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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

If You're Going to Join a Cult, Make it the One With the Hot Chicks

I was reading one of my daily blog stopdowns yesterday, www.getreligion.org, and I came across a bizarre thing. There was a post on the many "Christian Diet" books that are becoming popular these days, and someone mentioned Gwen Shamblin and her best-selling concept called the "Weigh-Down Workshop". This led me to her creepy cult church, the Remnant Fellowship. Not only does that title sound creepy, the things they believe in are creepy as well.

If you look at the opening page of their website, you will notice 3 areas at the top of the page on which you can click: "What We Believe", "Photo Album", Questions & Answers". As Sesame Street would say, which one of these is not like the others? Well, if you look at "What We Believe" and "Q&A", you get Straw-Man Questions with answers designed to get the reader to believe that Jesus' death really isn't good enough to save you, and that you must be "obey God" to get into heaven. They don't put it like that, but that's what it adds up to. It's a classic, almost textbook man-made Religion based upon misinterpretation of the Bible. They rail and rail against the idea that grace through faith is what saves people, even though that's a clear point both from the text and the subtext/context of scripture. Oh, and they deny Jesus is true God, too, mostly because they can't take any mystery in their God so they try to literalize him into a box that suits them. Again, it's textbook. Lots of people throughout the ages have had a problem with the doctrine of the Trinity, and have fallen into ridiculous thinking because of it.

The sum total of all this church's beliefs add up to it being about as Christian as Bishop Spong or Anton LeVay. Which is to say, not at all. It's all work-righteousness BS, and in this case it's pure evil because the church is really trying to add converts through their insecurity about their weight. If you click on "photo album", you will see a hundred pictures of sweet, clean, attractive people. What does this have to do with a church? Is this the newest phase in "church marketing" -- come join our church so you look better in a suit or a dress? Some of the pictures look like they were example pictures ripped from picture frames at the store. Many look digitally altered (although I'm not sure if they actually are, or if being in a cult just makes you look really creepy. Judge for yourself). But all of them feature attractive people. Hey, who wouldn't want to worship God while looking at this on Sunday Morning? Example Song:

"Jesus, you aren't God or anything
You died to save us from our past sins only
But now it's up to us to obey you
By being hot and giving Gwen all our money"

Peppered throughout the website's spiel about how Lutherans are the Great Prostitutes are negative references to being overweight. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen -- this woman, Gwen Shamblin, started a church based on a combination of works-loaded theology and a weight-loss plan. Now, I know we joke about Weight Watchers being a cult and all, but these people actually found a way to make it one. Isn't that scary? What's next, a church based on the teachings of JoAnn Fabrics that guilts you into sewing more of your own clothes?

Oh, and for those of you who are skeptical of their creepy cult-ness, check this out. Or this Nashville local news investigation. Or the Bible.

3 Comments:

  • At 8:37 AM, Blogger jill said…

    that site is so mesmerizing... look at all the happy faces...

     
  • At 4:35 PM, Blogger the professional said…

    speaking of creepy cults. i'm in salt lake city right now and maggie has a dozen mormon relatives that i've spent the last 3 days around.

    i first learned about mormons in my Cults and World Religions class in high school. they and their "religion" is much creepier in person.

    i hope this blog doesn't have any mormon readers. if it does, and they're offended, i apologize for offending you. but dude, come on. i got the scoop on y'all and i don't want it in a cone or a dish.

     
  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    I hope this blog doesn't have any Mormon readers, too. Just kidding.

    I have a friend who lives in Salt Lake City who told me about the weird Mormon-filtered culture there. For example, they don't get news about the tsunami, they get news about how the tsunami is affecting Mormons. Is that true?

    Mmmm...ice cream.

     

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