The Richest Caveman Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Discovering The Truth

Doug has now sorted out the practicalities of Cave Life, and he turns his thoughts toward religion.

Doug does some exploring of “The Eastern Religions.”

I had spent a lot of time with books on philosophy and Eastern religions. The Eastern religions told me to meditate, to look within, because there I would find God. But the more I looked within, the more dissatisfied I became, for I knew that on the inside I was a mess.

In response to the comments on an earlier post, I reread this chapter twice, and couldn’t find any other mentions of Eastern religions. Possibly they are in some other chapter I’ve either already done or haven’t got to yet.

I don’t know enough about Eastern religions to comment much. But don’t some of them worship gods outside themselves? Since I am uneducated on this topic, we will move on.

My mind had been biased against the Christian religion by my Jewish relatives who, of course, did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. I had been told that Christianity was the cause of all the wars of European history–the crusades, the massacres of the dark ages, and the wars in Ireland between Catholics and protestants.

 

I will ignore the anti semitism, I will ignore the anti semitism, I will– look, Doug’s Jewish relatives probably do have legitimate complaints about Christians and Christianity. After all, most of the New Testament paints them as the bad guys, not to mention the antisemitism that is still popular today in some places.

I have no idea about the historicity of any wars in Ireland. I do, however, absolutely agree that Christianity was responsible for at least some of the wars in Europe, particularly the crusades.

Doug tells us that he had been taught that Jesus teaches reincarnation, and I find that hard to believe but let that slide.

Anyway, Doug takes the bible from the rock shelf and wipes off the dust.

“Holy Bible, King James Version.” I wondered who King James’ “virgin” was, for even though I had finished the 9th grade, I was not a fluent reader, and I misread the word.

Bullshit. I could buy, with Doug’s spotty school record, that Doug isn’t great at reading King James English. What I can not buy is that Doug has never heard of the word version. Even if he can’t spell it, he should know that it fits way better in the context of this sentence.

If Doug had been a lot younger when this happened, I might believe him and have a good laugh.

The person who left  the bible in the cave wrote a note:

Born again July 12, 1972. It is my prayer that whoever finds this bible will read it and find the peace and joy I found. Below that was my benefactor’s signature.

 

So, this was left in the cave on purpose, then. I was wondering. I wonder if Doug’s life would’ve turned out the same if someone had left, say, a Koran (Quran?) in that cave. Would Amazing Facts be a Muslim ministry?

Do Muslims even do ministry as we would recognize it?

Anyway, Doug starts reading, and we get more “hilarious” comments about Doug’s reading skills that make him sound more like a 5 year old. I mean, even if he can’t read well, he should know, from context, that the word “brethren” obviously doesn’t mean breathing.

Hang on, didn’t Doug attend church for a bit, back at the military academy? He should be familiar, then, with at least a few of the terms, as well as the fact that the “King James Version” is something that exists. Doug has attended at least one Catholic service. Don’t tell me they didn’t have a King James Bible. Contrary to what some people believe, there are Bibles in Catholic churches. In the pews, even, where someone can just pull them out and read them during the service.

Even though I struggled with the King James’ outdated language, the stories captivated me…I liked the story of Adam and Eve, and wished I could believe it, because it would help me feel better about myself…. It would mean I was a descendant of a son of God, not of some amoeba or monkey!

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. This is not how Evolution works. This is not how evolution works, this is not how evolution works!

I’m going to put that aside for a second. We’ll come back to it. Let’s pretend that Doug has it straight, and that evolution teaches us that we did come from monkeys. Why would that make us, as humans, any less valuable than we would be if we were created by some space alien God?

It doesn’t. Humans are valuable, period. Because we exist, that’s why. How we came to exist doesn’t matter. We do know, that’s what does. Wrap your brain around that, Caveman.

It’s interesting here to see Doug’s response to Creation, because it is the exact opposite of mine. Becoming an atheist had precisely the opposite effect on me that becoming a Christian had on Doug. Once I realized there was no god who had designed met his way, I felt so much better about myself. God didn’t create me to be practically midget sized to make me miserable. God didn’t create me with TS to teach me some kind of lesson. God didn’t create people with severe disabilities to be inspiration porn to those around them. Those things are all unfortunate, and they happened because of a mutation, not because some all powerful deity allowed it.

Really, I don’t quite understand the argument that people feel better about themselves knowing that God created them. Wouldn’t that just create a lot of anger issues?

As to Doug’s understanding of Evolution, I’m not as educated on the subject as I’d like to be, however, I do think I’ve read quite a bit more about it than Dougles.

We are not descended from monkeys. Drink, because I just agreed with Doug on something. Evolution doesn’t teach that we are descendants of monkeys.  However, it does teach  we do share a common ancestor with monkeys. Monkeys are more like… cousins. It’s like me and cousin M. Cousin M and I are related, but we share a common ancestor, our grandmother. Even though she is older (and smarter, and more sophisticated) I am not descended from her.

It seems like Doug had a faulty understanding of evolution to begin with. Pity no one sat down and made him sit through science class. Or any class, actually. Which could explain a lot of things, but nevermind.

Doug then reads about the flood, and finds that it fits in with his version of reality.

…. If water had covered the whole Earth, no wonder I found fossils at 7K feet when I lived in New Mexico. It also explained why the walls of my canyon were worn smooth hundreds of feet high. A catastrophic flood carrying tons of silt as it surged back and forth made more sense to me than anything my teachers told me at school.

Well, Doug, by your own admission, most of your teachers weren’t very good.

I’m not going to lie and tell you I know much about this. I’m just now getting to fossils in Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth. However, I do know that localized flooding is a thing, and I wouldn’t necessarily take “signs of a possible flood in New Mexico” to mean “A flood that covered the entire earth.”

Doug finally gets around to reading the ten commandments. He notices the bible says to worship on the 7th day of the week rather than the first, and thinks the ten commandments are a perfect set of rules.

Doug gets bogged down in the same place everyone does who tries to read the bible cover to cover: Leviticus and numbers. He runs into a Jesus freak in town, who tells him to start reading the gospels.

Doug decides to go to the library to see if Jesus actually existed. As far as I understand, historians are divided on the issue.

I learned that not only was Jesus a historical figure, he was so important that all history is calculated from the date of his birth!

As far as I know, there is actually a lot of debate as to whether or not Jesus existed. As to the calendar, there could be a variety of explanations for that. In any case, Just because Jesus was a historical figure does not follow that he was the Messiah, or that he was not  exaggerated by “clever writers.” In fact, most of the biblical gospel writers were writing about these things decades after they’d supposedly happened, and there’s debate about whether or not Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually knew Jesus.*

Doug does get cookie points for making a trip to the library. No one who writes these books ever seems to bother.

I wonder what Doug thinks of all the contradictions in the gospels. Does he think they’re not important? Does he deny that they exist? Is it possible that, in his cave, he truly didn’t notice them? I mean, if I had nothing to do but read all day, and I only had one book, I would have analyzed it to death in a week. (Give Doug’s low reading level, I’ll be generous and say he gets, like, a month.)

During all of this, Doug says he felt a divine presence, telling him that what he was reading was truth.

I wonder about the science behind this “divine presence” thing. I’ve heard people mention it, and I’ve felt it at some points in my life, but certainly not all the time, no.

Doug gives us a brief summary of all 4 gospels, then sits there and tries to figure it all out. He goes through the Lunatic, Liar, Lord trilemma of CS Lewis, deciding on “Lord.”

So Doug prays a version of the sinners prayer, and gets saved. I am happy to report that this means we will now be spared the Doug runs away/gets dragged back, then runs away again story lines.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 11 chapters we took to get to this point. 11 chapters. There are 18 chapters in this book. That means we have 7 more chapters to talk about what Jesus has done in Doug’s life.

If Doug truly wanted to point people to Jesus, if Doug truly wanted us to learn from his mistakes, he would’ve cut out half the chapters about his pre-conversion life and lifestyle. Doug, or Tooker, just want to tell a good story, and they have.

So good, in fact, that many people wish they could have a testimony just like Doug Batchelor’s.

I should know. I used to be one of them.

 

A baptist preacher visits Doug in his cave, and tells him he needs to be baptized. Doug agrees, and gets baptized in the little lake outside his cave.

Later that day, I hiked into town to buy some beer to celebrate. Something inside said “No Doug. Christians don’t drink.”

I wonder where Doug gets this idea from? I mean, lots of Christians drink moderately. And anyway, Doug claims not to have been exposed to Christianity that much before this experience. How does Doug know if Christians do or do not drink?

This gives Writer!Doug a chance to drop the whole “wine is actually grape juice” argument Adventism has against drinking. (Drink!) Because people in Bible times totally had the technology to preserve unfermented grape juice!

And then there’s this lovely paragraph:

I had used many drugs in my life: LSD, hash, uppers, downers, THC, PCP, and cocaine, but none of these drugs was more addicting or dangerous than alcohol, and more than half the people in prisons, hospitals, and mental institutions are there because of alcohol.

(Citation needed.)

No way in fuck is Alcohol more dangerous than Cocaine. I will give him THC (marijuana), because that is absolutely safer than alcohol.  The rest of those drugs are absolutely worse than alcohol.  Not everyone who drinks gets addicted to booze. I’m not sure one can say the same about cocaine, though I admit to having had no experience with the drug.

Anyway, Doug drinks a lot of beer and winds up in jail for “public misconduct.” So, regardless of the voices in his head, Doug drank after his baptism, anyway.

Doug tells us that, after his experience, instead of saying “fuck!” when he stubbed his toe, he’d say, “thank you Lord.”

I didn’t want to let the devil make me curse, and I knew that I couldn’t thank God and curse at the same time.

Because “God,” “God bless you,” “thank you, Lord,” etc, have never been used as curse phrases! God bless this book!

Doug now wants to find someone to badger for Christ, but can only think of Glen. Glen isn’t interested in spiritual things. Adult!Doug then tells us, to end the chapter, that Glen later rededicated his life to the Lord. So basically, Doug just spoiled the book for us.

 
*http://www.humanreligions.info/gospels.html

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26 thoughts on “The Richest Caveman Chapter 11

  1. Concerning religious wars involving Ireland: Until fairly recently, armed conflict of one degree or another involved Protestant England against Roman Catholic Ireland. Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom with England because those counties in Ireland were Protestant and did not want to be subordinate to Roman Catholic Ireland. The *Troubles* in Northern Ireland involved a Roman Catholic armed insurgency attempting to reunite the Northern Ireland with the rest of the island.

    • Interesting…. I know a lot of Irish wars were fought between Catholics and Protestants, but it’s been a long time since I read anything about it. Does any of this have any effect on the recent Brexit situation?

      • Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, but being part of the United Kingdom, it will be forced to exit, if the UK follows through with Brexit. At least in part, the settlement of the *Troubles* presupposed that the UK would be in the EU and thus few if any barriers along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

  2. Batchelor writes, “I had spent a lot of time with books on philosophy and Eastern religions.”

    What struck me as mildly amusing about this is that a few paragraphs later, he has trouble with the difference between *version* and *virgin*. He writes, “. . . even though I had finished the 9th grade, I was not a fluent reader . . . “.

    So one wonders how sophisticated the books he spent time with and how much he could have gotten out of them.

    Philosophy, eastern or western, can be quite verbally difficult. And neither are monolithic. Hinduism is significantly different from Buddhism, and there are significant conflicts within both.

    It would be interesting to know what specific titles he actually tried to read.

    • That’s a good point. I mean, I called bullshit on the whole virgin/version thing because that sounds more like an error an 8-10 year old would make. I could believe DOUG had a ten year old reading level by he would not have had a ten year old mind.

      And you do make an excellent point about philosophical books being particularly word building. I never thought about it before.

      And I am not exactly sure what DOUG means by eastern religions. Is Islam an eastern religion? They don’t teach that God is inside you at all.

      • I would not classify Islam as an Eastern religion, as I would not any of the so-called *Abrahamic* faiths: Judaism, Christianity or Islam even though their origins are in the Middle East.

        I suspect Batchelor means the south & east Asian religions: primarily Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism.

        Each of these are diverse and rich traditions, with extremely extensive sacred scriptures, dwarfing the Christian canon.

      • I have the Bagavad Gita(sp) that I stole from the campus house. I haven’t got around to reading it though. I’m not familiar with any other Eastern religion holy books but I’m sure the exist.

        Yeah, I feel like DOUG barely gives these religions a passing glance. Despite what he SAYS about being prejudiced against Christianity by “the Jews,” he really does seem like he was biased toward it.

      • What translation do you have of the Bhagavad-gita? That is a good place to start. It will give you the flavor of Hinduism, both in its devotional mode and its philosophical mode.

        I will be interested in your reaction when you get around to reading it.

      • Oh gosh I don’t even know where I put it! I think someone from campus got it from the Krishna house we ate at in Texas. It was very good food, but we never went there again because people were flipping the fuck out that the food had been offered to idols first. I tried to point out that Paul had told us not to care about that, to no avail.

        Anyway, tbh, the Koran is higher on my reading list than the Bagavad Gita, because Islam is closer to home. The book of moron is also very interesting. And by interesting I mean “I play drinking games with it and pass out quickly.” I should go back and finish it before starting the Koran. Or read the Koran first and then go back….

      • It would not surprise me if your copy is
        Bhagavad-gītā as it is by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

        I have not read this translation thoroughly–a bleep-load of sectarian commentary.

        I bought my copy at a thrift story in Berrien Springs run by the SDA church there. My grandparents worked many an hour at that thrift story over many years.

      • That name sounds familiar, so I do believe you are correct. It’s possible that I sent the book to my parents house for storage, which was a shitty idea. I’m now trying to plot how to get all my stuff back when I don’t have a car and would really need a small truck, but this is another rant.

        I want to go that thrift store…. I think I could find some good snark material for my blog. If only I had a car…

  3. Batchelor writes, “The Eastern religions told me to meditate, to look within, because there I would find God.” At best this is a very superficial description of some Eastern religions.

    Eastern religions range from polytheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, atheistic, etc. etc.

    Some forms of Buddhism, not only deny the god within, but the very unity of the self. And the goal of meditation is to see god and/or the self as an illusion.

    My guess the books that Batchelor spent time with were superficial popularizations–probably centered on meditation techniques.

  4. What bothers me are the implied claims in the sentence “I had spent a lot of time with books on philosophy and Eastern religions.”

  5. I doubt that the average Roman Catholic congregation would have a King James Bible in its pews. The King James Version is a decidedly Protestant version. It is hard for me to say which translation, if any, would be in an average RC church.

    The English translation that parallels the KJV for Roman Catholics is the Douay-Rheims translation. The best I can tell, the RCs do not use this translation much any more, but rather Catholic versions of other standard English translations.

    I would love to own a Douay-Rheims, but they are hard to find. The only Roman Catholic translation I have is the Jerusalem Bible (despite the name, it is of French origin).

    • Huh. I actually don’t remember which bibles we’re in the Catholic Church I went to. I was too busy wondering why pirate guys we’re throwing water at me and wondering if they’d notice if I snuck up for communion for my first taste of real wine.

      My point, though, was that these bibles sometimes have the word “version” somewhere either on the front or the inside cover. New international version, english standard version, etc.

      DOUG should have a passing familiarity with the word “version.”

  6. I am very dubious that Batchelor independently, in the cave, thought up the liar, lunatic, lord trilemma (and notice that he paraphrases it). I think he is reading back into his life things he learned later. And I suspect this is not the only example.

    • He doesn’t actually refer to it as The Trilemma. That was ME paraphrasing it. I totally agree with you that he didn’t come up with it on his own.

      The actual text reads:

      By the time I finished the 4 gospels, I knew I had to decide what to do about Jesus. I knew he really lived, btu who was He? I could see 3 options. Either He was crazy, He was a liar, or He was who he claimed to be, the Son of God.

      Insert a few sentences about how Doug wants to know the truth very badly.

      “Could he have been crazy?” I asked myself.
      I thought of the many times he’d silenced his enemies by just a few words. I thought of the power of his words, like the Sermon on the Mount, and how He read the thoughts and intentions of people’s hearts. No, I decided. He was not crazy, he was brilliant.

      (Like the two things are mutually exclusive, thought Jenny as she rolled her eyes reading this.)

      Was He A liar and a deceiver?
      I thought of his unselfish ministry, how he went about healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons. he devoted his entire life to promoting truth. Had he been a liar, he could have easily lied at his trial and escaped death. I was a terrific liar, and they say it takes one to know one. No, he was not a liar.

      That left only one conclusion.

  7. Batchelor writes, “If water had covered the whole Earth, no wonder I found fossils at 7K feet”.

    I guess he missed (or dismisses) plate tectonics.

    Admittedly, this theory was not fully established until late in the 20th century.

    • Yeah, I mean… I don’t know enough about evolution to argue with him, but I feel like there’s other hypotheses or theories that Doug didn’t even look at.

      I absolutely agree that a lot of the stories in this book are exaggerated. I am not quite able to suspend my disbelief the amount of times Doug/Tooker ask me to.

      Another thing to think about is that this book is written by someone else. Doug told the story, but at this point, someone else wrote it down. I wonder if SHE is actually the main exaggerator? Either way, she was a terrible editor.

  8. Do Muslims even do ministry as we would recognize it?

    Since the rise of social medial recruitment of Islamic terrorists, I have not searched this.

    However, several years ago, I could send for free Islamic publications from internet sites.

      • I do have some other books the people at the Muslim booth at the art fair gave me that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading. I’m not home right now so I can’t check titles. But what other books would you recommend?

      • I am not sure what to recommend, partly because I have such little taste for Islam as a religion. Give me the grand polytheistic myths of Hinduism any day.

        Somewhat similar to Judaism, there is a strong legal tradition in the religion of Islam.

        Among the ex-muslim critics, there is Ibn Warraq, I can only recommend his _Why I Am Not A Muslim_.

  9. I found it amusing that when Batchelor’s Baptist friend suggested baptism, Batchelor asked, “Where [in the Bible] does it say that?”

    I wonder, given Batchelor’s superficial exposure to Christianity, where he got the idea that practices/rituals need a proof-text? I sense some more back-fill reading.

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