When Pastors Attack

Many of you are at least a little bit familiar with my former pastor, Chuck. Since he’s pretty openly commented here in the past, I don’t see any need to cover up his identity.

I have this blog set to post new articles to my Facebook wall. I’m very open in my atheism and am fortunate to be in a position and a region where it’s mostly irrelevant to my work and social life (California, FTW!)

So in response to my last article, Judge, Jury, and Executioner, Pastor Chuck popped in for a visit. Here’s where it started:

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Why bother even giving him any airtime? Why share this?

Here is why:

Religion motivates individuals to treat other individuals in ways they otherwise would never dream.

Some have questioned my ongoing interaction with Pastor Chuck. As you’ll see in the fallout from this comment, that may end in 24 hours or so. But I’ve always felt that if I’m going to not only discard my faith, but tell my story, I need to be able to stand up to the input and criticism of believers, both friends and strangers, who might wish to contend with my ideas and contest my conclusions.

Sadly, Chuck hasn’t been a very good contender. For those unfamiliar with his M.O., he tends to jump in, assassinate my character, then beg off with excuses of being too busy to spend all day defending his comments and his faith.

If he had some sort of stamina for the conflict, and an ability to stand up in a public for what he says in private, it might be different. Another old buddy, Rick, for all his faults, and for as wrong as I think he can be, is not one to back down, and I think that I respect that, as maddening as he can be to talk with.

So I suspect this is a “here-we-go-again” moment. He insults me, disparages my character, questions my integrity, then, in a preemptive move, makes an excuse for himself and his bad behavior, telling us right up front that he’s unwilling to enter in to a dialogue. Not surprising, I suppose, since he’s never managed to finish one yet. Perhaps I should be refreshed that he’s told us right up front the he’s not up to it – as so:

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To be perfectly clear, there is more to the conversation than this. I was not gentle with him, so let’s not pretend that I didn’t bite back, and quickly, if we’re being honest.

Still, look at this later comment in the thread. Look at the beginning, the middle, and the end.

This is what happens when religion robs a person of their ability to walk in another person’s shoes. Chuck cannot even attempt to view his own words through the eyes of another. He is blind to their venom. Why?

Because he thinks he’s Right with a capital “R.”

By the power of his god, he thinks that he speaks not with his own mind, but with some spiritual mind of discernment. He’s fooled himself into believing that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that empowered Paul, Peter, John, and Stephen, imbues him with heavenly wisdom about me, about the world, about everything. Thinking this is the case, he believes he can speak with impunity, malign my person any way he sees fit, then follow that right up with simple banter about my daughter.

Well, I’ve sort of had enough in a couple of ways. One, I think I’m done with him. If you read through the thread, I’ve given him till the end of the day to apologize or his ass is blocked. I’ll gladly contend with someone who can maintain an argument. What I won’t do is subject myself to continual ad hominem attacks from a coward who won’t stand in and actually address the topic at hand.

Two, I think I want to jump back into R.C. Sproul’s book, finish skewering that nonsense for my own sense of completion. I’m reading a Bart Ehrmann book right now, so we’ll see how soon I get around to that.

I’d like to hear from my readers. Have I overreacted? Have I been too harsh? Am I just a heathen asshole? Or am I right to draw my boundaries and not back down?

I’ll let you know if I receive an apology.

I’m not holding my breath.

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7 thoughts on “When Pastors Attack

  1. Apologies in advance for the length of this reply.

    It looks like this person is basically relying on negative reactions from you. The comments this person dropped just say that he’s already dealt with what you’ve had to say. Why even bother saying that? Does he think you haven’t read his other comments? If he knows you’ve read his comments, then the only reason he has is to just have the last word.

    As if that magically makes him right.

    Let’s face it, there are many members of the faithful that think if they can piss of an atheist, they must be doing something right. Nobody would be angry if there wasn’t a holy spirit, etc. Therefore, indifference to Pastor Chuck is probably the most effective way to go.

    Think of it this way. Say someone threatens you with the retribution of Mordor and Sauron if you don’t agree that hobbits are real. Yes, that makes the person an ass, but it’s not worth trying to get into an argument about it. Same deal here. Pastor Chuck wants you to care – by any emotion necessary – that his particular Sky Hobbit is really real. Eventually he’ll tire himself out, or he’ll realize that you really don’t care about his fantasies.

  2. I don’t think that you were rude. I think Chuck gets frustrated with you and that’s when his insults come out. He thinks you should just have faith and stop asking these time wasting questions! How dare u question Jesus or Paul!!!

  3. First, I want to congratulate myself for not obsessing over his saying “tenants” when he meant “tenets”. OK, NOW I’m not obsessing.

    There’s not usually much getting through to people whose worldview differs. A lot of what the faithful say just goes right by me, uncomprehended. So too the things we say to them. He sees arrogance when you pit yourself against Jesus, Paul, etc. You see the evocation of people who lived in an entirely different world and are not relevant. Of course you’re just going to keep talking past one another.

  4. When one crab tries to get out of the bucket, the rest try to pull him back: “Oh no, bro, you ain’t going nowhere…we live and die together”. But it’s a little bit more complicated: the crabs do not know what’s going to happen with them for sure. All all they do is guess. Some think they’re being transported to another lake, some – that they’re all going to die, others may think that if you’re going to climb out of their bucket you’ll get into the bigger trouble… In conclusion, everyone thinks he’s/she’s/it is Right! With a capital “R”, just the way you say it. Now I think you’re right about wanting to explore and live the life how you want to live at any given period of time and not being told what to do. If you want to escape Christian community and join Atheists or Agnostics – it’s right decision for you and nobody has a right to stop you or make you feel like it is a crime or traitorship. If you want to believe is Jesus or God, believe, if you don’t feel like it – do not! If you want to doubt – doubt. Because in the end, IMHO, it really does not matter, – what matters is that by holding your belief, doubt or strong disbelief you should not be hurting anybody else’s dignity or arrogantly feel like being superior over somebody. The human is made out of many layers, and I believe that the causal body leads our physical body to the places/situations where it needs to learn the most and what’s necessary to the soul to transcend to the higher awareness level. Simply put – it’s all about learning experience. The only reason why your Pastor and/or ex-brothers/sisters in Christ (or however you called them) seem to be sour is that they haven’t learned yet how to let go, and it’s their big Egos that hurt themselves, because they lost control over you. I advise to unlearn about our own importance and concentrate about our relative unimportance: after the death our soul (shield) is going to choose – to become the guardian of the younger generation line, to stay in the proximate plane as a phantom or ghost (usually applies to those that are too much attached to earthly thinking and things) or inhabit a new body (reincarnate) with the new mental identity through which it is going to learn new experiences. Maybe there are more choices, but I do not know about it. Maybe those who intentionally hurt others or try to control their lives, or do act like they have all answers to all questions, will not be able to choose – and that’s going to be their hell. Who knows?

    I know one truth about myself, though – it feels so good to be kind of agnostic and not to be associated with any kind of the group/political wing or religion – or let’s say, to stay in the middle-road: I can believe in everything what looks right for me and at the same time not to be bothered about others who believe in everything what looks right to them.

    You don’t have to stay indifferent to the Pastors comments, you just need to let it go, because his words may hurt your Ego, but they DO NOT and, to be fair, CANNOT hurt the Inner Real you.

  5. Oh, and i forgot to add:
    Your stories are very awaited to be read! I am glad you share your new experiences with others and have an ability to retrospectively criticize yourself 🙂 My husband is ex-Christian, but should i have met him back in time when he was running the business of God, I’d most likely pass through him and put a stamp “fanatic”. Thus T is extraordinary woman! But what am I trying to hide, I was a strong fundamentalist atheist back then. When we got together, there were so many storms about the faith and shit… Worse, I am a scientist, and thus I had to listen to the papyrus scroll-long sermons of how we, scientists, agitate against God, how we do not believe in anything….. Finally after a year or two, the clouds have cleared, and now we are tolerant to each others remnant thoughts of who’s Right 🙂 I became pacifist Agnostic, he became a tolerant mundane believer with no Church and commitments. We are enjoying life. Nice and easy. I learned the patience and how not to ignite when the word God or Jesus is mentioned. However, I have not learned yet how not to overreact when God is referred to as He, not She or It (like everybody knows that it’s HE, and that pisses my stupid ego off).

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