So I Went to Church Yesterday
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05-04-2010, 08:46 AM
So I Went to Church Yesterday
Hi all,

I haven't officially introduced myself yet, and I probably will soon in another thread, but I had some stuff floating around in my head and not many people to share it with in the real world. So thought I'd start a thread and just share out here on the internets.

I went to church yesterday for Easter service. Now, to clarify off the bat, I don't like church. In general, I hate it. And I certainly don't believe in most anything discussed or taught there. I went for the benefit of my spouse.

I used to be a vague Christian, and what's funny is that now that I have figured out that I don't actually believe any of this stuff, and that there isn't any good evidence to believe this stuff, church services are slightly more tolerable to sit through. Mostly I sit there and pick out the inconsistencies or illogical thoughts or fallacies that Mr. Pastor Man commits as he goes along in his sermon. At times I have to stifle a giggle or a laugh because it just gets ludicrous at times.

I live in the southern US, and the dominant denomination here is Southern Baptist. Good old conservative, mostly-literal (except when inconvenient) Biblical Christianity prevails here. And yesterday's sermon was, of course, on the resurrection. You know the one I'm talking about.

I don't think I have ever heard the words "historical" "accurate" "reliable" or "proven" so much in such a short span of time. Over and over again - "it's been proven" and "we can be confident that this (the Bible) is a reliable, historically accurate document" and so on. "There's so much evidence that there is no doubt... some people simply refuse to believe..." etc, etc. All it was was these bold blanket assertions of accuracy and truth over and over. Which is why I almost never go to these services anyway - they're never even uplifting or what I would call "spiritual" - it's just "the Bible is right and true and you should believe it."

But I kept waiting for the evidence. And as you might expect, it never came. I got what the Pastor thought was evidence. In a roundabout way, after you listened to the entire thing, you realized that all he was doing was shifting the burden of proof. His point of view is that here, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Believers have this story of resurrection. There it is. It's all they need. And you (the Unbelievers) have to prove it false.

I wanted to stand up and scream "NO!" You, the Believer, have a story that you have to prove true. With EVIDENCE. Of which there doesn't appear to be any. I wanted to beat my head against the pew as I watched all these people nod and smile and "amen" for half an hour - including my wife. I'm just still trying to figure out if the pastor really believes this stuff or if he's just full of it.

I had to call my brother (a fellow heathen, though he doesn't consider himself an atheist per se) after service, just so I could say the word 'bullshit' to someone before my head exploded. I was trying to find a transcript of the sermon so I could point out to my wife the fallacies in it, but it seems I can only do audio from their site, and I'm not sure if I'm up for listening to it again.

Anyway, I guess this was mostly a vent. Thanks for lending an ear (eye).

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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05-04-2010, 08:49 AM
RE: So I Went to Church Yesterday
No problem.

But now I have this song stuck in my head.

I went to church last Sunday
So I could sing and pray
But something quite unusual
Happened on that day

Now church it started right on time
Just like it does without a doubt
And everything was all just fine
Except when it came time to let us out

You know the preacher he kept preaching
He told us I have one more thing to say
Children before you think of leaving
You better think about the Judgment Day

Now everyone got nervous
Because everyone was hungry too
And everyone was wondering
What was the next thing he would do

And the preacher he kept preaching
He said now I'll remind you if I may
You all better pay attention
Or I might decide to preach all day

And now everyone was getting so hungry
That the old ones started feeling ill
And the weak ones started passing out
And the young ones they could not sit still

And the preacher's voice rose higher
So I snuck up on the balcony
And I crept into the choir
And I begged them brothers, sisters, help me please

I said when I give you a signal
I said when I raise up my hand
Won't you please join with me together
And praise the Lord I have a plan

And the preacher he kept preaching
Long is the struggle, hard the fight
And I prayed, Father please forgive me
And then I stood up and with all my might
I sang

To the Lord let praises be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
We've got some beans and some good cornbread
And I listened to what the preacher said
Now it's to the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat

Yes and I did give a signal
Yes and I raised up my hands
And then joined with me the choir
Yes every woman, child, and man
They sang

To the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
We've got some beans and some good cornbread
And I've listened to what the preacher said
Now it's to the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat

And the preacher he stopped preaching
And a hush the church did fill
And then a great white dove from up above
Landed on the window sill

And the dove flew down beside him
And a fork appeared right in his hand
And with everybody watching
The preacher ate that bird right there and then

And now everyone got really nervous
And the preacher he did start to glow
And as we watched in disbelief
These were the words he spoke

He said now Mama's in the kitchen
And she's been there all day
And I know she's cooking something good
So let's bow our heads and pray
And he sang

To the Lord let praises be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
We've got some beans and some good cornbread
Now listen to what the preacher said
He said to the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat

And the moral of this story
Children it is plain but true
God knows if a preacher preaches long enough
Even he'll get hungry too
And he'll sing

To the Lord let praises be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
We've got some beans and some good cornbread
Now listen to what the preacher said
He said to the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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05-04-2010, 09:53 AM
RE: So I Went to Church Yesterday
(05-04-2010 08:49 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  No problem.

But now I have this song stuck in my head.

Well gee whiz thanks for sharing so now it's in my head. Wink

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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05-04-2010, 10:01 AM
RE: So I Went to Church Yesterday
No problem. Welcome to TTAF. Big Grin

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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06-04-2010, 12:20 PM
 
RE: So I Went to Church Yesterday
Songs aside, I can relate to the pure frustration you feel. It's one thing to make a false claim or an unsubstantiated one, but the constant repetition grates against my nerves like discordant music or a bad smell. Particularly repetition of claims being presented as absolute fact without anything that could qualify as evidence. Everyone has the right to do so, of course, but then I naturally have the right to view it with as much respect as it deserves--which, logically, is none.

Not just in regard to religion, either. I have two roommates who seem passionately devoted, for some reason, to the idea that quarks (or something at the quantum level) respond to the observer's WISHES. Not simply to the fact of being observed. They glare a lot when I ask for evidence, get agitated and sometimes swear a little.

One of them, John, kept insisting that this "quantum wishing" (my term for it, not his) was fact. I asked where he heard it, and he said that it was "commonly repeated" (his words). I asked him if he had any studies that referenced this phenomenon--after all, we both had our laptops open and powered on. After a great deal of glaring and insisting that it was something he'd heard "everywhere," he finally produced a study documenting the observer effect. I pointed this out politely. He insisted again that there was "shitloads" (his word) of evidence that quarks respond how the observer wishes them to, not simply to observation--although neither of us could find it in any studies on scientific or university websites though the observer effect was well-documented there. He continued to insist on these "shitloads," but said that he "knew it was true" and "didn't need to find the studies," and acted as though I should consider "quantum wishing" to be true on that basis alone.

There are two problems with this. The first one is inconsistency. I've heard some version of the third statement below from many people--I'm using germ theory as an example, but this could just as easily be replaced with any scientific theory or even many concepts.

Consistent: “I don’t care if (germ theory) is accurate. So I don’t know, and I’m not interested in knowing.”
Consistent: “I care enough about whether or not (germ theory) is true to find out.”
Contradictory: “(Germ theory) must be inaccurate because (X,Y,Z). (XYZ) may or may not be true; I don’t care enough to find out.”


Most of all, it is simply a matter of presuming certainty where none exists. If someone says Russel's teapot MIGHT exist, I just shrug. If someone says they THINK it exists, I might ask them why they thought so. If someone says that the teapot DOES exist and they can PROVE IT, then all they can do is glare at me and insist it's "commonly repeated" and that there's "shitloads of evidence," then refuse to provide it and act as though I'm being unreasonable...then what have they done besides show themselves to be irrational?
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