Swindled by an Affinity Group Member (Introduction)

July 10, 2008

Quite a while back, when many of us were still blogging on the other (unreliable) web site, Blog Source, I wrote a series of posts about trust. David Rochester inspired me by writing about not being able to trust other people, or, for that matter, himself.I had some additional posts I intended to write about trust, but never got around to it. If I live long enough (unlikely), I will get around to quite a bit of mischief.
A point I made is that like natural creatures such as “ant lions” that prey on ants by camouflaging to look like ants, many human predators pretend to be like someone you trust so they can prey on you. Some child predators pretend to be kindly uncles or Boy Scout leaders or Santa Clauses. Some mental health workers prey on patients so they can seduce them sexually. Some swindlers prey on Christians by pretending to be Christians. There are many examples. I describe this phenomenon as “affinity group” swindles.

As odd as it seems, there can be “positive” swindles as well as negative. In literature and movies (and perhaps, very rarely) in real life there is the character known as the “prostitute with a heart of gold.” I was walking down a street in Portland one day and a car drove driven by a black woman drove up next to me and she called though an open window to ask me if I wanted to go for a ride with her in her car. (This is true.)

I thought about taking her up on her offer, and asking her to remove her bra so I could check her heart (or at least some part of her anatomy) to see if it was golden, but I decided to refuse her offer, as kindly intended as it seemed. (I had a vague memory of my parents saying something about candy and strangers, or never looking a gift horse in the mouth, or always wear protection, or some such caution.)

Christians, please do not read the next paragraph. If you don’t accept this warning, I will at the least irritate you as I once irritated Cameron and her excellent husband, Tim, who is a minister.

(Too late, you are still reading, aren’t you? Well all my readers are allowed one free flame comment without flashback when I offend them.) As a non-believer, I regard Christianity as a myth. Christians often speak of the good Christianity has done for mankind and womankind. We can argue about the record, as Christians and atheists do constantly at World magazine’s evangelical Christian web site, but there is no doubt that over the centuries, Christianity, whether true or myth, has often accomplished and inspired many good deeds and results. As a believer in the myth school of thought, I have sometimes referred to Christianity as a “virtuous swindle.” An infelicitous phrase, I admit, but I have been unable to come up with a better brief tag.

This incredibly laborious post serves the purpose of introducing two posts where I describe two occasions where I was swindled by my affinity group.


14 Responses to “Swindled by an Affinity Group Member (Introduction)”

  1. Cameron Says:

    I guess you’ll have to get more specific to irritate me! πŸ™‚

  2. Pauline Says:

    You only irritated me by misspelling the magazine’s name, unless you hang around a second evangelical web site run by a “WORD” magazine.

  3. modestypress Says:


    Typo fixed. Thank you for the editing needed note.


    I appreciate your good nature.

  4. vroni1208 Says:

    I await with baited breath. (Is that the correct term? What is baited breath anyway? Am I using the phrase correctly? Is this something to do with fish? Like, “I’m hooked”?) Hmmm…

  5. pandemonic Says:

    I love you. But please don’t tell Mrs. Modesty.

  6. Pete Says:

    Call me slow, but what was this post about? You covered trust, ant lions, other predators, Christians, myths, swindlers…
    And you were plenty unspecific not to offend me or my Christian beliefs. There are plenty of far harsher hateful messengers out there. I find your opinion plenty easy to tolerate. I also find it interesting that a good chunk of your blog participants come over from WMB.

  7. Random Name Says:

    Pete, as in the cases of Cameron, Vicky, and other evangelical Christians who come over to participate on my blog, a appreciate your tolerance and good humor with my ranting.

    As a Radical Agnostic terrorist, I believe in diversity, tolerance, and having a relaxed attitude, and I will beat up up-tight people until they are mellow and relaxed.

    As far as what this post is about, just as Seinfeld was a show about “nothing,” this was a post about nothing. Just let it go, don’t think about it very much, and a couple of my (not so far) trademarked stories will fly up on the screen as soon as I get a chance.

  8. spectrum2 Says:

    Well Mr R you know I am a Christian, but we’ve always seemed to get along well, so there’s that. As for affinity groups,could you be a dear and address the issue of those who benefit from being swindled? Meaning that there are some who may be better off having been “taken for a ride”?

  9. modestypress Says:


    That’s a valid point about people who benefit from being swindled. It’s an issue that plays into the law suit against an environmental swindler my wife and I won years ago. This story is connected to one of the stories I was already planning to tell.

    I have to think about this to pull it all together.

  10. truce Says:

    “As a Radical Agnostic terrorist, I believe in diversity, tolerance, and having a relaxed attitude, and I will beat up up-tight people until they are mellow and relaxed.”

    Still laughing…

  11. Vroni — it’s “bated” as in “stopped” or “abated”. So the phrase means “I’m holding my breath!”

    This bit of pedantry brought to you courtesy of your friendly neighborhood know-it-all.

    I am all agog to hear about how you were eaten by ant lions.

  12. vroni1208 Says:

    Thank you, David. πŸ™‚ I did attempt to look for the correct phrase using my Microsoft tools, but that was crap. Next time I’ll just say, “I’m holding my breath!” πŸ˜‰

    You are so learned! πŸ˜€

  13. Pete Says:

    “I believe in diversity, tolerance, and having a relaxed attitude, and I will beat up up-tight people until they are mellow and relaxed.”

    I suddenly feel mellow and relaxed! Thanks! And I let it go… I also believe in tolerance… as long as it is 2 way! And ant lions are really cool! They are fun to feed. More fun than feeding chickens rye bread with caraway seed (Also very entertaining!)

    And you Seinfeld analogy was excellent. Have you noticed that since then, most ofthe shows on tv are about nothing?

  14. […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by iankennedy on 2008-08-18 Swindled by an Affinity Group Member (Introduction) https://modestypress.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/swindled-by-an-affinity-group-member-introduction/ – […]

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