Exorcism and Christian Fellowship (1997)
by John Patrick Michael Murphy
Cyberspace could be a forum for freethinkers to meet and earn the respect of religionists. Can't do it though because of America Online's Terms of Service (TOS). I'm barely able to get my e-mail because of TOS. Here's what happened to one poor devil and let it be a warning to you. I went into a "chat room" called Christian Fellowship sponsored by the wizards at America Online who take our money in exchange for connecting us all together in a room that doesn't exist. All sorts of things go on in these rooms that in reality are nothing but a score of people looking at monitors and glancing at keyboards, or the reverse, dependent upon typing skill.
So in I went among the praising and praying and doubt sharing. I went in as myself, JPMMURPHY, with a bright and cheery, "Hi room, do you allow freethinkers in here?" "Welcome JP," they said. "What's a freethinker?" So I told them that freethinkers form opinions about religion using reason, and pay no attention to custom, dogma, or authority on the matter. "What do you mean?" inquired PastorAndrew.
"I mean I don't think some naked lady took a walk in a park conversing with a snake-so people think I'm strange."
At the time I didn't realize I was clasping the cold hand of trouble. "Jesus loves you JP," I was told by one, followed by a discerning soul who asked, "Were you once a Catholic JP?"
"Oh yes baptized, circumcised, taught by nuns, priests, monks, and even the fearsome Jesuits-did my 9 first Fridays, could altarboy low, medium or high mass-done funerals, benedictions, convocations and ordinations, but I always wondered what it was really all about. Then I became a freethinker. How about you?"
"Have you tried prayer JP?"
"Yes," I replied, "but I gave it up when we both flunked algebra together." I knew then there was scant humor in there as many claimed I was blaspheming while others said I was angry. Some claimed Satan could be in the room and typed out eclesiastical incantations as a shield to his monkeyshines.
Pressing on I told the room that I'm not angry, just engaged in the pursuit of happiness in trying to get a little respect for freethinkers. "Just in here sharing my honest thoughts and wanting to ask some questions." I told them. Fat chance, I was minutes away from one of their exorcisms but didn't know it.
"What kind of questions do you have?" PraisetoHim posited.
"Here's some," I hurriedly typed seizing my opportunity: "Why would god kill all of the species he created except 8 humans, and 7 or 2 of all the rest of the species, depending upon how clean they were, that he kept for restocking?" No response.
"Did Jesus really want us to castrate ourselves as Matt 19:12 claims?"
"How come the mother of Jesus, a full 1/3 of all the deities, only gets a few lines more in the Bible than the talking jackass of Balam or was it Absalom's?" Like I said, I went to catholic schools where we learned a lot about the pope's rules and Paul's pronouncements, but we were left Biblically challenged.
"If matter is indestructible how could it have a start? A creation? Science tells us it can be changed but not destroyed. If there is no beginning,- if matter always was, if there has been an eternity of matter in existence, there was no start to it. No creation, no Fall, no need for redemption, no need for smoking up incense to a non-creator. non-redeemer who doesn't exist."
This was challenged by Godfear who proclaimed, "The universe started with nothing but God!!"
"The Big Bang started with hyper-ultra compressed matter that became uncomfortable all packed in super tight and blew apart. Wherever it went, and continues to go, we call the universe. Now we're out here on a rural outpost of it listening to how this whole show came about just for us if we only had the faith to "see" it. The big bang didn't start with nothing. Ingersoll answered that: 'Nothing, considered as a raw material, is a decided failure.' What ever it was that blew apart was matter - something that always was, - something eternally un-created," I smugly responded, and clicked out more of my Freethought wonderings:
"Did god stick 160,000,000 year old dinosaurs in a 6,000 year old earth to test our faith?" I queried.
"Did god change his mind about slavery, polygamy, race bias, gender bias, child beating, lapidation of non-virgin brides, or does he still swear by them?"
Finally a response from PastorAndrew: "JPMMURPHY stop now, read your Terms of Service with AOL."
I didn't know what he was talking about and pressed the point, "Christians are better than their creed is the only conclusion I can draw." The compliment was not received as I was informed by OhSweetJesus, "That was the old covenant, Jesus brought us the new one of love and forgiveness," he/she gushed.
"Jesus brought us hell - the Old testament had no hell, and an eternity of torture in hell is inconsistent with love and forgiveness." I responded, and a minor debate began.
"There was too a hell in the old testament it was called 'sheol,' " I was informed by LoveJesus.
"Sheol was a place where the devils, imps and assorted soiled angels hung out, grousing about their predicament of losing a celestial battle they fought with Yahweh, the holy ghost and Jesus (before he was Jesus). They weren't pestering dead humans in there much less torturing them endlessly like the hell Jesus invented," I confidently responded. I then put more Murphyized Ingersoll on them, typing "Once ole Yahweh got you down and killed you with his festering wrath his frown turned into a smile, he was through with you - it took Jesus to say 'He that is baptized and believeth will be saved, he that believeth not will be eternally damned.'"
By this time people were urging others to press the ignore button with my name on it so their monitors would not show my name or comments any longer. They didn't have to. In a matter of moments I was typing to myself. A message appeared informing me I had violated TOS rules and I was kicked out of the chat room.
Back in I went and was TOSed out once again for complaining about being kicked out the first time. I told them "Your crowd used to kill freethinkers for sharing their honest thoughts, now we just get kicked out of the discussion and are ignored, I find it to be more evidence of evolution." That was too much to say as a new conviction was recorded by America Online against my already sullied name, informing me that if I did it one more time I was out for good, not just this one room of handwringers and devil detectors, but all rooms - the whole Internet, my e-mail - the worlds greatest library in my home, all because I irritated PastorAndrew and the high priests of America Online who rule by religionistic infused wisdom - no appeal - no button to contact them, nowhere to go, but out. So they must be left in a state of ignorance. They will never know the joys of freethought flight, those poor caged birds of Christendom.
"Exorcism and Christian Fellowship" is copyright © 1997 by John Patrick Michael Murphy.
The electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels with the written permission of John Patrick Michael Murphy.