Tuesday, March 30, 2021


 A joke was made on a post over at Northsider's blog about naming a progessive band 'Debby and the Pennsylvania Bible Thumpers'. There were a few jokes made between two very funny people (they really, really are too). 

In my neck of the woods, a 'Bible thumper' is a wild eyed zealot. It is a perjorative term, usually applied to someone who takes the Bible literally, someone that preaches his/her point of view unceasingly, citing his/her Biblical 'evidence' to make the point. 

That is not me. 

Never has been. 

Number one, I feel quite strongly that the Bible cannot be taken literally. Story telling and parables were a way of life in those times, and a great deal of the old testament is based on the stories and poems of the day. If you don't believe me, research 'Gilgamesh', and tell me that these stories are not familiar to you.

I have also long thought that many of the recountings were simply ways to keep a population in control using fear of God as a tool. I see it happening today. All around us. 

I am taking a four year theology course, and nothing I have encountered to this has dissuaded me of this mindset. To be perfectly honest, I feel even more strongly about it. I have also discovered that there are a lot of scholars who feel this way.

I define God a little differently than most and I suppose that this is due to the fact that I was an atheist for the first 30 years of my life. I won't try to explain it to you because if you do not believe, you will not believe what I say. 

But having walked in both worlds, I see both sides of the argument. 'Bible thumpers' do not even see the argument. Sometimes, I think "If I ever think I know all the answers, I hope someone shoots me..." If you believe you have all the answers, you are as far away from God as any atheist, in my opinion, anyway.

So...I guess it's a mishmash, and I am leaving myself wide open for shotgun blasts from both sides of the theological debate.

The one thing that I am sure of is this: we were all put on this earth to do good in whatever place we find ourselves. I try to do that. I'm not perfect though. Not even close. I am a prickly soul and nowhere near as patient as I would like to be. I struggle with it a lot. Another thing that I really have to consciously fight myself on is that I can be pretty judge-y. I'm better I think, but there is work to be done. 

In Northsider's comment section, I responded to the 'Bible thumper' comment, and said that I was a little surprised to think that this was how I was seen by others. I waited for a response. Since they hail from a different part of the world, I wondered if perhaps the phrase 'Bible thumper' was viewed in a different light.

Both people assured me that no offense was intended. I believed them. But I did message the blog owner and ask that the comments between the three of us be deleted because I felt as if I was portraying myself as some sort of saint. 

He took down the entire post. 

Allow me to say, Northsider, that this was not my intent, and I am so very sorry that I made anyone feel badly. You and YP were quick to explain. Just as quickly, you were forgiven. I do believe that no offense was intended. There was nothing wrong with your post at all.  I am sorry for my vanity, and for my concern about looking like a 'praise whore'. It is now my turn to ask your pardons. 


  1. Debby, those two boys can be very naughty sometimes. Just look at what they say about me??? They just need a firm hand to keep them in line.

  2. I am pretty good at overlooking their nonsense. I just feel stupid. There was nothing wrong with the post. There probably wasn't anything wrong with the comments either, aside from the fact that appeared like I was trying for the 'holier than thou' award, and I was embarrassed because that was not my intent.

  3. I do not have faith, and yet the enquiry is fascinating and as a consequence, a number of my very best friends have deep faith. My good colleague at the university where I am an honorary fellow is a copywriter a father,an intelligent human being, a theologian (with PhD in theology) a funny confident... and a minister! It is just part of his mix. I have other friends with similar profiles...
    I think my studying of philosophy brings me closer to the mindset without necessarily sharing the same conclusion. But one thing I have learned is to be wary of stereotypes and simplifications Strident atheism is as blinkered as 'bible thumping' zealotry - and both are equally ungenerous.

  4. I have consulted with my legal team and no further action is anticipated. Let's change the prog rock band name to Debby and The Tightrope Walkers.

  5. Can I be in charge of merchandise and selling the Debby and The Tightrope Walkers T shirts YP?

    Of course no offence taken Debby. Normal service is resumed.

  6. I am glad it all got worked out, Debby. From reading your blog, it sounds like our religious thoughts line up pretty similarly. I totally agree that it was and still is a tool to keep people in check and obedient.

  7. Correction: I believe that it CAN be used that way, and that it IS used that way, but I don't believe that it is always like that. If you look around though, you can see multiple examples of God used as a weapon. I hate that. Hate it. My husband is a p.k. and was raised in hellfire and damnation churches. He hates it more than I do.

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  9. At least downunder religion in most people's lives is not a big deal. Even those who are believers generally aren't pushy about it. I thought the figure might have been higher, but 30% of Australians don't have a religion. While I would answer no religion, my partner would answer Anglican, as many would who were raised Anglican and the same for Catholics. They may answer yes, but they are never active or go to church, so if these people were included, the figure of people who are non religious at 30%, the figure of non active religious people might add 50%.It is just my qualified guess that 20% of people here are actively religious. Sorry, more than you wanted to know. Interesting for me to think about though.

  10. Not at all Andrew. I find stuff like that fascinating. A recent study that I read indicated that among the Silent Generation, born in 1925-45, those who go to church regularly, is 50%. It steadily declines with only 35% attending church regularly for the Baby Boomers. Gen X drops to 32%, and the Millennials drop to 22%. That is a sad trend, although not all people who attend church could be described as 'good people', just as all who don't cannot be considered 'bad'. I just hold to the fact that we must be kind and that we must do our part to leave our world a better world. I will let someone else compile the facts and figures.

  11. While I probably didn't qualify as a Thumper, I was deeply evangelical for the first half of my life. I had an epiphany of sorts and have been an atheist for the second half of my life.

  12. Funny how people change, isn't it? Completely opposite for me.

  13. Well...except that I never could be evangelical. I feel like the world would be a much nicer place if everyone just preached with their lives and not their words.


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