Thursday, May 29, 2008



Mark Shea introduces it thus:

Slick Con Man Gives 10 Reasons Why All Religions Except Self-Worship Are Wrong--Especially Christianity

There's so much mud thrown here, so many lies, so much misinformation, and so much ignorance that it's really more than I have time to do to reply to, even assuming the author was remotely interested in a reply. However, I don't think you can make yourself this ignorant of Christianity without working hard at it. Nothing in this world, not even the Nazis, not even Satan is simply and purely evil. The mark of a sane mind is that it can always find *something* good in the worst things, because creation is fundamentally good. So a Christian theologian can point out that God's goodness always retains a toehold in the greatest sinner, whether human or angelic, because without that toehold the sinner would have neither existence, intelligence, power, or will--which are all goods even when they are profoundly perverted.

This guy can see *nothing* good in Christianity at all. He is searching for--he is bound and determined to find--absolutely nothing good there at all. Even when I was a non-Christian, I would have mistrusted him because I would have known that nothing, and certainly not the Christians I had known, was as utterly depraved as he paints. This is a guy with issues--a living embodiment of the biblical maxim, "To the impure, all things are impure." God help him!

One of the things said by the fool is:

Religions are authoritarian hierarchies designed to dominate your free will. They’re power structures that aim to convince you to give away your power for the benefit of those who enjoy dominating people. When you subscribe to a religion, you enroll in a mindless minion training program. Religions don’t market themselves as such, but this is essentially how they operate.

Rriiight. It's like he's known timid, afraid-of-its-own-shadow, let's-not-offend-the-donors-or-the-IRS American Catholicism all of it's life!

As one of the Shea commeters said:

He reads like a secular Jack Chick.

This is another good comment.

Interestingly, he was a Catholic until reaching total intellectual maturity at the age of 17, when atheism struck his fancy. Then, it was off to the races:

While at Berkeley my atheism context was further molded. No longer surrounded by Catholics, I met a lot of interesting people there with a wide variety of belief systems. I quickly made a lot of new friends who were very intelligent, and some were open to discussing the nature of reality. I think my Catholic upbringing was like a coiled spring — as soon as I left behind the environment that kept the spring coiled, I immediately shot to the other end of the spectrum. But I went way too far with it. I not only shed my old religious beliefs, but along with it went my whole concept of morality. I was like the guy in Mark Twain’s short story “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut,” a story about a guy who kills his conscience.

I started embracing all the stuff that was basically the opposite of my upbringing. I completely lost all interest in school and hardly ever went to class. I really didn’t care at all about getting my degree. I went to parties almost every week and drank a lot, one time doing about 14 drinks in a row and waking up with no memory of how I got to bed. I had to ask friends to piece together pieces of the previous night. To this day I’m certain I drank more alcohol before the age of 21 than after (and I’m 34 now).

I also started shoplifting — a lot. The first time I did it simply because it was something I’d never done before, something I could never do as a Catholic. It was like a task to be marked off a checklist. But I soon became addicted to the emotional high of it, and I kept doing it more and more, eventually to the point of doing it several times a day.

I virtually never stole stuff to keep it. I’d give away most of what I stole to other people, or I’d just throw it in the trash afterwards. About a month into my first semester, I got arrested. 4 months probation. I took about a week off and went right back to it, although I became a bit more cautious about it. One week after the probation period ended, I got arrested again and ended up with 40 hours of community service. I did the service, and soon went right back into stealing. But I refined my methods even more, making it much harder for me to get caught. A few close calls only gave me more confidence.

I grew so accustomed to this behavior that I could steal without my heart skipping a beat. No fear. So I had to keep upping the dosage. At first I started setting little goals, like seeing how many large candy bars I could fit in my pockets at once (13), or trying to steal every bottle of white out from the student store in one day (over 50 bottles). Then I just gave away all the candy and white out to fellow students.

I wasn’t doing well in school and was put on academic probation too. They do that when you don’t show up to class. I can’t say I really cared much though.

But things went from bad to worse when I met another student who was about as morally corrupted as I was, and we became fast friends. I stopped doing the (risky) shoplifting, and together we planned and implemented a two-person theft where the odds of getting caught were very low. It worked again and again, and we both started making some actual money from it. To play it safe and not keep hitting the same locations over and over, we expanded our circle to go way beyond Berkeley to an almost 100-mile radius, from San Francisco to Sacramento to Fresno. Over a period of about a year, we gradually escalated each theft to a dollar value that was now well into the grand theft range (at the time any theft above $400). I think our weekend record was about $2400 worth of stuff.

Eventually I got caught again, this time for grand theft. Not good. Before this arrest I had discovered that because of my priors, I’d be looking at about two years in jail if I got convicted of grand theft. Not good at all...

The rest is, no doubt, enlightening.

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