Sunday, October 07, 2007

Christian Kool-Aid

There are two quotations from famous Discordians that have always made a lot of sense to me.

Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill wrote Principia Discordia, long long ago. On page 00054, it is written: "Conviction causes convicts."

And Robert Anton Wilson wrote in Cosmic Trigger, "Belief is the death of intelligence."

These ideas have just been (again) proven true to me.

Saturday night I couldn't sleep, so I was online, following up various links to the word "Freemasonry." I saw a link to a Christian forum where Freemasonry was being discussed, so I clicked on over to see what was up.

On Worthy Boards, I found a thread that had just been started by a regular contributor there, obviously a Christian, who had (against the board's rules) copied and pasted a long diatribe against Freemasonry, "proving" that the Masonic "plan of salvation," yadda yadda, was unchristian, Satanic, etc. You've seen it before, or something like it. The poster had included links to the websites for the Ephesians 5:11 and Ex-Masons for Jesus crowd.

For some reason I was "inspired" to register on that forum, and write a nice, polite response to the lies about Masonry that had been posted. Maybe that inspiration was from "the Lord," maybe it was from the goat-headed Baphomet or Pan, or maybe it was just my tired brain seeking some stimulation until I could fall asleep.

The poster had made ten points comparing Masonry to Christianity. Many of her points were just so off the wall I had to respond.

So I did. Politely, I might add.

Satisfied that I had "done my duty" (to the Lord, to Baphomet, or to my sleepy mind, I don't know) for Freemasonry, I skimmed the site and found some poor guy searching for the "truth" about Lucifer being kicked out of heaven after a fight with God and/or the angel Michael.

I posted a few words, sharing my belief that the myth of Lucifer "falling from grace" was a Hebrew re-telling of the Osiris/Ra myth, and that that in turn was simply based on the motions of the planet Venus in relation to the Sun.

Satisfied, I went to bed and fell into the arms of Morpheus.

Today, I checked back on the site, to see if there were any responses. But I couldn't find my posts. Not only had they been deleted, but the entire threads, begun by their regulars, were gone.

I poked around for a few minutes, checking to see if I'd simply not looked into the correct forum areas.

Apparently, one of the site's moderators had been watching my travels about the board, because while I was still on the site, I got an email message:
Widows Son,

Hello my name is Dave and I am a Moderator at Worthy Boards. The reason that I am writing is that I have removed a couple of posts by you.

One read like an apologetic for Free Masonry. Our focus at Worthy is the Glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ's Outrageous Grace.

I also want to ask that you not end your posts with the "burning taper" website as your sig. The reason is that the site reads like an apologetic for Free Masonry. Free Masonry is not compatible with our Statement of Faith. Please read it. It is not our focus at Worthy.

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior Widows Son?

I wrote Dave back the following:

I simply told your regular poster there (who obviously lifted her diatribe against Masonry from another website, thus violating your rule about plagiarism) that she was wrong in her statements about Masonry. I didn't start it, and would never even have found your site had it not contained the lies about Masonry.

Don't worry... I won't pollute your board with Masonic stuff. I don't plan to be a regular there, but I will be back to answer any negative stuff your members post about Freemasonry, even if you do delete it soon after I write it. Being a Christian doesn't give anyone the right to publicly lie about paths others have chosen.

So why'd you also delete the post that answered the question by your member
about Lucifer?

Thanks for writing.

I sent the message, and then turned my attention back to their site, having noticed a thread called "Prayer Warriors" (they like that militaristic jingo; there is also a forum devoted to "Spiritual Warfare").

Someone had requested prayer for his aged uncle who had, supposedly, lost his life's savings to an Internet scam. I was amused by one particular response to his plea.
QUOTE(Zadok Rox @ Oct 7 2007, 08:05 PM) *
Lord Father, I pray that you would restore to Shortstop's uncle what was swindled from him in Jesus' name. And, Lord, please save the people who conned him and that they turn themselves in. In Jesus' name, amen.
I figured, hey, this is a good time to ask a question I've always wanted to put out on a Christian-themed forum somewhere, 'cause I'd like to see what kind of responses it would get. So I wrote:
I have questions no one has ever suitably answered for me. Namely, how does prayer work? What are the mechanics of prayer? Is God swayed by a certain number of prayers on a particular subject? Is a group prayer, or you all individually praying for the swindled uncle, more effective than a solitary prayer from one person? Does God grant favors based on the number of prayers, or the quality of a prayer, or what?

Widow's Son
I hit "save" on that one, thinking, hmm, maybe I'll get some thoughtful responses. Maybe I can get a glimpse into how these people's minds work, and find out why they think God is their cosmic Santa Claus, always ready to do a favor if asked. Apparently not too many Christians believe in the Deist God that simply made the Universe and then sat back to let us utilize our free will.

Boy, was I wrong. No answer was to be forthcoming. As I clicked to another post, I got this message:
Your account has been temporarily suspended. This suspension is due to end on Sep 19 2018, 08:24 PM.
Two-thousand eighteen! I've been banned from Worthy Boards for nearly ELEVEN YEARS! For defending Freemasonry and asking some simple questions.

So much for the love of Jesus. So much for Christians reaching out to the "unsaved." So much for Christian compassion.

As a libertarian, I have no problem with them locking me or anyone out of their forums. It's theirs; they can do what they want.

But as a spiritually-minded intellectual, it amazes and amuses me.

Back to the Discordian quotes I mentioned at the beginning of this article....

These people, not unlike the "fundamentalist" Masons who don't like the "harmony" of their forums mucked up with "radical" questions or ideas (like women Masons or black Masons), when confronted with something that doesn't fit into their narrow little worldview, simply cut off the offending idea. Like ostriches with their heads in the sand, or a child putting his fingers in his ears and shouting, "La la la la, I can't hear you."

Their convictions, or beliefs, have imprisoned them. "Out, damn Satan!" they shout at anything that forces them to THINK, to use their god-given brains for something other than hat racks. Their belief, certainly, has killed their intelligence.

The Worthy Boards are filled with thousands of posts, almost all of them a variation on "Woo hoo! Ain't our God good!? If you don't think so, you're going to hell. Praise God!"

Is this what heaven's going to be like? Millions of brain-dead souls bowing in the street, doing nothing but muttering praises and adulating and sucking up to the "loving" yet vengefully wrathful, condemning God of the Bible?

Jesus save me from your followers!

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  1. Excellent post, WS. Thanks for testing the waters of Christian intolerance. Their reaction to your posts is very damning to their collective beliefs.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

  2. WS, is this how you accomplish all this posting? By staying up all night? I'd always wondered how you find the time!

    Anyway, these people cannot abide your challenges because they are living in a constructed group illusion, and such things are very fragile. They are all hiding together in a very small box.

    Take the box away and they are swirling in the void. That's way too scary.

    It takes guts to live in doubt, to question yourself and everything around you, and to take responsibility for the life you are creating.

    Oh, I guess Mr. Emerson was saying that in the last post, wasn't he?

  3. WS: I seem to meet more and more former (or current) Discordian Brother Masons every day. By, the way, Formal Fraternal Greetings from the Yellow Submarine Cabal, POEE, West Allis, WI. Fnord.

    Being a Christian by practice and faith, I can tell you that Christianity was never intended to be the fragile, overprotective bubble it has turned into. Christ advised us to love our neighbors and our enemies as we love ourselves and families but to love God more. The parable of the Good Samaritan illustrated that we should harbor the utmost patience and love toward those who have different beliefs and opinions and let God do the conversion. No doubt, we are to share the Good News of the Gospel as commanded by the Great Commission, but it is foolish to think we can change someone's heart. Only God can do that. My point is that those intolerant Christians over at the message boards are indeed leading sheltered lives. Statements of faith are great but unless they are accurate reflections of the original and true doctrines of the Bible, they are worthless as guides for our faith. Time and time again, I have tried Masonry by God's square. And though I have found a few corners that could be broken off, the better to fit us for the Builder's use, I have not found anything to cause me to reject Masonry as Unchristian, pagan, satanic, heretical, or anything more than a brotherhood of like-minded men seeking to better their world for the good of mankind.

  4. WS,

    Interesting post, and interesting forum you referenced. I too am frustrated by these types of forums. You see, I am Bible-believing, Christian, and forums like Worthy Boards do nothing to present a balanced viewpoint. Yes, I believe in the literal Creation story. Yes, I believe in Christ's atoning blood as the only means to eternal salvation. And yes, I am college educated and have studied comparative religions and philosophy. But I also believe that people have a fundamental right to their own beliefs and opinions, and that is precisely why, though I may not agree with all of your articles, I respect your right to voice them.

    And it's also why I too get frustrated with forums like Worthy Board. It's difficult to respect the opinions a small group of people who simply do not respect others' opinions. I too poked around Worthy Boards, and I saw some compelling arguments by Christians and seemingly non-Christians alike, and I was shocked to see that several counter-viewpoint users were banned. It's unfortunate that while the Internet can be a truly leveling place, it can also breed one-sided close-mindedness.

    As I see it, the difficulty in reconciling Bible-believing Christianity with science-oriented intellectualism is that both sides simply cannot ever agree. Each view requires the acceptance of viewpoints that fundamentally contradict the foundation of the other view. It's the same kind of dichotomy that exists between Christians and Muslims, Liberals and Conservatives, etc. A middle ground is often very difficult to find.

    Just take solace in knowing that there ARE many Bible-believing Christians out there who do have open minds to and respect of others. So though you and I may have to agree to disagree on some points, at least we can have a dialog that is not offensive.

    Oh, and I too am a Mason, along with a surprisingly large number of fellow church members.

  5. WS, is this how you accomplish all this posting? By staying up all night?

    What's worse, he keeps finding all these cool little widget things that I have to play with - wasting several hours of my own time in the process.

  6. I like the quotations you cite. I like this one, too.

    "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything." G. K. Chesterton

  7. Bro. Son;

    Man do I ever love your site. But that doesn't mean I won't take the opportunity to take you to task when I see you falling prey to the very logical inconsistencies you seem to be enflamed by.

    Your responses on the Christian board were certainly reasonable and ought to have engendered some kind of rational discussion. Alas, they did not. I think it's safe to assume this is due to an unreasonable fear of Freemasonry and, perhaps unconsciously, of objective reason in general, by the people or person who runs the site. Eleven years? Please.

    However, you make a similar mistake in your post about these posts by broadbrushing all Christians based on the responses or behaviors of those people whom you discover and entertain us with on such a regular basis.

    I think you would do well to remember that just as all masons aren't like the ones described in your "Snakes" articles (thankfully) not all Christians are like those people at the website you visited. Many Christians are not at all bothered by Masonry and are perfectly ready to discuss any subject reasonably, even to debate. They will take your bait and hand it back to you.

    I say this not because I am a Christian (by birth, not by inclination) but because I spend a lot of time defending the practice of actively reasoning one's way thrrough arguments. I spend a lot of time pointing people to Snopes and explaining to them that they need to use their language with precision in order to find a way to truth.

    You make a mistake to use the term "Christians" when referring to a small subset of Christianity. There are weirdoes, jackasses, and fearmongerers in every belief system--from Atheists to 7th Day Adventists. Do yourself a service and use more precise language, describing them as 'these particular Christians' or 'the people at such and such Christian website'. Try to refrain from generalizing.

    RAW and the Thornleys--and countless other rebel philosophers--have spent countless hours and words on this very subject. Generalizing back at someone who is afraid of reasonable discourse is not fighting fire with fire, it's fighting stupid with stupid.

  8. WS, First let me offer my condolences for your exile into cyber purgatory.

    From my own experiences, I attended a Fundamentalist Christian College. I was young and hopeful that I would find like minded people searching for truth, knowedge and wisdom. And I did find some. But by the middle of my 2nd yr, it became apparent to me that my fundamentalist religion worked from a stand point of the few in "power" sought to "control the masses through fear and ignorance."

    Realizing I was not ignorant nor one to be easily controlled (I fought the bit like a wild mustang), I transferred to another school and took a different spiritual path.

    Now I have a personal belief system based on respect, kindness, understanding and the constant pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, I am happy, content and grateful for this path.

    The most unfortunate thing I find in this article is the fact that so many people are willing to surrender their thought processes to such narrow and ridged constraints, and if not, as WS discovered, the are chastised.

    Sis Kelly addresses this very eloquently with her "constructed group illusion" statement. Kelly, you nailed it for me with that one!

    In all things balance,


  9. Libertarian: Collective belief is usually a scary thing. People surrender their individuality to a group-think mentality. The Christian metaphor of a congregation being a "flock" has always disturbed me a bit, since a flock will follow whoever assumes the role of leadership, and as history has shown, the shepherds don't always have the flock's best interest in mind or at heart.

    Sister Kelly: I've written some of my best stuff when I should have been sleeping. And probably some of my worst stuff, too.

    Bro. Joshua: Salutations from Pope Tedious 0010, First Church of Binary Consciousness, Digitarian, Atlanta, Gee-A. Fnords and Chevys to you and yours.

    Anon: It's not just certain sects of Christianity that have enclosed themselves in a fragile, protective bubble. These days many groups and individuals have done so. Once they've adopted a particular niche for themselves, whether it's racial, religious, fraternal or simply social, people have tried to insulate themselves from outside influence to maintain equilibrium in an otherwise rocky, unsteady world. The Catholic Church did this for most of its history. It would accept no criticism or difference of opinion. We see the same thing in certain black leaders, who waste no time in crying foul and demanding apologies anytime they see what they consider an "insult" to their sacred worldview. Fundamentalist Protestants do it; certain Freemasons do it. In my own experience, I've seen Fundamentalist Protestant Freemasons do it. The Democrats and the Republicans do it. Groups decide they are "right," on whatever issue or agenda, and then refuse to listen to any opposing views. In so many areas of life, people can't have a civil debate with the opposition, but can respond only with either hate or by shunning or attempting to silence the opposing voice. Look at what happened to the "Don't Tase me, bro" guy, for example.

    Bro. Tom: Which widget is keeping you up these days? The new one that shows the number of people online at anyone time gives info that's interesting to know, but it doesn't provide any long term data, since it refreshes every five minutes.

    Wayfaring Man: Thanks for bringing up G.K. I knew nothing about him before; now I have read the Wikipedia entry on him. I always like to learn new things.

    Death by Children: Thanks for the kudos and for the kick in the pants. I'm not sure the kick was needed in this instance, though, as I've learned from past excursions into writing about Christians that I cannot put them all into one neat little group. In this article, however, I don't think I painted the whole of Christendom with one stroke. I only wrote about "these people" and thought it was clear that I was referring to Dave, the moderator of the Worthy Boards, and by extension, to the Christian users of that site, not to all Christians, in my discussion. In this case, I tried to be specific about who I was referring to.

    SQ: Thanks for the condolences, but they're hardly necessary. I've been kicked out of better establishments than Worthy Boards. :)

    — W.S.

  10. "Maybe I can get a glimpse into how these people's minds work, and find out why they think God is their cosmic Santa Claus..."

    This line made me chuckle then made my wife mad when she asked me why I was laughing... Apparently she dosen't get the whole Santa Claus thing...

  11. 90% of the so called "Masonic" boards are just as bad. I have been banned by most of them, simply for presenting a different viewpoint. I have never gotten how it can be rewarding just "preaching o the choir" all of the time but my "Masonic Bretheren" in the eMasonry scene sure do seem to dig it.

    BC 2006

  12. The narrow-mindedness of the Conservative Christian Church has always amazed me. Solomon had the chance to ask God for anything and he chose WISDOM! 1 kings 3:1-38. It is quite dissappointing to see so many who are afraid to question, especially since without doubt, how can any person have faith? But hey, simple people need a simple God, they can't understand a complex God. Just by attempting to understand a complex God they might lose their faith, if they challenge the simple tenets which their faith is based upon. I have only been a mason for four months, but i have always been inquisitive, i have always been on a search, and it is naive for us to believe that simple people can or will ever understand us nor can we expect them to. We can show simple people the same love we show everyone else, even if they cant return it.


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