I was hoping to never have to watch Mr. Woods tendentious video again, yet here we are.
***A side note to my loyal spammers who are fans of “Republican Jesus News” and “Melania’s Nude Photos” be patient there’s a new one on the way in the near future.***
This has been an overlapping topic of conversations over a number of blogs including mine. Pastor Mel Wild is a new apologist to the atheist circuit and has written an article on deconversions which may be found here. My apologies for having to chase many links, dear readers, but they will act as citations so we know I’m not making stuff up.
Before we get in the thick of it, a couple of definitions are in order so that while we may disagree on their meanings in relation to this post, at least my position will be clear regarding the use of terms in the context of Mr. Wood.
Psychopath: Patients who appear outwardly normal having a “moral depravity” or “moral insanity,” in that they possess no sense of ethics or of the rights of other people. Doctors use that term to refer to a more serious chronic disorder, linked to genetic traits, producing more dangerous individuals, while continuing to use “sociopath” to refer to less dangerous people who are seen more as products of their environment, including their upbringing. Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders for laymen to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often criminal. Adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment. There are now several lines of evidence that point to the biological grounding for the uncaring nature of the psychopath. The brains of psychopaths have been found to have weak connections among the components of the brain’s emotional systems. These disconnects are responsible for the psychopath’s inability to feel emotions deeply. Psychopaths are also not good at detecting fear in the faces of other people. The emotion of disgust also plays an important role on our ethical sense. We find certain types of unethical actions disgusting, and this work to keep us from engaging in them and makes us express disapproval of them. But psychopaths have extremely high thresholds for disgust, as measured by their reactions when shown disgusting photos of mutilated faces and when exposed to foul odors. People who are actual psychopaths, or are high in the personality trait of psychopathy, tend to manipulate you and will almost always lie to you. Ref: Psychology Today
Atheism: Is a conclusion about one thing. The belief in the existence of a god. I shouldn’t have to repeat this as often as I do, but the assertions persist among seemingly cynical apologists that atheism is a “worldview” or has dogma and tenets and is responsible for all the explanations religionists require on everything from morality to the origins of the universe. It’s also not a substitute for religion. It’s not a monolithic existence. Put 100 atheists in a room and ask them for an opinion and you’re likely to get as many as 100 different answers. There is no “atheist lifestyle”. They simply don’t need religious trappings to order their lives. They are unnecessary.
All righty then. So, most of the rest of my post will be David’s “testimony” that I’ll refer to in the public domain. These are things he said, not things I’m speculating about or conclusions I’m making from having no information. I’ll start with a different video from the one Mel links to on his website. This one is mercifully shorter and pretty important to watch. It ran on CBN TV network. I’d encourage you to spend the seven minutes. At very least the first 2:20 of the video. His opening statement? “If my child died I would want to cry my eyes out, but I don’t think I would.”
He then goes on to explain what he calls “sociopathic behavior” which when compared to his statements, his confession, and the checklist for psychopathic behavior, comports with psychopathy not sociopathy. His demeanor during the entire interview is relaxed, unemotional, he could be as easily talking about eating apple pie as he was describing his violent unprovoked attack on his father. At no time does he show any remorse. Intellectually he acknowledges his actions were wrong, but has no actual understanding of the emotional gravity of the situation.
This demonstrates to me that there has been no change in his psychiatric condition from the time he asserts he was an atheist to the present day. It also is a problem for his claim that belief in Jesus changed him in any falsifiable way. In the likelihood of things it’s much more plausible he prefers a life outside prison being part of normal society and that an integral part of that scenario involves the redemption story Americans love to hear.
“I used to be an ATHEIST and then Jesus saved me.”
And it’s never a convincing testimony unless we can blame the ATHEISM for our troubles, is it? So we have two discrete things that are independent of each other. Psychopathy and atheism. Which am I more prone to accept as true cause of Mr. Woods youthful activities?
David is psychopathic and did bad things
David was an atheist and did bad things?
Incidentally to all this, he may actually believe in god. I’m not inclined to doubt that. And if that’s all that’s keeping him from going all John Henry on his family again, then I’d reluctantly say that’s a good thing. I would not sleep in the same house with him for the simple fact that’s he’s demonstrated he’s capable of changing his beliefs and he’s still obviously a psychopath.
So, is David Wood’s “conversion” more credible given he claims to have been an atheist and that god somehow changed him? Christians eat that stuff up. There’s no standard of evidence too low to accept claims about faith as being true. Simply say it and fait accompli.
I would ask you, Mel, if you felt my apostasy any more meaningful having once been a professing christian and seminary trained student? What if I made a video about experiencing years of abuse at the hands of the faithful and my family as a gay man? Would that be compelling? Probably not. I would be more effective in my “testimony” as a deconvert if I told you about my doubts and fears in my life as a believer. If I explained discrepancies I discovered through research in holy text and my years of unanswered prayers, that you might find convincing. But I doubt it.
So I’ll go back to my original response to you on your blog. We all have our reasons for believing or not believing stuff and those reasons may or may not be true objectively. I’m willing to be convinced I’m wrong given some evidence god exists. Are you willing to give up a comforting belief for an uncomfortable truth?