Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Praising the Virtues of Ignorance

I decided to go to cbn.com, Pat Robertson's website, and look for the craziest thing I could find on there to ridicule mercilessly. Upon browsing the site, I saw more crazy than I could have ever imagined.

But you know what? It didn't immediately make me feel like mocking them. It actually made me feel sorry for the people who go to that site in earnest, seeking truth. There are so many people who have been deceived so completely, brainwashed so thoroughly, that they will believe anything they read, as long as it comes from a "Man of God." These people go to CBN and make decisions based on what they read there about what charities to support, how to raise their kids, how to handle their money, and even what movies to go watch. It is very sad to know that people so freely hand their life decisions over to a money and power crazed charlatan.

That being said, I did find something to ridicule.

Jackie Overpeck, a CBN contributor, wrote an article entitled The Smudgy Sin of Disbelief. She seems to be a nice enough lady; she even seems very sincere in her desire that her writing will help people. She is, however, an ignorant follower of the religious dogma that she was no doubt taught from childhood. She freely admits that she believes that doubt, skepticism, and knowledge-seeking are by their very nature sinful, and implies that they should be avoided at all costs.

Jackie writes:
A person who doubts is a called a skeptic. A skeptic is someone who hesitates at
the truth, especially religious teachings, including the Bible. Skepticism
has the same effect in our hearts that blotchy makeup has on our eyes.
Au contraire, my dear.

How can one say in good conscience that a skeptic hesitates at the truth? A skeptic is one who seeks the truth, above all else. Religious teachings, especially the Bible, are not truth; they are questionable history at best; fable and myth, most likely; and outright manipulative lies at worst. A skeptic hesitates at the unproven. A skeptic seeks evidence, repeatable outcomes, logical connections. In other words, the truth.
Being a doubter fills the heart with darkness. Why? Doubt divides us from the
truth. The truth is that which is sincere. The truth isn’t always easy, but it
is authentic and real.
Doubt does not divide us from the truth. Doubt causes us to probe further into cause and effect; to seek out the concrete; to execute the scientific method. Doubt leads us to truth. It's true that the truth isn't always easy. But without doubt, we never know what is authentic and real.

The best thing you can do is tell God about it. Disbelief causes us to
stand far away, point and say, “I doubt that.” Instead, get certainty. Get out
your Bible and search the Scriptures. Find out for yourself what God says by
quieting your mind and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

Yeah. That's great advice. I could (and probably will) write and entire blog post about the absurd things one can find in the scriptures. Someone smarter than I said it before, but it's true that the fastest way to atheism is to read the Bible.

And sure. Quiet your mind. Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. My guess? It's going to tell you EXACTLY WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WANTING VALIDATION FOR. The Holy Spirit is your own internal self-justification, numbnuts. You're just giving it an external validity.

Finally, she closes with:
I’m convinced that God has a Maybelline mascara remover bottle in heaven. How do I know? He has washed my darkened eyes from the smudgy sin of disbelief and
doubt many times.
Jesus. Why do christian writers always feel like they have to use a clever and witty analogy to begin and end their work? It's awesome when a writer is randomly inspired by a great analogy (a fantastic example is this entire post on skepticism by my friend Lord Runolfr). But the Maybelline mascara remover bottle in heaven? Really. That's lame. Dude.

I have learned to revel in the "smudgy sin of disbelief and doubt." I used to fear it, just as Ms. Jackie does. I used to sincerely believe that it was the work of the Devil. What opened my eyes? I'm not sure. I know that my realization of the futility of prayer was the first step; but it was a long, slow road to real reason.

I'm glad I travelled it.

3 comments:

KiwiInOz said...

Hear, hear.

Aidan said...

"How can one say in good conscience that a skeptic hesitates at the truth? A skeptic is one who seeks the truth, above all else. Religious teachings, especially the Bible, are not truth; they are questionable history at best; fable and myth, most likely; and outright manipulative lies at worst. A skeptic hesitates at the unproven. A skeptic seeks evidence, repeatable outcomes, logical connections. In other words, the truth."

Does a false clause make an entire argument false?

Ignore what Austin Cline writes; try reading up on alternative views of Christianity versus the Fundamentalist view, if you're going to attack them all as being equal.

John Shelby Spong has a way of viewing Christianity that I almost find acceptable as a defining reference. Brother David Steindl-Rast has authored books that look at the Western-Eastern philosophical commonalities of Christianity with other religious influences. Thomas Merton likewise looked at Zen philosophy as applies to widening a Christian perspective.

If all you do is attack the Bible, while calling at the shortsightedness of fundies who rely on their limited knowledge of the Bible, you only revel in your own ignorance of the seminary study of those who live their lives on those paths.

Not that I'm ANYWHERE in that league myself.

But I've had lots of fun conversations with some of them.

And, for the record, I'm not a Christian myself. Kinda lack that whole "Jesus is God" mentality. :p

I'm not even a fan of the idea of a statement of fact that "a deitic God does exist, must exist, and can be proven to exist".

The only rational view, in my experience, is to state - if your actual interest is the TRUTH, "I don't know, and neither do you."

N said...

I don't know Austin Cline, so I'm kind of ignoring what he writes by default.

In this post, I wasn't attacking the Bible. I was attacking what this one particular lady wrote. Yes, I poke fun at the hard-line fundamentals. I think it is important to be able to laugh at things that are ridiculous. This woman was making statements that were COMPLETELY contradictory to what you stand for; she is saying to avoid questioning anything the Bible says; don't investigate further; follow this religion blindly. I think you and I agree that her position is dangerous and ugly.