Gideon response III

But, about my commas... there is some dispute that commas are underused. I'm surprised, being an author, you didn't know this? (Did I do it right... the commas?)

Ah, I was just needling you about the commas 'cause you needled me about the French grammar. :)

May I ask the name(s) of the book(s) you wrote? Considering the Biblical simplicity of your pseudonym and the fact that your blogger profile page contains no links, you are effectively completely anonymous. Hence I had no way of knowing you are a published author. Congratulations! Can your work be purchased off Amazon or a personal website of yours? Or is it, like your current blog, something you'd rather I not see?

So, sweetie, (oh... does that demean you? No disrespect, but, you are young enough to be my child) let's see how honest YOU are, in your seemingly down-to-earth, laid-back, unassuming way of being, and in interaction. You ready, like so many other enlightened atheists I've encountered, to step up to the plate with ol' Gid, or, are you going to play the offended priss, and stomp off, somewhere?

You may use whatever endearments towards me you wish! As a child (as opposed to my current state, namely, "I'm not quite sure why I don't still count as a teenager") I was always envious of kids who had interesting nicknames based on their names or even based on their exploits. Good or bad, notoriety is notoriety in the eyes of one's peers. So you can call me sweetie, or honey, as my coworkers at the deli counter do, or Farty McGee The Butt-Faced Broad if that's what revs your engine.

This is my 'house' and I invited you. So I'm not leaving, and I have no intention of banning you. If I don't like you as a commenter, I have only myself to blame, since you wouldn't be here if I'd just sat back and said nothing. As for the other, I've only left one place as the result of an online fight. And that was a forum inhabited by the aforementioned Reverend Roger, of whom I am still very fond, albeit from a distance. If you are interested I will tell you about it; if not, no worries.

On to our differing views of what constitutes the proper approach to Christianity! You come to the discussion as a Christian who views himself as a righteous mouthpiece of God. I come to the discussion as a former Christian who has been deconverted for about ten years.

The only reason I bother with you at all, is, (comma?) that His Spirit moves me to do it. The "old man", as I said, doesn't really care. This is in line with what the apostle describes in his analysis of the human condition, during and prior to conversion.

Well, hey, I'm flattered your invisible friend wants you to talk to me. (And please know, when I use the term invisible friend, it is not meant to be derogatory. I had a beast of a time trying to find a symbol-set-neutral term, so that I'm not conceding the appropriateness of the other person's terminology in the middle of the discussion. And that's the best I could come up with.) It certainly jives with the fascination you inspire in me, which led me to invite you here. You are a rare amalgam of traits I abhor and traits I respect, which means that unlike many people who share certain of your views, it is actually possible to talk to you. You are a troll, yes, but by comparison to others who share some of your views, a very urbane and civilized troll! So yes, let's--let us bother with one another for a time.

I'll admit that, sometimes, it is gratifying to "kick some ass", especially when they ask for it. Of course, YOU would never do that, would you?

Honesty and transparency are the main reasons I like trolls. The thing I find abhorrent about your particular brand of trolling is that you take the position "I'm hurting you because it's good for you when I hurt you." Whereas Roger and his crew were quite open about the fact that they hurt people because they got a buzz out of starting fights, making people squirm, and doling out comeuppance where they believed comeuppance was due. You do the same, but you hide behind God. "No, see, Jesus wants me to be mean to you; the fact that I enjoy it is just a side benefit, his reward to me because I'm so faithful to him."

I am enjoying this interaction with you, by the way, however you wish to characterize it. It is like moshing with brains. Exhilarating, and lent a dangerous spice by the fact that there's always a remote possibility of someone getting an arm broken or a nose bloodied!

And I relish the opportunity to have this discussion with you, because I try very hard to operate within the frame my interlocutors are using. As I see it, when people take on the same tone, the same roles with one another, they can actually exchange information and ideas. If one person takes on an attitude which is sharply and wildly distinct from that of the other person, they don't communicate much. They just trade emotional value loads back and forth, until they either achieve equilibrium and begin to communicate, or one of them gives up. You came in "guns blazing"--so I get to blaze! I so, so rarely get to blaze! :D :D

As for my character, I am a Christian, whether I meet your criteria for being one or not. You said it - everyone tries their best.

It is true, as I personally choose to define the term, I do not at this time consider you a Christian. My definition of the term "Christian" is: a person whose highest and primary aim in life is to become like the Christ of the Gospels, according to my understanding of the same. Your definition may be similar, but it is necessarily based upon your own understanding of the Christ of the Gospels. Which is clearly different than mine.

When you say "the apostle", you mean Paul, yes? I've been flipping around the beginning of Acts, and I don't see any of his sermons transcribed until well after his conversion, when he was saying things like "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, to lay upon you no further burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well." (Acts 15:28-29) This arose out of a disagreement among the Apostles over whether Gentile converts should have to conform to Jewish custom as well as Christian doctrine. In these times the meat-sacrificed-to-idols bit doesn't apply. Though nobody seems to pay any attention whatsoever to the Jewish ecclesiastical laws from which the other instructions were drawn. Fornicating, now--Christians today do pay a lot of attention to fornicating. Ah! But I am getting bogged down in details.

To which statements of Paul's did you refer, or was it more of a general comment?

In fact, if one reads Proverbs, the wisest man that ever lived says, in effect, over and over, that assholes don't deserve any respect or fair treatment!

Oh, I love Proverbs!

When I was a little girl, Revelations was my favorite book of the Bible (so exciting, you know?) but as a teenager, I started to like Ecclesiastes best. It's good that it comes after Proverbs; it's like a sequel. King spends long reign composing wise sayings, then at the end, tired and trying hard not to be bitter, recounts what it feels like to be the person reputed to be most wise. Good stuff!

Nice thing about Proverbs is, it has a quote for every situation you can think of. It all depends which real-time thing you mean to hook up with which part of the proverb.

"There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." (Prov 12:18)

"He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he." (Prov 14:21)

"Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways." (Prov 3:30-31)

"The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh." (Prov 11:17)

Rose-colored glasses seem to be a common feature with the scarlet-A crowd. Only Christians are hypocritical pricks. *Sigh*

This is an interesting statement, and I put it up here right next to my own cherry-picked Bible verses for a reason.

I'm'a add another couple quotes from you and then get down to business.

I've had many of "God's children" desert me, though, at crucial times, and many atheists, too!

[quote from a different place]

So, when I see a bunch of know-nothing clowns blogging about how God is a prick, if He exists at all, I say to myself: Gid... those bastards need a visit, and a little tuning up!" Of course, any tuning up I do is in brotherly love! You believe me, don't you?

*Big, innocent, bloodshot eyes*

Now, it seems to me that you do not make any distinction at all between lifetime atheists and ex-Christians.

Lifetime atheists who never had any religious beliefs tend, in my observation, to be sort of casual, sarcastic, and baffled when they bash God. They're not so much opposed to people believing in God, they just don't understand why a person would want to worship a being which fits the garbled description that usually comes across to them. Lifetime atheists, then, oppose God because of either ignorance, or because they have encountered Christians who are more interested in pimping a political or social agenda than in actually preaching the Gospel. Even the Apostles, for all they argued about Jewish dietary laws, for all of Paul's exhortations not to bicker or fornicate or whatever, they followed the pattern: convert first, encourage life changes afterwards.

The way you, and a lot of those who take on the name of Christians, seem to do things is the opposite.

I know it's not Biblical--but do you remember that famous scene in Ben-Hur, when Ben-Hur is on a forced march and collapses from thirst? A gourd of water is thrust towards his mouth and he drinks, desperately. Then he looks up and sees a robed figure who, in the story of the movie, turns out to be Christ.

At a time when I was attending a church which met in the city, some of us went out a few times in the hottest part of the summer to hand out tracts. They were clever little tracts, written by our pastor, which had a graphic of droplets on the front next to the word "thirsty?" On the inside was a brief Gospel message, and directions and contact information to the church. We walked through the park in the daytime, under the hot sun, handing them out.

But we didn't bring any water. Not water bottles, not a jug and Dixie cups--nada. We didn't quench people's physical thirst, as a physical metaphor for the way in which Christ is said to quench the thirst of people's souls. We just reminded them of the fact that they were thirsty, did nothing to help, and then left. So instead of associating Jesus with their thirst being quenched, people associated Jesus with their thirst being mocked. Not surprisingly, nobody showed up at services in response to the tracts.

My point is that even if you are right about humanity's need for salvation, you are doing the same thing I and my then-fellow churchgoers did. You are rubbing their noses in the fact that they are "wrong", but you're doing it in such a way that there's not a snowball's chance on a hot summer day on a Chicago sidewalk that you'll inspire in them any desire to find out how to do right, instead.

As for former Christians, the above also applies, but they (we, I suppose) actually have baggage over and above the mere ignorance of the never-believers.

You, yourself, have been lied to, abandoned, mistreated by Christians and atheists alike. You think very little of humanity in general and take solace in God's wrath against the sinful.

And yet--if we assume you're right about Christianity being the One True Faith--you are actually stronger in your faith than those of us who left. Closer to God, still able to partake of his presence, mercy, gifts etc. Right here on my blog you've mocked people who left Christianity, saying "oh, they didn't get what they wanted, so they're taking their ball and going home." By your reckoning, we caved in to merely human weakness, abandoning God because humans failed us, humans who happened to be taking on the name of God at the time. We allowed the image of God in our hearts to be sullied and tarnished, confused with the images of human pettiness and human spite. Yet you, who have also been hurt by those who called themselves Christians, were able to stay with God and not lose your faith.

Yet you have no compassion in you, for we who were (allegedly) so destitute of strength, so pitiful and spineless, that we could be driven away from God by mere human cruelty. Instead you take pride in your own perceived strength of soul and are boastful. You do not rejoice that you are saved and we, because of our own fragility, are damned. Instead you take the things in us which are broken and seek to break them further. You do not encourage us by saying that God is not as we think he is, that we can live with God and be mighty and speak out against those who would take on God's name in vain. Instead, you compound and multiply the human pitilessness from which we fled.

You are exactly as you perceive us to be. You were hurt, so you take joy in hurting. You are strong, so you believe God has sent you to belittle and lash out at the weak. You see people being petty and spiteful and mean-spirited, so you go in among us and are petty and spiteful and mean-spirited. You bait and barb and look for chinks in our armor and wait with baited breath for a reaction of rage, for the wrath of the violated, the panic of the invaded. You are gleeful when you find it. You are satisfied when someone chases you away, because you take it as proof that you have done God's work.

"He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee." (Prov 9:7-8)

"Say not thou, I will recompense evil: but wait on the Lord and he shall save thee." (Prov 20:22)

"Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Prov 24:17-18)

And finally! The one I was looking for!

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him." (Prov 26:4)

I've gotten these quotes, given you "So much flattery!", as you said, to try and make sure you really, really understand what I'm trying to tell you. Most non-Christians would not bother to do it. The never-believers won't because they don't know how, and in the case of other ex-Christians, your persona is specifically tailored to give them a knee-jerk, emotional reaction which produces only flame. Which escalates into more flame, which helps absolutely no one, not by any definition of the word "help" which I would accept.

Personally I don't think that I and my fellow ex-Christians should be derided as weaklings for leaving a religion that mostly hurt them. Whether I myself am a weakling is a matter I always consider open for debate! Truly! But in my opinion, if ex-Christians have come to the conclusion that this idea people like to call God is a bunch of bullshit invented by humans who want to be able to bully other humans and tell them what to do, then we get to think that. And if we want to blow off steam about how frustrated we are at the bullshit we abandoned, then we get to do that, too. And if you are distracted by the steam and smoke and baggage and won't be troubled to "look behind the curtain", then we are going to interpret your behavior as merely further evidence that we were correct in the first place. Turnabout, my friend!

It is the person who makes the positive assertion--viz., "Christ is the only truth"--who bears the burden of proof. One who makes a negative assertion--viz., "you are not believable or honest when you talk about Christ, and as far as I can tell there may be no Christ"--merely asserts that a burden of proof has not been met to that one's satisfaction. If you think we are fools and weaklings because we say we are not satisfied with the proofs you offer, you can do one of two things. You can throw up your hands in disgust and laugh at us on your way out the door, or you can try different tactics. I myself strenuously request the latter.

I'm not friends with every atheist and ex-Christian on the internet--nor every interesting, cool, compassionate Christian, either, and I'm friends with some of those! But the ones I choose to follow are the ones that seem to be doing something interesting or amusing with their post-deconversion reaction, and not merely wallowing in bitterness or spite. I am quite sure you see it differently. Nonetheless, my willingness to respect and tolerate your different perspective is why you are here to stay as long as you like, instead of haranguing somebody else until they ban you. ;)

Much though I love to blaze and clash with you, I want there to be real information exchange too, because this is important! I think a lot of people within the aegis of Christianity would either:

a) tell you to "go get 'em!" because they are making what I see as the same mistake you are making, or
b) not want to criticize you because you are a co-religionist.

Some of the people in this second category are those same Christians you denounce as "pussies", the ones who frustrate me because their "God" seems to make them more squeamish, more frightened, more withdrawn inside themselves, than they ever would have been without a religion. People in the first category, as I said above, would not have stuck it out with me this far.

So I congratulate you on that, certainly. And congratulations as well for keeping me up past my bedtime on a worknight. ^_^ Ah, the joys of a job that tires out my back but not my brain.

I await your next response with great interest!

Cheers, toodles, and hope everybody had a happy Labor Day.


Amber E said...

Love the Proverbs quotes, it is a great book. Labor day was swell, hope you guys are having a great day.

Gideon said...

Cripes, but you're wordy, girl! Tell you what... I'll just answer a few of the points you've made that are of particular interest to me. That way, being as I'm much older than you, my lifespan won't expire before I'm finished!

I'm not an author. I was referring to you, not about anything that I've done. I don't have the time to write anything like a book. Even my web activities are necessarily limited.

Yes, it's your house. And, I'm damned glad you invited me!

I don't view myself as righteous, but, I know what's truth, and there is a short supply of that in the world, today.

I don't care about any Reverends, either. I despise many of the so-called "Christians" that are online, and the feeling's mutual, I'm sure. These pseudo-Christians are simply dupes of a much larger organization that is primarily pagan. Christ will tell them that He never knew them. Funny... if there are so many "saved" Christians, why does the Bible say that the gate to salvation is narrow, and few will find it?

About "bothering with you at all"... that is the way it is with humanity. If we do anything good at all, it's not us, but the Spirit working in us. As Paul stated, all of OUR righteousness is as filthy rags.

Me, a troll? Perhaps. I've spent enough time in their company, usually stomping them into trollshit! I love pounding on them, they are a useless waste of skin! If I'm a troll's troll, I'd consider that a compliment.

As for hurting you, well, if a little text is going to bother you, then all you have to do is just ask me to leave. That's the difference between me and a troll. Trolls don't leave, except when they feel like it. I won't hang around where I'm not wanted. Most like me, because I liven up their otherwise mundane blog. Some, like your pal, Lorena, I definitely won't stay with. She really and honestly doesn't want me around. So, I'm gone, no problemo. She's definitely a troubled individual, I'm serious! I don't want to be the one that causes her to pop a cap next to her temple!

What the hell did I say regarding Paul? I don't remember! Well, if I used the term 'apostle', I meant Paul.

I don't "flame" other people, they do it to themselves. As you can see, I can relate with people on a civilized basis... or, I can go to the gutter, your choice! Either way, I don't apologize for the way I am. People don't like me, stay the hell away from me!

As for your turnabout quip... hey, you can believe what you like, but, when you become vociferous in those beliefs, expect attention from all corners... some bad. I certainly expect derision just for being a Christian.

"Now, it seems to me that you do not make any distinction at all between lifetime atheists and ex-Christians."

Not much. Exxies ought to know better, though... that is, if they were honest about things in the first place. I'm not totally devoid of mercy. You, of course, know that. Lorena never bothered to stay the course with God, so, why would she do any different with me? She's her own worst enemy.

Anyway, hope that answers some of your points.