Thus Says the Preacher…

Leo Tolstoy as a Pilgrim

We have an entertaining and whimsical atheist who visits the combox. John Cantor he calls himself and he styles himself as the prophet. Here is my response to some of his comments. When I quote the prophet I am quoting John Cantor’s comments. “The preacher” is me.

I the preacher like the prophet John Cantor. He revolts against religion, but most of his revolts are not revolting, for a revolt is simply a revolution and a revolution is to revolve and to revolve is to stand on one’s head and this blog is, after all, an attempt to stand on one’s head and to encourage others in similar gymnastic prognostications.

It is my wish to stand on my head, but also to stand others on their heads, and my book Adventures in Orthodoxy was originally going to be called Standing on My Head until a wise editor thought otherwise. It is a book I recommend so highly that I am willing to sell it to you rather than give it away. Should I give it away it would be considered by myself to be worthless and by you to be negligible. Therefore to show the book’s great worth it is for sale at the price of $1,000.00 per copy. However for all who would like to make the purchase I am willing to offer a considerable discount and let them have it for just $20.00 which includes postage and packing and a signature by the author. The book may be purchased with ease from this webpage.

The reason I think the prophet would profit from this book is because he asks the questions I wish to ask and he prophesies as I would wish to prophesy and he wishes to challenge not only the things that I wish to challenge, but also the things which my Master Christ the Lord also wished to prophesy against. The prophet John Cantor asks good questions, and his revolt against religion is a revolt against false religion and it is one I would share (for the most part) and the tables in the temple the prophet wants to turn over are the tables I want to turn over too.

Thus spake the prophet John Cantor: “And what happened to, ‘he is blessed who believes and has not seen?’”

Thus saith the Preacher: Nothing has happened to it. This is still a blessed saying, and Thomas the Doubter was an Apostle of Christ–one of the Twelve so his doubting is honored and respected. It is blessed to believe without seeing, just as it is blessed to trust the beloved without proof of their love, but for the Thomas types who need more evidence–they may also seek and find. There are nail holes still in which to place your finger. There are wounds to examine. Read More.

  • Mark Ferris

    ‘…if they do not question their faith I say they have no faith…’

    Perhaps. But not everyone can be a theologian, many peoples gifts lie elsewhere. I think you would agree that for those whom God has directly entered their lives in such a way that they feel no further need for proof, it is acceptable that they apply themselves and their particular chrism toward other problems? Yes that means many will unquestioningly remain in denominations that may not serve them fully, but perhaps adequately?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      By “question their faith” I mean enquire further into it–not doubt it.

      • Cephas

        I say faith is the acceptance of things unseen on the word of another who is trustworthy. I say faith may stand unquestioned. For a man may adhere to the word of his friend without questioning. Or do you mean something else by “enquire further into it”?

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          to deepen one’s faith requires curiosity and questions.

  • John Cantor

    Not “the” prophet, merely “a” prophet. :)

    Hell contrasts Holy Spirit. It is my contention that said concept lands in the NT merely as a marketing ploy. Don’t give credence to evil, book says, and sure enough, how is the concept of hell used by the Christian community? Evil begets evil, does it not? Or do you support groups like the WBC?

    And on a personal level, I have asked myself; the one who would do unspeakable evil to me, would I demand such retribution? And the answer was a resounding no. I’m just not that important.

    • Mark Ferris

      Not all concepts include retribution. Another concept of Hell is “Separation from God”. To be ignored by the Father because you are ‘just not that important’.

      • Oregon Catholic

        Oh my gosh. That is the last thing God thinks about anyone. If God can grieve, and surely Jesus can, he grieves over those who choose an eternal separation from Him.

  • MK @ Teach Sunday School

    Wow—I definitely wasn’t expecting a blog post of this nature when I saw the title! I have to admit that I wasn’t able to read the entire thing, but I’ve printed it out and look forward to finishing what I started. The “prophet” seems like quite an interesting fellow. And kudos to some of the points you made! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Mike T.

    I’m not just trying to be a wise guy here. I can’t get past the following:
    “I’m an atheist, because nothing needs to be said beyond ‘god is love.’”
    Is that a refutation of the existence of love? “I deny X, because X is love.”
    Perhaps it simply means that I don’t need to maintain X as a separate concept, because by having equated it to love, it suffices for me to investigate love itself? (This doesn’t really deny the existence of X, but rather denies the utility of X as a distinct concept. Still, it works better than: “I deny X. X = love. Therefore, I deny love.”

    • John Cantor

      No sir.

      Atheism is not a denial of god, but rather a denial of religion, a denial of self-appointed speakers for god. The Father here speaks well for god, but the vast majority… not so much. More like the Padre and less like, well Ray Comfort comes to mind; there would prolly be less atheists.

      Of course, it is tao. That where a thing exists, there will come into existence a contention. A no-thing.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        should be ‘fewer’ atheists, not ‘less’.

  • veritas

    No, I’m sorry John Cantor, you can’t just re-define a word to suit your ideology. Atheism does NOT mean: “not a denial of god, but rather a denial of religion”.

    The meaning of the word atheism is absolutely clear. From just a few respected authorities:-

    From Wikipedia:
    Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

    The theory or belief that God does not exist.

    From the origin of the word:
    Greek- atheos – without gods

    From Oxford Dictionary:
    disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

    The obsession with somehow separating religion from God is ridiculous. If there is a God, and there is, then any following of Him, any belief in Him, will involve being religious, following, adhering to a religion. To argue otherwise is nonsensical. That does not mean of course, that all religions are equal, the same, as worthwhile as each other, as correct as each other etc etc.

    It behooves anyone who knows that God exists to find out the truth about God, what He wants of us, what He gives to us and how we can best love and follow Him. To say that “God exists”and then to argue that you can live your life unchanged by that fact is not an option.

  • Alice C. Linsley

    Strange… I teach Philosophy and World Religions on the college level. Atheism is studied along with panthesim, panentheism, animism, henotheism, polytheism, Jewish monotheism, Christian monotheism, etc. Ahteism is generally distinguished from non-theistic philosophies like Buddhism and agnosticism which reserved judgment about God’s existence. Nowhere have I read a definition of atheism as belief in God’s existence but rejection of institutional religion.

  • Julie

    I read Father’s book, Adventures in Orrhodoxy, last week and enjoyed it immensely. Loved it! I would highly recommend it to everyone I know.