The Skeptic's Guide to The Universe

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chapter Eight; SUNDAY GO TO MEETING part twenty-eight

On any given Sunday morning driving around in America presents a strange occurrence. It is the furthest divergence of the two groups ideologically wish to have to do with each other. The faithful adherents make their way through various traditions of attendance to their place of worship. They are the ones that populate the early morning traffic on Sunday mornings. The non-adherents fill the pews of their bed and snooze instead.
One Christian family may have the early morning tradition of making a nice breakfast at home or going out to a local restaurant. Another family may hit the donut shop and head to Sunday School with their bounty to share with other attendees. Other families may sleep as long as they can and just barely make it to the main service in time if not late, again. Only to be one of the first ones to leave to go eat. There are many more examples how the faithful start their worship day.
One thing for sure is that the less faithful are not out in that time of the morning unless they have to be. Oddly enough, the ones that believe in the Ten Commandments and think the Sabbath Day should be Holy have no problem with the worker at Denny's serving them and the server violating the third commandment. I guess the Commandments have exemptions that I have not read about. Luckily, because if they didn't, in the old days the workers would have to be stoned to death. [Would you like some more coffee with your stones?]
The second group is the non-adherents or the “god lite” people. They only attend church on special days. Like their wedding and funerals. The truth is that most people are in the second group. But since the group at home is either sleeping off a late night or watching sports they are not likely to be out and about during the ghostly Sunday morning. So the Sunday morning drive in most towns on Sunday morning is a strange one. Unlike on the other mornings, you can follow or be followed for blocks and then see a line of cars all turn into the same packed church parking lot that is empty 95 percent of the week.
But that is what makes Sunday driving so fun. As long as your not going to a church, the roads are usually pretty clear. I know in larger cities and in other parts of the world it is not so much this case but I am speaking of personal experience. When it comes to the noon time meal on Sunday, A special allowance is made at most restaurants. Those that are open usually will host a buffet style option for the hungry masses. This seems to allow the church goers to fill their plates with as much food as they can eat. I see this mostly in the South and Midwest parts of the United States. I have had many friends that are servers and have been told that the Sunday morning crowds are the worse. They are demanding, and rude and if they tip will tip very little compared to the general customers. The adults let their kids run around and make messes and otherwise act as if they have no responsibilities for their actions what so ever. Not to mention the sales of desserts and drinks goes way down. Which means the overall work load goes up and the sales are less.
I was told by a manager at a Pizza Hut in Sulphur Springs, TX that the buffet on Sunday actually cost them 60 cents per customer. That meant it would have been the same if they gave every customer 60 cents at the door and told them to go eat somewhere else. The volume of food and waste of these believers is so great that the their share numbers cannot overcome their share gluttony.
This is of course a generalization but it is based upon experience and conversations I had with people in the service industry. I seriously doubt few if any post church customer would ever order a drink with the meal after church. But they may head home and crack open the 12 pack of beer when the game starts without a seconds hesitation. If the behavior of dinner time Christians was to be the only outreach to the unsaved world then no one should ever desire to be a Christian unless they wish to act rudely in public.
The status of a church has much to do socially in America. Things such as denomination and location can have a lot to do with your social standing in the community. The city were I have seen this being the most important is Oklahoma City. It may be more so in other cities but again this is from my experience. I have been to churches that have valet service for parishioners. I have been to churches that the closest parking spots, other than the handicap spots, are for the visitors. The idea of visitor parking is an odd one. Even when I was an adherent I would see that and say, well I am visiting, I don't live here. I should park here.
I have been to church with multi-media floor shows with bands and singers that would rival any concert venue. I have been to churches where the use of a musical instrument is considered evil or wrong. I have been to churches that are so huge that they have maps at the doorway so people can find their way around the place. I have been to churches more than 300 years old. I have been to churches only a few weeks old and don't even have a permanent building. I have been to churches so small that even if you were at the address you wouldn't even know they were there. I have been to a place were they had no chairs and you sat on the floor. I been to a place that had implied reserved seating. I have been to churches where the leaders wear exotic clothing with all sorts of trapping and excesses on them. I have seen church leaders give a sermon in cut off shorts and short sleeve shirt. I been to churches where the woman had to cover their heads. I been to a place where the men covered their heads. It seems that when it comes to religion the only thing that is uniform is individuality.
However there is another, more malicious thing, they have that is uniform about them. The idea that they push their world view as correct or supreme upon the adherents and attendees of these places of worship. With this many diverse groups all pushing forth their own dogma and interpretation it is amazing that there is any peace at all in the country. One denomination holds this idea will gets you to heaven, the other will say you must do this to get to heaven and these are what the followers would say major issues. Some include is God still talking through a apostle now? Is thinking and reading about a healing the right way to be cured? Can I dance? Is this cracker really going to turn into human flesh? Did Jesus really see me masturbate last night? I can have salt but not pepper, right? How much water does it take to be baptized? Can I be loose my salvation? How much can I drink before I am sinning? Based upon how the leader and followers of the religion views these questions and many more, determines how the adherents act in society.
While I lived in a small Northern Oklahoma town I often got mail or items left on my door inviting me to attend this or that biblical seminar to learn some kernel of wisdom that they are sure the general population must not be aware of. There was a card left at my door for a prophecy seminar on October 12, 1992 at a Seventh Day Adventist church locally. I do attend these things from time to time and for the most part I listen to what they have to say but if they ask question I will surely speak up. This particular seminar actually tried to focus upon the astrological aspect of creation. The speaker at this five day seminar was Ed Trasher. He had the Hubble Deep Field picture and other pictures of stars and galaxies. The question posed was, “Who created these galaxies?”
Of course this is an inconsistency as to the relationship to the galaxies being created by anyone. So to offer any answer is to support the logical fallacy and not work toward a reality based answer. We humans tend to look at things from our perspective. That is clear enough to understand but it is not necessarily the right way to view The Universe. The existence of an object doesn't mean that it was placed there by someone or something. But if you were to accept this flawed premise then the next answer needed would be then who created the thing that created the galaxy? Of course this takes you into the infinite regression of needed creators. Or the believer will say, “God has always been there.” OK. Then that really answers nothing and there is no evidence to that, why not just remove the God part and say this is all we can show about The Universe now. Any answer to the origins that puts a god in its place requires a more advance creator for that god or a necessary regression of infinite gods. Neither one of these options are supported from any evidence that meets the scientific requirement of proof. By the way, again, science doesn't attempt to answer what went on before the Big Bang, at least not at this time. In science, having no answer is totally acceptable. No need to fill in the blanks with G-O-D.
The seminar leader asked several questions using other logical fallacies. Another one was about the strength of the shells of sea shells and how scientists were not able to make anything as strong. There are several problems with this question. One who are these scientists, two who has determined that a man made ceramic is not as hard as the shell of say a nautilus shell? Another point is, if the supposition is true, the shell producing animal has had a billion plus years head start to hone its process to make a shell hard enough and out of the readily available material of its natural environment. The scientists, not so long. I am sure given a billion years I would actually get this book done.
Finally, from the seminar, the speaker made the point that the presence of a brain indicates that there is a God that loves us. I am not sure how he reaches this conclusion but my immediate though was what about the people that are born with or suffer brain damage of some sort in their life. Do all the animals with brains have Gods love and Gods hates plants? Does this then indicate God's hate? This non-sequitur is one of many that adherents try to exert as proof of existence of God.
I found most of the seminar to be very frustrating as point after point the speaker not only showed his lack of knowledge as a presenter and as layman scientist but total lack of understanding of the very material he was suppose to be an expert in. I stopped taking notes the first night and after the second night stopped going all together.
Keep in mind most of the questions I have posed concerning the Christian religious denominations are more of the minor ones, most of these deal with the individual adherent. As a group, the religious organization can pose questions such as, do we need to have freedom for those that don't believe like us? Should women have access to medical care about their own bodies? Can we have money from the secular government for our church? Can we put monuments to our God on public lands? Do we want non-believers living among us? Can we force our beliefs about “sin” laws upon other people?
It is questions like these that the Christians want to push upon the people that don't believe like them. Religion has a free ride in the United States and it should be stopped. It is wrong that the churches and other religions get to skip the taxes everyone else has to pay. This and the exemption for their personal taxes as well as a de facto support for religion. I have been told by more than one pastor in a sermon that if I cannot live on 90% of my income I cannot live on 100% either. The opposite would be true too. If they cannot live on 90% of their donations they cannot live on 100% of them too. Plus it may make them say what they really mean in the sermons if they were freed from the restraints of being a 501(c)3a organization.

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