Hope is social. You can tell how much hope you have by which way the people are moving in relation to your life. If people are dropping out of your life you know that you are in a hopeless situation because people are instinctively averse to hopelessness and they signal this by the way they act. Churches actually talk about hope a whole lot but when it comes down to it you can find out what they believe what constitutes a hopeful existence by the way they treat you. Generally if you have enough “life gems” (looks, decent job, car, house, SO, etc..) they will surmise you have hope. If not, not so much.
Christians generally have a public and a private position on the phenomenology of the faith. The public position is God giving blessings and never forsaking you, etc.. The private position is, not so much. It is understood, even by strong Christians, that God is vastly oversold. It is also understood that if he wasn’t, there would be a lot less Christians because let’s face it, in America everything is oversold. That’s why most people embellish their resume (because everyone else is doing it so one must to land an interview). People who don’t “experience God” are suspect, but there are a heck of a lot more of them (even strong Christians) than one would like to think.
The idea that “life is a gift” doesn’t apply to adults, particularly adults with disabilities. As an adult with a disability I know my life is certainly not a gift. I know this because if my life were a gift it would be received as one. This is why I’m an antinatalist (against humans propagating). If I were to have a child it would likely have one or more disabilities. I know from my own experience that as an adult it would be treated like crap in church. I get that Christians are natalists and pro life but it’s hypocritical to bring people into this world and then, if they happen to have a disability, let them languish.
Authenticity is an existential threat to Christianity. Generation Y and Z are not afraid to ask 3am questions at 8pm. This spells trouble for the church, especially because most churches are like a real life version of social media where we present our highlight reel while shoving our behind the scenes under the rug. Christians claim life works a certain way and God does certain things. But when your lived experience flies in the face of this Christian fellowship becomes a lonely, isolating place. When you are off their map you have to try to build a completely new map with a completely new social circle and this takes a lot of work, hurt, and effort.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5
Great article that is LGTQ+ specific but most applies generally;
One of the worst habits of Christianity is its tendency to assume that it and it alone is capable of providing meaning into the lives of those to whom it preaches. We LGBTQ+ persons, in fact, have been finding and creating meaning in our lives with and without Christianity throughout human history. If any church wishes to include us, it’s going to have to take seriously and be aware of our vehicles of meaning.
Most importantly, it’s going to have to be fundamentally non-judgmental about them.
We have for so long been excluded from churches and the spiritual lives of faith communities that for many, the idea of making meaning out of our experience is impossible through Christianity. Instead, we may look to New Age, Wicca, neo-Paganism, secular atheism and agnosticism, various “scenes” such as the leather or bear scenes, communities of gamers, intellectual pursuits, personal fitness, and so on. You will find it not uncommon for us to have developed full, rich, and deep mechanisms for living meaningfully in light of adversity, prejudice, and rejection. You will find deep and poignant understandings of what it means to be a family, to be in relationship, to be sexual, to be spiritual.
Interesting article on religion:
Even more than other mammals, humans are extremely dependent on others — not just for acquiring resources and skills, but for feeling well. And feeling well is more important than thinking well for my survival.
(you probably shouldn’t tell your therapist the above)
We rightfully jump on people who say happiness is a choice. This is because often what they mean is watering down the definition of happiness to accommodate being able to produce it on cue. Maybe to slow burn contentment. But what I think they are getting at is the idea that happiness is a learned response which I highly agree with. It’s Pavlovian. You are given a life script that you are prompted to follow by the prevailing myths of the culture along with social pressure. For example the idea that an SO can make you happy. I was never happier than when I was with the girl I liked. That relationship ended but it taught me about happiness. Modern psychology tells us that happiness is up to us, but I think it’s something we fall into when we are doing what we believe society wants us to do.
The flip side of this is when things go wrong in relationships we suffer doubly because now we have lost our proxy of happiness and our culture is expecting us to perform a certain rhythm of happiness that involves another willing partner. But we can’t find that partner or that feeling any more. So we take a hard look at our life script and say maybe we should decouple happiness from being in a relationship, but it’s so ingrained in us most of us have to learn the hard way by going through a messy divorce.
Redpill is basically the main gateway to the Alt Right. Men disaffected by the dating scene join online communities where they vent about their woes with modern women. The mainstream media dismisses them but I wouldn’t be so quick to. A lot of what they say is true:
Status is the most important thing. In fact if you google that phrase you immediately get a result from the Redpill subreddit. The “you do you” Diet Coke ads have a women as a pitch person for a reason. Because women are punished less for expressing them self in unique ways. Men on the other hand know it’s all about money, power, and status (even in our physical appearance less variation is tolerated). For men it’s a double whammy because we lose the ability to have guy friends as well as girl friends when we’re low status (I’d ask my closest friend from college if this were true but he wouldn’t write back because I’m too low status).
Individual virtue is the most important thing. It’s strange that you would have to go to what is branded a hate group to find this. Admittedly these disaffected men are saying it is women’s virtue that is the most important thing while ignoring their own lack of it. Liberal tropes about humans being able to be educated into good just don’t work in modern society (if they ever did).
Marriage is a raw deal for men with money. This is because women get the money whether they stay or go. This gives them no incentive to stay when things aren’t going well. Women won’t marry men who make a lot less money than them because they wise up when the shoe is on the other foot.
Modern psychology offers men very little. Most men don’t want to sit in a room drinking bad coffee talking about their feelings. Even a lot of the issues they have can’t be helped by therapy. If your depression is connected to you being a total loser, paying someone you can’t afford to tell you you aren’t isn’t going to work. A lot of the thinking patterns that under gird depression such as black and white thinking are logical responses to what is happening around them. You either get the job or you don’t, the girl calls back or she doesn’t, the project gets uptake or it doesn’t. This can be most clearly in the bull shit advice women give men, like “believe in yourself” and the like. This is because it works for them, because women have value in and of them selves where men’s value comes only to their connection to potential or actual wealth (haha modern psychology would disagree with me but I’m right and as long as the left denies this they are going to lose men to the Alt Right).
Christianity is like a health insurance risk pool. In a health insurance risk pool the healthy people have to join to balance out the sick people so the premiums don’t skyrocket. In Christianity the people on top (who have the least incentive to be virtuous) have to be as virtuous as the people on the bottom or the system collapses (as it is doing now before our eyes). It’s harder to be virtuous when you are on top because you have power and it becomes completely optional and is even detrimental in your quest for more power and control.
Christianity romanticizes things where the weak defer to the strong like forgiving, waiting and serving. But the strong are supposed to be doing these things as well. If they don’t the system breaks down. Especially because those at the top set the tone for those further down. People imitate successful people.
the wave is what society says is important
the undertow is what really is important
when you’re on top
you’re moved by the wave
when you’re on the bottom
you’re sucked by the undertow
There are a lot of things that whether they are true or not depends on your place in society. Some things:
Being virtuous generally gets you good things if you are on top but just keeps you treading water if you are on the bottom (or worse). This is because virtue is optional for those on top so when they exhibit it they are rewarded. Further down virtue is expected so the lack is punished. Still further down virtue is seen as weakness and punished. On the bottom you generally are in derelict subcultures that revolve around vices and substance abuse. The groups that don’t involve these things are generally higher up and not accepting of those on the bottom.
If you are on top you are treated as if you have innate worth but the further down you go the more your treatment is tied to how and whether you function in society. This is because in both cases you are being treated based on how you are valued, it’s just on top people don’t like to believe they are being treated well just on the account of what they have to offer so they made up the “innate worth” trope. When you are on the bottom all artifice disappears and people really shine their true colors in your face. You only really feel the weight of importance of looks, money, and status when you do not possess them. Because when you don’t people go into “reduced functionality mode” around you, polite but curt (at best), or all the gloves come off and they insult and demean you because you have no power to fight back.
Positivity is generally a luxury for those on top. The self-esteem movement is for those on and near the top because they are the ones who invented it so naturally it would only apply to them. People on and near the top are controlled more by a “soft touch” because they already have most of their lives together. People further down often need to be controlled more tightly and for this to happen negativity enters in. There is even a survey somewhere that said how poor kids heard at least twice as much negativity as rich ones.
Two things for Christians:
Trust in the power of your prayers. This means if you are praying for someone you have to treat them as if that prayer was already answered. Otherwise you aren’t praying in faith. For example, if you were praying for someone to get a job you would have to treat them as if they already had one.
Things said about people on the margins are unfalsifiable. For example if you say God is near people on the margins. People who do not experience this will be silenced and ignored because they have no voice. Conversely if you make a claim about the most powerful people that is false, they will immediately shut it down and will be listened to.
When your politician wants to do the right thing, they need your help.
If you call/tweet your representatives about something they already agree with, you are telling them: We have your back. You don’t have to worry that doing the right thing will cost you the election. Doing the right thing will get you votes, and make you *more* likely to win. That gives them more options.
I made a tool to do this.