Selling Religion

Yesterday evening when I opened the front door in response to the dog’s barking (aka the doorbell), I came face-to-face with two young, well-groomed fellows standing on our front porch. Before either said a word, I politely told them I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. The “lead” individual smiled broadly and said, “Oh, we’re not selling anything.”

I smiled back and politely responded, “Yes, you are. You’re selling religion.”

Somewhat taken aback, but still continuing his shining smile, he countered, “No, we’re not selling anything.”

I reiterated (with my own best smile), “Yes, you are.  You’re selling religion.”

As he shook his head and opened his mouth to again offer his denial, I looked into the eyes of his partner, then back at him, and assured both of them that … “Really. I’m not interested.”

By now, I could tell he knew that I knew why he was there so he thanked me … and apologized for disturbing the dog. 🙂

I never asked, but assumed they were two-by-two Mormons. Nice-looking, well-dressed, polite. But obviously (at least to me) … on their “mission.”

I feel fairly certain that few believers consider it “selling their religion” when they talk to you about their “God.” But what else should it be called? When they want to offer you something (they think) you don’t have and (in their opinion) you need, is this not a form of selling? No money may exchange hands, but if you accept their offer, a (heavenly) transaction has definitely taken place.

What I think is disturbing to many of us is we’re simply not in the market for heavenly goods. We may have owned them in the past but over time, they lost their value so we permanently discarded them. Some simply have never had any desire to make that initial “purchase.” And some discovered the goods were so fraught with blemishes and flaws that they cursed the maker and vowed never again.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but religious salespeople seem to be everywhere you turn. It almost makes one want to start carrying a sign or wearing a badge that says “No Soliciting. No Exceptions.”

Here We Go Again

Religious Freedom seems to be the topic of the day in many circles (after the impeachment, of course). Especially since our esteemed President signed the recent Executive Order which he said was aimed at “reducing discrimination against people and groups of faith.”

(Ironically, Trump ended his above comment with … “There’s nothing more important than that.” I can’t help but ask … more important that impending impeachment?)

One writer in an article about the EO seemed giddy with excitement:

President Trump acted in the best interests of the American people Thursday when he signed an executive order to bolster and protect the rights of students to pray and discuss God in their schools. The order champions and reinforces the freedom of religion guaranteed to us in the Constitution as one of our most important rights.

He went on to say (undoubtedly without prejudice) …

We’re not looking to coerce or force anyone to accept our beliefs – we simply want government to respect our constitutionally derived right to freely express our own deeply held faith.

Of course the question then arises … WHOSE “deeply held faith” are you referring to, sir? The deeply held faith of the Muslim? The deeply held faith of the Mormon? The deeply held faith of the Sikh? The deeply held faith of the Jew?

Oh wait! His next remark seems to make it quite clear:

My own organization has been encouraging students to exercise their religious freedom by bringing their Bibles to school on the first Thursday of every October. (emphasis added)

Maybe I’m off-base, but aren’t Bibles the textbook for Christians?

He goes on to mention how terribly some (Christian) students are treated because they were …

… prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, and chastised for expressing biblical points of view in class assignments.

IMO, his first two complaints have some validity, but that last one? Borderline if you ask me. I mean, isn’t “expressing biblical points in class assignments” an example of crossing that line?

In another article on the same subject, the Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board contended that …

the “White House isn’t saying whether one should pray or to whom or what they should pray to” with the announced changes but that “they are simply making it clear that in the United States students have First Amendment rights also, and our ‘separation of church and state’ wasn’t intended to suppress a vibrant religious life in America but to facilitate it.”

Sounds good, but if this guy is on the evangelical advisory board, there’s little doubt the entity “to whom” he’s referencing.

It never ends. Instead of allowing people to be who and/or what they want to be, certain groups insist upon molding everyone to their way of thinking/believing.

Doesn’t anyone ever wonder why “God” (who is supposed to the All-Wise One) didn’t design his creations to all think the same way? It sure would have saved us humans a lot of grief!

Loving Darkness

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

Even though I long ago stopped believing in the fairy tales that define Christianity, there are a few lines from the “The Book” that have stuck with me over the years.

One in particular has repeatedly come to mind as I read and listen to all the events, circumstances, actions, etc. surrounding the current POTUS …

Men love darkness rather than light
because their deeds are evil

(For veracity’s sake, the actual scripture (John 3:19, KJV) is as follows: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.)

Naturally believers will insist this scripture be read in context and will adamantly point out that John was talking about Salvation (printed in red for obvious reasons) through J.C.

However, I think most would agree that believers have been known to “cherry-pick” scriptures now and again to support their cause.

I’m just doing the same. 😎

But back to the saying.

Anyone following the Twitter King is continuously and diarrhetically reminded by him that every and all claims of malfeasance on his part are LIES, LIES, LIES!! (All generated by the Democrats, of course). Yet any requests for him to provide documentation, witnesses, phone records, TAX records, etc. to support and validate his position are immediately (and vehemently) DENIED. In fact, he has even attempted to utilize “the law” to protect his (many) secrets.

Now why do you think that is? Why do you think it’s so important for Donald J. Trump to keep some things in the dark??

Hmmm.

Then and Now

Scottie, a blogging friend, recently posted the following graph. Although I know many of my readers/followers also read his blog and may have already seen it, I wanted to give it as much exposure as possible since the contents are so “right-on.”

Paraphrasing a comment by Scottie … it’s amazing how otherwise smart people will buy into some of the most ridiculous stories so long as they are couched in religion. Yet if they heard the same or a similar story outside of religion, they would never believe it!

And, I might add, as the chart shows, they are quite adept to “reinterpreting” scriptures in an effort to make them conform to contemporary thinking.



Especially for Christians

Although the following was written by an ex-Christian, his words are primarily directed TO Christians. (Actually, he wrote more than this, but I selected a portion of his post that I felt was especially relevant.)

My reason for re-posting his message is because I’m hoping some of my Christian readers/followers will look it over and share your thoughts and comments. While I feel pretty certain many of you will disagree with some (or all) of what he wrote, I would really like to know why you disagree.

What has he said that you feel is wrong? Where is he mistaken? Would you be willing to share your thoughts/opinions?


Note to Non-Christian/Atheist Readers:

PLEASE do not post any thoughts or comments. I don’t want to start a war of words. I honestly would like to hear the believer’s side related to what this blogger has written — and I want them to feel safe when doing so. If I don’t get any comments at all, then so be it. 

Thank you for your understanding.


I do not call myself an atheist, though I am not convinced by any stories of God. They all lack evidence and therefore fail, in my opinion. I guess I am technically an atheist by definition, but I prefer to just go by Ben. I think it suits me better. So rather than respond to all of the posts about what an atheist is or is not, I thought I would try to correct some misconceptions here. 

[…]

First and foremost, atheists do not enjoy “living in sin.” That is not a misunderstanding. It is a lie. Atheists are not without morals just because they lack faith. Atheism is not a group that condones murder, rape, incest, violence, theft, or dishonesty. They are not without compassion for their fellow man. Atheists are just people like anyone else. Living in sin? What does that even mean? Not following the Bible? Not believing in Jesus? Not buying into the story? Is that what they mean? I already said that atheists do not enjoy “living in sin.” So if you take out all of the bad things humans can do to other humans, all that is left is humans’ views and practices regarding God. Since atheists are unconvinced of God’s existence, this is irrelevant. You can’t “sin” against God if he is not there. I do not personally know any atheist who lives their life constantly rejoicing in their rejection of God. It’s really a non-issue and they simply focus on their own lives. That’s it.

Secondly, atheists do not see evidence of God and reject it in order to live lives of debauchery. There is no credible evidence of the existence of God, Jesus or any of the Bible characters. There is no evidence that prayer works. Actual studies on intercessory prayers (praying on behalf of others) showed that prayer has no detectable effect on the outcome of those being prayed over. Here are some statistics from some studies done.

The “evidence” provided by believers, such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the fine-tuning argument, having a conscience, the argument of design, ontological arguments and any other argument you can think of, has nothing resembling concrete proof of anything. It’s all speculation and conjecture. The fact that there is a debate over the existence of a personal God is clear enough evidence that one does not exist. A personal God would not be hidden, and yet we cannot see one, hear one, feel one, communicate with one or sense one in any way. If one exists, it is most certainly existing in a state of constant hiding.

Atheists are not “shaking their fists at God.” They simply remain unconvinced. If atheists believed in God and believed in the wrath and punishments of God, they would not “shake their fists” at him. They would follow. There is one thing that would convince every last unbeliever. There is one thing that would make us hit our knees in prayer. There is one thing that would do so many things, but we are sadly missing that one thing: Evidence. There simply is none. Things of a supernatural nature Unexplained phenomena is not evidence of God or the divine realm. Just because we can’t explain by our current understanding the reasoning behind some events that occur, that doesn’t mean we can insert God as an explanation.

“If not God, then who or what?” That question, if you do not know the answer, should always have this response: “I don’t know.” If you don’t know then you don’t know. There is no shame in that. But to fill in the blanks with God is to be dishonest. “God must have done it because I can’t think of any other reason for it happening. If science can’t explain it, then God can.” This dangerous “god-of-the-gaps” way of thinking holds us back from finding out what really happened. We can be open to the idea that God may exist, but we can’t jump to that conclusion just because we really want to believe it.

So Christian reader, what are your thoughts? Does anything “Ben” has written make sense to you? Or are you in complete disagreement? And if so, why?

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