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Why I am an atheist – HL Mencken

Not really — if HL Mencken wrote a letter for the “Why I am an atheist” series, I’d really have to reconsider the whole premise. But Mencken was asked by Will Durant to answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?” in 1927, and his reply would fit in pretty well here. So I stole it from Letters of Note.

(By the way, new submissions to that story now trickle in at the rate of a couple a week, and I’m still throwing them all into the pool. There is no shortage of future entries, but you can still email them to me. Of course, now you’ve got to match Mencken in quality.)

Dear Durant

You ask me, in brief, what satisfaction I get out of life, and why I go on working. I go on working for the same reason that a hen goes on laying eggs. There is in every living creature an obscure but powerful impulse to active functioning. Life demands to be lived. Inaction, save as a measure of recuperation between bursts of activity, is painful and dangerous to the healthy organism—in fact, it is almost impossible. Only the dying can be really idle.

The precise form of an individual’s activity is determined, of course, by the equipment with which he came into the world. In other words, it is determined by his heredity. I do not lay eggs, as a hen does, because I was born without any equipment for it. For the same reason I do not get myself elected to Congress, or play the violoncello, or teach metaphysics in a college, or work in a steel mill. What I do is simply what lies easiest to my hand. It happens that I was born with an intense and insatiable interest in ideas, and thus like to play with them. It happens also that I was born with rather more than the average facility for putting them into words. In consequence, I am a writer and editor, which is to say, a dealer in them and concoctor of them.

There is very little conscious volition in all this. What I do was ordained by the inscrutable fates, not chosen by me. In my boyhood, yielding to a powerful but still subordinate interest in exact facts, I wanted to be a chemist, and at the same time my poor father tried to make me a business man. At other times, like any other realtively poor man, I have longed to make a lot of money by some easy swindle. But I became a writer all the same, and shall remain one until the end of the chapter, just as a cow goes on giving milk all her life, even though what appears to be her self-interest urges her to give gin.

I am far luckier than most men, for I have been able since boyhood to make a good living doing precisely what I have wanted to do—what I would have done for nothing, and very gladly, if there had been no reward for it. Not many men, I believe, are so fortunate. Millions of them have to make their livings at tasks which really do not interest them. As for me, I have had an extraordinarily pleasant life, despite the fact that I have had the usual share of woes. For in the midst of these woes I still enjoyed the immense satisfaction which goes with free activity. I have done, in the main, exactly what I wanted to do. Its possible effects on other people have interested me very little. I have not written and published to please other people, but to satisfy myself, just as a cow gives milk, not to profit the dairyman, but to satisfy herself. I like to think that most of my ideas have been sound ones, but I really don’t care. The world may take them or leave them. I have had my fun hatching them.

Next to agreeable work as a means of attaining happiness I put what Huxley called the domestic affections—the day to day intercourse with family and friends. My home has seen bitter sorrow, but it has never seen any serious disputes, and it has never seen poverty. I was completely happy with my mother and sister, and I am completely happy with my wife. Most of the men I commonly associate with are friends of very old standing. I have known some of them for more than thirty years. I seldom see anyone, intimately, whom I have known for less than ten years. These friends delight me. I turn to them when work is done with unfailing eagerness. We have the same general tastes, and see the world much alike. Most of them are interestd in music, as I am. It has given me more pleasure in this life than any external thing. I love it more every year.

As for religion, I am quite devoid of it. Never in my adult life have I experienced anything that could be plausibly called a religious impulse. My father and grandfather were agnostics before me, and though I was sent to Sunday-school as a boy and exposed to the Christian theology I was never taught to believe it. My father thought that I should learn what it was, but it apparently never occurred to him that I would accept it. He was a good psychologist. What I got in Sunday-school—beside a wide acquaintance with Christian hymnology—was simply a firm conviction that the Christian faith was full of palpable absurdities, and the Christian God preposterous. Since that time I have read a great deal in theology—perhaps much more than the average clergyman—but I have never discovered any reason to change my mind.

The act of worship, as carried on by Christians, seems to me to be debasing rather than ennobling. It involves grovelling before a Being who, if He really exists, deserves to be denounced instead of respected. I see little evidence in this world of the so-called goodness of God. On the contrary, it seems to me that, on the strength of His daily acts, He must be set down a most cruel, stupid and villainous fellow. I can say this with a clear conscience, for He has treated me very well—in fact, with vast politeness. But I can’t help thinking of his barbaric torture of most of the rest of humanity. I simply can’t imagine revering the God of war and politics, theology and cancer.

I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it. The belief in it issues from the puerile egos of inferior men. In its Christian form it is little more than a device for getting revenge upon those who are having a better time on this earth. What the meaning of human life may be I don’t know: I incline to suspect that it has none. All I know about it is that, to me at least, it is very amusing while it lasts. Even its troubles, indeed, can be amusing. Moreover, they tend to foster the human qualities that I admire most—courage and its analogues. The noblest man, I think, is that one who fights God, and triumphs over Him. I have had little of this to do. When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness. No show, however good, could conceivably be good for ever.

Sincerely yours,

H. L. Mencken

Comments

  1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Mencken, like Hitchens, wrote a fair bit I don’t care for. But I admire this letter.

  2. Dick the Damned says

    He writes with a gentleness that i find totally uncalled for. God-belief is irrational, dangerous, nonsense that we must try to destroy, by ridicule.

  3. says

    “Not really — if HL Mencken wrote a letter for the “Why I am an atheist” series, I’d really have to reconsider the whole premise.”

    You have just opened yourself up to a rash of fake “why I am an atheist” submissions with the pseudonym HL Mencken

  4. Moggie says

    This kind of writing is a joy to read. There’s a simplicity and directness to it, an absence of obvious stylistic flourishes, and yet it sings. Dude could write.

  5. Brownian says

    Tch. The problem with Mencken is that he’s not one of the good atheists: miserable, with a god-who’ll-toss-you-into-hell-for-masturbating-shaped-hole in his heart. Why, he sounds positively happy as a non-believer, the surest sign that he’s uneducated in real theology.

    Share some Nietzsche, PZ. He’s one of the good ones. A real clergyman’s atheist.

  6. raven says

    Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love. — H L Mencken,

    Mencken wrote one of my favorite quotes, above.

    Fundie xianity is based on pure hate.

    I figured this out on my own. It turns out lots of people have noticed this and a century ago at that.

    Oddly enough, a whole lot of the fundie leaders know it too. The nonstop hate and ever expanding hate lists are more or less deliberate.

    No hate = No fundie xianity

  7. says

    He writes with a gentleness that i find totally uncalled for

    When Mencken was being gentle, it was like a Vogon warming its victim up with a bit of poetry.

  8. says

    At other times, like any other realtively poor man, I have longed to make a lot of money by some easy swindle.

    Then he wasn’t thinking very clearly by rejecting religion. The latter has often worked very well for an easy swindle.

    Glen Davidson

  9. says

    Kraut says:
    Short and to the point as an answer to the theists question.

    Will Durant was not exactly a theist. After writing as much as he did about the history of philosophy and the early days of christianity (I highly recommend his “story of philosophy”) it was pretty obvious he had no faith left. What he had was a deep love for the pursuit of wisdom, whether by theists or atheists and I think it’d be fair to say that if there was specialness and magic in his universe it was regarding his wife, Ariel, and his love of philosophy.

  10. says

    Share some Nietzsche, PZ. He’s one of the good ones. A real clergyman’s atheist.

    Nietzsche was one of the few factors in life that Mencken actually liked, and you see a whole lot of Nietzsche’s thought in Mencken.

    Nietzsche liked problems, and could see problems in losing religion rather better than most–plus he’d had a hefty dose of it as the son of a cleric. He was also more than a little pleased to be rid of it all.

    Glen Davidson

  11. littlejohn says

    Mencken ranks with Twain and my father as the greatest American essayists. I have a wonderful old book simply titled “Darwin” (now out of print, alas) which contains Mencken’s running account of the Scopes Monkey Trial. He invented, I think, the derisive term “Coca-Cola Belt” to describe the ignorant, hillbilly-infested region of Appalachia (whence I hail) where people tend to get worked up about religious nonsense. Mencken referred to the locals as “half-wits,” something few modern journalists would have the balls to do.

  12. ikesolem says

    Who needs Nietzsche when you’ve got Terry Pratchett?

    The Patrician took a sip of his beer. ‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every worlds spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’
    The two wizards exchanged a glance. Vetinari was staring into the depths of his beer mug and they were glad that they did not know what he saw in there.
    ‘Is it me or is it rather dark in here?’ said Henry.

    Note also that Mencken recognized ‘modern economic theory’ of whatever flavor (Marx, Friedman, Keynes, etc.) for what it really is – pseudoscientific dribble that has far more in common with religious dogma than it does with scientific analysis. That of course is why economics is safely hidden in academic business departments, not science departments – so the practitioners can avoid the ridicule of their peers.

  13. ssss says

    I have only recently known about him and started reading him (I’m not american). He seems to have been far ahead of his times.

    Another fine exponent of freethought from a slightly earlier period that I have recently started reading is Robert Ingersoll.

    His “About the holy bible” is a classic.

  14. says

    I have mixed feelings about Nietzsche, who influenced Mencken and I dislike some of the people who counted Mencken as an influence, but boy, Mencken himself is one of my heroes. I have a little collection of old Mencken books (but of course books weren’t his main medium).

    Note also that Mencken recognized ‘modern economic theory’ of whatever flavor (Marx, Friedman, Keynes, etc.) for what it really is – pseudoscientific dribble that has far more in common with religious dogma than it does with scientific analysis. That of course is why economics is safely hidden in academic business departments, not science departments – so the practitioners can avoid the ridicule of their peers.

    One obnoxious thing about Mencken was his tendency to take his skepticism to its logical conclusion. Obnoxious in a good way, that is. I wouldn’t go so far as to say economics is pseudoscience, but often people (particularly non-economists) assign a degree of certainty to economic predictions that would be more appropriate for physics.

  15. some bastard says

    …you can still email them to me. Of course, now you’ve got to match Mencken in quality.

    …fuck…

  16. says

    Note also that Mencken recognized ‘modern economic theory’ of whatever flavor (Marx, Friedman, Keynes, etc.) for what it really is – pseudoscientific dribble that has far more in common with religious dogma than it does with scientific analysis. That of course is why economics is safely hidden in academic business departments, not science departments – so the practitioners can avoid the ridicule of their peers.

    Marx does at least see the light of day in political science and sociology. I’m not saying it’s hard science or anything, but at least they have peer-reviewed journals.

  17. growlybear says

    Mencken was one of the first godless writers I encountered many years ago when I started exploring the literature that helped me explore my atheistic point of view in more detail. In his book “Treatise on the Gods”, I encountered a wonderful line that I have never forgotten although the book seems to have disappeared long ago. “Religion is something most men should avoid just as they avoid thinking about the Queen’s legs.” I may have it slightly wrong, but the essence is there. I don’t recall how long I laughed, but it was more than a giggle.

  18. says

    It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every worlds spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’

    See your Pratchett and raise you Jean Meslier:
    At a short distance from Bagdad a dervis, celebrated for his holiness, passed his days tranquilly in agreeable solitude.
    The surrounding inhabitants, in order to have an interest in his prayers, eagerly brought to him every day provisions and
    presents. The holy man thanked God incessantly for the blessings Providence heaped upon him. “O Allah,” said he,
    liberality loads me with! Oh, Monarch of the skies! oh, Father of nature! what praises could be worthy to celebrate Thy
    munificence and Thy paternal cares! O Allah, how great are Thy gifts to the children of men!” Filled with gratitude, our
    hermit made a vow to undertake for the seventh time the pilgrimage to Mecca. The war, which then existed between the
    Persians and the Turks, could not make him defer the execution of his pious enterprise. Full of confidence in God, he
    began his journey; under the inviolable safeguard of a respected garb, he passed through without obstacle the enemies’
    detachments; far from being molested, he receives at every step marks of veneration from the soldiers of both sides. At
    last, overcome by fatigue, he finds himself obliged to seek a shelter from the rays of the burning sun; he finds it beneath
    a fresh group of palm-trees, whose roots were watered by a limpid rivulet. In this solitary place, where the silence was
    broken only by the murmuring of the waters and the singing of the birds, the man of God found not only an enchanting
    retreat, but also a delicious repast; he had but to extend the hand to gather dates and other agreeable fruits; the rivulet
    can appease his thirst; very soon a green plot invites him to take sweet repose. As he awakens he performs the holy
    cleansing; and in a transport of ecstasy, he exclaimed: “O Allah! HOW GREAT IS THY GOODNESS TO THE
    CHILDREN OF MEN!” Well rested, refreshed, full of life and gayety, our holy man continues on his road; it conducts
    him for some time through a delightful country, which offers to his sight but blooming shores and trees filled with fruit.
    Softened by this spectacle, he worships incessantly the rich and liberal hand of Providence, which is everywhere seen
    occupied with the welfare of the human race. Going a little farther, he comes across a few mountains, which were quite
    hard to ascend; but having arrived at their summit, a hideous sight suddenly meets his eyes; his soul is all consternation.
    He discovers a vast plain entirely devastated by the sword and fire; he looks at it and finds it covered with more than a
    hundred thousand corpses, deplorable remains of a bloody battle which had taken place a few days previous. Eagles,
    vultures, ravens, and wolves were devouring the dead bodies with which the earth was covered. This sight plunges our
    pilgrim into a sad reverie. Heaven, by a special favor, had made him understand the language of beasts. He heard a
    wolf, gorged with human flesh, exclaim in his excessive joy: “O Allah! how great is Thy kindness for the children of
    wolves! Thy foreseeing wisdom takes care to send infatuation upon these detestable men who are so dangerous to us.
    Through an effect of Thy Providence which watches over Thy creatures, these, our destroyers, murder each other, and
    thus furnish us with sumptuous repasts. O Allah! HOW GREAT IS THY GOODNESS TO THE CHILDREN OF
    WOLVES!”

  19. heathenfrog says

    This is absolutely beautiful, and sums up my own opinions so well. What an intimidating act to follow, though.

  20. Malkyrian says

    The whole thing is beautiful but the last two paragraphs still manage to stand out. So awesome.

    Also, am I the only one who immediately thought of Black/White’s Victory Road upon seeing the name “Durant”?

  21. says

    The Atheist cannot displace worship of the Creator. Instead, he seeks idols that fill in the void. One of these is Evolution.

    The pastorwinthrop can’t even write the first sentence without (dishonestly, of course) contradicting himself with the next sentence. Hey dumbass, why don’t you learn to make sense with what you’re writing, then learn something you know nothing about, science.

    Evolution, btw, exists because invoking “the Creator” left a void of explanation in biology, just as it did in every other science. That’s why it exists, while “the Creator” is just a way for idiot preachers to bamboozle the public.

    Glen Davidson

  22. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Prayer Mental masturbation is when you make a bond with your my imaginary and fictitious Creator.

    Fixed that for you troll. Try some real evidence, good, solid physical evidence, like an eternally burning bush. Or, shut the fuck up as an evidenceless loser….

  23. RFW says

    #30 pastorwinthrop says:

    [stuff]

    You’re so cute when you talk dirty like that! Say it again!

    Incidentally, among much else H L Mencken wrote an obituary of William Jennings Bryan that contains the interesting observation that it was Bryan who first played the religion card in US politics.

    That obituary was first published in the first issue of The American Mercury, and reprinted in The American Mercury Reader. The latter, a book, is undoubtedly easier to find than the former.

  24. says

    Evolution has become the veritable god of the Atheist. It is the alternative Creator – a naturalistic and materialistic idol for a modern age. The Atheist in fact worships just like everyone else. He avidly reads the holy scriptures and gospel of the prophet Darwin. He attends “carnivals of evolution” where he expresses his faith and meets fellow believers. He masticates on every word uttered by the likes of PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne: manna from heaven. He displays his religion with huge “A” signs. There is no doubt – Atheists are religious fundamentalists.

    Ok. Stop and think for a second.

    Why are you posting this?

    Everyone here is more or less godless. So you’re either telling us what we already know, or telling a group what they are like while being in a state of stubborn bigoted ignorance.

    What’s the point? What is your target audience. You’ve given nothing that isn’t just dismissed as “you don’t know what you’re talking about, no they aren’t” so there’s no room for any discussion or dialogue, and if it’s just to spew bigoted speech…why do that to the people you’re targeting. They don’t CARE about your opinion. The only possible reason is just to be offensive, to which I have to ask, is that very loving?

  25. says

    Tu quoque is the best you can do, sad sack? How pathetic, all you can do is claim that we’re as stupid as you are, only you lack any evidence for any of your lies. Either back up your claims, or pay attention to where liars end up, according to Revelation, liar.

    Also, learn how to use the word “masticate” intelligently, moron.

    Glen Davidson

  26. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Evolution has become the veritable god of the Atheist.

    Nope fuckwit, evolution is science, found in the peer reviewed scientific literature, with a million or so papers to back it up. Atheism is disbelief in your imaginary deity. Your deity is imaginary, as you have no conclusive physical evidence for it, just presupposition. Which means you have nothing but delusion.

    He avidly reads the holy scriptures and gospel of the prophet Darwin.

    What holy scriptures? What holy book of what deity? Darwin isn’t a deity, just an excellent scientist who made mistakes, like any other man. You make a mistake by believing in a phantasm. You try to bring us down to your level of idiocy, but fail, due to lack of verifiable facts.

    Atheists are religious fundamentalists.

    Lets see. No deity; fail. No holy book; fail. No congregations; fail. No churches; fail. No tithes; fail. Nope, not a religion in any sense of the word; total and utter failure of a stoopid argument. You deliberately lie (bear false witness, a sin) as you can’t present real facts from third parties to demonstrate you aren’t making shit up. Just another Liar for Jebus™. All you have is lies, as your babble is mythology/fiction, and your deity is imaginary….

  27. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    , I tell you that Evolution is a false idol

    Verily I tell you, that you are delusional fool believing without evidence in a phantasm. Prove me false by showing the equivalent of an eternally burning bush that your false and imaginary deity really exists. Or, be exposed as a presuppositional liar and bullshitter without evidence.

    Atheism is a religion.

    Bull-fucking-shit. Atheism is disbelief in your phantasm. Show otherwise by showing your deity actually exists. What’s the matter, you know you have no solid and conclusive physical evidence for your phantasm? Otherwise, you would have lead with that. What makes you different from all the other liars and bullshitters lying for their delusions?

    Atheists maintain that salvation lies in denying the Creator.

    You haven’t proven your deity isn’t imaginary. You haven’t proven your imaginary heaven exists. Without heaven there can be no salvation. You haven’t proven your mythical/fictional babble is inerrant. All you have done is bear false witness, by deliberately lying. What a loser.

  28. says

    Ok. Stop and think for a second.

    Why are you posting this?

    Everyone here is more or less godless. So you’re either telling us what we already know, or telling a group what they are like while being in a state of stubborn bigoted ignorance.

    What’s the point? What is your target audience. You’ve given nothing that isn’t just dismissed as “you don’t know what you’re talking about, no they aren’t” so there’s no room for any discussion or dialogue, and if it’s just to spew bigoted speech…why do that to the people you’re targeting. They don’t CARE about your opinion. The only possible reason is just to be offensive, to which I have to ask, is that very loving?

  29. John Morales says

    pastorwinthrop: “false idol”?

    Verily, ‘twould be foolish to worship a false idol.

    I take it that this Supreme Being (aka Almighty Deity aka Creator) that you worship is a true idol? :)

    BTW, what is this “salvation” which you claim motivates atheists?

    PS Have you realised it has been you who introduced the concept of evolution into this discussion?

  30. Rey Fox says

    Okay, maybe I’ll accept one of your tenets, just for a second. What makes your faith more valid than ours?

  31. Therrin says

    Pastor, it is impolite to talk at people in a discussion forum. I’m assuming you actually have some purpose in being here, and pontificating isn’t going to reach it.

    Oh wait, was that three? Be sure to take your complimentary porcupine on the way out. They can be found in the holy water font, where the water has contributed significantly to their decay.

  32. HaggisForBrains says

    In its Christian form [immortality] is little more than a device for getting revenge upon those who are having a better time on this earth.

    Brilliant – must remember!

  33. concernedjoe says

    Me thinks pastorwinthrop is just funning us – pushing our buttons for a laugh or perhaps to make a more serious point.

    What if pastorwinthrop’s postings are constructions to show that we are as emotional about our beliefs and tenets as a theist might be about theirs.

    I dunno; it seems just too “designed” (and correctly written) to be the sincere idiocy of a standard fundie godiot.

    I am not criticizing any of the responders – hey this is a place to have our fun and sharpen our sharp tongues likewise. And certainly you all put forth elegant truthful objective rebuttal.

    Just it struck me that our tolerance for what really amounts to willful stupidity and intellectual dishonesty is waning. I know mine is. I find it harder and harder to bite my tongue and be gentle – my urge to just take people to task for their advertised beliefs stronger – even when they are not really arguing any points and just saying something goddy in a secular context.

    Oh I hate “Old Aunt May survived her stroke- praise be to god!” type of stuff – my anger wells up for the idiocy and the detraction from the real praise and accomplishments.

  34. says

    The issue is not whether pastorwinthrop is some mindless troll laughing that anyone took him “seriously,” the actual issue is whether or not a fundie lurker or fence sitter would think that those idiotic “arguments” mean something. And the fact is that this sick is thrown up because it works on a number of people.

    Of course I knew that he could be a dumbass troll instead of a dumbass pastor. The point is that BS that works on the gullible still needs to be challenged as the empty garbage that it is when it is used in a manner that doesn’t call attention to the fact that it is empty rhetoric at best, and more typically a disgusting fraud.

    Glen Davidson

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Evil is ignorance.

    Yep, as you prove with every ignorant and fallacious presuppositional post. Not helping your cause evidenceless delusional fool.You live in ignorance of your Creator Then show us the conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. And science explains the universe, but no your imaginary deity.

    “That which is asserted without evidence, [like your imaginary deity,] can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens

    Show some evidence or shut the fuck up.

    One who truly is and bathe in his holy countenance.

    How can that be as your deity doesn’t exist? You’ve shown nothing….

  36. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I suppose one day I might get around to reading The Origin of Species. There’s far far more recent stuff though that confirms the theory of evolution. (That’s theory in the scientific sense, not the common sense by the way godbot. Learn the difference)

    Why do they keep using ‘scientism’ or ‘evolutionism’ when they accuse us of worshiping science or evolution, rather than what we are actually doing, which is using scientific methods to observe the world around us, and being willing to change our minds should the evidence contradict a misconception we may have had.

    I mean ‘racism’ is discrimination based on race, ‘sexism’ is discrimination based on sex (or possibly gender), ‘ableism’ is discrimination based on disability. So what exactly do they think ‘scientism’ is? Or ‘evolutionism’? I guess I do use the scientific method to discriminate between evidence based, and non evidence based theories. But somehow I don’t think that’s what they’ve got in mind.

    In any case my life is far too full of interesting things to bother wasting time on worshiping any idols.

  37. consciousness razor says

    I pray that all you Atheists out there have your sinful nature cleansed with the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

    Prayer is a complete waste of time, so if that’s the best you can do, I’m not worried. I wasn’t expecting a pastor to do anything useful anyway.

    Just know that I love you as offspring of the Father.

    So you love us in relation to something which doesn’t exist. That’s not terribly encouraging. Wouldn’t it be better to love us as human beings, with or without the existence of some deity?

    bathe in his holy countenance.

    I’d rather not bathe in anyone’s face, thank you. What a creepy thing to say.

  38. doktorzoom says

    I know that the thread is mostly about tap-dancing joyously upon “pastorwinthrop’s” tiny cranium now, but I just have to say that I envy littlejohn @14 a little bit for having a dad of whom he can say “Mencken ranks with Twain and my father as the greatest American essayists.”

    Also, John Winthrop, for all his Calvinist narrowness, was at least not an utter idiot. This troll is more of a “pastorswaggart”

  39. Rey Fox says

    Nice to see that all the intelligent people have fled from religion, leaving only the loonies behind in authority positions over their ever-dwindling flocks.

    You live in ignorance of your Creator – the same One who formed you in the womb as He did the heavens and the earth.

    If all that’s true, then it’s his fault for hiding from me. That has to take effort.

  40. madbull says

    Me thinks these pastors have preached so long, they have forgotten how to talk, the guy here doesn’t talk like its a conversation on a forum, its more like a speech. Long boring monologues with no hard q/a rounds is all they are used to.