The last time a fundamentalist “Christian” tried to “bring me to Jesus” I was amused. She said, with a great deal of concern in her voice, “We need to talk.” She was very happy to talk about Jesus. But when I tried to offer her my polytheistic views, she said, “We’re not talking about that.” That, in microcosm, is the Religious Right’s view of religious freedom. Their freedom to shove their religion down your throat.
Several emotions battled within me besides that amusement: I was offended, of course, but I also felt pity for the so-called Christian for having a faith so brittle that it could only be sustained by having around her others who, by their presence, could bolster her own flagging and uncertain faith. If you really believe something, you don’t need help doing it.
So when I read what Pat Robertson said in response to a letter from a viewer who complained that a person she had tried to “bring to Jesus” had responded by being “openly hostile at the mere mention of God,” I revisited those memories and those emotions.
The letter writer, who is named Sandra, seemed shaken that anybody would reject her “good news”:
I work with an atheist and at one time I thought I could witness to her and bring her to Jesus. She gets openly hostile at the mere mention of God. She gets very angry just hearing the word of God. Should I just abandon the idea of being a positive influence on her and just let her perish?
She sheer arrogance of this statement says quite a bit more about Sandra than it does about her atheist victim. Also noticeable is Sandra’s utter lack of self awareness. Imagine the letter she would have written if the situation had been reversed: if the atheist had told her God doesn’t exist, you know Sandra would most likely be “openly hostile at the mere mention of God’s nonexistence” and have complained about that to Robertson instead.
Robertson, who is so obsessed with demons that he thinks you have demons in your underpants, provided the standard 2,000-year-old answer that the benighted atheist might be controlled by “something that is demonic” or “something that is deeply ingrained.”
He elaborated, pulling forth this intellectual abortion from his own ingrained self:
But to be that openly hostile to the word ‘God,’ it’s something beyond the normal human experience. Something has happened.
So it’s not possible to simply be offended by somebody trying to shove religion down your throat unless you are demonically possessed or victim of some sort of trauma?
What trauma, you ask, might be responsible for the coworker’s alleged hatred of Jesus?
It’s something beyond normal human experience. Something has happened and she associated God – maybe she had an abusing father, somebody who raped her and acted like he was preaching to her from the Bible. You just never know what’s going on in somebody’s childhood.
And that, my friends, says a great deal more about the stain on Robertson’s soul – and possibly conscience – that it does about the atheist.
Since there are now laws against forcible conversation (alas!), Robertson was left to suggest that poor, befuddled Sandra “be understanding, be loving and don’t try to push anything on her, pray for her, but if she won’t hear, she won’t hear. I mean, you’ve done what you can do, but always in love.”
Here Robertson compared an atheist to an engine without oil:
You know, if you try to start an engine without oil, the engine will get friction and it will tear itself up. If there’s oil, the gears will begin to flow. There needs to be an anointing oil before you start to talk to people about the Lord. And just pray for that anointing.
So now all you atheists know what’s wrong with you: you ran out of oil and your engine seized up and tore itself apart. And you were possibly raped and demonically possessed, maybe at the same time. Can’t forget that.
And, of course, it goes without saying that you made Jesus cry.
The thing is, and it is very important you remember this: Jesus will make YOU cry when, like Bill Maher, you finally stand before him. He’s merciful and forgiving and all that, but he’s going to smite you hip and thigh with hellfire for each and every tear you made him shed.
I hate to think how Robertson would diagnose somebody who, like myself, believes in a multitude of gods. Yikes.
What’s kind of funny about all this is that Ralph Reed recently appeared on 700 Club and he and Robertson agreed on the need to restore the Religious Right to where it stood in the 1980s.
My first thought, between telling me science is not science but the Bible is and now this nonsense was, no, you won’t.
Somehow, I don’t see The Bronze Age Experience™ as being a marketable commodity with millennials, particularly young women. I think young people today are more comfortable with the germ theory of medicine than exorcisms by pseudo-Christian witch doctors with a lurid fascination with raping young women.
In the end, it’s probably easier for these cultists to just steal elections with the almighty dollar, the way Capitalist Jesus™ intended.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.