Religious Email Forwards

Like most people, I hate getting email forwards. But some annoy me more than others, and some just insult my intelligence. I got one of these the other day and I have to wonder if the people that send them are actually reading what they’re forwarding on to their friends.

The subject line in this email was “I love the message,” but I didn’t see anything about the message that was worthy of my love:

Concentrate on this Sentence

‘To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.’ When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence… ‘The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.’ Something good will happen to you today; something that you have been waiting to hear.

This is not a joke; someone will call you by phone or will speak to you about something that you were waiting to hear. Do not break!

Send it to a minimum of 2 people… JUST DO IT!

What a load of crap.

The will of god will never take me where the grace of god won’t protect me? Bullshit. You mean I’ll never be in too much trouble because god will always get me out of it? Pfft, talk about wishful thinking. Is┬áthe person that wrote this email living under a rock?

The thing that really gets to me about this email, though, is that it makes such vague claims about what will happen when you forward it on that if anything good happens that day people will take that as evidence of their god. That’s called confirmation bias, “a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and to irrationally avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs.”

The person who sent me this email is one of the sweetest people I know, so I know her intentions were good. I just wish people would actually read and think about things like this before passing them on.


9 Responses to “Religious Email Forwards”

  1. 1 Capri July 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    That’s the same sort of forward I’m most likely to get from well-meaning but easily duped, unthinking friends as well. It drives me right up the wall! I resent the way chain letters exploit religion and that so many people buy into it just because God is mentioned in it somewhere. They need to realize that God and chain letters have nothing to do with each other, do not mix, and that chain letters are absolute bull with one goal only – to get passed on. Often, these friends never even bother to keep in touch anyway until some stupid forward hits their inbox, then all of a sudden they feel the need to think of their friends for maybe one second – scrap that, – it’s more like attempting a show of thought via mass sending to their contact list something stupid like this. And it makes you wonder when they send chains that promise the phone ringing if they fwd it to x number of people. Sheesh, are they that dim? Do they think I’m that dim to believe this crap as well? Yes, it’s insulting on so many levels to get this junk, and beyond aggravating how friends are so willing to let themselves get exploited and pushed around by some coward who originated a forward. But it’s unlikely they’d do exactly what a friend personally requests such as share anything of real value and write something themselves.

  2. 2 Alex James July 24, 2009 at 10:24 am

    The prevalence of forwarded emails has always interested me. It’s becoming less of an issue as more and more people forgo email in favour of Facebook, but it still exists. I often wonder whether people even read what they’re forwarding to me before hitting the “send” button. You’ve read enough of my stuff to know that I’m hardly an optimistic fellow who particularly wants to see cute pictures of kittens, or God forbid (har har) a forward with religious undertones, so I constantly question why people feel the need to send me this pabulum.

    As far as the religious end goes, I’ve never been a big proponent of the idea that God will provide for anything. If the Christians are right, I think they all ought to look up the bit in the Bible that says “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” It’s like that old joke about the guy stuck on a roof during Katrina…as the water level rises two boats pass by offering him a lift, which he refuses, citing that “God will protect [him]”. Finally a helicopter shows up and throws him a rope ladder, which he again refuses based on the same logic. Predictably he drowns and ends up at the Pearly Gates. He asks St. Peter why God didn’t save him, to which the saint replies “You dumb bastard; we sent two boats and a helicopter!”

    Pithy, yeah, but worth thinking about.

  3. 3 linzeebinzee July 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

    It really seems like people believe those threats they put at the end of forwards…”if you don’t forward this you’ll fall down the stairs and your dog will get run over by a car!!!”

    I love that joke…it’s been around since before Katrina…when I was still a Christian I told it at a Bible study…now looking back I realize that what it’s saying is that so-called miracles are indistinguishable from everyday occurances, what good is God for anyways if he can’t snap his fingers to take you away from the danger?

  4. 4 linzeebinzee July 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Yup it’s a pretty thoughtless way to show appreciation to your friends.

    I guess people caught on that the Taco Bell dog wouldn’t show up on their screen if they forwarded the emails before, so now the writers of these forwards make more vague claim like “something, anything good will happen, and you might not even know it happened”

  5. 5 Alex James July 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

    You told that at Bible study? And they didn’t light you on fire? I’m a little shocked, actually. I really don’t like discriminating against people by virtue of their religious beliefs, but some of these folks make it really, really tough to restrain my rage. I really hate being told I’m not living my life correctly. Believe what you want, but don’t shit on my head for believing something different.

    And yeah — I was just having that conversation last night with my roommate about miracles. A lot of religious sects forbid blood transfusions and donor organs because it doesn’t fit in with “God’s Plan”…who’s to say our ability to perform those sorts of procedures isn’t itself a “miracle”? Further, I doubt you’ll ever hear a minister or priest or whatever telling a rape victim “oh it’s okay, it’s all part of God’s plan”.

    Further reading: check out “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” by Harold S. Kushner. Great read and it deals with a lot of what we’re talking about.

  6. 6 linzeebinzee July 24, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Yup they all liked it at Bible study too…I think because it’s an excuse for why God doesn’t manifest in more tangible ways. And also it doesn’t end with “the guy drowned, and there’s no afterlife, the end.” I don’t think you can really blame someone for their religious beliefs, because we live in a world where it’s taboo to criticize the beliefs so it’s easy to get sucked into a religion. That’s why I stayed a Christian until I was 23…the fear that doubting god would send me to hell kept me in line.

    I don’t know if it would be unlikely to hear a priest say that to a rape victim…isn’t “it’s all part of God’s plan” their stock answer for all shit that happens? Special pleading sons of bitches.

    That book’s already on my long list of books to read…It’s been less than a year since I’ve come out of the religious fog, so I have lots of reading to catch up on! Currently reading “Death From the Skies: These are the Ways the World Will End” by Phil Plait.

  7. 7 Capri July 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Well I had thought/hoped you people wouldn’t be prejudiced against Christians, only fed up with forwards and those who forward them. I’m so damned sick of 1. Christians sending stupid chain letters and 2. anti-Christian twats jumping on that to spew their anti-Christian rhetoric…You don’t want to see the rant I made when somebody sent me that bullshit chain that used the lie “If you don’t pass it on God will be ashamed of you because you’re ashamed of him” trash. It’s as ludicrous as the “Pass on this child abuse poem if you care about children and want to stop abuse.” as if not passing it on and depressing your friends means you must not care about children, puhleeze! No, I don’t think people read carefully what they forward. They don’t even think, they just forward, and it isn’t just Christians who are guilty of that. So, not too likely I’ll be coming back here again or including this blog on links for my site…

  8. 8 linzeebinzee July 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Hey I have nothing against Christians, hell some of my best friends are Christians, so I’m sorry that you got the impression that I’m somehow bashing Christians.

    I think the beliefs are wrong, so I won’t hesitate to criticize the beliefs themselves, but I have no problem with the believer unless they are in some way imposing their beliefs on me, and that’s why I can’t stand religious email forwards in particular.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I hate all email forwards. I just hate the ones that tell me a funny joke a little less than the ones that tell me god will grant my wish if I pass it on.

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