Leaving Christianity – Oh What A Relief It Is!

Oh What A Relief It Is!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!

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Message to Trump Supporters

Courtesy of gq.com

First off, I’m going to assume you are an intelligent and well-read individual. I admit there are times this assumption goes awry as I read about your support for some of Trump’s actions, but that’s neither here nor there.

What concerns me are things like the obvious …

Trump came into the office of POTUS as a millionaire. Although it’s debatable how many millions, there’s little doubt he has a few bucks to his name. Many of you who went to the voting booths in November 2016 felt this made him a prime candidate for the office, believing he had “proven himself” as a successful businessman and would, therefore, have the “smarts” to run this country.

However, what you failed to realize is that most millionaires care little about the folks who are striving to pay the water and electricity bills and put food on the table. Their primary goal is to make MORE millions (along with helping their millionaire friends to do the same) … and they will do just about anything to accomplish this, legal or otherwise. (They long ago learned how to use the “otherwise” to their advantage.) Simply because Trump, as one of those millionaires, sits in the Oval Office does not change his outlook on accumulating wealth. He simply has to be a bit more discreet in his actions.

(Sidenote: Can anyone validate that he has kept his promise to give his salary to charitable causes?)

Further, many wealth-holders believe they are “above” people like you who are struggling to make ends meet. They tend to believe their bank accounts give them the privilege to do and say things that are often offensive, distasteful, derogatory, even abusive to and about people they don’t like. Trump has this particular trait honed to perfection. And what is sad is that you, as a supporter, tend to be swept up by this distasteful behavior and even join him as he castigates those he believes have spoken or acted against him — whether valid or not.

Being charged with an offense of any kind is unsettling to all of us, but it is especially unsettling when we know we are innocent. At first, we naturally object (sometimes vociferously), but eventually we recognize the end result will be to our favor so we allow events to play out. However, if we are guilty, we seem to feel the need to repeatedly “tell the world” we have done nothing wrong. It’s as though the proclamation of our self-imposed innocence will alter the end result. Your leader, Donald Trump, may or may not be guilty of working with the Russians to influence the 2016 election, but based on the preceding, one would think he would simply let things play out since he would know in his heart he is truly innocent. Yet it is more than obvious this is not what has taken place.

There are leaders of other countries that do not like the United States. While they may figuratively smile and nod at our Leader and/or his representatives, behind the scenes they are doing whatever is required to “take us down.” Yet your elected President seems oblivious to this and instead, praises and supports these adversaries and frequently takes their word against those within the administration who have served this country for far more years than he has and have considerably more in-depth knowledge. Do you honestly feel Donald Trump, with no more experience than building the “Trump Empire,” truly knows his opponents as well as he would like you to think?

Donald Trump once criticized his predecessor for playing too much golf. Are you aware of the number of weekends your chosen leader has spent on the golf course? Are you at all concerned with the COST of these leisurely trips? More importantly, do you recognize it is YOU that is footing the bill?

Obviously you were caught up in Trump’s campaign slogan and truly believed he would “Make America Great Again.” You do realize, don’t you, that YOU are part of the America he talked about. So the question becomes: Can you honestly say your life has improved over the last two years?

Donald Trump’s past is crammed full of unsavory deals and immoral actions, which causes me ask — what makes you think he’s changed? Perhaps his dalliances with other females has slowed down due to his age, but how do you know what is going on “behind the scenes” through his outside business dealings? He may say things are being run by his sons, but do you truly think he isn’t benefiting from their actions and decisions? And can you honestly believe he doesn’t know some of his current actions will bring a return when he leaves office?

I admit I have had trouble seeing Donald Trump as a man who truly cares about this country. For me, his actions have shown time and again that he is more concerned about himself than he is in AMERICA. Yes, most of my opinions of him are influenced by the news reports I tend to read. However, this does not mean I have ignored the sources that support the actions of this president, albeit it is difficult to accept their viewpoint when I can read the “tweets” of Trump himself that often contradict what they say.

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I am hereby inviting any Trump supporter to offer your opposing viewpoint. If you can state the reasons why you feel this man has this country’s welfare above and beyond his own personal agenda, I sincerely would like to hear from you.

However, let me be clear — I will delete any “rebuttal” comments that are derogatory and/or insulting.

The Book

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

A book is nothing more than an object consisting of pages glued to a cover with a title. Yet within these pages, we often find stories involving mystery, fantasy, suspense, romance, science fiction, etc. We can also learn things from books, such as how to build a computer, how to lose weight, where to go for vacation, what to fix for dinner, even how to stay safe during an earthquake.

But there is ONE book that, for rather curious reasons, tends to stand out from the crowd. It is a very old book; in fact, it was written over two thousand years ago.

It is a somewhat intriguing book in that while it includes stories of torture, murder, baby-killing, slavery and other distasteful activities, it also includes what some consider a “love story” (although one might be hard-pressed to identify the reasons behind this notion).

The book I’m referring to is called the “Holy Bible.”

To many, this book contains “special” words provided by a supernatural and invisible being who whispered in the ears of select individuals many thousands of years ago. Since writing had not yet been invented, these unique individuals verbally shared what they heard, which meant that each person who received this “special” information passed it on to the next person by word of mouth, who would then pass it on to the next person, who would then pass it on to another person, who … well, you get the idea.

Eventually, after several hundred years, certain individuals learned to write and the oft-repeated stories were recorded on scrolls made from papyrus (a plant-based paper). As these scrolls were passed around from person to person, it was inevitable they would become worn out and need to be “re-copied,” which undeniably resulted in copying errors.

Further, as the years passed and the world expanded, new and different languages were introduced so dedicated individuals began translating the words into their native language. What is puzzling is that thousands of people in the modern world are convinced the contents of the “Holy Bible” they hold in their hands is totally true to the original versions produced so many thousands of years ago.

They are further convinced its contents justify/prove/validate their perspective on life and how they should treat their fellow human beings (even though, as mentioned previously, there are numerous stories that support and/or endorse rape, murder, torture, etc.).

Moreover, they use words from this centuries old book to deny many scientific discoveries and instead cling to beliefs related to creation, the shape of the earth, the age of the earth, the birth of humankind, etc.

From the perspective of many, such dedication and commitment to the contents of a book written in an entirely different day and age by individuals who had absolutely no concept of today’s world and its many and varied innovations … is simply incomprehensible.

I think the following comment by someone on another blog sums it up quite well:

I would imagine that any book that was indeed the inspired word of the supreme being of the entirety of everything (aka GOD) would be the first and last book anyone ever needed. In other words, there should be ONE and only ONE book at the Christian bookstore. Further, the author of such a book (aka GOD) being so awesome, would not need the help of mere mortals to get his (everyone knows that GOD is man, right?) point across. 

Yet, as we all know, this is not the case. Do you ever wonder why?

A Message from the Republican Party

The following was posted on John Pavlovitz’s blog. The message is profound.

It is written as being “from” the Republican Party of 2018.

To the Young Men of America,

You can do whatever you want to young women.

You can disregard their humanity,
force yourself on them physically,
ignore their pleas to stop,
proceed without consent,
hurt them,
humiliate them,
indulge your urges,
treat them as property,
and silence, slander, and intimidate them after the fact.

You can do this as often as you like, to as many young girls as opportunity and your desires allow.

We will have your back (providing you are white, wealthy, and one day vote Republican).

We will marshal our every resource of finance and position and privilege in protecting and defending you.

You will receive sanctuary in our midst, regardless of the horrors you are responsible for or the recklessness and brazenness of your conduct.

We will help you in any way we can, to malign your accuser’s character, destroy their credibility, and embarrass them further.

We will blame alcohol or her memory or her behavior in the past.
We will talk about your viciousness in ways designed to make it seem commonplace.
We will paint you in as flattering a portrait as we can, so that you actually come out looking like the victim, so that the accusations are actually a help.
We will have no loyalty to the truth or to goodness or decency, if such things pose a threat to either your narrative or our prosperity.
We’ll use the invaluable resource of the Evangelical Church to even make supporting you, part of God’s will.

If no other option is available, we will simply ignore what you’ve done. (After all we installed a President that way.)

We will never allow the violence you make young women endure, to prevent you from having opportunity and advancement and success.

We can promise you that.

And to Young Women of America,

You don’t matter.

Not your trauma or your pain,
not the innocence you lose,
not the damage you sustain,
not the scars you are marked by,
not the nightmares you are haunted by,
not the peace you no longer find,
not the confidence that leaves you,
not the fear that is ever present,
not the shame that you cannot shake,
not the silence you are imprisoned by.

We simply do not see you as valuable—at least not as valuable as the status quo we’re protecting or the legislation we’re coveting or the religion we’re perpetuating or the votes we’re needing.

You are the acceptable collateral damage of our misogyny and entitlement.

Your body, your emotional health, and your sense of safety—simply aren’t worth more than a Supreme Court seat.

Of course, should a pregnancy somehow be created by your violation, we will vigorously demand that you be forced to carry it, even if it exacerbates your pain and magnifies your despair. After all, we urgently need to perpetuate the appearance that we are pro-life—just not your life.

We can imagine this is less than ideal for you, but we hope you understand that this is how it has always been, and we are counting on you to indulge us one last time, and we appreciate your cooperation.

After all, we have a Patriarchy and a predatory President to protect.

So, young men and women of America, we hope you see us with clarity.
We hope that in these days, we are exposing ourselves fully.
We hope you know who we are now.

We’ll see you in November.

Sincerely,

The Republican Party of 2018

Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?