A couple years ago a young lady, a college student perhaps, going by the handle Young88Apologist, took the time to read through one of my posts and left a long comment challenging my conclusions. There was nothing new to the comments, but what made her comment stand out in my mind is that she strongly recommended I reconsider my position by listening to an audio series produced by Pastor Chip Ingram, of Living on the Edge Ministries.
She couldn’t have known, of course, that I was very familiar with Pastor Chip, as he had been my pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church from 1990 until I moved my family out of the area in 2001. I was very active and dedicated, running music and drama programs for most of my time there. Even though the church grew to 2,500 people, I had the opportunity to be personally acquainted with him and his family.
I was pretty surprised that, of all the apologists out there, she would choose the one guy I knew. Since then, I vacillated on whether I wanted to take the time to listen to the series. It’s over 4.5 hours of listening time, and I’m pretty sure I know what he’ll say. I may even have been there when he said it (I’m not sure when the series was originally recorded, but they consist of recorded sermons.)
So recently I’ve been interested in meeting my critics where they are and checking out some of the material they find so convincing. Continue reading
News recently surfaced that Tim LaHaye, co-author (along with Jerry Jenkin) of the hyper-best selling Christian apocalypse revenge-porn series Left Behind, has passed away.
No, I’m not here to dance on his grave. I hope his passing was peaceful, even if I don’t believe he found what he was expecting on the “other side.”
But it makes me think back to reading the series, which I’m both amused and ashamed to say that I read through to the end – all 14 volumes.
Five years ago this month, I don’t recall the precise day, I shed the delusion of the Christian religion and stepped into the bright glaring light of reality.
Well, as best I could anyway.
As a person, I’ve always been very enamored of dates and anniversaries. Their arbitrary nature doesn’t move me at all. I become very reflective on my birthday, New Year’s day, and other benchmarks in time.
Such as this one. Continue reading
A couple weeks ago I was getting an itch to get back into addressing apologetics, just because that’s how I roll. I was going to go back to the Limbaugh book, and eventually I will, but I thought the R.C. Sproul book would be meatier. I think I’m wrong, but the sciency part of it still compels.
Originally Pastor Chuck and I were going to spar over this book, but after showing himself unwilling to address arguments directly and his continual deflections to his aspersions on my character, he finally backed out, read the book on his own, declared it perfect, and wandered off into the sunset. I figure I’ll just have to go it alone and hope someone else comes along to wrangle.
Or not. Continue reading
Twice yesterday I found myself briefly surrounded by little children. They were running about and playing and to them I was but another tree in the yard, another chair to dodge and dash around.
Life swirled around my knees, tiny vortices of vitality, alive with wonder and with presence.
One little vortex ran straight for me, then stopped just short of a collision and looked up at me, eyes wide with wonder, sparkling with amazement that some obstruction had filled his path. We made eye contact and I said, “Hi!” His mouth split wide into a smile, shiny little teeth gleaming on the verge of a laugh that was almost expected but somehow out of place.
He changed course and tottered on at full speed. I was not even a memory I’m sure, because no one is more present than a little child.
I felt a faint rush of life, as if just by being close I was gifted with a bit more than I could contain. For that moment the scars and cares of adulthood, of life, faded to the immediacy and joy of being wholly human and only innocent.
May I never grow so old that the young become a nuisance. May I never close my nose to the fragrance of youth, the perfume of hope and promise. May I never be jaded by the knowledge that someday they too will know hardship. May I instead drink in the gift of life and the memory that the present moment can be simply a joy in itself.
A year or two back, a friend of mine (also an atheist, but without the indoctrination history I had, nor the particular urge to explore this sort of stuff over and over again) made an interesting remark as we were bantering over a hair-splitting topic. I’ll paraphrase, because I don’t remember his exact wording, but he basically said:
The church’s big mistake was making god out to be All-Powerful. Once they made him Omnipotent and Omniscient, they made him completely impossible.
I’ve been thinking that through lately. The more I think about it, the more right I think he is. Continue reading
Well, here I am again, with a bit of a bug up me arse, so to speak. With ol’ Pastor Chuck’s refusal to actually engage with the longer conversation about the book he talked me into reading in large part, I sort of set aside the book in the interest of not boring myself. I’ll come back to it, but there’s no hurry now, it seems.
But my attention was drawn to another book, Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel, penned by David Limbaugh, brother of the galactically reprehensible purveyor of hate and social fuckwittery, Rush Limbaugh. Continue reading
By now it’s well established that I no longer believe in the god I professed for ages, to whom I dedicated 26 years of my life. Yet I celebrate Christmas with much joy and happiness. I bestow and receive gifts. I revel in food and drink, and the fellowship of loved ones and friends. I let the music, lights, and colors of the season wash over me through the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
But what am I celebrating? Is not the holiday the most stark reminder of what I no longer believe, of what I have concluded is a delusion that is detrimental to the peace and growth of our society?
Well… yes and no. Continue reading
I love this picture. I love it because it shows one man in a sea of thousands being true to what is right when everyone else is following the crowd.
The man is thought to be August Landmesser, a known detractor who, along with his Jewish wife, paid the ultimate price for his dissent. He was arrested twice and convicted once for trying to marry a Jew. He was pressed into military service with other convicts while his fiancee was sent to a camp and then a Euthanasia center, where she was murdered along with 14,000 others.
This meme has trod a well worn path through Facebook and Twitter, garnering thousands upon thousands of “likes” and shared and reshared, the posters insisting that they are that guy, and would stand up for what was right regardless. Continue reading
One of the knock-on effects of leaving behind the Christian faith is that I have become very anti-war and anti-violence. So when I hear Republicans expounding on the virtues of carpet-bombing civilian populations, it sickens me to no end.
The worst comment came from the execrable Ben Carson, an evangelical neurosurgeon who is far more scientifically ignorant than you would expect a doctor to be. He was asked whether he would have the wherewithal to carpet bomb civilian populations when it meant killing hundreds or thousands of innocent children.
His answer is horrifying: Continue reading