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 Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine

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LPorter101

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PostSubject: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:47 pm

Brooks Brown talked about Young Life, which he labeled a "cult," in an interview with Ralph Larkin (Comprehending Columbine):
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Do we believe Brooks when he says that fundamentalist Christians at Columbine went around making life miserable for kids with different beliefs? (Keep in mind that some Christians have said that Brooks treated them badly - he was an atheist who maligned religious folks as stupid, ignorant fools.)

Was the social environment at Columbine really as toxic as it's been made out to be?

Obviously, the only people who can answer that question are kids who went to the school. And even they wouldn't necessarily know how things were for Eric and Dylan - a football player has a different perspective from a "drama fag," who has a different perspective from a "mathlete," who has a different perspective from someone at the very bottom of the social totem pole.

I believe that Eric and Dylan were bullied - Eric more so than Dylan - but I do not believe that bullying, per se, was a primary motivating factor. Both boys felt a profound sense of alienation from their ostensible peers.

I have always seen Eric, in particular, as someone who was obsessed with respect. This is where I do agree with those who label him a psychopath - he had a huge ego that kept getting bruised. He couldn't stand the fact that everyone saw him as weak and pathetic. (He, himself, believed that he was weak and pathetic. This was the cause of his self-loathing.)

The difference between me and Dave Cullen is that I reject Cullen's fanciful notion that Eric was a popular ladies' man. Eric enjoyed little success in the social arena and felt a deep, abiding sense of masculine inadequacy. (Like they say, a gun is a substitute penis.) The fact that his brother was a popular jock and his father a no-nonsense military man - emblems of robust manhood - didn't help. The rage that he expressed in his journal - admittedly extreme - is that of the small, (figuratively) impotent man who resents those who have what he wants but can't get. Why this conclusion is so hard for so many folks to accept, I'll never know.

It burned Eric up that he was seen as this dorky, nerdy little guy with a shrunken chest. Any bullying that he endured would have added to his feelings of resentment, but it was not the only, or even the worst, humiliation that he had to bear. What really got to him was the fact that girls kept rejecting him.

Right? Or wrong?

Incidentally, it seems that Young Life kids in Colorado Springs are offing themselves at an alarming rate:
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Juicy Jazzy
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:03 pm

I think non-religious kids were picked on, as were overly Christian kids too. I think being a moderate Christian was the ideal middle ground at Columbine.
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Taladro



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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:36 pm

Well, im not from the U.S so i can tell from the outside that the education system is weird in several ways. What a cheerleader is anyway?
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Amarantha



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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:53 pm

In the country where I'm from, the whole high school system is way different. Maybe surprisingly for the forum members who live in the US, we look at it as something every teenager would experience in his/her life. We have no jock culture in Italy, though discrimination and bullying usually takes place when a group of students deliberately decides to target somebody who's in financial difficulties or has disabilities. Religious discrimination plays a minor role in bullying but yes, it can happen. I believe that Eric also wouldn't have suffered from an inferiority complex stemmed from his continuous struggle to "get ladies", if he was born in my country, because when you can't get any you're just teased in a friendly way. Rage and the feel of impotence in teenagers would follow another way.
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:49 am

I believe there are some serious bible thumpers out there. I am a Christian myself but I speak of a different kind of Christian. The kind that speak Hell and damnation. The kind that think everyone is going to hell except for themselves. I do think there were people like that in Columbine. Simply because Columbine was a religious town. I went to a highschool like this. I encountered kids like that. Kids that would taunt and bully you just because you don't believe in the same God that they do. So I do believe Brooks there.

I am not sure how much of this went on, but I do think it went on

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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:23 am

Lizpuff wrote:
I believe there are some serious bible thumpers out there.  I am a Christian myself but I speak of a different kind of Christian.  The kind that speak Hell and damnation.  The kind that think everyone is going to hell except for themselves.  I do think there were people like that in Columbine.  Simply because Columbine was a religious town.  I went to a highschool like this.  I encountered kids like that.  Kids that would taunt and bully you just because you don't believe in the same God that they do.  So I do believe Brooks there.

I am not sure how much of this went on, but I do think it went on

I agree with this. There were a lot of religious kids at the 2nd high  school I went to and even several religious after school clubs, which I had never seen at any of the other schools I'd been to. This was my experience and I get the feeling similar things happened at columbine too.  I was confronted in the halls and asked if I had been "saved" or ever considered "accepting Jesus in my heart". These confrontations were not done in a threatening way but they were a little pushy and I was still uncomfortable with them. I was brought up Christian but we weren't very religious and we didn't go to church so I didn't know what the hell any of this meant.  I was also pushed into going with a semi-religious friend to a youth group meeting and I was totally put off by the experience. First of all it wasn't really my thing, I wasn't passionate about religion at all and by this point I was kind of annoyed that people kept shoving religion down my throat like I was some godless heathen. Secondly, When the time came for them to play modern Christian rock music several kids dropped to the floor crying halfway through it which made me very uncomfortable. That was It for me. There was definitely a bit of a condescending attitude from the religious kids at the school I went to. They seemed like there was something wrong with you and they wanted to help you, even though you didnt ask for help, and they hinted that if you didn't accept their help you were probably going to hell. And from everything I read it sounds like columbine had the same type of people but probably in bigger numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:49 pm

LPorter101 wrote:


The difference between me and Dave Cullen is that I reject Cullen's fanciful notion that Eric was a popular ladies' man. Eric enjoyed little success in the social arena and felt a deep, abiding sense of masculine inadequacy. (Like they say, a gun is a substitute penis.)

Eric seems to have had a more difficult childhood than Dylan. As a young child, Eric had two physical disabilities that may have affected his self-image. In his journal, Eric writes the word, "kid" in large letters, perhaps indicating that he felt inadequate as a man. I believed in 2004, as I do today, that Eric's family might have unknowingly contributed to his negative self-image. Because Eric didn't have a fit, athletic physique, Wayne might have pushed him into sports to compensate for this defect. After all, Eric didn't want to play baseball, but since his father wanted him to play, he played; while his brother, Kevin, went on to become a football player and please both of his parents by following the family's military tradition. When you can't live up to your father's hopes and dreams because of something you can't control(i.e, a birth defect or a medical condition), you often become loathsome of authority and hyper aware of your self-image.
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Lunkhead McGrath



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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:27 pm


I think the question is how much of this bullying (physical OR religious) happened to Eric and Dylan, and if not, were they just made worse by what they saw going on around them? I keep going back to the Rocky Hoffschneider horror stories, but God only knows if E&D even ever met him. What's the worst thing that happened to them specifically either way? Eric getting punched in the face by Kristi Epling's new boyfriend?

How can Christian kids "bully" someone anyway? Physically? That's against their religion--not that this means it doesn't happen, of course. But if you really were strong-willed with regards to what you felt about religion, you wouldn't give a hoot about a bunch of stuck up Christian kids at your school anyway right? Wrong? If some "bully" came up to me, in high school or now, and yelled at me that I was going to go to hell, I think I'd die laughing.

I can't really say that Columbine is interchangeable with other schools in other parts of the country on this issue; it was probably stacked a lot more in favor of Christians out in Bible country like that.

Didn't Eric play quite a few sports, anyway? Obviously he wasn't a star, but he played them alright.

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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:43 am

Lunkhead McGrath wrote:

I think the question is how much of this bullying (physical OR religious) happened to Eric and Dylan, and if not, were they just made worse by what they saw going on around them?  I keep going back to the Rocky Hoffschneider horror stories, but God only knows if E&D even ever met him.  What's the worst thing that happened to them specifically either way?  Eric getting punched in the face by Kristi Epling's new boyfriend?  

How can Christian kids "bully" someone anyway?  Physically?  That's against their religion--not that this means it doesn't happen, of course.  But if you really were strong-willed with regards to what you felt about religion, you wouldn't give a hoot about a bunch of stuck up Christian kids at your school anyway right?  Wrong?   If some "bully" came up to me, in high school or now, and yelled at me that I was going to go to hell, I think I'd die laughing.

I can't really say that Columbine is interchangeable with other schools in other parts of the country on this issue; it was probably stacked a lot more in favor of Christians out in Bible country like that.  

Didn't Eric play quite a few sports, anyway?  Obviously he wasn't a star, but he played them alright.  


Yes Eric played soccer. And he was quite competitive at it. He wanted to win. He was insanely mad at Dylan when they lost blaming Dylan who was a poor player for the loss

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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:18 am

Lizpuff wrote:
Yes  Eric played soccer.  And he was quite competitive at it.  He wanted to win.  He was insanely mad at Dylan when they lost blaming Dylan who was a poor player for the loss

Sue Klebold confirmed this. Eric went completely ballistic after a loss and created quite a scene. She remarked that it was an awkward situation, that the Harris' were calm (maybe a bit too calm?), and that Dylan didn't show much emotion during the car ride home. I think she said this was is middle school. Feel free to correct me on this as I'm just going from memory.

She also noted that a 'holier than thou' attitude might have been pervasive in Columbine amongst the large Christian community. This could easily be seen as another form of bullying and I can scarcely imagine a HS school administration calling out students on this. Likely it was another divisive force that led to some students being labelled as outcasts.
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:17 pm

Hahah "soccer" sorry but it always make me laugh . It's the real football. And a more clever sport if you ask me, and talking about Eric, well nobody want to lose, you always play to win and a person like Eric trying to prove that he was a tough guy can esealy be a bad loser.
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:40 pm

Taladro wrote:
Hahah "soccer" sorry but it always make me laugh . It's the real football. And a more clever sport if you ask me, and talking about Eric, well nobody want to lose, you always play to win and a person like Eric trying to prove that he was a tough guy can esealy be a bad loser.
Hard to take soccer seriously when there is so much rampart diving and acting for free kicks. Not to mention all the corruption.
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PostSubject: Re: Young Life, religious fundamentalism, and bullying at Columbine   Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:46 am

Humans are capable of great things when they use their hands. Picture a virtuoso guitarist or pianist. Picture a great painter. Now picture the those people trying to achieve anything similar without using their hands. That's soccer.
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