October 1, 2007

The Atheist Jew Goes To Church


Here is the deal: I am friends with a Fundy couple. They know where I stand. They aren't really sure about where my wife stands though. Either was I. I'll get to that later.
The husband is a real handyman. He did a lot of unpaid work for me on my last car. He is retired, so he didn't seem to mind doing it. He did make a request. He and his wife wanted to bring my wife to church a few times as sort of a payback. My wife agreed, though I'm positive she was just being nice (occasionally she is nice).
She's put off going for a few months, and even I was starting to feel guilty about it. So when they phoned saying that their church (a small Calvary Baptist Church) had a guest who had just came back from spreading the Gospel in the Phillippines, and they really wanted her to go, I told my wife I would accompany her. So last night at 6:30 (I SACRIFICED watching the end of the 4:00 NFL football games), I was present for a good hour and a half of Gospel gobblygook.
There were less than 20 people attending the evening service (or whatever they call it). Apparently, they did a morning service too. Not sure how many showed up to that one. I found the people there to be nice, though I didn't get a chance to talk to them much.
The church minister (or whatever he is called) started things off. He told us that someones brother died in the morning, and that a couple of the church members were to sick to show up. He then did a few hymns, and everyone sang along...well except for me. Even my wife sang. Hey, I was a hypocrite too, both my wife and I donated a tooney each (a Canadian two dollar coin) to the donation plate.
Then the young guest preacher/minister from the US got his shot. He didn't win any points by humbly admitting that he had a grade 7 education (what a shocker!).
He was accompanied by 3 of his kids. They had talent. They could play multiple musical instruments. I especially enjoyed listening to the 10 year old girls piano playing. But mostly, all I could think of is how much brainwashing these kids have had in their short lifetimes.
OK. I have had a very strong feeling that Preacher dude knew he had an atheist Jew in the Pews. Why? He started talking about the Old Testament and Jews and how the NT "proved" that Jesus was the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for (something to do with Jesus being born in a manger and wearing whatever he supposedly was wearing). Was I little paranoid? Nope.
He then said that he was going to talk about "simple things" tonight because the church was really small in members, but THE LORD told him to change the sermon for tonight. It reminded me of the old saying "when you speak to God it is called praying, but when God speaks to you, it is called insanity."
When he started going into details about Cain and Abel, the only thing that crossed my mind is that the people who are buying into this are buying into a gory fairy tale, what is wrong with these people?
He started talking about the colour red, and how it is "proof" that the NT is better than The Farmer's Almanac when it comes to explaining everything around us.
You see, red represents Jesus' blood, and the "fact" that Jesus sacrificed himself for mankind. And he bled a lot. After Jesus, there was no need to sacrifice defenseless animals anymore.
Quick question: If God is perfect, why did he need humans to sacrifice animals to him? Sounds like he has a bit of an inferiority complex and needs assurance. Why would a perfect God need anything? And if he created man in his image, then why aren't we perfect. Like, what happened to my hair, and why can't I dunk a basketball?
Back to the colour red. Did you know that barns are red because God made red paint cheap to use for poor farmers so that they could remind us that Jesus and all the blood that he sacrificed started out in a manger? Or that Stop signs are red because God influenced man to make them red so that when we stop, we have time to reflect on Jesus and all the blood that he lost before he died? And fire hydrants are red, and they are shaped like a cross. See, the bible proves everything.
I was starting to think that this guy must have at least a grade 9 education to figure out all these things.
So he ended off by telling US that we now had no excuse not to believe. He must have repeated that three or four times near the end. And finally, he said, "I KNOW THAT THERE IS A SOUL IN HERE THAT HASN'T BEEN SAVED " I don't think God told him that, I think my friend clued him in. And he was wrong, there were two of us in the crowd.
Afterwards, we were invited to have some food, but we declined. My wife was exhausted from a bout of insomnia and preparing food for a friend's bridal shower earlier in the day. It was for the best, as I might not be able to keep my militant atheism in check much longer.

Back to my wife. She was an atheist long before I was one. But I just found that out. 17 years ago when I got married, I was pretty much agnostic. And prior to that outside of letting out my secret that I was an ethnic Jew, I didn't talk about beliefs, and I didn't care what my "dates" believed in either. If they liked me, I liked them.
I didn't even talk about my beliefs with my fiancee (now wife). Though she assumed (correctly) that we were to be married in a Jewish ceremony. Tradition was important to me at the time, with family and all. But I didn't ask her to convert, and that posed a bit of a problem because we had to find someone qualified to marry us traditionally. We found someone. Not sure if he called himself a rabbi or not, but his claim to fame was that he once married parrots (I kid you not).

I always assumed my wife was agnostic or perhaps a bit of a theist. I knew she grew up as an ethnic Christian. Just recently I asked her if I was an influence on her becoming an atheist (lately she has mentioned that she doesn't believe God exists). She surprised me by telling my she never believed in God. Never Ever.
Even as a little girl she remembers telling her girlfriends that she thought the bible stories were just that: stories. Though she did tell them that the points of many of the stories were important.

Maybe I should talk to her more, maybe I'll find out other things I didn't know about her:)

29 comments:

  1. Yes! your story just backs up my suspicion that God is pursuing you. The pastor could've been tipped off, but could well be the Spirit told the pastor to change the sermon then moved on you to perceive that it somehow was directed to you.

    You are so "saved" beaj, it's just a matter of time. I feel like welcoming you to the family already, it just seems so obvious, but will hold off for now.

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  2. Oh, this is funny, after you mentioned Cain and Abel was the topic you providentially (or conspiratorially) heard, I went to my church website (my former church, actually) sermon collection to refresh my memory, and there were 3 on C&A: Portrait of a Rebel (Part 1), Portrait of a Rebel (Part 2), and The Start of a Secular Society.

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  3. I'm a bit surprised that you agreed to go. I'm Catholic, but I'm not sure I'd like to attend this kind of assembley. The sermon would have probably been about idolatry or something like that.

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  4. My fiance is Jewish and I am most certainly not, and I am most certainly not converting. We're having a Jewish ceremony, but not being married by a rabbi. Our officiant is a friend who is certified to do weddings (she got ordained, or whatever you call it, on the internet).

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  5. Orde, God had me and let me go a while ago.

    Suzanne, to me was like doing a documentary. I don't fear churches unless they are going to get physical with me...and I probably wouldn't want to see any animal or human getting sacrificed either. I figured I'd be pretty safe in this situation.

    Allyson, are either of you religious?

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  6. Interesting. I have been meaning to ask you what the sermon was about.

    "If God is perfect, why did he need humans to sacrifice animals to him?"
    Funny you should ask this. In a certain Facebook group we have been discussing the concept of sin (what sacrifices were supposed to atone for). I have been planning on blogging my (disastrous) experience and you've just given me another angle to examine.

    I heard you got the boot from the BT forum. Is it likely to be permanent?

    --Ruth

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  7. PS: orde...
    "You are so "saved" beaj, it's just a matter of time."
    Heh heh.
    I don't suppose you are a fellow Calvinist are you?
    ;-)

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  8. Ruth, I'm sure you'll find the proper spin for my question:)

    As far as the BT booting is concerned, Craig is a big hypocritical baby.

    I don't know if you notice that I get insulted there quite often as much as I insult. Yet I am the only one who seems to get chastised for it.

    Yesterday he warned me not to do it again on PM, I promised I would comply but I took exception to being the only one reprimanded. I made a couple of posts that were not insulting to anyone and the next thing I know, he banned me even though I didn't do anything wrong after the warning.

    How old is Craig? I'm thinking 9 or 10.

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  9. You bet I will.
    Your question actually answers itself. God required sacrifices BECAUSE He is perfect. The issue of
    "why sacrifice" has to do with the doctrine of what sin is and what affect it has on our ability to interact with God.
    As for the banning, it's only temporary. As far as insulting goes, it's probably your approach. You tend to be a bit caustic in your wording. You just have strong opinions, and we opinionated people (I include myself here) tend to do that without realizing it. I don't know if I would worry about it too much. If it were me in your place, I probably wouldn't.

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  10. Yea, BEAJ, what's the deal with insults? Why insult people just because they have made errors of judgement or logic? I find it edifying that you have such strong confidence in your beliefs/opinions, but isn't it a bit presumptuous to insult people who have a different subjective perception of reality, evidence, logic?

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  11. Ari, I come across as arrogant a lot. I realize that. Especially when I'm dealing with Young Earthers and those who pretend that evolution isn't scientifically proven. To me, it is like someone arguing that they have scientific proof that the earth is square and the moon is five miles from the earth.

    I usually just insult those who throw the first punch. And I come across like I am insulting someone when I put them in place when it comes to ridiculous statements like "atheism is a religion."

    I am very insulting to anti-semites too. And that is an automatic for me.

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  12. ruth, I struggle with the Calivinist label and one of the 5 points of TULIP, but yeah, pretty much.

    beaj, your pic with the dog softens the image, maybe it'd help to use that pic on the site that banned you, I just haven't found you insulting or arrogant at all.

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  13. orde,
    Now let me guess which point that would be? Limited atonement?

    -Ruth ;-)

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  14. You guess correctly, Ruth, it makes my brain hurt, and right now my mental energy's urgently focused on raising awareness in general, in the Church, and among the US government in particular about the stupidity of Condoleeza Rice's Nov 15 Summit to destroy Israel. Nice to have met you, on an "atheist" blog, heh.

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  15. You didn't know you're wife was an atheist BEAJ?

    As the warden said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, "What we got here is failure to communicate."

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  16. I've been forced into similar situations. Nice people but they live in la la land.

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  17. Looks like another mutual acquaintance of ours has nose-dived too.

    Lemmesee, that's 2 and 1/2 anti-Semites down (Grimey only counts for half, he scrambled back on his feet elsewhere) and one Islamophobe... Not bad going.

    I also warmly recommend this here guy as an example of Jewish extremism. He'll deny it of course: Torah as usual.

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  18. Mill Town was OK in my books. But you are right about For Zions Sake.
    He really needs to understand that close to 50% of Jews in Israel are Atheist or Agnostic.
    Zionism is not Judaism and Judaism is not Zionism.
    Zionism takes every Jew into account, including atheist Jews like me.

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  19. ...except Christian Jews (no, not an oxymoron), Zionism doesn't welcome them

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  20. No doubt this is one of the things that everyone in the entire world knows but me so I have got to ask what is an ethnic christian?

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  21. Kateland, you may agree or not, but a person who grows up in a Catholic family or a Protestant family, surrounded by Catholic or Protestant culture, where the overwhelming majority of the family are believers, and thus Jesus is assumed as the son of God within all the close family members, could be considered an ethnic Christian.
    A good example of this are Irish Catholics who do all the religious thingys like wakes, but individuals don't have to believe in God to participate fully. Especially if most of their family members consider themselves Catholics.

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  22. Talking about the preacher’s kids reminded me of the time I tried to read my children Bible stories – thought I should give them options. They just looked at me as if I was mad and they were only four and five. Sometimes I think Atheism could be a little pre-wired as I never really believed it when I was small either and I was brought up in a religious household. Never could understand why God would have to sacrifice his son for the sins of others and yet his son still lives – just sounds like the plot from a B grade fantasy/SciFi novel.

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  23. Kateland, I should have probably said cultural Christian, though I consider that the same as ethnic Christian.

    Like I'm a cultural or ethnic Jew.

    Jews have rules that make me an official ethnic Jew (my mom's a Jew). Christians don't have rules like that.

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  24. Check out the Hate Mail especially.


    http://www.thechurchofgoogle.org/Scripture/Proof_Google_Is_God.html

    Billl Gates

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  25. Biiillll, but Google had creators.

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  26. Their proofs regarding the abundance of red in the world are kind of intriguing. I would have been tempted to ask him what was God's purpose in making the communist flag red...

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