It is time you resigned as chairman of the universe

Here’s a pretty item from Michael Pearl

A woman wrote to him about her devastation at a miscarriage.

Even now I have nightmares every night. I dream that my baby is crying and when I go to take care of him, I can’t find him. I look everywhere but I can’t find my baby. I have even woken up my husband asking him to help me find our baby. I have dreamed that my baby was beautiful and healthy. I would wake up deciding how my baby and I are going to spend the day and I realize that there is no baby.

He set her straight.

Your anger is based on the assumption that you know better than God what is best. Your child is now in the presence of God beholding the face of the Father (Matthew 18:10). “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish (Matthew 18:14). Your child will appear again in the Millennium as a child to be raised by someone—possibly you—to maturity, and so make a choice concerning the Savior. In reference to the Millennium the Bible says, “And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof’’ (Zechariah 8:5). One of those playing children is your little one. Jesus held your child before your did. Are you angry at him for drawing this little one to himself? He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).

She wanted to have a baby, and Jesus decided he wanted that baby for his own self so he took it, and Michael Pearl scolds her for being unhappy with this arrangement.

 Like Job you need to be humbled and face the fact that your world has revolved around you. It is time you resigned as chairman of the universe and leave it to God to do a little “baby sitting” until you get there to take over for him. I am sure your baby is in the best of hands.

Christian compassion.

h/t to PaulG.





  1. Carlie says

    And this same guy would tell a woman who had an abortion that she should and would feel anguish over the loss for the rest of her life. Cognitive dissonance, they has it.

  2. Aquaria says

    It’s also the same guy who would tell the woman suffering from a miscarriage that she wasn’t “woman enough” for him when he left her for a younger woman he knocked up while he was married to her.

    And he’s probably the same kind of douchebag who supports slime like this:

    When Beck and Hattrick produced a local version of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” for Halloween — a recurring motif in Beck’s life and career — Kelly told a local reporter that the bit was a stupid rip-off of a syndicated gag. The slight outraged Beck, who got his revenge with what may rank as one of the cruelest bits in the history of morning radio. “A couple days after Kelly’s wife, Terry, had a miscarriage, Beck called her live on the air and says, ‘We hear you had a miscarriage,’ ” remembers Brad Miller, a former Y95 DJ and Clear Channel programmer. “When Terry said, ‘Yes,’ Beck proceeded to joke about how Bruce [Kelly] apparently can’t do anything right — about he can’t even have a baby.”

  3. julian says

    Like Job you need to be humbled and face the fact that your world has revolved around you

    I’m shaking with anger right now. Who the hell does this guy think he is?

  4. Hamilton Jacobi says

    He’s BFF with the chairman of the universe. And the chairman told him personally that he made the universe just for guys like him. Not for presumptuous women who are trying to rise above their station in life and need a little smackdown from the chairman from time to time.

  5. Robert B. says

    Uggh. I always thought the “suffer the little children” bit was one of Jesus’ better lines. A touch of real warmth, that he liked kids and wanted to teach them, too. I really didn’t want to hear it turned into a dead baby joke.

    It’s like he was punishing her for the doubt about God’s supposed love that she expressed in her letter. In what other context is it considered even remotely okay to say to someone grieving for a family member, “He’s probably better off dead than with you”?

  6. says

    Looks like this Pearl (no pun intended) suffers from that terrible conditiom known as an authoritarian personality (colloq. ‘control freak’.)

    As far as I am aware, little can be done for the poor bastard.

  7. Musical Atheist says

    Pearl is so cruel. I experienced miscarriage, and I can’t imagine anything less helpful than Pearl’s callous and ignorant response. I’ve posted a comment on the website referring the writer to the Miscarriage Association and American Pregnancy Centre and others – but since it didn’t include any references to God, who knows if it will be allowed to stay up.

    People like Pearl make me so blazingly angry I can hardly speak. It’s the over-confidence I find hardest to understand – where on earth does he get the idea that his faith and social status qualify him for grief counselling? And his comments about anger. I guess one of the interesting things for me about coping with grief without belief in a god was the realization that my rejection of gods really wan’t based in anger – but that if I did believe in one, it would make me angrier than I could possibly know how to express. Belief in a god would have actively obstructed the healing process. I guess that’s what the writer of this letter is also finding out, with a lot of help from Pearl.

    Hi, by the way, first-time commenter here.

  8. says

    What an asshole.
    I know how hard it was coping with the miscarriage of a planned, wanted and loved child.
    I totally know what she means when she tells about those empty lines people offer (“Next time you’ll be more lucky”, what, wait, that was appropriate when I failed my driving test, not when I miscarried).
    I could come to terms with biology, with the fact that what I had imagined to become the most perfect little being most probably never ever had the potential to become a baby. I could deal with that. I could accept that there might not be a “reason” but an explenation.
    Believing in an all powerful entity that has a plan in all of that must make the experience even harder. And then the asshole tells her to STFU.

  9. Musical Atheist says

    Ah… I just realized the article from Pearl is from 2008, and feel a bit silly for posting a comment there… Never mind, maybe it will help someone else!

  10. Musical Atheist says

    @Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes:
    Yes, exactly. One can come to terms with the pain, with the experience itself and with the facts. Understanding some of the biology involved helps that process actually, as the apparent and actual arbitrariness of the loss is one of the things one has to grapple with. But to feel that and still think that it was someone’s plan, to have to try to believe there’s some kind of lesson, or that this arbitrary loss is the choice of a loving god – that would be intolerable. And worse – the author of that letter is being judged by Pearl for not experiencing grief in the way he approves. Even her grief is a test. Inhumane beyond belief.

  11. says

    This is just the kind of stupidity that I’ve been writing about over at Choice in dying. It’s the idea that what we really are, as human beings, are dependent creatures, without any say in how the world goes, and that the sooner we get the idea — as, we are told, that Job did — the sooner our lives will go well. All we have to do is repent, and accept whatever happens as God’s will, and then we will see.

    The Church of England even has the never to tell people that this is really what dying is about. It’s supposed to bring us closer to our humanity, as the Bishop of Swindon said in an assinine piece he wrote for Guardian Belief. According to the bishop:

    Dying brings all of us to a point where we do not have the final word and that calls us back to our humanity in a profound way.

    That means, we are most human when we are most helpless. This is typical Christian nonsense. We’re supposed to realise that we’re not in charge, and when we do, presumably, we’re all going to be willing to repent in dust and ashes as Job did.

    But there’s another reading of the Job story that is more plausible. How did this man, who spent a whole book insisting that he had been dealt with unjustly, suddenly foreswear all that and bow down before the jerk who ruled the universe? He didn’t. That is a misreading of Job, I believe, no matter how beautiful the Hebrew poetry is at this point in the story. What Job did was to acknowledge that the ruler of the universe was sheer chance, and that there was nothing he could do to change the course of things. Nevertheless, it’s hard to believe that Job had turned himself into a faithful believer. No, I think he realised, like any person who is thrown up against some of the worst that life can bring, that you have to fight back, if you can, and reject the idea of just judges and good creators, and recognise, at last, that the world is only what we make it within the limits that chance and necessity lay down. That still leaves a pretty good amount of space where we can be human, but bowing down and worshipping the gods of chance and necessity is unnecessarily demeaning. Whatever purpose, shape, and hope we can create out of the means of living, must be done by human beings, and, in the end, will be human, and not divine meaning. Why can’t we just learn this? Instead of allowing us to be harrangued by god-botherers who have no more idea about the reality of things than the fly that meets up with a fly-swatter.

  12. says

    Ophelia, most of the time, there is nothing to say after your posts bringing to light all the multiple colors and shades of misogyny and abuse of women. I’m just so depressed and filled with righteous rage and grateful you are there to point out all this awfulness and articulate all that righteous rage and depression for me.

  13. dirigible says

    Oh that’s horrible. I know from personal (well, as personal as it can be given I’m male) experience that miscarriage is bad enough without the “comfort” of religion.

  14. sailor1031 says

    “where on earth does he get the idea that his faith and social status qualify him for grief counselling?”

    All problems are answered in the bible (of which this odious man is obviously an expert interpreter) – oh no, sorry, that’s the koran isn’t it?

    Whatever; I guess we know who really thinks he’s chairman of the universe……you can just sense the hatred here. Scary. DoG should keep better company; shame on him!

  15. Svlad Cjelli says

    A cristian invoking Job? Haven’t seen that in a while. Job is inherently “out of context” for most of them.

  16. Svlad Cjelli says

    A christian invoking Job? Haven’t seen that in a while. Job is inherently “out of context” for most of them.

  17. says

    It’s just occurred to me how intellectually lazy this Michael Pearl appears to be.

    In order for anyone else to gain special insight into some aspect of the human condition, many years of training and experience are required. I like to think I am good at understanding crime and its motivations, for example.

    Those skills were dearly bought and to this day are prone to error, even when I’m operating at my best. I would never, for example, presume to speak to a client in this way. I would deserve to lose my practicing certificate if I did so.

    The same ‘rules’ about gaining special insight into the human condition apply to any of the learned professions, as well as to people who have a great flair for commerce or the arts. It is not something one can get out of a book. Any book.

    Pearl is claiming to have special insight into the human condition because he has read a book. One book. It’s like building an entire criminal practice on a 1988 edition of Butterworth’s Criminal Procedure or, even worse, Butterworth’s Chancery rules.

    Why do we not write these people off as the intellectually lazy pretenders that they are? Why do we not tell them, repeatedly, as one would to a not quite bright child, ‘you must read more widely’ and ‘you must try harder?’

  18. says

    All I can say in reaction to that is, “What the fuck is wrong with that guy?” Really, that’s it. I have nothing beyond that to say. I’d punch him in the face right now if he were in the room.

  19. raymoscow says

    As a former fundie, I remember a lot of yahoos who thought their Bible knowledge qualified them to counsel people on all sorts of issues. The misnamed book ‘Competent to Counsel’ by Jay Adams was one of the chief tools in the incompetency arsenal.

  20. The Lorax says

    It’s bad enough that people like him exist…

    … it’s worse that there are those who will listen to him.

    I can spend my time hating this man for his judgmental cruelty, but the zeitgeist is moving, and his time is running out. So, because of that, I’d rather worry about his victims… who is helping this poor woman? She sought him for advice and got insulted. Will she swallow that tripe? Will she stare into the eyes of her friends, family, husband, and say, “No, my child is with God now, so I shouldn’t be upset.”?

  21. Ophelia Benson says

    Hi, Musical Atheist; good to meet you.

    The Lorax –

    I can spend my time hating this man for his judgmental cruelty, but the zeitgeist is moving, and his time is running out.

    I think it’s more about hating the content of what he says. That’s especially true because he and his wife are active advertisers in this movement, doing damage every day. For that reason I think it’s worth directing the glare of publicity to their loathsome “teachings.” That’s a first step in helping their victims. (I agree with you about the woman though. I sure hope that letter made her angry rather than devastated.)

  22. daveau says

    “…Jesus decided he wanted that baby for his own self so he took it…”

    What an egotistical asshole that Jesus is. And Michael Pearl, too.

  23. Steve Bell says

    > Your child will appear again in the Millennium as a child to be
    > raised by someone—possibly you—to maturity…

    An intriguing Christian version of reincarnation?

  24. Robert B. says

    It’s the over-confidence I find hardest to understand – where on earth does he get the idea that his faith and social status qualify him for grief counselling?

    See, personally, if I got a letter like that, with such an intense and moving expression of grief, I don’t think I could resist saying whatever I could think of to help. I think (and hope) I would remember to find a link to someone more qualified and include that also, but I’d certainly try to say something myself. So I don’t blame Pearl for his presumption in speaking, as such.

    I blame him for the actual things he said. The intense hurtfulness of that response is so obvious, even to a casual inspection, that I can only think of two possibilities. Either he thought that religious advice was automatically helpful, and so didn’t bother to check if he was being an asshole, or he was deliberately trying to punish her crisis of faith. Either would be a disgusting example of religion’s actual effect on morality – though Mr. Pearl must have already been an asshole before he got faith, because the religious people I know have a thousand times more basic human decency than was demonstrated here.

  25. Robert B. says

    I’m sorry, I was quoting and answering Musical Atheist. I meant to cite them but apparently didn’t.

  26. Musical Atheist says

    @Robert B.:
    You’re right. In fact, my instinctive response was to do exactly the same myself and to respond to her via the Pearls’ website in order to offer a different perspective, and I’m no more qualified to be a grief counsellor than Pearl is, so perhaps I should have thought through that comment a bit better. On the other hand, I’ve had a related experience and could at least offer perspectives that helped me, as well as links to the appropriate organisations. I think I’d be more tentative in offering suggestions to someone who was talking about an experience I’d never had.

    The awful impression I get from Pearl’s writing is that he derives status through denigrating the people who write to him for help. Not only is her grief test of her godliness, it’s also an opportunity for him to raise his social kudos by coming down harshly on her. One of the ways bullies stay in power maybe, but also to do with his inability to see people as people – they are sinners, or examples, or opportunities – anything but real people in need, with legitimate emotions.

    There have been some fascinating articles on the fundy movement’s tendency to see people, especially children, in this way, by bloggers such as Young Mom at Permission to Live. She writes very movingly about her realisation that her children were people, with rights, which meant she had to look again at her own childhood, and at how alien to her upbringing was the concept that she or her children had a right to their feelings.

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