'All for ourselves and nothing for other people' seems in every age of the world to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. -Adam Smith "All the 'truth' in the world adds up to one big lie." Bob Dylan "Idealism precedes experience, cynicism follows it." Anon

October 25, 2010

Susan Boyle: "Gifted? I think it's just been chance."

Chain The Dogma   July 23, 2009

by Perry Bulwer

Yesterday, NBC aired an interview with Susan Boyle by Meredith Vieira. Most people are by now aware of the "plain Jane" with the big voice, whose first appearance on the Britain's Got Talent show became a viral video hit on the net. There was nothing particularly note-worthy about the interview, especially if you don't care for the type of music she sings. However, the following exchange caught my attention.

Meredith asks: "Susan, when did you realize that you were gifted, that you had a voice?"

Susan replies, with a chuckle: "Gifted?"

Puzzled, Meredith asks: "You don't think you're gifted?"

Susan: "I think it's just been chance."

Spot on Susan! Being gifted implies a gift giver. Susan's talent is just that, her talent. It is not a gift. Referring to talents or skills as gifts is part of Christian ideology that requires believers to deny themselves (Luke 9:23) and give God all the glory for any good they may achieve.

Any doctrine that denigrates self in favour of a deity is deceitful, dangerous, even deadly. Believers from every part of the Christian spectrum, except perhaps those who are nominal only, mentally flagellate themselves (some do it literally), because they believe that humans are inherently wicked. They believe that nothing good can arise from human endeavours alone, so therefore, any good that does arise must be from God. This belief is particularly vile when imposed on children because it leads to self-loathing rather than self-esteem, which is a necessary component of a healthy life.

If you think I am over-stating the danger to the self-esteem of children by Christian ideology that refers to talents and skills as "gifts", you might consider reading the book "Deadly Doctrine: Health, Illness and Christian God-talk" by Dr. Wendell Watters, which you can find on this page:


Here's the interview with Susan:


On the same America's Got Talent program that the Susan Boyle interview appeared last night, one of the contestants was a delusional church choir master named Jo Jo who appeared to be completely oblivious to the fact that he could not sing in key. The crowd jeered his ridiculous performance, and when the judges ridiculed him he replied that his singing is "a gift". To paraphrase Proverbs 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, 'There is a God'. This tone-deaf choir "master" obviously thinks his singing is a gift from God. But if God is perfect, why would s/he give a defective gift?

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