Unintentional Truthfulness (Church Signs #6)22 May, 2008
I presented a program at a college about an hours drive away today. I stayed off the highway (45mph gives me much better fuel mileage than 65, even with the stops). Along the way, I passed into a heavily evangelical area (every other radio station plays ‘inspirational music’ (yecccch!) or skips the ‘entertainment’ and just gives sermons) and saw a storefront with this sign:
God and Bible Addiction Center
I think they are telling the truth. Not about helping to end addiction, but either adding another one on, or just transferring the addiction.
I have a little bit of experience with addiction. In high school, I started smoking cigarettes (I did it so I could take a break with the other smokers while working as a whitewater raft guide (the non-smokers got to help pull people out of the water where we let them float through some rapids, the smokers sat up on a rock and, well, smoked)). Within a very short period of time (a couple two-t’ree weeks) I was up to a pack a day and was heading for two. I tried to quit and couldn’t. So I switched to a pipe (and an occasional cigar) so it would be more difficult to light up and I had to carry more shit with me (luckily, out in Western Maryland, a seventeen-year-old smoking a pipe or cigar was not all that unusual). I have never fully quit and still smoke about 10 pipes a week (sometimes less). When at a fire (trying to stay awake and alert for a sixteen hour night shift) I will smoke more.
I’m also addicted to Cherry Cokes. And pumpkin seeds. At the same time. They complement each other.
I think I have an addictive personality. I recognized this early on and made a conscious decision not to try anything like grass (though the farm-field stuff back then was probably pretty mild compared to today’s shit), cocaine, heroin, etc. I was afraid I would get addicted. I also am very careful about alcohol. My current bottle of scotch has been going for almost a year, now.
I lucked out. My addictions (nicotine, Cherry Coke, pumpkin seeds) are, though unhealthy, fairly innocuous. I have seen friends and neighbors fight serious addictions. I have seen people go through rehab for alcoholism multiple times.
That may be why the sign on this addiction recovery center struck me so hard. People go in addicted to a chemical. They come out addicted to a version of Christianity that creates hatred, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, George Bush, Republicans, homophobia, authoritarianism, and mysogyny.
I think that, for some Christians, being born-again merely substituted one form of addiction for another. Both produce ‘pleasure chemicals’ in the brain. Both drain the bank account. Both cut the addicted off from their friends and family and replace them with fellow addicts.
Is this substitution an improvement?