Preachers have an undefined role in our society. In some communities, they are spiritual leaders. In some, counselors. In some they may even be called upon to tend to physical ailments or natural phenomenon. But in all cases, they are quacks. Through and through, unqualified, useless charlatans.
For the record, I have zero respect for preachers, priests, rabbis, monks, reverends, or shamans based on that title alone. I respect people based on how they act and interact with other people. Adding such a title does not add any value of respect, and indeed making sure I’m aware of this title makes me respect the person less. If your silly title is so important to you, it probably means you’re not doing enough in reality to gain respect.
I digress. Why are preachers useless hacks?
Let’s start with the obvious examples. There is an entire industry of bullshit peddling con-men out there pretending to perform miracles and healings. These are the Peter Popoffs of the world, intentionally and deliberately fooling people out of their hard-earned money.
If you’re unaware, Popoff was busted by “the King of exposing bullshit” James Randi. Popoff would seem to hear God speak to him as he called out people by name and even name their affliction. Then he would relay from god that they would be okay. Turns out the voice of God was his wife, reading prayer cards to Peter via a hidden wireless earpiece.
Yes, the difference between a “legitimate” preacher and an outright con-man is so indistinguishable that it takes an expert to tell them apart. But lets face it, the actual con-men are low hanging fruit. The preachers that think they’re for real are even more useless and dangerous.
A preacher is not a doctor. With absolutely no medical training, they are even more useless than I am in providing assistance for medical conditions. I at least am CPR certified. And since they have no medical training, they often diagnose problems wrong.
Sure, a medical doctor could theoretically be a preacher. But no, demons do not cause illness. And I can’t stress this enough: Just by contemplating that possibility, their ability to effectively care for the sick is severely compromised. In a time when real medical attention may be warranted, they are just as likely to prescribe utter nonsense (like prayer), which is sure to fail.
Pick any possible scenario which requires adult action and responsibility. Flying a plane or approving housing loans. Doesn’t matter what it is. If I were to suggest that the person responsible should also be required to consider a few mythological considerations as well, would that sit well with you? Should the pilot consider petting a flower to appease the airplane lifting pixies in a crisis? No, that is stupid. They should fly the plane.
And yet, there are many preachers out there that recommend prayer or dunking your head under water or handling snakes to cure cancer. These preachers don’t think of themselves as con-men, but they are. They do not have any training whatsoever that qualifies them to be in a medically serious situation, and yet there they are. Mumbling to themselves. Enlisting the assistance of other volunteer mumblers. Eating crackers.
At this point, you may think I’m being a bit unfair to these charlatans. I assure you, I’m not. This is because even the soft, loving, caring, Yoda-esque preachers are still selectively lying to you. Yes, the liberal, LGBTQ friendly, soft spoken female preacher knows something they aren’t telling you. Dear reader, they have read the bible. And they know how fucked up that book really is. And they aren’t telling you.
Think about it. Preachers take in money from people that want to hear their message. There is a pressure there to deliver what the people want. They aren’t “guiding” the flock, they’re playing to their ideas of what a preacher should be. Now, naturally the “honest” preachers don’t think of it like that, but they all know it’s their job to fill the pews. They discuss it. And none of them conclude that they should hold a 12 part series on bible history.
No, they deliver a message they think will “wake people up”. They write sermons that will “give people faith”. In other words, whatever will keep people in the offering plate line.
But they know the real deal. Like corporate members of Enron, they believe in the brand and hide the numbers because the lay-person “wouldn’t understand”. But they know. And they aren’t telling you.
Yes, most preachers know that Old Testament god was a complete asshole, and advocated for slavery and genocide and war brides. But they justify it to themselves and hide it from their flock. Most preachers know that “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” is a complete forgery, yet they justify it and say it’s the inerrant word of Jesus. Most preachers know about all the contradictions in the four gospels, but feel we’re not sophisticated enough to mention it.
And the worst of the worst are the preachers that don’t know any of this. If a preacher doesn’t know about the horror, the inconsistency, and the forgeries, then they really are unqualified. They stand up every Sunday and preach with authority on a subject on which they are ignorant. There is no excuse for these fools.
Preachers perpetuate the myth. They know, and justify to themselves, perpetuating the softer, gentler version their flock wants to hear. They literally lie for a living.
Lying, unqualified hacks all.
The Spartan Atheist