by Stan Bennett

by Stan Bennett

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Battle Weary

In Caught in the Pulpit, Leaving Belief Behind, Linda LaScola writes of the liberal pastors who do not believe in the literal miracles of the Bible, including the resurrection of Christ, but that the metaphor in these stories have value. Liberal ministers don't like to be lumped in with fundamentalist christians by atheists. In fact, they find fundamentalism to be as abhorrent as atheists do.  (p. 152).

Like the ministers mentioned in her and Dan Dennett's study, I have disliked being caught between the fundamentalists and the atheists, sometimes having to fight a battle on two fronts, especially when I have mostly agreed with other atheists. 

I'm really tired of conflict. I spend a great deal of energy trying to reason with unreasonable people, and I'm talking mostly about my fundamentalist friends, although I've encountered some atheists who were so angry at any religion that there was no way for a minister to have real conversation with them (not all atheists, but a few--I also know and appreciate atheists who show me respect as well as friendship). 

These battles... they aren't what I want to spend my time on and they tend to define me in ways that are not accurate. I'm sick to death of trying to defend a god that makes no sense, but neither do I want to spend my time arguing against its existence.  

Honestly, I have a difficult time categorizing myself.  If I have to have a label I guess it's agnostic. I can't accept the image of the all knowing, violent but benevolent daddy of the heavens.  But I still think there is a spiritual component to life, and I'd like to be able to inch my way through the darkness to find out what that really is, assuming it exists.  And I'd like to do it without having to defend myself against multiple opponents, many of whom I feel some sympathy for.

I want to convalesce for a while. Is that possible? Would loved ones and enemies alike allow me a little respite?  

I want to sit in the dark away from all the rage and craziness and violence  and have some quiet.  But I'm also tired of being alone, so could I have some people around me who are gentle and like to talk and have music and would look at art with me? 

I wouldn't do it for the rest of my life. I still have some gas in the tank, and I think there are things to be done. Churches are collapsing and I'd like to help speed up that process because I think they need to go away. Truthfully, most fundies are victims of the culture, and are prey to the psychopaths who use religious superstition to oppress them.  I'd like to help the victims if I could and bring down some of those psychos, and when I say bring them down, I don't mean ridicule them.  I mean bring them down. And yes, that would require some battle, which I would be happy to do. Plus, I'd like to help other pastors who are trying to find their way out, as I am. 

But after I've recuperated.  

However, there's something else that kindles the fire in my belly. A few years ago, I wrote a paper on human trafficking, and I've never been able to quit thinking about it. In fact, more of our society is becoming aware of it.  It's so wrong yet quite difficult to address effectively because it's such a big issue, overlapping with other issues like immigration, prostitution laws, and poverty. I'd like to throw in with those who are already working on this problem and I'd like to work for the day when all slavery has disappeared. 

I'm talking about new battles when I meant to address my need for peace. but I see that I still feel some passion and I still have reasons for which I would jump into the fray to make things better.    

But for the moment, I need some quiet.  Just a little rest. And if I should need to come back slugging, I can do it, if it's for the right reasons.  

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