I think I have time now to write about something I noticed throughout the southern states of our country."Christian" radio
It didn't take much listening for me to become worried about the state of our country. Assuming people actually listen to and follow these preachers, I'm now not surprised by much of the intolerance and ignorance we have today. I'm not sure where to start....
The thing I noticed first was the preachers' anger. It's confusing how those who would claim to be religious could speak with such anger towards their fellow man in the name of their god. Flipping through the many Christian radio stations, I noticed the themes of blame, guilt, fear, and unworthiness. Everywhere you go, the preachers are saying, "You are a sinner! You don't deserve god's love! You don't deserve anything! Repent or face his wrath!" One preacher said that god created the universe because he felt like it and created the world's population in order to worship him. That seems arrogant to me, but I guess I'm not worthy of understanding anything.
These people are strictly fundamentalist when reading the bible, yet somewhere along the line they have forgotten the message of loving your neighbor and turning the other cheek, etc.
Another powerful theme you can hear is ignorance. For instance, one reverend spoke of teaching creationism in schools as a legitimate theory. I thought that argument was long past, but apparently there are still many who cannot accept evolution. Teaching creationism in science class would be as silly as teaching basketball in English class. While creationism versus evolution can easily be debated with facts, the intolerance and ignorance that fundamentalists show towards other cultures and religions worries me more. It worries me that these radio (and TV) stations are making listeners afraid of the unknown. They warn listeners of the "dangers" of "cults" and generally don't seem to have even a cursory understanding of any culture or religion other than Southern Baptist. This attitude becomes dangerous when faithful followers rely solely on what their preacher says rather than learning things for themselves. There is no room for freedom in the "religions" they profess. Their world view is absolutely correct, and anyone who disagrees should either be converted or persecuted/shunned, or worse.
Also notably absent in the religious ravings is any concept of helping others. Maybe I just happened to be listening to particularly angry and selfish preachers, but I don't remember ever hearing any of them talk about loving one another. Isn't that odd? Essentially, followers are told to "live for god" above all else. Some say that materialism is great while others say materialism is evil, but they all exhort us to "live for god". But if you think about it, if your god is omniscient and all-powerful, why would he need anyone to praise him constantly? He wouldn't. And throwing all your energy at an invisible deity is a distraction from actually doing something good for other people. So, while you drive your gas-guzzling Hummer to work at the bomb factory, you can feel reassured that there's a place for you in heaven as long as you follow the Ten Commandments (sometimes) and give money to your reverend.