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Ya Know What I Mean?

By Carl S. --

Have you noticed how much the phrase “you know” is being used these days? Even political commentators on TV and government reps are reverting to it. I especially notice this, because I’m hearing-impaired and have to resort to close-captioning.
It gets to the point where almost every third word is interrupted by “you know.” A lot of the time, the sentences with it are jumbled and incomplete. As a whole, in our nation, it appears being coherent isn’t valued.

Back in my 7th grade class, I remember well the response a student got when he said, ”Well, you know.” The teacher said, “No, I DON’T know. You tell me.”

Pressed for answers, Christians frequently resort to “you know” when they’re unable to explain coherently just what they mean. The believer, when asked for details, is vague or generalizes, changes the subject, sometimes insults the inquirer, or walks away. How frustrating we’ve all been in dealing with them! My personal experiences with them have led me to see their reactions as similar to those of children who cover their ears and shout over and over, “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.”

The history of this attitude of believers has at times been monumentally cruel, as when viewpoints other than their own have been met not with silence, but silencing, public reviling, even execution. It’s no wonder that, in a free-speech society, they regard atheists, with their insistence on other views, as being pushy, even dangerous to society, for it’s all they can legally do today.

Some time ago, when I was working up a way to tell my wife that I wouldn’t go to church services anymore, I once said, “I’m tired of people telling themselves things.” It isn’t just that they do it, it’s that they keep repeating the same things, like children do by rote.

Now, we’re supposed to respect their right to form their own beliefs, right? And yet, with regard to faith, reason is often treated as if it is not entitled to respect and feelings are given primacy over logic. This is hardly grownup. Believing what you’re TOLD to believe is not being an adult. Shouting insults and damnation at anyone who challenges you to explain the contradictions he finds in your beliefs is childish and bullying.

Speaking of experiences, I asked my wife’s former pastor if a good, non-Christian person would get into heaven. His immediate answer was, “Of course.” Recently, I asked her present pastor, and, after some evasion on his part, he finally answered that if I didn’t accept Jesus, I would go to hell (they both knew me pretty well). When I brought this discrepancy to my wife’s attention, her response was, “That’s his (the second one’s) opinion.” So, I ask this question, based on her statement, aren’t all these dogmas nothing more than differences of opinion, with no basis in fact? It’s not too different from the times when they argued about how many angels fit on the head of a pin, or whether a woman has a soul. Their claims have always been, to use the legal term, “specious” and without proof, so why don’t they just play around with that junk, and leave the serious social issues to secular society?


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