10/25/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
This is a sort of late-anniversary testimonial for me. My first posting on this site was on Sept. 6, 2009, under the heading, "My Unique Experience.” Since that time, a lot of writing has gone down - hopefully helpful. Today is Sept. 23, 2012; this date is listed here for you to know that I wish to be as honest as possible in describing what preceded something unique to this date.
Several years ago, I had a phone conversation with my wife‘s pastor, I believe in regards to an auction to raise money to send some kids for a get-together, and I wanted details. Well, it seems that this auction collection enables them to go down South to a rally involving youth groups from all over the country. After reading of child abuses by the clergy, I mentioned my concerns for their safety, and was immediately assured they would be well looked after. Then we got into "God," etc., and it ended up with me so disgusted with the ignorance he was expounding that I finally told him it was reprehensible to indoctrinate children with it, and I hung up.
Before I go any further, I shall leave it up to you, the reader, to judge whether I am narrow-minded, an a-hole, a smartass, or a reasonable guy (with a chip on his shoulder?) with reasonable points to make. I shall endeavor not to portray myself in too favorable a light. Anyhow, since that time I have had a recurring and nagging impulse to introduce some other viewpoints to that congregation/pastor. Maybe it‘s just my hobby, because I used to go there with my wife to keep her company and supported in comfort. (I’ve already explained why that didn’t last long, in a previous testimonial.)
Over the years since that time, I have done a lot of freethought and scientific reading and tons of thinking. Amongst those readings, I have found absolute gems of wisdom and logic, many from comments on this site. So, to put it mildly, I have used these gems to make waves in the church building, taking from this site the statement, "First, pray that I will get faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that 'faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.' Pray that my mental constitution would change so I can be certain of things I merely hope for, in the absence of any evidence. In fact, John 20:29 says that those who believe without evidence are more blessed than those who believe based on evidence. I want to be among the blessed. Pray that I would be as ignorant as possible, yet 100% convinced of the correctness of my Christian beliefs." This I posted in the men's room of the church, thinking no more of it than if I had put a cartoon there.
Once I slipped in a copy of "Prayer and Babies," by Guy P Harrison, Feb. 2009, possibly from American Atheist magazine, which told of millions of babies dying each year as their mothers prayed for them. This the pastor discovered. It got to be kind of a silly thing considering. One time, as I attended another auction in the church's basement, I had to go up to the first floor men's room, and when I came back, the pastor headed up the same steps, coming back 10 or I5 minutes later. (I hadn’t put anything "up there.")
This is all background for today. Today, after leaving the bookstore cafe, I went to pick up my wife after her service, as usual, and as usual, I had to make a stop in the restroom. (Too much coffee at the cafe?) Since the bulletin board is in the hallway, on passing it coming out of the restroom I used a thumbtack to post a single strip of comments from this site. Here they are: “eveningmeadows responded to searchingwithnoagenda: When you have to ban books from the church library, make people afraid they’re going to 'lose their faith' if they read anything that isn't by Christian authors, and delete comments made by extians on Christian websites, it makes me wonder what they're afraid of." Just below this, on the same strip of paper: "searchwithnoagenda responded to eveningmeadows : EXACTLY!!! But their god and message are SOOOO powerful, yet that supernatural power can't stand up to different viewpoints from mere mortals? More than a little suspicious to me!" I just casually left the building. My wife was still in another room there, helping to count the donation money. When she came out, she had a strip of paper in her hand, and a message from her pastor: I was not to put anything more in the church building, as I had done "several" times before, or else I would not be allowed in the building, period. (Notice that a person who even has a difference of opinion/belief will be banned from using the restroom, which by the way, my wife generously contributed to having constructed.) There would have been a hubbub if I left a “Discover” magazine lying around in a place where "intelligent design” is being taught to trusting, gullible, children.
Well, I told my wife that for her sake only I would cease posting my and others observations, noting that free speech is banned in that church. But, I said, "because of her pastor's actions, he had VALIDATED what was said by eveningmeadows and Searchingwithno agenda. He was agreeing with them!
Now, there are many writers whose essays, critiques, criticisms and commentaries I have read, who take rational and analytical approaches in dealing with beliefs, dogmas. They are educated, erudite, often brilliant, and I'm impressed. In fact, they may be just TOO so, putting believers off as being cool. Excuse me, but as WizenedSage and others have noted, all this "spiritual" stuff believers place on a pedestal is nothing but feelings. So, I don’t think logic will go very far with them. But to say, "You're content with a one-sided life in which only your bias is accepted and this is unfair to the rest of us and yourself ," well, that‘s powerful. It says that we’re angry with good reasons, and it's not only about THEIR feelings. We are also saying that we want those questions asked which the children have a right to have answers for, and are either too trusting or intimidated to ask. We are also saying that we are not children, we're adults. We are saying that we are American citizens who have freedom of speech to question and criticize, and your church won't accept that right. And we are noting that, ironically, the same First Amendment which backs freedom of religion also backs freedom of speech, which religion has repressed for millennia.
I urge you to take on the churches, one at a time. It’s a start. For the children of the next generation. Each church has its own versions of "truth," its own close-mindedness, which it passes on to its members/victims. Martin Luther brought about the Protestant revolution by nailing up a list of protests on a church door. We have duct tape - and no violence. For a unique experience, challenge the "authority" of those who speak for the absolute power corrupted absolutely, unopposed. The mighty fortress is a house of cards.
And take someone with you to join in your venture: double your pleasure, double your fun. In case you haven’t noticed, dictatorships ARE falling.