I had written before about trying to answer the evangelical statements of a recovering alcoholic Pentecostal friend. This had to rest some. But now it seems to be developing again.
In this area my real concern has always been to leave them NOTHING. I don't want to leave them anything which they can use to claim legitimacy for their movement.
So while some might want to approach this by making a positivistic claim of atheism, I've always felt that that amounts to running away with one's tail between one's legs. It lets them still claim that their movement and their collective language and idolatry are somehow legitimate.
So instead of that I want to attack the legitimacy of their claim to ownership of each of their things, without showing any sings of submission to any of it.
Any claims of non-belief just add legitimacy to their claims that there are some who are in and some who are out.
Consider for example the following:
WE ALL FALL SHORT. WE ARE ALL SINNERS. AND THATS WHY WE NEED A SAVIOR. WE WERE GIVEN ONE AND ITS OUR CHOICE TO ACCEPT OR NOT TO ACCEPT.
So it is very tricky how to respond to this sort of an argument. Its a theocratic argument. Like all theocratic arguments its about power and a claim to legitimacy. If one denies the falling short or being sinners, or the existence of the savior, then one only fuels the evangelical position that they have their own privileged world.
So first of all I don't want to leave them a privileged claim to the Bible. Second, I don't really want to leave them with ownership of God. I don't want to leave them with a privileged claim to Salvation.
I don't want to leave them anything. I don't even want to leave them scorched earth, as that is still something, still a place to stand. So I don't want to retreat. I want to totally dissolve the legitimacy of the views they are trying to promote.
Now this Pentecostal Alcoholic is someone I think highly of and she holds a great deal of influence and has as also suffered greatly in family life. So I don't wish to antagonize her personally. Alcoholism, drugs, evangelical Christianity, they are all sort of the same as I see it.
So in response to her general line I responded,
The problem is that people use such things to promote subservience to them and to a social group. So it becomes necessary to put up defenses and keep one's spirituality a private matter.
So I am not seeding to her God, the Bible, or Salvation. I am not disagreeing with her, as that would fuel her evangelical claim that their are heathens and sinners who need to be saved. I don't want to leave her anything, nothing at all.
My argument is of a usual type, I don't want to disagree as that fuels them. But I don't want to in any way agree or in anyway make any statement of faith, as that amounts to appeasement. It makes it that much harder for the next person to refuse.
Most religious groups offer appeasement to the evangelicals. Marcus Borg writes of being Born Again, but as wee understand it. This is appeasement. He should know better, but as his wife is an Episcopalian Priest and they have their own version of the Born Again Movement, he needs to do it.
Mostly I am responding to this Pentecostal's making a claim of absolute objective reality, and of doing it publicly. This is standard for Evangelicals. But it is this aspect of it which I am objecting to. So I tell her how such statements are used for control.
This parallels the Foucault Chomsky debates. Chomsky kept going on about what is natural and expected Foucault to argue. Foucault instead focused on looking at how claims to what is natural are used to gain power.
If my friend goes on further with emotional expression, I am ready. Once a guy had said to me about my suggestion that such religious views should not be publicized, "I can't keep quite about it." Probably true he can't, as it does seem to work like alcoholism. But I am ready for such now. I can talk about the full range of emotional experience and how cults suppress this, and about how none of us need motivationalism.
If she goes to the Bible, I am ready. Once she said, "You can't argue with what is written." I am ready.