What? Oh, he doesn't know there are really no rats. Running is good for him. I like kitties, ok?
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Meet the Atheist Preacher

Just couldn't stand it could you - just had to find out something about the weird atheist preacher guy. Okay. But I warned you - I think. I'll be nice, for those who don't have much time or are just impatient as hell. First is the "condensed version." Then, if you really want to know more, go on to the longer autobiography.

Condensed History of the Atheist Preacher

Born March 23, 1958 in Cedartown, Georgia. Only child of Tom and Bessie Beal (but have half-brothers - see autobiography). Raised as Jehovah's Witness, got GED, maybe a year of Jr. college. Got married to Philis Annette Barfield on April 5, 1978 (again on November 24, 1980). No children (somewhat painful story). Currently have 2 dogs and 14 cats. Began diligent search for truth in and about religion around 1978. Attended many kinds of churches, was last a member of First Assembly of God in Dothan, Alabama (circa 1983-1988). Am legally ordained (Christian) minister. Very painful transition into atheism 1988-89. Have had many jobs from farm hand and janitor to long-haul trucker. Last "technically" employed April, 1988.

The Making of a Gnostic Atheist Evangelist

A (partial) Autobiography
I'll start with a little of my "prehistory" - before I was born. You see, there was this hellashus noise and th.. what? The Big Bang is too far back? Oh, well, I'll bring it on up to my parents.

Paw & Maw

Yeah, in the South, at least where I was, it's paw and maw, not mom and dad or pop and not ma and pa - that's yankee talk. Some folks may say daddy and momma. But for me it was paw and maw.
Paw was born Robert Thomas Beal in 1900. His paw was Joseph Thomas Beal and his maw (I think) was Lucinda. Paw had one brother, Lee, and two sisters, Ula and Tula. Paw went all the way to fourth grade. That would've been about 1910. He learned basic arithmetic and reading and writing, though his handwriting was never very legible.
There is insanity on paw's side of the family. He often told stories of weird incidents involving his mother. Despite his near illiteracy, he was actually a fairly good storyteller - maybe that's where I get the genetic disposition to write and publish. He claimed that once his father was sick and the doctor couldn't understand why. He said he watched his mother doing something at the back of the house. When he went to investigate, he turned over the big flat rock that served as the bottom doorstep and found that his mother had placed a wad of his father's hair there with pins and needles stuck through it. He claimed he took the wad and went into the house and threw it into the fireplace, whereupon his mother let out a bone-chilling scream, leaped over the bed and came for him. He managed to out manuver her and shortly she began screaming that she was burning in hellfire. She left the house running and screaming.
Obviously he was saying that his mother was a witch and that by throwing the hair into the fire, he essentially stopped the spell she had on his father and reversed it onto her. Of course I know there is no such thing as actual witches and spells, but I also know that the power of suggestion in some people is incredibly strong. He believed in witchcraft. Once, when I was a child, I awoke one morning to find paw walking around the outside of the house, mumbling to himself. That in itself wasn't so unusual but he was doing something that I couldn't see. I sneaked to a window and saw that he was sprinkling a continuous line of salt in a circle about 10 feet or so from the house, and was apparently casting some kind of spell. A few days later I was able to figure out that he was casting a spell against a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses with whom he had had a falling out. Coincidentally, the JWs came to the house once more but they didn't come in. The visit was very brief and I could see they were very uncomfortable. It made an impression on me. I was still a little boy, and it would be many years yet before I became and atheist. It sure looked to me like his spell had worked. Those people never came to our house again after that.
Paw quit school very early and began to work to help support the family. Al the jobs he ever had throughout his life had to do with either farming or logging, both of which required extreme amounts of physical strength and endurance, and paid virtually nothing.
At some point, probably somewhere in his 20s paw became a Jehovah's Witness. Before that he had been a Baptist I think.
I'm not sure when he married his first wife, Ollie, but by the mid- 1930s he had several children. It was almost certainly due to his understanding of JW literature and his weird interpreattion of the Bible that he had the notion that his daughters were as much his property as his wife. That apparently led him to force his oldest daughter into incest. It was this, as I understand it, that got him into prison in Atmore, Alabama.
Paw also told some wild stories about his life in prison. Certain words and phrases stuck in my mind and no doubt will always be there. He talked a lot about the "canning plant" at prison. He told stories of seeing a man cut off another man's head during a knife fight.