Thursday, March 02, 2006

Turning back the odometer

We all know the old trick of the used-car salesman: give the beater a wax-job, turn back the odometer, and sell it as a vintage, “pre-owed” vehicle.

John Loftus is just the latest in a long line of infidels to cash in on his apostasy. How many times have we seen this tired old script play out? Loftus is a poor man’s Spong, while Spong is a poor man’s Robinson.

There was a cottage industry of deconversion stories back in the 19C—Edmund Gosse, Herbert Ryle, Francis Newman, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, George Elliot, J. A. Froude, Samuel Butler, et al.

The players change, but the play remains the same. Same plot, same humanistic heroes and ecclesiastical villains, same moth-eaten, oft-refuted arguments.

The only difference between then and now is that Victorian apostates wrote better prose. If you can’t be original, at least be stylish.

Who needs to read these deconversion stories? We’ve read it all before in Brothers Grimm:

Having been orphaned, Cinderella is carted off to live with her wicked stepmother and black-hearted daughters.

She’s made to attend one of those snake-handling churches where you can’t smoke, dance, drink, or say “Jeepers!”

She’s made to scrub the hardwood floors on her hands and knees and muck out the barn.

She’s made to wear a potato sack and sleep on straw.

Then, when Cinderella reaches puberty and is caught in flagrante delicto rubbing noses on her very first date, the wicked stepmother locks her in a broom-closet.

But there, with flashlight in hand, she reads a copy of “A Free Man’s Worship.”

Verily the scales, they do fall from her eyes.

She stages her escape by splashing her wicked stepmother with a bucket of dirty dishwater, who instantly dissolves into a pool of green goo, lamenting the loss of her beautiful wickedness.

Freed from the shackles of superstition and bigotry, Cinderella blossoms into a princess of philanthropy and free-thought, living happily ever after with her many boyfriends.

5 comments:

  1. Very cute Steve! You can put words and stories together; that I'll grant you.

    But where are the substantive posts you've been promising?

    Am I the guy you love to hate, or what? Thanks!

    Don't you have anything else to write about?

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  2. This is great stuff! I guess Cinderella gets to drink Guinness from the glass slipper as well.

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  4. yes, the flip floppers trouble me.Especially when they go on to immediately become drama queens for their new "faith" of atheism. My q. for them is this: before you were sincere, but sincerely wrong, now you say you are sincere, but sincrely right. what was your motive before? and what is it now? are you sincerely trying to make the world a better place, or are you just pandering to a built in sympathetic crowd for attention? and speaking of improving the world, why do you need to be talking/typing again? why not try quietly and humbly going about feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and doing volunteer charity work.? Maybe bipolar people should stay away from being professors, teachers and preachers and bloggers!

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