conditioning: a process in which a stimulus that was previously neutral, as the sound of a bell, comes to evoke a particular response, as salivation, by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that normally evokes the response, as the taste of food.
Watching my last post being interpreted, both here and as it made its way around the interwebs, was fascinating and telling. I didn't write about homosexuality. I wrote about a friend and about hypocrisy in the political and social realms, as well as within the Christian community. I didn't write in support of homosexuality. In fact, I took no moral position on the issue of homosexuality one way or the other (other than saying it isn't a black and white issue within the comment thread). I wrote in support of a friend, and I wrote in opposition to hypocrisy.
I've written and posted right around 200 pieces since beginning this blog a little over a year and a half ago. In the course of those posts, I've delved deeply into some ugly, abusive stuff. Ugly. Things that turn humans into human debris. Things that often destroy the heart, mind, and soul. Belief systems which are blatant idolatry and horribly abusive - sometimes emotionally, sometimes mentally, sometimes physically, always spiritually. Then, a couple of days ago, I wrote a post that wasn't even about homosexuality, but highlights a guy who just happens to be homosexual, and within the (as of now) 20 something comments there's more discussion of "sin" than on the rest of my blog combined.
That's the result of conditioning.
Fungelical Christianity has its own set of buzzwords, just like the Christian homeschooling cult does. It would tell you that it doesn't have pet sins, that all sin is wrong, and that it treats all sin equally. That's blatant dishonesty. I would agree with most that some sins are more overtly harmful and destructive than others. That said, homosexuality, sin or not, isn't any threat to the greater good of American (or international) society. Personally, I feel that lying is the most destructive thing an individual can do (it always tears down) - but no one has made a political issue out of that, have they? People seldom get emotional about that, do they? How often does the topic of "lying" cause a debate about "sin"? Not very. But somehow, homosexuality/gay marriage and abortion are on the verge of destroying us all! Right?! A lot of people seem to believe as much - and they're the victims of conditioning via thought reform.
Homosexuality is mentioned even in passing, and it's sin, sin, sin. Abortion comes up, and suddenly Christians become staunch and unflinching advocates for society's most vulnerable. The irony is, if Christians really want to be advocates for the vulnerable, it seems they'd be advocates for people in the homosexual community. Also, this passionate defense of the unborn is hard to swallow for some, being it can't really be supported from the pages of the bible, what with OT accounts of a God who ordered the killing of live babies. These issues - from homosexuality, to abortion, to the bible, to our understanding of God - aren't black and white issues. Conditioning takes what is truly gray and places it in forced tones of black and white. The fungelical community has become quite good at this.
trigger: anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.
When you add the element of emotion to the definition above, you get a passionate version of "Loaded Language", thought-stopping terminology, #6 in Liftin's criteria for Thought Reform.
Fungelicals have for so long, and so repeatedly, told us that homosexuality was an abomination, so utterly depraved, and a choice made only by lustful, depraved, perhaps even reprobate, minds, that now, when we even sniff the word "gay", our first thought is "sin!". When we hear the word "abortion", our first thought is "murder!". The result is that few even bother to think about these issues anymore.
We've made our spirituality, our "Christianity", and our politics into nothing more than being emotional sports fans. We've picked our teams, and we've bought all the assorted paraphernalia, and our rivals are the devil. What depth we have!
In the greater Christianity community, there's been greater condemnation of my friend Lucas - who's a man of honesty, character, and integrity, and just happens to be homosexual - than there'll EVER be for my former future in-laws - who have no integrity, don't know what character is, and are allergic to honesty, but who own the right paraphernalia. That's pathetic. People can argue that this isn't really the case, but you'll just be spitting into the wind. I know this to be the case.
Terrible things have been said to and about Lucas on the interwebs over the last few days. Terrible things. By Christians. Again, he lives honestly, with integrity and character, and just happens to be a homosexual. By the same token, even today, I've seen Christian people on FB livid over the "abuse" Tim Tebow is getting - and Tebow goes about his faith in just about every possible way Jesus said not to. The thing is, Tebow owns the right paraphernalia, and he'll show it to you at every available opportunity...whether you want to see it or not.
Since writing the post where I mentioned and supported Lucas, I've been asked and told things like...
- How can you be a Christian and support homosexuality?
- You aren't a real Christian.
- How can you waste your gifts to promote such a thing?
- Are you a fag too?
And, once again, I didn't even write about homosexuality, by default taking no position on it! Although it always happens to varying degrees, that post was a masterclass of an example of people reading in to what I wrote rather than reading it. What a shame.
Being a product of thought reform isn't a good thing. It's one reason for my own continual examinations.
Let's shed the conditioning and develop some depth to our spirituality, shall we? Count me in.