Christopher Hitchens - Rab C Nesbitt TV - Giles Fraser - Bart D Ehrman - Robert Ingersoll - William Shakespeare - Robert Tressell - LGBTQ Nation online -
The theist says when I tell you what to do, Christopher, I have God on my side … and since God doesn’t ever directly appear and say do it this way, it’s done for him – this is really convenient – by human representatives who claim to act in his name … Real power in the only world that actually exists which is the material world of you over me: and you wonder why I’m not keen. Christopher Hitchens
Having a minister that’s English and a woman it’s a kind of double-whammy you know. Rab C Nesbitt s10e6: Stool, Rab in church, BBC 2011
There was a time when the country vicar was a staple of the English dramatis personae. This tea-drinking, gentle eccentric, with his polished shoes and kindly manners, represented a type of religion that didn’t make non-religious people uncomfortable. Giles Fraser, Anglican vicar
One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes, they come to realize that it is difficult to know whether Moses existed or what Jesus actually said and did, they find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture (for example, other Gospels and Apocalypses), they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (for example, written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all of this, and yet when they enter church ministry they appear to put it back on the shelf. For reasons I will explore in the conclusion, pastors are, as a rule, reluctant to teach what they learned about the Bible in seminary. Bart D Ehrman, ‘Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible’
Not one of the orthodox ministers dare preach what he thinks if he knows a majority of his congregation think otherwise. He knows that every member of his church stands guard over his brain with a creed, like a club, in his hand. He knows that he is not expected to search after the truth, but that he is employed to defend the creed. Every pulpit is a pillory, in which stands a hired culprit, defending the justice of his own imprisonment. Robert G Ingersoll
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede. William Shakespeare, Hamlet I iii 47
‘Well, the vicar goes about telling the Idlers that it’s quite right for them to do nothing, and that God meant them to have nearly everything that is made by those who work. In fact, he tells them that God made the poor for the use of the rich. Then he goes to the workers and tells them that God meant them to work very hard and to give all the good things they make to those who do nothing, and that they should be very thankful to God and to the idlers for being allowed to have even the very worst food to eat and the rags, and broken boots to wear. He also tells them they mustn’t grumble, or be discontented because they’re poor in this world, but that they must wait till they’re dead, and then God will reward them by letting them go to a place called heaven.’ Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
The vicar doesn’t believe it himself; he only pretends to ... because he wishes to live without working himself ... Most of the idlers know that what the vicar says is not true, but they pretend to believe it, and give him money for saying it, because they want him to go on telling it to the workers so that they will go on working and keep quiet and be afraid to think for themselves. ibid.
‘As for this religious business, it’s just a money-making dodge. It’s the parson’s trade, just the same as painting is ours, only there’s no work attached to it and the pay’s a bloody sight better than ours is.’ ibid.
And in the midst was the Reverend John Starr, doing the work for which he was paid.
As he stood there in the forefront of the company, there was nothing in his refined and comely exterior to indicate that his real function was to pander to and flatter them; to invest with an air of respectability and rectitude the abominably selfish lives of the gang of swindlers, slave-drivers and petty tyrants who formed the majority of the congregation of the Shining Light Chapel.
He was doing the work for which he was paid. But the mere fact of his presence there, condoning and justifying the crimes of these typical representatives of that despicable class whose greed and inhumanity have made the earth into a hell. ibid.
America’s most homophobic preacher’s exhortation to Americans to kill all LGBTQ people is making the rounds again. Steven Anderson’s hatred may have gotten him arrested in Botswana and banned from South Africa, but his freedom of speech allows him to spew his vitriol in America.
In the sermon, Anderson tells his flock that God demands all LGBT people be put to death and encourages them to do ‘as the Lord commands’ by Christmas. LGBTQ Nation online article 6th December 2017, ‘Minister encourages his flock to slaughter all gays by Christmas’