When I started this blog in 2010, I was riding a hell-bent train to discuss a certain level of self awareness that I was emboldened by — and insecure with — the label “atheist.” What ensued was a few years of what I felt was addressing a high level of antagonism against the church and my early education and my disappointment toward it for not being capable of an honest discussion of questions I asked of it.
We’ll call that time the anger years. Like attracted like, and this blog was a café for a lot of vocal non-theists, which also attracted some theists attempting to proselytize the so-called lost.
Those years are gone. The spirit of anti-theism brought on by an onslaught of religious thought upheaval (9/11, creationist propaganda, the like) and encouraged heavily by a handful of notorious atheist writers is pretty much at a lull. The most popular “atheist” site is still Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist Blog, but I can’t stand it. The ads are bullshit. The click throughs are too much. It’s a visual projectile vomit explosion. The responses/comment threads are boring. The content is solid, but you have to work to get to it, combing through all the ads and extraneous links.
The internet isn’t what it used to be, and I find that my favorite places are still absent of too much advertising. Even this blog is populated with bullshit that I imagine is a pain in the ass to overlook.
Every once and again, I stumble on bullshit like this guy (Dr. Tommy Mitchell) claiming Noah’s ark is not only plausible, it’d be impossible for it not to happen, and if you think ANY differently, you’re a fucking moron. The comments are disabled, because they know the responses they’ll get. And the guy preaches from invisible authority in a one-way torrent of piss-poor logic, imbecilic tropes and hilarious admissions of secular cliché toward their “truth.”
I don’t feel sorry for this guy or even anger anymore. I feel sorry for the gullibility of those in attendance. Those young people like me who sat there in those pews, in their school desks, and soaked all that up as if it were 100% accurate, infallible documentary evidence. Who turn around and walk into public, armed with shit-poor “evidence” and attempts to explain it to someone with a real education, only to be shot down time and time again with actual science.
At one point during the above sermon, I thought the guy was going to admit some iota of doubt in his proposition of the 100% accuracy of dinosaurs on the ark. He pointed to an unseen picture of the idiotic ideas secular bias has against his claims. He said, “Since we weren’t there, can we even know dinosaurs were on the ark is true or not.”
This kind of claim is common for Answers in Genesis. “Were you there to see the Big Bang? Well, neither was I so you can’t prove it happened!”
But this guy doubles down and says that we can KNOW that dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark because the Bible says land animals were created on day 6 … and we know the Bible doesn’t lie …
I don’t mind if this guy approached his claims from a level of honesty, and not as if this ONE book is absolutely true. But honesty would entail saying, “Hey, this is what I believe. I do see the holes in it. And I choose to overlook those. Won’t you look at what I’m saying and agree.”
But my upbringing the embodiment of that thought process: “This is the way, the only way, and that’s it. All other forms of information are WRONG. Mine is right. Others wrong. Don’t question. You’re free to question, but don’t! You’ll be tempted by the DEVIL (who you can’t see, but who is REAL. And God’s real. And you can’t see him. Believe don’t question!” Repeat, ad nauseam.
It’s this “questions are great, but don’t question” stance that from the inside is just peachy, but if you take a step outside that box, you’re full of the non-holy-spirit. You’re demonized. but loved at the same time. It’s a hocus-pocus magic trick of embarrassing mental aerobics.
On my journey through life, I haven’t settled on anti-theistic views, atheistic, agnostic or otherwise. I don’t feel confused or lost. But there are times when I really appreciate the views I’ve seen of a diamond in the rough who goes by the moniker “Naked Pastor.” I’ve wrote about him on this blog often. I even sent him money once to buy him a beer for being so rad.
Lately, he’s posted several drawings that I have returned to several times. Especially this one:
Accompanying the cartoon, Naked Pastor David Hayward writes:
In the top frame, belief is small and separated from the whole truth. It is distinctive and exclusive.
In the bottom frame, belief is a part of the whole, now subsumed in the whole of what is true. It is universal and inclusive.
I think that the idea of our personal growth being linear is not the healthiest one.
Rather, I think it is better to think of growth as spatial. We grow out, not along.
What this means for you personally is that you don’t have to feel ashamed of who you were. Even the parts that we feel inclined to feel shame over we can now allow it to incorporate into our stories as a part of our maturation process.
An analogy I like to use is compost. Good compost is a mixture of shit and earth. The parts of us we want to reject and feel shame over is the shit that now we can fold in along with the good earth that creates a nutritious mixture in which we grow. It’s all good.
My advice is to refuse to jump from one glass into another because it just perpetuates the same sad cycle of constantly rejecting yourself.
Instead, allow your wisdom to deepen and widen to include all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will be.
Love your whole self from beginning to end, inside and out!
Hopefully David doesn’t get too riled up that I posted so much of his post.
I love these words, though. I love them for how they resonate with a questioning mind, and how they don’t punish, or push away, but invite and embrace. There was very little importance placed on swinging out far from the tree on any kind of vine of any length.
And the poor people sitting in front of “Dr.” Tommy Mitchell and his obsessed views of forcing creation into the minds of church-y people is the exact opposite of David Hayward’s message … which is the message my real friends carry: acceptance and embrace of differences in opinion, thought, idea and loves.
I’m going to be so bold to post another cartoon from Hayward that supports this message and reminds me of my 20s when I tried desperately to ask questions and get answers that weren’t “Our collective way or highway” responses.
This cartoon is called, ““Pastors and Questions” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward”
When I post a cartoon like this, I often get responses like, “Not at my church! We’re allowed to ask questions.”
Sure. Okay. Your church invites questions.
BUT… what KINDS of questions?
I’ve never been to the church that invites questions. I haven’t been to a church in recent memory. I have no problem attending one. If I went, I would take copious notes and review them for myself, like I always have.
For the most part, the conversation of creation vs. evolution occupies very little of my brain. Once in a while it seeps in, I see videos from quacks like “Dr.” (not really a doctor) Tommy Mitchell and I shake my head.
The great thing about where I am is that origin stories don’t define my stance. Evolution could be proven false and I would still be critical and question the biblical account. The biblical account is too low a bar to consider remotely possible. I passed through my cocksure stance of both evolution AND creationism. And in this writer’s opinion, there are more merits to evolution, less antagonism toward non-acceptance, no threats or hate speech that emits from it, and therefore a better option.
Disbelief in creation has far reaching ramifications, including eternal fucking torment. Don’t threaten me with torture, please. I’m too old for that bullshit. If not accepting your perspective results in some level of pain, I’m pretty sure the Devil is the one pushing that concept.
When are more people going to wake to move on from irresponsible thought policing and propaganda?
I feel secure not knowing what’s exactly true, not being cocksure of anything, not pushing my thoughts on people I claim to love knowing love doesn’t include the arrogance of cocksure.
As my French teacher says about a hundred times a class, “Vive la difference.”
Long live the differences. I guess. Ho hum.