These days, apparently, it's all about the tracts. If I believed in this sort of thing, I'd call it serendipity.
Jack Chick, according to PZ Myers, has released a new one about evolution and Nazis. It's called "Moving On Up", and it's a good one. Not as good as "Big Daddy", with it's foaming at the mouth professor, or "This Was Your Life", which I understand was the horseshit that started it all, but it's still a good one.
It contains, as you'll read elsewhere, all the usual stuff you find in Chick tracts: unrepentant sinners, a "merciful" faceless god who chucks you into a lake of fire no matter how good you are, if you aren't a particular flavour of Christian.
I'm probably a bit twisted, but these things make me all nostalgic. I first discovered these things when I was about 10, and they scared the hell out of me. I was "saved" by the time I was twelve, in the back of a mini-van, on my way home from bowling with the church youth group. I could even tell you the date, because it's written inside my Bible.
It was a much simpler time then. Everything was evil. It made things easy to keep track of. I was evil. But I was trying to be good. My particular church was big on a couple of things. First is the idea of sin. It was always about sin. If it wasn't about sin, it was about obedience. My pastor was later charged with child abuse for spanking his two year old daughter.
Isn't that charming?
I sometimes think that I should be angrier. I was, once, but it's burnt out of me now. I've never been any good at holding a grudge. I can't even stay mad at the people who made me feel unclean, unworthy, and worthless. Part of the problem, I'm sure, is that the poeple who made me feel that way felt that way themselves, and I still love them very much.
If there are any theists out there, reading this, I have a favour to ask. I know that you may feel defensive. You may think that we godless are attacking you. You may feel that we want to take away your religious freedom. Or that we want to remove god from everything.
But the truth is that most of us have been where you are. Most of us used to be like you. And we changed. I feel like I grew. So when you are speaking to us about faith, about your faith, or about any faith, understand that we understand. We were theists once (most of us). We know where you're coming from. We thought we felt that love, or transcendance, or beauty, or gratitude. We tried to talk to god, or the saints, or other deities, and we thought those supernatural beings were listening.
But now we don't believe. We really did, but now we don't. Sometimes we miss it (I do, anyway), but for the most part we feel better. And we want that for you, too. When I believed in god, I was scared all the time. Now, I get a little lonely sometimes, but that's better than faith. Just as you honestly believe that your faith is the way to heaven, or to true happiness, or the path to fulfillment, and want to share that with others, we feel the same way.
And some of us get strident, or snarky, or hostile, I know. Largely, that is a response to hostility from "the faithful". But I think it's mostly because we want to force you to sit, and listen, and THINK, and we get frustrated.
I also want you to know that religion is forever poisoned for me. For me, religion is like the chicken pox. I had a pretty bad case when I was a kid, but now I'm immune. Nothing you can say can change that. I've seen what greatness can be achieved without faith. And what hatred can be supported by it.
I honestly am better off without god.