Saturday, January 3, 2015

The hiddeness of God problem

21By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21-22

As an atheist one of the second biggest problems I have with belief in the Judaeo-Christian deity is the fact that his existence lies beyond the realm of objective or empirical proofs. The first problem for me is the problem of evil. In this post I would like to address the issue of the hiddeness of God and why outside of faith one cannot otherwise "know him."

Right out of the gate I would like to state that I personally do not consider faith in any form as a reliable source of information or evidence. Religious faith in and of itself is an entirely subjective matter accompanied by so called experiences that are equally irrelevant when it comes to providing evidence for the existence of the biblical god.

I also do not consider the Bible the word of God. In my opinion it is neither authored, inspired, or even a work of said invisible guy in the sky. Therefore, the Bible itself is not a reliable source of information nor a valid proof for God's existence. But since it is the foundational document of belief for Christians the world over we will use it here for illustrative purposes only.

First as you can see from the biblical text I used to open this post with God apparently had no problems with revealing himself to mankind. In this case in particular to the ancient Hebrews as he liberated them from 400 years of slavery in the land of Egypt. Wow! Talk about the wheels turning slowly! But according to this text God led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Both physical proofs of his existence.

16And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled. 17And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. Exodus 19:16-17

Apparently not only did God give visual evidences of his existence and presence amongst the ancient Hebrews, but he also gave them audible proofs as well. Unfortunately today the good Lord doesn't like to speak anymore. That is unless you count hearing either your own voice or other voices in your head the voice of God. Most likely it is the product of a very deluded individual or the symptoms of schizophrenia.

In the O.T. the Lord even took challenges from other competing religions and gods and true to his form came through with flying colors.

36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:36-39

After challenging the prophets of the god Baal Elijah received a proof of God to his people and all present that he alone was god. Of course Baal did not respond to the prayers and supplications of the prophets and thus lost the challenge altogether. 

Anyone who reads the Old Testament in its entirety gets to see a God who was not only a tyrant but a moral monster in my view. He instilled fear in his people and demanded their worship and respect. According to many of the mythological tall tales found within its pages God often took a personal interest in disciplining and even executing his people who challenged or disobeyed his laws. The funny thing about it all is that even with all these proofs of his existence we constantly read that the Hebrews would often stray from his laws and at times even worship other gods from some of the foreign cultures they encountered.

This brings us to my current views on the demand for faith which is really believing without evidence. I see the idea of faith as a  rationalization for God as to why he doesn't personally deal with people anymore. The world is filled with evil people committing evil acts and the Lord remains silent to the suffering of a humanity that he allegedly created and loves! Children are raped, kidnapped, and murdered on a daily basis in this world and God does nothing to save or protect them. I often refer to man as the most brutal animal to walk the earth. We do things to each other that makes even the wildest carnivores in nature look tame and moral from a human perspective. 

People call out to God all the time from the most dire circumstances or even when in peril of death and he does nothing to save them. The biblical deity has become nothing more than a useless and abstract idea. There is no credible evidence for his existence today nor do I think in my opinion that there ever was. I see the stories in the bible as nothing more than a collection of ancient myths and superstitions with no basis in historical fact whatsoever. The world without gods makes so much more sense and requires no justification when bad things happen to otherwise good people. 

You would think that if this message of God's were so vital and important that he would go out of his way to make his presence and existence known to all those that request it. He would make it so that everyone who did request it all had accounts of their experiences that can be proven and are consistent with those of others. He would make it so that his existence could be proven both objectively and empirically by showing himself in times of need as he allegedly did in the Old Testament. For instance when the ancient Hebrews were fleeing from Pharaohs army and found themselves trapped between the army and the see he opened the see and led them across on dry land! He then drowned Pharaoh and his army when they attempted pursuit. Where my dear Christian, Jew, or Muslim is this god? 

The biblical deity has taken his place in my view in the make believe realm of mythology from whence all of mans imaginations have run wild creating and believing all sorts of insane and irrational beliefs without evidence. Fear has been and continues to be the driving force of all religions that bow down and pledge allegiance to some imaginary being or beings. As a nonbeliever in fairy tales and myths I refuse to bow down. Instead, I pledge my loyalty to logical reasoning and critical thinking. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Absurd fundamentalist beliefs I once held

From 1990-1994 I had converted to Christianity; particularly, Pentecostalism. I joined a Hispanic church whose beliefs and practices were quite extreme. We took the Bible as the literal and inerrant word of God. We took every bit of information from the scriptures as absolutely divine and considered them facts that did not even require evidence because no matter how absurd the claims may be our faith and confidence made them true. We measured all other things about the world around us by the standards of the Bible. If science contradicted the Bible then science was wrong and that was the end of it. 

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” William Lane Craig  ‘Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (1984). 

My beliefs were entirely based on emotions initially. I believed at the time that I was filled with the Holy Spirit and that "He" would confirm all truth to me as taught in the scriptures.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
Often when I read the Bible I felt currents of electricity coarse through my body when I came upon texts I believed were being opened to me by God or expanded upon by the Holy Spirit. I heard these new teachings in my mind in my own voice and took them as confirmation of their truth. I believed  that God spoke to me in my head in my own voice often in those days. I also believed that only our church had the truth. All other Christian sects were wrongly interpreting the scriptures and teaching lies whether they knew it or not. 

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

I believed it was my mission appointed to me by God himself to save as many souls as I could from darkness and finally eternal damnation. If you did not believe as I did then no matter whether we believed in the same God or not you were already damned to hell. This is what eventually led me to become a Christian evangelist. I started out with my friend from church who used to preach on the streets of Brooklyn, NY on Saturday's and Sunday's. I joined his ministry and served initially as his Spanish to English interpreter as he preached his message of salvation. It wasn't long before he had me preaching as well. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

As Carl Sagans aptly titled book stated I once believed that I was living in a 'Demon Haunted World.' Everything in the world that was wrong in my view was wrong because of Satan and his minions (demons) attempts to lead man into perdition. Women dressed provocatively not because they liked showing what they had, but because the devil used them to entice men of God and even lead or distract men from seeking salvation. Gays were demon oppressed or possessed and made prisoners to the unnatural desires of their evil flesh. Basically, the Devil was always in the details and only Christ could wrest you from his grasp once you committed your life and soul to Jesus. 

Today just like then this church continues to proclaim that Jesus is coming back for his church soon. I honestly believed that he could arrive any day and at any time like a thief in the night unannounced and I had to be prepared and had to make others ready before it was too late. I believed in the rapture back then. The idea that Jesus would descend from the cloud with his angels and call up to himself both the dead and the living that he has saved from perdition. 

I sought guidance in my life through fervent prayer and often searched the scriptures for answers to some of my own personal struggles as a believer. I would pray before I went out to job interviews and often silently lay hands upon and pray over my resumes so that God would lead me to the right job. I prayed for him to cleanse my mind from impure thoughts that I knew to be sinful. 

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Even something as natural as sexual attraction was sinful. If I looked at a woman and thought to myself that she was attractive or smelled good etc. I would mentally begin praying to the Lord to help me resist those evil urges and tempting thoughts. It was no way to live but at the time it was the only way I knew how. These are just a few of the absurd beliefs I held as a fundamentalist Pentecostal and I hope that this helps you understand how hard it was to leave. Luckily I have managed to pry myself from the clutches of religion and have truly found my way into the light of reason. 

The key element that held me prisoner to these beliefs was the fear of the Lord. The fear of eternal damnation and the fear of losing out on a life of eternal bliss and joy in the presence of the Lord forever and ever kept me bound to these absurd beliefs and unsubstantiated claims. 

Note: All biblical quotes are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The pros of atheism

In 1994 I walked away from the Pentecostal church once and for all. I had decided then that those beliefs no longer were rational nor able to stand up against the many challenges of logical reasoning. My departure from the faith was a very long and often fearful process.

The fear was one of the greatest obstacles for me to overcome because of how deeply ingrained my beliefs had become. The Bible for instance is full of ominous tidings in the form of eternal threats for those that dare to leave the faith.

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Hebrews 10:26-27

It is my belief that the fear of death and the desire to live forever are the two driving forces behind Christianity. Taken to the extreme fundamentalist Christians tend to take this life for granted and neglect the many wonderful things it has to offer in the here and now. There is no evidence of the eternal utopia promised in the scriptures nor even for the existence of its Lord and ruler God himself.

The very first pro for my current atheist views is that I have overcome fear and have recognized it as irrational and unfounded. I now live a life based on reason and what can be known through science and logical deduction. Of course I am aware that there are some things that we may never know, but until they are finally discovered and proven I will live as if they don't exist. The idea of the existence of God as described in the Bible is one of those things. I no longer fear his imaginary wrath or contempt for my not believing in him when he (if he exists) has not given me reason nor sufficient evidence to do so.

The next positive thing I have gained from atheism is that I have learned to appreciate this life that we know to exist over the imaginary one presented in the Bible. I have found that I get more excited over a scientific discovery than I ever did over a so called divine revelation. The world we live in is a place of wonder and amazement with something new to teach us everyday. I find biology, astronomy, archaeology, and the many other scientific disciplines out there so much more interesting than the musings of an ancient and ignorant culture and society full of false beliefs and superstitions due to fear and a lack of knowledge about the world.

Being an atheist has taught me to be honest with myself. I know who I am and don't try to live by the hypocritical dogmas set forth by religion. I detest hypocrisy in all its forms and nothing disturbs me more than some stranger in the street telling me they love me in the name of Jesus. If that's not hypocrisy then I don't know what is.

The next thing I learned as an atheist is that I and only I am responsible for each and every action I take. For example if I were to strike my wife and when asked why I did it by the authorities, I cannot sit there and blame her for so called "provoking me," there are other courses of action that I could have taken. Everything we do in this life for better or for worse is entirely our responsibility and its results or consequences are entirely ours to bear. We don't have the Devil and his minions to blame for our behavior the only one we have to blame for our actions is ourselves.

I have learned that before I was a Christian I had morals. In fact, you don't need God or some commandments written in a book by those claiming to be his messengers to know right from wrong. Morals don't come from God but from our own cultures and the societies in which we are reared. If I was born in Iran I would most likely have been raised a Muslim it is what is taught to me by my parents and society that determines what I consider moral and correct.

As an atheist I continue to grow and learn as I go along but in the end I find that atheism and naturalism are far more reliable than any religion. I see religion for what it is: a creation of man and nothing more. There is no need for gods, angels, demons, or pie in the sky. This life has enough to keep us all quite occupied for several lifetimes.

Note: The biblical verse I have cited comes from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The imagined void or emptiness

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

The two verses cited above are two of many which refer to mans so called longing for God. Often you hear evangelists preach about the so called void or emptiness in ones being that can only be filled by Jesus the Christ. This is the general position of all theists of all sects and denominations regarding their basic beliefs. 

Some have gone as far as stating that there is a so called God gene that is built into our DNA that drives us to want and long for the Lord! This is one of the reasons that theists claim that without God (their god in particular) one can never find happiness or fulfillment in this life. 

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus is made to affirm this by stating that he is life! As a former evangelist and theist I too believed and held this position. I thought in those days that nothing that we could do on this earth would ever fill the so called void in our hearts and our being for God. Some define hell not as a place of fire and brimstone or burning torment but as a place where ones soul is eternally separated from the presence of God.

As an atheist since 1994 till the present I have come to believe that this position is false and not the result of a necessity for God, but rather a result of indoctrination and cultural influence. Many here in the states whether they are practicing believers or not in the Christian deity are taught that he is somewhat of a loving father figure. We are told from youth by family, friends, and even people in positions of authority in our lives such as counselors and school teachers that God is watching over us and that angels protect us from harm etc. 

Many people I know today are not practicing believers but claim to believe in God and acknowledge in their behavior that he exists. They wear crucifixes as you would a good luck charm, they bless themselves by doing the sign of the cross before stepping out of their homes every day. They thank the invisible guy in the sky for every small bit of fortune that happens to come their way. They don't do these things because they have carefully studied and considered their Bible's and critically analyzed their belief claims; they do it because they have been indoctrinated to believe. 

As you can see by the above definition you don't need a religious authority to teach you about religion. It is the beliefs that we are exposed to in our society and culture that influence how and what we believe in. The fact that many of us are surrounded by the religious and that their position is a majority belief in this country (United States of America) is sufficient proof of indoctrination and not no imagined longing for God in our souls or any other parts of our being. 

I found that as an atheist we as individuals are responsible for finding in this life those things that bring us joy and satisfaction. I myself have no need nor longing for the Christian God nor any other god for that matter. I have found through my life and experience as an atheist that this life has many things that can have meaning in our lives. 

I find joy in the fact that I have been able to work and provide for my family. The fact that I have two lovely daughters and a grandson and a pain in the ass yet caring wife is enough to make and keep me happy. I don't long for a better world because I have come to the realization that this world and this life is the only one I am going to get. My head is not in the clouds imagining some divine utopia after this life, but rather it is firmly planted on the ground and the reality that is this life. 

I love this definition because it is precisely what Christianity teaches: that there is a place where if we are obedient to God and submit to his will in this life we will be happy and abide in a perfect place where all of the failures and maladies of this life will not exist. God will be the ruler and there will no longer be sickness and death but eternal bliss as we rejoice in the presence of God forever. That my friends is the definition of an imaginary place. It doesn't matter if it is a spiritual place somewhere up in the clouds or space or whether it will be here on this earth in what is called in the scriptures "New Jerusalem" this place simply does not exist. 

Every once in awhile you will find some bits of fact in the fiction that is the Bible and the following is one of my favorites. 

The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6

That last part is significant "nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." All it takes is a change of mind, a mental shift to achieve all the things you plan to achieve including happiness. Life is truly what you make of it. If you choose to mope about your circumstances in life and do nothing to get out of them then you will die moping and in utter misery. I've always said that when you have reached rock bottom there is only one way to go and that is up. Or you can choose to remain at the bottom and do  nothing to better your situation. You can take a huge hit from life and choose to lay there like a helpless victim or you can get up, brush yourself off, and claw your way out of the hole you find yourself in. 

I find that even though I don't have everything I would have wanted out of life that I am happy and I have achieved a lot more than most. I have taken some heavy hits and my life has not been easy. In fact, I should have been just another story of a failed life, a statistic but I have managed to rise above all of that. I've done it with hard work and conscious effort which did not require a god or some spiritual being to guide me. There is no emptiness in my life or sense of something missing I have done and continue to do and make every second of this life count for something positive without gods and ancient myths, rituals, and superstitions, and so can you. 

Note: All biblical citations in this post have been taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All word definitions have come from the online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

There is no logical reason in apologetics

A long time friend of mine Mattshizzle posted this on Google plus yesterday. After providing my brief response to this post I have decided to address it directly here. The commenter has committed several blatant logical fallacies in this post that demonstrate to me that he/she has no idea about what logical reasoning is nor even how to go about it.

The first logical fallacy this poster commits is that he presupposes that God exists. Not just any god but his god of choice. He also assumes that this gods knowledge supercedes the knowledge of man and comes itself from this yet to be proven supernatural source. The theistic presuppositionist position for the existence of god is supposed to be the equivalent of an a priori argument. The main problem with the presuppositionist position is that if you don't presuppose the existence of god then the entire argument fails.

a priori

The term a priori is used in philosophy to indicate deductive reasoning. The term is Latin, meaning “from what comes before”, refering to that which comes before experience.
Something that is known a priori can safely be considered to be a true statement, assuming that the logic (or deductive reasoning) used to arrive at that conclusion is conducted using valid arguments.

Theists believe that they have sufficient evidence through their version of philosophical arguments (apologetics) for the existence and therefore the assumption that god exists. But to date it is my opinion that they have not been able to prove their gods existence through valid arguments utilizing deductive reasoning. Through apologetics they misuse and abuse philosophical concepts and methodologies to suit their rather unsubstantiated claims and absurd beliefs.

Another fallacy this poster commits is often referred to as the argument from ignorance. Because his gods existence cannot be disproven definitively he assumes that this is sufficient reason to affirm that his god exists.

appeal to ignorance/argument from ignorance

The fallacy of appeal to ignorance comes in two forms: (1) Not knowing that a certain statement is true is taken to be a proof that it is false. (2) Not knowing that a statement is false is taken to be a proof that it is true. The fallacy occurs in cases where absence of evidence is not good enough evidence of absence. The fallacy uses an unjustified attempt to shift the burden of proof. 

I consider myself an atheist because I do not feel that there is or ever has been sufficient evidence to prove definitively the existence of any god whatsoever. Faith or subjective "evidence" are not in my view valid means of obtaining knowledge of truth when it comes to things of a supernatural nature. It this were the case then I would have to accept that tribal religious adherents that claim to be possessed by their dead ancestors and act it out during their services must be true. By the standard of faith witches are real, demons exits, and a voodoo curse can kill you!

In fact, this poster forgets that the Bible itself is a work of man! It says so right there in the book itself.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (other tranlations use "inspired" instead of "God-breathed.")

The fact that believers presuppose the existence of God because the Bible tells me so which is more commonly a fundamentalist position is known as the fallacy of circular reasoning.

circular reasoning

Circular reasoning occurs when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with. The most well known examples are cases of the fallacy of begging the question. 

While begging the question is mentioned let's look at the definition of that fallacy as well.

begging the question

A form of circular reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from premises that presuppose the conclusion. Normally, the point of good reasoning is to start out at one place and end up somewhere new, namely having reached the goal of increasing the degree of reasonable belief in the conclusion. The point is to make progress, but in cases of begging the question there is no progress.

As you can see based on the definitions provided above, that begging the question is just another form of circular reasoning. Apologetics is guilty of all of these fallacies and more. All arguments proposed for the existence of God by Christian or Muslim apologists are fallacious and lacking because they all presuppose that their god exists as a starting point and try to manipulate the facts to fit their presuppositions.

In contrast, the scientific method takes a more logical and completely reasonable approach to discovery. They start with an hypothesis based on observations, they then formulate experiments to prove or falsify their hypothesis, if it passes it goes on to becoming a theory.


A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.

Anyone who has had the priviledge of arguing the existence of God or read sufficient books on the matter recognizes this very common way that apologists misuse and in this case abuse language. For instance many state that evolution is not a proven fact but rather a "theory," but when they use the word theory they are doing so in its most commonly used non-scientific context. This of course they fail to tell their followers. 

In conclusion our poster forgets that the Bible or any so called sacred texts for that matter are all the works of men. That's right! They have been composed, compiled, edited, propagated and distributed by men. By adding inspired by god simply begs the question as to who this god is and where or how did he/she/ or it come to exist etc.


All biblical quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible. My sources for philosophical terms and for the scientific definitions are taken from the following links.
A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don't miss Jesus

As of late I have been pondering the matter of former believers who have embraced atheism. I find deconversion stories interesting and at times sad. As a former fundamentalist evangelist and fully committed believer myself, I can honestly say that I left the church and the faith behind with a bitter taste in my mouth. I was angry at myself for being duped into not only believing the nonsense I did at the time but in the fact that I also helped to spread those ridiculous beliefs.

The first seeds of doubt began to germinate in my mind when I first read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. I began to doubt some of the experiences I had in the church and even some of the normal practices during service. The chaos that would ensue when nearly everyone in the congregation began speaking in tongues at once and passing out and writhing on the floor allegedy under the power of the Holy Spirit brought to mind the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14.

26What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. 1 Corinthians 14:26-28

39Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40

I was a member of the Pentecostal faith and in our church there was no order. Women were often pastors despite the biblical mandate that women remain silent in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

34Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Some atheists claim that they miss the music and the social aspects of religious services and so they attend services from time to time. I personally do not feel this way and find religious services to be embarassing and primitive at best. I feel sorry whenever I see other believers who are currently where I used to be. They speak in tongues and raise their hands in the air believing that these are their gods way of confirming to them the truth of their beliefs or the integrity of their standing with God. Little do they know that all of these manifestations are nothing more than the projections of their own minds under the influence of doctrinal beliefs and church dogma.

Today, I personally find worship abhorrent and would not set foot inside a church for any reason. I find the music repulsive and the so called outpouring of brotherly love in Christ by church adherents overwhelmingly hypocritical. I've never liked liars, hypocrites, or thieves and I feel that the church is chock full of all of the above. It took me six years but I have managed to cleanse my psyche from all of the ridiculous influences of the church in my life. I don't believe in an afterlife nor eternal punishment for sins. In fact, the idea of sin is outright absurd!

I don't miss being a mental and physical slave to absurd beliefs based on nothing more than faith. I don't miss bearing a charge of guilt on my shoulders for simply being born. If there was a god and he was offended by my existence and insisted that I submit to him and worship him I would tell him to fuck himself. I live a good life and do not bear any guilt for imaginary crimes I might have commited against an imaginary deity. I don't miss Jesus and have lived the past 19 years happily without him.

Note: All biblical quotations are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Venerating the cross

When I was first converted to Christianity I used to wear a gold cross around my neck. When I began preaching the gospel and making the rounds around the local churches I was approached by a church elder who asked me why I wore the image of the cross. I replied that it was a reminder to myself of the things that the Lord had suffered for me and the rest of humanity. He responded by simply asking me if Christ had been executed on an electric chair would I wear the image of an electric chair on my neck? It was right then and there that I realized that he had a good point. After some thought I came to realize that it was not the cross but the person who died on the cross that was the source of my salvation. I took off my crucifix and never wore that image again.

Venerate: to feel or show deep respect for (someone or something that is considered great, holy, etc.)

Idolatry: the worship of a picture or object as a god

Worship: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
: excessive admiration for someone

After becoming an atheist and examining my former beliefs more closely I came to realize how pathetic and weak Satan and his minions were for fearing the sign of the cross. It's akin to Dracula and his vampires hissing and cowering in fear when shown a cross in the old vampire movies genre.  Today many claiming or professing to be Christians wear these images (especially Catholics) and rely on them for protection as you would if you were wearing some kind of magic talisman. They kiss their crucifixes and bless themselves before going out by making the sign of the cross across their own bodies. This is not veneration it is worship and in the end it is nothing more than idolatry. 

4“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them;... Exodus 20:4-5

According to the ten commandments as outlined in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 God prohibited the making  of images. But later on in Numbers 21 this same God punishes the Hebrews for complaining about their lot and so he sends snakes to bite and kill many of the Israelites. In response to this Moses prayed for the Lords mercy and he commanded Moses to make a bronze snake!

8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9

I guess like the rest of the commandments it's only a sin when God says so. Every once in awhile he makes exceptions to his own rules. For instance the famous "thou shall not kill" commandment is repeatedly violated by the Hebrews in the O.T. under the direct or indirect orders of God himself. 

Have you ever wondered what happened to that snake? The Bible said it was destroyed by King Hezekiah because they (Israelites) began worshiping it by burning incense to it. 

4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. ) 2 Kings 18:4

Many of today's Christians are guilty of the sin of idolatry not just on the matter of the cross but in their excessive devotion to the Bible. Some like to put an open Bible in their rooms or in the dashboard of their cars to ward off evil or to obtain God's blessings. Using the cross or the Bible in these ways is simply idolatry no matter how you spin it. Catholics like to burn incense and candles to saints and even for the dead. All of these acts are not based on biblical principles. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray to dead saints for favors. In fact, the role of intercessor belongs to Christ alone. 

Those of you who do the above mentioned acts should read your Bible's before you try to refute atheists about matters you yourselves know nothing about. The cross itself has no power Christ was not the first man to have ever been crucified in history. This was a very common form of execution utilized by the Romans in the first century. The Bible by itself is just a book it's not the book itself that has power but the words contained in the book. Now that is a lesson for you from you friendly atheist.

Note: All word definitions are taken from the online Merriam Webster Dictionary  which I have linked to and all scripture citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures.