Who Does This Guy Think He Is…?

Recently in his life, Kyle Dodig wasn’t religious.

He started to read the Bible and got interested in religion. He wanted to experience church.

So he’s visiting a different house of worship every week for a year:

“My goal is, ultimately, to find a church where I can go and where I can hear those stories in a way that touches me and affects me. So I guess you could say I’m sort of comparison shopping,” said Dodig, who works as a supervisor at the Monmouth County landfill.

I’m *so* suing.

We all know I have a clear monopoly on attending church.

There’s at least one major difference between us, though:

I’m still an atheist. My story has a happy ending 🙂

Now, a few months into his search, Dodig said he is leaning toward joining a Baptist church. He enjoys the messages offered during services, and he likes that worshippers are invited to open their Bibles and follow along.

(Thanks to Suzanne for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • mike

    Dodig, who works as a supervisor at the Monmouth County landfill….

    Dodig said he is leaning toward joining a Baptist church.

    That would make him quite an expert in garbage!

  • koz

    Hey Col. – He’s joining a Baptist church?! He was an imposter to begin with.

  • Claire

    he likes that worshippers are invited to open their Bibles and follow along.

    Umm…. gosh, I’m not a christian so I wouldn’t know, but… in those other churches, was it supposed to be a secret where it came from?

  • Karen

    in those other churches, was it supposed to be a secret where it came from?

    There are different preaching styles. The one this guy likes tends to center around one verse or one passage in the bible and the pastor riffs off that passage for the sermon, probably citing some other verses as well but concentrating primarily on the main one. It may be that the pastor is doing a series of sermons working through one particular book of the bible by taking a small passage every week.

    In those churches, the members usually bring their bibles to church (gives you higher spiritual cred if you carry around a large bible, preferably highlighted and underlined!) and can look up the passage faster than the preacher because they know their scripture so well.

    The other sermonizing method is more focused on the message the preacher wants to deliver, and he backs it up or expands on it by quoting various bible verses from all throughout the scriptures, jumping around so frequently that it’s not common for the congregation to try and follow along.
    The message is more focused on the pastor’s idea of what he wants to convey, rather than being focused on expounding deeply on a bible passage.

    In my experience, bible literalist churches tend to pride themselves on using the first style, while less-literalist pastors use the second style. I’m sure there are formal names for these different styles. Expository vs textual, perhaps? Mike C. probably knows what they are called.

  • Claire

    Karen, thank you for the explanation, but I’m afraid my sarcasm sometimes needs a warning sign and didn’t get one this time. I’m not religious but I am pretty well-read, so I knew most of this. But I loved your image of the quicker-than-thou holiness competition, which was news to me. I’m thinking different weight classes based on bible heft? Just to make it more fair.

  • Renacier

    If reading aloud with the group is what get’s his attention, then the local Children’s Library is gonna blow his mind. I hear they follow along in the book and do connect-the-dots.

  • Sam

    It’s not pathetic enough that Hemant hawks his books and his “Amazon Wish List” on the ads on this site, but now he’s linking to his book’s page on Amazon right in his posts.

    Don’t you people ever tire of being ridden?

  • Eliza

    Don’t you people ever tire of being ridden?

    Oh, no! Hemant can ride me whenever he wants!

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist..!)

  • Eliza

    I attended a Lenten service at an ECLA (liberal Lutheran) church 1-2 yrs ago, sermon was based on Numbers, about how Christians shouldn’t “grumble” & ended with exhortations that people/Christians/listeners think about the times they tend to complain, and Just Stop Doing it. It’s a sin, apparently.

    I had thought of bringing my much-underlined Bible but had decided it would look pretentious. Noone else seemed to have a Blble, & there weren’t any in the pews. The other listeners seemed to spend the sermon nodding & hmmmm-ing, like these were good points.

    And maybe it was a good piece of advice…but when I got home & looked at Numbers again, I was shocked. The Israelites weren’t “grumbling” pointlessly, like spoiled children, they were basically being tortured by God. If I’d had my Bible during the sermon, I like to think I would have commented out loud that “grumbling” as in complaining about meaningless irritants was NOT what was going on in Numbers, though many translations do indeed use the word “grumbling.”

    I keep thinking about the other people sitting in those pews, apparently regular attendees, who were nodding along with whatever the pastor said. Like sheep, it seemed to me.

    Then there was the conservative Lutheran course I attended a few years ago, in which the pastor read off citation after citation so that people could jot them down & go look at them at home – 1 line at a time, from different books, to support the construct of Lutheran Christianity he was teaching about. To a class made largely of his own church members. And how I was the only one to “call him” on errors a few times during class, like the time he gave the citation Revelation 22:27 (which doesn’t exist); a simple error on his part, but why was the ATHEIST the only one in the class to catch that error & call him on it?

  • This is just another example that shows that people aren’t religious because they believe all the stuff is true but rather because they want to belong to something. This guy is basically religion shopping and he’s choosing the one that gives him the most warmies.

  • julie marie

    why was the ATHEIST the only one in the class to catch that error & call him on it?

    I’d be totally bummed out if I were that pastor. Was the atheist the only one listening to me? The only one who was actually going to do as I asked and look something up? I mean…if you’re trying to teach and your own congregates aren’t paying attention…sheesh. might as well stay home and watch Dancing with the Stars. or something.

  • julie marie

    The Israelites weren’t “grumbling” pointlessly, like spoiled children, they were basically being tortured by God. If I’d had my Bible during the sermon, I like to think I would have commented out loud that “grumbling” as in complaining about meaningless irritants was NOT what was going on in Numbers, though many translations do indeed use the word “grumbling.”

    I finished reading “Who Wrote the Bible” (Richard Friedman) a few months ago. In several places in his book, the author analyzes stories from Numbers, among them some of the “grumbling” stories. Grossly simplified, his research leads him to believe there were two sources, one supportive of Aaron, and written from the Southern Kingdom (Judah) point of view, the other supportive of Moses and written from the Northern Kingdom (Israel) point of view. What started the grumbling, and who resolved it, emphasized the importance of each versions “hero” – Aaron or Moses. They were written by priests/scribes of competing sects looking to justify their assertion of authority.

    This is, in my opinion, a much more fascinating approach and appropriate treatment of the material than a pious lesson on how wrong it is to grumble, but one I never heard in church. I mean, really…if you were lost in the desert and your children were starving and dying of thirst, how much patience would you have with a god that told you to quit your whining?

  • Imitation is the best form of flattery. We know where to find the original 100% godless Mehta

  • In my experience, bible literalist churches tend to pride themselves on using the first style, while less-literalist pastors use the second style. I’m sure there are formal names for these different styles. Expository vs textual, perhaps? Mike C. probably knows what they are called.

    Expository vs. Topical. And yes, conservative “bible” churches tend to prefer (or insist on) the first, while more contemporary “seeker sensitive” churches tend to go with the second.

    At my own “emerging” church we sort of do expository, in that we’ve been working our way through Luke-Acts for the past two years now, but I don’t preach so much as lead guided discussions, so folks in our church are free to take the passage wherever they want and ask whatever questions (or make whatever comments) they’re interested in.

  • It’s not pathetic enough that Hemant hawks his books and his “Amazon Wish List” on the ads on this site, but now he’s linking to his book’s page on Amazon right in his posts.

    Don’t you people ever tire of being ridden?

    If he didn’t keep doing it I wouldn’t have bought 8 copies of his book! Geez. He’s helping.

  • Sam

    I was the only one to “call him” on errors a few times during class, like the time he gave the citation Revelation 22:27 (which doesn’t exist); a simple error on his part, but why was the ATHEIST the only one in the class to catch that error & call him on it?

    Because Christians make mistakes like everybody else? Is it possible that other mistakes were make that you didn’t catch? I’m not trying to be difficult but I don’t understand your point. Not all Christians know off the top of their heads that The 22nd chapter of Revelation has 21 verses instead of 27.

  • I like tea

    Damn, he chose the most bigoted, conservative, homophobic, literalist, and ignorant sect of mainstream Christianity he could find. Good job, asshole.

  • Vincent

    This guy reminds me more of my father than he does of Hemant.

    The big difference is Hemant was an atheist to begin with while this guy was a lapsed Catholic with some doubts.

    Why is this like my dad? My dad was a sailor and he studied religions of the world first-hand in ports all over the place, trying to decide what was the right religion.
    “No religion” was never a consideration. This guy is not trying to find out if there’s anything to belief. He’s just trying to find the practice of belief he’s most comfortable with.

  • Renacier

    I’m not trying to be difficult but I don’t understand your point. Not all Christians know off the top of their heads that The 22nd chapter of Revelation has 21 verses instead of 27.

    If I believed that an all-knowing entity with the power to create and control the universe and decide the fate of my everlasting soul had written a book, I’d have it memorized cover to cover. It would seem very foolish not to, don’t you think?

  • Claire

    I’m not trying to be difficult but I don’t understand your point.

    The point was that here was this guy trying to teach these people something by giving them things to look up, and not one of them, except the atheist, even bothered to do the reading or they would have said “hey, that one doesn’t exist, which one did you mean so I can look at that one?”, which is very discouraging for a teacher.

    All of which was very clearly the point of her post, if you had bothered to read it closely, and I suspect from your other posts that yes, you just may be trying to be difficult.

  • QrazyQat

    Wait a minute, you mean Hemant actually advertises his book on his blog here? I’ve been PWND!

    Now I’ve lost ALL faith.

  • Perhaps the Baptist church was passing out bananas and Kyle Dodig had a sudden realization that yes, the punishment for original sin IS eternal burning in Hell and the ONLY escape is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal savior BEFORE you die… and it is a good idea to start tithing 10% of your income to the church to make Jesus happy. Hemant has obviously not yet been confronted with a banana. 😉

  • Too bad we can’t buy his soul on ebay.

  • Sam

    If I believed that an all-knowing entity with the power to create and control the universe and decide the fate of my everlasting soul had written a book, I’d have it memorized cover to cover. It would seem very foolish not to, don’t you think?

    No, I don’t. As a matter of fact I think it’s absurd that you think so. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. It’s obviously not reasonable to expect people to memorize the count of the verses in each of those 1,189 chapters. And it’s certainly not reasonable to think people would have 31,000 verses “memorized cover to cover”. That’s a ridiculous expectation to have.

    not one of them, except the atheist, even bothered to do the reading or they would have said “hey, that one doesn’t exist, which one did you mean so I can look at that one?”, which is very discouraging for a teacher.

    All of which was very clearly the point of her post, if you had bothered to read it closely

    Why the hostility? That is not at all “clearly the point of her post”. Her post said:

    the pastor read off citation after citation so that people could jot them down & go look at them at home… I was the only one to “call him” on errors a few times during class

    Her post never said “not one of them bothered to do the reading”,as you deduced. It sounds to me like she caught the error “during class”. It could be that you have correctly interpreted what the original poster meant to say, but even if that is so, how did you conclude that this was “very clearly the point of her post” and that I didn’t “bother to read it closely”? That is simply not the case. Take a Midol.

  • julie marie

    Take a Midol.

    nah, wouldn’t want to take your last one – as we all know, when the “little men” get all huffy and puffy, its the poor dears hormone problems.

  • Claire

    how did you conclude that this was “very clearly the point of her post” and that I didn’t “bother to read it closely”?

    Oh, I don’t know, maybe because her very first line said “I’d be totally bummed out if I were that pastor” and that’s how I concluded that the point of her post was she felt bad because no one else was paying enough attention to notice a mistake. You see, you read closely, you LEARN things. Try it some time.

    Why the hostility?

    Because you set the tone with your first post on this thread, which was extremely rude. If you don’t like it, then don’t start it.

    Keep your Midol, you clearly need it more than I.

  • Sam

    when the “little men” get all huffy and puffy, its the poor dears hormone problems.

    You do realize that makes no sense, don’t you.

    and that’s how I concluded that the point of her post was she felt bad because no one else was paying enough attention to catch a mistake

    But you said that the point of her post was “not one of them, except the atheist, even bothered to do the reading“. Then you said it was “very clearly the point of her post”. But now you say “the point of her post was she felt bad because no one else was paying enough attention to catch a mistake”.

    That’s very different, and of course not what I asked. Let’s try it again: What caused you to conclude that “not one of them bothered to do the reading?”

  • cipher

    And it’s certainly not reasonable to think people would have 31,000 verses “memorized cover to cover”.

    Jack van Impe has them memorized. And indexed!

  • julie marie

    You do realize that makes no sense, don’t you.

    evidently the sarcasm was lost on you. thats okay.

  • Sam

    It wasn’t so much sarcasm as prattle. Sarcasm requires meaning.

  • cautious

    Hey this package came in the mail for the world’s biggest jackass and it was just addressed to someone in this thread.

  • grazatt

    Dang, it is sounding like some snark monsters are on the loose

  • To be BRUTALLY frank? I think Judy Blume should be suing you… didn’t the title character of ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret‘ do the ‘go to a bunch of churches to figure out what religion is all about‘ first? Back in the 80s. You could probably still find it in second-hand stores.

    Admittedly, I’m still waiting for Hemant’s menstrual cycle to kick in so he suddenly sees ‘teh glory’ like she did… perhaps that’s why he’s rocking atheism so well. All hail estrogen!

  • julie marie

    It wasn’t so much sarcasm as prattle. Sarcasm requires meaning.

    admittedly, sarcasm isn’t my forte. So here’s my meaning:

    for years (and still now, in some dark places) women who expressed disagreement, have been dismissed. when we got to the point where we had enough power to not be totally dismissed, threatened men, rather than deal with the issues their wives, mothers, daughters, girlfriends and sisters brought to them would tell us to take a midol.

    prattle and drivel? yes, you see it for what it is when its applied to you.

    by the way, you should be happy I’m not a practicing christian now, or I’d have to make up for the disgust I have for the way you have handled yourself on this thread with an “I’ll be praying for you.”

  • Sam

    If you disagree and can explain why in a persuasive way then you will not be dismissed, no matter if you are a man or a woman. You will be seen as someone with a valid point.

    But If your way of expressing disagreement is to say “the little men get all huffy and puffy”, you are babbling and will be dismissed, deservedly so. If you mindlessly express disagreement without any apparent counterpoint and are showing unexplained signs of irritability, there’s probably a reason.

  • julie marie

    Well Sam, as I said, sarcasm isn’t my forte.

    But If your way of expressing disagreement is to say “the little men get all huffy and puffy”, you are babbling and will be dismissed, deservedly

    you are making my point for me. That is exactly what you implied when you told a woman with valid points above to take a midol. And I think I did a pretty good job of explaining that my 8:53 post.

    I should have just dismissed you. You are worse than irritable, you are toxic.

  • Sam

    Her “valid points” were that the original poster said that nobody “bothered to do the reading” when that was never said at all. If that seems valid to you, there’s nothing I can do to help.

  • Claire

    Julie Marie, your word ‘toxic’ pretty much sums it up – thank you for the apropos word. The Midol comment was why I quit responding to Sam; that unprovoked piece of sexist bullcrap, combined with his earlier and equally unprovoked attacks made his purpose here abundantly clear. One can’t reason with someone like that, as it falls on deaf ears and simply provides him excuses for more vitriol and sniping. That’s his game, and I decline to play.

  • Kate

    Take a Midol.

    What sexist bullshit. Utterly disgusting.

  • Darryl

    Sam, you have nothing to add but ridicule. And to stoop to sexist remarks when you can’t reinforce your arguments–how wimpy. You should know better than to tangle with smart women.

    You know, I once went to hear Jack Van Impe preach, back in the day when I was a fundamentalist. You have to give him this: he takes the Bible seriously enough to memorize it. That man can recite verses, with citations, as fast as he can speak–and he speaks quickly. You Christo-nationalist/militaro-fascists out there should take a page from Mr. Van Impe’s book, or better yet, from our muslim friends who send their children to schools to memorize the Koran. That’s right: the muslims think so highly of the writings of their Prophet that they memorize it. Seems a reasonable thing to do, if you really believe it.

  • Sam

    Why? I fail to see how “believing it” means you have to memorize it. Memorizing 31,000 verses is not reasonable in any way.

    Almost nobody on the planet has the capacity to memorize the Bible. People like Jack Van Impe and Harold Camping have an impressive number of passages memorized, but they can’t stand before you and recite the Bible from cover to cover by memory. Jack Van Impe claims to have “the ability to quote 14,000 Bible verses, including virtually the entire New Testament”, but that is less than half the Bible. There may be some Rainman somewhere in the world who can do it, but I’d be surprised. Some Muslims memorize the Koran, but the Bible is huge in comparison to the Koran.

    You should know better than to tangle with smart women.

    If these are your smart women, warn me before the dumb ones get here.

  • Jen

    If these are your smart women, warn me before the dumb ones get here

    What a creep. Of course women are going to get mad if you assume Midol is a catch-all cure for what ails us, especially when what ails is have a different opinion than you.

  • Sam

    What does “getting mad” have to do that quote?

    Obviously you are welcome to “have a different opinion”. But if your position is that the original poster said that nobody “bothered to do the reading” when that is not so, that’s not a “different opinion”. That’s called being wrong.

  • Sam,

    The Midol comment was out of line and uncalled for. Then the discussion proceeded to go downhill from there. 🙁 The women here (excluding me) are extremely intelligent and will not let you get by with an idiotic remark like that.

    Your original point, which was to say that being a Christian does not require knowing the scripture inside and out, was valid. The way I see it, Christianity is not at all about memorizing and reciting scripture. Rather, it is about coming to terms with whose identity we have been born into, letting go of self, and trusting God to express himself through us. (Perhaps this is what Jesus means by John 5:38-42?)

    Remember, you don’t have to be right all the time, nor do you have to confrontational with everyone. A little bit of humbleness and respect goes a long way. But then again, what do I know?

  • koz

    Renacier said,

    March 28, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    If reading aloud with the group is what get’s his attention, then the local Children’s Library is gonna blow his mind. I hear they follow along in the book and do connect-the-dots.

    LMFAO!!!

  • chatterbox

    This reminds of the cartoon of that blue guy who was comparison shopping for religion after getting an email… except the real story makes me sad.