Some titles are earned, some are awarded and some are assumed. Some are fanciful, some are revered and some are expected. Others, however, are undeserved, arrogant and presumptuous. Now, as you all well know, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I added the “Dr.” to my name to make a point. Let’s examine the PhD, also known as a Doctorate. It represents the penultimate of learning in any given field and those who get to add it to their name do so as a sign to the rest of the world that they have amassed a requisite amount of knowledge so that the rest of us should take them seriously when they speak on something.
The world of the PhD is filled with peer reviews. The holder of said title who makes proclamations without using the proper research tools or acts irresponsibly in their research will generally be called out by other holders of said title, at which time the former either gets their act together or continues down the proverbial Yellow Brick Road. The quack PhD is usually chided completely out of relevance by their peers.
Except for the individual who holds a PhD in one of the religious fields, such as Theology or Divinity. Pick one, doesn’t matter. Both are a joke. The institutions that offer advanced degrees (or any degrees in these subjects, actually) in these fields are brilliant, actually. They have figured out how to stretch out the contents of the bible into a format that earns an obscene amounts of money for these schools in exchange for gratifying the pompous arrogance of the men and women who believe that their invisible friend has “called” them to expound, extrapolate and exegate (I know it’s not a word) and to be able to puff out their already expanded chests by showing the world that they have answered “the call,” are really serious about it, and are now “experts” on all things god-related. What god said, what god does, what god did, what god wants, what god likes, what god hates, what god expects from you, how god will punish you, why god does what he does, etc., etc., ad nauseum. The problem for them is that the rest of the academic world, for the most part, couldn’t give a flying fuck through a rolling donut about these degrees.
A degree in any religious studies for anything other than academic reasons isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s the ultimate Sienfeld episode. The biggest “something out of nothing” that has ever come down the pike of religiosity. Someone who holds a doctorate in Theology or Divinity will only be called out by another individual who holds a doctorate in Theology or Divinity along doctrinal lines, which is something that can also be done to the common believer. As long as you believe in god, according to someone else you will be going to hell. Doctor or not.
The only thing a doctorate in Theology or Divinity proves is that you’ve wasted an extreme amount of time learning about something that doesn’t exist by studying a book that was written by bronze-aged men who had no clue where thunder and lighting came from, thought the earth was flat and believed that holding a white and black striped stick in front of a pregnant sheep would result in a black and white kid. Believing a lie is one thing. Spending upward of twelve years studying how and why to REALLY believe that lie is just plain sad. Religion, itself, is the biggest scam ever to be perpetrated in the history of everything. It makes Bernie Madoff look like the five-year-old who just stole a cookie. Getting an advanced degree in non-academic religion is both a scam AND a joke, both at the expense of the individual who possesses said degree.
Thus, with all due respect to those who have actual, real, productive and academically important PhD’s, I have decided that I am going to use the title of “Doctor” and append my name with “PhD” whenever I address anyone who has one of these ridiculous degrees. And I feel I have the right to. I have been awarded a PhD in Heresy by my friend Richard McCargar, who heads up Logidea University. What, you say? No formal schooling? Bullshit. I’ve been a heretic for most of my life. I have surpassed the requirements that most religious schools have put forth for awarding their PhD’s. What? No thesis? Bullshit. I wrote a fucking book. 290 pages of pure, heretical polemic that has been peer-reviewed by other heretics and found to be worthy. What? An online school? I won’t even address that one…
So, thus, let it be known henceforth that to all my friends, fans, supporters and everyone else who is not the holder of an advanced degree in Theology or Divinity, I will remain Al Stefanelli, Esq. To those who hold advanced degrees in Theology or Divinity, I fully expect the same respect and recognition that you expect. If you wish me to address you as “Doctor,” then you will address me as such. If not, I will no longer respond to your queries directly, but shall have one of my staff respond.
What about the “Esq“? No, I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. I am using the “Esq.” until my friend, EllenBeth Wachs is fully acquitted and exonerated of the total bullshit charges that were levied against her. EllenBeth is Vice President, Legal Affairs Coordinator and Board Member for Atheists of Florida, Tampa. She is an attorney, although she does not practice law due to medical issues. She was arrested, however, for using the handle “Esq.” Apparently the city of Lakeland has solved all of their crime problems. Of course, there is an underlying agenda to this story, which I hope you will read about. Either way, EllenBeth did graduate Law School and pass a bar exam and even though it is not illegal for ANYONE to use “Esq,” EllenBeth DEFINITELY has a right to use it. No worries, though. EllenBeth is tough as nails and those religious whackos in Lakeland are going to rue the day they ever came up against such a bright, talented and knowledgeable adversary.
So, there you have it. My rant for today. I will take my leave of you know, as I have pressing matters to attend to.
Dr. Al Stefanelli, Esq.
Al Stefanelli is the author of “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism On Planet earth.” He also writes for the National Atheism Examiner and Yahoo! He is also the President and Founder of the United Atheist Front, wich can be found on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, Podbean and YouTube.