Church Signs

17 February, 2008

Yesterday, we had one of those pleasant days when all of us are home, I don’t work, the kids don’t have work, or band, or drama club, or . . .  Anyway, we headed over towards Williamsport, PA, to visit English’s Hobby Shop and also a health food store called Fresh Life (my wife (we discovered a month ago) has coeliac disease and we are going wheat free).  We stayed off of the highways, which means we got to see lots of interesting sites.  Including the ones shown here.

Display outside a Methodist Church One shows the normal message board outside of a Methodist Church.  In addition to advertising Sunday school and worship, it states:  “GOD CREATED FREEDOM AS A BIBLICAL IDEA.”  Do you suppose this is a reference to ‘free will’?  The ‘freedom’ to choose the wrong thing?  The freedom to make the wrong choice so that God will have an excuse to punish you?  Or do you suppose that this is a reference to the current right-wing meme focusing on the spread of ‘freedom’ through the world at the point of a gun and between the covers of a Bible?  I don’t see how anyone could make the argument that the Bible is pro-domocracy or pro-civil rights.  Now, my Biblical knowledge is limited, but the Bible seems very big on obeying those whom ‘God’ has placed over you, and denying rights (or life) to those with whom ‘God’ disagrees.

Bill Clark, 16FEB08 The second is actually what caught our eye (my wife’s eye, actually).  A cross made of two-by-fours with a purple cloth draped over the crosspiece, with nails at the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 positions with squirts of red paint.  As Christians approach Easter, the cross and the purple are, even to me (an atheist) understandable.  What I still cannot comprehend is the morbid fascination that the Christian right has with blood.  In any other setting, this addiction to snuff pornography (blood on the cross, the suffering of Jesus, Gibon’s movie, the deaths of martyrs and saints (the bloodier the better)) would, hopefully, lead to an intervention by friends and family and an appointment with a really good psychiatrist.  Dammit, we all know what the cross represents.  You don’t have to show your bloody-mindedness by putting the red paint on the cross.  Either you are morbidly fascinated with blood, or you are trying to scare small children (there may be another explanation, but . . . ).  Either way, it is disturbing.



  1. They are trying to scare small children. That’s how they sucker them into the whole delusion. Plus it makes the grown-ups feel important.

  2. So you don’t think they have a snuff porno thing going on in addition to scaring the piss out of children?

  3. I just stumbled across this blog, and…an outspoken Atheist in/near Williamsport (my home town)?? Why, how dare you? I’m surprised they haven’t strung *you* up on that cross!

    B.L. (an agnostic now living near D.C.)

  4. B.L.: Congratulations on your escape. I actually live about 70 miles East of Williamsport and, but for English’s and Fresh Life, don’t get out to Williamsport much.

  5. Snuff porno? I never thought of it in those terms. Since there are something like 30,000 Christian sects, who knows what some of them are up to?

    You’re generally right about the Christian obsession with blood. Standard Christian interpretation of the Old Testament teaches that “without the shedding of blood, there is no redemption.” Hence, the elaborate system of animal sacrifices carried out in Judaism. Christianity dispensed with the repeated ritual with its ultimate, one-time-for-all-time sacrifice in which the bloodletting was preceded and accompanied by horrific torture. It would be bad enough if it ended there. But it doesn’t. The fascination with blood continues with the sacrament of communion in which believers are supposed to ingest, on a regular basis, both the blood and the body of their savior and lord. Regardless of whether this is understood to be completely figurative or a miracle of transubstantiation, it’s a bizarre belief and practice.

    Another weird thing. You mentioned martyrs. North American Christians talk about the suffering of Christians in other countries with concern and, sometimes, a tinge of envy. They secretly wonder if they have the faith and fortitude required to endure real persecution. For the most part, they’re glad they don’t have to endure it, but, in a small part of their hearts, there is a desire to have an opportunity, sometime in the future, to prove their mettle by passing the test of suffering.

  6. Chappie: I can always count on you to take that next step. I think this is one of the best things about the internet blogosphere: there is always someone out there with the knowledge, imagination, and quirkiness (pick whichever applies) to make connections which the initial poster missed. Thank you.

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