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| There Ain't No Justice |
| #26 |
- One Hundred and One Ways to Wash a Brain -
or Why I Don't Like Church Trips
by Mystic Juggernaut
(This file is totally and entirely based on my own real-life experience, so
much the worse for me.)
Ah. The Christian Church. Great and venerable institution, moral
pillar of society. What's not to like, eh? Let's just go sit in the church
for a minute, listen in. They're done with the hymns now, the pastor is
saying a little message on how Jesus saves, and Jesus commands us to take
communion, that charming little ritual cannabilism thing. Of course in
these here little Protestant churches it doesn't SEEM as much like ritual
cannabilism as in the Catholic ones, but it still is, really. But what's
wrong with that, eh? God's will and all.
Anyway, now Mr. Pastor seems to be warning us. HE says that those who
eat and drink this with an impure heart are only eating and drinking their
own death. Impure heart--I guess that means me. By their standards anyway.
Being an agnostic I think it's very unlikely the cup would harm me. But I
refuse the bread and cup anyway. This isn't my religion, it belongs to my
parents. Just a typical Sunday for me. Sitting through a service I don't
half believe in, getting preached at. I hate that. Wouldn't you?
Now let's sit in on a nice meeting of youth pastors. From quite a few
different churches actually. They are babbling about typical youth pastor
things when one of them comes up with a great idea. Why not have one of
those youth retreat things? They're always fun for the kids, and they teach
them about the Lord Jesus. So they plan one. Nice Christian Rock concert,
sports and such. Lots and lots of fun. Toss in a good speaker. REALLY nifty
Eventually this plan gets out to the general public, particularly my
parents. I want to stay home and hang out with some "worldly" friends. My
folks will hear none of it. Listen to them discuss it now.
Mom: "Oh, it'll be such fun for him. Much more fun than those other friends
of his. Anyway he can be with them any time. This is just this once."
Dad: "You're right. That speaker would be good for his spiritual life. I
heard he was very good, and _________ hasn't been reading his Bible
much lately." (After passing through my patented
Doublespeak-Strip-o-Matic device, this came out to "What the hell,
the kid's brain could use a nice thorough scrubbing.")
So it's set. Not my decision. That's nothing unusual really. My
parents don't think it's right that I always want to hang out with all
those tools of Satan, no matter how nice and clean-cut they might seem,
which they didn't always, at that. Especially lately. Essentially it was
go, or get kicked out and live on the street. So I went. How bad could it
Very bad, I found out. Worse than I'd imagined. First of all, they had
that Christian concert, rock type thing, nice and loud. Everyone got all
hyped up, which was fine. Good even. Except that they followed it right up
with a sermon. After people were all like up on the seats clapping and
waving and having a great time. Very relaxed-like in a way, but still hyped
up. Very nifty post-concert state. It only has one really huge
disadvantage. This point is important: whatever mental defenses you have
toward preaching and persuasive speech are very much decreased, as I've
learned by experience. According to people who've studied this kind of
scientifically, it can go down as low as 10% because a lot of people enter
a state of alpha consciousness. That's more or less what you get when you
meditate or go into a light hypnotic trance, only in this particular case
you are more aware of your surroundings.
In any case they brought in that speaker. Nice technique he has.
Intonation, emphasis, all kinds of stuff. He's speaking in a very
persuasive manner. It would be even under normal circumstances, but to this
entranced crowd...I don't seem to be in a trance myself. I had a feeling
they'd try something like this. I know this type of people, and besides
that I'm slightly paranoid. Being slightly paranoid is an immensely helpful
thing in getting through life, as long as you can handle the stress. If you
can't, you'll have a heart attack at age 40 and that's that. The slightly
paranoid man will find a lot of cases where they really ARE out to get him.
Unparanoid will miss them and get nailed. TOO paranoid and you see more
imaginary than real dangers. I think my paranoia is closer to optimum than
most people's, but I wouldn't know really, having never been anyone else
In any case I tried not to really get into it. It seemed to work. But
some people have a suspiciously glassy-eyed stare. They send us to bed
late, in the wee hours of the morning. No one in the place gets as much as
six hours of sleep.
In the morning we all get up and are treated to a meal that makes a
school lunch look like a royal banquet. I try to dig into the spam and
soybean curds, but the roadkill is just too much. No full stomach for me.
No one else either. We are forced to drink coffee and eat sugar packets to
keep going. Then we go play sports most of the day, stopping only to refill
on reprocessed bat testes.
More than a hundred tired, wired teenagers go to another meeting. They
have another concert. Kinda slower music. Big difference. Then we sing some
songs set to the tunes of old pop rock, with words like "Looks good, looks
fine, gonna serve him all the time." Sick thought. I don't particularly
like the idea of serving anyone at all, being somewhat anarchistic of
tendency. Some people can't stay awake through the whole thing. Everyone's
thinking is muddled. Everyone gets woken up by avid youth pastors to listen
to the nifty speaker. Great way he builds up that guilt through the speech.
We're all guilty of not becoming total mindless puppets. He wants us to
change, to do anything God tells us. Five conversions he makes, or
something, with that speech. Five people hardly awake enough to remember
their own names, five people with enough caffeine and sugar and little
enough sleep and nutrition in their systems that they are probably
incapable of elementary logic.
I felt the pull of his words. I could feel I was weakened too, they
were pulling down all the hedges and fences and walls I had built to
protect myself against such propaganda. Fortunately they didn't get
through. I was strong enough. I could have taken more maybe. I'm glad I
didn't have to find out. But I was born and raised in a Christian home, I
broke away from the hold of that faith while still going to church every
Sunday. All that still got to me a bit. And I'm an anarchistic type, as
I've said. Imagine what all this would do to a "true believer" type, one of
those all-too-common fanatics ready to happen, the kind that feel that
their minds are inadequate, that they need someone to think for them.
Instant total mind slavery. It seemed organized enough to have been
designed by an expert. I don't know if the structure is really systematic
or just a result of decades of trial and error, but it is structured and it
does work, just the same.
I've gone home now. I still feel a bit vulnerable. The last of my
mental barriers are slow to regenerate. It's those deplorably catchy
surgically altered pop tunes. I can't get them out of my head. I think I'll
go listen to some metal now. Maybe that'll help. Psychological attacks and
mental scarring are really no fun. That's why I hate Church trips.
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