Everyone go and subscribe to TellTale Atheist. Today I talk about some of my experiences as a pentecostal and use TellTale Atheists video as a jumping off point for my own series on the practices of the pentecostal faith. I hope you and he enjoys it.
It’s time for another bible study this time with very special guests. We were truly honored to have Shannon Q and Paulogia join us today. Sorry that my sound isn’t great I will work on that for when we do the next Bible Study. It sounded fine in the test we did but then was muffled during the actual video.
Tonight I do a little tongue talking. I hope you enjoy it.
So Jennifer is recuperating from the holidays and our daughter just went back to school today so writing a blog was the last thing on her mind. So I figured why not jump on here and write my own article for the Wednesday Woo series? Today I will be talking about some of the woo like beliefs that many Christians follow even if there is no biblical standard for any of these beliefs. While New Age beliefs and Fundamentalist Christianity seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of theism some of the beliefs are so similar that you would think they are one and the same.
One of the major ways that American Christianity sets itself apart from the rest of the world would be the plethora of televangelists that promote what is commonly known as “The Prosperity Gospel.” What this set of beliefs attempts to promote is the idea that god will financially bless anyone that fully puts their trust in him. Now how does one put their trust completely into the hands of god, you ask? Well by sending cash to whatever televangelist you happen to like best.
This belief is built around a scripture in the parable of the Sower:
“And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” – Mark 4:20
So basically the parable is about reaping souls for god, in other words saving lots of people from the fires of hell. However those who promote the prosperity gospel will use this verse and a few other cherry picked scriptures in an effort to give the idea that god wants to make you rich. The other scriptures that these pastors will use deal with the idea of tithing, giving a tenth of all your increase(income) to the priestly order, a practice that was stipulated in the old testament and continued by many Christian sects throughout the centuries. What they then say is that if you give 10 dollars you will receive 100 or 1000 in return and so who wouldn’t want to give a small offering if god is definitely going to return to you all of it and way more.
Well the facts are tithing is a tremendously arduous and sometimes painful process. If you have never practiced tithing, imagine having to set aside ten percent of your income, income that may be needed for food or bills, and giving it away, hoping that you will be blessed in the future. Now charity is good but tithing is in some ways nearly murder. I have known elderly women on social security who have begging for food simply so that they can pay their tithe and not fear the wrath of god if they don’t. This is one of the main reasons that when I was a minister I never taught on tithing, it’s one of the few things that I am proud of from that facet of my life.
So anyway, you give your 10 dollars and you get 100 back, everyone wins right? No because you almost never see this return and when you don’t see the blessings that the minister guaranteed who is at fault? If you said the minister, you’re wrong. The person who is always at fault is the one who gave the money to begin with. What you will hear is that the person gave with the wrong idea in mind, because if you give wanting a blessing then you will never receive that blessing, even if the minister promoted the blessing as the only reason to give.
Now imagine if you went to buy a car, you give the dealership your money and the dealership throws you out on your ass. When you ask why the dealership states that you gave your money expecting to get a car in return and so you don’t get the car. If you had only showed up and given the money with no expectations in your mind, the dealership would have blessed you with a car in return. Does that make any sense? Absolutely not, but this is the exact same mindset that the prosperity gospel promotes. Give your money because a blessing will be returned to you but be sure that you aren’t doing it expecting a blessing because if you do that you’ll end up fucked….It’s absolute bullshit.
Name It And Claim It
In the same vein as the prosperity gospel is the “name it and claim it” crowd. An offshoot of mainline Pentecostalism this group of ministers claim that your words have power and that if you claim good things you will receive good things, if you claim bad things you will receive bad things. If you think this sounds exactly like new age gobbledy gook then you would be 100% correct.
Basically, what this theology teaches is that our world is shaped by the things we think and more specifically the things we say, hence the “name it and claim it” moniker. While on the surface it might seem innocuous in reality this belief system can be incredibly dangerous. Positive thinking can help to a certain point and a healthy psychological perspective can be built around telling yourself good things that you like about yourself.
Saying “I like my smile” may bring you a simple confidence boost and help you feel better about yourself, however when you look at the opposite side of the coin things get very murky. Let’s say you go to the doctor and the doctor runs some tests only to find that you have cancer, well the “name it and claim it” crowd would tell you that if accept what the doctor says then you do have cancer and it will only get worse the longer you say things like, “I have cancer.” So what are you supposed to do? Go around saying, “I don’t have cancer,” and believing that god has healed you of your cancer. You don’t receive chemo, or surgery, or anything that would take away any amount of trust in god and you simply believe that the cancer doesn’t exist. Do you see the problem with this type of theology?
To bring this to a personal note, my great-grandmother went to a revival meeting one night and asked for prayer due to a heart issue that she had suffered with for several years. The minister prayed over her and asked her if she believed she had been healed, she said that she believed and so he told her to throw away her heart medication in a show of faith before god. The minister moved on to another revival in another town and my great grandmother, full of faith and lacking the heart medication that she desperately needed died of a heart attack. I’m sure the minister never thought of my great-grandmother again but the family lost a matriarch and a young boy got his first taste of skepticism which would stick with him and helped aid him leave the faith many years later.
Oil, Sand, and Other Such Bullshit
I’ve laughed and joked about crystals and salt lamps in the past but Christianity has its own bullshit market filled with trinkets that will definitely get you closer to god. You can buy oil from the holy man that has been prayed over by a televangelist. You can buy sand supposedly from the path that Jesus walked which has healing properties because Jesus walked on it at some point in history. I knew a man who had a cloth that he said was dipped in the blood of Christ that he had purchased during a revival, in reality it was a cloth that had been dyed red but he earnestly believed that when he prayed with that cloth in hand that he was closer to god.
A local woman had scriptures written all over her house because it protected her from evil spirits. Really all it protected her from was visitors because there was no way that I was going into the creepy scripture coated house. She had them on her walls, in her cupboards, in every drawer and in every room, the worst thing was she had them scrawled all over the walls of her kids rooms too. I was friends with her son for a short period of time and knowing what teenage boys do with free time on their hand I can only imagine the psychological torture of having to wank it with the bible staring you straight in the face 24/7….not that he wanked 24/7 but you get the picture.
Anyway, most of the trinkets and practices that you see going around from church to church have little to no biblical backing whatsoever and they are simply done because it makes the person who owns it feel better. I’ve always found it hilarious that many people walk around with crosses draped around their neck even though the bible explicitly prohibits any sort of iconography. The Catholics get around this by simply removing that commandment from the top 10 but isn’t that just cheating?
To finish up I’ll leave you with another personal story. We had a woman in church, an elderly woman whose husband had died many years prior. She had her husbands bible and she would say that whenever she read from that bible it was as if her husbands warmth enveloped her and she felt gods power working deep inside her…Basically god granted this bible orgasmic properties which….more power to her but not the type of thing that a teenage boy wants to think about when he’s trying to wank it in his room after church….
That’s right I told the story of my great-grandmothers death and included two wanking jokes in the same blog….yep, I’m awesome!
So I’ve been writing again which is good and I hope you’ve enjoyed the newest articles from myself, Jennifer, and all the others who have submitted entries. I’ve had some new ideas that I will explore over the coming weeks.
1.) BS News report
This is a satirical take on the news of the week from my own unique point of view.
2.) The return of A Pentecostal Atheist Bible Study
3.) Deep Thoughts
Subjects may include science, medicine, paradoxes, riddles, basically anything that gets me thinking.
Anyway, keep on the lookout for these new articles as well as other posts in the future.
Thank you so much to everyone who has read so far, I appreciate you all.
Side note: What would you like to see more of in this blog. Any suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated.
For last weeks Atheist Bible Study, click here.
If you would like to follow along with today’s study read Genesis Chapters 5&6
So today’s study starts with a bunch of genealogy from Adam to Noah. Why do we need this stuff? Maybe just to point out who got laid? It’s really more a way to say that lots of people existed by the time of Noah, lots of wicked and evil people…
This chapter begins with a bunch of horny angels, seeing just how sweet the women on Earth are and so they take some and impregnate them. The result of these unions are, of course, giants. God gets pissed off because he didn’t remember giving the angels sex organs to begin with. If anyone is going to impregnate a woman, it’s going to be him, but that won’t be for a couple thousand years… It then says that these giants became the men of older myths, which ones? Who knows, but anyway these half angel, half men, were like hercules.
Now for some reason God gets mad at man, even though he wasn’t the one having sex with angels, and limits their lives to 120 years. He’ll then immediately break this in later chapters but God’s kinda forgetful about his decrees and shit. So man looks at his 120 years and things….this is not enough time to do all the fucking and debauchery done…so man turns their sin on overdrive and gets busy. It states…
“The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” – Genesis 6:5
Now, you might ask yourself at this point. When did god lay out the rules for what was good and what was evil? How could man have any idea on what was sinful and what was good for them to do in the sight of god? Pleasure makes us feel good and pain makes us feel bad so perhaps humans were using this as their guidelines at the time. They had no rulebook, no commandments, it seems like god hadn’t even talked to anyone for several generations, so maybe they assumed that god had been a figment of their ancestors minds?
Yet, god is pissed that they are doing things that he doesn’t like. Instead of simply showing up, like he did numerous times before, and telling them to stop it. He decided that mass murder is the much better and more holy option. Not only that but he decides that he hates man so much that he’s just going to kill everything, and I mean everything…
So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” – Genesis 6-7
Take that you fucking platypus, screw you cow, go to hell salamander…God is pissed at man so you gotta go too! Who knows, maybe angels saw the sheep and did with them as they had with the human women? I mean is that any worse? Angels and Humans are different species or being as it is so maybe angels were just busy fucking anything that their light penises could penetrate?
Anyway, so it says God decided to kill everything, ….
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. -Genesis 6:8
It goes on to say that Noah is a righteous guy, who walks with God. How is he righteous? Who knows? Once again there is no rule book or guidelines, so we are to assume that Noah was just really lucky.
So anyway, the next section says that God goes to Noah and says…
“Hey, Noah… I am really pissed off at man and I don’t like how violent man is!” Noah nods and then god goes on and says, “So since they are all so violent I’ve decided to kill them all…”
Now, why at this point does Noah not ask if god understands the difference between a little violence and complete genocide, but he doesn’t. God then tells Noah to build a boat and it has to be to his specific standards. Since we now have a representation of such a boat in Kentucky and can say conclusively that this boat would never float, Noah should have been skeptical. Seriously a wooden boat this large would be torn to shreds by the action of the waves.
Anyway, god gives Noah all of these directions about the boat and then tells Noah he has to get 2 of every animal in order to save them from the flood. We will find in a later chapter that god actually wants Noah to take 7 of every clean animal and 2 of every unclean animal. Now just remember this because there is no rule book yet for Noah to know what a clean or unclean animal is. As far as we know, according to scripture, man is still subsisting on a vegetarian diet, not being given the ability to eat meat from god yet. So clean and unclean would be absolutely meaningless to Noah.
Anyway it then says that Noah does everything that god commanded him to do. That’s what you do when an omnipotent being threatens the entire world with murder, you get shit done and do it as fast as possible. It’s not like Noah had any choice in this matter, it was either do it or die…How’s that for Free-will?
Now, a question you might ask yourself here is why would god need to flood the earth in order to kill everything?
Isn’t this a being that simply spoke creation into existence? Couldn’t he just have easily spoken creation out of existence? If he wanted to start over with Noah, then he could have just as easily said, “Humans, be gone except Noah and his family. Animals, be gone except enough to repopulate.” Yet, no, the only way he can do it now is through mass murder. God’s gotten kinda lazy by now and I guess has forgotten that he is capable of speaking things into or out of existence.
So now, how is this taught in the churches that I’ve attended?
Well for one, it is never mentioned that god hadn’t actually set any rules for man at this point. It is often assumed that anything in the old testament is under the old testament law, and yet that supposedly hasn’t been written yet. So none of the people before the flood could have been said to be breaking any rules that had been set up by god.
The other thing that we are told is that, once again, the sins that the people were said to be committing was homosexuality. It seems that no matter what the story is, fundamentalists will inject a healthy amount of butt sex into it. What does that tell us about fundamentalists? Anyway, there is nothing to point to this in the story yet many Pentecostal ministers will point to this story as being the eventual effect of rampant homosexuality. This is also where fundamentalists get the idea that natural disasters are explicitly due to the sins of mankind and in no way due to anything natural. It’s dumb but it’s true that many teach it this way…
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the first part to this story and will stick around for future developments in Noah’s weird relationship with god. This is the first story with a bit more narrative and explanation, so the writers of the bible are getting better, it just took some time. Thank you for reading.
So just to let everyone know, this study will not be a verse by verse exposition style study of the bible. I wouldn’t want to bore you with that. What this series of articles will be is an explanation of how these stories were described to me, as well as how I taught it during my time as a minister. Within various Pentecostal denominations, the stories of the bible can be taught in many different ways. Some churches choose to teach them exactly as they are written, others teach the stories as allegories, while still others add their own strange spin. I will try to describe all of these as best as I can.
If you would like to follow along, this article deals with chapters 1-3 of Genesis.
Chapter 1: Let’s Make Some Shit!
So the book of genesis begins with the creation story, first god moves over the face of the waters seeing that the earth is formless. So he decides to do something about that…Now some will ask, how did he just happen to come across this giant water planet, well that is explained by how you view the first verse of this chapter.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
So if you are a biblical literalist, you read this scripture as god created the earth and then he moved over it. If you are an allegorist you teach that this was billions of years after the big bang and so the earth had cooled and was covered in water. Either way the earth is already made when god begins his real creation work.
So to give a synopsis of creation.
Day 1: Light
Day 2: The Firmament (We live in a giant dome…)
Day 3: Dry Land and plants
Day 4: Two big light bulbs, the sun and the moon.
Day 5: Fish and Birds
Day 6: All the animals and humankind
Now a few things to note from this first chapter. Light is created before the sun, the moon, and the stars. That’s pretty damn impressive isn’t it? I mean, if it were me, I’d probably have to create nuclear fission prior to any light being shone, but hey, I’m not god….am I? Secondly, god explicitly creates a firmament, no question about it, we live in a giant dome with water below it and water above it. No wonder people can’t breathe in space, it’s all water.
You might also note that plants are created before their ability to grow is, plants require sunlight to grow and so you’d think they would need the sun to be created, but once again, I’m not god and I wasn’t there, so who knows how plants grew 6,000 years ago. I mean maybe they didn’t require any light to grow back then, who knows….
So if you aren’t a literalist, you basically consider the first 2 days to be billions of years. Everything else you explain as a biblical description of evolution, however this is a poor way of describing it. Notice that fish and birds are created on the same day? Does evolution even come close to describing fish evolving into birds? Of course not. Secondly, no one who has studied evolution would state that the sun came after plant life. That’s simply ridiculous.
Chapter 2: Beastiality and Boobies!
Chapter 2 begins with god taking a nap. Omnipotent beings are still incredibly lazy and they need their beauty sleep. It then goes on to give us a summary of the information that we just read, in case we weren’t paying attention the first time. Strangely though this creation story is decidedly different from the first one.
In chapter two we have god creating just one dude, Adam. He takes some dust, makes Adam and then breathes life into him. This forms the basis of the belief that man has a soul and animals do not, god breathed a soul into man but just spoke animals into existence. God then walks Adam through the garden of Eden, showing him all the cool shit he just made. Adam is told that he can eat any fruit from any tree, except one, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, this is god’s special tree and he doesn’t like it when people touch his shit. I heard he hides his weed in the trunk.
After a while, God sees that he forgot to make something for Adam to stick his peepee into, so he creates all the animals and brings them to Adam. Note in the first chapter that these were created before man, but hey, who is paying attention. Adam isn’t into beastial pleasures, but he does at least name everything, before getting bored and lonely again.
So god puts Adam to sleep, takes a rib out of his chest, and forms a woman. Why Adam’s rib had two X chromosomes instead of one X and one Y, we will never know? Adam wakes up and is like, “Holy Shit, Boobies!” They are both naked and not ashamed of being naked.
Chapter 3: Walkin and Talkin Snakes
Chapter three begins with a snake talking to eve, just having a chat, it never states that this is odd to Eve, so we must assume that animals could talk back then. So the snake says to Eve, “Hey, God’s a fuckin liar, you know that tree where he stores his weed, that shit is fucking delicious and it makes you smart. You eat that shit and you’ll be like God.” Eve says, “God told us we would die if we ate it.” The serpent then asks, “Do you know what death is? It means get smart, duh…”
So Eve eats the fruit and then gives it to Adam. Adam was having a rough day and really didn’t want to get into an argument with his new spouse so he goes ahead and eats it. They then look at each other and realize they are naked, “OH NO!.” No reason is given why being naked would be considered a bad thing as it was how they were created but anyway they take some leaves and get a bit more modest.
God shows up and says, “Hey, Adam and Eve, where the fuck are you guys? I’m Omniscient but my dealer gave me some really strong shit which is messing with my perception. Come on guys, where the fuck are you?”
Adam and Eve come out and say, “Hey, just noticed we’re naked and so yeah….we didn’t want you to see our naughty bits.”
God, still not come down from his high asks, “Who told you that you were naked?
Eve blames the serpent, Adam blames Eve, and the serpent is just like, “What the fuck are you gon do about it?”
God gets pissed, curses the serpent to crawl on its belly and eat dirt.
God curses Eve by making her menstruate and have painful childbirth.
God curses Adam by making him work hard for his living.
God even curses the earth, why? Because Reasons.
He then kicks them out of the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree that would give them immortality, because god is scared of losing his status. He places a flaming sword and some angels at the gate of the garden, just to prevent them from sneaking back in.
Now, having spent a good deal of time in the Pentecostal church, I’d like to describe some of the weirder beliefs about Adam and Eve’s time in the garden.
1.) Adam And Eve Were Beings of Light
Some teach that Adam and Eve didn’t actually have a physical form prior to eating of the fruit. This is to explain why, when they eat the fruit, they are ashamed of their physical forms. Adam and Eve were also sexless beings that, like angels, lack sex organs and butt-holes. Only when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit did their bodies take on a physical form and their sex organs developed. The first fart must have really freaked them out.
2.) The Serpent Was Another Woman Who Gave Eve Her First Orgasm
This stems from a Jewish tale of Adams first wife, Lilith. She wanted to have an equal say in everything, especially in sexual positions, and so god banished her from the garden. She is then said to have given birth to all the evil that exists in the world. It was even taught at one point that she was the cause of wet dreams. Anyway, she returns to the garden and shows Eve her cunning lingual ways, which opens Eve’s eyes to sexual pleasure. Eve then takes this knowledge and blows Adams mind. Thus they understand the mind expanding abilities of orgasms and god gets pissed off.
3.) The Fruit Of The Tree Was Sodomy
So in this interpretation the serpent is more human than animal and teaches Eve the joys of butt sex. Eve then teaches this to Adam, and they feel the shame of the sin of sodomy. So it wasn’t Adam and Steve, it was Adam and Eve and butt-sex snake dude. To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea where this idea came from. I only know about it because this is how my grandfather taught it as well as how I have heard several other ministers teach it over the years.
If you’ve taken anything away from this it is that sex is evil, in order to make that fact a truth, the story is interpreted in a way to include way more sex.
How I Taught It
To be completely honest, I rarely taught about the creation story. As a child I had been a bit of a young earth creationist, but by the time I became a minister I viewed the book of Genesis as decidedly unimportant to the Christian faith, especially the first three chapters. When I did speak on the topic I would say that the only message we really need to take away from it is this.
1.) God created the world as perfect
2.) Humans chose to sin
3.) Humanity fell due to that sin
Looking back I see that this is still incredibly simplistic. If god created us as perfect then how could we do anything that would be considered as sinful? Why would humanity’s ability to choose to go against something god has said be considered sinful? How could humanity even know what sin was if they had been created in a sinless world? If they had never experienced immorality, how could they even have an idea of what immorality was or what it might do? Why did god lie about what would happen if they ate from the tree? I mean personally if he had said, if you eat from this tree, your women will bleed and be in pain, both monthly as well as during childbirth, and your men will have to really work hard to survive. Maybe then I might steer clear of the tree.
Basically though, this creation story is one of the more basic stories of the ancient world. God simply speaks things into being and they exist. It’s a silly story and one that causes a huge amount of contention in the church today. If this creation story hadn’t been included, would evolution be an issue? Would Christianity have such issues with science? I don’t think they would, but they do and it’s foundation is built upon this strange, strange, story.