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Friday, January 16, 2015

Skeptics: Lighten Up: Good Advice From Christianity

For those who don't know, here are some Oxford Dictionary (online from the people who created the Oxford English Dictionary) definitions of skeptics. A skeptic is a person who is inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions. Skeptics can be philosophers by definition: an ancient or modern philosopher who denies the possibility of knowledge, or even rational belief, in some sphere. Further, a skeptic may be: a person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions; an atheist or agnostic. Synonyms for a skeptic are cynic, doubter, pessimist, and prophet of doom. Phew! Lighten up a bit there skeptics. Life is short.

I was researching skeptics online. I am well aware of the bushel load of good and bad you get from online searches. I have done a lot of research in a lot of fields.  Sure, I know, you're going to doubt that. You're a skeptic. All well and good, just shut it for a bit and listen, okay? I want you all to know that what I found was largely bitter, angry, and condescending content. What I was looking for was humor about skepticism, preferably by skeptics. It was not forthcoming. The closest I came was "they are so skeptical they doubt their own skepticism." Not bad, really, but I had to wade through a lot of bitter swill for that one teensy gem.

I went on to look up skeptical comedians, you know, just to see if there were some. There are, and have been for some time! Good! I hope their material is more generally approachable ... but the references I saw were ... well, no so much really.

Now, I know, that was one brief trip down the skeptic road. I'm sure there are many wonderful skeptic thinkers and philosophers who are more approachable than the folks I found. However, as a mainline Protestant, let me give you some hard won advice. Back in the last quarter of the twentieth century, we mainline religious folk made a serious mistake. When the extremists were in a 30 year uproar over many things, well, we largely remained silent, assuming people would know the difference. It was a mistake. We have all been tarred by the bad behavior of a few (look it up yourselves since you won't be inclined to believe me, I understand). Now, unjustly, all of us faithful are considered to be extremely judgmental, anti-everything, out of date, old fashioned, angry and following a WWJD (what wouldn't Jesus do) agenda. It is not true ... but we are stuck with it until we can work our way out of it.

You're heading down the same road, skeptic buddies. If there are a bunch of moderate skeptics out there who are not all those things I just mentioned, speak up now or suffer the consequences. And if you know some good jokes about yourselves, the kind that laugh good naturedly at yourselves and your ways of thinking, PLEASE get them out there. Show us a little humanity and let us laugh along with you.

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