This series of articles is only intended to be about the people whom I specifically name. It is very easy for people to read articles that are critical of people, organizaions, and groups that they admire, agree with, or follow, and think that the criticism is about themselves, personally, since there is a shared belief. Be aware that criticism of people and organizations do not always neccesarily apply to everyone. Be aware that when I name a person, and criticize them, I am only talking about them -- not to anyone who has a belief or two in common with them.
For example, if I criticize a certain person (whom you may admire) for having said or written something that I believe is racist or reflects badly on them, do not assume that the same thing applies to you, simply because you admire them or may have a lot of beliefs in common with them. If I criticize a specific person for what is clearly written in one of their books or which they are recorded to have said, and you disagree with it, then you have no reason to be upset with my criticism. When I criticize a person or group of persons, I am only talking about those people, not about everyone who happens to follow or admire them. I try not to be so general as to say things like "All Christians are bad because of this..." or "Anyone who likes this person is just as bad as they are..."
Clearly we all admire certain people, especially if we feel that their influence has been very positive in our lives. Sometimes, we hear unsettling news about those people whom we admire, and our first reaction is to either to be skeptical of the news, or assume that whoever is bringing the news is attacking everyone who admires this person. Human beings are flawed and some of the most admirable people have a darker side that they try to hide from everyone. Sometimes, their secrets get out. It doesn't mean that all of their teachings are invalid, or that all of their followers are stupid or blind, or that everything you learned from them is wrong. It simply means that they are flawed; are we not all flawed? Do we not all say or write things that we later come to regret?
So please keep that in mind, and if you are the least bit skeptical of what I write here, by all means, check out the footenotes and links, and see for yourself if what I am saying is true or not. I will attempt to document as much as I can, and I encourage you -- whether you agree with me or not, to comment on what I write, and suggest corrections. If anything I write is shown to be in error, I will change it.
I am an atheist. I came to this belief after decades of being a Christian, and experiencing close personal interactions with religious people who I learned a lot from. Ironically, it was my reading the Bible from cover to cover, when I was in High School, that convinced me that atheism was the rational choice. When I read it, attending a Christian Bible-study group, it became clear to me that the people who wrote the Bible believed a lot of trully irrational things -- things which we know aren't true. Ancient Hebrews were afraid of menstruation, making women go through a series of ritual cleansings, and performing purification ceremonies on anything that they touched while having their periods. They believed that spraying animal blood around was a way to cleanse or purify; I found this no different from many pagan customs. I also wondered why as Christians, we knew that slavery was wrong, but the Bible clearly promotes it. On top of that, scandal after scandal in the Religious community, from Catholic priests molesting children to Jerry Falwell's sleazy takeover of the PTL club, caused me to wonder if these people were as honest as they claimed to be.
It was during the 1980s that I first noticed a lot of clear signs that the Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist movement, which we now refer to as the religious right, was saying a lot of things that were clearly either untrue, or which seemed disingenuous or deceptive. From Creationist authors deliberately misquoting scientists whose books I actually read, to Televangelists deliberately slandering liberal politicians with outrigt lies (Such as Jerry Falwell's broadcast and selling of a videotape that proclaimed that then President, Bill Clinton had over 60 people murdered -- an allegation which has been thoroughly debunked), and strange reversals of opinion (Many Evcangelicals were against the civil rights act back in the 50's and 60's, then strangely changed their opinions, even claimed that they always were in favor of black civil rights, in spite of their former statements.
It became clear through decades of incidents like that, and by reading much of their literature, watching their TV shows, and confronting them live in person that I was convinced that there was a serious problem with the leadership in the Evangelical community -- they either believed that the end justifies the means (That it's okay to lie and trick people, as long as the end result is that they get saved), or they were terrible hypocrites, or worse. So this blog will attempt to provide support for my opinions, and expose these "liars for Christ" for what they are.
Again, if you are simply a curious Christian, this is not about you. This is about people whom you may know about from their media appearances, or from their fame, or whose books you may have read. That these people are liars, cheaters, thieves, and propaganda artists, doesn't, in any way shape or form imply that Christianity, or Evangelical Fundamentalism is wrong or bad. It simply is saying that the individuals being criticized are. I invite your opinions and ojections, because I expect to get some. They are helpful, because they help me better write in a way that is less likely to be misconstrued. Sensitive topics are always difficult to write about, without someone getting offended by something that was not written clearly or precisely enough.
David W. Irish