Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Quite Possible I Will Begin Writing Here Again: A Sort of Mea Culpa

I'm not sure yet. 

This last two years has left me disillusioned with both sides of the political spectrum. That doesn't bode well for my new home on Free Thought Blogs, which is ironic, being that "free thought" would mean I'm very much allowed to speak from the heart about why things are not as they seem.

But I really feel like it isn't so, and that I have not the independence to fulfill my desire to speak what I see as the nuanced truth of matters, when the most prolific writers on that network have such an antipathy for discourse that disagrees from their point of view.

Bear in mind that I have no proof of this at all, being that I haven't yet stuck my neck out and said anything that has been lambasted. My proof is simply how I am excoriated in public by the very people who are the target audience of FTB, as well as the extreme rhetoric used against their detractors by some of the writers "in charge".

Now, I will not and am not disparaging their point of view, whatever it is. Nor am I even suggesting I disagree with it. That's the beauty of free thought. They get to be who they are and if I am not a good fit, they get to tell me that and even run me out, if necessary. I understand that and completely support the idea.

But I cannot sit back and not say what needs to be said anymore. The things that divide us are so much fewer than the things that are common to us. Yes, that is such a bullshit platitude, overused by politicians who gain votes by saying vacuous utterances, not to mention the bloviating pontificators on the thing we call news, these days.

Rather, the things I am speaking about are the practical things in life, not defined by ideology and belief, but defined by verifiable facts that can be pointed to. Things that, when shoved into a room, everyone from all sides realize they are working toward the same end goal, regardless of underlying ideology.

I haven't made a decision yet. But one thing I can say is that, as much as I thought money was a reason to be excited about moving to Free Thought Blogs, that idea hasn't panned out, and I doubt it ever will. Blogging doesn't make the average blogger an income. Sure, more than this blog does, but not by much.

Simply put, the need to speak what I see as the truth cannot be hampered by the desire to make more money, or the promise of more exposure.

Love you all,

I. C.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My First Free Thought Blogs Post

Read it here, wherein I introduce myself.

I'll be moving some of the content from this blog to Freethought Blogs. I may be cross-posting posts here, but may also begin to move away from the Blogger platform, as the extra work will become kind of tiring.

I hope you enjoy my new home and come over and read with me.


I. C.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moving to Free Thought Blogs

Or Freethought Blogs. Or something...

Yeah. That happened.

In February, 2011, I began Incongruous Circumspection. It was on a whim, really. I hadn't considered blogging before, but knew I loved to write and provoke thought in the process. I had just joined a community of survivors from Bill Gothard's institution, most of them homeschoolers.

Many of them encouraged me to take my Facebook writings and turn them into what became this. In the beginning, a woman named Liberty began to comment. She was intelligent, had common sense that matched, in greatness, my utter lack thereof, and best of all, was a fledgling atheist that took a liking to me, a liberal-minded Christian.

She had also started blogging. Her blog was Love, Joy, Feminism.

Then, Liberty evolved to Libby Anne and became much bigger than me. She filled a niche in the interwebs - intelligent and fascinating feminists who loved to write, and write well she did. It didn't take long for Free Thought Blogs to notice her. They invited her to their network and I watched as her star grew brighter.

Libby Anne wrote a post on leaving the pro-life movement that went viral and became the star of the summer, that year. Or winter or fall or something. She soon left FtB for Patheos and has become even more of a force since.

I mention her because her ascent to FtB was a dream of mine. A dream for five years and counting. I wanted it too, and Libby Anne left no coattails to grab onto. She was just too big for me. I was lost in her shadow. (I have no idea what I just wrote)

I've religiously read Pharyngula, P.Z. Myers namesake, as well. He was the real reason I've desired to represent that network. He inspires every cell of my being, for some odd reason.

Meh...I'm rambling.

I may cross post here, once I make the official move, but more than likely, things will begin to peter out. I am so grateful to all of my readers - all six of you, and I realize I'm being generous with that head count.

I look forward to writing for you in the new venue.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Writing Style Around Religion

In my last two posts, I've been writing to a young man, named Tom B. He was kind enough to attempt to bring me  back to Christianity by some very poor logic. So poor, I almost wept with the deepest of pity. In the first post, I spoke about Tom's view of authority and his role in a defined hierarchical society. In the second post, I got down to brass tacks, speaking to Tom about the idea that rigid rules don't allow for the nuances of life.

From those posts came two types of responses. I was thanked, profusely, for my calm and collected demeanor, while taking the kid down a notch from his perceived superiority. Secondly, I was approached by a dear friend who told me the following:
If I didn't know you personally, I wouldn't want to get to know you better, after reading your responses to Tom B. You come across as a dick, making a mountain out of a molehill, seeming to desire to argue about everything.
I found the stark contrast of the two reactions to be quite fascinating. If you've been following Incongruous Circumspection for any length of time, you will see a plethora of reactions to religion.

Sometimes I am very angry, and in my view, rightly so. Especially if the individuals or groups the post is directed toward, are treating those they find different than themselves, in a hurtful manner. I have no time for that.

At other times, I write in a very theoretical way, speaking directly to theology, with an eye to the practicalities of life. I find this approach to be helpful to both my readers and myself, giving me a moment in time to point back to if I ever doubt who I am, if I am asked about what and why I believe or don't believe, and finally, to be able to update my convictions when I am presented with new information.

But these two approaches aren't where I am most comfortable. Sometimes, in my anger, I enjoy being an asshole. But later, I go back and read my words, wincing, yet realizing that, caught in the moment, I want my readers to witness my intense passion. Also, the theoretical missives that I write are a bit dry for my taste. I feel that while good information is being disseminated, it isn't the best way to change minds, being that the attention span of most people ends at the third paragraph. (By that assumption, you're done reading by now)

My favorite approach is to respond in a personal way, to those who write to me, to those who publicly make a statement, and to those that talk to me face to face. I am convinced that this style of writing is the most effective. While it may appear that I am "making a mountain out of a molehill," I'm not really writing to the person the post is directed toward.

I'm actually writing directly to the reader. I want them to identify with my target, being able to personalize the words on the page. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When Rules Are Stupid, Breaking Them Is a Good Idea

My continued response to Tom B....

I'm going to walk away from Tom B's response to me for a bit and just sit down by this fire and have a chat with a little boy. Tom, you're a little boy. You may be 20, but you have no idea how to live in the real world. Your rigid ideas of life may make you a disciplined young man, but it won't go far in your relationships with the rest of humanity.

Tom, you learned quite well, the idea of authority and rules. In fact, life for you is so simple - follow the rules set up by God, and you don't get hurt. Don't follow the rules and pay the consequences.

But what happens when the rules mean that you hurt others? Yourself? Your family? Let me give you a few examples:

When the rules say you must kill all gay people, should you kill all gay people?

When the rules say you must sell everything you have and follow Jesus, is that always wise?

When the rules tell you that gay marriage is wrong, but you know that it hurts absolutely nobody, yet gives human beings, different from yourself, a joyful life, do you prevent them? What does that help?

When the rules tell you to cover the head of a woman and keep her silent, is that respectful?

When the rules tell you the proper way to own and treat slaves, does owning another human being as property suddenly become a fair idea?

When the rules tell a husband to rule over his wife, is that intelligent, especially when the woman may be better suited to take charge?

When the rules tell you to beat your children, because beating them with a rod will make them wise, and studies show that hitting your children hurt them more than it helps, do you ignore the wisdom of good people?

When the rules tell you to never leave your abusive husband, do you stay?

When the rules tell you that a suffering child must continue to suffer, his lessons to be learned through his suffering, do you walk away?

When the rules tell you to continue a pregnancy, even when it is ectopic, nearly guaranteeing the death of the mother, do kiss your wife goodbye and trust God's plan?

As you read through the listing of rules above, I understand that your mind is both spinning the rules to be reconcilable with your personalized brand of religion, or you are rejecting some of them altogether, concluding that I am ignorant to ideas like the Bible being a single organism, not being under the law anymore, or Jesus provides grace and mercy, nullifying the necessity of death for earthly sins.

What you fail to see though, is the fact that you get to reject and mold rules because, just like those who don't believe that they receive their morality from an ancient book, you subconsciously understand that all rules in life are malleable, allowing you to make choices that benefit those you care for the updated rules to benefit, especially yourself.

If you take away ONE thing from this post, please let it be the following:

Making choices in life that benefit you and you alone is not inherently bad. 

Don't ever forget that. Once you learn to love the boy-man that you are, outside of the sphere of influence where others tell you who you are and who you should be, you will much more easily be able to be empathetic toward others and discover what true love is.

And true love is NOT requiring rules to be followed or face the consequences - the greatest of which is permanent separation from your love. He who loves greatly does not set up rules that end in you burning for eternity. That is not love.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

When Deserving of Burning in Hell Depends on a Mystery

Tom B. grew up with me at Normandale Baptist Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. I am 15 years his senior, so really, not that much older. He was better in softball than I was, mostly because I couldn't play an inning without pulling a damn muscle that I never knew I had. He's 20, and as he says, "independent, away from his parent's tutelage."

I'll take that at face value, and hope beyond all hope that he reads my words and the reasonings of other better people than me, and sees the fallacious logic that is so prevalent in fundamentalist Christianity (and all religion, for that matter), and steps out into the freedom that can be his.

I responded to one of Tom B's comments in I Can Kill My Children if God Tells Me To. He responded back to me again. His words caused me to whimper in pity, nearly bringing me to tears at how reaching his arguments were. I respond to him below:
Christianity isn't supposed to make sense to us, God doesn't need it to.
Why? Why doesn't God need it to? If, as the Bible says, we are supposed to figure out the riddle of salvation, the eternal consequence for our finite non-mastery of the subject being burning in hell forever,  shouldn't it be imperative that the supernatural being who set the whole thing up, give us an unequivocal path to eternity away from burning?

The answer to that question is actually the reason why, even if the Bible god was real (which he cannot be), I would want no part of him. And this answer is exactly what Tom believes - God has no imperative to be reasonable with mankind. He can set the rules as he sees fit. He can remain as mysterious as he desires, never revealing his true self or nature, guaranteeing that only a select few will ever enter the kingdom of heaven. The Bible supports this. "Wide is the path to destruction, but few there be that find the way of salvation." Couple that paraphrase with the idea that God is all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere, and my point is made.
God set up rules and boundaries and gave us one a (sic) mission, to glorify Him. If we don't obey Him there's (sic) consequences and if we do than (sic) we're rewarded  which sounds an awful like raising children, pets, or the law of our land. Play by the rules and everything is fine, screw up and turn your back on your authority and there'll be consequences. It's simple. 
Yes. It really is that simple, if you stick with that horrible narrative. But that's not how good parenting works. That's not how good employers treat their employees. According to Tom, authority is the end all and be all of life. Everything in life is structured in an hierarchical manner. Everyone has someone to answer to - and must answer to that someone without question.

This approach to life has two problems (among a myriad others):

  1.  Unquestioned authority leads to abuse of power by the individual or group in charge, especially, as Tom dictates here, if that authority plays by zero rules of fairness or logic, both swear words in fundamentalist Christianity.
  2. The individual under authority has no ability to disagree with the authority and be respected for that disagreement, even to the point of changing the authority's mind. Yes yes, I understand that Bill Gothard, Tom's favorite golden boy, puts together an appeal process, awash in the power of the authority figure, shining a harsh light on the utter helplessness and weakness of the victim.
All I knew of parenting was my mother's awful heavy-handed authority. But, over and over again, I was told to respect and obey her. I was beaten, as were my siblings, sexually abused, mentally abused, brainwashed, cussed out, and finally had the gumption to "escape" at the age of 19. I was a child.

Yes. If I disobeyed my mother, there were consequences. That was how the game was played. Yes. It really was that simple.

But it wasn't right. Not in the least.

Any system that sets up an artificial rule book, leaving no room for the nuances of life and the minute-by-minute circumstances of the color of humanity, is bound to fail, leaving hopeless victims grasping for something - anything - that will lead them to understand their own individual value.

I am still scraping my mother's shit off my brain and heart and learning that, while I am here on this earth to love, protect, clothe, feed, and teach my children about good sex within consensual boundaries, they can still shove their finger in my eye, and tell me that I am wrong. And Tom, many times, they are completely and utterly incorrect. Sometimes not. And yet, they are beginning to discover that I am pliable, that life is about their individual voice - NOT the voice of the collective, following lock-step, to a set of unquestioning rules. 

It's really that simple.

Finally, the god you described in that last paragraph does not deserve my glorification. He doesn't even deserve yours. Someone who stands by, waiting for you to break a rule, doling out predetermined consequences should you fail, is exactly the opposite of someone you should love and adore. A focus on your sins, rather than a focus on your goodness. Pathetic. That god is an asshole.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Nice Letter from a Reader

While I disagree with this woman's conclusions about God and the singular organism nature of the Bible, I sincerely appreciated her tone. Her letter is below:
I found your blog because I am keeping up with the Gothard drama. It is riveting.  
I do not blame you for your anger for having been raised under legalism and patriarchy or even for becoming an atheist and calling something that does not exist all sorts of names.  It is like you were hit with a teddy bear full of nails, constantly being told how warm and cuddly it was, but your senses told you different.  (Smart man, you were right to question.)  Nobody in their right mind would even hug any stuffed animal after that. 
(BTW, in a college class I took, the professor told the story of a toddler who every time he was presented with a stuffed animal, the “researchers” would make loud banging noises.  In essence, like Pavlov’s dog, they were conditioning him to hate or be afraid of or at least have a dislike for soft cuddly things. Even though the stuffed animals would never hurt him and were still soft and cuddly those researchers ruined it for the little boy to ever enjoy a stuffed animal.)  
Under religion, my husband, who was min. of music, ed and youth in a bapt. church,   was called into the pastor’s office and asked “what is wrong with your wayward wife?” I had ridden my horse to church along with a little girl who rode her horse to church.  (it was the only way she would come to church, you think we would get credit for getting the kid to church) geesh! this same pastor told me I was to wear dresses at all times and not have pets because of the image wer were to keep !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
at another church, we  went through a partial  Gothard thing in the 80’s, wives being subservient, feminine, keepers of home and children,  and obedient and fruitful.  I stood out like a sore thumb...I hate dresses, do not wear make-up, love horses, did not want to have children, did not care about keeping house, have cats, dogs and horses. had a full time career teaching in public school, (while our church pushed home school as the only way God would bless) did nothing except put all sorts of guilt on me...why was I different, must be something wrong with me, etc.  I tried it but was not me and was NOT happy.  That and 2 tornadoes hitting our house  in 3 yrs was driving me to a nervous breakdown.  I hashed it out with God, not man, until I got a hold of Him, heard directly from Him that He had made me a certain way and it was not sin.  God does not make cookie cutter christians.  when they all begin to dress and act alike, I figure their salvation has become slavation. 
Too bad that men get the wrong idea about christianity and turn it into a religion with all sorts of rules. The original rules in the OT were meant for the Israelites, who became the Jews. They lived under a theocracy and God used them to destroy the evil in the land (like the cultures that burned live babies as sacrifices to their gods) . In the NT, Jesus affirmed only the moral rules of the OT and  left only 2 rules for men to follow, love God, love others. (I have trouble with both, so I am glad I am free of any other rule.  My husband, not so much. he still likes that submissive thing, even though he won’t admit it.) 
As a  free thinker and problem solver and my mind is always turning trying to solve life’s big and small problems.(would I believe in God if I lived in a country where christians were really persecuted for their faith?)   
Anyway, if you got to the bottom of this letter, and I do not blame you if you deleted it in the first sentence, I want to tell you how sorry I am for all you had to suffer.  I hope you find your way and healing comes to you.
 I didn't destroy the letter. Again, thank you.


I. C.

Letters from Mama: Be Careful, I Have Spies

Disclaimer: Against my better judgment, I'm going to continue sharing Mama's letters and shenanigans with my readers. While I realize I am giving a voice to a proud narcissist, propping up her already overblown ego, I am convinced it is more important to offer a case study to those who may find themselves in the clutches of someone like her, or give those who may have escaped an evil human being, an outlet to empathize with another human being, understanding that they are not alone in their walk of life.

So I continue...

This was a short note from Mama. Obviously a quickly spun letter, trying to defend herself from accusations that I leveled against her in the last post. Then again, she really isn't defending herself as much as she is attempting to "put me in my place."
Dear son,
To Mama, it's important she doesn't use my name. By calling me "son," she asserts her God-given authority over me. If I don't listen to what is coming next, I am rebellious and denying God. More about that later.
No, I don't go over to your column online. Saw one, some years ago, about you being snipped. But that's it.
First of all, I don't have a column online. I would love to reach the level of "columnist," but alas, I am but a lowly blogger. Secondly, the fact that Mama is responding to my "accusation" that she reads my blog essentially proves that she reads my blog. I sure hope she does. It's important for an abuser to know how they affected (and continue to affect) their victims, especially when the victim can be a safe distance away.  And I never finished my Snipped! series at No Longer Quivering. I should get on that.
I was told by a kind-hearted soul, about your one concerning that wonderful Christmas present I had concocted for your family a few years ago.
Wonderful, eh? That Letters from Mama post is one of the most popular of the series, exposing the true insanity of who she is. The fact that she calls it "wonderful," as well as the revealing fact that she still focuses on herself, with respect to a gift, solidifies her label as a narc. Read it for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Also, "kind-hearted soul" is shorthand for "spy."
Your community page on Facebook, notice of it, pops up every so often on my FB news-feed page, and, every few weeks or so I look in there to see if you are still alive.
Sure you do. Sure you do.
I do love you even through this God-denying portion of your life. When you exit that portion, you will be grateful Jesus taught me how to do that. : )
I have no idea why I'll be grateful. But she brings up a good point. In her theology, love is not a human emotion, unless the person in front of you is doing what you expect them to do. If, on the other hand, a person is different than you, the love you show them is Jesus' love, and not your own, you being incapable of accepting the differences in other human beings. It's sad, really.

Mama is convinced that her tiny boy is in a phase, and once he finally discovers that his doting mother was right about God all along, he'll race back into her arms, which will open just at the right time, having been locked closed until I am acceptable to her.

Exactly the kind of Christianity that makes me all excited to go back to - not to mention, when I finally do, I'll end up going blind anyway

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I can kill my children if God tells me to

I wrote a post, yesterday, titled, I Am More Powerful Than God. The point of the post was to say that, since God is supposedly all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere, being accused of "turning others away from Jesus" with my words was a false accusation. If I am able to best the god with all the myriad omni-characteristics, then I must be more powerful than him.

I'm actually okay with that. The logic of the Bible god is completely ridiculous and I am left incredulously shocked that intelligent people still believe in a glorified Santa Clause or Tooth Fairy.

Enter a young gentleman who I grew up with. We'll call him Tom B. He's half my age and brainwashed into fundamentalist Christianity by his parents and the decades of a carefully constructed apparatus for true believers to be well-versed in apologetics and the "us vs. them" false dichotomy.

Only he doesn't know this. And that's by design. Fundamentalists are taught to view themselves as using superior logic to anyone that may be their detractors. Hell, the Apostle Paul set this up by saying, "The truth of Christ is foolishness to the wise." That's a paraphrase, of course, but you get the point. Anytime you are faced with doubts or a redress of your belief system, you are well within your spirituality gold star chart to reject all arguments as foolishness and Satanic.

Tom's response:
If what you're saying is true, it's a really good thing that the reality of God is not who humans make Him out to be. Because, if that's really who God is than even I would't believe in Him. The thing is, humans can say anything they want about Him. They can attempt to find His flaws and make Him look bad. But in the end we're judging Him by our standards of who we think He is. If you really want to know who He really is read the book He gave us.
My response was two-fold:

First, no. You don't get it both ways. You can't tell me that it is not possible for the human mind to fathom the realities of God, and then in the next breath, tell me that my human mind has the capacity to fathom the realities of God if I only read his book. You get one. Not both.

Then I mentioned Ole' Abe. I told him that I'm morally superior to God, including Abraham, being that I wouldn't kill my kids if some jerk-off told me to, no matter how powerful he thinks he is. I've written about Abraham here, here, and here,

To that, Tom B. responded:
In Abraham's defense. If you made a beautiful wooden chair and placed it in the dinning room nobody in the world can rightly take that chair out and burn it unless you gave them permission, because it's your chair. In the same way God (who made man) gave Abraham the permission to "burn the chair". Of course he wouldn't let it happen because He loves us too much. But since God is the author of all life he has the right to do what He needs to with it.
I especially love the part where he conjectures, "Of course, [God] wouldn't let it happen because He loves us too much." Really? And in the next breath, people like Tom B. will tell you that you're going to burn in hell for eternity - just like the millions, nay billions upon billions of souls before you.

But damn....God loves you.

I fear for his kids. And, being a quiverfull fundie, he'll have a whole gaggle of them.

Note: Oh...and Tom B....I blocked you because I can. Your arguments were stupid and nonsensical. And you attacked me for blocking you by impersonating your brother's account. One day, you'll grow up and realize I'm right. In the meantime, don't have kids.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hello, Mama. Welcome to my Blog

Sure, I'm fairly certain you've been reading it for many moons. After all, it's the easy way out. The privacy of your curtained living room, able to react to your non-existent sky fairy, hoping beyond hope, your empty words' vibrations you spew into the room's abyss will get past the single-paned glass windows, floating up into the atmosphere, breaking through the (impervious to me) barrier of the supernatural, and into the ears of God.

Just think, this God has been getting your prayers for god damned near five years now. Or maybe well before that.

He's probably tried a few things, in his utter impotency. He got me sick one day for months. I beat that back with my sheer will - and water and apple cider vinegar as placebos. He sent me marital fire, but I learned that I needed to become a better me and our marriage is intact. I still love my bride very much, if not differently than before. He even crashed four of our cars. No injuries or death. I didn't even kill the little girl in the back seat of that Honda CRV, totaling that car with my E-350 Ford van.

Hell, he tried to break me with debt. I refinanced. Job. I got one where I make more money. Health care costs. Remember new job? Rebellious kids. Or so I thought...then I learned that they were kids.!

Mama, THAT is a constant battle in my mind, since you fucked me up so much. You taught me about a god who desired, nay, DEMANDED perfection. You taught me about a god that required us to "redeem the time for the days are evil." That means that I have no capacity to sit down and relax. It is ingrained in me to make sure that I am always busy and productive. And that means that nobody else can be anything but, as well. That premise of life is the single largest issue my kids have with their daddy.

I'm just not that much fun. Work is king. A clean house is my chiefest of concerns. Fuck my children. They'll come around and see it my way. All I need to do is yell louder, humiliate them more, but god dammit, I don't beat them like you did me and my siblings! So it's all good, right?! Right, Mama?!

Yeah...ask my kids. No don't. Stay the fuck away from them. I want nothing of your poisonous religion in their lives. I've already fucked them up enough.

And yet they still hug me. Why? Because, when I affect them in a bad way, it fucking hurts me. And I know I'm not right all the time. I'm just as pliable and potentially wrong as they are. My experiences in life mean nothing if I cause those I love to weep, despise me, or chew me out in anger.

And so I work my ass off to become a better me. Sure, I fail often, but I'm honest about it and blame it on ME, and not some fucked up God that fucks us up, just so he can love us down the road. And I don't blame it on a devil, who, in the Bible, was so much more gracious and loving than the asshole god within those pages.

So yeah..welcome. Enjoy the ride. I'm glad to have you here.

I Am More Powerful Than God

Yes. Satan said that and was banished from God's presence. I'm okay with that.

The Christian god of the Bible is defined in many ways, and has been so, throughout history. Popular ideas of who God is have come and gone. But once the masses, however fractured, accept a version of God, he changes again. It has to be this way as the potential realm of the supernatural shrinks smaller and smaller with each scientific discovery and Google search.

Think back to the era around Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God), Issac Watts, John Newton, etc. At that time, God was quite the angry and jealous being, ready to strike you dead at a moment's notice, yet somehow loving and wanting of your worship, at the same time. Edwards' famous sermon graphically depicts how God would hang a man by his toes over the lake of fire, terrifying him into obedience, the gentleman knowing full well that God held all the cards, and could drop him whenever he so chose. And yet in the same sermon, Edwards unabashedly and passionately spoke of how much God loved the human race.

The cognitive dissonance is amazing. People bought it like crazy. Revival happened. Tent meetings and services lasted for weeks, people lying in the aisles, frothing at the mouth and repenting of their "sins."

Then God softened. The Billy Sunday types slunk away from society and built their walled compounds - Christian universities. Bob Jones, Pensacola, Liberty, Hyles Anderson, Wheaton, etc. These universities trained their men to be apologists - assholes, really. They then sent them off to run IFB and other fundamentalist churches, preaching their hatred for "them" and their love for "us," unless, of course, you were a woman.

Then God softened even more. The shrill Bryan Fischer, David Barton, Raphael Cruz, and Franklin Graham types grew even more afraid. The proof of their god, in the rest of society, was slipping away.

And who was to blame?


Yes. Me. My words. The words I put out online, in my own little corner of the e-niverse. I am turning people away from worshiping an asshole and singing about a dead guy being inside of them.

The problem is, if God is really as powerful as these people claim, able to turn the weather and kings' hearts wherever he wills them, then why do I matter? I simply don't.

But if I do, I'm more powerful than God.

And I'm okay with that. Truly. I'm not the most loving person in the universe (or e-niverse), but I'm thousands of times more loving than the god of the Bible.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Letters from Mama: Son, You're Going to Go Blind

Mama says I'm going to go blind. But why I'm going to go blind is the most fascinating reason I've ever heard. I'll explain below.
You are very strong son.
Yay! She says I'm strong! Oh shit. Wait...a compliment from Mama precedes a slam.
In presentation. 
And there it is. I only APPEAR strong, due to how I present myself, positing my arguments and personality with great gusto. But really, I'm still her little son. A pipsqueak of a boy, needing to hang from her teat and learn at her dry and cracked feet.
 Mama then embarks on an highly patronizing few sentences, "teaching" me two things that I already know very well (which she knows, but pretends not to) - who the Apostle Paul was and what he did, and the same about John Newton, padded with a few folksy facts that are based in speculation and hyperbole.
I want to give you a heads up.
Oh goodie! She cares for me so much....
You are following the same path both Paul, and John Newton, did. (Jesus, Mama! The commas!!!!) The Paul who was Saul, and who wrote much of the New Testament of the Bible. The John Newton who hauled slaves on a ship, and wrote the song Amazing Grace.
Yes. I knew that about these two blokes. Carry on.
Both men persecuted those who took to themselves the love of Jesus the Christ.  
Ah. So, Mama, I'm persecuting you. Funny. I don't even speak to you and you to me. You send me a letter every few months (thank you, by the readers LOVE them!) and that is it for contact. My militantly passive atheism sure has quite the effect on you - and, as we shall soon see, others, down the road. I feel so powerful! And what's up with the weird English? Just stop. Jesus.
And, after God took them off that path and set them on His own, both men suffered great loss of sight. Paul unto being unable to write except in very large letters, therefore needing helpers to write his epistles for him. And John  Newton ultimately unto going totally blind. Just thought you might care to know that. 
OMG! Thank you so much! I am so grateful for the warning! I shall cometh backeth to God-eth post haste!

Oh wait...something is wrong here.

First, Mama calls me presentation. Then she tells me I'm persecuting her and other Christians, just like Paul (who was Saul...remember???) and the John Newton, as if there were others. That "strong" comment is very purposeful here, because it sets up the last half of the paragraph. According to Mama, I will have no choice in the matter. God will simply choose to bring me back on HIS path, despite my best efforts to stay off of it. 

Oh...and he'll make me go blind. Gee. I can't wait. Please God. Take me back! Quickly! Seriously, though. What the fuck!? Why do people believe in this shit? Mama, as well as many Christians, actually think that that is love. Hurting someone in order to make them love you. But, in this case, making them love you - and STILL hurting them. Whatever, Mama.
Remember Paul threw into prison, and had executed, as many as he could corral who were following Christ? 
Um...sure? Mama? Will I throw people in prison for following Christ (whatever that means)?
And John  Newton took pleasure in spewing out of his mouth the filthiest words he could think of, about God, and in turning his shipmates away from belief in Christ?
Folktale, sure. But let me see if I can try this exciting thing. And if it works, taking people away from religion, I shall be happy-eth:

God is a dish. But not a dish like you would find in the cupboard, clean, spotless, nary a hardened drop of water gracing its lovely surface. Nay, God is a broken dish. One where the dish washer decided that the hardened filth of the meal from the night prior was too much, tossed it upon the ground, shattering it into a thousand pieces. Then, his followers pick up those pieces and glue them together with their words. Some pieces are missing, others haphazardly placed, some tossed into the garbage. And yet the dish is beautiful to some. Yet others bash it over the head of others, shattering it anew.

I think I failed, but whatever. Mama, you flatter me. I hold no influence. But I love people. And loving people is precisely the reason why I despise your god. He is an hateful asshole of the first degree. An asshole that will blind someone after he brings them back under his wing - just because. Anyway...let's continue.
You recognize that as the path you are on?
What? Killing people and throwing them in prison? Amazing others with my filthiest of words against a sky fairy? Sure, Mama. This murderous lout you call your son. I'll get right on that.
God has shown Himself as loving to capture those kind of men to accomplish His greatest works. Thought you might need to be reminded of that, too. : )
Right. And he blinded them.
love you, son, intensely, as a mother does, Mama
Mama. Go fuck yourself. You have no idea what love is.