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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Details Emerge

"The ultra-religious home-school curriculum that Matthew Murray ranted about in Web postings before he opened fire at two Christian centers forbids dating, rock music and "wrong clothes." It advises young men and women to live at home until their parents release them and counsels parents to choose marriage partners for their offspring.
[Bill] Gothard's teachings have been criticized by other conservative Christians who allege he has deviated from true Bible teaching and that his stand against rock music — even Christian rock — suspicion of modern medicine, belief in spiritual roots of disease, and opposition to women working outside the home and "evil" toys are wrong. Gothard warned followers in a 1986 letter that Cabbage Patch dolls can cause "strange, destructive behavior."

Swanson does not blame Gothard's teachings for Murray's actions and pointed out that Murray seemed in his writings to be following the example of Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who were educated in public schools. But he said there are home-schooling lessons that can be taken from the Murray shootings.

source: The Denver Post

It's child abuse. The influence of Bill Gothard's teachings on Matthew Murray is already up at Wikipedia. You be the judge.

And here's the killer, Matthew Murray, in his own words.

I still remember how we were told that “The Simpsons” was a very evil and Satanic TV show with the intent of causing people to leave Christianity (as if that’s a bad thing). As a teenager my mother had the TV tuner removed by a TV technician so that it could only receive from the AV inputs, meaning, could only watch VHS and DVDs. I remember me and the other church youth would go over to the Senior pastor’s house and ask to watch the very same movie that his 10 year old son or daughter had told us they’d watch and be told “sorry guys, that’s rated ‘R,’ it’s not Godly.” Of course we’d ask “but then why do you have it?” Sometimes he’d lie, other times he’d just say “sorry…you can’t.”

I remember wanting to listen to Christian music and be told by my parents and other church members that we couldn’t, EVEN THOUGH the senior pastor’s and other church leader’s families did.

Internet was treated as one of Satan’s special weapons in the “end-times” to promote sex(which everyone knows is of the Devil…..) Everyone was terrified that one of us teenagers might get a glimpse of a naked body and become demon possessed... Music was VERY restricted of course... Books were VERY restricted. We were only allowed to read Christian books and forced to memorize the bible. When Harry Potter came out we were all given lectures about how “we’re living in the end times and Satan is trying to capture the children and make them all witches!!!!” I knew of a few people who got harassed for letting their kids read Harry Potter.

I remember with all these different forms of media it was like I was always in Mission Impossible. We were either at church or being brainwashed in Christian home school. When we did have free time…we were either forced to pray, read the bible, do chores, or…..well nothing since we were not allowed to do anything. We were all being trained to “become the future of Christianity.” “The chosen generation that is going to turn America back to God in these last days.”

“The chosen generation who are going to become great prophets and pastors and evangelists and missionaries in the world.”

“The chosen generation who are going to take over the world and do away with everyone else’s false satanic religion and take dominion until Jesus returns!!!!!!”

Well, I got all fed up with the insanity, hypocrisy, conflicting doctrines, the and lack of absolute answers in regards to “salvation,” heaven and hell and other theological issues, the child abuse, brainwashing, lies, gossip, scandals, threats and fear mongering. I got tired of always hearing “oooohh, you’re saved by grace, not by works!” “Everybody loves you! Jesus loves you!” only to hear about how I was going to hell for watching “The simpsons” or could lose my salvation and could never be certain if 30 years from now I might lose it due to some odd sin and die in an accident and end up in this eternal hell preached to us day and night.

This is obviously an extremist cult, an abusive atmosphere, maladaptive, closed, sick, and dangerous. Why is this allowed to happen? Why do we allow subcultures like these within America to teach obviously deranged "values" to youngsters and to enfeeble them? What is it going to take for us to summon the collective will to say, "I'm sorry, some viewpoints just aren't valid, and you have no right to shoe-horn your kids into something they cannot be"?

Of course the killer is ultimately responsible for his choice to murder innocent people. But when are we going to start asking what happens when kids and young adults kill? (Especially if the young adults are taught to stay at home until mommy picks out a spouse for them?)

Certainly Murray’s parents were wrong to raise him in this way, but we should not just blame the parents, either. In fact I feel horrible for them. People must really be hurting to embrace such a morbid, rigid, and life-denying paradigm. They tore this kid down unintentionally because they’re tearing themselves down, too, and that has got to stop. The last thing Murray's parents need to do now is blame themselves. This event has multiple causes.

But I would say to Murray's family: Life is supposed to be fun. People don’t need to follow stupid rules invented by religious hucksters, or worry incessantly about letting their kid listen to some rock music, or try to manufacture the coming of some distant utopia through your relatives. Parents are supposed to make mistakes, anyway. You can guide, but you can’t control how your kids turn out.

You are a noble creature, the product of millions of years of evolution. Millions of years of successes (and mistakes), and you turned out basically good, so take a little pride in yourself! Trust yourself. Most people will be okay if they allow themselves to become themselves. They don’t need to embrace the silly, cheesy, and ignoramus teachings churned out by the likes of this Bill Gothard and Ted Haggard and Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, et al. Most Americans are head and shoulders above these frauds, if they would only believe that.

Everybody is somebody, but nobody wants to be themselves.
-Gnarls Barkley

A big thank you to Thought Theatre.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Criminetly!!! No wonder Matt Murray went bonkers. As such, ideally he should have been subdued gently, and treated in a secure facility, perhaps confined for the rest of his natural life for the safety of others, not slain out of hand or done to death by slow torture, as I suggested in an earlier comment. Indeed, his upbringing was some kind of hell which twisted him, not a purgatory that set him straight.

December 12, 2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, once someone starts shooting, it's hard to be idealistic. Murray’s act is selfish and despicable no matter how much pain he was in. I just thought it was pretty offensive to make it all about “God guided my hands.” Give me a break. This is a human tragedy. It happened for human reasons. There are human solutions.

Like all human solutions, they are not perfect solutions, but I gave up on perfection and absolute belief in anything a long time ago.

What I see happening is that we’re becoming a nation of control freaks, unable to negotiate uncertainty. And now we’re co-evolving with violence by having candlelight vigils without looking at hard sociological facts. It scares me.

December 12, 2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ideal situation I described is a best case scenario, altogether improbable if not downright impossible. Had it been in my power, I'd have shot him eight times: twice in each leg, the same for his arms. That would render him sufficiently hors de combat; he wouldn't be shooting anybody for a spell.

December 12, 2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Mojoey said...

Bonkers from the influnce of a cult. Sounds right.

I wonder what the fallout will be for other memebers?

December 12, 2007 3:46 PM  
Blogger Bjorn said...

I go from being angry, wanting to prevent anything like this from happening again, which leads me to want to for some authoritarian regime where the state steps in and breaks up families with parents who control their children in this way, and disbanding churches who commit the same offenses. I think that could work very well, it may prevent most of the large problems. The side effect is that people lose their freedom.

Then I swing the other way, and think that there should be some better solution, to make a world of absolute uncertainty in the face of tremendous cruelty more appealing then a world where you no, no matter what, you are doing what God wants you to do, and the more people criticize you for your beliefs, the more just they are. The stronger people hate you, the cozier your seat in heaven will be. How can you ever compete with total irrational comfort from a completely imaginary deity? "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Beat that!

Then again, violence isn't always caused because of religion, and who knows how much less it would be without a religious background. I do have a bias that I like it when people are faced with a tragedy, they try to find the causes, and limit their effects in the future in some way, rather then just throwing up their hands and saying, "It's the Will of God." I do think it takes someone with a "strong character" whatever that is, to see through personal emotional pain to try to fix what is broken.

December 12, 2007 3:58 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well it turns out that someone from the forum in which Murray was participating called the FBI about his posts.

So somebody did the right thing and tried to prevent this, unfortunately too late.

I've been checking out the forum:
Association of Former Pentacostals. They are everything from Christians to New Agers to Atheists/Agnotics/Deists/Freethinkers. They seem to be a healthy group of people doing some beneficial work.

People have to help themselves, ultimately - but I do think it's time that society set some ground rules about what you can teach your kids. How we do that is the question.

December 12, 2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger Spirula said...

Although I was raised conservative Christian, and had fairly strict parents, it never went to this extreme. Of course, now I'm an apostate damned to the furthest reaches of there's that.

Sad. Sad. Sad. Civilizations have never valued the rights of individuals over power and wealth, and certainly not valued the weak. And religions are products of civilizations. No wonder kids are viewed pretty much as property, and no one blinks an eye.

In a culture of faith (yech!) it should come as no surprise this stuff goes on. You're a far worse person if you scrutinize and criticize religion (and are...Oh, the Horror! atheist) than if you "have faith".

I thought this really odd, like in a projection-of-a-perv sorta way:

Cabbage Patch dolls can cause "strange, destructive behavior."

Agreed. Which is why I always promoted owning Garbage Pail Kids.

December 13, 2007 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cabbage Patch Kids!!! If I had a child that homely, I would shield it from public scrutiny, and leave coin collecting canisters at check out counters with the sign, "Please help my baby!"

What do you get when you cross a Cabbage Patch Kid with the Pillsbury Doughboy?
An ugly kid with a yeast infection.

December 13, 2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Kevin Scott said...

I knew a bunch of folks who followed Gothard's never ending advice. I thought THEY were weird. It wasn't until they gave me one of his tapes I understood just how holy shit crazy he is.

And this topped it all off: He doesn't have any children of his own.

So here were these people spending money and time to go "learn" how to be better parents to their troubled children from a man who never raised a child of his own.

Hey Kristine, maybe you have a future as a parent trainer?

December 13, 2007 1:59 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Not a chance! (Is this your roundabout way of asking me if I plan to have kids?)

It's interesting that he doesn't have kids - neither does Becky Fischer - although that has no bearing on the validity (or lack thereof) of their respective curricula.

December 13, 2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger Kevin Scott said...

I know you have made a DECISION not to have children. My point was simply your choice to not have children is obviously not a obstacle should you decide to start your own parenting seminar business.

You certainly can't do much worse that "Basic Youth Conflicts" or "Jesus Camp."

Maybe you could start "Atheist Camp"?

December 14, 2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Oh, dear me, no. Blech! ;-) Atheism is already enough of an ism.

How about Science Camp? There we go. There's where I really want to be "evangelistic."

Let's create a rational society, and then regarding religion, what we have is what we have - I think the future will always be pluralistic. I just want to get rid of ideas that are pushed via emotional blackmail.

December 14, 2007 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I read of his comments, I get the impression that Mr. Scott does write very much tongue-in-cheek, rather playing devil's advocate, or more correctly, Yahweh's advocate.
Same difference. They are entities which have no real existance. That Yahweh!!! One bloodthirsty SOB. I thank God, if he/she/it exists, that no such being ever was. The poor Canaanites, driven from their homeland and massacred by the invading Hebrews, could have wished that no one had believed in him.

December 14, 2007 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did God say when he created the first creationist?
"Oh shit, I royally screwed up."

December 15, 2007 9:45 PM  

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