left biblioblography: STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE TRES – INGERSOLL AND BARTON.

Monday, August 28, 2006

STEPPING THROUGH THE GATES OF ATHEISM: MY PERSONAL JOURNEY PART THE TRES – INGERSOLL AND BARTON.

My last installment concerned Paine and Holding – this one will, as the title suggests, deal with (this is the last time, I promise) one more heretic, and one more theist.

Yes, you may have noticed that I had a trinity war of sorts, three heretics vs. three theists. For those of you with an allegorical bent: this was how it happened. Why three?  My best guesses are, that I was a middle child (right between an older and younger sister – the psychological horror of that dynamic is only lost on those who haven’t experienced anything similar).

Be that as it may: onwards.

Somewhere in the course of things, I stumbled across these two – Ingersoll and Barton – in my frantic search for facts across that deeply spun tapestry of information and disinformation that we call the World Wide Web.

I am unsure as to whom I encountered first, so we’ll go alphabetically:

In the course of my discussions with my BAX buddy (born again xtian), the topic of school prayer was mentioned. Having plenty of time on my hands, I rolled up my sleeves, and set to research this concept, that of religious prayer being banned from the school system. I went to this site, to begin my research.


By this time, I’d already written one letter to David Barton, who is one of the foremost proponents of ‘Original Intent – America was founded on xtian principles’, in which I very politely pointed out that by no means (due to my reading of the actual three pivotal documents) was my country founded on any such thing. I had also written a second letter pointing out some egregious errors he made in misquoting Paine. I then began to plumb the depths of this conception.

It was, to put it mildly, outrageous. Barton, as it turned out, misquoted, used confirmation bias, had written a book called ‘The Myth of Separation of Church and State’ which had numerous bogus quotes from the founding fathers, and – surprise, surprise! – gave a number of examples about school prayer specifically tailored to give the impression of martyrdom and the ‘war against religion’ in the current culture wars. Most of which came apart like Kleenex on a loud hard nose-blow.

In short, Barton was and is an inveterate liar. One needs to but google this ‘myth’, and pick at random any three sites, and these lies are perpetuated. Challenge any of the perpetuators, and you will most likely receive one of two responses:A. Barton is an xtian, and therefore gets the benefit of the doubt, or
B. You’ll be ignored.

As I have stated before: I can’t abide dishonesty. A lie is a lie – no amount of spin doctoring can alter that.

I took each example from his laundry list of ills and woes – items such as ‘If a student prays over his lunch, it is unconstitutional for him to pray aloud. REED v. VAN HOVEN, 1965’ as one example, or ENGEL v. VITALE, 1962; ABINGTON v. SCHEMPP, 1963; COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION v. SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF LEYDEN, 1971 or ‘It is unconstitutional for a war memorial to be erected in the shape of a cross. LOWE v. CITY OF EUGENE, 1969’, a number of such cases, and took them apart piecemeal.

It was staggering: mind-boggling: such deceit in the cooking of facts was…words fail me.

His own testimonial (I paraphrase here) is that gawd came to him in a vision (or a voice, I forget), told him jebus was the one and only, etc, etc, et al. and that he was to go and PROVE that the USA was indeed founded on “Christian principles”.  

I smell agenda here, folks.

Somewhere in this bewildering search for the ‘truth’ (of which most xtians seem to have a distinct lack of understanding), I stumbled across Robert Ingersoll.

A preacher’s son, deeply familiar with the bible, an avowed agnostic, perhaps one of the most powerful rhetoriticians in this or any other century, his words still ring out to us to this day. His complete works are to be found here. Some Mistakes of Moses is, in my humble opinion, a must-read for any infidel. He blows G.K. Chesterton smack out of the water.  

One of his least famous (and it should be counted as a deed of worth) manuevers is tackling the xtian lie that Voltaire and Paine recanted their words on their deathbeds. These lies were being spread about (and still are to this day), and Ingersoll attacked them head-on:

“The old falsehoods about Voltaire, Paine, Hume, Julian, Diderot and hundreds of others, grow green every spring. They are answered; they are demonstrated to be without the slightest foundation; but they rarely die. And when one does die there seems to be a kind of Caesarian operation, so that in each instance although the mother dies the child lives to undergo, if necessary, a like operation, leaving another child, and sometimes two.”

And from here:

“A lecture in San Francisco in the summer of 1877 Col. Ingersoll offered to give $1,000 in gold to any clergyman who would prove that Thomas Paine "died in terror because of religious opinions he had expressed, or that Voltaire did not pass away as serenely as the coming of the dawn." The New York Observer, a Presbyterian paper published in New York, Irenaeus Prime, editor, called upon him to put up the money, characterizing his offer as "infidel buncombe," upon which the following correspondence ensued:”

He also offered this reward to Voltaire’s detractors as well. Sufficient to say, some came forward to claim it, but no one could.

This quote struck me to the core, after having read of the web of deceit spun around these most ignoble of endeavors:

"One by one the instruments of torture have been wrenched from the cruel clutch of the Church, until within the armory of orthodoxy there remains but one weapon -- Slander."

But even Ingersoll (and Darwin) was falsely accused of recantation. There was one lie that Ingersoll’s son had, after growing up in an infidelian (is that even a word?) atmosphere, had been committed to an insane asylum (even though RGI hadn’t ever sired a son!).

I could go on forever about Mr. Ingersoll, but these factoids will do for now.

Let’s encapsulate.

I compared the facts, historicity, and narrative of the bible against reality, and the bible failed. Moreover, I measured three infidels of the past against three major apologists of the present, and even with the technology, the followings, the piles upon piles of written works, they fail miserably in comparison. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that their compiled works aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. What a waste of precious foliage: for while every drop of water on earth still exists in one form or another, the same cannot be said of every tree.

In the meantime, allow me this bit of reverence (and poetic license) -Voltaire, Paine, Ingersoll: these three names are written upon the gates of my atheism, and though the volumes of superstition and the words of mortal men may rail against them, they shall not be erased, though the storm winds attain gale force, I stand firm till the day I die.

I stand on the shoulders of giants: I only hope that someday, that I may be worthy.

Till the next post, then.

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17 comments:

Mesoforte said...

Bonjour, monsieur. Comment allez-vous?

Interesting story KA. The Great Agnostic is always a favorite.

Au revior!

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
Ummm...don't really speak French.
RGI does rock the house, don't he? ;)

Aufwiedersehn.

remy said...

Ka,
I can sense your Sisyphean frustration. I too have laboured in the galling garden of misinformation.

I have come to accept that logic and reason are ineffective against faith. Again and again and yet again argument bounces off of them, leaving me confused and in a state akin to a wimper. It is so difficult for me to comprehend their level of lunacy. I know that sounds as though I'm giving in. I'm not. I think it just might be the case that all this fundamentalism is a symptom of their impending death.

BTW My trinity has been Paine, Hume and Russell. Thank you for Ingersol.

say no to christ said...

KA said:"It is unconstitutional for a war memorial to be erected in the shape of a cross."

Maybe we should erect all war memorials in the shape of the cross to remind us that religion is the number 1 cause of war and is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths.

Richard Dawkins did a documentary about the root of all evil being religion. You can check it out on youtube.com. My husband and I watched all of them last night and we both agree Dawkins is freaking AWESOME!

KA aslo said:"In the meantime, allow me this bit of reverence (and poetic license) -Voltaire, Paine, Ingersoll: these three names are written upon the gates of my atheism, and though the volumes of superstition and the words of mortal men may rail against them, they shall not be erased, though the storm winds attain gale force, I stand firm till the day I die."


RAMEN brother KA!!!

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
KA said:"It is unconstitutional for a war memorial to be erected in the shape of a cross."
Er, ummm, I didn't say that. Barton did.
Richard Dawkins did a documentary about the root of all evil being religion. You can check it out on youtube.com. My husband and I watched all of them last night and we both agree Dawkins is freaking AWESOME!
I actually have the complete DVD (via my old buddy, rainbows4dinosaurs). Every blog I've been to has posted on this - I march to the beat of a different drummer (as most of my readers have guessed by now).
RAMEN brother KA!!!
No applause, please, just send your donation to....;)

say no to christ said...

Ka said:"Er, ummm, I didn't say that. Barton did."


Oops, sorry I was kinda rushing at the time. I cant promise it wont happen again, but I will try to be more careful.

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
Oops, sorry I was kinda rushing at the time. I cant promise it wont happen again, but I will try to be more careful.
You are forgiven, but don't let it happen again. ;) LOL.

Sadie Lou said...

Just finished reading all 3 of these posts. Well written and very engaging. I look forward to doing some research on my notes I took during my reading.

One question:
Are you done with Christian apologetics?

Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
Thanks for taking the time out to read my verbose explanations.
I'm pretty much done w/apologetics (but don't quote me on that: subject to change at a moment's notice). Occasionally I swing by debunkingchristianity.blogspot, just to take a brief gander.
I've got so much of this burned into my brain, it seems a waste not to use it, is all.

Sadie Lou said...

Ok. I guess I have another question: Are you done with the Wicca, Kaballah stuff too?

Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie - I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'done with'. Practicing? Yes. Studying? Maybe, maybe not. Criticizing? Probably not for a long time.

Sadie Lou said...

I guess I misunderstood you. When I asked are you "done with" I meant, finished.
But now I see that you are not. You are practicing both Wicca and Kaballah?
And did you see my question on your recommended posts section?
I asked if you ever had anything published since you said you were a 'novelist'.

Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie - oops, no, I don't practice either of those things. Misspoke. As to having anything published, I'm still awaiting word from the 2nd publisher (the 1st rejected me, *sniffle*).

Sadie Lou said...

Ah. Okay, good to know I'm not going to have to read up on witchcraft or Jewish mystisim (sp?) in order to understand you.
What kind of novel is it?

Krystalline Apostate said...

It's a children's fantasy crossover into dark horror. 'Tain't no kiddie's book, either. Definitely adult-themed.

Sadie Lou said...

I like those kinds of books--ever read Coraline by Neil Gaiman?
Have you seen the movie Pan's Labyrinth?

Krystalline Apostate said...

I think I own a copy. I'm something of a fan of Gaiman's.
Pan's Labyrinth looks promising, but I'll probably wait until it comes out on video.