Prepare To Be Hitch-slapped!

I want to post up some of Christopher Hitchen’s best clips.  He’s sick with cancer and it’s likely that he doesn’t have much longer to live.  Here’s a tribute to some of his best moments.

In this next clip he shares how the very conceptions behind Christianity are insane.  They make no sense whatsoever.

Hitchens argues that Christian faith is solipsistic and arrogant, yet its believers claim humility.  He also states that though Christians claim belief is voluntary, if we do not accept Christ’s gruesome sacrifice, we’re condemned to eternal hellfire.

Hitchens summarizes God’s apparent plan for the world.

The God of religion is worse than any totalitarian dictator.

Religion does not give our lives meaning.

Poverty And Religious Devotion Are Closely Tied Together

Just the other day I replied to a comment Joshua left me, and I said,

To a large extent, I think people are religious because they fear death and find themselves in situations in which they feel themselves powerless to overcome. They also live such boring and empty lives, the thought that their life and destiny ultimately depends on them is a scary thought. But as mankind becomes more powerful as a species, and we’re no longer subject to the cruelties of nature in the same degree we are now, I think religious beliefs will slowly fade away. It’ll become irrelevant.

I’d like to bring in a little evidence to support my claim.  Check out this Gallup study on the correlation between religious belief and poverty.

There’s some fascinating charts.  First you find that in impoverished nations, pretty much everyone is deeply religious.  Because these people’s lives consist of little but troubles and toil, their thoughts focus on the afterlife, or psychological techniques to achieve peace of mind in the hell all around them.  Being powerless and subject to the cruelties of this world to a degree we can hardly imagine, most of them place their hope in deities and other religious thought systems.

But as people’s income and quality of life increases, they care less and less about religion.  Once life becomes tolerable, you put and little money in their pocket, and they’re able to rise above bare subsistence and day to day struggle, religious devotion drops off very quickly.  If a person is able to achieve the quality of life of a low-paid custodian here in the USA, over half them will lose their religion.

And in general, if you further examine nations who have a strong focus on social programs which benefit their people, creating a strong middle class, religious belief plummets even further, some even under 20%.

There are exceptions to this.  We in the USA are a rich nation with a very religious citizen base.  Vietnam is a poor nation but its government in the past limited religious practices.  Estonia and Belarus are in there because the former Soviet Union restricted religious worship in these areas.  Overall though, my comment seems to be backed by the evidence – poverty and religion go together.

What It’s Like To Be Preached To

I’m sure the vast majority of you out there do not have deeply religious family members preaching to you.  Unfortunately I’m not so lucky.  I wish family events and holidays could revolve around catching up with one another, sharing stories, and just enjoying one another’s company.  But with my family everything, and I mean EVERYTHING revolves around religion.

As time goes on, I’ve grow to hate religion more and more, and everytime I’m preached to it just grinds away at me.  I love them all and they’re all very precious to me, but at the same time I really wish they’d never talk about religion with me, or feel it their duty to “witness” to me about Jesus and how He works in their life.

With family members it’s such an awkward situation because you love them and don’t wish to fight or argue with them.  You want to get along and have a nice holiday celebration together.  I’m fine with them being religious and believing what they want to believe; to each their own.  But when they start preaching to me, start looking down and insulting the way I live, pronounce that the things I value most in life are completely worthless, and look down at me like I’m some sort of lost sheep, how am I supposed to endure it with a smile?

All of my family members are ministers, so they’re all very passionate about Christianity.  When my aunt and uncle came down for a wedding just the other day, I got busy with some other things and wasn’t able to spend much time with them.  If you guys want to see firsthand what it’s like to be preached to by religious family members, just read this email my uncle sent me.  I don’t think he’d mind me posting it up here as its obvious intent was to witness to me about Jesus and share his own experiences as to why Christian doctrine is true.  That being the case, he can witness to us all.

As you read this email, you can see that he has no respect for science and evidence.  He doesn’t even think that way.  There’s one thing he says in this email which I find completely baffling.  He says to himself, “What is the truth”, and then he asks God to tell him.  He begins to hear a voice, but it’s faint and small in the beginning.  Eventually he follows it and it shows him the deep truths of this world.  Then he tries to relate to me how he once went through some troubling experiences and just couldn’t determine what the truth was.  Thankfully God starting talking directly to him and now all of that is in the past.

It’s all so odd.  I’m a man of science and reason.  I look for arguments based upon empirical evidence and I don’t accept his arguments as anything more than this own head talking to him.

You’ll notice that everything he argues is emotional.  It’s not about science and reason, nor is there any attempt at examining all the evidence, and demanding proof for every belief.  It’s the complete opposite.  Everything is about faith. We’re told that the ultimate truths of this universe cannot possibly be understood with our rational mind, and you have to believe crazy things in order to have a relationship with the all knowing ruler of all.  The deepest truths of our universe appear crazy to men because God wanted to make the wise men of this world humble. God gave us a mind but never expected us to use it, nor apply it to understanding the world.

I agree with Albert Einstein when he said,

One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.
– Albert Einstein

I quit my belief in Christianity many many years ago because it doesn’t make sense, and there’s mountains of scientific evidence showing that what the Bible says is a bunch of nonsense.

But though at the start of this email he makes it sound like he’s open to hearing a different perspective, just a short moment later he’s making it abundantly clear that he feels all human knowledge worthless, or at the very least, secondary to revelation from God.  At that point you can’t argue because it all becomes arbitrary personal revelation.  He could care less about experiments in genetics proving, beyond doubt, that evolution is true.   He’d argue back with scripture.  He quotes scripture after scripture because to him, scripture is truth.  There’s no room to argue.  This isn’t a debate.

He goes on and on about faith healing and miracles he’s seen happen.  I don’t believe these things happened.  The “dead” man on the ground probably had just fallen asleep, and I’m sure there’s plausible explanations for all the so-called miracles he’s claiming.  When I was growing up he visited our church and prayed for people, including myself, and I never saw a single miracle.  There’s always all these miracles happening, but us critical thinking people never seem to witness them.

Throughout the email he prophesies revelations that God has given him.  I won’t go on further; you can read the letter for yourself.  Now just imagine having to experience this sort of thing in person; it’s Christmas time, you’re opening gifts, eating dinner, sharing quality time with your closest family members, and then you’re cornered in the kitchen and the conversation goes something like this (and yes, this sort of thing happens near every holiday for me)…

Dear Jason,

It was good to see you at the wedding.  I really wanted to spend some time with you while we were visiting. I understand you love to read a lot and have studied the great philosophers and scholars. I also love to study great men and the views of others. I have spent tens of thousands of hours studying the Bible and what others have written about it. No doubt you also have seen the vast differences of views.   Finis J. Dake is one of my all-time favorite scholars, especially with the insight that there was a pre-adamic race that existed between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2. (I have all 18 of his books in my library along with hundreds of others). That certainly fits in with the view that this world is about 4 to 6 billion years old and that man as we know  was created  when God recreated the world 6,000 years ago after Lucifer’s rebellion.

As you probably know I received my doctorate in 1999. I am looking forward to my next PhD in education next year. While that and $1.00 will get one a cup of coffee at most places it’s somewhat  of an accomplishment that will give one a platform to speak since one usually wants  credentials of who and what one knows. I mention this to you because of your background and what I have to briefly share with you.

I grew up in a family that brought me to church as early as I can remember. I went through some very difficult times during my teens.  While I believed in Jesus and loved Him, I never really found that “personal relationship” that others talked about. It’s still really difficult to talk about some of the hurts and disappointments I experienced during those years.

It wasn’t until I was 23 that I asked the Lord, Who’s right? I concluded that since I was Baptist that I believe as a Baptist that I was right. But, I could have just as well been raised a good Catholic. The Lord didn’t answer the question overnight. But it was from that time things begin to happen which had a profound effect on me.  I traveled around the world twice and learned many things about people and demon activity. I met missionaries and explored how many people saw life. I attended many schools and eventually became a Pastor and Bible College President.  There are so many things to put into one letter.

There are many voices in the world. Obviously, not everyone can be right even though they feel  they are.

It took a long time for me to find the God of the Bible. However, since that time I have pressed in to understand how the Kingdom of God works. I literally spent years studying on the subject of faith alone. God began to reveal Himself first through the scriptures and then by the still small voice. Now many times while I’m studying in my office He comes in and talks with me about what I’m studying.  Many times the Lord awakens me in the night to share insight for Sunday’s sermon.  I’ve witnessed the Love that God has for his people on many occasions. I can’t begin to tell you how much He wants His people to know Just how much He really does Love them. He says to tell them “I WANT THEM TO KNOW I LOVE THEM SO, AND I HAVE SO FROM THE START”

I’ve witnessed many miracles that Jesus has done over the years. I’ve seen folks who were deaf instantly healed, folks with crippling arthritis instantly healed, one lady’s face which was drawn up as the result of a stroke instantly healed so that she screamed as she looked in a mirror when she saw how the Lord had healed  her. I’ve seen the blind instantly receive their sight. I’ve seen countless people delivered from all kinds of bondages.  Connie and I have had all nine gift’s of the spirit operate through us at one time or another. I’ve witnessed two people raised from the dead. One was a lady who died in a Sunday morning service  while I was preaching. Another lady came forward to tell me she had passed away. I left the pulpit and went to her to picked her up out of the place she was slumped over and commanded her spirit to return to her body.  Within minutes she came back to life and the crowd gave God great praise.

Another time my mother called me and told me that my step-father had died. I jumped in car and drove across town to find him lying on the floor in the den. I prayed and commanded his spirit to come back into his body in the Name of Jesus. Within minutes he was alive.

Another time a Black woman in our church with 12 children who herself had never learned to read or write came up in the prayer line. She brought a bible and said that she wanted to be able to read it and that she believed that Jesus would give her the gift of reading the Bible. We prayed and I told her to open her Bible and begin to read.  She opened the bible and began to read never having been able to read before. The crowd went wild. The strange thing is she can only read  the Bible. Even today she can’t read any other books. You see, she got exactly what she asked for… read the Bible.

Many times folks who were childless would come for prayer. Usually within six weeks they would report the wife was pregnant.  One time a couple came who had experienced one miscarriage after another. We prayed and in less than a year a healthy baby boy was born. He is a teenager today.

I’ve witnessed hundreds perhaps thousands of miracle after miracle that Jesus has done in our presence over the years. I’m afraid that I have forgotten many of them .

Mark 16:15-20

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 .They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

I’ve include a passage which I believe explains why so many people have a hard time believing in miracles today especially when miracles should be common place in the church.

1 Cor 1:17-31 Today’s English Version

17 Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ’s death on the cross is not robbed of its power.

Christ the Power and the Wisdom of God

18 For the message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God’s power. 19 The scripture says,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”

20 So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skillful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world’s wisdom is foolishness!

21 For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22 Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23 As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24 but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26 Now remember what you were, my brothers, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28 He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29 This means that no one can boast in God’s presence. 30 But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free. 31 So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”

Jason, the Lord has told us that a great revival is coming to the US and we are to be taking part in it. He has told us that it will be similar to what I have described above. Connie and I are now buying an additional house in ——. We think you will really like it. We will be traveling back and forth to Baton Rouge by plane several times a month. We also will be holding meetings around the US, etc

I am looking for another pilot to fly with me (Jet or Turbo-prop rated). Do you know of anyone that may be interested in traveling cross-country on a regular basis?  They will need to be able to stay overnight with us at times.

Connie and I have things to share and something to give to you when we see you again.

Be Blessed,

Uncle Richard