"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.