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The Ensnaring Lie and the Liberating Truth

At John 8:32, Jesus reportedly says “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

If the truth sets us free, lies ensnare us. I had let myself become ensnared by a lie—the false assumption that Twitter is a reasonably accurate indicator of the overall state of religion and politics in America. I can offer no excuse or explanation for how I could have succumbed to such an obviously false notion. But finally recognizing its falsity is indeed liberating.

The Lie

For the past six years on Twitter, I have spent an appalling amount of time opposing the movement toward theocracy in America, which I see as an existential threat to democracy. I wrote Doctrine Impossible for much the same reason, hoping that serious Christians would reconsider their beliefs. Although I gained many followers, it has been, overall, a discouraging process—because there is no end to the stream of braindead bibliolaters and no limit to the cheap piety they promote. And whatever number of “Likes” or “Retweets” I get for my messages, they get 100 times more.

What made me think this situation was hopeless? The sheer volume and vehemence of bibliolatry and faux-piety unleashed by Twitter’s theists. I unthinkingly took their chest-thumping triumphalism seriously instead of recognizing it as the increasingly desperate bellowing of dinosaurs facing extinction. I bought into the lie and became ensnared by it.

The truth

It was easy to fall into despair, thinking that America is racing headlong toward a new Dark Age of Christian Dominionism. But as I am ultimately (in this case, belatedly) a rational person, I pay attention to factual evidence. What I now see as the key fact relevant to this topic was reported in a 2022 Gallup Poll:

A record-low 20% of Americans now say the Bible is the literal word of God, down from 24% the last time the question was asked in 2017, and half of what it was at its high points in 1980 and 1984. Meanwhile, a new high of 29% say the Bible is a collection of "fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man." This marks the first time significantly more Americans have viewed the Bible as not divinely inspired than as the literal word of God.

The truth is that there is hope that someday we will be rid of scripture-dependent doctrinal religion, which has been a plague on the Earth. But to realize that hope, we must keep telling the truth and debunking the theists’ false claims. We cannot back down from this effort, because the theists—give them credit—are indefatigable and relentless. Because they will never give up, we must never give up. We can win, but only if we keep fighting, if we carry on with courage and commitment.

Our enemy is not the entirety of Christendom but the subset of Bible-besotted, doctrine-obsessed, science-denying radical right evangelicals. They are the danger to America and to the world, and I am convinced that a good way—maybe the best way—to halt the evil they promote is to appeal to sane Christians, calling on them to stop giving assent-by-silence to lunacy that brings disgrace to their faith.

A Final Message

It will surely seem ironic that now, right after emphasizing the need to continue the fight, I announce my departure from Twitter. A variety of personal reasons (nothing tragic) compels this move. What will not end are my own efforts, in other ways and on other venues; and the friendships I have made here.

In the hope that my presence over the past six years has made a meaningful difference, I say farewell.

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