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!

Humanity’s Future

If you are an individual who tends to live according to the aphorism, Carpe Diem (“Seize the Day”), and find the ideas/thoughts/opinions related to humanity’s future as not particularly interesting, then you probably won’t enjoy reading the article I’ve referenced below. 

However, for those who like to ponder events that may or may not lie ahead for humankind, I think you’ll find the contents very thought-provoking.

The topic is centered around “Longterminism” (the definition will become clear in the article) and starts out thus:

There seems to be a growing recognition that humanity might be approaching the ‘end times’. Dire predictions of catastrophe clutter the news. Social media videos of hellish wildfires, devastating floods and hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients dominate our timelines. Extinction Rebellion activists are shutting down cities in a desperate attempt to save the world. One survey even found that more than half of the people asked about humanity’s future ‘rated the risk of our way of life ending within the next 100 years at 50 per cent or greater.’

Be warned … the article in VERY long but, IMO, well worth your time and consideration. As always, I will be interested in any feedback you care to offer.

 Here is the link to the article. 

P.S. An abstract from the “survey” referenced in the brief above (a separate study):

Almost 80% agreed “we need to transform our worldview and way of life if we are to create a better future for the world” (activism). About a half agreed that “the world’s future looks grim so we have to focus on looking after ourselves and those we love” (nihilism), and over a third that “we are facing a final conflict between good and evil in the world” (fundamentalism). 

Religion and The Rest of Us

The following statement was recently made by Scott Morrison. Australia’s Prime Minister and a devout Pentecostal Christian:

“People should not be cancelled or persecuted or vilified because their beliefs are different from someone else’s.”  

When taken at face value, it’s a good declaration. But this is NOT the way Mr. Morrison intended. Rather, his actual intent is that people of faith (Christianity) should be “protected against cancel culture.”

Apparently his statement comes amid concerns that individuals from churches, schools, and workplaces are unable to express their religious beliefs. According to the article, proposed legislation will protect Australians who make “statements of belief” from action under existing discrimination laws. (It also will allow faith-based organizations to prioritize the hiring and enrollment of people from their faith.)

On a broad scale, one would assume such legislation would protect individuals from ALL religions. In other words, Muslims, Wiccans, Druids, Hindus, Satanists, etc. would each have the same protection. Yet rarely is this the case in legislative decisions related to religion.

Many of us who live in the States are not surprised by Mr. Morrison’s actions. Since the horrendous four years of the Trump reign, the Christian Nationalism movement (“Taking America Back for God”) has slowly but surely permeated American civic life. Thus, it would not be surprising if similar laws were proposed by certain members of Congress in the not-too-distant future.

It’s important to those reading this post to consider that U.S. laws relating to religious freedoms in the U.S. are … complicated. Yes, we have the First Amendment that addresses guarantees and precautions related to religion and its practice, but this doesn’t stop individuals and groups from searching for “loopholes” in order to challenge the provisions. In fact, it is not uncommon to read of people and churches using the words of the Amendment in such a way as to support their own theology. (If interested, further reading can be found here.)

As a general rule, the broad-minded and more rational individuals among the U.S. populace are often willing to allow a certain amount of leeway to practicing Christians. However, far too many theists try to push the envelope. Naturally, non-believers and atheists would prefer that they just “go away” or, at the very least, keep their prayers and admonishments to themselves. 

In any event, there is little doubt that believers like Mr. Morrison will continue to assert their doctrines and practices into society as a whole. Hopefully, the “rest of us” will not allow them to succeed.

Homo Sapiens Dominance?

evolution-g149f3783a_640

The following is a brief of an article recently published in the NewScientist magazine (I only get the newsletter). I’m sharing it primarily due to the final paragraph (highlighted). 

HUMANS today are uniquely alone. For the majority of the existence of Homo sapiens, we shared the planet with many other types of human. At the time when our lineage first evolved in Africa some 300,000 years ago, there were at least five others. And if you were going to place a bet on which of those would outlast all the rest, you might not have put your money on us.

The odds would have seemed more favourable for the Neanderthals, who had already adapted to live in colder conditions and expanded to inhabit much of Eurasia. Or Homo erectus, who had made a success of living in south-east Asia. By contrast, our direct Homo sapiens ancestors were the new kids on the block, and wouldn’t successfully settle outside of Africa until more than 200,000 years later. Yet, by 40,000 years ago, or possibly a bit more recently, we were the only humans left standing. Why?

Many explanations have been put forward: brainpower, language or just luck. Now, a new idea is building momentum to explain our dominance. Ironically, it may be some of our seemingly deepest vulnerabilities – being dependent on others, feeling compassion and experiencing empathy – that could have given us the edge.

While I would LIKE to believe this “new idea” related to the dominance of Homo Sapiens, it’s difficult to see these suggested “vulnerabilities” in much of today’s modern societies. 

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Image by MANOEL M. PEREIRA VALIDO FILHO MVALIDO from Pixabay

Hate and Today’s Society

hate

Many of us recognize that HATE is the in-play factor of much that is happening in today’s society. 

Hate towards blacks. Hate towards gays. Hate towards immigrants. Hate towards atheists. Hate towards Muslims. Hate towards “liberals.” Hate towards the poor. Hate towards …. you-name-it. 

In fact, when push comes to shove, no one and/or no group is excluded from being the target of Hate.

It’s difficult to accept, but ALL of us hold Hate in our hearts towards someone or something. Sometimes this “Hate” can be beneficial in that it serves as a protective device. However, in most cases, it is actually harmful — not only to others, but to our own psyche as well.

Of course it’s natural for us to claim: “I don’t Hate! I just intensely dislike (something or someone).” However, note the following definitions of Hate:

  • (Verb) Dislike intensely; feel antipathy or aversion towards
  • (Noun) The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action

What prompted this post is an article I recently came across on the Psychology Today website. It’s entitled (surprise!) The Psychology of Hate. One of the opening statements referenced a study that said there are at least 917 organized hate groups in the United States!

It then asks the question: Why do we hate?

While the reasons are complex, the article expands on some of the factors that play a role:

  • Fear of “The Other”
  • Fear of Ourselves
  • Lack of Self-Compassion
  • It Fills a Void
  • Societal and Cultural Factors

Then the articles asks … What Can We Do?

After listing a couple of ideas, it closes by stating that “compassion towards others is the true context that heals.” Unfortunately, compassion rarely comes naturally and, in fact, is seen by many as a weakness. Because of this, there is little doubt we will continue to experience demonstrations of Hate and its accompanying actions in today’s society.

Reblog: Enemy

I follow this very talented writer and every so often she shares a real “zinger” with her blog readers. This was one of them.

Wordifull

 

I walked alone

into the night,
I gripped my knife

within my hand,
And thrust it deeply

without a fight
my aim precise

although unplanned.

And when I saw

my blood flow free
underneath

the glowing moon,
I realized

that it was me,
I was the enemy

that I had hewn

‘Cause it was I,

I couldn’t face

For I was lost

within the pain

So I gave myself

a cold embrace,

and then I died

in gentle rain

~Melanie Thomason

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