Saturday, September 5, 2009

Not Your Usual Christian

Let me preface this article with the following disclaimer: No! The Humpster has not turned soft; isn’t in the throes of religious conversion; and is still the cantankerous anti-theist that has endeared him to you over the past two years. I promise that will never change.

But every now and then I meet a Christian, or read his works, and find myself surprisingly charmed and disarmed by their intellect and honesty. In my book I praised the Reverend Barry Lynn, an ordained minister, a believer, and the Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a staunch defender of the 1st amendment's establishment clause, as our Founding Fathers envisioned it. He’s my hero.

Joyce, one of our very few Christian visitors and commenters here and her husband Jeff, have become good internet friends with whom I can banter and challenge without it lapsing into a flame war or pointless proselytizing... by either of us. Just two examples of many believers who have my respect.

That said, I want to introduce Jason Boyett. Jason is a prolific author and a blogger of some fame. He has appeared on The History Channel and National Geographic Channel; and is a Christian who is so far removed from the caricature that we the thinking godless typically paint of Christians that he defies my ability to label him. I hate that!

Jason saw my Eternal Earth-Bound Pets site and asked to interview me for his blog. I was delighted and not a little surprised to find that he didn’t pass judgment on my perspectives, didn’t proselytize, didn’t censor or curtail my rhetoric. In fact, if anything, he made me sound more coherent than I am in real life. Then, as if that wasn’t surprising enough, his blog readership’s comments were as respectful of me and appreciative of my points as Jason was in his professionalism. Pretty refreshing.

Jason and I have exchanged books (he sent me three of his). I read the first one in a few hours. While I learned a lot, I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what the heck kind of Christian Jason is. He is irreverent, damn funny, and challenges Christian doctrine -- even questioning the bible and his own degree of faith. What’s up with that?!

With this as ground work I now encourage my readers to click on this link and read the two part interview I did with Jason.
Please scroll down to August 25th for Part 1, then up to August 26th for Part 2.
Don’t forget to check out the reader comments.

And if you want to get a whole new perspective on what a thinking Christian is all about, check out Jason’s Pocket Guides . They are as entertaining as they are educational and as far removed from anything you’ve ever read on religion/Christianity.

While I’ll never respect “beliefs” of any kind, I have a profound respect for this kind of believer, and a new Christian friend in Jason. I will return to being my usual “ornery-anti-fundie-take no prisoners-foul tempered-spitting camel” self by my next blog posting. Promise.


fliptop said...

The way you describe Jason and his readers, he sounds like about 95% of the Christians I know. The ones who are never in the media. The non-wackoes. I.e., the vast majority of Christian folk who have brains and use them. Not the straw men who seem to be target of so much invective....

NewEnglandBob said...

Straw men, fliptop? Like Falwell and Bush and Limbaugh? James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Ted Haggard? The 40% of Americans who think the universe is 6000 years old? All those straw men? Come back to reality.

Rachelle said...

"Intelligent" doesn't mean "reasonable." LOL!

Rachelle said...

Republican and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is very smart and a savvy businessman...but he's also a Mormon. Probably has magic undies too. LOL! Like I said: "Intelligent" does not mean "reasonable." No one is saying all Christians or religious people in general are dumb...just as no one is saying that all non-believers are intelligent. LOL!

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob's roll call is only the tip of the iceberg.

Then there are the Christian Zionist fanatici, those in power who invoke "God" to cause war.

Those who rally by the thosands to stand in the way of peoples right to marry, because a book of myths told em it pisses their mythical god off.

Those who promote creation museums to confuse and misinform.

Those who beieve creationism and ID should be taught in the schools as alternative science.

Those who want this to be a Christian nation.

The Fred Phelps.

Those who see condoms as encouraging AIDS, who see birth control as an evil as third world peoples starve.

The school boards and town governments and senators who seek to promote religiosity in government, schools and on public property...THEIR religiosity.

The list is legion.

No, they may not represent all Christians, but there is no denying the negative influence of this vocal and visable blight on humanity.

And I've been to ALOT of Xtian blogs and message groups, and read letters to the editors from fanatics almost weekly ... Jason's is NOTHING lke them. I've been kicked out of those groups for explaining evolutionary theory; for proffering the evidence for an ancient universe; for questioning the inconsistencie of the Bible.

If Jason repesents 95% of xtians you know, youre a luck man...or in denial.

Jason Boyett said...

Bart: Thanks for the very kind comments about me and my writing, as well as for the compliment toward my blog community. I appreciate your advocacy of my books (I happen to agree with you that they're very atheist-friendly) and hope your community here will look into them.

As for fliptop's comment, I'll say this. Yes, there are many, many more Christians like me -- believers who aren't afraid to ask questions, who try to deal with nonbelievers with the same grace we hope you'll show us, and who think Limbaugh and Dobson are Robertson are embarrassing. There are more of us than you would expect.

But 95% is too high. Maybe 50%, I guess. Give or take a few. You just don't see us very often because we're the quiet ones. We figure there are more important things to do than picket, flame, or argue...

Intelligently and unreasonably yours,

Rachelle said...

LOL! Well said Jason. :)

Dromedary Hump said...


I stand with you on that.


fliptop said...

OK. Do you mind if I clarify?
What I said was that Jason sounds like 95% of the Christians I know.
Not 95% of the Christians he knows.
95% of the Christians I know. I am, as you aver, apparently a lucky man. And I am sure that I am not alone.

Meanwhile, of course there are lots of idiot Christians, and a disproportionate number of them find a large media following. But they tend to get lifted up as foils for arguments, rather than their specific statements being cited, etc. That's all I'm saying. Not that they don't exist. And Bart it's unfortunate that some folks have kicked you out of their blogs. Not having read any of those posts, I will assume that they have all been reasonable and courteous, with nothing like 'you're an idiot for believing that' or that kind of thing? Not being sarcastic here; just expressing that if a nasty tone or name-calling were used (that's an IF statement, not an accusation), the moderator could have tossed you for the tone, not the content. And yet I'm sure that many would have tossed you for content, too. Alas.

Dromedary Hump said...


zarton said...

Hey Hump,
Sounds like a pretty good dude. Perhaps his heart is in the right place, but perhaps his head is not. DISCLAIMER: I do realize that his heart is most likely in his chest cavity, and his head sits on top of his neck. (It's just a figure of speech)
What I wanted to ask was about your statement that you said you would never respect "beliefs" of any kind. I can understand that completely, but I wanted to clarify something.
I "believe" that my favorite football team (the Indianapolis Colts) will win 10 games this season. I also "believe" my parents love me, my girlfriend isn't cheating on me and a plethora of other things, such as I "believe" I am typing this letter on my computer right now.
I do not have "blind faith" about ANY of those statements, as I would change my "beliefs" based upon conflicting and better data.
Do you not have any respect for those "beliefs"? (or similar ones) Or are you speaking of the supernatural ones? Again, I am fine with whatever your response may be, I just found that statement curious.
Looking forward to your response (as well as NewEnglandBob, hoping he is a fan of the EVIL New England Patriots... just kidding Bob)
Your newbie,

NewEnglandBob said...

Well, you got MY attention, Zarton.

I believe the New England Patriots will go 19-0 this year.

(just kidding, I don't believe that).

The word belief is a strange word. From Merriam Webster:

1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.
2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group.
3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

Notice difference in the two phrases in bold. Very different meaning.

zarton said...

I am glad I got your attention. (Let the games begin) You are my favorite atheist New England Patriots fan. (and the only one, so don't feel special)
I liked what you said about faith, but I am still not sure what your position is about respect for faith. (just so you know, I have not made my own mind up about the subject)
Hopefully I can make fun of you when my Colts beat your patriots. (I plan too) If not I would hope you have enough decency to remain silent if your team beats mine. (just kidding... give it to me)

NewEnglandBob said...

The only way I can respect faith is when someone keeps it private.

Anyone and everyone is free to believe or disbelieve anything they choose. I am for freedom.

What I can not respect is anyone who goes around proselytizing. I do not even limit that to religion. Sales pitches that get into one's face are annoying, whether they are for a razor or a diety.

The one area that where I have the least respect is when people try to force their religious standards onto others.

How one lives one's life is no one else's business. Who marries whom or who has sex with whom is private and interference is intolerable. The same goes for who is straight or gay and who has friends of any color or religion.

What someone eats and when, how and what clothes someone wears or doesn't wear, what vehicle is used on what day or time, what one discusses/arranges with one's doctor - these are other areas that needs to be hands-off and interference deserves no respect.

I also think government must be secular and kept completely separate from any religious beliefs.

zarton said...

How sad,
I so wanted to disagree with you, but you have left me with nothing to bitch about. Come on Bob, play fair and say something stupid. I don't want to like you, but if you keep saying things that make total sense, you are going to wind up having an admirer.
Next you are going to say things like you believe in our constitution, or that our country was set up as a secular government. Seriously, can a Patriots fan really be a good person? (again, just playing) Thanks for the response man.


Dromedary Hump said...

Zarton said:
I "believe" that my favorite football team (the Indianapolis Colts) will win 10 games this season. I also "believe" my parents love me, my girlfriend isn't cheating on me and a plethora of other things, such as I "believe" I am typing this letter on my computer right now.

Zar, if i may: No... you don't "believe" those things.
You have come to those "conclusions" based on the natural and logical.
You have a basis to "accept" the possibility your Colts will win ten games. You base it on historical activity; knowledge of their recent acquistions; strengths; game schedule, etc.

You have a "strong conviction" that your girlfriend is not cheating because you have known her for X years, have observed her personaity; established a bond that enables you to trust her integrity andhonesty; and made logical assumptions about her behavior based on those repeated observations.

You don't "believe" the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, you have repeated observations and a basic knowledge of cosmology which provides overwhelming "evidence" that the sun will rise , yet again, in the east.

I don't believe Evolutionary Theory, I hold a "strong favorable position " supported by overwhelming scientific evidence that it has a high degree of probability of truth.

i could go on, but I think my point is made and It's not about semantics or mincing words:
To hold a Belief, infers "trust" in an assertion with out evidence, without substantiation, or unsupported by natural law, or untestable by the scientific method. I place no trust in beliefs, thus I have no respect for beliefs.


Ps: I see you haven't read my book ;)

Dromedary Hump said...

PPS: Just for the casual conversation I use the word belief. I'm not anal about using it in the vernacular :)

Its best, however, in formal conversation/debate to avoid it as belief connotes acceptence without evidence.

zarton said...

Hey Hump,
I think we agree 100%, I was just a little unsure as to how you defined belief. I just wanted to make sure, because I use the word "belief" all the time without "truly" believing in the biblical sense. Again, I am a newbie on this blog and I am trying to learn the ropes.
Thanks again,

zarton said...

Just wanted to say thanks for this format. This is the first and only blog I have ever commented on more than once, or even felt welcome on. Thanks for the format for me to voice my opinion and feel comfortable and even appreciated.
Still a newbie,

Dromedary Hump said...

So glad you like it here, thanks for that compliment.
My blog is your blog.


Dromedary Hump said...

Hey everyone... I will be interviewed on "The Infidel Guys" webcast live this thursday sept 17 at 8:00pm eastern time.

Discussion the eternal earth-bound pets post rapture pet rescute site, and my book.

If any of you are interested in listening in, and have any idea how to access this live webcast stuff, here's the link to the site:

Bart / Hump

Dromedary Hump said...


Jason Boyett, my Christian blogger / writer friend has posted a request for some input from atheists and agnostics.

He would appreciate our [dignified] and introspective feedback on his blog posting of Sept 16. Please visit his site and share your thoughts.


Joyce said...


Thank you for the nice words about me and Jeff. You know that we feel the same way.

Jason, nice to meet you. Like your stuff!

Dromedary Hump said...

Hope you are feeling better. Thanks for the return nice words.

You should buy one or two of Jason's books, they are right down your ally.