Friday, September 05, 2008

THE KING OF KODGERS CONFRONTS A PREACHER

"AS MEN'S PRAYERS ARE A DISEASE OF THE WILL
SO ARE THEIR CREEDS A DISEASE OF THE INTELLECT". ----Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm pleased to share this opinion with Emerson and some mornings I wake up spoiling for a fight. The most legitimate enemy I know are religious leaders. So I went looking for a deserving offender. I do not tamper with feeble and tender minded religious folks, they are just “users” and victims of indoctrination. I go after the “pushers” and big time “dealers” of this addictive poison—preachers and seminary professors. I load my intellectual shotgun with my “seven deadly questions” and go hunting. I will use birdshot if I can but buckshot if I must to tell them that they propagate great evil and cruelty.

It is they (and the Republican party) who want to force a rape victim to bear an unwanted child.

It is they who refuse to take their children to the doctor. (Christian Scientist)

It is they who who forbid reasonable birth control and divorce, and discriminate against women and homosexuals. (Catholicism)

It is they who refuse to serve in the army and who will let their children die rather than allow a blood transfusion. (Jehovas Witness)

It is they who want to put creationism in our science classes and religion in our classrooms. (Evangelicals)

It is they who spawned the evils of polygamy and made women subservient to men.(Mormons)

The list is long. I could continue but you get the idea. Most of these religious hucksters go through life unchallenged. Now the 20% of Americans that reject religious cruelty and nonsense are making themselves heard in books such as The End of Faith and Letter to A Christian Nation both by Sam Harris and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. (incidentally Dawkins is on the list of the 100 greatest thinkers—No religious people made the list)

In short order I found my man–he’s pictured above. A small town minister of a Baptist church and with the guile and subtlety of a serpent I maneuvered myself into his office. He is not innocent and I feel no qualms about blindsiding him. I begin the questioning:

1. If you were raised in a Muslim culture by Muslim parents is it likely that you would be a
Muslim, believing different doctrines, ethics and Holy Book? (He lied–said no)
2. Is it true that children are gullible and easy to indoctrinate? (He dissembled)
3. Once indoctrinated, Is it generally difficult to persuade a person to abandon his faith?
(He admitted this)
4. Do conflicting doctrines and religions contribute to world tensions? (He admitted this)
5. Does everyone owe it to themselves to question their childhood indoctrination? (he said yes)
6. If they seriously did so, could ANY of their doctrines be proven? (He waffled–the correct
Answer is no)
7. Do you wish that all those “false religions “ would stop indoctrinating their children? (He
Saw the trap–He said no. “That would be a double edged sword” he said. I smiled–NOW
He Understood the nature of this interview and began a slight tremble. I love this moment.
Christians are rarely challenged on the fundamentals of their faith. Confronted with the real possibility that they have bet "big money" on the wrong horse, they get the shakes.

As a final haymaker I gave him just one of 240 Biblical contradictions (1 Chronicles 21:1 vs 2 Samuel 24:1---Who incited David?) He refused to deal with it. His attitude is the same as the whole evangelical world: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

I left shortly afterward, confident that I would be in Sunday’s sermon.
I take this occasion to briefly state my own views.
1. NO ONE knows any ultimate answers to life’s mystery. We’re all guessing. Little harm would be done if we all ADMITTED we were guessing–and compared guesses.
2. All major religions pretend to have access to CERTAINTY. They claim to have messages from God –revelations–Holy Books–Prophets etc. It is the clash of these certainties that create so much hatred, tension and obstruction to progress.
3. Pretentions to MORAL certainty causes religions to interfere with ETHICAL EVOLUTION. Ethics is the slowly changing FABRIC OF AGREEMENT. We have seen the “agreement” change in our lifetime.
4. A redefinition of “spirituality” and “faith” is quietly taking hold. For example:
Spirituality—loss of ego
Faith–trusting your own deepest convictions. I like both of these.
5. We can have community, ritual, moral values and human progress without believing in messages from God.

11 comments:

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

I don't disagree with your hit list. But why is it so short? Why doesn't it target all the secular versions of thinly-disguised holiness, the most blatant and pukey of which is the Church of the Holy Green?

Why doesn't it mention the Church of What's Happenin' Now? Or the worship of the State (replacing the Caesar worship of olden times), of Socialism (the Meek shall Inherit the Earth, etc.)

Your deification of Women's Issues could be seen as a post-Sixties version of Marx's holy proletariat. Yes, the oppressed Feminariat, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

You pick on easy prey. (oops, bad pun.)

Randy said...

Randy replies: I focus on religion because that's the devil I know best and because it's the greatest evil plaguing mankind. A world full of cowardly people with no TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY and who cannot face the anxieties of death, guilt and meaninglessness, hurry to embrace pseudo certainties and in doing so diminish themselves and impose great cruelty on the world.
Tell us more about the evils you see.

bushrod said...

Are you "absolutely sure" of the evils of religion?
Are you agreeing with Chris Hedges that "we should be intolerant of intolerance"?
My world is full of ex Religious people of all sorts, who changed their minds, philosophies, and lives.
Why don't you let them go where they list; they don't infringe on my freedom...except through intolerance which I don't accept.
Only a "fundalmentalist" would rid the world of fools i.e.evils, or think he/she could.

Randy said...

Why not leave them alone? Because without opposition they will take away a woman's right to choose, they will put creationism in the science class, prayer in the schools, remove books from the Library, discriminate against homosexuals, brainwash children and do their damndest to make America into a theocracy. They once did exactly that in Europe.

Anonymous said...

You gotta lot to learn Randy.

Randy said...

Teach me! Show me specifically where you disagree. Note that my fiercest attack is against fundamentalist who believe they have access to certainty--and consequently become a pain in the ass to the rest of the world. I have little quarell with spiritual folks like Sam Keene. I'm recommending his book: Hymns to an unknown God to you. Feel free to e-mail me your reading recommendation to me. Currently I'm reading The Shack by Young. (clever and destructive bullshit)

Joyce said...

"Believe and Be Damned" in spades! Bravo!

Don West said...

Hey, stumbled upon your blog as I'm researching the necessary information to decide whether to live in a trailer or some other alternative, non-mortgage-based dwelling. It's a good resource and I appreciate your posts :-)

I felt compelled to comment on this post...

I think your disgust isn't so much with religion as it is with people of a different opinion than yours and their ability to have those opinions enacted into law, thus pissing you off. It is simply happenstance that Christian ethics and beliefs have a prominence in the Americas. It could have been Satanism, Islam, or what have you had other circumstances occurred. It could be the religion of the "Great Spirit" had the original inhabitants of these lands prevailed over Europeans. Regardless, each would certainly have wielded the same power and desires to enact their beliefs into law. That is human nature at work in forming a society. In fact, it appears the religion of Randy (what you believe), is what you would like to see enacted into law :-) That's no surprise of course. We all have a vision of how others should behave and think...pretty much the same way we do lol!

Unfortunately Randy, each of us can get as pissed off as we want, but if in the minority, we will have to choose between living a life with a chip on our shoulder or simply living our life. In most cases, it has nothing even to do with whether we are in a minority but rather the whims of a pocket full of politicians.

So leave the poor preachers alone and remove your chip my friend. You and your blood pressure will be better for it :-)

Randy said...

Thanks Don for your input. I'd sure like to hear you answer this question: Does ethics grow out of human experience or is it revealed by God? Does "Holy Book" ethics sometimes offend you (sharia law for example)
Re: the chip on my soldier: I fight this battle because I know how--think it is important--and enjoy myself doing it. Religion is collapsing--we humanist are winning. In a few generations religious nuts will be as distasteful to mainstream society as smoking is becoming. Hope you will read Sam Harris' little book (Letter to a Christian Nation) and comment again.

Jim B said...

Amen brother.

Anonymous said...

Randy - I appreciate what you are doing. We grew up Catholic and questioning the priest was a horrible thing to do. Once I told my mom that I wasn't comfortable in chuch and she told me that my sins made me feel that way. It was horribly confusing when I was young. When I became an adult and left the church I rec'd anger from family for my decision. I wasn't telling anyone else how to Live I just couldn't reconcile the fancy ornate church I was attending always preaching about how much more money we needed to contribute but it seemed like the money wasn't spent on helping the less fortunate but helping beautify, decorate, etc... This was just my experience. I know others suffered much worse bc of their beliefs and/or fear to not question authority. I am happy to see someone who questions and encourages others to question as well. Thank you.