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Stephen King's inaccurate portrayal of Christian fundamentalism

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posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 02:03 PM
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I've read one book by Stephen King in the past, "Carrie." (By the way, I did not have nightmares after reading it--he's overrated IMO.)

I want to do a rundown of how King portrays Christians/Christianity, and why it's wrong.

Margaret White believes that being a woman is something to be ashamed of and that sex--even in marriage--is wrong and dirty.

I found it interesting that in the book Margaret believes that Mary and Joseph did not have sex (a traditionally CATHOLIC teaching). As a fundamentalist, I know that there is nothing wrong with becoming a woman. As far as sex--if you're married to that person, have fun! Get creative if you want!

I also found it interesting that King indicated that Mrs. White carried around a King James Bible (same one I read). Nice--rip on the KJV Bible believers.

That same Bible also warns against husbands and wives withholding sex from each other (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).

Mrs. White in the book also seems to have issue with the color red, basically saying it's the devil's color.

That comes from the Whore of Revelation, whose colors are red and purple. The colors are a clue as to the nature of this Whore; wearing those colors doesn't mean you are one.

King confuses John Newton (writer of "Amazing Grace") with P. P. Bliss--once again showing a little ignorance. Both were hymn writers, and I've sung their hymns in church.

It's also interesting that there are statues and pictures of Jesus all around the White home, when the Second Commandment expressly forbids such. I usually associate idols/statues with Catholicism.

Bottom line is, King doesn't know what Christian fundamentalism is about. We are not against sex within marriage--and I for one don't think it has to be limited to the missionary position. There is nothing wrong with becoming a woman (unless you have to have an operation to do so).

Personally, I don't know of any professing Christian (note I said professing) that thinks the way the character Margaret White does. I don't think I ever heard of such a thing before reading that book.




posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 05:04 PM
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You must have missed the the part where Stephen King Is FICTION.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 06:15 PM
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Whoa. Fundamentalists are more liberated than Catholics when it comes to "becoming a woman"? Other than frowning on pre-marital sex (which is the same I guess in fundamentalism) how? The "fundamentalists" are the ones banning books and listening to music backwards right? Are the girls even allowed to read Beverly Cleary? And is this different before or after 12 year olds are "born again" following the trials and tribulations of grade school.

And your "theory" is then compounded by the fact that you read ONE book by Steven King but somehow based on one out of the 2,451 books he has written that he is overrated because King's first book from the early 70s "didn't give you nightmares".

Your post gives me nightmares.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
You must have missed the the part where Stephen King Is FICTION.


Exactly.

Or maybe he is also trying to say that all cars will go on a rampage or that all St. Bernards are really psychotic killers or so on and so on.

But really its just a fictional book with made up characters one of which happens to be a mentally unstable woman who takes her religion to an unhealthy extreme, not an indictment of any group as a whole.

My personal favortie King book is The Stand.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
Margaret White believes that being a woman is something to be ashamed of and that sex--even in marriage--is wrong and dirty.


Aside from Cobra's glaringly obvious point, I would have to disagree with some of your other notions.

You obviously have a good idea of what Fundamental Christianity means to you, but that certainly isn't the entirety of the matter. Many fundamental Christians (protestants):

- believe that Mary and Joseph did not have sex
- teach some sort of shame for being a woman
- have statues and pictures of Jesus around their home
- carry the KJV bible

Every person has their take on what the bible means and how to practice their religion in the best way.

I was raised in a Fundy home. We weren't allowed to wear pants, dance, have cards in the house or use words like 'darn' and 'shoot' because of the words they represented.

You may know how you like to interpret and practice your religion, but those who feel differently aren't necessarily faking it. You don't speak for the entirety of fundamentalist Christians.
Or at least you shouldn't.

The Stand is killer!


[edit on 1-10-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 07:19 PM
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Oh sorry. Wrong maligned fundamentalist religion.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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I wouldn't have tried to originate this thread in the first place.

But I definitely understand where you are coming from. Even when I was only a sentence or two into your thread, I understood that you knew King to be fiction.


I also understand the point you are trying to make. That King's writings often falls flat (even in later books!) because he tries to use evocative images in place of communicating a character's world-view.

A non-religious case in point is "Thinner." A book from about the mid-point of King's career. He is trying to show that the protragonist has made a lot of money, and has become focused on things. So, in the first Chapter, King was trying to satyrize the lifestyle of the neuveau riche by describing every piece of designer bric-a-brac in the protragonist's life. King may have been trying to do a send-up of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it comes off sounding like he's reading out of Brookstone and L.L. Bean catalogues.

King does the cartoon cut-out religion routine in a positive sense in "The Stand." But there, his little ole Christian lady is country, widowed, living alone on a farm, and african-american, but with no family or neighbors. She just pops up to advance the "prophecy" line of the plot, like a metaphysical rabbit that King pulls out of his storytelling hat.

King used these flat, 2-dimensional religous characters in Carrie, as you point out. But then King doesn't want the reader to sympathize with the mother; he's making her into a moral monster--so he pulls out every negative Christian stereotype he can think of: Praying at akward moments socially, candles all over the place, little icons everywhere, quoting scripture in King James, being outraged by her own body, etc.

without getting into personal histories, B H sees a lot of reality in King's writings; on the other hand, I also thing B.H. has a pretty jaundiced view of people who are trying hard to live out their faith.

Did you see the series "revelations?" Same thing. I laughed myself silly, since anyone who has actually opened the Bible knows that it is not plural, but singular: "Revelation." As in the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John. But then, the ill-starred series had about the same take on the whole sweep of Christianity as King's book does. Maybe we can pull some wierd prophecies out of it, and do a "Rosemary's Baby" or "The Stand," but people who take that stuff seriously must be nutjobs.

Part of this has to do with hollywood and the publishing machine. You have to write novels to sell first to editors and/or producers. Once you've made it past their filters, you have a chance to tell your story to the actual audience.

Take a look sometime at the flim "The Apostle" with Robert Duval. I'd be curious to read your opinion. Do you think Duval does a better job, or is his version of a Pentacostal preachers also a "send-up" of what people expect to see?

TTFN



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 07:36 PM
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What was the Talisman about?

Not a trick question.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by RANT
What was the Talisman about?

Not a trick question.


Nevermind, apparently nothing.


This book charts the adventure of a twelve year old boy named Jack Sawyer. The young hero sets out from the East Coast of the USA in a bid to save his mother, who is dying from cancer, by finding an artifact called 'The Talisman'.

Werewolves, known simply as Wolfs, inhabit the far western parts of a world parallel to America called the Territories and serve as royal herdsman or bodyguards. A sixteen-year-old Wolf, simply named Wolf, accidentally is pulled into America by Jack Sawyer, adopts him as his herd, and dies saving him from the nightmarish Sunlight Home. Wolf is a slow, though extremely likeable werewolf that more or less defys most conventional myths about werewolves.

By splitting the story between 'The Territories' (a strange, fantasy world with ties to King's Dark Tower series) and the familiar US, King and Straub are able to constantly able to throw Jack from the frying pan to the fire, as he escapes from one life-threatening situation to another. Accompanied by a werewolf named Wolf and his friend Richard, Jack must retrieve the Talisman before it falls in the hands of his deceased father's evil accomplice Morgan Sloat.

Followed up in 2001 with a sequel, Black House, that picks up with Jack in his 30's trying to solve a series of murders.


I always thought I missed something reading that. Obviously just why two men should never write one book.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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There's fundamentalism, then there's extremism. There is a difference.

Extremists go on crusades and like to blow stuff up and are generally a self-righteous bunch.

Fundamentalists go by the Bible. That's the same Bible that says do violence to no man, btw.

Joseph and Mary did live like a normal married couple. In fact two of Jesus' half-brothers wrote a couple of the books in the New Testament.

There is nothing wrong with Christian fundamentalism. And I hope people actually try to find out exactly what it entails, because when you go around bashing it using false information, it has a tendency to make you look a bit foolish.

My issue is, people get impressions of certain groups from what they read, and they get the totally wrong idea.

In the past, it's been Catholicism that says that married people can't have sex except to reproduce. As a fundamentalist, I say if you're married to the person, go have fun! (BTW I don't consider Catholicism to be Christianity, just so you know.)

I tend to wear skirts more often than pants, because they make me feel more feminine btw. That one verse, about dressing like the opposite sex, I think pertains to cross-dressing.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 08:20 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
without getting into personal histories, B H sees a lot of reality in King's writings; on the other hand, I also thing B.H. has a pretty jaundiced view of people who are trying hard to live out their faith.


Is the 'BH' you speak of here me? If so, let me just let you know that the only King book I have ever read is The Stand, so I don't 'see a lot of reality in his writings', no.

You probably have point about the 'jaundiced view' though. But it's not of people living their religions. I have no problem with people living their religions. It's of people insisting that their interpretation is right and others' are wrong or that their religion is the best one or that the morals of their religion need to be applied to everyone, including me.
.

If BH is something or someone else, then I apologize.

BTW, I didn't notice that this thread was in "Literature" until after I posted. I thought it was in a Religion forum as I just saw the title from the NewPosts page. I shouldn't have posted, because I don't know much about King. For that, I do apologize.



Originally posted by Amethyst
BTW I don't consider Catholicism to be Christianity, just so you know.




[edit on 1-10-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 08:35 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic


Originally posted by Amethyst
BTW I don't consider Catholicism to be Christianity, just so you know.




[edit on 1-10-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]


If you want an explanation feel free to send me a U2U. I don't mean for this to get into a religious war...that was not my original intent.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic


Originally posted by Amethyst
BTW I don't consider Catholicism to be Christianity, just so you know.




[edit on 1-10-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]


If you want an explanation feel free to send me a U2U. I don't mean for this to get into a religious war...that was not my original intent.



I think you owe all the Catholics here some clarification as to why we aren't Christians.



posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 09:23 PM
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Originally posted by whaaa

Originally posted by Amethyst
BTW I don't consider Catholicism to be Christianity, just so you know.


I think you owe all the Catholics here some clarification as to why we aren't Christians.



Not just the Catholics, but this atheist is just a bit more than curious as well.


B.



posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 12:44 AM
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Nor am I trying to hijack this thread. I'm seriously asking these questions in an honest attitude:

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

But it's not of people living their religions. I have no problem with people living their religions.


I'm sure that's true, and what I originally posted was not really fair.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
It's of people insisting that their interpretation is right and others' are wrong


Now, I'm not trying to be argumentative; I'm serious. Don't most people who have a creed believe that "they are right" and that other people are wrong where their opinions differ? Isn't that just as true of atheism as it is of Bahai or Sikhism? Isn't that just human nature?


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
or that their religion is the best one or that the morals of their religion need to be applied to everyone, including me.



I think most people, of most religions, or even members of specific cultures, feel that way. The allies judged the Nazis at Nuermburg based on principles from our (non-Nazi) culture.

Or what about the ATSNN post about the UN asking for help in stamping out "child sacrifice and female 'circumcision'" in central Africa? Aren't we passing judgment on others when we take a stand like that. Is it OK for the UN to do it on governmental grounds, but immoral for me to oppose child sacrifice and genital mutilation on religious grounds?

I'm not holding you personally responsible for answers on these questions, Benevolent; since I certainly don't have all the answers myself. But I think our civilization has reached a crossroads, and it cuts both ways.

On the one hand, a lot of people feel (I think maybe you feel this way), that religious people have no business imposing their world-view on others.

And yet, our culture does this constantly for non-religious reasons every day, for instance the example from the UN I just gave.

From a religous person's viewpoint, it almost seems like any reason for imposing values is ok, so long as it's not religious.

If I say, the US should help stamp out child sacrifice because it is heartless and cruel, then that is considered acceptable. But if I say that the US should help end this practice because my belief in God tells me it is wicked, then somehow my logic has just become prejudice and "fanaticism."

And I'm not trying to make this a political thread either. But I think a lot of Americans have rallied to one party, not because they agree with it, but because it tells them that their religious beliefs are as valuable as anyone else's. Sure, there are a lot of posturing idiots who are holding the microphones. But the reason that religious people are tuning in, in my opinion, is because someone is willing to take their faith seriously.

I'll give you a less loaded example concerning the bias against religion. If you take a high school or college history class anywhere in western civilization, you will surely hear that the "real" motives for the crusades were lust for booty, land, rape and pillage, economic advantage, power for the church, etc. But mainstream professors will never discuss the fact that for many of the Christians (and Muslims, for that matter) who went off to almost certain death on the battlefield, religion was the overwhelming motive.

Anyway, time for me to climb down off this soapbox and let someone else vent. But I think that our society refuses to admit that religion is a motivating force in the everyday decisions of people around the world. And I agree with Amythest if she was trying to say that many portrayals of religion (any devout religion) in the media are simply charicatures of fanatics.

[Whew! The doctor says I need to keep taking the green pills; but I can think so much more clearly without them!]

a penny for your thoughts.



posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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This is a very interesting subject and I'd love to discuss it, but I really don't want to further hijack Amethyst's thread.

Would you be willing to copy your last post and start a new thread in an appropriate forum, say, Faith, Spirituality and Theology or something and we can bring in others who are interested in this as well?

Maybe title it. "If I'm Right, is Everyone Else Wrong?" or something like that. And post here the url to the new thread?

What do you think?



posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 12:31 PM
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The new thread is:

www.belowtopsecret.com...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread, already in progress.



posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 12:54 PM
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What you're running into is your view of Christianity, shaped by the culture and history you know.

Now... King and I come from the same generation. A lot of what he writes is based on fact and on the way the Christian religion was practiced back then.


Originally posted by Amethyst
Margaret White believes that being a woman is something to be ashamed of and that sex--even in marriage--is wrong and dirty.

His protagonist would have been born in the 1940's or so. And (guess what) women WERE taught that sex was dirty and there was something rather unclean about sex, even in the context of marriage.



I found it interesting that in the book Margaret believes that Mary and Joseph did not have sex (a traditionally CATHOLIC teaching).

Actually, once a very common attitude in ALL Christians, not just Catholics.



As a fundamentalist, I know that there is nothing wrong with becoming a woman. As far as sex--if you're married to that person, have fun! Get creative if you want!


Welcome to the feminist revolution. This attitude is very modern... the "sex is fun and not a sin" paradigm arose in the late 1960's and early 1970's when you could finally find decent material on sex positions and techniques. Christians denounced the material as being Satanic, but attitudes have changed since then and many of them have Christian Sex Manuals.


I also found it interesting that King indicated that Mrs. White carried around a King James Bible (same one I read). Nice--rip on the KJV Bible believers.

Many of my friends carried little Bibles in their purses for comfort. It was a bit extreme, but not unknown. Heck, at one time I carried a mini New Testament around with me.


Mrs. White in the book also seems to have issue with the color red, basically saying it's the devil's color.

More fundamentalist sects have problems with things that they see as symbolic of being Satan. So in the past, they've railed against: Halloween, Christmas, certain names, music, movies, various symbols (including stars), and so forth. You can see it today in the attitudes of some fundamentalists that the Harry Potter books are Satanic and were written by a Satanist to recruit children.


It's also interesting that there are statues and pictures of Jesus all around the White home, when the Second Commandment expressly forbids such. I usually associate idols/statues with Catholicism.


It's an Old World practice. Yes, mostly Catholic, but a number of my friends' houses had pictures of "Jesus knocking at the door" and so forth.


Bottom line is, King doesn't know what Christian fundamentalism is about.

No... the bottom line is that King gave a pretty good portrayal of what it was like during a certain time period and for a certain age group. You are assuming that yours is an immutable religion and never changes. But I've been to services and I remember a time when fundamentalists believed Jesus was the son of God and did not worship Jesus as God.

And King did a pretty good job (and a fair one) of dealing with the character. I knew a number of women just like her.



posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 02:16 PM
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That's what I so clumsily was trying to say in my first post.
Well-stated, Byrd.

Uhhh. Sorry for the one-liner.



posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 03:59 AM
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Forgive my ignorance on the matter.. as i find King to be dreadfully dull and boring, so i dont know for sure.. but was he claiming that she was representative of christian fundimentalism in the book?

Now i did see the movie.. and she was deffinetly Christianity taken to a psychotic extreme.. which we have seen countless times in the real world. Ed Gianes (for whom we get the texas chainsaw massacre) came from such a "Crazy Christian" home.

i think part of the problem that your haivng Am, is that fundimentalism as a whole, christian or otherwise, has become the same thing as extremism.. now we all know that by deffinition they arent the same thing.. but when ever you hear about some extremeist faction of any faith.. they are often labeled "fundimentalists"




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