Monday, September 27, 2010

Sexual deviancy amongst the clergy

In an article entitled 'Celibacy of the clergy' found in the Catholic encyclopedia an attempt is made to defend the churches position that priests and those in the higher orders are to remain celibate, the reason given for this in a nut shell is that a celibate priest will dedicate himself completely and wholly to those things of God. It states that for a clergy to have a wife and family would not allow for him to fulfill his duties in the service of the Lord since his mind is also preoccupied with that of his family and if it came between putting his family or the church first that he would always choose family. With a family his service to the Lord would not be a way of life but rather more like an occupation.

In this short article I am going to state my position on this view and although in the article from which the churches position was drawn it has been refuted somewhat I intend to prove that it is a valid argument nonetheless. One of the reasons I believe that the Catholic church is plagued with scandals of sexual misconduct is that it seeks for its clergy to suppress what I like to refer to as their "natural instincts". I firmly believe in the theory of evolution and accept the fact that we are in fact a part of the wild kingdom, and upon being so we are genetically coded with certain instincts that are not unique but rather common to all species of life on this planet. Those instincts are that of survival and the propagation of our species or race. Natural selection teaches that a species must do both and not only that but that they must also have the ability to adapt to subtle changes in their environment to survive. Those species that fail to adapt end up going extinct.

The principal means through which one is to propagate the species and in so doing thus increase the survival rate of said species is through the act of sexual intercourse, although this should be done responsibly. Even the biblical God is said to recognize this fact when one of his principle commands to Adam and Eve and others in the scriptures was to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:27,28 27. God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.28. God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.' (New Jerusalem Bible) In the old testament the tribe of Levi was designated by God as the priests of the tabernacle and they all had families and stayed true to the initial commandment God gave man. Paul in the new testament was the one that stated that not all can bear the burden of being celibate but recommended it as a better way to serve God wholly. Here it is in Pauls words: 32. I should like you to have your minds free from all worry. The unmarried man gives his mind to the Lord's affairs and to how he can please the Lord;33. but the man who is married gives his mind to the affairs of this world and to how he can please his wife, and he is divided in mind.34. So, too, the unmarried woman, and the virgin, gives her mind to the Lord's affairs and to being holy in body and spirit; but the married woman gives her mind to the affairs of this world and to how she can please her husband.35. I am saying this only to help you, not to put a bridle on you, but so that everything is as it should be, and you are able to give your undivided attention to the Lord. 1Corinthians 7:32-35 (New Jerusalem Bible)

What the church fails to emphasize is that this in and of itself is not a commandment but rather Pauls own opinion on the matter he makes this clear: 25. About people remaining virgin, I have no directions from the Lord, but I give my own opinion as a person who has been granted the Lord's mercy to be faithful. 1 Corinthians 7:25 (NJB) Man is an instinctual animal and the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to rationalize things, to think things through. Before fornication was declared a sin man was doing it all the time, and even after it was a sin man continued to do it even unto this day. As a matter of fact taken in its cultural context the so called sin of adultery was loosely defined since in those days bigamy was not considered a sin. Many of the patriarchs and other figures in the bible had multiple wives and even concubines.

It is my contention that the suppression of the sexual drive is one of the many leading causes of the sexual misconduct that plagues the Catholic church and also Protestants as well. Although protestants are allowed to marry, there are very strict rules as to who you can marry etc. Of course there are also other psychological factors that may contribute to these problems but I think that suppression is the main catalyst.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm a liberal atheist

Contrary to what many theists think about atheists and morality I would like to state for the record that you don't need God to have morals, morals are taught and learned through the culture and society of ones upbringing. There were existing cultures where at one time or another cannibalism was very prevalent and in fact common place, mostly for sacrifice and ritualistic purposes. Something as horrible as cannibalism is frowned upon here in the West and in other corners of the world as barbaric and even savage. But to those people in those cultures it was the norm, even today there are still some obscure tribes that ingest a a beverage made of the ashes of their dead loved ones upon their passing. The tribe that does this specifically to this day is the Uape indians of the Amazon here is a brief description of the practice:

I am what I like to call a very liberal atheist, what I mean by this is that I have a very relaxed policy regarding my personal life and morals. I drink as much or as little as I want, I can sing, dance, and do so many things, and my only rule is that you don't harm anyone else. I am of the opinion that we only live once, heaven and hell are nothing more than ancient myths and modern delusions. Life is short and there is no time to waste you do what makes you happy and you enjoy every second of it for better or for worse because you only live once and you don't get a second chance at this.

Religion and religious practice on the other hand are a complete and utter waste of time, especially those religions that are restrictive regarding what you can and can't do. Many of mans natural pleasures for example are considered sins in the bible, but when you are an atheist you don't have to worry about offending the imaginary guy in the sky. Instead you live life and you live it to the fullest.You enjoy your friends and relatives, and especially your personal relationships with other people, as an atheist I don't discriminate against anyone for their life style. I have a live and let live policy, basically what you do with your life is your business. I remember when I was in 11 grade in high school that I commented to a friend that I liked Elton Johns music. His reply was "yeah but he's a faggot". My reply was "I don't give a shit what he does in the privacy of his bedroom I just like his music.

A lot of the prejudices that plague our society are biblically based, and I dare say that they are the result of religious teachings. The bible condemns gays, advocates slavery, discriminates against women, instead of being a message of love it is in fact a message of hate. It separates the believers from the nonbelievers and calls the believers special, the light of the world etc. It gives the believers that sense of being better than anyone else who does not believe as they do. Although the bible teaches that you should not judge lest ye be judged the first to judge and condemn the world are the Christian and Muslim communities. I am discriminated against for simply not accepting to believe in your fairy tales and myths.

I am called immoral for not submitting my life and my will to your imaginary guy in the sky, yet in the midst of all this I am enjoying my life. I don't concern myself with hell for hell does not exist. You may ask yourself, how can I be so sure? It's easy, a quick review of the histories of religious beliefs demonstrate clearly that they are legends and tales created by man to explicate the many things that they did not understand in a more primitive day and age.

My advice to all of you is that you live now, live right, and most importantly live right now. No one knows what tomorrow may bring nor how many of us will be fortunate enough to rise out of our beds to face yet another day on this glorious earth and indulge in this wonderful thing called life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The futility of theology and apologetics

The futility of theology and apologetics

Apologetics: 1. systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine) 2. a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity
Hermeneutics: 1. the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)2. a method or principle of interpretation (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

I felt it was important to define those two words above in this article to try to bring to the understanding of my readers how believers (particularly Christians) interpret the bible, and also manipulate the text to fit their beliefs. First off let me let you know from the start that I consider the so called study of theology to be completely and utterly useless, since it is based on a book or books of myths. The study of God in the Christian sense is a dead end road in my opinion, since the facts of God's existence aren't there. Their source is a book written approximately 5 thousand years ago if you include the Old Testament with the New Testament. Arguing from the information provided in the bible regarding the attributes of God is an exercise in futility.

The main reason that I think it is futile to argue about God and his attributes from the bible is because to do so you have to first accept on faith that the bible is in fact the divinely inspired word of the God they claim to believe in. I have always stated that a revelation is only a revelation to the one claiming to have had it, to the rest of us it is nothing more than hearsay. If you are the second person that is told this revelation, you have to take the person that is telling you this on his word without any evidence since it cannot be proven, that is unless the deity decides to show up again and confirm it to you as well. There are many things in my opinion that contradict the bibles claims for divine inspiration, but the one that stands out the most is that a lot of the so called historical events in the scriptures have not been confirmed by secular historians. Aside from this, granted the bible was not meant to be a book on science it nonetheless makes scientific claims regarding biology,cosmology etc. Taking into account this fact, a lot of the so called science that is represented in the bible has been disproven thoroughly by the scientific community.

Aside from these problems there is nothing in the bible that screams divine inspiration, in fact when I read it it confirms even more to me that the biblical god is nothing more than a divine representation of man. The biblical god has all of the good and bad qualities of man, thus this leads me to conclude that man is not made in the image of God but rather that God is made in the image of man. Man created gods and have been doing so since time immemorial, what separates the Christian God from the other mythological gods is that it was embraced by the Roman empire and empowered by the state to overthrow any and all myths that were considered pagan or even heretical. This power that was gained by the Christians put them in a position of dominance and they used that power to eradicate all other competing belief systems in the region, thus expanding their empire and implementing laws that were enforced on their behalf by the Roman state.

Due to the many modern discoveries of science, religion was forced to sort of change with the times, they did this by reinterpreting scriptures to conform to scientific discoveries. Generally there are three main ways to interpret scriptural texts: literal, allegorical, and typical. One of the things Christians do well is circular argumentation, they can keep you on a merry go round forever if you let them. Here is how they do it: if a text or story makes no literal sense then they allegorize it and say that it is meant to illustrate a truth, or they typify it and say that it is representative of something else as in Adam being the type of Christ in the N.T. Quite frankly if you were to interpret the bible in a literal sense in its entirety you would have some huge problems trying to explain away the many absurd events and occurrences that supposedly happened in the biblical narratives. So to make sense out of nonsense you must use other methods of interpretation to try to save the text and maintain its integrity against any and all forms of scrutiny.

Christians were right to name the defense of biblical doctrines apologetics, notice the similarity between the word apologetics and apology? Taken in this sense although inaccurate, makes sense. They should be sorry for deceiving countless generations into believing in a delusion with several ulterior motives, namely: power and control through intimidation and fear of the masses. Theists would love nothing more than to turn the world into a theocracy based on the Christian tenets of belief, although this has been achieved in history it has proven to produce disastrous results. The maiming and killing of all those deemed pagans, heretics, witches, gays, etc. in the name of God is something that you cannot ignore or simply sweep under the rug. Apologetics is simply a means to maintain your faith against all evidence to the contrary through the manipulation of biblical texts and their interpretations.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Christianity to Atheism Pt. 13

After having left the church one of the things I found most amazing were the stories that were circulating around the church about me, I left and pretty much nothing changed about me except that I had eliminated God from my life. I continued doing what I always was doing which was basically taking care of my wife and family and working for a living, I never was into the street scene or hanging out or doing drugs or other illicit activities. My only vice that I still have till this day is beer, I enjoy my occasional beer from time to time at home with my wife. Yet some that knew me, specifically my brother in law said that I started drinking since I left the faith not knowing that I have been drinking beer since my last two years of high school.

When I joined the church of course I stopped drinking and smoking cigarettes, but when I left I picked up drinking on the weekends again but I never returned to smoking cigarettes. It has been 20 years since I last smoked a cigarette and I plan to stay this way since I find smoking a little bit repulsive, the very smell at times nauseates me. As I stated before religious beliefs are mostly fear based and I got my good dose of warnings and even so called prophecies about how bad things were about to get for me if I left the Lord. In fact, the total opposite happened; when I left the Lord and took back charge of my life things started to get better for me. Within a few months I was at a great job and ended up staying there for 7 in a half years. I was making good money and had a lot of perks that came with the job such as free access to books on all sorts of subjects before they even hit the market.

I recall one incident where I ran into a young man about my age after I left the church and it just so happened that when he saw me on the bus I was reading Darwins 'Origin of species'. He greeted me and he had his bible in his hand and the first thing that he asked me was what church I had been attending, I told him that I had become an atheist and that I no longer attended church nor had an interest in doing so. His reply was the standard trash about what a terrible thing it was to have known god then to have turned your back on him etc. Then when he glanced down at my book he said: " It is because you read trash like that that you have been lead astray". I immediately went on the attack and told him it is because you read and believe in your myths and fairy tales that you can't cope with reality. With that he seemed to get angry and walked away from me and that was the end of the conversation.

A couple of years later I ran into an old friend from the church on the street and when he saw me his face went pale, he called me and came running to me and gave me a huge hug. He told me that he had heard that I was dead and could not believe that I was still around, the rumor in the religious circles that knew me was that I had become a drug addict. Some even claimed to have seen me standing in various street corners nodding off on my feet as would someone addicted to heroine. It's almost as if for them to be able to validate their beliefs they wish you the worst to be able to demonstrate what happens to someone who turns his back on God. I grew tired of hearing from theists on the street that I met randomly after they heard my story would right out start with the death and hell threats etc.

I found that when I broke free from the fetters of religion that I was truly happy. I felt so free since I found that religious life for me was oppressive. Without god my thoughts and feelings are my own. I don't rely on fairy tales and myths to guide my life I rely on my own common sense and abilities to adapt to any challenges I face in my own personal life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 12

When I left the church there were two things that absolutely turned me off to the prospect of ever returning. I have always referred to Christians as hypocrites and even to this day I continue to do so, because of their beliefs they seem to be a part of an exclusive club. When I left the church I had contact with one or two of my friends that had visited me once afterward, but that was the last time I ever heard of them. As soon as I left everyone who I at one time called a friend and a brother in Christ turned their backs on me and did not even care to visit or call me to inquire why I had left. It was as if they never knew me, I followed suit and did not bother to contact anyone as well. I had so many questions and doubts, I was filled with fear regarding the consequences of my actions at the time.

Needless to say those fears were unfounded but I did not know this till I had done my research and had come to the conclusion that there simply was no God. It's funny but there are so many aspects of the Christian faith that are outright ridiculous and one of them was actually illustrated in the movie 'Bruce Almighty' with Jim Carrey in the starring role. When God handed his powers over to him and he began to hear prayers from the faithful in his head it was driving him crazy so he thought that he would devise a way to store and catalog those prayers. He thought about post its and the room including him were instantly flooded with post its, then he devised a computer system to receive prayers as emails but he was receiving email by the millions every minute. The idea of some deity sitting up in his heavenly throne, watching everyone and everything that is going on in this Earth is beyond ludicrous.

The idea of prayer is silly and seems more like an exercise in futility, the thought of a god coming to Earth and dying on a cross to redeem mankind from the mess that he himself created is insane. Jesus died and came back from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, he was supposedly seen by over 500 people yet no one thought to write about this amazing event outside of the scriptures. One of the things I did as a sign of rebellion was to burn my bible to ashes, I had made a conscious decision that I would no longer rely on an ancient book of myths and fairy tales to guide my life. Once I read the bible in its entirety I became disgusted with this God it spoke of, and I would rather die than serve him. Another thing I discovered is that if you read the bible you will notice that a lot of the language regarding the relationship with God and man is similar to that used by slave owners. Christians are called servants of the Lord, they refer to their deity as their lord and master, he dictates and you are to obey it is as simple as that. You don't really have free will when you serve the Lord since one of the first things you have to do is to submit your will to the will of your "creator".

Some questions you might have about God are taboo and border on you committing the horrible sin of blasphemy for simply doubting certain things about him, you are not allowed to question his rule or to criticize his actions as I have and always do. You are always told in church how great God is and how just he is but you are never told about the millions of people that he killed in the bible or had his so called "chosen people" kill for him. You are not told how his people owned slaves and bought and sold them, or how they would invade towns and cities and kill all the men, women, and at times male children and were instructed to keep the virgin women as servants to themselves.

7.And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. 9.And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. 17.Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.18.But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. Numbers 31:7,9,17,18. (KJV)

It was things like this that pushed me further away from God and even if he did exist I would not serve such a tyrant, I would gladly take my place in hell before I bow down to this beast. No matter how you spin some of the tales in the bible there is nothing just about this god.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 11

If there is one thing that I have learned from theism is that it relies on the ignorance of its followers. The whole idea of faith over reason is a major component of theistic beliefs, faith requires that you accept theistic principles without question. Theists have come up with apologetics out of necessity to justify their beliefs to skeptics. If you analyze for instance the bible and its various themes you will see them for the myths that they are, theist themselves admit that the bible makes no sense if you try to interpret it in a literal manner.

So to counter this problem the church has come up with several means of interpreting scripture, there is the literal, allegorical, and historical. Generally when a text either contradicts known facts and scientific discoveries then the text is not meant to be taken literally, it is mean to be interpreted allegorically. If a text is not too improbable then it is to be taken literally, but if it can be confirmed through secular means by historians then it can be interpreted as an historical document.

Christians go out of their way to reconcile the bible and their silly beliefs to the modern world and modern discoveries. They grasp at straws to try to rescue their beliefs from sounding and looking silly from a logical perspective. One of the most common arguments is that of the seven days of creation. Some branches of theism say that it was indeed a literal seven days of creation, but others state that it was not meant to be interpreted as a literal seven days. I believe this latter interpretation is due to the pressure coming from the scientific community that states that the world is not seven thousand years old but rather 4.5 billion years old. In order to bring scripture inline with this discrepancy theists have come up with the allegorical interpretation that basically states that it's not a literal seven days but rather an indeterminate amount of time.

Between verses one and two of chapter 1 of Genesis some christians have inserted this undetermined amount of time to fill in this discrepancy between science and religion. It seems that every time that biblical interpretations come into conflict with scientific discoveries the theists must then reinterpret their holy texts to make them agree with science. I personally as a theist had many questions regarding my beliefs, and when I came across something in the bible that did not quite make sense I then had to try to make sense of it. I would read books on biblical exegesis and hermeneutics to try and see the various viewpoints that the so called church scholars would come up with.

Science on more than one occasion has proven theology wrong and has time and time again shown how false their beliefs are and how their deity God did not and could not have inspired the bible. The most frustrating thing was when you went to those that were supposed to help you with these issues (church elders) you would get some silly replies about doubt and how in the end times God would make all these things known to us and not to worry about those things now. I was not satisfied with that answer, and even to this day my curiosity pushes me to delve even further in to those things that grab my attention. Religion no longer serves as a stimulus for intellectual pursuit, I see it for what it is: a myth.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 10

There are many reasons why I left the faith, but one of the key reasons was that I had read the bible. There is an ongoing joke among atheists that states 'How do you convert a theist into an atheist? And the answer is that you should let him read the bible.' Regardless of context in the numerous cases of cruelty perpetrated by the biblical God against humanity, I found it hard for me to believe in him and found it more reasonable to accept that natural disasters for instance or birth defects are natural occurrences rather than acts of God.

One of the many things I found irritating about being a Christian is that you have to constantly defend the actions of your god at the expense of degrading yourself. We are supposed to be thankful to God everyday for giving us life and sacrificing his son/his self for mankind so that we can have eternal life in some imagined paradise up in the sky. The very idea of some creative being living in the sky or some other dimension, watching us, and dictating how things play out in every single individuals life is outright ludicrous. I've always said that when someone is praying he is supposed to be talking with God but when someone is talking to himself or some imagined person or friend he is considered mentally ill. I personally don't see any difference between the two acts.

The idea of people in a church singing to the imagined guy in the sky with arms raised above their heads jumping and carrying on is sad and at the same time looks foolish. I tend to pity Christians in general and Islamist who have to bow their heads in submission and pray 5 times a day facing the East etc. I personally think that anyone how does these things is mentally insane and completely deluded and out of touch with reality.

Life in general is what it is and I don't see us as greater than the animals, I see us as equal with them. We are all mortals and we have an expiration date that comes with our life, the thing is we don't know when that is. Some die at birth or in the womb, while others live to be a ripe old age and get to experience a lot of the things that life has to offer. Why waste your life praying to a deity that there is no evidence even exists? Why waste your time putting everything into the service of this deity and even sacrificing your life and what you want to do in exchange for your perceived idea of what this deity wants and desires?

In fact, what does this deity want and desire? Well, if you read your bible it seems that he can't get enough of worship and praise. He thrives on your submission to him and your complete obedience to him. He likes constantly reminding you that if it were not for his mercy you would not even be alive or spared his torment at the place he himself has made called hell after you die. I personally don't take too kindly to threats so the old torment after death thing does not sit well with me, and submission to an imagined authority fits in that same category.

One of the things I find most fascinating about life is its randomness and unpredictability, we are here today and may be gone a minute from now. That is why I live my life to the fullest each and everyday, without God life just makes so much more sense to me than if there were a god at all. I don't need to pray, I have no need for worship, I am content to enjoy the mystery and wonder that is life till it's my turn to check out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 9

The one thing I can say about my Christian experience was that at the time I wholeheartedly believed everything I learned and preached about, I was one hundred percent honest and sure of my convictions as a believer. Towards the last year of my ministry it seemed that almost every time I met a so called prophet of the Lord whether it was at a church gathering or while visiting another church of the same denomination they would always tell me that God wanted me to start praying for the sick. I was asked repeatably by many about why I was holding back since it was obvious that God had given me the gift of divine healing. I at times would go to church and when they would pray for me at the altar they would anoint my hands with oil and time and again proclaim that I had the gift of healing. People that have heard me preach at my home church and at other churches I had preached at would claim healings to which I never had any evidence of. Even as a believer I was very skeptical when it came to the topic of faith healing.

It was ironic that this was going on in my life because when I would be at home late at night in the solitude of my room, I would be on bended knee praying to God and telling him that I was willing to do anything for him including die if need be. But the one thing I would not and could not do in good conscience was involve myself in faith healing and implementing that into my ministry. You might say I was being rebellious but the truth is that I did not want to be associated with the many charlatans in the field of faith healing, I did not want to be counted among the scam artists out there such as Benny Hinn, R.W. Shambach, Robert Tilton, Morris Cerullo, and the list goes on and on. I was serious about my service to the Lord, my ministry for the Lord meant everything to me.

I was not one to jump for joy when someone I did not know would climb the altar to testify how God had healed him/ her from Aids or some other mortal disease or ailment and I felt I was right by doing so. In fact I had the bible scripture to back me up regarding this matter: 18And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.19Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. Mark 5:18,19 This tale tells of a man possessed of a legion of demons who lived in the tombs and would constantly hurt himself and run around howling and acting like a mad man, but when he saw Jesus he approached him and the Lord cast the demons out of him. Notice when he was healed he wanted to follow Jesus but instead Jesus told him to go to home and to his friends for the sole purpose of them seeing what God had done for him.

Simply put, if I did not know you your testimony was worthless to me unless you had adequate evidence that you were in fact at the advance stages of Aids. Evidence to me in those days would have been detailed medical records of your diagnosis from beginning to end, maybe some pics of yourself with all the tell tale signs of the disease such as purple spots and being extremely skinny and ill. But as far as your word goes it meant squat to me, since I knew that there were so many out there trying to make a name for themselves in the church with the ultimate goal being to use that as an impetus to prosperity.

I actually knew a man in our church who died from a hernia!! He was afraid to get surgery for it and so it ballooned out of proportion and popped, the whole time when he was asked about it he claimed that he knew God would heal him. As a result of his illness he did not smell to good either, but all in all he was a good man. He made a living selling hot dogs and lived alone. Many have died awaiting a miracle or believing that they have received one from some charlatan preacher telling them that they were healed.My own step father almost died from angina a couple of years earlier because my ministry partner prayed for him and told him to throw away his heart medication that God had healed him. Luckily for him my mother held onto his meds, he only lasted three days before he had to take them again. Faith healing should be labeled faith killing and now as then I despise the practice of it and pity those that fall prey to its lies that may lead to even death.

Monday, September 6, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 8

One of the many things I found most annoying was that my ministry partner used a lot of fear tactics to scare people into converting to fundamentalist Christianity. For example he tended to believe that all sickness was as a result of the devil, or a consequence of your disobedience to God. I recall one particular day when we were out preaching in the streets that he called a woman forward out of the crowd. He stared into her eyes intently and told her that there was a "spirit of Aids" standing behind her and it was itching to get in, but if she gave her life to Christ right then and there that she would be saved from contracting that disease. He pretty much demonized every natural disease or disorder and used that methodology to obtain converts. Honestly I don't know if he did that intentionally or whether he did it unconsciously and actually believed what he was telling these people, but somehow deep inside I thought it was wrong in so many ways.

After having left the church I realized that Christianity as a whole is fear based and also one big self imposed guilt trip for those who choose to subscribe to those beliefs, this was one of the first things I argued against when I first began refuting Christian theology. Think about it for a minute, about 7,000 years ago Adam and Eve disobeyed Gods command to not eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for in the day that they did so they would surely die Genesis 2:16,17. The rest of the story is told in Genesis 3 and according to Christianity this led to the fall of mankind because sin had been introduced in the world. God being pure and sinless etc. could not tolerate sin and so separated himself from mankind. He threw the couple out of the garden of Eden and imposed some curses upon all of mankind. I personally take issue with this matter since I don't like the idea of us vicariously being accused for something we had nothing to do with in the first place.

God goes on to later deliver the Hebrews from Egypt and establish his laws that also entailed was in which mankind can still approach him through a system of animal sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people, individuals, and tribes. This was supposed to be a type of what Christ was later to achieve through his death and resurrection on the cross. And as a result of it we are supposed to be forever grateful to God through our service and acceptance of Christ as our Lord and savior. This deity is not much different from the many deities throughout history who craved blood as a means of atonement or to appease an angry god and to stay his wrath from coming down upon humanity. 'And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.' Hebrews 9:22

What many Christians don't know is that on two occasions God did in the one case try one of his servants by asking for a blood sacrifice and on another occasion he accepted a blood sacrifice from a human who had promised him one. These tales can be found in the bible you can read about Abraham's test of faith where God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis chapter 22. And you can read about how Jephthah sacrificed his daughter to the Lord in Judges 11:30-39 apologists have tried hard to explain this text without Jephthah actually sacrificing his daughter but the text is in and of itself pretty clear that he did so "as he had vowed". And not to mention the ultimate human sacrifice of Christ himself. Vicarious suffering in my view is ridiculous and cruel considering that it punishes the innocent for the sinners in Gods eyes. If you commit a crime the only one who should be held responsible for that crime is you and only you. You can't execute a man for instance for a crime committed by his friend or his brother.

Christians are constantly degrading themselves for the sake of their imaginary deity, they don't value life as us atheists do and apparently have no self esteem. To them self esteem is arrogance and pride. It irritates me to no end when I hear Christians saying that they are nothing without God, that is a load of bullshit if you would just let God go and live your life productively and enjoy everything it has to offer. God is nothing more than an inhibitor, living life under his rule is just as bad as living under tyranny. I choose life, freedom, and the right to enjoy myself and those I love.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 7

After having officially left the church I still did not consider myself an atheist, my search for God had ended but now I was on a completely different mission. I now had to find logical explanations for the various experiences I had as an evangelist and had witnessed in my ministry. So I started from what I thought was the most logical place, I began reading books on psychiatry and psychology. That later led me into studying traditions and mythology and eventually I ended up trying to explain each and every experience that at one time I had deemed supernatural. I had a lot of questions and needed answers so I began to read as objectively as possible everything I could get my hands on that would help me explain away (debunk) most of what I had seen as an evangelist.

I learned about the placebo effect and psycho-somatic disorders and began to apply what I had learned to the many so called people who at one time or another testified to being healed from some ailment through my ministry. I learned about hypnosis and how it was used to help people with addictions and also suppressed memories etc. The more I learned the more my former religious beliefs were becoming irrelevant and exposed for the sham that they really were. I look at religious beliefs now as something silly and foolish. People worshiping a deity that they have no evidence exists whatsoever just does not make any sense to me now, I actually feel pity for those people that I find today that are still trapped in those superstitions.

Traditions die hard and religious beliefs have been around as far back as man would allow himself to remember, religious beliefs have grown and evolved and continue to do so even today. Christianity and Islam have not evolved much in my opinion, the only thing that has evolved is the way the various believers of said religions interpret what they believe. The bible has been translated from its original languages to so many other languages and has in and of itself gotten lost in translation, every group or culture now interpret it according to how they view their world and society. Like Christianity, Islam is just an offshoot of the old Hebrew religions. All religions are influenced by the cultural beliefs of where they originated from. Have you ever noticed how in the middle east the women for instance are second class citizens? How the O.T. makes the woman be created out of man and therefore is supposed to be subject and obedient to man?

Every bad thing that our world could do without is contained in the bible, there is racism in that the Hebrews/Jews are supposedly Gods chosen people. The so called salvation that we as gentiles have obtained is as a result of the Hebrews rejecting Jesus as their messiah. Jesus stated clearly that he had come for the lost sheep of Israel in Matthew 15:24 the gentiles (anyone who was not a Jew) was oftentimes called a dog or a swine in the scriptures. As anyone reading the book of Matthew might be able to see by reading chapter 15 Jesus referred to a Canaanite woman as a dog and when she pleaded that even dogs eat from the crumbs of the masters table he was moved and did as she asked.

I found out that this biblical God was many things I did not want to be and that I felt were in fact detrimental to any society. He was a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a tyrant, and as evil as any man in history that I can think of. I eventually compared God to Hitler because I saw many similarities between the two that were just undeniable to anyone who would dare to analyze them both objectively without having his/her mind clouded with superstition and fear. The biblical god was a murderer and a self absorbed prick, I would rather go to hell if that place existed before ever subjecting myself to the service of a tyrant.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 6

The straw that broke the camels back for me once and for all and finally gave me that last impetus to abandon my faith happened in one of my churches seminary classes. I had been attending seminary and was very excited to see in our text book that we would soon be talking about the theory of evolution, but when that day came something surprising happened that upset me a great deal. In fact there were two things that happened to me while I was at seminary that infuriated me beyond measure.

The first and most insignificant incident was that we had a student in our class; a man who was at the time in his late thirties. He basically cheated his way through the entire year by various means, our tests were pretty simple the instructor used to give us an outline of what we needed to know for the test and on test day you just had to put it on paper. What irritated me about the fact that this man was cheating through seminary was that he outwardly projected the appearance of an upright and honest Christian, and instead here he was acting like a sheep in wolfs clothing. He had all of the elders of the church fooled with his charade of holiness and even though he was not a minister he was often allowed to sit on the altar with the rest of the ministers and elders of the church throughout the service. One day myself and a couple of other students brought this problem to the instructor of the class privately, it was a problem because he was the number one student because of his cheating, he always got one hundred on every exam.

What the instructor did shocked us all! He literally said "leave it in the hands of the Lord" and that was the end of it. He did not privately approach him or chastise him for it, in fact he did nothing at all. At the end of the school year during the graduation ceremony I ended up being the number two student of the class and the cheater ended up being the outstanding student of the year. I went home and tore my diploma and was at this time seriously considering never going back to my home church again, but I didn't and I stuck it out a little longer.

The second and most significant event that pushed me closer to leaving was when we finally reached the chapter on alternative theories of creation, I had been anticipating this for most of the year but my excitement that day was short lived. When the instructor came to the theory of evolution a big wide grin came upon his face, he had that look of mockery in his eyes. With that he looked up at the class and said "and finally we've come to the theory of evolution now know that I am a son of God so if you want to believe that you came from a monkey then feel free to do so". He laughed along with the entire class, I was the only one that was not laughing and then he skipped the chapter altogether.

One thing I can say about myself is that I have always been a studious individual, I love learning all kinds of things on all types of subjects. When I was a believer I used to study other religious books from their source materials in order to effectively refute them. I learned about the Jehovah's witnesses from their book 'Reasoning through the scriptures', I read the book of Mormon etc etc. once I took that challenge of reading the bible in its entirety I ended up reading the entire bible four times! I read it 3 times in English and once in Spanish just comparing the two languages I saw many differences in interpretation. As an atheist I have read books on atheism and I tend to favor the classics, but I have also been very interested in evolution and have read most of Richard Dawkins books on the matter and several other authors. I defend my unbelief as effectively as I defended Christianity and have been very direct with anyone who asks me about my religious beliefs or lack thereof.