5/20/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Bob Keye ~
I was staying in England promoting my business which involved the setting up of product seminars. At the end of each seminar there would be a “Testimonials” slot for the for the final sell or the big push. This was my business in an entrepreneurs market.
Although I was very busy I needed to keep my christian faith ticking over so I joined the christian Alpha course in a local church.
THE ALPHA COURSE
On the first night of the Alpha course it was jam packed with attendees. The Alpha course promised to answer “Tough Questions” regarding God and Christianity.
We were put into groups to ask questions and discuss Jesus, God and faith in christianity. The problem was that the lady and young boy leading our group were not theologically educated.
To combat this I said that I would make a commitment to study my [largely unread] King James bible in my spare time and add something beneficial to the group and perhaps convince non believers rejoice and bathe in the glorious word of God.
When one hasn’t read the bible properly for many years [chapter by chapter] one forgets what a piece of badly written, incoherent and illogical nonsense it is.
I was a hard core believer and felt that nothing could shake the solid foundations of my faith. But, as I read the bible I was actually stunned.
Firstly by Abraham. Was he incestuous? Was he a murderer in waiting? Was Cain and Able a dreadful and deliberate racist ploy [The mark of Cain. He beat Cain’s face with hail, his face blackening like coal?]
The one story that appalled me to the point of repulsion and made me question christian morality was the story of Lot and his daughters. I realised at that moment that it was me who needed theological help and not the non believers.
THEOLOGIANS ARISE [If you’ve got the balls!]
I asked with sincerity the “Tough questions” because I needed reassurance. But I quickly learnt that as usual a theologian does not like being made to feel and look uncomfortable in front of his flock. And worse, a theologian does not like to sound and look like they lack knowledge in front of anyone. But I had to ask “Tough question” as advertised. Isn’t this what my Lord God was ordering me to do?
I HAD TO ASK
“If it was Gods will and he commanded you [Mr Thoelogian] would you let your daughters be raped? Would you impregnate your own child? Would you let hundreds of men rape and abuse you daughters?” I asked with sincerity.
“What does the story of Lot mean/represent, Isn’t this story immoral and downright evil. What is this doing in the bible. What are we supposed to make of this?”
The answer was always whispered with the same lame murmur, “Oh don’t worry about it. it is just OT. We follow Jesus and Paul now”. But I argued “Isn’t this the inerrant word of our Lord God, isn’t this His word?” Ironically it fell on deaf ears.
I wasn’t being awkward but I needed answers. The theologian for all his talk and policy regarding tough questions was just plain sissy and made to look very foolish by his own inability to make sense of it all even to himself. This was not helpful to believers and non believers alike.
This turning away from answering key christian questions was a big problem because it showed their discomfort and fear of confrontation.
The bible stories were/are bad and they could not be transformed into a happy loving fairytale by a loving God via apologetics. One gentleman [a far to clever Atheist] was asked in no uncertain terms to leave the Alpha course. He was I believe emailed not to come back [He may well have de-covereted his group].
WHY COULD’NT THE ALPHA COURSE ANSWER MY QUESTIONS?
It’s easy to see now because the answers were unanswerable.
Rape and incest is rape and incest. Racism is racism and murder is murder. To say that we are not to question God on his word is just weak and sly. The acts portrayed in these bible stories were/are immoral and wicked. Tough questions my ass!
HALF WAY THROUGH THE ALPHA COURSE
By now 50% of the attendees had left. Ironically a lot of this was due to the singing. The same monotonous song was sung with the chorus on loop.”I really really love you cause you’re my God, yes, I really really love you, etc etc etc”.
It was the first time that I had ever been in a church where half the attendees were very self conscious whilst looking at the floor closed mouth twiddling their thumbs to the joyous tones of God!
THE FIRST CRACK: I couldn't believe it, But I am a believer!
The night came when the talk about evidence was given. As usual the speaker spoke in soft tones. When he had finally finished I waited in eager anticipation to hear the exciting evidence. But no, he had just given the evidence.
WHAT! He only mentioned a bit about Josephus after he had rambled on and on about CS Lewis. I was shocked!
That evening I made my way to a 24/7 internet cafe and surfed high and lo for evidence. I did this over the next week for two hours per night.
ENTER THE INTERNET
CHRISTIAN BUSINESS MODEL = A man stands on a platform and reads out a fairytale. A group of people in a large room speak to thin air. The people put some money on a plate needlessly. The people go home.I found that the gospels were written 30 to 100 plus years after the supposed death of Jesus. The authors names were not that of real people or the actual writers of the gospels. The misogynistic council of Nicea reared it’s ugly head along with the books and other gospels that didn’t make it into the bible like the Gospel of Thomas [with a very different Jesus than the one promoted in churches]. Gnosticism and the early christians were very different compared to the new christianity glued together by a group of power hungry men in their the official canon.
The birth narratives conflicted and lacked all credibility, Egypt, Bethlehem? What! This is incomprehensible, which author is telling the truth? Neither? What a mess.
The bible contradicted itself over and over, and just got plain silly e,g Isaiah 45.7 ” I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.“ So God now creates evil? The list just went on and on.
All of this I could handle because I still had faith, but the one thing I could not handle was this:
There was evidence galore “against” the existence of Jesus but very little “for” the existence of Jesus.
He was God’s son after all so surely there must be volumes of historical evidence? It was heartbreaking to bear witness to scraps and non evidential titbits of impotent apologetics. Historically it was bordering on embarrassing. Even Nazereth didn’t exist!
THE LAST SUPPER AT THE ALPHA COURSE
To end the Alpha course there was a big supper where food and wine was served. This was to get the new recruits buttered up for the next Alpha course.
I hadn’t realised it but his was really the final nail in the coffin for me.
I was shocked because for all to see was the sales persons super tool the “Testimonial”. I could’nt believe it. Whoever constructed the Alpha course must have employed or be an entrepreneur. This was business not spirit and I knew this business model like the back of my hand and how it works. It is a good model. But in this case it was just damn manipulative,
A hapless individual is taken upon the stage.
Speaker. “So tell me Fred how did the Holy Spirit come to you”,
Hapless individual. “Well I was putting my washing out and all of a sudden I felt a strange but amazing feeling and I felt very happy, clean and new”.
Speaker. “Wow, that must have been an amazing day, will you always remember that day?”
Hapless individual. “Well, I can’t forget it because it was my birthday and my wife had bought me a new car and she had let me ravish her body all morning. I don’t know what it was about that day but I just felt really good and very happy, I am sure it was the Holy Ghost”.
MY EPIPHANY AT THE ALPHA COURSE
It just hit me there and then like a blinding light from Damascus. This is a business. A business unlike any other. THIS IS A BUSINESS WITHOUT A PRODUCT.
CHRISTIAN BUSINESS MODEL = A man stands on a platform and reads out a fairytale. A group of people in a large room speak to thin air. The people put some money on a plate needlessly. The people go home.
There isn’t a product. Payment for what? Where’s the product?
The church is a company that can’t pay out, isn’t paying out and will never pay out because it doesn’t have a product to profit from or for it to pay out on. The customer puts way too much trust and finance into this company. It’s not the customer writing the ” iou’s”, It’s the company. This company exists by iou’s and nothing else.
HOLD ON: What about the promise?
Well, Jesus has been in the post for the last two thousand years. He’s not coming back because he never arrived in the first place, so he can’t come back even if Me, Tom, Dick, Harry, Martha and Mable wanted him to because he doesn’t have a tangible existence to exist by.
WHAT ABOUT FAITH?
You just can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t promise what you don’t and cannot possess. Faith without works [ Works being tangible] is what? answer = Dead.
You can’t promise or profit from that which you have not seen, touched, smelt or tasted and hence is not in actual existence. Anything believed in or promised outside of this is fantasy or delusion.
Dead = Not in existence or existing in a form without life and of NO USE TO ANYTHING OR ANYBODY!
Even those with faith look to tangibles like crucifixes and miracles or the financing of historical excavations. Many still seek the Ark [Even God was sort of tangible in the Ark] and other holy relics.
The churches swallow “Mammon” in large doses. The customer awaits in silent expectation. The product is never delivered. It can’t be delivered because there isn’t one.
HELLO TO MYSELF!
Leaving the Alpha course I felt tears on my face. Theses were not tears of pain but tears of joy.
I wasn’t happy about losing my faith, that was hard, but I was very happy because I had met myself for the first time in my life and I really liked the guy I had met. Yes, I can be a bit of a hothead and a bit hard headed at times, but, I realised that I am a pretty good guy and that I will not concede where truth is concerned.
AS TIME GOES BY
As time went on from the Alpha course I went from Agnostic to Buddhist to Spiritual and finally after reading much about Science [that actually has evidence] I became A.T.H.E.I.S.T.
I don’t like the word atheist because really we are all atheists. I don’t think that the 7th day Adventists worship the same god as the Catholics. Or the Catholics the same god as the Hare Krishna’s. People are only pretending. Some pretend harder than others. Thats all it was and all it ever was.
I have confidence that the internet [sort of tangible?] will do the rest of the work for humanity. Information is available and free of charge and easy to access for anybody anywhere. You can’t sell people what you don’t have and what doesn’t exist forever. People can now research this business without a product online and make their own conclusions. As for me… well, I’m outta here!
Bob Keye 2015