The Odious Hutton posted again, a few days back, and I missed it, what with my world not revolving around Bob, an' all. Ho-hum. Then he's posted a whiny little essay just this afternoon. I'm going to lump them together.
Part One: Why do I spend so much time spreading the Gospel?
He begins the first by bragging about what a brave, brave soul he is, for standing in the street accosting people, and handing children obscene cartoons. Apparently this has earned him some verbal abuse, and even some threats of violence. He should try—I speak from experience—the horrendous social-crime of "being in possession of a funny haircut." (At which point, I should mention that I in no way condone abusing, let alone assaulting, street-preachers. Argue with them and heckle all you like, but keep the moral high ground.) "That being the case," he goes on, "one may quite legitimately ask – "why does he do it?" "
'cause he's a smug, pious git, certain of his own rectitude and speaking from his own rectum? Apparently not…
The short answer is simple – because the Gospel changes lives.
(Interweb 101 for Bob here: we do not underline text for emphasis on the web, because that makes it look like a link. You know, one of them there things wot us polite and thoughtful folks, who aren't plagiarists, use to cite our sources.)
But yes, I happen to know that the Gospel changes lives. It changed Bob into a pimple on the arse of humanity, for starters, who loves his god so much, he's forgotten to love his fellow people. And it certainly changes the lives of those who the religious-right wish to persecute. But I'm assuming Bob doesn't mean that.
The Bouncing Bombast then goes on to mention that he's read a book which wasn't the Bible. (I'm sure there's probably an even-fundier-than-Bob sect somewhere who would look upon this as a sin, and denounce his claim to Christian-ness.) This book, Once an Arafat Man, (that's what links are for, Bob) is the autobiography of a PLO sniper who hated Jews until he Found Christ. I've not read it, and don't intend to, but I've known ex-soldiers who've seen action, and many of them have been the gentlest, least violent people you could imagine. Having seen and been involved in such situations, and having killed people, often does that to a person. That some have used various religious texts as a means to address their own inner demons (I speak metaphorically) is hardly surprising.
He then makes an analogy to "rough" council estates (for U.S. readers, the stereotype would be "projects"), mentioning the blindingly obvious fact that prettifying the estate does nothing to improve the behaviour of the people living there. Mind you he also mentions the blindingly not-obvious "fact" that decent education and the ability to earn a few quid won't make them better people, which, erm… what? I don't know about Bob, but I remember how dangerous those estates could be, during the period of high unemployment in the early '80s, and I know damn well that the atmosphere on those estates changed drastically as employment rates went up.
He goes on:
Moreover, politicians seem to think that if they can forge a "peace agreement" then people groups with opposing views can live side by side without hating one another. However, history shows that this is simply not the case. One may be able achieve a reasonable degree of law and order but the old hatreds still remain and simmer just below the surface, ready to break out at the slightest provocation.
And I quite agree. Because those differences, all-too-often, are not political, or wholly political, in nature. They're religious. While there certainly exists the occasional case like that of the author of that book, for the most part religion does not foster love for all humanity, but love for one's fellow believers, and hatred and suspicion of anyone outside that group. But, of course, Robert the Rancid wants to extinguish the fire by pouring petrol on it. Because, as he goes on to explain, his brand of religion is special, by virtue of being The True Religion™. Which he "proves," by citing 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new," but we'll get to Bob's love of quoting scripture in a while…
Part Two: They get angry because they know it's true.
Bob begins with yet another allusion to his street preaching. Does he not have any other hobbies? You know, stuff that doesn't involve moralising at random strangers? But anyway, getting past that, he's "noticed that most people are plagued with apathy, they really couldn't care less about being right with God and about where their eternal destiny lies." Apparently…
Such people have been conned by the devil into thinking that it really doesn't matter. They have been lulled into a false sense of security, they are living in a fool's paradise.
Not, of course, that he's willing to actually bother to try to persuade people that they really do have souls which are in peril. And this is why I despise such weak-kneed evangelists as Bob. Ask him to provide evidence in support of his claims, and he falls back on the one method he knows, through experience, won't work. He cites the bloody Bible as proof that the Bible's claims are true.
Now, that may well be enough for him personally, but I tell you now, if I believed that there existed a god who would consign people to eternal torture for disbelief, then I would try my damndest to save as many people as I could from that fate. And if one method ("Hey, look at the Bible!") didn't work, then I would damn well try another method, not just sit back on my arse and smugly tell them that the one that convinced me should be good enough for them. If you throw a drowning person a rope and they can't grab it, you don't shrug and mutter "Well, I tried." You bloody-well find another way to save them. I summed Bob up, long ago, over at The Blessed Atheist's sadly now-defunct blog. Quoting Bob:
1. I do not believe in "debating" with unbelievers. This is because the word "debate" suggests that there are viewpoints on both sides. The Christian Gospel is not a viewpoint but a fact based on the truth as it is found in Jesus who proved His claims by rising from the dead.
2. The reason I suggest the use of the google search engine is to test the sincerity of my opponents. If they really want to know how I know the Bible is true then let them google the words "How we know the Bible is true" and they can search the answers for themselves.
3. You write about the risk of devaluing my cause. There are two problems with that statement – a) the cause of the Gospel is God's, not mine. The Gospel is God's truth and I simply declare it and b) if people do not believe the Bible, if they do not repent of their sins (including the sin of unbelief) and accept Jesus then the eternal loss will be theirs. It makes no difference to me if they die in their sins. I have given them the opportunity to be saved.
1: I am not actually interested in persuading unbelievers to the truth, thereby saving their souls. I just like to spout off.
2: I am incapable of forming any arguments of my own, never having really examined my beliefs for elements of truth, reality or logic.
3a: It's God's word, not mine. I just like to spout off.
3b: I am a hard-hearted bastard, uninterested in saving anyone from the tortures I believe they will suffer. "It makes no difference to me if they die in their sins" (direct quote), therefore I have no reason to be telling people that they'll burn in hell, except that I enjoy publicly wallowing in thoughts of their putative suffering, whilst excusing this as 'trying to save them', although as shown above, I am trying to do no such thing.
Then, back at Bob's latest post, we get this little gem:
I've also met people who have some degree of religious belief and may even attend church services; such people think that they are right with God because they are leading a "good life" but, of course, they are in for a shock on the judgement day when they are told that their good works did not save them.
Who, in their right mind, praises and calls merciful, a being which punishes good people for the mere act of disbelief in something, and rewards bad people provided they make a promise to be nicer in future, merely because they do believe? Bob and his ilk like to describe themselves as "saved." Well yeah: saved from the consequences of, allegedly, living in a universe created by a despotic, self-absorbed, tantrum-throwing tyrant. What they're allegedly saved from is the very thing they praise as good, loving, merciful and kind; their own evil god. And, boy, am I glad it doesn't exist.
Anyways, Bobberty then goes on to attack…
The Militant Atheists™.
Apparently we are "incapable of reasoned discussion and simply want to sound off (usually with vile profanity) at the unfortunate person who has the temerity to express any concern, however mildly, for their soul."
concern for the eternal destiny of these poor creatures has extended to attempts to reason with them on the internet, or by e mail "conversation". However, it quickly becomes apparent that such attempts, sadly, amount to "casting pearls before swine". The blogs of militant atheists are no places for Christians to attempt reasoned discussion – we are likely to be met with a torrent of vile abuse and banned from making comments (so much for free speech!).
We've already dealt with Bob's idea of what constitutes reasoning with people. Some Bible quotes, and a rubber-stamp assertion that anyone who isn't instantly converted in the light of this brilliance must have been blinded by Satan. Let me tell you about Bob and free speech, though. He certainly doesn't extend it to others, being notorious for not letting any comment through "moderation," which raises questions he'd rather not address. And yeah, he's been banned in a few places; for being a complete bloody nuisance who won't shut up and doesn't engage with criticism, preferring the aforesaid method of pasting ineffectual Bible quotes.
I banned him here some time back because, after I'd warned him not to refer to homosexuals as perverts, he immediately referred to homosexuals as… I'll let you guess. I let him back on here after starting this series of replies/rebuttals/whatever-they-ares to his posts, because—unlike him—I think if I'm criticising someone, then I should at least try to allow them space on the same page to reply to my criticisms. It's not a guaranteed right though—he would still have a platform to reply on his own blog were I to re-ban him. Which is, I suspect, what the above whinge about banning and freedom of speech is about; because I threatened to re-ban him unless he acts in accord with my own idea of courtesy whilst commenting in my space.
This is my living-room, Bob. You don't get to piss on the carpet, then moan about being unfairly treated when I toss you out of the door.
But anyway, Bob has an amazing new theory (except for the bits about it being amazing or new) concerning why atheists get so up-tight about having someone "show concern for their souls."
The answer is simple – they know, deep down, that it is true.
(He babbles on in that vein for several paragraphs, then closes with the usual Biblical dribble, but that there's the essence of it.)
No, Bob, that's not it at all. If your religion didn't impinge on my life, I would not give a toss about it. But it does. You hold political opinions based on it, and you vote based on those opinions. You would quite happily overturn the recent same-sex-marriage laws, because you think that's what your god wants. You would throw away women's rights to bodily autonomy for the same reason. People deny that climate change is a problem because, apparently, God wouldn't let it happen; while still more think it exists, but should be encouraged because it's a forerunner of the end-times. I could list the consequences of your belief, and those of others like you, all night, and still not cover them all.
Bob, if you want to live your life according to the imagined dictates of Yahweh, the Tooth-Fairy, the ghost of Buddy Holly or the little man who lives in your bathroom cabinet, go right ahead; but kindly do not expect me to respect either your belief or the very real political and social consequences of that belief.
Why is it that people who seem to be reasonable, sane individuals, "lose it" when they are faced with such concern for their souls?
Because you're ruining our world on the fanciful notion that
the Easter Bunny told you to do it.
Oddly enough, Bob, that tends to make people a tad miffed.
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