If you sincerely believe something different than me, I want to understand why. If you’re wrong I want to fully understand your beliefs so I can properly refute them. If you’re right I want to know so I can change my beliefs. Either way, I need to hear your beliefs to examine them and decide whether your are right or wrong. I don’t want a skeptic’s straw man summary of your beliefs, I want to hear what actually convinced you, as a rational human being who has put some thought into the issue. And presenting those beliefs in a logical and articulate manner is a service worth paying for.
On the other hand, sometimes I just need a good laugh.
I have been to Holy Land Experience (better known as Jesusland). I sat in the hot Florida sun and watched a morbidly obese woman wielding a turkey leg call out “THANK YOU JEEEEE-SUS” over a re-enactment of the crucifixion while her young children looked on, bored. It was the most authentic cultural experience I had in central Florida. I gave them almost $50 for this privilege.
I have been to the Big Valley Creation Science Museum. I didn’t actually give them money, though I fully intended to. Because the owner showed up late to let us in he gave us free admission and a couple of free books.
The default radio station in my car is Shine FM. True to their advertisements, the more I listen the better I feel. Just try listening to this without cracking a smile. I’m not sure if they have made any money off of me or not. Their advertisements tend to be fairly futile because I am not interested in spreading the word of God to the third world, I don’t care whether my accountant lives according to biblical principles and I don’t have six children.
CTS was my primary television station for over 3 years. That was before Sun News came in and stole their best hosts and guests. This wrecked both stations. CTS hosts discussed even the most controversial news topics politely and effectively. Sun News consists entirely of sensationalized rants even I have trouble watching. While CTS was a refreshingly different perspective on my world, Sun News seems to be completely out of touch. Again, I’m not sure how much money they have made off of me, their primary source of income being advertisers for a different demographic.
I go to live presentations whenever I know they are in town. There are usually enough free ones that I don’t bother with ones that cost. There are, however, Christian comedians I would pay for if they ever came to Edmonton.
I have read more books I disagreed with than I can count. I feel I have to read something myself before I have a right to laugh at it. I’ve read Of Pandas and People, Scientology and Dianetics, and Sarah Palin’s autobiography. I get them from the public library whenever possible, but if there is a particular author I like and it’s not available I have been known to purchase them.
My favorite blogs include New Advent, Age of Autism, Ann Coulter and Creation Ministries International. No, I don’t have any for Scientology or Mormonism. These religion’s PR campaigns consist largely of convincing people they don’t really believe all that crazy stuff. Their public, entry level beliefs are straightforward and boring. It’s only after decades of indoctrination that they bring out the aliens and spaceships. Because of this the only sources for this information are brought out by apostates, and the PR guys deny it if they can and ignore it when they can’t. Therefore you don’t find strong scientologist apologists trying to rationally defend their beliefs on the internet. The beliefs they share with the world are too common sense to bother defending, and the rest they deny. For many other religions it is difficult to find good sources that write in English.
So yes, I think it is fairly certain that people I don’t agree with have received money from me over the years. But they have given me valued entertainment, and contributed to a free and flourishing marketplace of ideas. And I am willing to support that.