The following was written last year, after a tornado ripped through a nearby area. I thought it would be enjoyed by my fellows in faithlessness.


Once more, that loving Christian god has shown his capricious sense of irony by hurling killer tornadoes at still another Florida trailer park. (Oops.. make that “mobile home community”…wouldn’t want to be p.i. in a godicle). The sick humor here is that this most recent assault was on a retirement community, filled with people who had worked their blue collars off for years, scrimping and saving all their lives in order to spend their final days in the Florida sunshine. Needless to say, they were also people of faith, believers in the goodness and protection of the god to whom they dutifully gave ten percent of their sweat-earned money every week.

One of the first things they did after establishing their community was erect a church in which to communicate with and sing songs to Good Old Dad, lavishing more life savings on pastors, décor, statues, stained glass and all the other accouterments so necessary to the display of humble worship. They built it solidly and strong enough to withstand 160 mph hurricane winds, with much celebratory prayer at its dedication to the prospective tenant. Unfortunately, neither structural soundness nor supplications were sufficient to prevent disaster. The entire community, including the church, was razed to the ground by a random storm last week.

Naturally, this event was the lead story on the local news channels, most of which repeatedly featured one particular sound bite, presumably to emphasize the poignancy of the situation. It shows a woman standing in the midst of the rubble, near her own flattened residence, tenderly cradling a plaster baby Jesus she had found among the church wreckage. Smiling bravely through her tears, she worshipfully tells the camera, “Oh, this gives me so much hope!”

Now, I guess most people would react to this with an empathetic “awww” or perhaps even a lump in the throat. I am decidedly not most people. It did bring tears to my eyes, but that’s because I was laughing so hard. There is so much hilariously ludicrous information in this scenario, so much blind self-deception, each point struck me funnier than the last.

To wit: A sizable group of retired men and women, having spent the better part of their lives praying to and worshiping an imaginary protector, expecting him to provide all things ~ as long as they ask often and earnestly and cough up their weekly tithe ~ have their lives ruined (and in some cases taken) by what is commonly referred to as an “act” of said protector. Not only did this generous benefactor destroy their homes and kill their loved ones, he also obliterated his own house in the process.

Does this not stir up even a little doubt in the minds of the faithful? Does this kind of wanton destruction not raise questions as to the motives of Big Daddy? Or are they perhaps blaming themselves for their own ill fortune? (“Dang! I knew that cheap wine would piss him off!”)

Astonishingly, rather than to raise reasonable doubt, this kind of punishment only serves to strengthen their belief! The worse he hurts them, they more they adore him. The meaner he gets, the more they praise his “love”. And here’s the punch line: a plaster doll that has been mass-produced by child slaves at a Jesus factory in Communist China repeatedly appears on television as a symbol of Christian hope. Nothing ironic about that!

Honestly, I’m not laughing at their hardship…just at their sycophantic glorification of the phantom hand that smites them.

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Comment by Doug Harrington on October 13, 2008 at 7:51pm

Comment by Nate on October 13, 2008 at 11:07am
"Religion degrades and robs us in every aspect of our existence."

Nicely put, Freethinker.
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 30, 2008 at 4:50pm
Personally, I never really believed. My parents were church goers...Presbyterian, but they were not overly religious. We said grace before meals and went to church....that's about it.

The whole concept...religion, belief in miracles, talking snakes, a big boat with two of every animal on the planet...for me, all this seemed a little hard to swallow. The argument that if god didn't create the earth and the heavens, then who did, didn't seem solid. Even at a young age...I didn't accept as reasonable, the whole concept of god. I suppose I was the definition of a doubting Thomas.

Which takes me back to my original comment in this thread...I maintain that I never really made the choice to not believe...I just don't believe. (TJ believes that no one really has "free will".) Maybe we are all "wired" differently as far as gullibility goes or wired differently as far as a "need" for religion. ???????
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 30, 2008 at 4:35pm
Nate...My wife's family's "cult" was the Southern Baptist Church. She was able to deprogram herself by using observation, questioning and logic. By the time she was 15 or 16, she had figured out the Christian lie. Her own deprogramming process had started, I believe, sometime before she had realized it. It was, as you say, a gradual process.

She didn't substitute another fantasy for the fantasy of religion in order to wean herself from Christianity however.

I do agree with this statement..."if you can help a believer to see the contradictions inherent in their religion, without immediately taking their Sky Daddy from them, they may begin to think for themselves."

Perhaps this is what TJ has been saying also and I have misunderstood.
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 30, 2008 at 4:24pm
Excuse me was Nate who was able to join the realm of the non delusional.
Comment by Nate on September 30, 2008 at 3:16pm
[The following is my personal opinion. Your cult's denomination of your mindset...temporarily for you...was a result of your rejection of personal responsibilities, a dependency, a need to have your opinions and beliefs given to you by others...clearly indicating your unwillingness to be truthful with yourself.]

In my case, the cult's worldview was my default mode as it was indoctrinated into me since infancy. Built into the teachings was the idea that independent thought was disloyalty of the highest degree. I wasn't unwilling to see reality, just strongly discouraged. ;)

Back to the concept of gradual deprogramming- if you can help a believer to see the contradictions inherent in their religion, without immediately taking their Sky Daddy from them, they may begin to think for themselves. Their "God" will eventually evaporate in many cases.
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 30, 2008 at 2:54pm
"I am seeing very little progess with non-believers trying to get believers to quite believing cold turkey"

I'm not at odds with your effort TJ and I can't debate what you have seen or are seeing....I don't know what you are seeing....only what you tell me you are seeing. I AM glad you have joined the realm of the non delusional...congratulations.
Comment by TJMorgan on September 30, 2008 at 12:29pm
You can disagree as much as you like, but I am seeing very little progess with non-believers trying to get believers to quite believing cold turkey. Most believers will need that slow gradual decline.
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on September 30, 2008 at 12:21pm
Remember your premise TJ.."It is almost as if we will need to shake their faith for one fiction with another fiction that may at least be parallel to the truth. One step at a time if you will."

You may be reducing the substance of the addiction...but you are replacing the reduced dosage with increasing dosages of another addiction.

It is interesting that you have included the phrase "One step at a time if you will." The substitution of religion for drug addiction is an AA principal of replacement therapy. The result is not usually a "gradual and productive recovery". I don't know the recidivism rate for AA, but it is high.
Comment by TJMorgan on September 30, 2008 at 11:56am
The thing is Michael, when we are suplying the substance, we can control the dosage. Slowly we reduce the dosage so the addict doesn't notice. As the dosage is reduced, the addict becomes less dependant on it, until the addict is no longer dependant on it at all and is no longer even an addict. They are now free from the substance. There you have a gradual and productive recovery.



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