Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Pastor's shoehorn approach was six-part and is dissected below:
Part 1: Write down what you want the Bible to say, leaving blanks so your audience, being good, little students, will fill in the blanks with you.
Part 2: Ignore what the Bible actually says, and bring in enough non-biblical stories, facts, figures and suppositions that your audience is lulled into a state of stupidity, so they will buy what you're selling.
Part 3: Tell the audience what verses will be used in advance so they will have some confidence in you. Then throw in supporting verses that they can't look up themselves because they thought they had to save the pages you told them to save and they only have so many fingers.
Part 4: Refer to "expert" sources. Bringing in an outside source can be convincing... too bad it was Zondervan which is obviously not neutral.
Part 5: Nod. Yes, nodding can be effective when you want your audience to nod with you. Those who doubt will see the others nodding and think they are wrong - and therefore have a higher chance of being convinced that you are right.
Part 6: Say it in prayer. Affirm your own belief in a solemn-toned prayer. After all, who would say such things to God if it weren't true?!
Here's how it played-out. The Pastor told the congregation that Jesus himself claimed to be God six times and this was six-times the evidence needed to prove he was part of the Godhead. Referring to John 1:1, 1:14 and 5:18, only briefly, the Pastor tried to say that all three verses were Jesus talking and Jesus telling everyone that he was God. None of the verses quotes Jesus directly. In fact, John 1:1 is under dispute as to whether the last clause "and the Word was God" should not be translated "and the Word was a God". Of course, he'd never admit that.
The second "proof" referred to John 5:19-20. In this passage, Jesus says that he is subordinate to God, not equal to him. The Pastor backpedaled at this section and used the verse to explain the nature of the Trinity. However, later on, this "proof" went into the count as one of the six "proofs".
The third "proof" referred to 1 Sam 2:6, 2 Kings 5:7 and Deut. 32:39. The Pastor, at this point, referred to a couple of scriptures which weren't in the hand-out. Pretty sly. The Pastor then compared the provided three scriptures, which all say that only God can kill and bring back to life, to be proof that Jesus was God. Pretty lame, again.
The fourth "proof" referred toGenesis 18:25, Judges 11:27, John 5:22-23, Rom 10:9-10 and Rev 21:11-15. One verse talks about punishment. One about another god that was being worshiped. The other that says to disrespect the Son is to disrespect God. If Jesus were really the herald of Yahweh (of which there is zero evidence) then of course disrespecting him would be disrespecting the person he represents. However, the herald is not the King. In no culture, language or tradition I have been able to find has anyone ever considered a herald or messenger to be the sender or anywhere equal to the sender. Nor is it the case here. The text in the handout says that you will either bow to Jesus as God now, or on Judgement Day just before you get thrown into Hell. Nice - but it will only scare those who don't think critically about the whole message.
The fifth "proof" refers to John 5:23-24. Again with the disrespect and the threat. Lame.
The sixth "proof" refers to John 5:23-24 (again) and John 14:6. This verse says that Jesus is the way to God... not God himself. However, many gullible sheep were seen nodding their heads as if they had absorbed it, processed it and found it to be true. Other faces looked skeptical and mine was probably not the only angry face.
This blog post should in no way be taken as an endorsement of the Christian religion, which I find to be obscene, imaginary and harmful. There are no gods, no angels, no demons, no heaven and no hell. Yahweh is imaginary, just as his competitors Odin, Allah, Amun Ra and Thor are imaginary. The reason I proclaim this as personal knowledge - not faith - is because I have read the Bible. In fact, reading the Bible is what has made me an Atheist.
I will send a link to the church's website to see if I get any responses. I hope I do, because here is an open letter I would like the Pastor to read:
Your strangled attempt at shoehorning verses into a single cognitive idea have failed. I believe this shows a lack of faith on your part and a desperate attempt to save the faith of your flock. The only reason I can see for such a thing is that you are worried about keeping your job.
I would like to offer my help. I can put you in touch with people who will help you escape your job. My work is hiring and I can help you get in touch with the right people. I can walk you in and introduce you to the decision-maker. While my job is not as flashy as yours, my job actually makes a real, positive difference in the world. You can work in an environment where you don't have to lie - where you can be straight-up with your peers and subordinates. You will experience grief and victory on an almost daily basis. The same experience will wait for you the next day. I will teach you how to escape the fears which have no-doubt infiltrated your life and keep you awake at night.
Please respond to me personally using the email address listed at the right. Everything will be okay. If you reach out for help, your emails and/or our personal meetings will be kept confidential.