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!

An Anthropologist Asks …

neanderthalCourtesy of National Geographic

Were Neanderthals Religious?
 By: Barbara J. King
Anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary

Did Neanderthals engage in some way with the supernatural or the sacred?

Given their intelligence, it seems to me likely that the Neanderthals contemplated, in some way, the mysteries of life. Wouldn’t they have wondered not only about unexpected and surprising weather events and sky events but also what happens when our lives comes to an end? If they thought about these questions, did they do so with awe, dread or reverence?

More relevantly for a scientific analysis is this question: Did they come together in groups to evoke gods, spirits or ancestors to help themselves make sense of the world?

Anthropologist and Neanderthal expert John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin states: “I don’t think it is at all improbable that the Neanderthals had a humanlike religious capacity. But to be honest, I think this is not what many Americans or Europeans would recognize as religion.”

The article author agrees and adds …

Religion is best understood across cultures and time periods as practice rather than only belief. Some religions, of course, feature sacred texts in which a set of beliefs is set forth. In these cases, what you believe about a god or other sacred forces may really matter. In many human societies past and present, though, no text exists, just everyday life — appeasing gods or spirits, honoring the ancestors — that is shot through with a sense of the sacred or the supernatural. (Emphasis mine)

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What do you think?

A Few Meandering Thoughts

Just a few things that floated through my mind over the past several days:

  • tRump refuses to hold press conferences because, as Jennifer Epstein (in defense?) tweeted, “The man works 18 hours a day, meeting with people, taking calls from across the world.” I can’t help but wonder, how is this  different from his work schedule before he became President-Elect? I mean, all those deals he had to make to get his name plastered all over the world!More likely, it’s because he knows the press will (continue) to reveal him for the fraud he is. Far easier to “tweet” his thoughts and not have to put up with direct questions. Or better yet, go before crowds of people and hold “Thank You” rallies where he can receive adulation and praise … but no questions.
  • Many are concerned/upset about some of tRump’s cabinet member choices. But think about it. Since he knows nothing about running a country, he needs these “experts” to tell him what to do. I can see him sitting in the oval office surrounded by these individuals giving him step-by-step directions on how to be POTUS. Why do you think it’s taken him so long to choose a Secretary of State? Since this individual will truly be his “right-hand man,” no one thus far has demonstrated the depth of knowledge tRump knows he needs to run the country.
  • My mouth dropped open when I read that tRump had been named by Time Magazine as Man of the Year … until I saw they had, in the past, also selected Hitler, Stalin (twice), Ayatollah Khomeini, Andropov and Putin. Maybe there’s more than meets the eye here.

And on an unrelated topic …

  • In a recent “Dear Abby” letter, a woman (Christian, of course) was concerned that her daughter might be an atheist … and it deeply upset her. In fact, to the point that she wrote, “If she were a stranger, I would absolutely not be around her.” I couldn’t help but wonder what she will do if she does, indeed, discover her daughter is an atheist.

Feel free to add your own meandering thoughts.🙂


CORRECTION

At the suggestion of a blog visitor, I’m correcting the above reference to the “Dear Abby” letter. I had corrected it in a comment, but as the visitor pointed out, not everyone reads all the comments.

Well, I did a bit of research and discovered I was in error. The letter was related to abortion, not atheism. (Sorry about that.)

Apparently, the daughter had had one and never told her mother. When the mother found out, she wrote (to Abby) and commented, She’s not the person I thought she was.

She went on to say, My feelings on this issue aren’t a judgment call. This is a belief system for me, something ingrained in me. If she were a stranger, I would absolutely not be around her.

To me, this was just another example of the “belief system” that so many follow … one that would cause a mother to totally reject her daughter.

An Inconvenient Truth About Our Planet

planet-earth

Timelapse Satellite Pictures 

Videos show how the world has changed in the last 32 years — from evaporating lakes to exploding cities. The Earth is being torn apart by human acts.

A Probing Question:

[A]re human beings capable of assimilating such global perspectives or is our consciousness tragically limited to a pre-space age, even pre-Copernican mentality? Are people only capable of acting on immediate, personal and local concerns, even though images from space can show us the bigger picture?

Source: TheGuardian.com

Reblog: The Mandatory Future

What do you think about this outlook? Do you agree or disagree?

chartwell west

A long time ago, I was the AUXO. That’s what people called me and that’s what I answered to. It’s one of the fun quirks of serving as a naval officer on a war ship. People just call you what you are instead of who you are. And I was the Auxiliaries Engineering Division Officer on a guided missile destroyer. The Auxiliaries Engineering Division-“A Gang” for short, owned just about every part of engineering equipment on the ship that didn’t actually turn the shaft. Which means my team had to know how to operate, maintain and repair just about anything from industrial grade maritime air conditioners to hydraulic steering units to the toasters in the galley. And they had to do it well, like people’s lives and the national interests of America depended on it. Because they did.

As the officer in charge, I never looked at my enlisted men…

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