When an atheist visits a Baptist church in Mississippi, it’s hard to try and stay objective when social cues are ignored by the congregation and the sermon is full of bigotry against those who are different.
First, the pastor, who can barely get a word in due to his interrupting congregation:
The preacher got up to deliver his lesson, but before he got very far, a man stood up to tell everyone how much Jesus helped him with his life. This didn’t seemed planned. This man talked for a few minutes before he sat back down. The preacher spoke about half a sentence when a woman stood up and told everyone about how Jesus solves all our problems. She talked for a few minutes about how Jesus worked in her life and then sat down. I guess this preacher is use to constant interruptions.
And when he finally gets to speak?
To give you an idea of his preaching style, think of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” hyped up on steroids.
Of course he talks about how everything is evil (being gay, killing babies, etc.) but what gets me is this part:
He wanted to bring the Bible and prayer back into our schools. He warned his congregation that if they tried to bring the Bible into schools, the government would oppose them, but do not worry: God will be on side of God, and God’s side always wins.
Ummm… the Bible is allowed in schools. So is prayer. As long as it’s not forced upon everyone. No one’s going to oppose you.
That’s what we call “tolerance.”
This pastor obviously wants none of that, though.
Did atheist Oliver get anything out of this experience?
[The pastor] was stereotypical of everything that non-believers see in Christians: they are loud, obnoxious, ignorant, and filled with prejudice and self-righteous attitudes. It is hard not to stereotype when I’m watching Christian fundamentalism in action.
I suspect things aren’t going to get much better as Oliver treks around MS.
But if you have suggestions for churches in the state that might be a bit more conducive for an atheist visitor, I’m sure they’d be appreciated.
(Thanks to vjack for the link!)