfunction Helped me Understand Christian Fundamentalists”. It’s an insightful article. I think he’s figured them out. Here’s an excerpt:

I wouldn’t be pissed off because he was breaking the rules, I would be pissed off because he was breaking the rules and I wasn’t, and there are only a few ways to rationalize that, if you think about it: either (a) I’m stupid or cowardly for following rules that are wrong; or (b) the rules are right, and he is an ignorant pervert deviant who should be punished by society.

Following on from that, I have three choices:
1) Accept that we’re different, life isn’t fair and I’ve chosen to live in pain for some intangible sense of righteousness.
2) Accept I’ve been stupid, thank him, and switch sides.
3) Decide that he is a Bad Man and be angry.

We’d all like to pretend we’d go with 1 or 2, but that’s just not true. In reality, loads of us would go with 3, but there’s a hidden trap – this behaviour is self-reinforcing. The longer I continue to get angry, the more I’m investing in these rules, and the harder it will be to ever accept that I was wrong. Worse, if I’m going to make sacrifices by following these rules, then I want to see a pay-off – I want to see that I’m winning out in life over people who don’t follow them. I want these people to be punished so that I know that my suffering will be for a reason.

It’s worth reading the whole article. Go check it out.

What do you think? Is this really what’s going on deep inside the fundie mind, or is it something else?

16 Responses to “Underwear and Fundies”

  1. Martin Says:

    Lol, glad you enjoyed it. It’s still the third most-viewed article on the site. I genuinely was on my way home from work when I thought of it, and I still think it’s accurate for a lot of fundies.

    Looking back at it, the first thing I think of now is the issue of gay marriage. Why are so many of them so hysterical and obsessive (just look at the number of references to homosexuality on Conservapedia) about something which has basically zero effect on them? They can’t all be closet homosexuals, so something else must be going on, and I think it’s the frustration I described above.

    It’s interesting though, that you would think if they *truly* believed they were taking the righteous path to God, they would be content to live out their lives in contentment, without being so desperate to make other people play by the same rules.

  2. Luke Says:

    What do you think? Is this really what’s going on deep inside the fundie mind, or is it something else?

    There may be more to it, but I can say from firsthand experience that this was a very pervasive mode of thought when I considered myself a christian. It was especially true when I was in elementary/high school. I would see lots of other kids doing things and acting ways that I very much wanted to but was raised to think that it was ‘wrong’. I effectively rationalized my jealousy with an almost obscene amount of self-righteousness.

    Thankfully, “2) Accept I’ve been stupid, thank him, and switch sides,” eventually won the day.

  3. Rogi Says:

    In some cases it could even be brain damage or a chemical imbalance.

  4. AnotherSteve Says:

    I heard a quote some time ago (wish I could remember by whom) and it went something like this:

    Here are the rules of our “belief system”

    1) Believe in the “belief system” and you will be rewarded.

    2) Fail to believe in the “belief system” and you will be punished.

    3) The “belief system” requires that you convince others to follow the “belief system”.

    Reduced to these simple rules, all of the fundamentalist brain damage makes sense.

    It almost reminds me of Conway’s Game of Life

  5. ericsan Says:

    Me, I want to know what happens in case of a Mormon Sacred Underwear™ malfunction.

  6. Sue Blue Says:

    Martin’s summed up in a nutshell one of the most nagging problems religion has to deal with – why do bad things happen to “good” people? As I recall there was a rabbi who wrote an entire book on this subject. When I was enmeshed in my fundie family’s church, I remember being bothered by this question. I mean, here we were, faithfully attending church, praying sincerely every day, avoiding all the major sins, and yet members were constantly getting cancer, going bankrupt, having spouses and parents and children die in all sorts of horrific ways. Meanwhile the evil sinners were getting rich, partying, having a good time, getting what seemed very few punishments for ignoring God’s commandments (and if we did hear of some evildoer’s tragedy, it was simply Satan catching up to them). The only answer the pastor could ever muster up was that God had to let us suffer so that we could fully understand how awful sin is! Finally, the light began to dawn in my brain – there really was no God up there, meting out justice and protecting the righteous. I suddenly realized that judging others by rules from some supposedly “outside” source is just a convenient excuse for cruelty, prejudice and discrimination. It relieves us from having to truly treat others the way we would want to be treated, which is the true basis of morality.

  7. Sue Blue Says:

    I meant to add to my post that I think a lot of fundie “outrage” is based on the very fact that they are not getting the divine favor that they think they deserve – they don’t have it any better than the “sinners”, and that pisses them off. That’s why they don’t want to see gay marriage, abortion, premarital sex or any other personal freedoms allowed – it merely highlights the fact that God is not up there, striking down the sinners and shedding grace on the believers.

  8. AnotherSteve Says:

    Sue Blue:

    From what I’ve heard, the Muslims look at us the same way. They’ve had it rammed down their throats since they were little (gullible) kids that Islam is THE religion favored by God. Since they are literally walking around in crap without much to eat, and we keep kicking their butts…The Imams can’t just tell the faithful that the whole thing is just a made up lie…Hamina Hamina Hamina…It’s those evil Satan worshiping westerners that are keeping us down.

  9. Parrotlover77 Says:

    SB, obviously you saw through the smoke screen, but many, many really buy into the “bad stuff is just a test” rhetoric. The Books of Job is very powerful to them. Remember to many that the afterlife is their reward. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from being subconsciously bitter deep down… 😉

  10. Sue Blue Says:

    You know, I’ve always wondered about the whole “be a martyr for Islam and you’ll get 72 virgins in Paradise” meme. While this may get a bunch of repressed, brainwashed young men all worked up, how does it work for women? What incentive do women have to believe any of this crap, let alone martyr themselves, as more and more are doing? Do they get to be one of the 72 virgins? How awful.

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Well, Islam is not exactly known for their excellent treatment of women — even the more “reformed” variety that is more common in the west. So you certainly bring up a good point of what on Earth are they DOING? But, remember, it is largely the elder females that still perform female circumcision in the places where it is still performed. Human psychology is complex. I have always thought of situations like that being an related to the “cycle of abuse” that is prominent among abusers and the abused, from generation to generation.

  12. Sue Blue Says:

    I’ve often thought that the key to breaking the hold of all religions, especially Islam and Christianity, is the empowerment of women. Since women spend more time with the kids, they’re the ones who form most of the kids’ ideas about the world. If mommy is telling her daughters that they’re just as good and smart as her sons, and that both can be scientists, engineers, astronauts or whatever they want, then the stage is set. If kids are engaged in learning about the real world, they won’t have the time or inclination to blow it up in favor of the fantasy of heaven.

  13. Sue Blue Says:

    To me, the whole idea that it’s okay to suffer in this life because you’ll get your reward in heaven is the ultimate scam. It’s how religions maintain their grip on people without ever having to provide any real benefit. I mean, how long would people work at a job that promised to pay them only after they died? And how stupid do people have to be not to get this?

  14. Parrotlover77 Says:

    And to that, Sue Blue, I say AMEN.

    Empowerment of women is also responsible for getting population explosion under control. That’s why 1st world countries generally have declining populations (when excluding immigration from the equation). Getting population under control will also help environmental causes (most, if not all, of them), overuse of resources, starvation, and so on.

    So what I’m saying is, empower the women, save the world.

  15. AnotherSteve Says:

    I have some bad news regarding women…

    I had a conversation with a minister who had recently returned from a missions trip to Pakistan. He said that the primary thrust of the missions effort to the Muslims is to convert the women. In Islam pigs are more highly considered than women.

    Part of the pitch from the missionaries is that the women are told that under xtianity they are treated well. The women in kind see this as a “way out”.

    The good news is that if an xtian is caught soliciting a Muslim it will “end badly” at the very least.

  16. Sue Blue Says:

    AnotherSteve – wow. That is depressing. Slavery by any other name is still slavery. I can only hope that these women can actually read the Bible and find out how they’re being tricked – and reject it. They need to realize that their circumstances and opportunities cannot be improved simply by exchanging myths. What is needed is education; real education that aims to improve literacy, critical thinking skills, and exposure to the real world.