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:
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:
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.