Editor’s Note: Instead of following the assignment to write a sermon for a secular audience, this former evangelical pastor crafted the final sermon he would have given to his evangelical congregation – if he’d had the nerve! As you read, try to imagine the reaction of the people in the pews to this taking down of all that is sacred.
By Reverend Mason Lane
Today my dear congregation, I am moved by the Spirit of Reason, and the Laws of Reality to call upon you to repent from the many sins and consequences of irrational belief. Yes, I have been a co-dependent with you in this futile drama, but I have seen the light,
and this illumination will guide us far from the darkened path we’ve sincerely but erroneously trodden.
I’m going to present five lies we have all been struggling with to somehow make magically true. Five lies to be delivered from. Five tormenting and burning lies, among many others, that this illumination now exposes:
- Everything happens for a reason.
That’s Pollyanna thinking at its most absurd. We keep trying to convince ourselves there is a supernatural Wizard puppet-master God behind the curtain. But our doubts, questions and curiosities must become our masters and bastions of truth. The Wizard is just a mythical untruth. Things happen because of the laws of science and nature and the actions of living creatures. There is no Divine God, no Wizard. Tear down the curtain! Dare to take an honest look.
- All things work together for good.
Not at all! Things quite frequently do not work together for good, far more often than most of us would care to admit. We’ve all experienced tragedies that were nothing but pure tragedy. And the violence some humans commit upon other innocent humans every day has no inherent working together for good. Just ask any rape counselor, homicide detective, or emergency room nurse. There is no divinity watching over sparrows or us. There is no grand scheme. It’s up to us to make lemonade out of lemons, whenever it’s possible.
- God sees every sparrow that falls and cares for us so much more.
Let’s be honest. No truer platitude has ever been scribed than, “God helps those who help themselves.” God doesn’t give a diddlysquat because God is a myth we bought into. All we have in this life is our family, our friends, and ourselves. Let’s be honest. Let’s make the most of what we actually do have.
- We were born with a divine destiny and purpose.
Poppycock! Each of us was born with the spinning of our own particular DNA. And you, your environment, your upbringing, education, and the events in your life will determine your destiny and purpose.
- If you ask in prayer believing, you’ll get what you desire.
Now there’s the whopper! Deep down, everyone here knows this is an ancient cruel and superstitious lie – nothing more than a dusty Middle Eastern prevarication. How many times have you and I prayed together believing for that loved one with cancer, a dying child with leukemia, a father with a major stroke, a mother going blind, a physically and emotionally scarred assault victim, a sister savaged by a drunken driver, or a military friend with their brain half destroyed by an IED in Iraq? How long must we continue to torture ourselves with this belief lie?
And what will happen if we give up our irrational belief? If we’re left with just each other to care for each other, and love each other?
Well, the evidence is clear. Our energy, time, love, and devotion to Sky God has been an exercise in misappropriated energy, time, love, and devotion. So now, without the God delusion,
we will draw closer and more meaningfully to each other, once we have booted the Sky God elephant out of our tent!
(The organ starts playing and choir sings “Imagine” – John Lennon)
So if you, like I, are ready to renounce and escape the fires, torment, and delusion of irrational belief, then let’s lower the flag of intellectual surrender and boldly hoist the flag of reason and sagacity. Please stand, or if you want, come down here to the front by the pulpit. Every one of you is your own messiah, a temporary expression of the Universe, and each other’s fellow traveler on life’s brief journey. We are not alone. We have each other. That’s how it’s always really been.
**Editor’s Question** What do you think would happen if an evangelical pastor gave a sermon like that?
Bio: Mason Lane: As a credulous child, I was raised Christian fundamentalist Baptist. I later became a glory-shouting Pentecostal and was ordained by the Christian Faith Church Pentecostal in Mishawaka Indiana. I ceased believing in the irrational and supernatural at age 30, thanks primarily to reading the “bible”, and thinking simultaneously. At the time of my de-supernaturalizing, I was General Manager of WHME-FM radio station in South Bend, Indiana, a Christian radio station and Pastor of Christian Faith Church in Mishawaka, Indiana. I resigned both positions and moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I became dean of students at DeVry University.
I’m still a person of faith. My faith is now in Science, Nature, Love, Friends, Family, Music, Humor, Art, the US Constitution, the 5,000-year-old Golden Rule, and Separation of Religion and State.
>>>>>>>>Photo credits: Copyright holder Christopher Down, allows anyone to use it, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3642142
“Creation of the Sun and Moon face detail” by Michelangelo – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Creation_of_the_Sun_and_Moon_face_detail.jpg#/media/File:Creation_of_the_Sun_and_Moon_face_detail.jpg