Hi Dear Brother Rod and Karen - I am an atheist. My Mom dragged me and my sister to church every sunday. I went kicking and screaming until I was a teenager and then as I got older I went to church out of guilt. As soon as I went to college I left the church. My problem with religion is that it make absolutely no sense. The more I think of what people believe the crazier it sounds to me. I heard a woman on the news thank god that she didnt die when a tornado flattened her house, while her neighbor was crushed by that same act of god. Why did god drop the tornado on them in first place and why did god spare the woman and kill her neighbor? Just asking questions like this are chasing down the rabbit hole of crazy. How about just calling it what it is - Bad weather and dumb luck.
I'm an atheist and I've always been one. It was weird growing up in NC as an atheist but I never really caught any static for it. I think it was mostly because I was real good explaining my reasons for not believing and getting other people to question themselves. Te be completely honest most people really don't believe in Christianity/religion. I understand the need to believe in a higher power but why accept an "explanation" that comes with a lot of bullshit attached to it?
I actually do have one short story that caused me a few issues. I was walking back from the cafe at FSU and ran into a guy handing out bibles. I walking by and politely declined. The duded starting badgering me and shoved the bible into my chest. I walked away and threw the bible into the nearest trash can. My homeboy got all offended and ended up telling people in the dorm what I did like it was something important. I got approach that a Sigma that tried to give me a lecture. I replied by firing off all of the non Christian-like things that I know he's done and finished it by telling him "if you're going to continue sinning, you might as well throw your bible in the trash." That might have been the sassiest moment of my life and I enjoyed it.
I'm not an atheist. I struggle with faith, but I am a Christian, AME to be exact. With that said - it's fools like that illiterate Sambo that make me consider jumping the Jesus ship and swimming to the swift boat of atheism, or at least the rubber raft of Unitarianism. Sorry, but being Christian isn't a privilege to make you ignorant or functionally illiterate.
This is a little long (yeah it's me so it goes without saying), but allow the church deacon attempt to clean up the philosophical and liturgical mess that Mr. Eugenics Elite left behind:
1. Christianity particularly, and all Abrahamic religions in general have changed since their inception. For example, there weren't a bunch of eyeless dudes with stumps for hands running around ancient Israel, they had jails and taxes y'all. The way that Jews worship today is completely different than the way Israelites worship in pre-Hellenistic Palestine. Up until the 1600's, it was illegal for Christians to use banks or take loans. Also, as you pointed out - marriage in the middle ages was about passing along property, not about love. That's a fairly new Victorian concept. Religion, like all human intellectual endeavors, change with new information and social norms.
2. Hermeneutics ( pronounced HER-MEN-NOO-TIKS) is the study of philosophy with religion, what this Negro was attempting (poorly) was Apologetics - the systemic art of defending religion. Not to nitpick - but one of my many pet peeves are 'dear brothers' using big words they don't understand like Damon Wayans' convict character on "In Living Color".
3. You can hold on to your religious belief and still respect the rights and privileges within the secular world. Separation of church and state is a key part of early Christianity (again that change with the rise of the Roman Catholic Church). This was the premise of one of Jesus' most famous conversations with the Pharisees - "Render unto Caesar what is Ceasar's" Also, Muslims & Jews don't try to outlaw bacon - neither Abraham or Mohammed demanded that adherents try to change laws locally if they local no believers weren't actively interfering. See: Daniel and the Lion's Den.
4. If this dude wanted to make arguments opposing gay marriage or abortion, there are completely rational arguments (in the sense that these ideas have an underpinning logic not based in religion) from naturalism that would serve as counterpoints.
The naturalistic argument against gay marriage & abortion is basically abortion & gay marriage has a negative effect on population growth. (The counterpoint is that these are natural occurrences that act as a population control among animals).
Not that these arguments are considered valid (I invalidated in my prior statement) or that I even agree, but if this 'dear brother' was somewhat skilled in Apologetics, he could have started from that route. Apologetists use Hermenuetics to work out the kind of sticking points where religious beliefs are simply seen as 'hocus pocus'.
Then again, this 'dear brother' hasn't mastered basic grammar, so I doubt college level philosophy would be his forte.
Sigh, enough of that theological nerdiness. You guys have a good mother's day and great week.