The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Crimes of Passion

March 10, 2006 | 20 Comments

Before the suspects in the recent Alabama church fires were caught, the Anti-Defamation League suggested that whoever was ultimately apprehended be prosecuted under the Church Arson Prevention Act. That statute was enacted in the mid-1990s in response to racially-motivated crimes — but because the targets were churches, the focus of the statute is upon the protection of religious worship. Specifically, the law’s special penalties apply to whoever “intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property.”

There will doubtlessly be some debate over whether the Alabama suspects torched the buildings “because” of their religious character. At first glance, it seems difficult to argue otherwise — the nine structures were all churches, and that obviously was no coincidence. But on the other hand, nobody seems convinced that the arsons were “hate crimes” or that any particular religious animus was involved. The kids just decided to burn down the same kind of building each time, and the first couple of them happened to be churches; their crime was one of consistency, not hate. As to what the people who used the buildings thought or said and sang about, they couldn’t care less.

Which to my mind, is even more of a crime. Indifference is something that burns more than any fire — far worse than damning with faith praise, it’s damning by not caring enough to pay attention. A man who burns down a building because he despises the ideas preached within shows a form of respect for those ideas. They matter enough to him to merit a response, albeit violent.

In short, it is a crime of passion. Such offenses are ordinarily punished with less severity than others. A man who kills a woman out of love receives a lesser sentence than the conscienceless stranger who shoots her in the course of a convenience store robbery. The stranger is cold and inhuman, a kind of misanthrope.

How could those kids not care about the idiocy brewing within the church walls? A virgin birth, a risen martyr — what??!?! I suppose it was all just “kewl” to those agnostic bastards, a “different strokes for different folks” kind of thing. It’s that kind attitude that merits life without parole.

It brings a tear to my eye to watch you all, atheist and theist alike, go at each other my comments. If you ever met, I know you’d burn each others’ houses down — and I wouldn’t blame you at all. Because I know it would be for the best of reasons — because you cared.


20 Responses to “Crimes of Passion”

  1. Mister Swill
    March 10th, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

    So where does that leave me, shouting at both sides for their contradictions, railing against their absolutes, begging them for just a little doubt?

  2. Dave
    March 11th, 2006 @ 1:06 am

    One thing sure seems certain–the buildings themselves were not to blame.

  3. simbol
    March 11th, 2006 @ 9:37 am

    Swills, you are on charge of the Fire Dept.

  4. Mary
    March 11th, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    Quote from one of the arrested men, from last summer: “Let us defy the very morals of society instilled upon us by our parents, our relatives and of course Jesus,”

    At least an interesting addition to the speculation.

  5. Los Pepes
    March 11th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    I’ve attempted to be as level-headed as possible in my comments.

    Every atheist on this board must count christians among his or her friends; how could it be otherwise? Anytime a christian has asked me, as a sincere discourse, about my atheism, I’ve been glad to discuss it. There is seldom hostility. I’ve had friends for 10 or 15 years where the topic of religion has never come up, and it probably never will. Most people know it’s quicksand, the whole topic.

    This blog abstracts the thought from thinker. If a person perceives atheism as cold, then they will perceive my words as cold. These are my words, but they are not me. I’ve been an atheist for so long that I hardly even give it any thought anymore. I guessed I stumbled on this site and realized that, and decided to dabble in debate for a while until I get bored with the whole topic again…

  6. Mia
    March 11th, 2006 @ 11:17 am

    You are so right. The crime of modern man is indifference. It makes me so upset, too. I cry at night sometimes over the injustice of it all- and the worst part is that no one cares that no one cares! I’m a Latin Rite Catholic, and when I tell my friends what the Church expects of believers, they say, “oh, well, I care, but I’m still going to do it anyway.” It frustrates me so much! It’s quite obvious they don’t care, for if they did, they would either listen to me wholeheartedly or completely rebuke it! There is no feeling, just apathy. It truly vexes me. I’d rather know how they feel than have to guess whether or not they really do, or how much they do.
    The world today has been numbed.

  7. conleythorn
    March 11th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    I’d not burn a fellow bloggers house–even if I were sure he or she was inside. Nor would I torch a sanctuary. I feel safer with all the little buggers at prayer inside. By the way, RA, except in euthanasia situations, men do not kill women they love; they kill sexual partners out of jealousy and possessiveness.

  8. alex
    March 11th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    On the other hand, we do live in a time when certain theists care enough to blow themselves up to get at other certain theists. Is indifference really better than being dead? (notwithstanding the conundrum that as an atheist you’d be pretty indifferent after being dead)

  9. Los Pepes
    March 11th, 2006 @ 1:00 pm

    Mia brings up an interesting point.

    What we are discussing here, in these forums, is whether or not there is a god. This is a big deal- we are talking about a supreme being of unlimited power controling the universe.

    If a person really accepted this notion, than they would be living a life completely based on that fact. I, as someone who does not subscribe to this notion, openly admit that I do not believe.

    I have to agree with Mia. I have more respect for a person that knows what they believe and lives accordingly; don’t claim to be religious if your actions do not bear that out. And don’t just wake up one day and decide to be an atheist. You really have to give the whole thing a lot of careful thought.

  10. kurtaehrsam
    March 11th, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

    The problem many religious people have (myself included, at times) is that they decide they know exactly what the Lord would have them do, rather than just a general idea of being kind to others, loving thy neighbor, etc. Instead they decide that a Church needs to be torched or they must strap bombs to their persons and visit a crowded restaurant.

    So yes, it is good to care about anything you believe, especially ultimate truths. But perhaps don’t get to certain….

  11. Chris Treborn
    March 11th, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

    God allows us to know whatever he deems fit. That means that it is perfectly ok to try to understand god, but just know that you can only know what he, in his infinite wisdom wants you to know. Trying to understand the creator of all things is futile and arrogant. If you are an atheist it is because God has not allowed you to know him at all (for some reason that we do not know).

  12. Eva, Mod.
    March 11th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm





  13. Rob
    March 12th, 2006 @ 3:08 am

    Chris, the more incomprehensible you attempt to make your god, the more incomprehensible you make the belief or worship of such a god. The less understandable you attempt to make your god, the more I have to think “What’s the point?”

  14. Los Pepes
    March 12th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    Thank you Eva.

    Chris, I want to you to be aware that your last point is an obvious attempt to start yet another string of arguments than end up with you “leaving” because you’re “being bullied by the atheists”.

  15. simbol
    March 12th, 2006 @ 11:41 am


    “If you are an atheist it is because God has not allowed you to know him at all (for some reason that we do not know). ”

    In this case you have dumped “free will” and assumed that atheism is caused by God; hence is something sacred you, christians, have to respect profoundly, since nothing that god does or causes is bad but good because He is omni-all. In this fashion atheism, by being caused and allowed by God is a reasonable alternaive even for some Christian with many reasonable doubts.

  16. Chris Treborn
    March 12th, 2006 @ 9:03 pm

    Was I talking to you los peepee? No. simbol, the fact that god is inherrantly incomprehensible to use other than what he decides to reveal to us has nothing to do with free will. You could have knowledge of god but choose not to, but it is extremely unlikely that you would choose so because god is so magnificant. Just like you could choose to ignore a rock falling on you, you probably would not. The desire not to get crushed, and to acccept the love of Jesus Christ is not incompatible with free will. If you have any more arguments you need destroyed just let me know.
    Rob, sorry friend, but you just don’t get it. Try thinking a little harder.

  17. Los Pepes
    March 12th, 2006 @ 11:22 pm


    Treborn, what are you, like ten years old? Did you call me “Los Peepee”? Does the short-bus stop at your house every morning?

    “…but it is extremely unlikely that you would choose so because god is so magnificant.”

    What the hell does this mean? Seriously, it sounds like it should mean something(?).

    “…Just like you could choose to ignore a rock falling on you…”

    Who could choose to ignore a rock falling on them? Show me one person capable of ignoring a rock falling on them! You could, I suppose, just stand there, but believe me that rock would have your undivided attention…

    “The desire not to get crushed, and to acccept the love of Jesus Christ is not incompatible with free will.”

    What you have done here is typical of the traditions of most religions, in that you have used the AND word to join two unrelated things together in such a way that they appear to belong together. It’s like saying “do not kill, and worship me” and then acting like the worship part has anything to do with the not killing.

    Chris, the desire not to get crushed by a rock has nothing to do with accepting your diety. It’s not even a good metaphor.

    Understanding the universe involves taking the time to understand things like math and physics. Look, I understand some people don’t like this stuff (hell, I hated calc), and want an easier answer (“The god did it, end of story”). I also understand that some people, even educated people “have a feeling that there is more to life than this” (Feelings are a trip, man. Jeffery Dahmer had a feeling that he should eat guys and keep their skulls in the fridge).

    You are doing yourself a great disservice by forcing your brain to accept all of this Disney Land magic crap. When you believe in this stuffs, it pours into every thought you have, and seriously limits your potential for growth. You’ve told yourself that there are things that you simply cannot understand, which means that part of you is in arrested development, and always will be.

  18. Nokot
    March 13th, 2006 @ 5:11 am

    “…it is perfectly ok to try to understand god…”

    and in the very next sentence:

    “Trying to understand the creator of all things is futile and arrogant.”

    I’m so confused by what you are trying to say. Or rather you are confused, I should say.

  19. simbol
    March 13th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    Hey Christ

    Free Will has to do with known options. If I knew for certain that God existed, the options would be clear. Not to accept him would be a stupidity. The same as to step in a 18 wheeler when you are aware of it unless you want to commit suicide which is not the case, or to be insane who most of us are not. Of course I can and would like to apply free will to IRS, and not to pay taxes, but unhappily it is proven hat IRS exists and not to pay taxes has its unsavory consequences.

    And remember that you said:

    “If you are an atheist it is because God has not allowed you to know him at all (for some reason that we do not know). ”

    You christians usually say that we atheist don’t accept God as a consequence of free will. That is to say we have chosen not to acknowledge the existence of God even when we know, so you say, that god exists.

    In this case you have recognized that the cause is not a matter of “free will” but that “good has not allowed us to know him”. If so, God had his reasons, unknown to us, so we are no guilty, and in fact there is not guilt. What is more, we are entitled to our atheism since god has allowed it, and being Him omniscient, He knows better.

    Christ, I think my Theology is irreproachable.

  20. Choobus
    March 14th, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

    Chrisz, you unbelievable assclown. I hadn’t been aware of this outrageous slander going on. You godidiot spoogeslurper. You are to logic what excrement is to chocolate. If you were an athlete you would come in last and expect to recieve a gold medal! That’s just about as stupid as you can be and still be classed as human. I don’t think that even Jesus, with his infinite love and 12 inch wang would bother to give you a reacharound.

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