St Mark’s Letter to the ignorant and bigoted

I was raised in a very Christian household. By very Christian, I mean going to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night (unless there was a revival going on,
then your weeknights were shot until it was over, usually about a week).

I mean that  I was read bible stories at bedtime from birth until I was about age 5. Last night while on a mission to the forbidden lands of storage under my Model Rail Road Layout (which I am incidentally  considering doing a total revamp of) “In Search Of” a couple of books for the recent research the I was doing as well as an old soldier’s manual I tore through over 16 boxes looking at books and pulling out the very few that I thought that would apply or that I simply wanted “close at hand”. The end count was around 20….still no soldier’s manual to speak of. I had gone through every box no matter the subjects and titles listed on the boxes. Science? well soldiering is a bit of a science and it has it’s rules and own psychology that apparently works pretty good…so why not? I also knew something else…I had used “filler books” to make up for wasted space and provide a tighter pack. And since the military has been around for so long, been so ingrained in out history and sciences, and covers so wide a group of topics…almost any box could contain the aforementioned book. It was while investigating the box that merely said Bibles, that I found “IT”…What is “IT” you ask? “IT” was simply the very first piece of my very early indoctrination. “The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos” 1961 edition {first copyrighted in 1935}”.  Surprisingly well written.
I mean that at age three my mother asked me to accept christ into my life and at age 5 I tried to be baptised, but was put off until age 8.
I mean that in my teens both of my parents were ordained as ministers, so that my father could “finally” quit his civil service job 6 months before retirement, and take his “dream job” of working for a missionary organization (one that broke their word and dumped him after getting a full year of free labor and experiance out of him).
I mean that until the age of 20 or so, I “felt led” to become a missionary bush pilot and actually trained and got my pilot’s license for that purpose and was working on several more ratings to go along with it. We had several family friends who were missionaries in Jordan and Zimbabwe, and later a couple in Nepal.

In my 10th year of school I actually asked my parents to send me to a private “Christian” High School, thinking somehow that
it would be more “Spiritual” and “Christian”. I was wrong, badly so. That is around the time that my parents changed from Baptists to non denominational Pentecostals. The whole “laying on of hands”, faith healing, speaking in tongues, being “slain in the spirit” ect…

Yep, I was pretty thoroughly indoctrinated. Yet, even at a young age I still had questions. I still saw many areas of the bible that I felt did not completely jive with what I was being told in church. I tried asking serious questions. Almost every single time, without fail I was either rebuked or was given a demonstrably flimsy answer, though mostly it was being rebuked for the “sin of doubting”, which is kind of ironic, because I didn’t actually have any real doubts about “GOD”, merely questions about the how and whys. What was I not seeing? What was I not comprehending?

While I had been exposed to evolutionary theory, it was a very watered down and simplified version. Such is the sad state of the American educational system, sadly.

Sometime in my early twenties, I figured out that Christianity was not for me. If for no other reason, than because a great deal of scriptures contradicted each other and no preacher or christian
scholar wanted to face that fact (especially when you ask them directly, they get ~very~ upset and even become hostile towards you).
I tried several different religions, Paganism, Judaism, Wicca, studied Taoism and Buddhism…anything that I could get my hands on. Yet I still kept my “Christian” costume in my closet pulling it out when the need suited me. Mostly because it was the one most recognizable by the general population.  Eventually I gave up on religion as I kept seeing, not only hypocrisy and religious leaders constant lying, but I could not in my own mind justify my stated beliefs due to a complete lack of evidence.

I believe that it was Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (a video series that I remembered fondly from my youth, and which upset my mother’s religious views greatly) which first led me to seriously question the existence of a god. Science bless that man!

In the last year, I began to re-watch the series again and again. Then I began to investigate more and more. I retaught myself how to use my long dormant critical thinking abilities, and to ask questions and honestly seek the answers once again. I started watching every single science program that I could find. I watched The Atheist Experience on You Tube, and was hooked. For the FIRST time I was hearing the REAL scientific rebuttals to creationists claims and not just the Strawman arguments that creationists and preachers pull out of their theological ass, and CLAIM that evolutionists and scientists believe. I heard the rebuttals to the christian/creationist arguments. I had heard those arguments so many times before that I could almost quote them by heart (although I have to admit that Kirk Cameron’s “crockaduck” argument was new and even I when I was a christian would have called it crazy) I had even used them in
my secondary school papers, though I knew in my heart at the time that I was doing so, that I was being untruthful, and that the evidence pointed towards evolution. I knew that I have written it from a biased and totally unscientifically founded presupposition.
It was the common or rather a combination of the most obvious Christian presuppositions of course. #1 being of course the presupposition that there EVEN IS a god in the first place, without showing scientific evidence to back up your claim. #2Was That the Bible, the book that I held in my hand, or the many that sat on my desk at home, had somehow, through the many generations, the the several councils of Niccea, the many translations, managed to remain unaltered and accurate.
I think that my upbringing is what kept me from admitting that I was in reality an atheist/evolutionist far sooner. The truly funny thing is that while my wife insisted that we take my stepson to church about 8 years ago,( and we did), she could see that my heart
was not really in it, and that during the sermons, my mind was constantly thinking of the counter arguments and contradictions (perhaps it was because every time the preacher said one thing from the bible, I was turning to another passage that was saying the exact opposite and constantly writing notes with plenty of questions, for myself) I even, on more than one occasion, corrected the pastor’s interperatations of a Greek or Hebrew word.

I am far more educated in both, than the vast majority of American preachers, who often never even study either in seminary.

lol when I say that I studied Judaism, I should have said EMERSED myself in it, even to the point of almost converting. So my Hebrew is pretty good (if a bit rusty) and my ancient Greek isn’t bad either (the benefits of a year in a private christian high school, and the anticipation of possibly needing it for the seminary degree that I had just found out that the two biggest Missionary groups supporting over 90% of the  pilots and aircraft, flying in the mission field, would require of me, JUST TO FLY IN SUPPLIES AND MEDICAL STUFF!!! Now I want to say that BOTH of these “missionary” groups wanted me to have…a Commercial and Instrument pilot’s rating, preferably (as in  “Get one!) with a Multi-Engine rating. Those with Helicopter experience will not be turned down! So far not too awful bad right? Nothing unexpected. It is the law after all.

Next they wanted me to have Aircraft mechanic certificates of the Airframe and Power plant as well as preferably your Avionics certificates as well. About 4-6 years worth of schooling and OJT…Without the Avionics certificate. Yeah, tell me how mechanics are “too stupid to do anything else”, one more time.

I’m guessing that I’m just supposed to slip a 4 year theology degree in while I’m busy not sleeping huh?!

All for the ~Pleasure~ of getting to spend a full year and every fourth year hereafter, drumming up your own paycheck (which gets doled out to you by the missionary group funding you on a “as WE think that you should get it” basis, for the “privilege” of sweating your ass off flying over (and quite possibly being shot at…) and working in the jungles of some Third World armpit of a nation…for next 3+ years. All to help those who are supposedly helping the indigenous populous, by bringing them food, medicine, education, CLOTHES BY GOD! We need to cover up those naked heathens! Who cares if it’s 120+ F with 99 3/4% humidity? I want to see clothes on these people NOW!  Disgusting, absolutely disgusting! GOD! These Heathens need GOD NOW! How can we plan on breaking ground on the new seminary building next fall if we can’t even get clothes on these people now? And for God’s sake…Teach them some English, who knows if they get good enough, we might let them work as maids and gardeners in our homes once we drag civilization out to this hellhole.

I’m not really bitter with religion as a whole, though willfull ignorance does make me angry, as does passing on on your ignorance in the guise of “Teaching”. And taking advantage of the elderly, feeble, frail and scared senior citizens for their social security check, is just RIGHT OUT!…ORAL… As is the Sexual Abuse of children! and Protestants, I can assure you that you and your clergy are not immune from this. I know more than one victim of Sexual Abuse and even rape and attempted rape by Pastors, a “Minister of Music, more than one “Youth Minister”, and several “Deacons and/or Elders”, as well as several “Nursery Aids/workers” and at least one “Sunday School Teacher”. Not to mention the “Statutory Rape” through the seduction of A 12 YEAR OLD GIRL!!! By using the “God wants us to” argument and some really messed up cherry picking out of Revelations to show her that “Your” Baby would be the one that stopped the Anti-Christ. Did you really suggest naming him “John Conner”? Was she OLD enough to even GET the reference?

Mostly though I don’t care what individual people believe in, as long as they can keep it to themselves and not try to use it to influence science, education and things that are for the public good.

For instance, if somebody is against socialized medicine because our government has an appalling track record with it’s few socialized health care attempts (it really does, Oy Vay does it have problems! It is so bad that I can name that collosal blunder in TWO Letters…V.A. ), I can understand that and we can work together to craft a better system, or find a different solution.

If however you are against it on religious grounds ie you believe
that it will somehow lead to a one world government led by Satan and his Anti-Christ, and bring about the apocalypse…Then you
probably aren’t even willing to try and find some sort of solution.

I want to know answers and am willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads. If scientists made some great discovery tomorrow and a large number of them said “Hey we were wrong, it turns out that the Earth WAS created out of nothing and everything
sprang into being all at once, and here is our evidence………” Then , though skeptical, I would look at and follow the evidence, after of course, testing it myself.
Granted, at this point the evidence would have to be pretty overwhelming, for scientists to make that statement.

One thing that my time in the military has taught me is that people from all kinds of backgrounds with all kinds of beliefs, and even all kinds of sexual orientations,  CAN get along and work together for the common good. They just need to be able to have a common goal and the willingness to put aside differences (or at least percieved
differences) . I have worked with people of all races, religions, and every conceivable variable within those religions, people of all different socio economic and educational backgrounds, and people of every conceivable sexual orientation, with not a single one of
those things ever being an issue.

(Although admittedly when I worked in close quarters with 10
women for several years, things used to get ~pretty tense~ for one week a month…:-))

I Know Many Gay and Lesbian couples, and I don’t see any difference in the love shared between them and that of any random long term Heterosexual couple. Nor between them and any typical Christian couple. If your major complaint is that “The God of YOUR Bible, says that’s it’s wrong”….My argument is simply that “Just as we should not bow to pressure to enact Sharia Law for any interaction concerning Muslim people, NEITHER should we
blindly accept the Laws of YOUR particular Stone Aged goat herder religion, NOR ANY others!  You see, Our First Amendment to our constitution, protects YOU,  from others enforcing their religion, just as it protects others from you pushing yours on them.

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One Response to St Mark’s Letter to the ignorant and bigoted

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