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!
Not that anyone is all that interested … but I’m taking a short break from the blogosphere.
As evidenced by most of my posts, religion is my favorite subject — and pretty much every blog I follow encompasses this topic as well. But lately, it seems everyone is saying the same thing over and over again … just in different ways. Even me.
It’s gotten to the point it almost feels like work (Thor forbid!) to write postings … or even to check in on my favorite blogs. So before I experience burnout, I’m taking a short vacation and pretty much going into silent mode.
My curiosity probably won’t allow me to completely stop visiting and/or commenting on the blogs I follow, but you’ll most likely only see the “Star Stuff” avatar on an occasional basis.
I WILL be back — hopefully refreshed and ready to fight the good fight against the shackles of religious superstition — so don’t drop me from your “follow” list.
P.S. I’ll probably even have a new theme when I return!
In today’s (2/9/15) Garfield cartoon*, I couldn’t help but think to myself … this is probably what many Christians think about atheists … that they are “stumbling aimlessly through a meaningless existence.”
Speaking for myself as a non-believer, I can assure you my life is FULL of meaning. I have direction, I have goals, I have dreams … and more than this, I have peace in knowing my life is my own. I answer to no supernatural Big Guy in the Sky. I’m not worried about some unseen malevolent creature tempting me to “sin.” And most of all, I have no fear of a “hellish” afterlife.
I would daresay most non-believers/atheists feel similarly. But just for fun, I decided to conduct a quick study.
If you are an atheist/non-believer, how would you describe your existence?
*If you are reading this on another date, you will need to click “Comics” and type in the date. I tried to get permission to post the relevant strip, but didn’t get a response. :-(
As you read this, try not to throw up …
Churches want your kids, so they develop elaborate programs to get them. The church knows that if they don’t get a kid before that child is an adult, the task of converting them becomes exponentially harder. Conversely, if you can convince a child as young as five or six years of age that they were born flawed, inherently evil, worthless and in need of saving, then it is possible with the right amount of “training” to have a disciple for life. (emphasis mine)
More in this article.
Our local newspaper posted this on Facebook and asked for comments:
The owners of an Oregon bakery might have to pay up to $150,000 to a same-sex couple after refusing to sell them a wedding cake.
The bakery owners said they refused to sell the same-sex couple a cake because it went against their Christian beliefs.
The original article can be found here.
Living in a more conservative part of the state, I wasn’t too surprised to find comments that went along the lines of the following:
- I hate the fact that this life style is being forced upon us as if they should be entitled to more than the average person. I say no cake for you now be gone.
- I thought there was a right to refuse service ? Aren’t there other bakeries this couple could have gone to ? If someone doesn’t want to serve me or have my business I’m going elsewhere.
- What about ‘hate’ I’m a Christian also……but Jesus ask us to Love everyone? Let God deal with the gay couple….just be nice and treat them fair as a Christian should. ….it’s the love and forgiveness that draws us to God. ….we should all be showing that. ….
Response to this comment: Being a Christian does not mean rolling over for attacks on your faith!
- It may be against their beliefs to do stuff like that for one. And 2 if you read the Bible. Same sex marriage and sexual relationships are also a sin. That’s part of this country’s problem. If a person doesn’t get their way they sue them.
- What ever happened to “we have the right to refuse”. This couple needs to suck it up and go elsewhere.
- So if I refuse to serve a pedifiler I’m going to get sued????
- Gays are all going to Haitis they don’t belong here read your bible people thats why this country is soon coming to an end. Gay sex is y and if they choose not to make a gay cake it’s up to them. You dont get to buy a car with bad credit does this mean you can now file suite against the banks and auto industry? Gays have way to many rights and think the world owes them 40 acres and a donky slong get over it bake your own cake you gay anyways.
- Where the right to practice your faith? This country was founded on Christian beliefs of our founding fathers. Morals have gone to hell in this country. I would refuse service as well. They can go elsewhere. I wish the gays would quit shoving their immoral sick crap down every ones throat!!!!!! The decent people are sick of it!!!!! The good Christians of the world need to pray hard for these people.
There were several dozen more but, well, you get the idea.
And then there was this one — which I thought was especially apropos: [This] “lifestyle” isn’t being forced upon you. Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get one.
I actually thought the individual that wrote the one about letting God deal with it had her head on straight. But based on the other comments, she’s a rarity.
I found the following on LegalMatch.com:
Can a Restaurant Be Sued for Refusing Service to a Customer?
In most cases, a business is allowed to refuse service to patrons and customers. This is usually allowed if the customer is being disruptive, uncooperative, or is violating business laws or health codes.
However, there are certain instances when a restaurant might be sued for refusing service to a customer. These include situations like:
- There is no discernable reason for the refusal, and the refusal caused the customer to experience financial loss or injury
- The refusal of service violated the customer’s equal protection rights
- The refusal of service violated terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- There was a breach of contract between the business and the customer
According to this article, Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, feels that when gay people post photos of gay people on Facebook so Christians can see them, they (Christians) are being persecuted.
Perkins goes on to say (in response to a person who called into his Washington Watch radio show):
This is being shoved into people’s faces, and if, like you, they say, I don’t want this on my Facebook page, I don’t want this, I don’t want to see this, look, do whatever you want to do but don’t involve me in that – that’s not good enough, there’s this effort of forced acceptance and affirmation, and we just can’t do that. (emphasis mine)
Is this calling the kettle black … or is this calling the kettle black?
Isn’t it interesting that when it’s something “The Christians” don’t like to see, it’s “forced acceptance and affirmation.” Yet putting Christian signs, symbols, displays, slogans, etc. in public places … or starting public meetings with a Christian prayer … this isn’t forced acceptance and affirmation (based on Perkins’ definition)?
But the topper was when Perkins told the caller that he was witnessing first-hand the “lack of tolerance” from gay people.
Oh My Thor!
Apparently, the distraught Christian didn’t know how to simply click the “unfollow” button.
P.S. For the full response by Perkins, listen to the audio (if you’ve got the stomach for it).