Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Hell yeah: Cheap Monday jeans.

I'll admit, I found out about these from a yahoo news ticker, but there's a new Swedish brand of jeans featuring, among other things, a skull with an upside-down cross on its forehead. Why?

Creator Bjorn Atldax says it's to thumb his nose - or whatever the Swedish equivalent of this gesture is - at organized religion. "It's an active statement against Christianity," says Atldax, who decries the religion as evil, subversive, and the cause of a disgusting number of wars and murders.

Hell, yeah.

If this were an American brand, imagine the furor. Your humble narrator thinks Mr Atldax is spot on. Whatever private faith one wants to have, I feel, is one's own business, but how so many millions can flock to a religion which has been the calling card of death, murder, and burning at the stake throughout the ages is beyond me. On campus at PSU, there's a high-rise building that's NOT part of campus housing. In Ione Plaza, a number of well-intentioned little zombie Xtian missionaries live, and they prowl campus trying to invite unsuspecting students to bible studies, preach in the park blocks, and the like.

Occasionally they will ask to "pray for you." When I'm feeling particularly bitter, I tell them that's very nice, but instead I'd prefer they pray for all of those killed in the name of their patron deity.

But I'm sure Jesus has forgiven all of those murderers -- after all, they accepted him as their savior, right?

And, if you believe that when a good person is slaughtered, they go to heaven, what's the harm in killing them?

What does this have to do with some black jeans? I have no idea.

I haven't found Cheap Monday's own homesite, since it's probably not in English, and they're not for sale yet in the You Ess of Eh, but here is a site that sells 'em. They're kinda retro-punk looking.


  • At 4:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would argue that the type of "Christianity" you mention, "which has been the calling card of death, murder, and burning at the stake" is not true Christianity at all -- merely a grotesque masquerade of it. And there are a great many Christians quietly leading their lives and striving to become more Christ-like. They're just the ones you don't necessarily notice right away.

    How do you think the world would would react if these jeans were specifically intended as "an active statement" against Judaism or Islam?

  • At 10:28 AM , Blogger Argentius said...

    Dear poster,

    I sincerely wish that "death, murder, and burning at the stake" was not "true christianity." If by "true" christianity, you mean that form of religion actually advocated by Jesus, (at least as far as we know,) then I would of course agree that you're right. However, I would argue that the way one needs to find effects that the religion has had on the world as a whole.

    I have known many of the quiet Christians you mention, and they have been some of the kindest, most gentle people I know. These folks could teach many people in the world a thing or two. And, also, you're quite correct that the noisy bible-thumping evangelicals get most of the attention, and cause most of the harm.

    However, when considering a religion, not a faith or philosophy, we need something of a functional definition here. It's like making a drug illegal. Certainly, we would prefer people not do drugs. Certainly, we would prefer people actually live in tolerance and with magnanimousness, as the bible suggests that Jesus did.

    But to consider whether something is good or bad, excepting divine proscriptions, one must consider the actual net effect, not merely the intent or desired effect. In the case of the "war on drugs," the effect is murder, crime, economic deadweight loss, and addiction. In the case of christianity, considering all of its forms on the whole as an organized religious bodies, the effect is intolerance, stifling of creativity, oppressive mores and proscriptions, and, (in the past more than the present, admittedly), "Death, murder, and burning at the stake."

    I encourage you to maintain your private faith, whatever it may be, though of course I favour always asking questions and a skeptical outlook on the world. But I would caution anyone who listens to others' sermons on how to believe and live.

    P.S. Even if I am not religious of any organized sort, I still believe "what would Jesus do?" is a valid way to judge many behavoirs.

    In response to the "other religions" question:

    If it were Islam, I would feel mostly the same as I do about Christianity, only they are a smaller group who have had less time to wreak havoc on the world.

    As far as Judaism goes, my beef with them, at present, is smaller than mine with other mainstream religions, because they don't proselytize their way of life onto the masses, as least in my admittedly small experience.

  • At 10:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello, again. I noticed that you had responded to my earlier comment. You say that one must consider "the effects that [a] religion has had on the world as a whole" and the "actual net effect, not merely the intent or desired effect." Yes, but how can we ever actually accurately tally all the positives and negatives? Can we see into the heart of every follower of a specified religion (in this case, Christianity)? Can we see every action, every choice, every thought, hear every word? Perhaps there is a great deal of good that has been done in the name of Christ that goes unannounced, unsung. If you are to consider the "death, murder, and burning at the stake" done by professing Christians, why not, for the sake of fairness, also consider the many charitable works and organizations that work to serve humanity and better the world?

    It seems that, for many, the repugnant aspects of Christianity have to do with, as you put it, the "intolerance, stifling of creativity, oppressive mores and proscriptions" and the "[proselytization of] their way of life onto the masses."

    As a Christian, I agree that there are instances of incredible intolerance (attitudes towards homosexuality, for example) and an exclusive, pharisaical self-righteousness that can unfortunately take root and push people away. Christians aren't perfect and often do our cause a disservice. But, just as often, we are stereotyped in negative ways that are not a fair reflection of reality and certainly do not reflect the true essence of loving-kindness, mercy and grace epitomized by Jesus. It always grieves me to see people reject Him along with his followers or those who noisily profess to represent Him whilst not behaving in very Christ-like ways. (And I hope that I am not one of these and that my words are not a stumbling block, as I am no doubt a very poor ambassador for Christ.)

    The critical thinking that is (hopefully) associated with skepticism is laudable, but I think it is just as much an assumption of absolute truth to claim that there is no truth to be found or that it is essentially unknowable. Isn't anyone who believes in anything or takes a stand on any issue in some way engaging in proselytization (whether it be environmentalists, anti-war demonstrators, supporters of Planned Parenthood, bloggers, or those who have gone into religious ministry)?

    By the way, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Thank you for giving space to this conversation.

    hopefully-not-a-"zombie Xtian"


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