Sunday, March 26, 2006

Seven Days Before Crucified

I usually don't name names, but here we are at the last installment of a series on dogmatism and bigotry among extremist religions in America.

First, let me point out, for the sake of discussion, Atheists are definitely a religion with various denominations, nonetheless, "strong and weak" atheists, Saganists, followers of Nietzsche, Arthur Clarke and many others. Each group has their own commandments. No better than the extremes of Christian fundamentalism, they attack anyone who is 100% into their dogma. Not only did Jesus spit out "luke warm" water, but the anti-Christ would do the same. But, they both like it hot; both are haters and bigots of those with whom they disagree.

I have learned various techniques through the years as an investigator, to survive while playing the "Pretender". Statistically, the Atheists at "" don't tolerate differences or questioning even as well as do Southern Baptists at "". It took three days for the Atheists to expel someone who claimed to be an "unsure Agnostic." The Baptists, mostly, Southern, took a full week to hang me on their heavy cross.

I will credit the latter, not to tolerance, but to their fear of the perception they would dare expel those who "just want to know how to witness to atheists". The Baptists got incredibly angry that someone would even suggest, for example, that their Bible wouldn't suffice as evidence to an Atheist on why they should become Christians. "It says here in the Bible, you should believe the Bible," kind of crazy, cyclical reasoning, but around and around we went. At some point, I even had to pretend to be ignorant of the writings of Nietzsche, "Also Sprach Zarathustra", where he declares , "God is Dead." They would not post a link to a site that defended these evil words. They covered their little burning ears.

By the way, for the record, Nietzsche never claimed to be an Atheist, and his writings suggest more a belief in God than a disbelief, as you can't say He is dead, if he never existed.

However, the greatest surprise came when I suggested the parts of the Bible where Jesus was quoted, "The RED LETTERS," were superior to say, the words of Paul or the Old testament (Pre-Christ), I was attacked to a greater extent than any. I was called a "sissy", "wimp", "unsaved", "not a Baptist nor a Christian." How dare I suggest Jesus was the number one authority on Christianity?

How could I question the fallibility of the Bible which has been used to defend genocide and repression of people on the basis of sex, creed, color, national origin...?" And of course, anyone that would consider things might have changed since the Bible told people to assassinate eaters of pork, shellfish and homosexuals, would be a "heretic". To this day, you will still get into a "cyber fist fight" with Southern Baptists if you suggest even the smartest woman is more qualified to pastor a church than the dumbest man.

In all fairness, not all of the group was hateful nor did they even necessarily express disagreement, but their failure to step up and defend people while they were being attacked or laughed at was simply "un-Christian." There were digital high-fives and laugh-riots when someone would attack those who would express an open mind. They would even use their "emoticons" to wave goodbye to you after a particularly childish insult. There were all of three who outwardly, mildly defended me when I suggested Jesus' love was more important than God's hate. There was even a moderator, DHK, who I sometimes referred to as DIK, who followed me from commentary thread to thread. He either joined in the attacks or simply watched them. I knew he was there because he kept participating in the debates.

When I complained to the Webmaster, Andrew, and sent quotes from the attackers, he simply ignored them and eventually apparently supported my banning. One attacker "standinfirminchrist" (he'll appreciate credit) and his wife, played sockpuppets for one another. I had to use small words for him, and he still didn't ever directly address any of my or other open-minded people's points. Near the end, he complained that I wouldn't take it like a man from his belligerent wife.

A Brit, one "Matt Black" seemed to be able to say just about anything without much backlash. It seems he had built up steam and having survived on the site for a while was not worried in the least about being banned. He even compared God of the Old testament to Hitler and drew little wrath. I suspect he had handled his attackers with and charm earlier in his apprentice days on the site.

In the bigger picture, I didn't hear anything that surprised me in light of the Pat Robersons and Jerry Falwells. They generally vehemently supported our attack on Muslim countries as God's will. Iraq's losses were ineffectual while our loss of life and oil were justification for anything we had to throw at them.

When I first arrived at the board, there were no less than six open threads complaining about the "homosexuals," from marriage to free speech to pedophilia, well, just about anything wrong with society was their fault and "they must be killed" according to Leviticus. I didn't even get to stay long enough to ask anyone if they thought Jesus and some of the disciples might have been gay. I really screwed up alienating myself before I had the chance to throw that one into the mix.

In the larger picture, it is a shame "Christianity" suffers from the truly extraordinary bigotry of the "Southern Baptists" and their minority Independent Baptist brothers. I made reference to a well-known "American Baptist" pastor, Tony Campolo, who , among other things, states "Jesus is not a Republican." Tony has authored 32 religious books and even he knew nothing according to many on this board.

Love, tolerance, peace, protection of the weak... all these "Christian" values went not only to the wayside, they were clearly attacked, consistently! If anyone is worried that the "religious right" might be backing down in light of the recent setbacks in Iraq or Bush's approval ratings, don't lose any sleep. The hate dating back to the Holy inquisition is alive and well in America, and I still fear someone knocking on my door to drag me off to the cross!

For those who offered true Christian friendship: Thank you for such clearminded analysis and kindness. There are clearly today in American Christian churches and even in the media that have never looked beyond their time or place. They pound their Bibles on the heads of those to whom they say they witness. They forget that modernday Russia and in the days before Gutenburg, the Christian Word (John 1:1) lived and people found Christ and Christian values without a Bible. I just talk with my fingers. I see many at the use one finger and sometimes HIGH FIVE ... like they scored, even when they didn't.

Editor's Note: Before this article was even completed, someone on the site discovered my true identity and had already posted a warning on that an enemy had been in their midst. According to my visitor logs, many have been here looking for their names in lights.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Give Me That "New" Old Time Religion?

Do they ever look in the mirror? You know, those religious fundamentalists, who hate everybody in the name of God's love.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in North Carolina before anybody ever heard of the Moral Majority and Jerry Falwell. We didn't have cable TV yet, and the religious stations had not caught on.

Sure, sometimes the preacher would scare the hell out of you in order to get you into heaven or to increase the offerings. Every good business does that. But, I never heard attacks on homosexuals and claims that God was punishing people before they died with diseases like AIDS or Herpes. It was only after these guys had an irresistible, huge, loud pulpit on a majority of American's TV's that they claimed the big lie that they were the majority.

I began to hear that some sins were worse than others, even though I had always read that Jesus told people, "Those without sin... cast the first stone."

Well, I went to a Southern Baptist Church for the first time since 1985 last Sunday. My friend had told me there was no hate in his church and that he hadn't heard any hate in Baptists in years.

So I went ready to pretend to be one of the faithful. I shook hands with all the smiling folks, happy to see another white guy that might join their church. Sorry, not one black in the church. I did see someone who was suspect, maybe mulatto, or very tanned, but she had blonde highlights and big hair, so she fit in.

The pastor welcomed everyone with a smile standing behind the podium. He looked around pleased to see people like himself. He felt safe to begin his rampage. No one had GAY written on their forehead, though I did see a guy wearing a pink tie.

This slightly heavy, 50-something man worked his way smoothly from Jesus Loves You to I have something painful to say. We all leaned forward. One man said, "Go ahead, brother."

"I have been watching the Fox TV news this week. Every day I see reports of more American soldiers dead or injured. My heart breaks for their loved ones," said the preacher.

Now, I guess all this sounded very loving to most, but what was missing was disturbing to me, not a word about the Iraqis that lost their loved ones or would never walk again, never get the medical attention for their injuries that our soldiers would. Instead, he focused on the belief they were deprived of the true word of God. Yes, this was love. Finally, I was hearing his compassion. He felt sorry for them, not for their deaths and injuries but their depravity, for their hell bound destiny.

He did not once say, "They are going to hell." He simply said they weren't going to heaven. This is love. With a smugness and gentility befitting of a southern gentleman, he sweetly told us what sinners they were and that they would most likely die without the warm love of Jesus to save them from the hot fires of hell. It never occurred to anyone in the congregation that he was sending them to hell by refusing them heaven.

My friend kept looking over at me as if to say, "See, he's a lover, not a hater." I returned his looks with my "Eat Shit Grin."

I will admit he never once said Iraqis and Arabs were agents of the devil. But, the message was clear; they are not US. God feels sorry for them before he sends them to eternal damnation for their misguided ignorance.

"But we must reach out with our prayers and Christian love; that they might find the true path."

I felt so assured of my reservation at the table of the saved. Everyone was nodding their heads, or nodding off; I'm not sure which. But, he did his job. He made everyone feel so right they would go home, fill their bellies and vote for the God-appointed President again if they could.

Afterwards, I politely told my friend I had other plans for lunch, but I "so enjoyed the sermon." I was so sorry for staying away from the fold for so long. I told him I would certainly return the next chance I had (when I had nothing better to do, like sleep in, or swallow nails.)

This was truly a different kind of church, the kind that could say, "I love you... but you're going to hell." They might even kiss you on the cheek, the kiss of death.

I only hope I fooled them and their God into believing I was righteous, as I would hate to get on their bad side. I mean, it's forever, this death then hell thing.

What ever happened to the love part? Or did I just miss that when I was growing up? Was it always this way, and I just didn't notice?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Atheist Flogging For Free Blogging

I was curious about how atheists thought. I mean, I have certainly many friends who are atheists and other religions. Yes, religion. There is no difference. My experience with people of a religious persuasion has usually been to convince me I was wrong no matter how much they claimed to have open minds. I grew up Southern Baptist, so I have some experience with the type.

So, I embarked on an experiment. Personally, the internet is an impersonal place sometimes. People are certainly able to act in a way they would never act in your face unless they wanted to get punched. Of course there is always the transsexual of the broadband; you know that 55 year-old guy that poses as a young woman to excite straight boys or the occasional lesbian.

The problem with atheists is the same as theists; they argue a conclusion without sufficient evidence. I mean, if they simply didn't come to a conclusion, they'd be agnostics, who claim they just don't know. Logic is not evidence; it is only theory from a starting point to an end by logical means unless we are talking about math. It is interesting how much effort people put into atheism, while I rarely hear agnostics arguing their point or organizing into groups. Sadly, atheism has become as dogmatic as theism. They sound like beliefs to me. All I know is that I don't know; anything else regarding God or Godlessness is evangelism.

I guess the most emotional baggage comes from being judged. True, I refuse to believe in a God who would send anyone to an eternal Hell (fire), or a God that give us the nature to Sin, and then punishes us for it. However, a loving God that that doesn't know where he came from, who made us the same, that leaves us to perpetuate MIND by leaving such things unknown--This is a God I would not resist; even a God that no longer lives--other than through his progeny, us.

What is it that gives us chills when we love? Is it an accident from an endless series of accidents? Or do we conclude we came from nothingness into somethingness without willingness? Interesting to ponder, but does not change things other than to distract me from my primary task--the focus on HERE and NOW and the effect that has on THERE and THEN... Can I be detached; without proclaiming belief? Can I avoid coming to a conclusion therefore continuing to exist? For to answer any of these questions with finality might cause us all to cease.

Coming to conclusions without a factual basis are necessary for our continued existence. When you run, do you consciously consider the possibilities of the Earth caving in each time you step? It could, you know. But, of course, you keep running, as if on automatic. If you lived in such doubt, you would be paralyzed, have no friends, money, do nothing. Of course you live in faith that the past recapitulates, most likely. This same faith is what gives comfort to many theists AND atheists. You come to a conclusion and get on with your life, as if you are correct.

The agnostic does not know, does not care and isn't bothered enough to care about knowing, to let it slow him down. He reserves judgment for a time when we have tools to know or it becomes revealed. Maybe it has been revealed, to someone, not me...yet. Until then, Zen and then Zen again, before you know it, living in the moment, making choices without coming to conclusions about such things as God, that thing bigger than we.

These well-organized atheists come to conclusions that are equally assertive, absolute, and evangelical as the theist, so I chose neither; posturing only to refuse conclusions without sufficient evidence. Now, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut while on this website for two days; after all, I had to speed things up.

The response was amazing, I was chased across the island, beaten, called names, laughed at, threatened with "banning" and finally banned (for 3 weeks). Without the food and water of that site, I might die. What a horrible thing they did to me, banning me from their abuse and disdain. Yes, I have read Lord of the Flies but I didn't expect such rational people to have such irrational fears of something so silly as words.

They were without exception cruel and unusual, and for the most part, lacked any formal training in Logic, the language of their God. I have never seen such wrath heaped onto an outsider; and they didn't even know that's what I was. Didn't they think I could be saved if they only kindly presented their logical sermons?

They had official postings everywhere about their beliefs, The Ten Rules of Atheism. They had their prophets or was it profits, lurking in the background. One such prophet even came down from the heavens to confirm he could not tolerate such questioning of his faith. Wow, he even had an internet radio show. The "Mod" (moderator) posted on his profile he would do computer code for food.I read the TOS (Terms of Service) and nowhere did it say I had to agree with atheism or I would go to hell. I asked him if "Mod" rhymed with "God" for a reason. He threw me out of the temple really quick, and I hadn't even had the chance to question his profit motives, darn.

Unless you’re into flogging over your blogging, don't go there, Mary! Oh yes, they had the appearance of disagreeing with each other with their semantic battles, but when the essence of their Mod-fearing existence was questioned, that was the straw argument that broke the atheist's back. I even went into the site under an assumed name, FunFallacy, and posted a request for the old me to tell a joke or something. I said I missed myself.

They were on the lookout. Before I could get so much as a second post, I was banned again; I mean less than two minutes. I got an email telling me I was banned for creating a sock cute; as if they were not puppets of their leader, feeling all warm and fuzzy when he delivered his sermons of disbelief.

Yesterday, I was listening to Al Franken, my pastor of liberalism, and he had a guest from Newsweek whom he quickly differentiated from himself; reporter ... just a person. I love Al with all my cynical heart.What an adventure that was, and will be again when my ban is lifted. I couldn't think of anything better to do on my Spring Break from teaching Critical Thinking than to piss off atheist evangelists. Oh, we Agnostics.

If I were qualified to believe one way or the other, wouldn't that make ME God?

You may not like me, but love me or I'll kill you--God.
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