Trust Your Pilot, Not Your Pastor

According to reader Mary, here’s an abridged version of Pastor Mark Driscoll‘s article “Do You Trust Your Pilot“:

Sit down and shut up. Don’t question me. I do not have to explain myself to you. You can never hope to understand the secrets I possess, you tiny, insignificant person.

She’s not exaggerating.

Mark Driscoll

Driscoll’s talking about how organizations (i.e. churches) sometimes have to make tough decisions, and when that happens, some people (i.e. churchgoers) may start to panic and freak out. He compares the situation to a pilot flying a plane and making a hard turn. Your best best is to just trust the pilot, he says. They know what they’re doing.

Working for an organization, including a church or ministry, is kind of like a plane in flight. The senior leaders are up front getting data from private channels and have a perspective out the windshield that no one else has. Most people on the proverbial plane are going about their lives without considering the competency of the pilots’ leading, until there is a hard turn and they feel it.

Assume that [the pilots] have way more data and training than you. Assume they see stuff out of their window you don’t see out of yours. Assume they did the right thing, even if you are wearing your drink, your luggage came flying out of the overhead bin, and you need to buy new underwear to replace the ones you were wearing. Just maybe the pilots saved your life and spared you from a less disruptive turn that would have ended in a fiery crash you never saw coming.

That’s… wishful thinking at best.

Driscoll’s analogy misses the mark entirely. Pilots have earned that sort of trust. Pastors have not.

First, pilots make tough decisions to save lives. They’re not taking joyrides. If they make a sharp turn, there’s a very good reason for it. (Odds are you’ll know that reason before long, too.) Pastors — not always, but often enough — make tough decisions to benefit themselves, grow their church, and expand their ministry.

Second, pilots do their jobs anonymously. Too many pastors seem to just want their name in the spotlights. Think back to the last flight you took. What was the pilot’s name? Who knows. Granted, pastors are on stage delivering a sermon, not hiding behind a closed door, but many of them are one-person media empires. Anonymity isn’t a choice most of them are making on their own.

Third, pilots have advanced knowledge that the rest of us don’t possess. If your pilot has, say, a sudden heart attack, everyone’s screwed. It’s not like the passengers can just step in and do their jobs. When it comes to dispensing good advice, though, pastors don’t have any more wisdom or common sense than you do. Even if you’re Christian, you don’t need someone else to read the Bible to you or interpret it for you and pastors are no closer to God than you are. Pastors may be excellent performers and speakers, but they’re not smarter, kinder, or better people than you. Joel Osteen, to name just one example, stepped into his father’s shoes after his death and took over the family’s church with no formal training. No doubt that wasn’t easy, but it’s not like a pilot’s son can just walk into the cockpit and start flying around.

Fourth, pastors have a habit of breaking the rules to suit their purposes. You need to look no further than Pulpit Freedom Sunday to see how seriously pastors follow the law. Pilots, in my mind, have a reputation for being professional; those who are not are exceptions, not the norm.

Fifth, pilots are transparent about what they’re doing, at least where it concerns us. They tell you where they’re flying, how long it’s going to take, the route they’re taking, etc. Churches are far from transparent where it matters; many never release their finances and we’re left with nothing but a guess as to what’s really going on behind the scenes.

The point being: Mark Driscoll is no Chesley Sullenberger.

Don’t just accept what a pastor says or does because they said so. Question them. Call them out on it. Stage a mutiny if necessary. Mark Driscoll, like so many other pastors, loves silence and obedience from his followers, but you don’t have to give it to him. Unbuckle that seatbelt and challenge him.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://nadiawilliams.wordpress.com/ Nadia Williams

    Furthermore, if a pilot does take some drastic action during a flight which results in injury or loss of property, as far as I know there is usually an investigation afterwards, and she is held accountable. 

  • Coyotenose

    “Line up quietly, sheep, there’s fleecing to be done!”

  • Ryan Jean

    If pastors are like pilots, then I assume that means pilots receive their professional training exclusively from early 1990′s fighter-jet arcade games and 1960′s airline advertizements leaving them with the illusion of flight knowledge, rather than a rigorous course of instruction that imparts real knowledge.

  • Stephan

    There is one more important difference: the decisions that the pilot makes often do not allow any postponement – do something or fall from the sky. In the situation Driscoll is referring to , timing is less urgent most of the time, and so there is time to justify, reflect, and discuss actions. Not willing to do so “because they know better” is just one more way they want to defend they position.

  • Good and Godless

    Atheists are passing out parachutes in the airplanes of churches.

    • Edmond

      Nah, we’re just opening the front doors, and showing people that they never actually left the ground.

  • ctcss

    Good grief, you’re simply critiquing human frailty and inexperience. But you are correct, people need to take more responsibility for their own spiritual growth God-ward, and not merely depend on another’s supposed spiritual authority or experience.  (If a leader or a teacher has shown remarkable growth and spiritual insight, that’s another thing. But such a call needs to be made by each seeker who desires to learn from someone more experienced and seasoned than they are.)

    Basically, if one is attempting to learn to place more trust in God, it is not very wise to substitute trust in a human being in it’s place. Spiritual growth on a person’s part (at least as I understand it)  requires spiritual insight, perception, humility, experience, persistence, effort, etc. It is not an easy or a simple effort to make and everyone seeking such growth needs to be willing to apply themselves fully to such an effort. Attempting to ride on another’s coat-tails will not do the trick IMO.

    • http://nadiawilliams.wordpress.com/ Nadia Williams

      I don’t think it’s human frailty so much as the arrogance of this specific pastor that is being critiqued.

    • Coyotenose

       He’s criticizing the argument by Driscoll that could be summed up as “People in authority in your church are right because they’re authorities and smart, so be quiet and don’t question.”

      In the context of ongoing church-related issues, this can easily be taken as a demand that churchgoers not ask if their money is being spent well, that they not discuss political pronouncements made by their churches, and that they keep quiet about scandals and just assume that they’re being handled. It’s nothing but an attempt to reinforcement authoritarianism.

      • Coyotenose

         *to reinforce

      • The Other Weirdo

         Technically, though, Mark may not be all that wrong about that. Christians are required to submit to the governing authority. I suppose you could define governing authority in many ways, and if his sheeple accept him as a GA of sorts, then they are obligated to submit to him because he was put in place by God. It’s a pretty convenient verse. It’s all nonsense, of course, but for those who believe, they can get tripped up by it.

    • Stev84

      Driscoll is being criticized because his “church” is the textbook definition of a cult. In the sense that he employs a lot mind control techniques on his sheeple:

      http://www.cultwatch.com/mctb.html
      http://www.spiritwatch.org/mincon10.htm

    • Glasofruix

      I don’t know why, but whenever i see “spiritual” and “growth” in the same phrase i don’t read the rest, because 99% of the time it’s garbage?

    • Baby_Raptor

      Not so much this man’s flaws, I think, but his attitude about his job in general. 

  • erik

    In what way is holding the lives of dozens of people in your hands the same as making up nonsensical reasons to take a mythological story seriously? Does this guy have any clue how incredibly arrogant he sounds comparing his job to that of a pilot?

    • Stev84

      Lol. It’s Mark Driscoll. Arrogant may as well be his middle name. First and foremost he is a narcissist

    • Jenprohaska

      Exactly what I was thinking.  If something goes wrong at your church, you can stop going, work it out with others, or demand the pastor be fired/ investigated.  If something goes wrong with your flight, you don’t have so many options.  That pilot literally holds your life in his/her hands.  Pastors don’t hold congregants lives in their hands.  They don’t even do it metaphorically in a spiritual sense or any of that BS.

      • Jenprohaska

        *congregants’

      • Stev84

        In Driscoll’s “church” if you question anyone in authority, you’ll be the one who is shamed, bullied, kicked out and socially ostracized. They will even order any of your friends to break off contact with you (just like JW do).

  • Stoodrv

    Religious pilots also fly planes into buildings. Analogies can be made to say anything.

    • Baby_Raptor

      No, terrorists become pilots and then fly planes into buildings. Pilots who happen to have a religion don’t just randomly say “Hey, that building looks weak. I wonder if the explosion would be cool.” and ram their plane into it.

      Try to be a tad more careful with your wording next time, assuming you aren’t just setting up strawmen. 

      • Sindigo

        I’m sure OP knew exactly what he was doing in using that wording which, it has to be said, is accurate. He said “religious pilots”, not “all religious pilots”.

      • IndyFitz

        Oh, please, Baby_Raptor.  Terrorists who become pilots are still pilots.  Nice excuse to scream “Strawman!”, though.  YOU should be a LOT more careful with ALL your wording next time.

        • Baby_Raptor

          You see that dent in the wall over there? That was the point going over your head.

          Terrorists don’t become pilots to be pilots. They become pilots to pull off their attacks. The post I replied to made the implication that any religion pilot could just randomly decide to ram their plane into a building for any reason, and as such the article was wrong. 

          I don’t need to be more careful with my wording. You need to learn to think.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I recall pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in an interview after his famous life-saving landing (Miracle on the Hudson). The interviewer asked him if he was praying during the landing and he politely answered that no, he was busy landing the plane. 

    • Octoberfurst

       I saw that interview and the interviewer was shocked when he said he didn”t pray.  “Really??? You DIDN’T pray??” as if that would be the first thing one should do in an emergency.

    • Miss_Beara

      If he would have prayed instead of landing the plane, it would have been Tragedy on the Hudson. 

      I remember seeing a photoshopped photo of god’s hands holding the plane in the water. That is a big FU to the awesome pilot who actually landed the plane into the river. 

      • Lulz

        I wonder how much of that credit should really go to the engineers who designed Sully’s Airbus.

        • Deven Kale

           I would say it was a joint effort by the designers, builders, and pilot. They all deserve some credit for it, since it would’ve been a real tragedy had any of them screwed up.

    • Russian Alex

      I don’t know about airlines and all, but in general aviation, the standard procedure for emergency landings is ABCDE: set Airspeed, select Best field for landing, check Cockpit, Declare emergency, and prepare for Exit. I don’t see “Pray to gawd” on that list.

  • CultOfReason

    So, his entire analogy is based on a big, fat Argument from Authority.  … Move along folks, nothing to see here.

    • Patterrssonn

      You really need to get some sleep.

      • CultOfReason

        Going on my fifth day of no power thanks to Sandy.  Sleep is about the only thing this refugee from modern conveniences can do.

        • Sharon Hypatiia

           CultOfReason, I have to ask.Where are you getting the power for your computer to post on the internet?

          • Patterrssonn

            Could be using a phone, I do when I don’t have enough juice for the computer.

          • CultOfReason

            Posting from my phone right now.  Also, my neighbor has a generator and has let me run an extension cord to it for my refrigerator as well as charging needs. 

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          How awful. I hope you’re okay and you’re getting the things you need. How are you able to send these comments?

          • CultOfReason

            Posting from my phone.  The worst part is that the temperatures are predicted to drop into the 30′s tonight.  Planning on taking the family to relatives.  The house is getting too cold.

        • Patterrssonn

          I sort of know what your talking about. I’m off grid with a rudimentary system and do without a few of the mod cons. At least we have running water most of the time these days and no longer have to go out to the rainbarrell with a bucket in order to wash.

          This winter we might even get a fridge.

          • CultOfReason

            Several lessons learned from this ordeal.  I have a rudimentary survivalist shopping list for when things settle down, not the least of which is a portable generator.  Won’t be caught empty handed next time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597605006 Mary Driftwood

    This podcast (only ~23 minutes long), though it also comes from a  Christian perspective, breaks down all the things that are wrong with Driscoll’s post in a really clear way. As the podcaster puts it, this is how you run a cult, not a church. http://pilgrimagetogeneva.com/2012/10/29/is-mark-driscoll-grooming-mars-hill-to-become-a-cult/

  • Aviatress

    As a pilot, I find Driscoll’s analogy way off base in so many ways. And insulting – but I find Mark Driscoll insulting (or disgusting) anyway. So he wants to be pilot-in-command with sole responsibility for the outcome of the flight? I don’t think so. No way he’s going to take on that role – the “flight” doesn’t end well and his first response will be to blame the passengers or flight crew or controller or a misinterpretation of the FAR’s. Anyone but the guy who wanted all the up side and none of the down side. It doesn’t work that way. The flight ends badly, it’s the pilot’s responsibility. And someone who steps into the cockpit without proper training and certification is not only a fraud but criminally negligent. As was pointed out, when a flight goes awry there’s an investigation and if the pilot screwed up there are consequences. Not so for Mr. Driscoll. I recommend parachutes for all his congregants, and leaving the aircraft as quickly as possible.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

      From one female pilot (bush flying in an Aviat Husky and a commercial helicopter pilot) I salute you!

      Whirly Girls and 99s all the way!!!

      AND FUCK DRISCOLL IS HIS STUBBLY CHIN FAT FLAPS.

      • eonL5

        Ooh. Aviat Husky! Nice plane!

        • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

          And I have the skis, tundra tires and amphibs (Wipline 21s) to go with it! This thing gets into ANYWHERE!!!

          Truly the most responsive and best bush aircraft I have ever flown. I can get it up and out of the water in 350 feet!

          • Antinomian

            Color me green..

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              With motion-sickness, or envy?

    • http://twitter.com/Freemage69 Freemage

       This is rather off-topic of me, but I think you and Cecelia might find it interesting, at least:

      I work in a ‘media company’.  Deep in our archives, we’ve got a bunch of glass-plate negatives that have been in deep-storage for nearly a century.  I recently had to catalog them for possible digitization.

      As you might expect for a collection of photos from around 1916 to about 1936, women are almost invisible outside of their accepted roles: Debutantes (always “Miss Deborah Weingarten”, often with further notes of, “Daughter of Tom Weingarten”), Society Wives (always “Mrs. Tom Weingarten”), Crime Victims (including named rape victims) or Criminals (the latter typically are accomplices of male mobsters, or more rarely being charged with fraud of some sort), Nurses (typically in a photo with a male doctor or patient who is the actual focus of the shot), Beauty Queens, co-eds (largely portrayed as older debutantes passing time before getting married and becoming Society Wives) and Divorcees (usually presented with the sort of schadenfreude and disapproval that we now associate with TMZ–the more things change…).

      And in the midst of all this, we have one glorious, shining exception–women aviators, who are, by and large, presented as full equals to their male peers.  It’s as if the men writing the captions were so flummoxed by the notion of a woman that far outside their assigned role (as someone defined by their relationship to a man) that they forgot they were talking about women at all, and just treated them as PEOPLE, full-stop.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Well, actually, he may be on to something. Both pilots and pastors have a habit of rattling off irrelevant information.

    Pilot: “Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Flight 123 to MiddleOfNowhere. We are now cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet.”

    Pastor: “Hello, ladies and gentlemen. The collection plate has been passed around, so be generous or I will make your friends mock you mercilessly and God may cause you to give up the ghost.”

  • OverlappingMagisteria

     In his pilot analogy he gives 5 options on how to react when the plane makes a sudden jolting turn: Jump out, Storm the cabin, Complain afterward, and of course Trust the pilots and do nothing.

    But he leaves the obvious option that everyone does whenever there is a bump in a flight: Get more information from the pilot about what happened. Every time I’ve been in a bumpy flight, the pilot always comes on the intercom telling us what happened and why. And if he doesn’t you can always ask a flight attendant.

    Driscoll’s expectation is to sit and shut up. The pilot owes no explanations or reassurances.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Buchholz/1203282337 Christopher Buchholz

    It is the same in the military, there is a time to question and a time to NOT question but follow orders. The second is when lives are on the line, the time to question is all the rest of the time.

    Even the military does not demand such blind following of leaders as Driscoll wants.

    • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

      Actually, even when lives are on the line, sometimes questions need asking. Fortunately, US officer training means those holding authority mostly do not need to be asked “SIR, wouldn’t that be a violation of the international law of war, SIR?” all that often.

      • Gest

        That’s because the orders that violate international law come from the President himself.

  • jose

    Pilots deliver. They can fly a plane from across the ocean, get it back down to the ground safely, and then say “told you”. Which is awesome if you think about it.

    Pastors don’t deliver. All they do has to do with invisible entities with no effects whatever in this world: Soul, sin, final judgment, salvation, heaven, hell. Show me you can save a soul from sin and send it to heaven and then we’ll talk.

    • Russian Alex

      Organized religion is the biggest and most successful con ever: promise imaginary benefits, collect cash, demand that benefits will materialize as soon as you collect more cash. Repeat.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Hmm…I guess if I was about to board a plane, but then noticed that the wings were made of tin foil and duct tape, I’d probably start questioning.

    • Sindigo

      Or of course, if they only existed as a product of someone else’s imagination.

  • mikespeir

    That’s the face of a man so thoroughly deluded as to be incorrigible.

    • Antinomian

      The only things missing are some dark glasses, a compound in Guyanna and a case of Flavor-Aide.

  • C Peterson

    The thing is, I don’t have to trust the pilot (except in the most superficial way). I can pick up some books, and maybe use a flight simulator, and have as much knowledge as that pilot. I can fully understand each action he takes, how and why he does it. Put ten pilots together, propose a scenario, and the odds are you’re going to get pretty similar responses.

    Doesn’t work for pastors, though. The reason that trust is the only option is because if I study what he has studied, all I’m going to see is a load of bullshit. My world is going to look different than his, and a bunch of pastors are all going to see things differently, too. So if I’m going to follow that pastor, my only option is to shut off my brain and depend on blind trust. What the religious like to call “faith”, but which I see as the hallmark of the credulous and dim-witted.

  • Gus Snarp

    I trust the pilot to fly the plane, but if he comes back into the passenger compartment and says, “We’re low on fuel, so to make it to our final destination we’re going to have to lose some weight. We’re going to open the back door of the plane and the passengers in the rear half will file quietly to the back of the plane and jump out,” then you had better believe I’m going to start questioning him. Like: “is it possible to dump the luggage instead? Can we land somewhere else? If it’s really the only way to save the rest of the passengers, then shouldn’t we draw straws or something, since your plan means no one from first class is sacrificed? How about all the children stay on board with one of their parents?” A lot of the things Driscoll is questioned about include the shunning of church members because of their actions. If someone just has to believe in God and follow a church leader, it doesn’t mean you have to follow them to the extent of cutting your friends out of your life. That’s cult behavior. Listen to the pilot when he tells you he needs to fly the plane, not when he tells you some people are going to get kicked out at 30,000 feet. Listen to your pastor (if you must) when he tells you Jesus loves you, not when he tells you to kick your friend out.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    Flying a plane isn’t as easy as depicted in the movies… http://youtu.be/giixQm2A9Xw

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s funny, we often think people second guess leadership decisions too much, but at the same time one of our deep flaws, and one that skepticism should help us to be on guard against, is the tendency to assume a level of organizational competence that rarely exists. We tend to think that someone in charge must be doing the right thing about whatever problem there is.

    Conspiracy theorists trade on this assumption of competence all the time: how could NASA really have lost the tapes of Armstrong stepping on the moon. How could the 9-11 hijackers really have been missed and allowed to do what they did. These things happen because people screw up. 

    They screw up for all kinds of reasons. Because there’s not a strong institutional framework preventing mistakes. Because they’re overtired. Because they just make a mistake an no one catches it. Because they’re blinded by their ideology or other factors. Because no one with the right expertise is in the right place to make the decision, so someone steps out of their narrow expertise and gets it wrong.

    A pastor’s narrow range of expertise is in manipulating people and in understanding at least one interpretation of the Bible. It is not necessarily in effectively managing an organization. When we see a potential problem we should be ready and willing to question authority, rather than assuming competence, and that applies to all sorts of organizations and institutions, not just churches. But we should also defer to experts when we’re out of our depth, thus I will trust that Mark Driscoll knows how to manipulate people better than I do, and would let him do the manipulating, except that I think that’s a skill that shouldn’t be exercised. Similarly, when it comes to flying the plane, I trust the pilot, but once we’re on the desert island he’s going to have to demonstrate his survival skills, because I have some and I’m not going to blindly follow someone who thinks finding food is more important than finding fresh water just because he has some expertise or authority in another field.

    • Guest

      My favorite example of leadership failure is the Challenger Disaster: The leaders didn’t have the engineering knowledge necessary to know that Challenger shouldn’t have been launched. However, they did hear from engineers who did have that knowledge. But the managers were too arrogant to listen, and launched anyway to meet a deadline.

  • C Peterson

    Thinking about this some more, I realize that I really don’t trust my pilot. How can I? I don’t even know him. What I trust is that he is competent to safely fly the plane. Why do I hold that trust? Because there is a strong system in place, which is accountable to society, to ensure that pilots are well trained. A system which has been empirically demonstrated to work.

    But pastors? What system exists to make sure they are competent? None… we don’t even have a definition of “competency” when it comes to pastors. That’s why we have a presidential candidate who pushes magic underwear, pastors in Utah raping underage “wives”, pastors in Texas kidnapping their congregation and allowing them to burn to death, pastors feeding their flock poisoned Kool-Aid, pastors telling you that you are a sinner if your children receive medical care, pastors telling you you are a sinner if you don’t. No rational person can maintain trust in such an environment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

      I think this is the direction of the fundamental difference.

      Pilots have authority, but trust in the authority is based on some manner of analytic validation from evidence, rather than the authority being taken axiomatically without justification as inference from (non-cyclical) priors. It may be prejudice from my computer science background, but I suspect this might be possible to formalize, with an exploration of the mathematics of proof-of-knowledge systems.

      Of course, to be rigorous, there’s still some axiomatic “authority” being taken for pilot -trust. EG, that planes not crashing is better than planes crashing, which may effectively taken by social consensus if no more basic is-ought bridge is being demanded for the ordering of choices; absolute authority of evidence — though not of interpretations of evidence; and the relatively arbitrary authority of the communicating language’s definition. This seems quantitatively different than taking the word of a dude with a funny hat waving a book, though perhaps not quite qualitatively.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.rennie.56 Rob Rennie

    Pointing out the faults of some Pastors doesn’t prove that Jesus is not the son of God. It just shows that you prefer to accuse and defame people instead of seeking out the truth. 

    • michael both

      There’s no need to prove that Jesus is not the son of God, there’s simply no evidence to suggest that he was – if he truly was a real person, and existed in the first place.

    • IndyFitz

      I’m curious as to why you think the purpose of this was to prove that Jesus is not the son of God.  “Jesus” and “God” are fictitious constructs, so there is no reason to try to prove anything.  I think the purpose was to show what a moron Driscoll is, and to have a collective laugh (and shudder) at the ridiculous way he uses this fake logic to convince his sheep to not ask questions and blindly trust in their leaders.

      I’m wondering whether you honestly missed that point and jumped to your conclusions, or if you’re trying to convince everyone that that was the point so you could complain.  (Hint for those playing at home: Probably the latter.)

      I’d also like to know what you think the accusations are and what the defamation is.  You know, besides that someone has merely pointed out that Driscoll looks like an idiot, and torn apart his weak and deceptive analogy, and you’re unhappy about all that.

      • Gus Snarp

        “I’m curious as to why you think….”

        See, there’s your problem, you assumed he was thinking.

    • Patterrssonn

      You’re right, crappy pastors have nothing to do with whether or not a hypothetical person is or isn’t the “son” of a nonexistent magical creature. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      This is an ongoing blog. It’s not like we’ve got one shot at proving Christianity wrong and we blow it all by mocking a pastor.
      Do you read the posts about new atheist or secular groups starting up in different states and say “Well, that didn’t convince me!”
      Reading comprehension – you need some. Think about who the audience is, what the author is trying to say, what the argument is, what the context is, etc. and then see if your response makes any sense.
      “I had a great time at church the other day.” “Well your statement didn’t convince me there was a god!!!”

    • Michaelbrice

      Another ‘drive by’ post from a fundie?

      • Michaelbrice

        And WTF?  How is this discussion about Jesus’ family tree?

    • Sven2547

      Rob Rennie seems to think that every atheist blog posting, regardless of topic, is an attempt to prove that Jesus is not the son of “God”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

    I am a pilot. I fly both fixed wing and helicopters. We do not pray while flying the aircraft. In fact, we go through dozens of check-lists, safety redundancies, procedures and then simply FLY THE FUCKING AIRCRAFT.

    This Driscoll douchebag wants, nay DARES, to compare his idiocy and myth-based preaching with our profession? How dare he?! 

    I trained my ass off and have deep affection for aviators; Beryl Markham, Amelia, Saint-Exupery, Bloriot, et al…..and for Driscoll to even dare breath his awfulness in the same sentence as aviators and pilots….well Driscoll, go crawl under a medieval rock.

  • grindstone

    Dear Driscoll followers,
    By the time he asks you to secure a five-dollar bill and three quarters, black shirts and sweat pants and new Nike shoes, it just miiiiiiiiiight be too late.

  • wesvvv

    This really explains the lead up to the Iraq war. Everyone assumed that the Bush administration had some information they just didn’t want to share. People cannot get used to assuming that about their leadership. It’s dangerous to democracy. 

  • Kengi

    It’s a straw man argument. We actually don’t give total blind trust to pilots, which is why most commercial aircraft are equipped with data and audio recorders monitoring every move the pilots make while in the cockpit. Those recordings get analyzed in extreme detail every time something like a violet, unexpected turn occurs when the pilot is called upon to justify such actions.

    If the pastor is willing to have the same sorts of recording and analysis by others in such minute detail, then we can start making a comparison. Until the pastor wires up his cockpit with such black boxes, he’s just telling you to sit down and shut up while he flies loops and barrel rolls for his own enjoyment.

    • Kengi

      Sorry, meant false equivalence. Need coffee…

      • Sharon Hypatiia

         Hmm, accountability and oversight.
        Like filing taxes on church income JUST to make the information public and transparent. Wonder if Driscoll would opt for that?

    • Gest

      Pilots don’t get investigated just for making a bloody turn. When they fly into the side of a mountain they didn’t even know was there, then they get investigated. 

  • Patterrssonn

    I can see the pastor/pilot analogy except the plane never leaves the ground, the pilot just makes engine noises, the food is terrible and so’s the in-flight entertainment, and the plane doesn’t go anywhere, the people just embark and disembark in the same place and pretend they’re somewhere else.

    Oh and it’s not actually a plane.

    With those caveats he’s right on the money.

  • Darren

    Welcome to Jim Jones Airlines. Your flight attendant will be coming around with the drink cart shortly…

  • TheG

    I would be much more comfortable with this analogy if Driscoll wasn’t the type of fundamentalist who doesn’t trust a teacher or a scientist or obstetrician to just “do their job”.

  • grindstone

    OH MY GAWD, I’ve got it.  He’s setting them up for the most elaborate Poe of All Time.  The sudden change he’s hinting out will be his reveal:  it’s all a big lie folks!

  • smrnda

    If I want medical advice, I go to the doctor since she’s been to medical school. The knowledge she has is out there and I can look a lot of it up on my own. If I second-guess her judgment, we have a conversation and she has taken my opinions into account.

    If my toilet is leaking, I call a plumber. Whoever it is, I know that to be a plumber you have to take classes, complete lots of on the job training, and get a certificate. There is a reason why I trust this person.

    Pilots receive lots of training, and their performance is monitored. If a pilot made some bad calls, I’m sure there’s repercussions.

    But pastors, come on. What are they experts on? Telling people what god wants them to do. Why doesn’t god just do this if god exists? Provide every person with their own burning bush experience.  Pastors want you to trust them the way scam artists want you to trust them.

    • Russian Alex

       > Provide every person with their own burning bush experience.

      That’s distribution of a controlled substance. Pretty sure it’s illegal in most places.

  • viaten

    Pilots at least have the same interest as the passengers in seeing the plane land safely as does the airline industry to stay in business.  There isn’t any need to have trust in a pilot as if he could do something while flying that would harm his passengers.  I have to put my trust more in that the pilot has been well trained, and not drunk or overworked by the airline.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Why do Driscoll’s portraits always look like mug shots?

    Whenever someone, even someone I trust, says or even hints that I should trust him without question, that’s the end of my trust. That’s when I pick up my stuff and get the hell out of there as quickly and as quietly as I can. No goodbyes, no defiant speeches on the way out, just get out of the range of his tentacles. Later, he’ll find a note telling him I had to go take care of my great aunt on her farm in remote eastern Serbia, and I won’t be coming back.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      It seems to appeal to his hipster crowd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    You missed one off:

    Pilots pay taxes. Pastors and Priests dont.

  • Jesusdoppelganger

    The operative word in all of this is ‘data’. The pilot is working with data derived from instruments whose behaviors and characteristics are describable by reference to the real world. Pastors may well have specialized knowledge in their field; but given that it is rooted in faith, it is arbitrary and unhelpful.

    The analogy being drawn between here is rubbish – an insult to my AMEL/IFR ticket, too.


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