slev (slev) wrote in xian_dialogue,
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xian_dialogue

Analysis of anti-Goth semtient

An open response to an article allegedly published by St.Mary's Parish, Annapolis, Maryland, USA. (http://www.stmaryschurch.org/)

In this article, the church paints Goth subculture to be dangerous & sinful.

They do not argue out this point, so I have no recourse to argument on it. I will point out though:

I know a number of Goths.
As with most sub-cultures, they cover a broad spectrum of faiths, including, but not limited to, Judaism, Odinism, Wicca and Christianity. There are also a large proportion of agnostics and atheists. As Goth is a secular movement, it has no bearing on faith.
Goths tend to be well read, cultured & highly literate, as well as intelligent and capable of thinking for themselves.
Goth Subculture is based primarily around clothes and music. As it is only a sub-culture, other aspects form part of the main culture, i.e., western culture.
Goth music is an offshoot of Punk, emphasizing death, despair, sexuality and social dysfunction, but is not limited to these themes. Note that this music is listed by the church as negative and/or antisocial. Saying this is negative means it has no value. Not a catharsis, not as a raising of awareness, not as art, and not as entertainment. This patently untrue. Nor is it truly antisocial or a community world not arise around it.
Goth fashion is a matter of clothing. A Christian should not be concerned by such things regardless.

Moving onto the points of the posting by the church that define a Goth.

To be clear, I am not a Goth, and have never considered myself to be one. Neither do any of my Goth friends consider me to be a Goth.

I can apply at least 13 of the points from the list to my life, when they are concerned about anyone with 5 or more being a Goth. I would propose that they are thus not worried about Goths as such, but any alternative/underground sub-culture.

I will now look at each of the points maid by the church.



Is Your Child A Goth? - Presented by St. Mary's Church

Listed below are some warning signs to indicate if your child may have gone astray from the Lord.

Gothic (or Goth) is a very obscure and often dangerous culture that young teenagers are prone to participating in.

The gothic culture leads young, susceptible minds into an imagined world of evil, darkness, and violence. Please seek immediate attention through counseling, prayer, and parental guidance to rid your child of Satan's temptations if five or more of the following are applicable to your child.

-Frequently wears black clothing.

While true of Goths, this is also true of Metalers, Bikers, Amish and others

-Wears band and/or rock t-shirts.

Not as prevalent amongst Goths as amongst many other sub cultures

-Wears excessive black eye makeup, lipstick or nail polish.

Generally true of Goths, but can also be true of New Romantics and some other sub cultures

-Wears any odd silver jewelry or symbols.

Again, not restricted to Goths. Keep in mind that many wear crosses, which is a Christian symbol, so I'm not sure how this would relate to the argument

-Shows an interest in piercing or tattoos.

Aging, not exclusively Goth

-Listens to gothic or any other anti-social genres of music. (Marilyn Manson claims to be the anti-Christ, and publicly speaks against the Lord. Please discard any such albums IMMEDIATELY.)

As discussed elsewhere, Goth is not antisocial music.
Further, Marilyn Manson:
1. Is not a Goth act
2. Is not anti-God, just anti-Church, especially with reference to the Christian Right. This is a common confusion by those outside of more alternative music, mistaking the medium for the message.

-Associates with other people that dress, act or speak eccentrically.

Again, not necessarily Goth, keeping in mind that to non-Christians, many form Christian groups would fall into this category

-Shows a declining interest in wholesome activities, such as: the Bible, prayer, church or sports.

The first three are considered wholesome by Christianity, no argument. Sport is not necessarily considered wholesome save in the USA. This symptom though would be applicable to most teenagers

-Shows an increasing interest in death, vampires, magic, the occult, witchcraft or anything else that involves Satan.

Note that the bible involves Satan.
Death is a human preoccupation, and fascination in it neither necessarily Goth nor dangerous
Magic, generally, refers to illusion performed by magicians. f we are to assume Magik was intended here, then this is a philosophy, thus separate from religion and hence does not involve Satan as later implied.
Witchcraft, more properly, is Wicca, another religion, and again, thus not related to Satanism. All people are free to choose their own religion and as a Christian, I must defend this choice.
The Occult, technically, means 'that which is not commonly known'. As a Gnostic, I can be considered a Christian Occultist. Again, this is not inherently satanic.
Regardless, none of this pertains directly to Goth.

-Takes drugs.

This is again, not exclusive to Goth. Note that substance use in of itself is not sinful, but abuse is. Further Drug Use is considered perfectly normal in many parts of the world, and it's negative status is generally a product of early 20th century politic and the crusades of the Methodist church than any actual threat. This taboo is thus generally ignored by the younger generations.

-Drinks alcohol.

As per Drugs above, but further note that this is only really taboo in the USA, and that in the past, only alcohol was safe to drink, further reinforcing the point

-Is suicidal and/or depressed.

This is common amongst many teenagers, especially given the pressures placed upon them by society & the media

-Cuts, burns or partakes in any other method of self-mutilation. (This is a Satanic ritual that uses pain to detract from the light of God and His love. Please seek immediate attention for this at your local mental health center.)

Again, quite common, and either sign of some mental dysfunction, or masochistic tendencies. Not known Satanic ritual from any of the three different religions purporting to be Satanism involve such a practice regardless, so quite where this claim has come from is beyond me.

-Complains of boredom.

Again, common in Teenagers. And recent studies suggest this is quite healthy & normal.

-Sleeps too excessively or too little.

Generally common in western society due to high levels of processed foods, modern lifestyles, et al.

-Is excessively awake during the night.

See above, and also insomnia. Again, not a sign of Goth itself

-Demands an unusual amount of privacy.

The amount 'unusual' is not defined. Some people are more private than others anyway, so this measure is flowed by virtue of being vague

-Spends large amounts of time alone.

See above

-Requests time alone and quietness. (This is so that your child may speak to evil sprits through meditation.)

See above. Also, meditation figures in several faiths, Christianity included. The allegation here is unsupported.

-Insists on spending time with friends while unaccompanied by an adult.

Again, this is most teenagers, adults are 'un-cool' and cramp their style.

-Disregards authority figures; teachers, priests, nuns and elders are but a few examples of this.

Again, this is another common teenage attitude. Further, it is worth noting that again, to most young people, the relevance of various 'authority figures' has changed, and what one person considers to be an authority figure, may not be to someone else.

-Misbehaves at school.

Again, this could be anything, especially in the USA, where you can be sent home on the most ridiculously flimsy and/or illogical reason

-Misbehaves at home.

Again, not necessarily Goth, but a general teenage thing. Also depending on the strictness of the house the child is brought up in.

-Eats excessively or too little

Again, another general thing with no apparent bearing on the argument.

-Eats Goth-related foods.

I'm unclear on what this is

-Drinks blood or expresses an interest in drinking blood. (Vampires believe this is how to attain Satan. This act is very dangerous and should be stopped immediately.)

Vampirism and Satanism are not linked. Blood Drinking is usually a sexual act. Regardless, this is not a religious act and has no apparent bearing on Satanism. I cannot find anything wrong with consensual blood drinking, though it may not be to the taste of many

-Watches cable television or any other corrupted media sources.

Again, not a Goth thing, but very common in western society. Note that this would include Christian TV channels transmitted via cable.

-Plays games that contains violence or role-playing nature.

Again, not confined to Goths. Violent games are often seen as cathartic, but there are arguments against them. While this is the case, no reliable source has ever related violet games alone to any negative activity. Role-playing, similarly, has never been seen by any competent or educated authority to be a bad thing, and I have no idea why this is mentioned here.

-Uses the internet excessively and frequently makes time for the computer.

Again, not a Goth exclusive thing

-Makes Satanic symbols and/or violently shakes head to music.

Neither is a very Goth thing, and is more usually associated with Heavy Metal.

-Dances to music in a provocative or sexual manner.

Again, not confined to Goth

-Expresses an interest in sex.

Pretty much a given in most teenagers, given their natural biological urges. See discussion of drugs & alcohol above.

-Masturbates.

See sex above, especially as sex is proscribed for most of their teenage years. Even when reaching the age of consent, an appropriate venue may be unavailable, hence leading to a need for self gratification.

-Is homosexual and/or bisexual.

Again, not a Goth thing, and I don't understand why this item is here at all.

-Pursues dangerous cult religions. Such include: Satanism, Scientology, Philosophy, Paganism, Wicca, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Philosophy is not a religion. It is the process of thought and reasoning on the metaphysical when logic is applied. It is secular and not embedded in a particular religion.
Paganism is a general term to describe a number of pre-Christian faiths including most significantly, Wicca and Odinism. These are established religions, if minor ones.
Hinduism and Buddhism are both large, established, enlightened & peaceful religions.
The Jury is out on Scientology.
There are three types of Satanism. Original (Catholic sub-cult), traditional (commonly held view from the movies, practiced almost nowhere), and modern (as founded by Anton LaVey), the most popular, which, despite it's name, has nothing to do with Satan.
Thus, most of the mentioned items are finding ones own faith as discussed above.
Regardless, none of this is exclusively Goth!

-Wears pins, stickers or anything else that contains these various phrases: "I'm so gothic, I'm dead", "woe is me", "I'm a Goth".

Again, not very Goth, if you actually ask a real Goth

-Claims to be a Goth.

This one is pretty obvious, but many claim to be Goth who are then rejected as not being so by the 'real' Goths.


If five or more of these apply to your child, please intervene immediately. The gothic culture is dangerous and Satan thrives within it. If any of these problems persist, enlist your child into your local mental health center. ....

Again, not logical argument is presented as to how Goth is a dangerous sub-culture, nor how a secular movement can be related to Satan.


Thus, overall, most of these points are either irrelevant, over-generalized, or both, and imply much wrong-doing in normal, healthy human behavior.

Thus I cannot find any way in the post by the church can be viewed as anything other than a misguided attempt to protect the young through a misunderstanding of the perceived danger, or as irresponsible scaremongering.

I humbly invite representatives of the church to reply to this giving logical argument about why Goth is so dangerous to our youth.
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