My Name at the Top, or “Amazing and So Real!”

Alternate title: Unsigned, Sealed, Delivered

This item was updated November 2020.

I use social media, including Facebook,  to stimulate interest in this web site, richardbarron.net.

The biggest reason social media is popular in the first place is that it gives Everyman a web presence, while at the same time preventing him from ruining it with his terrible taste and lack of creative talent (vis-à-vis MySpace in 2006).

Facebook also seems, it appears, to be the place for vapid, childish idiocy…

To me and those who understand reality, an obvious trick of reflection in camera, but to others...
To me and those who understand reality, an obvious trick of reflection in camera, but to others…

Here are some actual comments about this image…

  •  Woah!!!!
  •  That gives me chills all over!!!!
  •  Wow!
  •  Lord trying to say get ready to do his work here in Eureka Springs AR.
  •  That’s awesome
  •  Amazing
  •  Wow that is great! How exciting! Things are fixing to change!!!!!!
  •  Amen It gets you thinking, could have been an angel watching
  •  Awesome!!!
  •  Amazing
  •  That is beautiful I love that it is so amazing what Jesus Christ can do for his children
  •  Amazing…
  •  We were just talking about this today. Planning to come see it real soon.
  •  I think everyone needs to share this. Let’s let this go viral!!!
  •  I just got chills. Amazing. Amazing!!!!
  •  Wow!!!
  •  Amazing
  •  I’m sharing
  •  these things happen.
  •  wonderful!
  •  Wow! Signs & Wonders
  •  Wow that is awesome. I work at the play and enjoy every moment of it. I wasn’t on set for this part but that is truly amazing.
  •  Wow!!!!
  •  Awesome!
  •  This is wonderful! What a beautiful sight, I wish I was there to see that! I have a pic of myself with several other Ladies with me, and there is an angel covering   hovering over us. When I asked the Lord about it when I picked the pics up at Walgreens. He told me it was my guardian angel! I was brought to tears and awe!
  •  Pretty neat. I shared your post.
  •  That’s amazing and so wonderful!!
  •  Awesome
  •  GLORY BUMPS FROM HEAD TO TOE!!
  •  Beautiful
  •  Wow…
  •  God knew we needed to see this & be reminded that he loves us & is with us !! Thank you Lord 
  •  Awesome
  •  Wonderfull
  •  It’s amazing and so real! I Believe
  •  Even the real GOD loves the Great Passion Play. You should come see it for yourself. You never know you might just see the real GOD there. I know you will feel HIS Spirit there.
  •  Nothing is impossible with God in our life
  •  But wait is that satin in the lower corner of the picture??
  •  Whoa!
  •  Amazing I wish I had been there.

I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed for them being so stupid, angry at them for being so manipulative, or admire them for turning a brilliant false flag.

Look! A ghostly image appeared near a very bright compact fluorescent bulb! It must be a miracle! Praise Bulb!
Look! A ghostly image appeared near a very bright compact fluorescent bulb! It must be a miracle! Praise Bulb!

I can’t make up this stuff.

Christians, it makes you look so ignorant and silly when you believe and assert that simple optics is, “amazing and so real!” This isn’t a sophisticated extract of the possible nature of the Universe. It’s a bunch of hillbillies who think a cell phone camera captured a miracle. They are the overwhelming resonant voice of the faith.

So let’s run some stuff up the flag pole and see who salutes it…

Do Christians think that hating me will change me? Do they think hating gays will make them straight, or hating Muslims will end terrorism?

Do the Christians who commented on that photo think I will change my wicked ways when I see its testimony? That anyone will?

Answer me this: if god is real, why do you have to argue for it? Why would you even need to teach your children about god, for if god is real, would he not be completely self-evident?

So, anyway, I got an unsigned letter from a Christian. From my chair, any unsigned letter just looks like stalking. And for what it’s worth, when you send an unsigned letter, I can cherry pick and quote mine all I want.

Dear Richard:

As a blogger and reader of blogs, I was thrilled to find the “photographer of my youth” at richardbarron.net. I began reading, observing, watching, and viewing. Then, I was saddened. I suppose in Oklahoma, we assume the friendly neighborhood photographer is a believer in God, a believer in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and heaven-bound like “the rest of us.” After all, it is Ada, America. Lesson Learned.

Yes, lesson learned. It is sad that we have religious freedom and diversity in Ada, Oklahoma.

“The rest of us” is thrown in there as part of the “appeal to popularity” logical fallacy.

Seeing many of your posts tainted with the opposite of my assumption, I knew what I had to do. After all (again), if someone had good news for me, promises that were true, and a bright future but failed to tell me, well, that would be just plain rude. I’m not rude. But I am skeptical. I’m skeptical to the extent that I sought out God. I researched for myself. I read for myself. I bypassed Sunday School lessons to figure out on my own what God said, did, promised, was, is, etc. Here’s what I found.

The use of the word “research” here is an interesting misnomer. “Research” implies looking at a number of sources for information that can be verified in some kind of an independent, scientific and logical way. Our anonymous author did none of that, of course, though we in the world of logic never find this surprising.

God sent his son, Jesus, to die for me. Why? Well, years (and I mean YEARS) ago, people of Israel had to sacrifice a lamb for their sins. Pretty brutal. Ugly. Angry. Jesus was the ultimate and final “lamb.” And, just to prove that He didn’t just die for our sin, He came back to life so we could LIVE.

Ah, yes. This silly children’s story is still with us in the 21st Century. As decades of ponderance have sharpened my thoughts on this, I see more and more how so many, too many, adults think is this very troublingly childish way. Magic story. Sky daddy. Happy place for me and my kids and my dogs, unspeakable horror for everyone else. We are lambs. We are sheep.

I devoted another blog entry to addressing The Sacrifice of Jesus (link).

Live with promises from Him. He’s “got our back.”

Let me just add that the Bible never says, “He’s got our back.” That, too, is updating and upgrading god.

I’ve no doubt you have a Bible. You’re an educated man, so… here’s a few verses from a former “prove it to me” researcher to you:, 2 Peter 1:4Jeremiah 29:11Isaiah 40:29-31Matthew 11:28-29Romans 8:37-39Proverbs 1:33.

I love this part, because, as you can see if you look up the Bible verses, none of these items is any kind of proof of anything. I find it odd that in a world of ever-increasing certainty of the nature of the world, theists still seem to cling to the thinnest fallacies, these “believe it because it sounds comforting” ideas.

Don’t take my word. Click the links, read the verse, then copy and paste the part of the verse that proves something in the comments section here.

“…but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm…” Proves. Nothing.

But, if you don’t believe in the Bible, then that does you no good, right? So let me say this. I’ve experienced these promises first hand. I’ve been healed. I’ve seen others healed. I’ve seen marriages saved, jobs restored, diseases cured, joy returned, and the impossible become possible. Not because I go to church (which I do) and not because every day is sunny with Barney singing a theme song.

Experience isn’t evidence. Testimony isn’t evidence. Incredulity isn’t evidence. Feelings aren’t evidence.

No, it’s because I trust in the God who loved me so much that He went to a lot of trouble to prove it.

Actually, it’s quite apparent that god has gone out of his way to hide it, not prove it.

I have personally witnessed the failure of prayer: man prays with all his might for his wife, who is trapped in a vehicle after a crash. She died right then. Christians have brilliant rationalizations for when this happens: god’s will, her time, god needed another angel, blah blah. It’s so thin.

If this hits home at all, if you want to accept these promises, it’s as easy as believing & confessing something like… “Jesus, I believe you died on a cross. I believe you rose again. I believe in You and want to make you ‘King’ of my life. From this point on. Forgive the life I’ve lived without you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

As always, the faithful seem to think that it’s possible to believe something that is not true or believable by simply deciding to believe it. “…it’s as easy as believing…” This might be the most damning thing of all about theists. They don’t believe things because those things are true. They believe them because they believe them. Their logic is a brilliant mirror of, “The Bible is true because The Bible says it’s true.”

Signed, well, you know I’m not going to sign it. You wouldn’t know me from Adam (ha!)

That’s the punch line, really. No signature. What is this? Ashamed of your beliefs? Afraid of them. Embarrassed by them? Afraid of me? This all points to what I think is a terrifying perception: the religious can’t actually believe what they claim. It’s too silly, too absurd, too shallow, and too fictional. Unicorns. Hobbits. Demons. Dragons.

“I truly believe” doesn’t make any of it true. The “why” of it, though, resonates repeatedly with me. Is the answer really as simple as fear? Fear of emptiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, eternity, death? Or is that too deep? Fear of not fitting in, not obeying?

So thus the name of today’s entry. That’s my name at the top of this entry, at the top of every entry. I am Richard R. Barron, and I am not afraid for you to know who I am and what I think.

Oh, meme, how well you know me and my intentions.
Oh, meme, how well you know me and my intentions.

8 Comments

  1. “Sometimes when I get these letters and comments, I think that they are so obvious and inadequate that they must be some kind of false flag arguing in the other direction.”

    I wonder this All. The. Time. I sometimes feel there are secret groups of atheists who go around the internet pretending to be Christians (sometimes Muslims), posting the most ignorant-sounding comments they can, in order to make the group look stupid. The same suspicion holds true for secret liberals trying to make conservatives look bad (“Get a job, you lazy thugs!” — real comment on Baltimore story.)

    But then I talk to actual people in real life, and am reminded that no, real people actually do think that way. Sigh.

    As for the unsigned letter you received, I’m fairly impressed, except for the anonymous part. Many atheists get letters worse than these, as you know. The worst part of yours is that it pretends reading the Bible and talking to believers is “research”. I know you didn’t quote the whole thing, but what’s here absolutely fails to threaten you, despise you, or even insult you. So I would count this in the “nice-but-misguided” category.

  2. The only thing threatening about this and the infamous “Doc” commenter years ago is the anonymousness. It has kind of a “we’ll be watching you” vibe.

  3. You are obviously very angry about receiving this welcoming letter from a caring Christian. But your anger with God doesn’t diminish His love for you. The anger you feel inside is a reflection on your rejection of His love. If you could find it in your heart to look up and let His presence wash over you, you can cease being who you are and become an unthinking follower of the masses. Let that anger go. Just fill in your username and password and sign in with Jesus. Put a check in God’s ‘Like’ box. Put a check in God’s mailbox, too. And start checking all those boxes that you’ve passed by. You ~do~ want to be included in our free emailing list. It’s good to be included in newsletters. Spam is God’s way of saying that you’re loved. He giveth unto us toolbars for our browsers and leads us into donations. The internet is the ultimate proof of God’s love for us. For he has given us Google so we can search for him. And through Facebook we are all connected, nailed to our walls just like Jesus’s feet to His cross. Don’t you think it’s time for you to accept God and send him a tweet? See: https://twitter.com/thetweetofgod.

  4. I’m mostly troubled that the letter was unsigned. As a card-carrying (they don’t actually give us cards, though), ardent, loud-and-proud Christian, I’m disappointed and confused by that choice. I’m also let down by the citing of “research” and “evidence”. For myself, I know not to “lean into my own understanding”, and instead rely on faith — which, as (I think Anne Lamott put it), is the opposite of certainty.

    Lastly, the “miracle-in-the-flashbulb” sorts of things drive me insane. If you’re truly devout, you don’t need Facebookable images and burning bushes — and it’s better in any case to rend your heart, not your garments. I don’t appreciate it when things like that make Christians appear so…basic and unimaginative.

  5. Making judgments about people, being argumentative, rude, condescending, etc., does not serve anyone’s purpose.

    Even as a Christian, I am often appalled at what I see “Christians” do in the name of Christ. Sometimes I laugh because it is absurd. You have shared a few examples of these efforts.

    It reminds me of Pastor Jim at OU who shouted at people and called them fornicators when he didn’t even know them. I have countless examples that I have witnessed that are similar.

    I am far from perfect as you know. I know that I am at my best when I make anyone or anything better. I cannot do that that judging, shouting and belittling. In fact, quite the opposite.

    I am also concerned by casting people into roles because of experiences with others. This true of folks of all different religious or non-religious perspectives, races, nationalities, genders, sports affiliations and favorite colors.

  6. Oh, one more thing. In general, I agree that Facebook is useless. If taken too seriously, it is a total waste. However, it can serve a purpose, such as communication with a large group of people at one time. For work, I have found it very useful.

    For my personal life, it is a tool to share with folks I don’t get to see very often, if ever. I have been on and off at times as well.

    I expect NOTHING from Facebook for my personal stuff so I don’t get that disappointed.

  7. ‘It has kind of a “we’ll be watching you” vibe.’

    Yes, there is that. I don’t understand the anonymous part. I think the only thing that could budge me to leave a letter/message/email unsigned is if I wanted to offer encouragement to someone without attaching my name/personality to it.

  8. “Sometimes… I think… they must be some kind of false flag…”

    I wonder this all the time, not only about religionists, but about political regressives. Recently, I saw a tweet from Ben Shapiro arguing that all taxes are “immoral” if their intent is “redistribution”. I immediately thought “this Ben guy must be a plant from the left to make regressives look stupid”, but then I remembered that an awful lot of libertarians actually believe it.

    “The absolute truth is rewritten, then rewritten again…”

    It seems what they really have a problem with, then, isn’t atheists or Muslims or whatever, but with their own “truth”, which becomes increasingly more inconvenient for them as time goes on. They progress from “gays must be immediately destroyed!” (Old Testament) to “gays are fine if they turn to Christ and repent their wicked ways!” (New Testament) to “let’s have gay and lesbian ministers because God loves everyone and we shouldn’t judge” (some progressive sects today). But oh, yes, the “absolute truth” is unchanging.

    “…to figure out on my own what God said, did, promised, was, is, etc…”

    This person is delusional — like my mother, my ex-step-father, and almost everyone I ever met in Texas. Even if God actually did appear to that one person, then, like Thomas Paine said 200+ years ago, it is a revelation for that ONE PERSON only. When that person tells ME about it, it’s just hearsay. If I’m as all-fired important to God as these godists claim, then God can very well tell me about it himself.

    “Christians have brilliant rationalizations for when this happens…”

    Yep. Bad things: easily explained. Good things: proves God is real!

    “…it’s as easy as believing…”

    Except I can’t believe. Simply impossible. The story is so ridiculous that even if God appeared to me to prove his existence, he could only prove to me his existence, but could never prove to me that the Bible stories are true (especially the ones that contradict themselves and each other). If God is real, then God made me unable to believe, and thus sentenced me to Hell because he’s an asshole.

    “This is what the left is trying to destroy” (from the meme)

    Ah yes, the “nuclear family”, which didn’t exist until 150 years ago as the Industrial Revolution and capitalism got up to speed in the west. An invention of the church and political conservatives in order to (further) subjugate women and indoctrinate children. Yes, I’m absolutely out to break up that little nugget of oppression.

    (Ha. Now I’ve read the other comments and see that I’m saying very little that’s new. Still… I wrote this before reading the other comments…)

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