Forced vacation, Day 1


Its that time of year, again. Before school starts every fall, Bossman kicks me out of the lab for a week. Ugh. He calls it a ‘vacation’. Whatever.

So now Im back home on The Farm, with my 28.8 kbps dial-up internet, and no wireless. Its like I went back in time 15 years… *shudder* Oh! And, my annual trip home also means its time for my annual Extremely Sophisticated Faith Bible Study! You see, I grew up in the middle of BFE, and the only radio stations that come in are the Christian networks, so I just use my 8 hour drive home as Evangelicals chance to win me over!

Not this trip.

This trip I learned how obsessed radical Christians are with ‘sex’. The act of sex, and gender roles for adults and children. Thats all I heard the four hours I could stand listening (plus “WE NEED MONEY!!! GIVE US MONEY!!!” every 8 minutes). I learned that its okay if your husband is a jerk to you. Not worrying about you if youre home late, telling you to ‘get to the point’ in the middle of a conversation, thats the more ‘spiritual’ path. Youre just being a mouthy bitch. Youre suppose to serve your husband. If you read your Bible you would have known that.

Men are the ‘spiritual head’ of the family. There are single mothers who have to be the heads of their family (and ‘they’ ‘honor’ them), but theyre going against Gods word until they remarry. Women should not, under any circumstances, be ‘spiritual leaders’ in their church. Also, send money. They are ‘coming up short’ this month.

Oh! And a woman called in who was very concerned about the friends she was hanging out with. Drug dealers? Drunks? Kleptos? Nononono. They are really supportive of her, and theyre happy, nice people, and they helped her through some ‘hard times’… but theyre not Christian!! She was advised to evangelize to them. Bring them to Christ. And she should send them money. They should all send money. Everyone should send them money.

Such an elegant faith.

Oh well. Theres always the drive home! Pray for me!


  1. #1 Zeno
    July 30, 2008

    The power of Christ compels you! Or not, as the case may be.

    I don’t have to drive as far as you do to go “home”, but it’s a vast wasteland of religious programming on AM radio. [ugh] Or country/western music. [double ugh]

    It’s the time when we have to be brave.

  2. #2 Will K.
    July 30, 2008

    I would suggest learning to love the music of tread on pavement, because that sounds right awful.

  3. #3 Cath the Canberra Cook
    July 30, 2008

    You know, there are attachments for ipods that let you transmit to your car radio.

  4. #4 llewelly
    July 30, 2008

    Call in. Argue that Jefferson was the greatest of our founding fathers. Point out that Jefferson was inspired to write a bible. Argue that they should take up study of the Jefferson Bible.
    (Yeah – that’s the bible that leaves out every miracle – including the resurrection of Christ – because Jefferson, throughout his adult life, insisted all of those miracles were nonsense. But don’t mention that part. Just convince them to read it over air …)

    (I know, this doesn’t address their Cult Of The Alpha Male (Sexist Penis Worship), but I don’t know what to do about that.)

  5. #5 kc
    July 30, 2008

    Aww, that drive does not sound fun! I get to fly home, so I’ll be spending my 1.5 hour trip reading one of the bajillion books I’ve been meaning to read…

    But what to I have to look forward to when I get home?

    Mass on the weekends. ugh.

    People responding to news of something rather shitty that happened to me this summer with lovely things like “God has a plan for you” and “Everything happens for a reason,” while I grit my teeth and try to pretend I appreciate that crap. ugh.

    Watching my little siblings hang out with their youth group friends and hoping desperately that it really is more fun and games than the cult-y shit that I was involved in for several years of high school. ugh.

    Wishing I had the guts to stop being an in-the-closet atheist around my family. Sigh.

    Fights with my family about anti-vaccination bullshit, anti-chemotherapy bullshit, and many other forms of alternative medicine related crap. ugh.

    On the bright side, my science-loving youngest brother asks great questions, and while it’s frustrating avoiding saying anything that explicitly outs me as an atheist, helping nurture his critical thinking skills (and a healthy sense of irreverence… a ten year old shouldn’t have to sit through a boring church service un-entertained… what’s the harm in a little restrained giggling at goofy things during mass, and maybe a game or two on my ipod touch?). Hehe… out of four siblings, I only got one of them who is anything like me… but that’s okay, he’s pretty awesome.

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    I learned that its okay if your husband is a jerk to you.

    Well, of course. Ephesians 5:22 and following:

    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

    It does go on to say that husbands should love their wives, but none of that “submit yourselves — in every thing” business for the husbands, no sir-ee Bob.

  7. #7 Yoder
    July 30, 2008

    Two words: satellite radio.

  8. #8 EyeNoU
    July 30, 2008

    Sure. I’ll pray for you. Send me money! (Just kidding!)

  9. #9 wazza
    July 30, 2008

    and yet something I read claimed that early christians were better to females than the pagans…

    we’re a fucked up little species, aren’t we.

    Don’t worry, ERV. Every atheist has to cope with this at some point. I suggest iPod. Since you’re driving alone, you don’t need any fancy radio attachments.

  10. #10 writzer
    July 30, 2008

    This last May I drove from La Manzanilla, Mexico to Milwaukee, WI. Would have been hell without books on my iPod and the iPod plugged into the radio. Guns, Germs and Steel, The Devil in the White City, History of Just About Everything, Demon Haunted World. For me, it’s the only way to drive.

  11. #11 Stacy S.
    July 30, 2008

    Not too far OT I hope … Does anyone here know about the Southern Baptist/KKK relationship? I’m looking for some sources.

  12. #12 Optimus Primate
    July 30, 2008

    “Science Friday” and “Point of Inquiry” podcasts FTW. They’re the only way I can survive any long drive.

  13. #13 Rayven Alandria
    July 31, 2008

    EWWWWWW!!!! How can you stand it? You must detox yourself. Quick, before the Jebus germs get you all stupid.

  14. #14 nanoAl
    July 31, 2008

    Wazza #9
    Didn’t the pagans like, worship women? (and sex)
    mind, my source here is Dan Brown, so I might be way off.

  15. #15 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    ‘pagans’ actually includes a huge variety of European religions, with many different ways of treating women.

  16. #16 wazza
    July 31, 2008

    Eh, it was an argument on the demographics of religion; christianity got so big in just 300 years because women preferred it over the pagan faiths of Rome. Not sure how true it is.

  17. #17 chris y
    July 31, 2008

    They are ‘coming up short’ this month.


  18. #18 clinteas
    July 31, 2008

    Im pissed off with those evangelicals !! That would have been such a great business idea,I could have retired.Make up some shit,declare the “man” the boss,declare sex with anyone other than the “man” or for any other purpose than breeding a sin,and get them to send you money for the fact that you told them all that crap ! YAY ! But they beat me to it,fuckers…..

  19. #19 Jake
    July 31, 2008

    I recommend right-wing talk radio. Nothing like black helicopters and rage at the “librul media” to keep you awake on a long drive.

    Also, your boss forces you to take a vacation? I could do with a little coercion of that sort any day.

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    I learned that its okay if your husband is a jerk to you. Not worrying about you if youre home late, telling you to ‘get to the point’ in the middle of a conversation, thats the more ‘spiritual’ path. Youre just being a mouthy bitch. Youre suppose to serve your husband. If you read your Bible you would have known that.

    If you had thrown something in there about “them damn ni**ers” I could have sworn you were just channeling my cousin Wayne.

  21. #21 drekoguk
    July 31, 2008

    So where do I send my money? I heard Jesus needs a new set of wheels after he totalled his dad’s Ferrari. Come on, everyone needs to chip in for Christ’s sake!

  22. #22 David Ratnasabapathy
    July 31, 2008

    Of course they’re obsessed with sex, they’re not supposed to be having any! The world is coming to an end.
    1 Corinthians 7:29

    “I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none…”

    Hmm, I’m not sure that remarrying is a good idea:
    1 Corinthians 7:28

    “…Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.”

    1 Corinthians 7:39-40

    “…if the husband dies, she [the widow] is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is….”

  23. #23 yttrai
    July 31, 2008

    O dear. You have filled me with panic all of a sudden.

    I am embarking upon a similar journey, from a town i sometimes refer to as NPRville, to the town of my upbringing, nestled very far north in the Great Lakes. Rural is a bit of an understatement. My parents have to fend of bears and wolves now and then. I’m not kidding.

    The drive is expected to be around 20 hours, but i have that nifty tape adaptor for my iPod. However, i’m panicked at whether my memory of my hometown being fairly a-religious is coloured by my family being a-religious. What if we get Bibles thrown at us in the streets? Eek!

    (Only kidding a little. Why is going home so stressful, anyway?)

  24. #24 a lurker
    July 31, 2008

    “You know, there are attachments for ipods that let you transmit to your car radio.”

    If you car has a tape player the adapters for CD players to car’s tape player will can also be used to hook up any sort of mp3 player to your cars’ tape player. Or you could use the previous person’s solution using the radio player.

    I might mention that there are books on CD. Since CD books tend to be a bit expensive you could get one from the public library and copy it to your player. Many libraries will have those short courses on CD filed away in the nonfiction stacks. Even in the smallest libraries there should be something that should interest you. If you like old literature, has free audio recordings of volunteers reading works in the public domain.

    And of course there is the traditional solution of putting music on your player…

  25. #26 a lurker
    July 31, 2008

    “So where do I send my money?”

    National Center for Science Education
    420 40th Street Suite 2
    Oakland, CA 94609-2509


  26. #27 joebob
    July 31, 2008

    @ 11 Don’t know about the KKK but I do know for a fact that the Southern Baptist Convention aka SBC was founded in 1845 to “preserve a religious foundation for human slavery.”

  27. #28 BAllanJ
    July 31, 2008

    Hey, if we’re going to start recommending podcasts for erv, how about the dna files radioshow on the cbc.
    good radio show summer fill up here in Canada.

    You can unplug the speakers from your computer…buy a cheap inverter so you can power them from your car, and off you go.

    Oh….and send me money

  28. #29 BAllanJ
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, the cbc is also on satellite radio….sirius 137 I think (that’s 1/(the fine structure constant))

  29. #30 BAllanJ
    July 31, 2008

    Duh….I just followed the links…it’s also on NPR, so y’all prolly know about it already…before me.

    As you were sayin’…

  30. #31 John Kwok
    July 31, 2008

    Hi Abbie,

    At the risk of self-promotion (or name dropping or both), perhaps you ought to call one of these radio stations and urge listeners to heed the ample advice given by the late Randy Pausch to his family in his book (and YouTube video) “The Last Lecture”. Not only does much of what he said (wrote) makes ample sense, but it sounds far more “Christian” than a lot of the junk which passes for “Christian” on AM radio.

    When I saw the ABC Prime Time Live special earlier this week, I found myself quite misty-eyed, realizing that it was hard for me to watch this program devoted to my college classmate.



  31. #32 nunyer
    July 31, 2008

    Listening to Christian radio can be informative. You can find out when candidates will be speaking at area churches, when evangelical assemblies are planned for the public schools, and get an insight into the fear that drives the (not)religious right. You can listen to Jay Sekulow distort news about forced religion in the military and recognize when he leaves out pertinent facts. You can hear anti-science ignoramuses encourage listeners to take over local government by running for office.

    If we libruls were half as organized, we’d never have these evolution debates to begin with.

    Oh, and paying attention to who advertises on those stations lets me and my friends know which businesses NOT to patronize.

  32. #33 idahogie
    July 31, 2008

    So it’s been a long time since I heard the ‘middle of BFE’ phrase. Thanks for that!

  33. #34 Jason Dick
    July 31, 2008

    For some time now, I’ve been a big fan of listening to audio books when I drive. Music tends to be rather soporific, but a good audio book really keeps me awake and alert. Plus they last for hours. Right now I’ve got just some of the later Harry Potter books. I rather enjoyed the series, and Jim Dale is quite a good reader, so it makes for quite an enjoyable drive. When I get back to the US, I’m sure I’ll have to find some more books to keep my interest on long drives…

  34. #35 David Broome
    July 31, 2008

    You should really get satellite radio. I know it has pulled me back from the brink of insanity up here in Ponca City. Sirius is the greatest: non-stop commercial free music, and all the Howard Stern you could want. Just a friendly word of advice from a former Oklahoma radio sufferer. Keep up the good work.

  35. #36 David Broome
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, and the Kindle will also read audiobooks to you while you drive! Forgot about that. The God Delusion is so much cooler when Richard Dawkins and his wife are actually reading it to you. Christopher Hitchens is also quite entertaining to listen to. Very compelling stuff. Anyway, keep on truckin.

  36. #37 Dave Wisker
    July 31, 2008

    Nature has a cool podcast. And if you get tired of science, the New Yorker has a great monthly fiction podcast, where stories published by the magazine over the years are read. Recommended stories I’ve listened to: “Graven Image”, by John O’Hara, and “The Gospel According to Mark”, by Borges.

  37. #38 Kalia's little brother
    July 31, 2008

    I learned that its okay if your husband is a jerk to you.

    There should be limits, even for Christians:
    Preacher’s wife’s body found in freezer

  38. #39 Andersson
    August 1, 2008

    You should bring a friend so you can both laugh at the silly things they say and make sarcastic comments. It’s what I do.

  39. #40 Emily
    August 1, 2008

    Not all christians are against science. I myself am a grad student in Wetlands Biogeography and I think that there is some truth to the theory of evolution. I love studying new theories and understanding new things. I don not believe that my relationship with Jesus precludes me from the study of science. I can be a Christian and a scientist.

    I do not consider myself a part of right wing politics. Most of what they say and support makes me shudder. I think independently and do not rely on what my church leaders say is the way the vote. I vote on the issues and what I believe to be important, just then same as you do.

    Wrapping christians up in one big group is as bad as what some preachers do when they talk of non-christians. You are no better than them in what you have been saying here.

  40. #41 David Ratnasabapathy
    August 1, 2008


    Wrapping christians up in one big group is as bad as what some preachers do when they talk of non-christians.

    But nobody’s wrapping up Christians in “one big group”. ERV specifically singles out for mockery only those Christians who speak on, and subscribe to, the Christian networks in “the BFE”.

  41. #42 freelunch
    August 2, 2008


    There are Christians all over the place in science, but to be a scientist, you cannot let religious doctrine tell you what the facts are in science.

    I think that there is some truth to the theory of evolution.

    It’s always best to try to avoid the words truth and prove when discussing science, since there are more accurate words. Scientists gather evidence, they try to understand their discipline to the best of their ability. The theory of evolution as it has been adjusted and elaborated over the years fits the evidence. It doesn’t really mean anything to say that there is some truth to it. The evidence about evolution is clear, well-documented, drawn from a number of lines of evidence, and overwhelming.

    Christian is the name of a wide collection of religions, most of which share a few doctrines in common, but disagree strongly over the rest. One can be a misogynist, racist, nativist bigot and find justification for your views in the Bible. You can justify watching the poor die and starting wars whenever you like using the Bible. You can also be a pacifist, someone who strongly supports social democracy, socialism or even communal ownership, treating everyone as an equal and collecting taxes based on the ability to pay and find justification for those beliefs in the Bible.

    The business of Christian evangelism hasn’t changed much since Sinclair Lewis wrote Elmer Gantry. Sure, there are new tools and the popular stars of the pulpit make sure that they have a service that appeals to their target audience, which is why fire and brimstone are going out of fashion and the big bucks are found in telling your audience that they will get rich if they believe. God will reward them for being believers and, implicitly, if they are poor, it’s just because they don’t believe properly. For entrepeneurial evangelists, there is nothing like assuaging any feelings of guilt of the upper middle class. The love of money has become the root of many growing congregations.

  42. #43 David Ratnasabapathy
    August 5, 2008

    freelunch, would you say that evolution is a fact? Stephen J. Gould did so. Surely a fact is true. It seems to me that when you write “It’s always best to try to avoid the words truth and prove when discussing science…” you’re engaging in needless technicalities.

    “Truth” and “prove” are perfectly good words. Water falls from the sky. It is true that it is raining. I can prove it. Walk outside and get wet!

    Instead, when someone asks me if it’s raining, and I look out and see clouds dripping water, I should say that, provisionally, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that it’s raining??

    In the context of a casual conversation with nonspecialists there’s no need to get technical.

New comments have been disabled.