Saturday 30 August 2014

Elmer and the Evangelicals

This e-card was posted by Allen Dexter on FB with the comment: Exactly! I didn't have the stomach for it!

While I don't apply the "A word" to myself, I absolutely know what he means. There are good, decent Christian ministers out there, individuals who live lives of amazing integrity. Then there are the parasites and Elmer Gantry clones. Sadly, the balance seems to have shifted significantly in favour of the latter group. Witness the ongoing revelations over the "abusive, coercive ministry culture" of Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll. No wonder the word 'evangelical' has increasingly become a synonym for sliminess.

Rule of thumb: if it's a happy-clappy "pastor-knows-all" kind of church - grab your brain back as you exit the building and don't walk, run!


  1. You people of the Internet, I perceive that you are too religious: For as I surfed the Internet, I found postings that you believe in your brand of god, wherefore you ignorantly worship by putting an insane lying false prophet convicted felon over you to commit idolatry.

    Enough already!

    You must learn that religion is entertainment. Some people get it from Dr. Who, others from Star Trek conventions and even others from Dr. Phil and Suze Orman.

    It's not real. This megachurch thing is plastic religion served up in 40 minute bites. It is nutritionally spiritually devoid of love and other vital elements. It's just for show. If you like this sort of thing, fine, otherwise, you'd be better off in catching a live show in Las Vegas.

    But if it's contention you're after, we can suggest any number of right wing whack job talk shows to get your juices going, replete with conspiracy theories.

    You don't need religion to live.

    You might want to consider saving your money and spending it on food, clothing, shelter and other needs.

    And NOT at the Feast of Tabernacles!

    That's the most artificial entertainment of all.

  2. I think one of the biggest delusion that religious people have, is that their morals come from their religion.

    In public (my public is highly Christianized) rarely apply "A word" to myself, and don't think of myself as such, but theists have told me I am one -- it is their label. And to fight their stupidity, I occasionally use it if I think it effective.

    The most horrible bigotry of Christians, liberals do it too, is to assume us religion-free folks have no moral compass. That is because they have no clue where moral behavior comes from. Our genes, our up-bringing, our culture (so much bigger than religion) and our enviroment -- from these, a multitude of behaviors spring -- tis complicated. If a person thinks that morals come from reading, believing or being taught the Bible or by communing with a god, well then of course that person will be shocked when religious folks do bad things, Well, their theory is wrong -- that is not where morals come from. That is why we have such great religion-free folks (ATHEISTS). And that wrong theory is why theists keep distaining non-believers of every flavor.

  3. I suppose it would be futile to suggest "Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality" by attorney and Neuroscientist Dr. Laurence Tancredi.

    Too much fact.

    To little latitude for useless opinion.

  4. About fifteen years ago, at a gun show, I picked up a booklet titled "Freedom Outlaw's Handbook". One of the topics covered was how does one govern oneself if organized society suddenly collapses around us. In other words, what do you do when there is nobody around to set forth and enforce standards of right and wrong? The author then went into the concepts of mala in se (activities recognized by all civilized people throughout the history of mankind as being intrinsically evil), and mala prohibita (activities which are only "wrong" because a law states that they are illegal.).
    Examples of mala in se activities which were cited were stealing, murder, and incest, while the examples of mala prohibita "crimes" were parking in a restricted area or smoking a joint. The old adage of there being good and bad people in every major group most certainly is true, although adherents to different philosophies tend towards chauvinism. At best, a variety of beliefs acts as a system of checks and balances in our modern societies.

    I've also long believed that if an individual relies totally on a chosen group for his or her paradigms, that reliance acts as a throttle. Mega church services can provide an uplift, or boost, but one's own studies and activities are what provides the real depth. Those from an Armstrong background often tend to think of church as being exclusivist, or exclusionist because of the ways in which we were discouraged or forbidden from imbibing of the thoughts and writings of those outside of the group, or even nonofficial sources within the group. Again, that annoying throttle!

    There are always going to be those who need someone to do their thinking for them, and those who step up to the plate to exploit them with their particular concoction of Kool Aid. And then, there is the rest of us.


  5. Dr. Tancredi makes the proposition that morality is hard-wired and since he's both a prominent attorney and a neurologist, he does a pretty darn good job of it.

    Those who look to a 'flexible conscience' which adapts to the society or group around them are in danger of becoming sociopaths. If you don't understand the concept, look at the Mafia.

    Or Armstrongism.

  6. The book Elmer Gantry should be required reading for all high school students. Not that it's talented writing or refined literature - it isn't. But it's easy reading and it makes its point - in spades. For all those youngsters who have led sheltered lives and are about to go out into the world, a dose of reality would be tremendously helpful. Fact is, there are sociopaths among us and many of them are in the ministerial profession. It's the perfect cover for them. Most young people are not exposed to this and are not expecting it. The book Elmer Gantry would be quite an eye-opener. Too bad I didn't read it until age 50.