Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. It was not an easy road.
As Stephen Van Eck wrote on the Deism.com website: “Once sucked into the parallel universe of Christianity, [a person] is too intimidated by threats and rationalizations to attempt escape. Even thinking along alternative lines will induce severe feelings of guilt.”
Writing my book helped tremendously because of all the research and reading I did. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.
I also found out some things about the Bible. As many others, I had been taught the Bible was “God’s Word” (even though the interpretation of what “He” said varies considerably among denominations). Through my studies, I discovered that much of what is in the bible is the result of stories, epics, myths, legends, proverbs, etc. that were passed by word of mouth from one generation to another. This is particularly true of the Hebrew Bible, but intrinsically typical of the New Testament scriptures as well. Can you imagine the burden that was lifted when I found out I wasn’t genetically inclined to sin and thus in need of someone to save me from being human??!?
Contrary to what one might think, the many discoveries I made did not turn me into an atheist. However, I definitely do not believe in a supernatural being who lives somewhere “up there,” who can be manipulated by prayer, or who has a “will.” Rather, my image of “God” is far more encompassing and has nothing to do with religious belief. In fact, I’m extremely reluctant to even use the word “god” because of all its connotations.
In any case, I find my life so much more fulfilling now. Truly, what a relief it has been!
HEADLINE (from USA Today):
Utah mom admits killing 6 newborns
Megan Huntsman was clear about what she did with six of her newborn babies. She either strangled or suffocated them immediately after they were born, wrapped their bodies in a towel or a shirt, put them in plastic bags, and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home.
What’s not clear is why.
It’s not clear as to why?!?? The reason seems pretty obvious. She didn’t want them.
Many are adamantly against abortion, but in a case like this, wouldn’t it have been better if she had ended the life of the fetuses (which are arguably human) than waiting to kill what most certainly could not have been mistaken in any way, shape, or form as being HUMAN babies?
We may never know the real reasons behind this woman’s actions, yet one can’t help but wonder if there could have been a better way.
A local newscast reported many people affected by the mudslide in Washington State (3/22/14) attended church this past Sunday. Those who already knew the fate of their loved ones were most likely looking for solace and comfort. Those who are still awaiting news most certainly were praying for a miracle.
But it was also reported that one individual asked this probing question: “Where is God in all this?”
Sometime back, on the Finding Truth blog, one of the visitors directed a couple of rather intriguing questions to both believers and non-believers. With this person’s permission, I am publishing the questions here. As a Christian or as an Atheist, how would you answer them?
1. If everyone else you knew turned away and stopped believing what you believed, would you still believe?
2. Furthermore, if some of these same people treated you differently, harshly and excluded you because of your convictions, would you still believe?
I tend to think atheists would be less likely to change their thinking because they have generally done a thorough investigation of Christian claims and feel comfortable in their decision. However, if some irrefutable event occurred that strongly indicated God existed, what then? Would they be able to hold on to their “non-belief?” Especially if other non-believers became convinced of the validity of Christianity?
For Christians, the first question is especially pertinent. How many would be able to hold onto their convictions if everyone else stopped believing? I have a hunch many would say this wouldn’t matter — that they would continue to believe. But let’s be realistic. Facing banishment and ostracization from friends and family is not a walk in the park. And, as in the case of the atheists, if former believers were able to present undeniable evidence that Christianity was false, would this make a difference?
Think about it. What would you do?
Many believers are feeling considerable discomfort related to the current TV series entitled “COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey” — an outstanding presentation hosted and narrated by well-known physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. The program is an updated version of the television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented in 1980 by Carl Sagan (deceased 1996).
To the devout, this documentary is a blasphemy against their Creator-God since it is based on “science” – a nefarious, liberal, secular agenda whose sole purpose is to turn people from god (quote by Brandon Fibbs at FaithStreet.com).
In truth, Science is an objective, methodological tool that uses reason and evidence to study the world around us. Unfortunately, these two words are often missing from the vocabulary of many believers. They prefer the word FAITH. For them, the words from a book written centuries ago by unknown authors carries much more weight than the experiments and observations made today by astrophysicists, astronomers, cosmologists, etc. They prefer to cling to the old adage, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”
Probably the biggest difference between Faith and Science is that science is always asking, always seeking, always yearning to know more. It is never satisfied with the status quo. Religion, on the other hand, is static, preferring to cling to traditions and doctrines established by individuals who lived in vastly different times and under widely different circumstances.
For some, Faith may have the answers … but Science asks the questions.
Religious Groups Take a Stand for Reproductive Rights: “It’s Time to Change the Conversation”
I just read the above article and am elated to discover there are those in the religious world who are taking a sensible approach to abortion.
A coalition of faith groups has been formed whose members are interested in speaking up in favor of abortion rights, contraception access, and comprehensive sex ed.
It’s about time!
Yet, in the same article it’s worrisome to read that despite public outcry, some states have passed record-breaking numbers of restrictions on abortion and family planning … and this very narrow religious view of abortion and sexuality is increasingly being enshrined into law. This dramatic increase has been mainly driven by just a handful of states that have a particular focus on enacting the harshest laws against abortion since Roe vs Wade: North Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, and North Carolina.
Regarding their objectives, Rev. Harry Knox, the president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the spokesperson for this article, made this comment:
“For too long, the extreme Religious Right has dominated the public conversation about religion and sexuality. But the truth is that most people of faith, like the majority of Americans overall, support access to contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and reproductive health care — including abortion.”
“Our campaign is very much based on the idea that compassion begins at home.”
Certainly those who adamantly oppose abortion will look with disgust and horror at this group. However, for me it’s extremely heartening to know there are those in religious circles who are willing to be a positive force for compassion and understanding and who are interested in promoting respectful dialogue about this very controversial topic.