23 Chapters
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Questions Secular Humanists Never Ask

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Questions Secular Humanists

Never Ask j

Since there is no God, who is to blame for the bad things done in the name of religion?

If I get my credit card bill and need to express my surprise, whose name do I use? Kurt Vonnegut!

Since we don’t have God-words, how will I know if I speak in a religious way? Do humanists have glossalalia? Is John Kenneth Galbraith an example?

When humanists go to AA meetings, what higher power do they recognize?

Can a humanist be an alcoholic? Why would a humanist be an alcoholic?

If I have to take an oath, to whom do I swear? Ted Turner?

Betty Friedan?

If humanists believe that thinking for one’s self, using reason as a guide, is the best way to serve human interests, why haven’t we tarred and feathered the Supreme Court? The Department of Justice? Congress?

If we don’t have a creed, how do I know that what I believe is okay? What about my wife? She has some really freaky ideas.

If a “Voice of Reason” can save the world from destruction, why is it ignored as thoroughly as the Sermon on the Mount?

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Slouching toward Zion

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Slouching toward Zion j

I

Thurston Morton was the kind of Baptist who when he said

“thirty-ought-six,” he expected everyone to understand what he meant. Elaine was raised in the Church of Christ and when she said Acts 2:38, she expected everyone to understand what she meant.

However, when Elaine reached puberty she became a Baptist because the Baptist Church had something every night.

Giving Elaine an excuse to go out every night. Best of all, her

Church of Christ parents wanted to hear nothing about Baptist meetings, which meant they would never know where she went or who she was with. When she and Thurston became engaged,

Thurston’s buddies warned him that Elaine had dated every male in Chillicothe. “Chillicothe’s not that big,” he said. Five others, including the halt and the married.

Elaine had proved to be a good wife—silent in church, faithful at work, obedient at home—the way the Good Book said. All she asked was that some day they take a trip and

Thurston promised some day they would.

Thurston worked at the grain elevator in the summer and the gin in the fall and listened to radio preachers who promised that God would prosper him if he would prosper them. And

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Ten Mistakes that God Has Made

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Ten Mistakes that

God Has Made j

Haskell Gatewood, an evangelist of the Southern Baptist persuasion came to Chillicothe for a revival. After a tour of the churches, school, water tower, and cemetery—the cemetery had the most people in it—he pitched his tent, ready to save folks from sin, sickness, disease, doubt, and Democrats.

Brother Haskell put his tent where downtown used to be, before the general store migrated to Electra, and gathered a crowd by declaring a week of preaching on “Ten Mistakes That

God Has Made.” A sermon on one of God’s mistakes each night of the week and two sermons on the Alpha and Omega Sundays. A large crowd showed up for the meeting, many of the people bringing their own lists of God’s mistakes.

Brother Haskell said the first mistake God made was giving himself too many names. “God” was easy to remember, easy to pronounce, and easy to spell. When God went beyond that, He made a major mistake. Was it Yahweh or Jehovah? No one seemed to know. Those other names, Immanuel, Incarnation,

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Mission to Mexico

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Mission to Mexico j

I

In Chillicothe, the Baptist Church was pastored by old men on their way to the cemetery or young men on their way to the seminary. Bruce McCoy was on his way from Jerry Falwell’s

Liberty College to Southwestern Baptist Seminary with a layover as pastor of Chillicothe.

McCoy was so young he could make it through an entire

Baptist service, including an invitation to join the church accompanied by every stanza of “Just As I Am” repeated twice, without going to the bathroom. He was so new to the ministry he hadn’t learned to hate the sinner and envy the sin. He was so innocent he thought oral sex was a greater sin than corrupting the Supreme Court, even if the sex partner were as eager to be corrupted as the Supreme Court.

When he was eight-years-old, Bruce McCoy was mightily moved by the story of Nathan the prophet branding King

David, “Thou art the man!” From that moment, “the real McCoy” as he liked to be called, fantasized about condemning his parents, teachers, and the principal. Later it became sales clerks, fast-food employers, and those who worked in college admissions offices. By the time he got to Liberty College, Bruce

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The Trouble with Eve

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

The Trouble with Eve j

America was in the third year of a world war. Young Carter was in his first year of confusion over girls. Everything they did was so . . . confusing. When a girl said he had long eyelashes he had rubbed them, not sure whether she meant a loose one was falling into his eye or that he was a sissy. He was sure “You have nice hair,” meant why don’t you wash it sometime and “cutest freckles” meant did all of them survive a washcloth?

When girls looked at him he couldn’t meet their eyes afraid of what his face would show. When they smiled at him he gaped at their lips. Why were their mouths so . . . different?

When they laughed, he fled. He also fled the presence of

Clarissa for fear of what he would do. Fall on the ground and kiss her feet probably.

Clarissa Bowman. Girls had such pretty names. Clarissa.

Bowman. He tasted the words with his mouth. Clarissa Bowman. He was given his mother’s maiden name, Young. Young

Carter. It made him want to cry. Why would anyone name a baby “Young?” It was bad enough being called “kid” when you were fourteen and the country was at war. New teachers called him Carter Young until he corrected them. Men said his name sounded like a law firm or a funeral parlor.

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