Category Archives: Separation of Church and State

>I think we need to have a talk, folks.

>Recently, my friend John Hummel was in an article in the St. Pete Times. You can see the article here. The article talks about how John was a Mormon and through life’s journey found himself to be an Atheist. It talks about his curiosity about other religions and frustrations about the misconceptions of his own religion (and now lack of religion.) The article goes into how John’s curiosity leads him to start a blog and a podcast about seeing 52 religions in 52 weeks.

I am not here to talk to you about the article, as much as I am here to talk to you about people’s response to it.

TomH from Arizona commented:

Hummel’s problem is simple. He has no faith because he doesn’t nourish faith. He could not endure the taunting of the “large and spacious building” and gave into unbelief. Faith is like a seed, it must be planted and nourished. Otherwise, it dies

My problem with Tom’s comment is that he expects blind faith in a god. This is the crux of nearly all religions involving a god. You must simply believe, without any proof at all, that they are there. You must believe that things happen because the god wants them too. It’s almost as if there would be nothing good in the world if a god hadn’t created it. I think John believes in the goodness of man. Tom believes that John was taunted by the “large and spacious building”. I’m not sure why he feels that way since the article never says that. It specifically says that John left the church because he disagreed with their involvement in the political arena. Prior to that he had continued to be an active, but Atheist, member.

I’ll admit that I know John Hummel. I met him at the first Tweet Up that I ever attended. I liked him from the start. He is funny and well read. He is snarky at times, but never unkind. He listens with genuine interest to views that are not his own and honestly considers them.

I have met his lovely wife, Holli. I have met his beautiful children. I have never seen a man more in love with or devoted to his wife than John Hummel.

Some people assume that an Atheist is stupid or that they have no morals, but that is not true. I have been friends with many people who consider themselves to be an Atheist and the vast majority of them are thoughtful people. They want the best for humanity because it the best for them too. They volunteer. They fight for their country. They feel sadness when their friends and relatives die.

Paul D. Valentine, the leader of the Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation, has a channel on YouTube. I find him to be incredibly interesting. I am subscribed to his videos because I enjoy listening to him talk. He is an Atheist. Contrary to popular belief, he does not actually worship Satan. (He doesn’t really mind if you are silly enough to think so though.) I was listening to a video one day and he was talking about the sadness of loss for an Atheist. He said that it was significantly more sad to know that you would never see the people you love again. I agree.

Doesn’t it take a significant amount of, well, faith to believe that there is no god? You have to look at everything around you and believe that it occurred because of some cosmic fluke. Beyond that, you have to believe that you are not a special edition hand crafted by a god being. You are just another blip in the cosmos, no more significant than a grain of sand.

Another response to the article was directed towards me, as I had left a comment.

I said:
To TomH – You are wrong about Hummel’s problem. John had been an Atheist for a while, but until the church made stands in areas in which they should not be involved, he remained in the church because he felt they did good in the community.

ea from Washington responded:

“Areas in which they should not be involved”? Who are you, Courtney or anyone else, to say what rights ANY group can or cannot fight for? I would not think to deny any opposing group the right to organize and petition.

I doubt “ea from Washington” will ever read this or my comment that I wrote back, but when I wrote that I was writing about a little thing that people have been trying to shred or protect for years called separation of church and state. The churches do not pay taxes. It’s not a good idea for them to be getting involved in politics. It’s also not a good idea for governments to be getting involved with (or banning) religion. When churches want to start paying taxes like any other business then I think that they can participate in the political arena. I just don’t think that they should at all.

If you are interested in learning more about John Hummel please visit www.blogthereligions.com or another blog he runs that I like called Between the Bits. Including this post about the insanity at the Town Hall meeting about the Healthcare reform bill.