It’s time for Sunday School, kids. Those not of a theistic bent may feel free to tune me out.
I just caught this article in which we learn that “Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent design” and warned them
Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.”
My commentary is not about Evolution vs. Intelligent Design.
My commentary is not about accountability in the political process (e.g. to what extent the voters in the minority should be held responsible for the decisions made by the majority.)
Both of those are interesting topics, and have served to enflame teh intarwebs (Hi, Scrubbo!) for years.
My commentary is on the role of the Mouthpiece. See, I believe that God does call prophets in these days to speak for him, just as he did in Biblical times, and that the pattern established there is followed today. Pat Robertson has assumed that mantle, taking it upon himself to speak for God, but the things he’s saying are not consistent with the things God’s prophets have said in the past.
Specifically, he said “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.”
This is contrary to the way God works.
Here’s how it REALLY works. If an individual or (in rarer cases) an entire society fall into sin, there are always consequences. Some of the consequences are worldly (getting sick after sleeping around, for instance), and are often viewed as “divine retribution” by people who don’t understand the point of consequences — people like Pat Robertson.
The point of these consequences is simple– humble the sinner, that he, or she, or they may be brought back into the fold.
That’s where Robertson gets it wrong. He’s telling these people NOT to turn to God, when God wants exactly the OPPOSITE. God wants people to turn to him. These lives we lead are filled with a certain measure of anguish, grief, and misery. If we humble ourselves and turn to God, we can find peace in our trials, and we will ultimately be more loving, more caring, and more godlike when we are called upon to help others through THEIR trials. Robertson has missed this entirely. Sure, sometimes God’s Mouthpiece is called upon to warn of calamity, but the warning usually goes “repent, or you will suffer [insert specific suffering here].” Jonah did this in Ninevah (after chickening out and spending some time being humbled himself), and the people in Ninevah repented, and were spared.
Robertson is just playing the vengeance bit, and has missed out entirely. Whether or not God wants us to vote for Intelligent Design in our schools, I seriously doubt he’s going to inflict calamity on a town over it, much less NOT BE THERE FOR THEM if they turn to him in prayer. That’s not the way He works.
If Pat Robertson ever had license to speak for God, I’m confident that it has now been revoked.
85 thoughts on “In case there was any doubt, No, Pat Robertson Does Not Speak for God”
Sigh – unfortunately, Robertson is a great big mouth and the media loves to quote him and such.
His God isn’t my God. My God has some common sense and is a loving God. Beats me who Robertson is worshipping.
Not to be hastily critical here but why make such a starkly divisive statement as “His God is not my God.” when you could achieve the same personal distance from his views by saying “Yes, Pat and I worship the same deity but I refrain from being an idiot about it.”.
Wouldn’t that be a lot more accurate?
BTW, I love the “You’re making my side look stupid!” icon.
Wouldn’t that be a lot more accurate?
It probably would. I should have said something more along the lines of: His view of God isn’t my view of God. It’s just frustrating over and over with people like him who cause such a fuss with such idiotic statements.
(and thanks about the icon :))
Your statement is only accurate if 1. One assumes that monotheism is the correct philosophy; 2. The Judeo-Christian-Moslem tradition is indeed set up in worship of that one deity; and, 3. the commentor believes in some segment of that particular tradition.
I don’t know if I’m a monotheist or not; I do believe that monotheism was actually a step backward in human philosophical development given the wars, persecution, discrimination, etc. caused by the perceived need to prove that “My god is *the* God, and *you* have to worship Him (always, him) and live by His rules, too.” Perhaps I’m not ultimately a monothiest, or, at the very least, I feel that much of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition just plain gets it wrong. But I do genuinely feel that the deity for whom Robertson speaks is most definitely *not* the one I worship.
From a post on another blog about this:
Stop confusing the situation with needless facts…
It’s been a while; but prophet and mouthpiece aren’t supposed to be synonyms. One speaks for god, the other speaks with him.
Valid point, but it seems like both titles are very often embodied in the same individual.
Most biblical (or any other) accounts of prophets just don’t seem to mention humans being contacted just to casually shoot the breeze, do they?
You’ve gone and confused me completely. I’m thinking like Moses is a prophet vs Aaron was his mouthpiece. In many cases throughout the Bible, one person has done both jobs.
What did I say to suggest shooting the breeze?
Being an old testament prophet meant you had literal conversations with god. Now every cleric is a mouthpiece; they say what they think god wants said (though by David’s time, it was acknowledged that they couldn’t be trusted to; hence the distinction between the priests of the king and the prophets of the lord). A prophet can also become a mouthpiece; but they are considered superior because they have the real McCoy, straight from the mouth of god (and no other patron to pander to).
Now Solomon aside; who in the old testament had conversations with god, and didn’t go out to become a mouthpiece? Hence my comment about shooting the breeze; the old testament god only seemed to speak to give orders.
Your point is interesting, and we could split hairs all night on what is probably a semantic issue. The passage in Revelations 19:10 where we are told that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” seems to indicate that anyone who has recieved a witness of Christ is a prophet.
To settle the matter, we might agree that there are those who have the spirit of prophecy, and there are those WITH the spirit of prophecy who are called upon to serve as Mouthpieces. The set “prophets” contains the set “Mouthpieces of God.” I’m not quite enough of a math geek to write that out mathematically.
Regardless, when I say “prophet,” I’m talking about a person with both attributes.
Personally, I’ve always considered a prophet to be someone to whom God (or God’s Angles) has tapped on the shoulder and said ‘You… We have a message for you to pass on…”
To speak of God, to tell of Him, to me that’s “just” a missionary…
And I have a hard time believing that God’s ever spoken to Pat aside from “You… Shut up…”
And I have a hard time believing that God’s ever spoken to Pat aside from “You… Shut up…”
And obviously not loudly enough; perhaps Pat should turn up his hearing aid?
I personally would suggest God grab his ‘STFU Bat’…
And give ol’ Patty a couple to the side of his noggin…
I thought the whole purpose of free will, or, perhaps, disasters which befall you that are designed to make you turn to God, perhaps take the place of the STFU Bat.
Look, I find Robertson distasteful. I think his glorymongering is in direct opposition to what God wants His priests/preachers/etc. to do. Any time anyone publicly purports to speak for God I’m leery – ESPECIALLY if they’re saying something directly in opposition to Scripture.
Of course, should an actual prophet show up, I may be in a bit of trouble due to my skepticism…
It’s a sad day when the world thinks he speaks for Christianity and all Protestants. Similarly, Osama bin Laden doesn’t speak for all Muslims. And though I’m not religious, I have my doubts that either speaks for God.
What he said…
There has been this strain in Christianity, though, most recently since the 1970s and Hal Lindsey’s (no relation) Late Great Planet Earth. Apocalyptic millenialists tend not to be about repentance, but more about “God’s going to get you! Neener, neener, neener!” and “Burn in Hell, atheistic scum!”, the subject of these taunts, of course, being anyone — of any flavor of religion, including other Protestants — who don’t believe exactly the same apocalyptic vision.
Based on past utterances, Robertson has never been in spiritu.
I seriously doubt Pat Robertson EVER really spoke for God…
Some of the things that man says frighten me on multiple levels.
He doesn’t scare me at all. I’m a little sad for him, and I’m certainly embarrassed at having to share labels with him (“conservative” and “Christian”) but nothing in him frightens me.
Disturbs me, maybe.
The man himself makes me sad, yes, but the things he says are another thing entirely.
It’s like watching a mouse roar like Cthulhu. Or something.
Bah, he’s an old man whose mind is starting to rot. I’m waiting for the an appology for some strange sexual problem no one suspects though I would prefer he gets “Touched by his noodly appendage”. 🙂
The problem with all this is, since the Left thinks that the Religious Right speaks for all conservatives, that they now have something else to point to and say “look at those evil conservatives! The right wing is a bunch of hypocrites!”
Just who does Pat Robertson speak for? Not many Christians, not many conservatives…
More than you’d think, sadly. He is worth a hundred million, after all.
…And, unfortunately, to many, a person’s net financial worth has become the ruler of a person’s worth as a person, so this only perpetuates it.
The point is that he is worth so much money because people give it to him. They give it to him because they agree with him and are like him. Pat Robertson is not rare or unusual among Christians.
I sometimes suspect that the media like to quote Pat Robertson, simply because it helps scare the Left, and keep them in line.
“Vote the way WE tell you to, or the Boogey-Robertson will get you!”
The real problem is not if Robertson speaks for the right, the problem is the party leadership gives him a lot of credence and attention. Karl Rove called Robertson to discuss supreme court nominations. George Bush greatly respects and listens to Robertson. So perhaps the people on the left do have something to really squalk about.
Consider this from another angle… if the Bush administration didn’t call Robertson in to consult, then the Far Right would feel excluded (Robertson would TELL them to feel that way), and the Republican Party would see its power base begin to fracture.
We observed this fracturing with the Meiers nomination — the Far Right felt she wasn’t on “their side,” and that they weren’t consulted in the matter, and Republican support for the White House hit an all-time low.
In short, I think he’s being consulted because it will appease him. I’m sure his opinions get considered along with a 700-pound grain (pillar?) of salt.
It does not matter if the administration is pandering to the far right or not. By calling him and asking for advice, they are legitimizing him and his statements. Remember when he called for the assissination of that guy from South America? By continuing to call him and consult with him, they are in fact telling him its ok if he spouts off.
And let me tell you, this scares the moderates like me to death. The though of the next president being buddy buddy with Robertson makes me NOT want to vote republican.
If the conservative movement, as a generalization, would stop bending-and-spreading for the radical fundamentalist Christians like Robertson and Falwell, other people might stop thinking that the Religious Right and conservatism are one and the same.
I have personal confidence in the idea that the God you speak of here would be proud of me for finding something I truly believe in, instead of blindly following a person, group, or ideal.
That is to say, I developed my own beliefs from the ground up. Certainly, there are influences from Christianity, as well as from Buddhism, Judaism, and a few non-religious ideas (codes of honor and the like).
And I would like to think that–if I’m wrong–God will be proud of me for effectively using the free will He bestowed on me so kindly.
Unfortunately, not many people share this belief, and many I tell this to look at me like I’m nuts.
…I hope that made sense.
What you say makes sense, but I also believe that you are still on your quest, and that you may discover an organized creed that resonates with the truths you’ve already identified. If you’re given that opportunity, you’ll either recognize it and act accordingly, or (blinded by pride in your own accomplishments, perhaps) reject it.
God wants us to act with the agency and intellect we’ve been given, but he also wants us all to maintain a measure of humility.
Here’s my only problem with that:
Presume, for a moment, that there is a One True Faith, whatever that might be.
It seems to me, at least, that if God is indeed all loving (and that does of course presume some Judeo-Christian beliefs), then it is more likely that one of the larger established faiths is “true” insofar as presumably God, being all loving, wants us to be able to see the One True Faith and have an opportunity to follow it. While I don’t deny that you may have in your travels and such come across the One True Faith and everyone else (okay, presumably someone else may have come to your same conclusions, but the majority of humanity hasn’t) hasn’t, it does seem that in thousands of years of human history with most of mankind searching for God in whatever form, that the reason that certain faiths caught on and others didn’t was a resonance with the truth, to use an awkward phrase. This does of course run afoul of the “why are they significantly different” argument, but bear with me here.
The other problem I have with your statement is this: the writings of the Bible, at least, pretty clearly spell out that if you don’t accept God, you’re rejecting him, and Bad Things happen to you. It doesn’t seem to me that if God has indeed shared His Word with humanity, that the one thing he asks you do to – follow it – is an unreasonable request.
I don’t doubt that God wants you to use the intellect and free will that He gave you, but if you turn away from Him, why would He reward you for that use? If you turned to absolute evil, for a perfectly logical set of reasons (it makes me happy, other people don’t matter, money is teh awesome!11!!, etc.) you have “effectively” used your free will, but in direct opposition to God.
Just my 2 cents…
I do follow the teachings of the Bible, but I don’t treat its words as fact; even if they are based off of true stories instead of being mere parables for teaching, there is no way that any document could have survived human error, editing, translation, retranslation, officious people, holy war, divisions in sects, or differences in opinion unharmed. It is, after all, a human invention even if it is divinely inspired.
From that, I draw the conclusion that what the Bible has to say (not necessarily how it says it) is what I am supposed to take to be the Word of God.
And that I follow. But I don’t follow it in the ways that everyone else does.
I have problems with the Church–any Church–because, they too are human inventions and subject to human limitations. As such, I follow no Church but the one in my head, of my design, because then I know what my shortcomings are.
Thank you, Howard.
I just wish some Actual Religious Leaders would come out and divorce themselves from the filth and bile this disgusting excuse for a Christian is spewing.
Maybe they assume we know he’s not actually speaking for God. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the media covers him – were it not for the media, he’d be one of those nutjobs on the corner with an apocalyptic sign. And people need to be told – “just because this man is the loudest voice you hear coming from our religion, that doesn’t mean he actually speaks for us, or for God.”
It always frightens me when a “religious leader” comes out with something like this. Honestly, the “be good or Jesus will get you” idea totally devalues any benefit to having a savior in the first place–that’s not a savior, that’s a boogeyman.
Guys like Robertson apparently view the Second Coming of Christ as the coming of the SWAT team, with God as the gruff (but loveable) police chief who sends in the team to clean up the town by any means necessary. The implication that they believe they’ll be standing on the sidelines cheering as the sinners and unbelievers fry is enough to make me shiver.
Anyone who is positive that they’re Saved(tm) probably isn’t. Not a path to the door, but a road to the horizon. Try not to slip off the path–it’s dark out there and you might not find your way back.
Those who don’t study history and all that …
The Jews were absolutely certain that the Messiah was going to mess the Romans up but good, and I’ve been told that was a big part of the reason that so many rejected Jesus.
Many of the sects of Jews at the time were just like Robertson and his ilk, and certain that they were doing what needed to be done, and everyone else was borked.
I’m under the impression that for a lot of these kinds of folks, it is less about God, and more about power over other people’s lives, or fame or something. Self-aggrandizement. Yeah.
Well, the Second Coming has been described a lot differently from Christ’s Mortal ministry, in that He will come in his Glory, and there will be lots of chaos etc up until that point. There’s certainly scriptural justification for the claim that the earth will be cleansed of sin by supernatural violence.
Pointing at which people you think will get the violence done unto them, however, is not the point at all. Remember, it’s the meek who will inherit the Earth.
I’ve been sort of toying with the idea that Christ’s second coming isn’t going to be what people expect it to be.
“He will come in His Glory” may not mean what we think it should mean. Your point about scriptural justification notwithstanding, I think the Lord has spent much of the last 8000 years or more being misunderstood by those who aren’t meek.
All of that said, I refer back to my favorite saying about such second coming: One must live like the second coming is tomorrow. Because tomorrow, you may step in front of a bus, and the second coming is effectively right then for you, because your time is up.
Point being, it doesn’t really matter what is going to happen – destruction or whatever, Christ will be here, and then we’ll have to deal with where we are at that time, and what is going on at that time.
I think SLC ignores people like Robertson because replying to them or making a statement about them just gives them more airtime.
I have the image now of Jesus rolling up in the Stretch Hummer Limo to end all Stretch Hummer Limos…
A possy, ground effects, and pyro when he gets outta the limo…
Thanks…. That sufficiently brightened my day…
Always happy to help brighten people’s days with my bizarre ideas 😉
Actually, I think it is possible to know now that you have secured for yourself a place in the Celestial kingdom, but you’re right in that you have to keep on the path. It’s never to late to fall away.
Mr. Robertson, of course, is in no position to wonder if his salvation is sure. I’d say more, but I’ve got this beam in my eye and it’s making it hard to type.
Thanks, Howard. I agree completely. That guy rubs me wrong completely, and I don’t even live in the states, nor am I a christian anymore. However, my god is not incompatible with yours (although i bet most on your side would disagree), and that idea of god punishing people with no chance for them to redeem themselves doesn’t fit with any intepretation.
May I ask who your God is? Assuming I may, who is your God? (If I may not, ignore the second question)
you may. but ‘s a nasty question that will result in an incoherent answer.
because frankly, I’m still working it out. But to put you on the right track… have you ever wondered why several different civilizations have, at several points in time, come up with effectively the same pantheons… not just in a “oh, they all have a god who represents the sun because blah-de-blah blah” Historian’s point of view, but also in.. well. take the sun gods as an example… they are all not only representative of the sun, they are similar in other aspects. or for a better one… Odin. and Zeus/Jupiter. and Ra… or any other of the countless Egyptian head gods. very very similar. now, there could be some cross-pollination of ideas from one culture to another, but timing and cultural things make that seem unlikely to me. And of course then there’s the eastern gods… developed along a similar pattern and the same time as the westerns. I’m working on an assumption that maybe they all have the right idea there…. two possibilities. Firstly, that that idea of pantheons in that style is somehow wired in and/or just a crossover from prehistory… except that prehistoric religions were a LOT more basic. Secondly… they have the right idea. That there is a group of ‘higher powers’ that revealed themselves to each of those groups in a similar way.
long, ranty, and incoherent. if you want a better explanation and more of my reasoning AND/OR just want to argue… feel free to email/MSN/AIM me.
Bah, all that is the fault of the Greeks. And Marco Polo. And the Romans for perpetuating the idea that the Greeks were so smart.
I exaggerate greatly of course, and my timeline is way off. But they took so many concepts from other societies and “refined” them and then made them popular, and then the Romans spread them all over the world.
sooo….. the Romans spread the pantheon to the Norse, huh?
An entertaining vision, even if it fit the timeline at all.
but no. my point is that that can’t have been how it happened. or…. it is very very unlikely.
eh. that’s not the only reason i believe as I do anyway. but the rest of it is even less coherent.
Technically, this is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, since it denies that the Spirit will descend upon those who, in times of tribulation, turn to Christ as their personal savior.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, for most Evangelical Christians, is one of the only ways to invalidate salvation, requiring atonement and regeneration of the soul.
Further, this statement of Robertson’s falls under the heading of Damnable Heresy, as it directly confuses the tenets of Christianity for the listening audience.
Please note, by definition I’m an Apostate. But even from an Evangelical standpoint, Robertson’s doing badly.
Full blasphemy against the Holy Spirit requires you to have truly known it at some point, i.e. to have been a prophet, and then to deny it completely. I don’t think that applies to Pat. He’s going to be in for a BIG surprise come Judgment Day if he doesn’t change course, but I wouldn’t put him in the ‘unredeemable’ column just yet.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is truly worse than murder, and a sin that bad looks bad to anyone involved. It’d be like the Dalai Lama giving up the simple, happy life and forming a partnership with Larry Flynt. We’re talking uber-wicked here.
I should mention, for fairness, that Mr. Robertson may be partially guilty of murder.
I’d say something about pharisees, but that one verse about ‘casting the first stone’ makes me think I should shut up now.
that link has exceeded its limit…well done?!
If anything comes up dead on the web, I always try prefixing the whole URL with
It worked in this case.
Thanks for that!
It’s working fine now.
What this post reminded me of was something I had written last year about the tsunami at Aceh.
It’s not exactly the same, mainly because where you’re coming from is completely different from where I’m coming from, but when I saw what you wrote I remembered my post, and I guess I had to share it with you and everyone here.
You’re pretty damn cool for one of ‘the Enemy’. Just sayin’.
With enemies like me, who needs friends, right?
Good post, by the way. The principle difference between the Tsunami (or Katrina, or whatever they’re calling that Earthquake) and a bona-fide “smiting from God” is that God calls prophets to warn the people that they’re going to be smitten if they don’t repent, and he does it BEFORE the smiting.
These modern disasters are things we’ve been warned about, but only in general “these are signs of the last days” terms. They’re not bona-fide smitings. Most times the “smiting” is only described as such AFTER-the-fact by self-righteous types who, as you pointed out, don’t plan to help.
Contrast Robertson’s take on New Orleans’ devastation and the LDS Church’s take on it. Both are “conservative” and “christian”. Robertson said New Orleans had it coming. The LDS Church mobilized its local and national welfare services crews, and started providing personal hygiene kits to every hurricane victim within reach, and the First Presidency sent a letter to all congregations encouraging members to be generous with their fast offerings and humanitarian aid donations, because these were the funds the Church would be depleting in order to provide help.
The LDS Church lacks infrastructure in South-East Asia, but at last count a couple hundred thousand similar kits were provided by the Church through the International Red Cross, and I know a similar call for donations went out.
Regardless of the organization in question, being a good Christian is about loving your neighbor more than your own selfish comforts, and about knowing that when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.
I have a slightly different take:
To quote Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic editor, Brookings Institute Senior Fellow, co-founder of Belief-Net, and NFL.com columnist (how’s that for a weird collection of hats?):
“Jenn reports her favorite saying is “Everything happens for a reason.” Warning, serious digression: Even as a churchgoer, what gets me through the day is the belief that most things do not happen for a reason. God may be watching from afar, but tragedies past and present seem inexplicable unless most accidents, violence, sickness and other traumas are simply flaws of existence, lacking direction or larger purpose. If what goes wrong lacks purpose, then perhaps humanity may find ways to remove accidents, violence and sickness from life. Thus the idea that most things do not happen for a reason is, to me, a life-affirming thought. Digression ends.”
Whoohooo! One of my favorite scriptures!!!
(Yes, I am enjoying my spiritual high).
Some people speak for God. Others, they try to wield God like a club, to scare and bash people into submission. Robertson’s the latter.
I tend to avoid him all together. Unfortunately, I don’t live relatively that far away from the Bible Belt(about 6-7 hour drive). That narrow minded Conservative Christian talk annoys me.
I consider ourselves lucky to have people around us who won’t have their license revoked anytime too soon. I’d rather listen to President Hinckley on Larry King Live any day(or better yet. . .General Conference!)
Indeed. Amen, and amen.
Robertson baffles me.
I watch the 700 Club fairly often, particularly when I’m back home visiting people or I’ve managed to time my TBN binges properly. 85, 90% percent of the time, he’s completely reasonable. (I don’t concur with him on very much, but that’s something else again.) Most of the rest of the time, his unreasonable comments take fairly innocuous form, or are so entrenched in the rhetoric of his movement that you just learn to roll with it. Then he comes out with something like this, and it’s only the consistent delivery style which reminds me that it’s even the same guy.
I never, EVER watch the 700 club. I seldom watch television, and nobody I visit watches the 700 club. Robertson is completely outside of my personal sphere of entertainment and/or influence. I only get to hear about him on the news.
I don’t doubt his delivery is solid. He wouldn’t have an entertainment empire if it wasn’t. His is a gospel of personal charisma, and of (I suspect) telling us mostly what we want to hear, mixed with a little bit of stuff we don’t want to hear but know we need to, mixed with a tiny bit of stuff that THE DEVIL STUCK IN THERE TO LEAD EVERYBODY ASTRAY! IT’S SATAN, RIGHT THERE IN ROBERTSON’S MOUTH! RUN AWAAAY!
But I could be wrong.
Oh. The Devil’s not stuck in a lead ashtray.
What a shame.
Mmmm, I think the balance on the first three is off. Order charisma after what “we” want to hear, and then shove in a pile of health and fitness material. The problem show generally isn’t 700 Club anymore, it’s CBN “News”; this one does a much better job of competing with Oprah and the trashy values-in-a-vacuum stuff PAX shoves out on occasion.
The thing is, the “Satan stuck that in his mouth” material? I don’t know who the heck it’s meant to even reach. The ones who got lulled in by the Perfectly Reasonable In Context material are going to flip out, the ones affected by the content are going to be chased off immediately, and everyone else who isn’t already there for the long haul (or with a ten-mile-wide streak of irony in their watching habits, like mine) is going to, well, have the same reactions you’re having. The key demographic looks to be soccer moms nowadays, and I can’t see them responding well to this stuff at all.
I’m a protestant, evangelical Christian, but I don’t watch the 700 Club. Often, he pulls out scripture, but it’s out of context, or spews something like he did about Dover. It seems to me that he too often just misses the point. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, but he doesn’t speak for me.
As for God, Robertson seems to be one of those people, like many Christians I know, who see God as this wrathful God of the Old Testament. Those people miss the point that he was never really a vengeful, wrathful God. He always tried, like Howard said, to get people to turn to him. Even at Soddom and Gomorrah, he was willing to spare everyone if there were just five righteous people. I don’t recall a single piece of scripture where God turned his back on somebody, offering them no chance at redemption. I also don’t see him starting that now.
I re-read the book of Joshua not long ago. I can sum it up thus:
1) And the Lord God spake unto Joshua and the children of Israel, saying,
2) Go ye over there, kill everybody, even the women and children, take their land, and split it up however you like.
3) So they did, except for a couple cities which fooled the Israelites into only enslaving them.
Not a mention of the Canaanites ever having had the option to turn to God. Not even a murmur of “repent and ye shall be spared.” Just go in and kill them, because God promised you this land, and they’re squatters, so they’re gonna die.
Once I was a fundamentalist Christian myself (ages ago). Joshua is one of the major reasons (Philemon being another) that the Bible no longer brings me any comfort.
You’re missing some important aspects of Joshua. I’m at work and limited on time, so I’ll just address one. Read Joshua 2. They’re getting ready to move on Jericho. They know God will go before them and that the battle is already one. But, God calls time out. They send two spies in, who are then hidden from the king by Rahab, a prostitute. In return, she asks that she and her family be spared in the attack. The men agree and keep their word. Her’s is the only family that survives the attack. She throws her lot in with the people of Israel, worships their God, and is honored throughout the OT and NT. You can either focus on the fact that they slaughtered all of those people, or you can realize that God cared enough to push pause long enough to save just one more person. Those spies didn’t have to go in. They didn’t need reconnaisance. They providentially went into Jericho to save just one person. Would have been a lot easier to kill them all.
I could keep going, but I have to work. =)
Yeah, I’m not disputing any of your assessment of Robertson, but he also seems to do this far less often than he gives the impression of doing. I can’t decide whether it’s to lull folks into a false sense of security (he’s totally mellowed out since the televangelist heyday, I swear) or because he feels the need to do this occasionally to up ratings.
(And for all that I watch the show specifically because it’s Recreational Christianity for me, I swear most of it is about American income taxes and how to keep your figure after thirty.)
I never trust people who claim to speak for God. I’ve never met or seen one that wasn’t a self aggrandizing greedy asshole. Real prophets don’t beg for money and drive expensive cars. Also, those tards are very selective about their bible verses. They love quoting the passage about Sodom at you, but if you suggest that we stone people for wearing mixed linens, or bar women from attending church for 66 days after giving birth to a girl (only 33 for boys!) they say “Oh, that’s old testament stuff that was superceded by Jesus’s teachings.” I call bullshit on them. If you chuck it out, you chuck it out.
This is, by the way, a chart of how I became disillusioned with Christianity’s view of the bible as part of my journey from Catholic alter boy (who was never molested. I guess I was an ugly kid.) to atheist.
Now, Christians that really DO believe in Christ and what he said and believed and not in what they’re TOLD they should believe by manipulative self-proclaimed prophets are usually very very kind people. Jesus’s teachings were, in a nutshell, “Be excellent to eachother.” Bill and Ted had that right. And turning water into wine? “Party on!” isn’t too far off I guess.
Now look at the followers that survived Jesus. They have semi-conflicting ideas about what Christianity ought to be. Paul, in particular, is self-contradictory. He spits out some pretty anti-feminist rhetoric, but at the same time says things like in God’s eye, there is no male or female, all are equal. Oh, and more gay-bashing shows up. Jesus never said anything about gays being evil. He said the most hated and persecuted will be honored in heaven.
I decided that anybody talking about what Jesus would have wanted after he died was full of it. They were just guessing. Because Jesus seemed pretty sure of himself on earth, and these guys couldn’t really agree on anything other than “Jesus is cool!”
Then I got for a present at Christmas a book on greek mythology. Tons of Gods! All with people saying they’d seen Zeus turn into a big swan and bang some check, etc, etc, etc. And I realized these were from a fully formed, very old religion that eventually went the way of the dodo (before the dodo, even) and wondered why those had passed, yet others stick around.
It seemed to me it was because the religions had different messages. The greek religion could be summed up by “Gods are capricious assholes. And watch out for giant swans/bulls!” Yes, it’s amusing, but not very practical.
Judeism could be summed up (very very roughly, and by me) by “Yah, life sucks, and we have a bunch of rules to make it suck more, but that’s cause we’re chosen and we’re gonna rock the afterlife like no other.” Life often does suck, so having some hope for things being better later should definately win you some converts. And those hilarious rules definately lead to a viewing of “us” and “them” that helps keep a defined religious identity and kept Judeism alive for a really, really, really damn long time.
Christianity is summed up (I love doing sums) as “Even if life is sucking right now, be nice to eachother. If you’re nice, you’ll rock the afterlife like no other!”
Of the three, Christianity is the nicest. Too bad it seems like it gets twisted around by jerks. Which is why I don’t trust people who claim to know what God/Jesus wants us to do.
I also never trust anybody over 30. Which means I no longer listen to myself. And that’s probably for the best, all things considered.
Your journey away from Christianity is very like mine, right down to the Greek mythology. Except for the not-getting-molested part. I was a cute kid. I haven’t been to church since I was old enough to say no, and it was many years before I could talk about it without spitting bile and venom. I hate Pat Robertson and everything he represents.
Our countries right wing fundies sound suspiciously like terrorists when you actually listen to how they talk. Dehumanizing and demonizing others to make hate seem righteous.
“Christianity is summed up (I love doing sums) as ‘Even if life is sucking right now, be nice to eachother. If you’re nice, you’ll rock the afterlife like no other!'”
Hm… admittedly, the message I’ve been getting as of late (which of course is tempered by where I live and how I feel about myself) is “Life won’t suck if you follow our lead, but (not unlike the Matrix) we can’t tell you how — you must see it for yourself.” There’s also a lot of “God loves you, so take advantage of that, because it’s quite possible that no mortal will ever give a damn about you.” The afterlife isn’t too big a deal, which ironically appeals to me the most. 🙂
In the end, I go by how I feel, not by what I’m told. Even so, I’m still glad I don’t know who this Pat Robertson is. /:-.
Looking from it in a purely darwinist lens, you make plenty of sense. Even from a Judeo-Christian viewpoint, it still makes sense since all of those polytheistic religions were probably created to make monarchs/preists look more powerful.
Sadly every religion gets used that way at some point or another. That’s why the U.S. was founded with the freedom of religion as it’s first ‘bill of rights’. Letting everybody be free to worship how they wanted was how they planned on keeping theocracy out of the U.S. Once you start governing by religion, discrimination becomes built in.
I was about to attempt to be the devil’s advocate, but then I shook my head and decided to save my efforts for those cases where the devil actually has an effective argument.
But I won’t join in the random Robertson-bashing. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the man to know whether he’s as complete an idiot as y’all seem to think. All I know is that he spews random hatred and occasionally says something hypocritical. (Actually, the hypocrisy is worse, in my personal moral code, than the blind hating. But it has already been established that my moral code is weird.)
Wait a minute, didn’t I say I wouldn’t comment on Howard’s blog again because whenever I do I just wind up annoying him?
Add to that the fact that I didn’t actually SAY anything with this comment, and you’d think I would just shrug and close the browser without hitting ‘Post Comment’. But I already went to the effort to write it, and am CONTINUING to type, and… Hm. There are wheels within wheels in there somewhere. But I think I just broke my brain.
Oh, look, I should be in logic class. D’oh.
Personally, I think blind hatred is worse than hypocrisy, because hypocrisy is a much more common sin. We all resort to it, in some way. It chafes us more than blind hatred does, because it breaks our perception of people and makes us feel betrayed and insecure, but I still say hatred is truly the worse sin.
Wise decision on not jumping in on the Robertson-bashing. This sort of post is like flame to the bashing moths, and merely to not do so is helpful.
Hee hee. Bashing moths!
Is it just me or does Robertson get some of his best lines from the Godfather trilogy?
I could just hear that guy telling some poor Italian shopkeeper that the Don is sad that he has chosen not to partake in the protection offered by the brotherhood, and hopes that any unfortunate accidents which may occur like, say, his shop burning to the ground, won’t make things difficult for his family.
Thank you for posting that 🙂
Quick! Is “pat-robertson-is-a-blasphemous-idiot” still available as a web address? We gotta get a hold of it, if it is!
Amen to that
Always a chance to make peace with the Lord, I feel.
I think at some point he got “Zeus” confused with “God”. No one ever sat him down and told him, “No no, Pat, Zeus is A god, not THE God.” Hence, he’s been laboring under this asinine code where “God” strikes down those who offend him (Pat). I honestly think if you asked him, he’d say “What’s ‘Heaven’? Everyone knows God lives on a big mountain in Greece.”
Using your religion to teach hate. That is a Taliban technique.
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