I was having some of my usual random thoughts, mulling over how I believe that religion should be taught in churches instead of schools if for no other reason than I wouldn’t want to leave my kid’s biblical instruction to the federal government. “Bible lessons are much better handled by the church leaders,” I thought, but then I remembered some of the lessons I learned. Bible lessons were usually straight forward when they stuck to the book (the original one, not the myriad associated workbooks), but when the lessons turned to more Socratic open floor discussions, things tended to derail.
One of the great lessons the adults taught us kids was that decent, god-fearing people listened to good soul-cleansing country music with all of its depressing themes about unemployment, disastrous relationships, and glorifying alcoholism. Any rock and roll derivative was a covert form of devil worship, including xtian rock bands. One church went so far as to claim that heavy metal music overpowers a person’s will and forces them to engage in sex and drugs, two things which have no draw on their own. A further “fact” imparted to us was that Ozzie Osbourne routinely uses dynamite to blow up goats onstage. Note to self – get tickets to Ozzfest.
Anyway, I complained to my mother who hated my music as much as she loved Merle Haggard, and she insisted that these were both churchgoing folk AND adults, so I should heed their every word as gospel. Then we went to the regular services, and the preacher reminded us of the obvious fact that women are second class human beings and must marry themselves into slavery in order to serve and take crap from their man. I loved this lesson. It sent a clear message to my single mother that it was time to find another church.
But nothing will beat the lessons taught to me at a very early age (say six-ish) when we asked our bible scholars the age old question “Where do god and the devil live?” Instead of the usual fallback positions (god is everywhere and the devil is either in the details or idle hands), the adults discussed the matter and decided that god lived in the sky. They couldn’t claim he lived atop the clouds since the advent of the aeroplane (to date, no Delta – deity collisions have been reported), so they claimed he lives among the stars, although they couldn’t decide if he lives closer to Alpha Centauri or Sirius.
They were a little more specific about the devil. He lives underground, but not just beneath the topsoil. You would have to dig down really deep to find him, approximately fourteen feet. That didn’t seem impossible, so when I got home I changed out of my Sunday best, grabbed a spade and went to work. When I got about two feet down the devil appeared in the form of my father who was infuriated that I had defaced his property. Note - at the time we lived on six acres of unused farmland. I dug the hole toward the back next to a barbwire fence lining a cow pasture.
And people wonder why I’m a non-believer.
P.S. I swear I didn’t make any of this up – the stars, the devil’s depth, claims that xtian rock bands are devil worshippers in disguise, none of it.