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This is a question I'm going to Hell...

...because I said the Lord's Prayer backwards at a funeral to summon up the Goat of Mendes, Freddie Woo tells us. Tell us why you're doomed.

Thanks to Kaol for the suggestion

(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 13:09)
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I flummoxed a group of Fundies.
It was late one Friday night in the late spring. My friend Richard and I had been out shooting pool and drinking overpriced low-quality pisswater, and we decided to head home. He had drunk less than I had, so he got in his car and departed. Me, I felt the need to walk around a bit before I got behind the wheel- not that I was drunk per se, but just to clear out the cobwebs.

This is how I found myself sitting in the Farmer's Market at one in the morning, letting the warm breeze waft over me as I dozed a little and ignored the group of happy clappers off to my left who were dancing and singing with guitars and tambourines. It was a relaxing sound, really- a load of untrained young voices singing from about fifty feet away. The air was full of the odd scents of downtown Richmond- not all of them pleasant, I might add- but it was nice to sit back and watch the parade of drunken humanity streaming past as I sat on a wooden produce stand.

"Excuse me, do you have a moment?"

She was probably about nineteen, I would guess, with straight blond hair and blue eyes and an open innocent face. Slender, wearing snug jeans and a clingy knit shirt, a shy smile on her face... yeah, she got my attention. "Sure, what's up?"

"I just wanted to know if you've heard the news."

"News?" What the hell was she talking about? Was there another attack from al Quaeda or something?

"Yes, the news of our Lord."


"Ummm, yes, I have. I'm afraid that I'm following a different path, though."

"Yes, but have you really heard what He had to say?" She looked so earnest that I actually hesitated for a moment- but no, the glove had been thrown down. Dismissing someone else's faith because you know yours to be the One True Way is something that I can't let go unchallenged.

"Yes, I have. And frankly, I don't think that most of what's attributed to him in the bible is accurate- I tend to doubt that he was anywhere near as arrogant as he's been made out to be."

She looked utterly stunned by this. "Arrogant?"

"Yes, arrogant. Consider: he supposedly said that the only way to Heaven was through him, right? In other words, that the people of the world who hadn't happened to have heard of him would be cast into damnation, even though they had led blameless lives. I would say that that was pretty damned arrogant, wouldn't you?"

She was blinking by this point. "Ummm... I'll be back in a moment." And she whirled and retreated.

I sat back and took a few more deep breaths of the fragrant Richmond night, letting my mind race for a few moments before she returned with a boy in his twenties. "Hi, you had some questions about Jesus?"

"Not exactly. I was telling your friend here that I don't really buy into what's in the bible, because I don't think it's an accurate depiction of what Jesus said. Not too surprising, really- how many times has it been translated? From Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English that I know of off the top of my head. There have to be translation errors that pop up. Not to mention that there have been a lot of rather disreputable popes in the early days- did you know that there are entire books of the Bible that have been chopped out because someone found them objectionable?"

They both looked like they were drowning at this point. I noticed that a few more of their group had appeared nearby, drawn to the discussion.

"And then there's the fact that the New Testament was passed orally for over a hundred years before it was ever recorded onto paper. Have you ever played Telephone? You get a line of people together, you whisper a phrase to the first one, who whispers it to the next one, who tells it to the next one, and so on. Then the person at the end of the line tells what the message was that they were passed, and the person at the start announces what the original phrase was. They're never the same. Now imagine that being done across generations. How accurate do you think those words attributed to Jesus are? Do you think he'd even recognize his own words?"

I was at the center of a school of fish, it appeared. Mouths opened and closed but few words came forth, and no complete sentences. Then I noticed a rather stern looking man about my own age pressing toward the front. "But the bible is God's Living Word."

"Okay then. Let's set aside any question of inaccuracies for now and just look at what it says. Eternal damnation if you don't follow His rules, right? Sounds pretty harsh to me. According to Genesis we were created in God's image, right? Only we're flawed humans, a pallid imitation of perfection.

"According to the New Testament, God is infinitely patient and forgiving, right? Consider this: if my son does something that he knows that he shouldn't- say, throwing a baseball in the house- and I catch him breaking my rules, maybe because he broke a window or something, what do I do? I ground him, I yell at him a bit, I take a way his privileges, but after a few days he's learned his lesson and on he goes. Do I chain him in a basement and starve him and beat him daily and pour boiling water over him? Of course not. So if I'm a flawed imitation of God, why is it that I'm more forgiving and patient than He is? The whole concept of Hell makes absolutely no sense."


"Look, I'm glad you have a faith that works for you. Really I am. Keep with it. Just recognize that for some of us, it just doesn't work. And that's why I've chosen to follow a different path. You can follow yours, but I need to follow mine." I looked at my cell phone. "It's getting very late and I really need to get to bed. But thanks for the conversation, and good luck to you."

And I left them standing there, mouths agape, whispering to one another with their silent guitars and tambourines clutched in their hands as I walked away.

I think I may have destroyed that guy's flock that night and turned a few minds to doubt. Tired, drunk, up far past my bedtime, and they couldn't touch my logic or refute me.

Maybe I really am Satan...

EDIT: I must be, as this is now my most popular answer to date.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:25, 28 replies)
Ah but......
You were being reasonable and arguing from a sound basis. Obviously nothing to do with religion then. Well done and click.
Though I don't think you'll go to hell really. Hull, now that's different.......
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:31, closed)
Next time I get over there, I may need to make that pilgrimage. Just to say that I've been to Hull and back...
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:43, closed)
I doff my cap to you sir...
Can I ask you to side me in a debate against my mum?

(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:33, closed)
Feel free to plagiarize any of the above. I can probably come up with more, if you like...

Oh, and even better: I told them I was a pagan, that I worship the earth and nature. They looked utterly scandalized. "But it makes sense!" I told them. "The whole point of being religious is to get to know God and follow His will, right? Well, what better way to get to know God than to study His greatest work?"

Again, I was surrounded by codfish...
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:38, closed)
But let's face it, it's not difficult to fuck with American born-again christians.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:39, closed)
In all fairness
if they had been just going on with their happy clapping I wouldn't have said anything. And if the girl had simply walked away when I said I was following a different path, I would have dropped it completely.

But pushing your faith onto me? En garde!
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:46, closed)
you, sir
deserve a giant shitload of applause.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:46, closed)
*grin* Thanks.
In truth this is the sort of thing that happens when I'm short on sleep and have had some beer- I'll get cranky and argumentative, and if someone annoys me enough I go off on a tear. If they annoy me on this particular subject... well, as you can see I've given it a bit of thought and tend to hit them like a load of buckshot. They're unprepared for the torrent I pour forth.

I should probably feel pretty bad about this- after all, I basically humiliated the leader of this group in front of his flock- but really, I don't.

I suspect that they're polishing up a nameplate down there as they await me...
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 13:23, closed)
drink driving is very naughty...
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 15:51, closed)
Which is why I was sobering up by walking around at night before I drove.

The chance to lecture was just a nice bonus. Got some adrenaline going, got my mind cranked up, and made me much more alert on the way home. Pure win!
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 16:12, closed)
All credit to you sir
but it sadly is unlikely to have had much effect. To paraphrase someone whom I can't quite remember "You cannot reason someone out of a position that they have not reached through reason".

Although, maybe, if you can force them to acknowledge the unreasonablness of their position, they will abandon it and start again...
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 16:11, closed)
I bow in the presence of genius..
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 16:27, closed)
Penn and Teller would agree with you. Have you seen that Bullshit?
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 16:35, closed)
You seem to have summed up, in a single post, everything I've been unable to articulate on this subject since I can remember having my own thoughts.

Thank you.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 16:54, closed)
Seconded Colonel
And click with thanks, Loon.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 19:05, closed)
Also, with the one route to heaven, and thats through God...

What about people of other faiths? People who've never done a bad thing in their lives, but might live somewhere where no-one has even heard of christianity?
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 21:22, closed)
I did something very similar the other day when I was approached by the friends of Jesus, except my argument was mostly based around Christmas as I was in a festive mood.

The reason they approached me? Because I was smoking. Where in the Bible does it say 'Thou shoult not smoke the dirty tobacco?'. Hmmm.
(, Thu 11 Dec 2008, 21:21, closed)
I expect that they have noted that nobody smokes in the bible.
Nobody smokes in the bible. Therefore smoking is a non-god approved activity. Or some rubbish like that.

Of course they don't know about the missing passages from the Wedding Feast at Cana :

"11: And verily Mary the Mother of Jesus then saith unto him 'Oh Jesus I'm gasping for a fag, why do I only smoke when I've been drinking?'. 12:And Jesus saith 'It's because it's sociable innit?' 13:and he took some tapers and prayed to the LORD and behold they were not tapers but cigarettes, 14:yea, not roll-ups but nice Sobranie Cocktails, with gold tips and coloured paper and everything. 15:And the guests at the feast were much amazed, for Sobranie Cocktails are dead classy and quite expensive and also tobacco hadn't been invented yet. 16:And then Judas saith "These are smokes for poofs, can't we have some nice cigars instead" etc etc.
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 11:45, closed)
is actually a lot funnier than what I'd written, and is worthy of a post of its own...
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 12:52, closed)
Good darts son
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 2:19, closed)
Careful RL...
...you may have to drop the 'Loon' if you keep going on in this rational vein.

p.s. Let me know if you're going to Hull - it's my local metropolis and far superior to Hell (that's Doncaster for those that know).
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 11:35, closed)
for a better lack of words....
...amen brother lol
(, Fri 12 Dec 2008, 17:12, closed)
Again, I did something similar to a pair of Polish Mormons in Colchester. I was on my way to work, and upon being approached, questioned them about Pride, saying that if Pride (as in vanity) were a Deadly Sin, then isn't it the height of vanity to create an entire race of beings only to tell them they can't receive a reward in the afterlife unless they tell him how great he is every day?

Less articulate, but it had a similar effect. More guppies than codfish.
(, Sat 13 Dec 2008, 0:30, closed)
two things
1. i think i'd like to ordained in the church of the Loon

2. why on earth did you not use your cunning to bag the cute chick

(, Sat 13 Dec 2008, 17:47, closed)
Sheer class!
You've earned that click!
(, Mon 15 Dec 2008, 9:47, closed)
You sir....
...are a God.

Hmm; I've not really thought this reply through.
(, Mon 15 Dec 2008, 14:48, closed)
And Jesus saith unto the crowd about Him, "Do not fuck with the Loon."
(, Mon 15 Dec 2008, 17:29, closed)
Click Click Click!
Well done dude!
(, Tue 16 Dec 2008, 13:04, closed)

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