“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus,
by the supreme being as his father, in the womb of a virgin,
will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in
the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason
and freedom of thought in these United States will do away
with this artificial scaffolding . . .”
“The Godman And The Skeptic” (A Discourse Dedicated to Creationists everywhere /
And their adversaries) is a tome I wrote damn near thirty years ago, back in the days following the Reagan years that had effectively brought evangelical wingnuts forward — as vocal Republicans — into the Public Square. It didn’t take me long, back then, to get sick of nutcase crooks such as Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts (and his brother Anal?), Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, et al. et al. But what really puzzled me was how SO MANY ordinary folks bought into their nonsense and wasted so much time and energy in the process, over what basically amounted to little more than criminal peddling of religious horse hockey for something other than an honorable purpose.
Sadly, it still goes on today — amplified and more widespread than ever before. So I thought in view of that, I’d pull up “The Godman and the Skeptic” for another look and compare it with some of today’s headlines, see if anything’s changed over the years.
Here’s how I put the conflict way back then:
A godman and a skeptic met
To promulgate their views,
With godman’s premise, Genesis,
And skeptic’s, more the muse.
“God made the heavens and the Earth,”
The passioned godman says,
“And, furthermore, He did all this,
In only seven days.”
“But whence came God?” the skeptic asked,
With some temerity,
The godman said, “Don’t question that,
For such is blasphemy! “
The skeptic glowered for a time,
Then asked, “How old’ s the Earth?”
“Six thousand years,” the godman said,
“Including day of birth.
“With firmaments united, then,
The Earth was paradise,
Where beasts and fields, and finally men,
Enjoyed all without vice.
“And God made Adam first, then Eve,
Who were, as you shall see,
Progenitors of all mankind,
Kin of humanity.
“For from their loins came many sons,
Who married, then produced,
Our father’s father’s ancestors,
As, biblically, deduced.
“Thus, all the Earth is born of God,
And man’s the child of Eve,
So, lie thee down in prostrate form
And hail the Lord! Believe!”
Then godman smiled, smug, and secure
His theses were correct,
For Genesis came straight from God,
In veritas, direct. (. . .)
Today we have Donald J. Trump running on the Republican ticket in hopes of becoming the next President of the United States. But in spite of the fact that Trump’s evangelical “history” is effectively a non-entity, right wing evangelicals have accepted him as being one of them. I have no idea as to why that might be, but so far so good — for him — as evidenced by this:
1. God is using Trump to pave the way for the Second Coming
2. God is using Trump to get pastors to fight for religious freedom
3. Trump could make America worthy of God’s blessing
4. Trump would make America friendlier to Israel
5. Trump will make Christianity more powerful
6. God likes ‘strongman’ rulers
7. Trump has a ‘mantle of government’ anointing
8. Trump has an ‘Elijah mantle’
9. Trump has a Cyrus anointing
10. Trump has a ‘breaker anointing’
11. Trump is a divine ‘wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness’
12. God has picked Trump to ‘beat down the walls of the New World Order’
13. Trump is fulfilling a 2011 prophecy that he will fight Satan
14. Trump is fulfilling a 2012 prophecy that he will bulldoze the White House
15. Trump is a ‘baby Christian’
16. Trump is like Jesus (and Martin Luther King and Jerry Falwell)
17. Trump is like King David
18. Trump is like Saul/Paul
19. Trump is like Samson
20. Trump is like Churchill and Lincoln
21. Trump is like George Washington
22. Trump is like Oscar Schindler
23. 2016 is a battle between good and evil
24. Hillary Clinton is motivated by the spirit of the Antichrist
25. God doesn’t want a woman president
Yeah, right. OK. Sure. Me, I remain a skeptic . . .
“Oh, I believe,” the skeptic said,
“Though not the way you think,
From what I’ve heard, the Universe
Arrived in just a wink.
“A coalescing, then a flash,
And galaxies were cleaved
From ether, dust, and energy,
If science be believed.
“Five billion years, or ten, or twelve
Had passed, when life arrived,
And finally men, though not like us,
From lower forms derived.
“And, furthermore, a question, sir,
About the sons of Eve,
Whence came the daughters, for her sons,
Mankind, therefrom, conceived?”
The godman cringed and raised his hand
Toward heaven, in disgust,
“If those are your beliefs, my friend,
You’ll burn in hell, please trust. (. . .)
“Burn in hell” — Hmmm. The concept reminds me, for some odd reason, of convicted, jailed, and released Christer Crookster Shylock Jimmy Bakker:
Oh heaven forbid! Not THAT!! “Blaspheme”? No way!
“For God, I know, has no rapport
With those who pray to see
The wisdom He withholds from men
For all eternity.”
“Your last remark makes little sense,”
Said skeptic, feigning dread,
“If you are asking we believe
God deems our brains be dead.
“For, if somewhere in endless space
A Creator exists
Who gave us minds to seek out truth,
Then why should we resist?”
The godman’s face showed beads of sweat,
He offered no reply,
He simply stared toward heaven’ s void
As wispy clouds rolled by. (. . .)
Poor godman. So sad. Maybe this will help:
Yep, we gotta get them mountains away from Satan. No doubt. After that, god will really be happy and all us stubborn heathens will be forced to pay the bill!
May heathen burn, the godman prayed,
They’re evil, stubborn men,
And Lord, as why you sent them here?
Well, that’s beyond my ken.
Perhaps to try me, for a time,
Before I’m laid to rest?
Convert some souls to heaven’s song?
Yes, likely that’s my test.
But sure it is now’s not the time
To use the Holy See
As evidence, Your true intent,
Thy Word’s inerrancy.
Then godman turned toward skeptic, sad,
This man, his nemesis,
Would not accept such grand design,
God’ s apotheosis.
“We’ll meet again, my wayward friend,
By then, perhaps, you’ll learn,
That only through the Word of God,
In hell’s fire, you won’t burn.” (. . .)
Three decades ago I was still the eternal optimist, and I actually thought that it wouldn’t/shouldn’t take more than a couple of years, five or ten at the most, for all that nonsensical evangelical crapola to sink, once and for all, back into the muck from which it came.
Turns out I was wrong. For some really weird reason, evangelical nutcases still seem to have a much louder shouting voice than those of us who have evolved mentally to the point where we can actually understand reality.
“Lahk fer example”:
Barton is most typically known, amongst those whose minds have not yet died, as a bogus “Historian.” He even has, according to himself, a PhD in history. But not even that (bogus) claim is apparently enough to stop him from spreading non-historical baloney. Atheists only live in cities? Not in “the country”? I mean hey, Bartoni, I live “in the country,” in a little tiny town in rural Colorado. I admit I’m not a genuine atheist; I’m a step beyond atheism; nontheist. Big difference. Atheists don’t believe in god; nontheists note that there’s not even a god out there to NOT believe in. But cities only? What you been smoking?
In any case, all of us A- Non- theists are, however and in spite of specific labels, “Skeptics,” and for good reason. We’re tired of listening to church-speak, especially when its message is little more than the plot line in a 1960’s Charlton Heston movie. Can we move forward? Please?
“I doubt it, sir,” the skeptic said,
“For you’ve confirmed my choice,
That words beyond the biblical
Can speak with reasoned voice.
“And, too, you see, I have no need
To live in metaphor,
I’d rather seek, expand my mind,
Maintain an open door.
“To blindly mimic premises
Is not what God has deemed;
It seems more likely He mandates
That light, from dark, be gleaned, (. . .)
Speaker Paul Ryan apparently doesn’t buy into common sense either (big surprise, right?):
Speaker Ryan is an avid fan of historian David Barton. “I listen to him all the time, even in my car while driving,” he said. Because of Barton’s teachings, Speaker Ryan is very knowledgeable . . .
And therein lies the rub. Why the constant and steady downhill slope? Why were our Founders (aka vocal skeptics) so far more advanced 200+ years ago? Is there a solution to all of that, or must we continue to fight the never-ending battle against Dominionists and their bogus notions of government and population control and manipulation? Thirty years ago I thought maybe just looking the other way might be the solution; apparently not.
“And so, my friend, while I suggest
That your beliefs you keep,
Recall God sees us all as lambs,
Though not, I think, as sheep.”
Then skeptic turned and walked away,
Face bent as if to smile,
Safe Genesis was put to bed,
If but for just awhile.
Or, stated another way,
“Religious institutions that use government power in support
of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths,
or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.”