Jesus Jones enters a bowling alley. While bowling a couple of lines, he asks a woman there for a Coke, even though normally he refuses to acknowledge the members of her bowling league. Chatting later, he tells her that he knows she is living out of wedlock, and furthermore that she was previously married four times. Apparently the Liz Taylor of her alley. The harlot bolts out to tell her intimates, who are all on the same bowling team. She convinces them to come and see this extraordinary man.
Organized religion is dismissed as the “opiate of the masses” by modern atheists. Evangelists are selling peace of mind, like a drug to cure the fear of death.1 This drug induces only one chemical reaction in everybody. It homes into that deep recess of your mind that decides what is Truth. This center produces universal hallucinations which scientists like to probe in schizophrenics to get them to roll their eyes up and see visions of God’s face.
Blinded by science! We who cannot believe the Bible was inspired, that Christ is God manifest in flesh-like form, or that the death on the cross will save us all, we are doomed. We know our bad past cannot be dismissed without consideration, will not be corrected apart from contrition and will not be forsaken, save by repentance. The circumstance that one is a deviant does not seal the mind against reality. Obedience is a 7-10 split, we can still confess and convert on the death bed. You might be in good health, but ON YOUR WAY HOME TONIGHT YOU WILL BE KILLED in a car accident.
Sinners are aggressively sought out by evangelists because of a particular experience that Jesus had during his ministry, the modern version given earlier in this piece. They believe your soul dead, thus unable to see the Truth. Ask and your doubt will be removed forever. Think of the incredible benefit, everlasting life! The only requirement is belief in a superior being who wants us to love each other.
Almost 2000 years ago he was day-tripping about, performing miracles at weddings. He had the ability to read the minds of his enemies. They in turn would cry out remorsefully that ‘He is Son of God!’, even while nailing him to the cross. Amazing stories and simple parables illustrate how we can bring peace to earth.
Moonflowers imagines there are 3 levels of spiritual life in ordinary men and women. Personifying them as Dorothy’s companions in the Wizard of Oz:
The Tin Man represents a mechanical dualism that is common in most of church experience; clear distinctions between good and evil are given. Follow the Yellow Brick Road. The television evangelists and their fire and brimstone speeches spring to mind, concrete directions for your salvation from hell. Donations to the Wizards, very undemocratic.
The Lion represents a lifestyle that includes an emotional involvement. Charities and volunteerism are heavily encouraged. Spiritual ecstasy is exhibited by the brides of Christ. Militant public praying by the Lambs of Christ expands prayer from a passive, personal experience into a public, aggressive experience that seeks direct change in individual lives and society. Plans are being made for intercessory prayer meetings timed to coincide with the Super Bowl at the Metrodome, January 26th.
It would be a strange world if none of us were influenced by emotions. This influence steps over the boundary into the territory of logical fallacy, however, when it become the means of deciding what is Truth. The emotions which influence our behavior should not influence our judgement. David Hume put it succinctly, telling us that passion moves us to act, whereas reason directs the course of those actions.
Separate spheres they may inhabit, but Sophists and tricksters have long known ways of making emotions invade the territory of reason. Once whipped up, the emotions can be set at such a gallop that they easily clear the gulf between their domain and that of reason.
The secret of using these fallacies is a simple one. Take the trouble to discover the emotional disposition of your audience, and use language calculated to arouse that emotion. When you have built it up assiduously by means of graphic descriptions, you turn to bear on the question of fact. Very few audiences are able to turn off abruptly. Whether your appeal is to fear, envy, hatred, pride or superstition makes no difference. Indeed, you can use them alternately. Pride in one’s own race, class or nation can be appealed to, even as envy of others is built up.
Intelligent people are often afraid of being thought rather cold because they use reason so much. They do not want to appear to be emotionally deficient, and are easy prey to a minister who assures them that they are just as sensitive, loving and compassionate as the next person. This permits them the delusion that they are welcome into the common fold. Some abandon reason as the price of their admission ticket to the human race. This is not necessary, since there is another level of spiritual life available to them.
The Scarecrow represents those who are longing for ultimate spirituality. Atheism is absolutely contrary to the teachings of science, the truly intellectual are the sincerely inquiring minds. Scholarship into the meaning of life; philosophy is the oldest science. Connected with religion, the forms of art, poetry, drama, sculpture, dancing and architecture were the means of communicating its psychology. For example, the extreme height of Notre Dame expresses the vaulting of the soul into heaven.
Beyond desire and emotional involvement, you compel yourself with control into the intellectual part of your soul. That is where man can create and invent and construct. All religions of the world offer the opportunity to grow spiritually into the best person you will become. Demand a thinking religion from your church, edging toward the consciousness enjoyed by priests and members of the inner circle.
Next time you are approached by an evangelist, try realizing that some souls are moved to help others, give up creature comforts and follow the call to service. Why not invite him to go bowling?