I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Things Few People Know About Me #3: I'm Damned

There's an article that just went up at World Net Daily that is so cringingly blasphemous even I feel bad about it. Read it here, if you dare. The short summary of the article is that a science student named Samuel Hunt has "proven" the literal truth of the creation account in Genesis and that, quote, "the construction of everything in the universe begins with a) the Holy Spirit (magnetic field); b) Light (an electric field); and c) that Light can be created by a sonic influence or sound." The article then goes on to talk about sonoluminescence, which is a real scientific phenomena, in which soundwaves moving through water can create light, and since Genesis starts with spoken words, water, and light, viola, the absolute truth of the Bible has just been created under laboratory conditions!

All of requires so many mind numbing leaps of logic I don't even know where to begin with arguing about it. Yes, if you shout at water loud enough under the right conditions, you can get a little light. I'm not sure, however, that there's been any corresponding demonstration that you can shout at the water and get a planet out of it, or shout at clay and have it come to life as a variety of creatures. Wake me up when they get that into a test tube.

The sad thing is how badly certain people of faith want the scientific stamp of approval. It's almost a confession on their part that science equals respectable and believable. Rather than admitting there's a tension between science and the Bible, they turn to science as proving the Bible true. As a former fundamentalist, this just seems sad. If you want to base your world view on the Bible, just do it. Dedicate yourself to the proposition that every word within its pages is 100 percent true and tune out or reject any evidence to the contrary. It's really not that hard, there are plenty of people who manage to do this. If you have to go outside the Bible to find evidence of God, you've already let in that little sliver of doubt that's going to doom you come Judgment Day.

What does this have to do with something that few people know about me? After all, I've publicly stated my atheism many times, and publicy talked about my fundamentalist upbringing. There is, however, a pivitol moment in that upbringing I don't talk about much. When I was was 12, in Sunday School, the teacher introduced us to the concept of the unpardonable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. It come from Matthew 7:31.
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." This turns out to be a highly debated Biblical passage, since Jesus isn't always the best person at defining his terms. But, my Sunday school teacher wasn't into debating meaning, he just told us that if we called the Holy Ghost a mocking name, we were damned. Game over.

So, of course, my twelve year old mind instantly thinks something like, "So, if I call the Holy Ghost a pig, I'll be damned." Then, I froze, mortified. I'd just thought about calling the Holy Ghost a bad name. And, in Sunday School, they were real big on the idea that just thinking about a sin was the exact same thing as doing it. So, for instance, if you wanted to murder someone, really played out the scenario in your mind, it was exactly the same, sin-wise, as actually killing somebody. By thinking of an insult, it was exactly the same as saying it.

I was 12 years old, and I was damned.

This isn't a problem I find that most people can really sympathize with. There really aren't that many people in the world who take the Bible as literally as I did when I was 12. But, I honestly saw no way out back then. I couldn't even go and talk to people about it. I assumed my family would disown me. I assumed the church would kick me out and tell me never to return. I really had no choice but to suffer in silence for a couple of years until I went atheist. Suffer is really the right word here. Obsess is also accurate. There wasn't a moment of my waking life where this wasn't on my mind for those years. Really, even up until college, I would wake up in the middle of the night and be afraid to open my eyes because I knew, just knew, that one day I would open my eyes and the devil would be there, ready to take me down to Hell and just skip the whole Judgment Day thing. The whole point of life, as I understood it from my church, was to be born damned and learn the truth about the world and accept salvation then remain vigalant until you died, so you could go to heaven. If you short circuited that process, well, there really wasn't a whole lot of reason for you to go on living. I was never suicidal, but, in a lot of ways, there was no point to suicide. I'd already killed myself spiritually with a stray thought at the age of 12.

I'd planned to include my damned status in my list of five things, making it my fifth item, since it's really the single most important secret I've ever kept. I thought it would be the climax to to the list. But, the article led me to bump it up a notch. Because, the 12 year old fundamentalist that still dwells inside me cringes, just absolutely curls up into a little fetal ball, to read a statement in which someone tries to say that the Holy Spirit is a magnetic field. I mean, what? That's in the Bible where, exactly? Redefining the Holy Spirit to fit into your flakey little quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo seems much more blasphemous to me than anything I imagined.

Anyway, that's it. That's my darkest secret. Maybe five people in my life have ever known this about me.

Hopefully my last two secrets will be easier to explain....

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