Names don’t offend. People do.
Atheists don’t hate God any more than we hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns. There are some of us who hate what religion does to people. We no more believe that God does exist than any of those other things.
I’ve just never heard anyone denigrate, denounce, devalue, or discriminate in the name of fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns. The minute they do I’ll start blasting those imaginary friends, too.
When somebody comes along and tells me I’d better love Tinkerbell, Larry the Leprechaun, or Stabby over there, else I’m going to a bad, bad place for all of eternity, I’ll tell them they’re crazy and if they gain a following I’ll label it a cult(oh my).
When people start having slaves, demanding submission, or waging wars, and abusing others in the name of their fairy, leprechaun, or unicorn, I’ll hate on those.
Until then, religion will do.
From my Facebook files:
I truly have favor with God!!! I need a new refrigerator for the house that I am moving to next month……Home Depot now has the $1700 refrigerator I wanted on sale for $998!!! It appears Samsung is trying to penetrate the market!!! If you guys need or know of anyone in need, spread the word!!! The sale ends July 15th. Thank you Jesus!!!!!
Often when reading blog posts I’m triggered. Not into a downward spiral of despair. More of a remembrance. A remembrance of who I used to be. A remembrance that causes me to take note of who I am today in relation to that person.
As I read this post at VictoriaNeuronotes and the subsequent comments I was brought to just such a remembrance. I remembered when I thought so little of myself that wanted nothing more than to be broken and spilled out because of what my supposed savior had done for me. I was, in my mind, such a wicked person; so evil and vile that only a perfect blood sacrifice could atone for my shame, my depravity, my iniquity. Unworthy of such a sacrifice I would be willing to sell my soul to the one who had made such a sacrifice.
I was reminded of this song by Steve Green which used to be a sort of personal anthem:
Broken and Spilled Out
One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn
And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of You, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee
Lord, You were God’s precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father
Just for love it was done
And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me, Jesus
God’s most precious treasure
Lavished on me
Broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet, in sweet abandon
Lord, You were spilled out
And used up for me
I so identified with the very first verse of Amazing Grace:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
I even took to heart that John Newton had originally written, “…that saved a worm like me.”
A worm. I was nothing more without Jesus than a wriggling worm in the dung heap of life. As a result of being told over and over that I was born as an affront to God, his enemy, I needed Jesus to mediate on my behalf. Made in God’s image, of course. But I marred that image from the start by my own unrighteousness. Anything good, and noble, and beautiful were the remnants of God’s perfect image. The blackness, the ugliness, the humanness, that was all me. And that part of me deserved eternal damnation in a lake of fire. I needed a savior. And like anyone who has ever been saved from a sure fate of hell I was enamored with the savior.
This, folks, is the prescription company defining the disease and selling the cure.
I wanted to be broken and spilled out and used up in sweet abandon for any cause to which my savior called me. And I was. I was broken. Every bit of my essence spilled out. Shattered into a million little pieces.
You see, just as Victoria states in her excellent post, this all comes at a price. Any notion of self-worth is hijacked and jack-knifed. Why would any loving parent want their child to be so broken? How can this be called love? In any other setting, if you removed the super-natural being from all of this, we would see it as twisted and abusive. How can we just excuse this and say that because this is God there is some sort of caveat that makes this all different?
So I’ve taken my million little pieces of broken and spilled out mess and I’m putting them back together. I’m making something new. I am reborn.
Reblogging the work of others is something I seldom do. However this is such an excellent article that I thought it was worth repeating. I’m not sure how many of you read the very excellent blog Vridar. I’m providing a link here so you can go check it out. I’d encourage you to do so and leave a comment there for Neil. Neil Godfrey has written a response to the, “All Bible scholars agree” or “Scholarly consensus is” line so often trotted out by apologists with regards to Jesus existence and archaeological evidence. I’ll let Neil speak for himself:
All Bible Scholars Agree . . . (so what?)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
by Neil Godfrey
No scholar employed by a major university doubts Jesus existed.
One sometimes reads a claim like this by a theologian or bible scholar although generally they will more modestly say only that no scholar employed by a theology or biblical studies department holds this view.
How should we evaluate such a claim?
The intention behind the claim is to persuade us to accept the authority of biblical scholarship in the same way we might accept the authoritative claims of scientists, engineers or doctors.
But the difference should be obvious to all. The sciences are about universal physical facts; biblical studies are a culturally limited and ideological area of interest.
What if we were to read an Islamic scholar saying no scholar of the Koran or Islam at a reputable university believes Jesus was crucified or doubts Mohammad rose to heaven on a flying horse?
Look, also, at the Who’s Who table to see who in relatively recent years have confessed to doubts about the most fundamental claim of biblical scholarship. Highly respected linguists, philosophers and scientists as well as a broad range of literature scholars, psychologists, engineers are on the list.
These are people who do know how to evaluate claims and are not going to be fobbed off with authoritative declarations about what “bible scholars believe”. These are not people who are somehow perverse eccentrics who are just as likely to be found wondering if Young Earth Creationists are right after all.
People know biblical scholarship does not hold the same universal authoritative status as the medical sciences. It is not hard to find scholars in the sciences even mocking the whole discipline of theology for its ill-informed pretensions to accommodation with evolution.
All authority should be held accountable and welcome challenges if it is to validly justify itself.
Everyone knows the study of the bible is far more of an ideological interest than are the sciences. There is no doubt that most scholars who have taken up biblical studies do so out of a personal religious interest. Most are Christians, liberal or conservative.
The token atheists in their ranks for most part acknowledge that they were once believers and that is why they took up their studies. Others who claim to be atheists or agnostics are very often quiet publicly about their past interests so we can only wonder. Past interest is clearly very important in the eyes of a good number of these scholars as we can see from the way some of them are quick to accuse peers like Robert Price (and even Bart Ehrman) of embracing their critical views as a reaction against past fundamentalism. On the other hand no atheists are faulted for the possibility that they continues to believe elements of their old fundamentalist faith in order to cling to some relics of their past and not admit they were totally wrong about everything.
I only know of one prominent bible scholar who had no religious background at all and took up his studies for purely intellectual interests. I’m sure there must be others but surely they are very few. And one thing he and other scholars agree on, both atheists and believers, is the nature of the ideological domination of biblical studies.
But don’t get me wrong.
I enjoy reading a wide range of scholarly works related to the origins of the Bible and Christianity. (Lest you think I’m obsessed I should point out that I enjoy reading on many other topics: in the last couple of months I have also read works on cosmology, evolution, and Chinese history among others.) The main reason I wanted to start this blog years ago was to share some of the interesting things I was reading about biblical studies that I thought many others would likewise find interesting and informative.
The more one reads the more one’s critical skills are honed. One book never has the final word on any topic. One becomes increasingly aware of the biases and assumptions of the different authors. That doesn’t mean we throw their work in the bin but it does mean we can better evaluate their arguments and learn in the process.
But sometimes one finds a bible scholar making a declaration of authority for his/her entire academic guild that strikes me as blind hubris.
***Neil Godfrey does not personally endorse other views on this blog.
I see things. Things I’d rather look away from. But it’s like a train wreck. I know I should but I can’t. A facebook “friend” posted this and it showed up in my news feed.
I clicked on the article to read about this atheist outrage. The article never even addresses it. Nowhere in the article is any atheist quoted, nor even mentioned, as having been outraged. This is the kind of propaganda unbelievers are up against in the U.S.
Let’s set the scene, why don’t we? It was at the National Prayer Breakfast where NASCAR legend, Darrell Waltrip, was the keynote speaker. What was that again? The National Prayer Breakfast. The United States hosts, at taxpayer expense, a National Prayer Breakfast which is, to my understanding, intended to unite the leaders of the various world religions.
According to Wikipedia The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization. Every keynote speaker since 1973 except for last year when Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, who practices Hinduism has been a Christian.
Here is the excerpt of Waltrip’s address which was supposedly the source of all the outrage:
Christians everywhere are giving Waltrip atta-boys and pats on the back for having the courage to share his beliefs at an event where sharing beliefs and faith is expected. I do not take issue with his speech. That’s what he was invited there to do. What I take exception to is the gross mischaracterization of atheists. The outrage, which is the subject of the title of the article, is not even addressed! What outrage?
What I find so very ironic about the whole thing is the Christian outrage that has poured out over President Barack Obama’s comments:
You don’t have to look very far to see Christians condemning his remarks. Here’s an article in The Washington Post:
and another here from The Week:
How dare the President speak the truth? How dare he compare the Crusades and the Inquisition to ISIS’ terrorism? How dare he point out that horrific acts, like slavery and discrimination, had their roots in religion – specifically Christianity? Christians are outraged that the President could make such comparisons because Christians have evolved. They’ve improved and progressed whereas ISIS is going backward.
Have fundamentalist Christians really improved so much? All one has to do is a Google search for exorcism, Christian child discipline, or Christians rejecting medical attention in favor of prayer, to see that it most assuredly is still possible for Christians to be radicalized. Granted the rejection of medical attention is not considered terrorism, but what about in cases where a child is the one who is ill and the parents make the decision to pray away critical illness? What about the brand of child discipline endorsed, no advocated, by Mike and Debi Pearl and practiced by a large portion of society? What about recent exorcisms which have resulted in the death of the recipient of such treatment? Not to mention the psychological harm done in the name of Christ!
Christian privilege dictates that nothing negative be said about the Christian faith. Christian privilege says, “it’s them, not us.” “We’re nothing like those savages.” Christian privilege is outraged that the President could point out the failures of their religion.
If we do not learn from history we are most assuredly doomed to repeat it. Crucify the President.
I’ve taken down my Pics ‘n Places page and replaced it with a Resources page. At present it is relatively sparse but I plan on adding quite a bit in the near future. It will have tabs for Epistemology, Cosmology, and some more “ologies” as I get around to them. These are resources I am finding beneficial and I thought I’d pass them along. Perhaps others can glean something from them as well.