Lightning didn’t strike David Fitzgerald dead on Wednesday night.
But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
The devout atheist did everything short of dance beneath a thunderhead with a golf club in his hand when addressing a room full of like-minded individuals about some of the bible’s more “illustrious” stories.
And as if the stories themselves weren’t illustrious on their own merits, Fitzgerald – the author of “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All” – did everything he could to paint the flavor into them.
It was the latest gathering of the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers and the Stanislaus Humanists – the larger Central Valley Coalition for Reason – in the McFall Room at the Manteca Library. Local church groups made good on their promise to gather peacefully in Library Park every time the group uses the facility to hold its secular meetings every two months. No issues were reported.
So just what did Fitzgerald – with his unique speaking style, armed with an obscenity laded PowerPoint – point out to those in attendance?
Individual biblical stories, Fitzgerald said, can seem to be odd enough on their own without additional investigation – like the suspect relationship between two male characters or the way that stories that are told with pieces of information left out. But when that additional information is added, Fitzgerald said, it only raises the bar to what any standard person would consider obscene or even crazy.
“That’s really what we’re here to talk about today – the morality that you’re going to find in the bible,” he said. “It’s morality that’s full of what I like to call absurdtrocities – the crazy things that you aren’t going to find anywhere else.
Despite all of the light that Fitzgerald made during the evening’s fun, he was also quick to point out that there are likely some much more realistic explanations than the ones that got handed down as biblical lore – especially with three centuries passing before the first formation of a Christian faith began to take hold.
While his personal beliefs rang through, so did his knowledge about aspects of the bible that most people would swear up-and-down is outright fake – the byproduct of being an associate member of the now defunct Committee for the Scientific Examination of Reason.
Fitzgerald is also the founder of the nation’s first atheist film festival, and San Francisco’s Oldest Darwin Day celebration, Evolutionpalooza.