Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why sin does not exist

Many people have found it difficult to comprehend why I often refer to sin as defined in the bible as an imaginary concept. As a result of this I have grown weary of trying to explain it so I have decided to write a post on the matter that should clearly state my position and why I have come to believe in it so firmly. So in order to lay out my position in the most clear and concise way let’s begin by defining what we mean by the word sin as it is used in a religious context.

Noun: An act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will.
Verb: Commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law.

I obtained these definitions from my Sage dictionary and thesaurus and I have chosen this definition because it best suits my position. In order for sin to be a real concept as it is defined in the bible, God has to be real. Without the existence of God the concept of sin also does not exist.  As an atheist and one without a belief in gods I neither acknowledge the idea of a god of any kind. In my view there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of  God or gods; especially like the one described in the biblical texts. 

Contrary to what many Christians believe morals do not come from God. They come from our own various cultures and societies. Every society has its own set of moral laws and precepts and they don’t all agree. In a cannibalistic society for instance it was not immoral to not only kill your enemies but to eat them as well. Ancient warriors from tribal Africa and other parts of the world used to remove and eat the hearts of their fallen enemies in the belief that they would possess his soul or some of his warrior prowess. This is also evident in societies that thought that sacrificing humans to their gods were the norm.

As societies evolved these practices slowly faded away and laws were made that benefited a people rather than drive them to extinction. You don’t need God or some moral code from a so called divinely inspired book to know that murder is wrong or that rape is a disgusting and heinous crime. If you have these impulses then I suggest you consider psychiatric treatment and some serious medication.

A being that conveniently exists outside of time and space who created us all and loves and cares for us greatly is utterly ridiculous and childish. Not only is this particular God unbelievable but he is evil in more ways than one can imagine. Every “sin” or commandment that he has imposed upon man he has violated in one way or another. But his followers insist that he is holy and untarnished when the Old Testament and the New Testament clearly demonstrate the falsity of this claim.

Apologists are constantly looking for defenses to what is termed the problem of evil as it exists in the world and as a reference to some of the vile acts that the bible claims that God committed against mankind. They try hard to defend the reprehensible acts of God as a criminal defense lawyer tries to get the notorious mob boss off even after knowing that he is guilty as charged. Christians purposely and knowingly ignore their God’s reprehensible acts and make such foolish statements like “he is God he can do as he pleases.” Besides, who are we to judge God?

So for my Christian friends I have one question. If you were told to worship Hitler would you do it? If your answer is no: then why not? Is it because he killed a total of around 11 million people if you add those others that died aside from the Jews? Is it because in your eyes you have been led to believe that he is the most evil man that has ever walked the earth? If these are your reasons for rejecting to bow down and worship Hitler then you must also refuse to worship your imaginary God. For his list of evil accolades far exceed those of Hitler. 

The bible is rife with passages where the good Lord smote people for the smallest of infractions under the law. Do you really believe that you were born a vile and filthy sinful creature by default because of something that allegedly happened in the fictional Garden of Eden? By eating a piece of fruit our ancestors inherited the knowledge of good and evil, and their act of disobedience to God has cursed mankind forever.  God didn’t just punish and curse the offenders he cursed the entire human race for a crime that they did not even commit! It sickens me to hear the Christian deluded masses yammering on about how just God is.

Basing ourselves on what the bible defines as sin we can rest assured that sin does not exist. Sin is not a genetic component of our biological makeup. Nor is it something that we can touch, taste, feel, or see with our five senses. The only place that sin exists is in the minds of those that have decided to buy into the myths of the bible. 

I am a firm believer in the idea that man has a dual nature. I think that within each and every one of us is the propensity to commit evil acts as well as good. But I think that this is just a part of our nature and not some inherent curse imposed on us by God. A woman fighting for her life to thwart an attack would have no problem in the heat of the moment of trying to hurt or kill her attacker. The mildest mannered individual when pushed can snap. Just like animals that normally are not aggressive by nature when cornered can become ferocious. 

Sin does not exist because God does not exist and therefore there is no one to “offend.” Sin is only real to those that have been tricked into believing the bible and the tales it spins about our origins and our nature. Sin is not real because it is an idea that is both irrational and unreasonable. Even if God did exist I would not worship him because I find his acts as told in the bible more repulsive and immoral than anything I could ever commit.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Divine Revelation

I remember when I was a charismatic Christian believer that I would get what at the time I thought were Gods personal divine "revelations" to me. I compare these moments to what I now refer to as eureka moments; you know, those aha! moments we all seem to get from time to time. It usually happens when we ponder a problem for some time and eventually or apparently in a moment when we are not thinking about it the answer magically seems to appear out of nowhere. All of a sudden we get it, or not.

As a charismatic I believed that knowledge was not just something you acquired mentally but if it was correct and came from a divine source you also "felt" it in your "spirit." This to me in those days was confirmation of the Holy Spirit that what I had just received had come to me directly from the big cheese himself: God! The Spirit to me was not just an idea he was the third person of the holy trinity in which I believed in wholeheartedly.

16 I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever,17 the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. John 14:16-17 (NJB) Note: Paraclete is another word for comforter and usually refers to the Holy Spirit.

It was because of my interpretation of scriptures like this and others like it that I believed that the Spirit resided in me and would lead me to all truth. Upon re-reading the text for this post though I came to realize that this was not meant to be a promise to all future generations of Christians but rather to the disciples of Christ in his time. This was a private conversation he was having with his disciples and the promises within it were meant for them! I believed that when I cast out demons and people fell over like dominoes that it was God's power on full display and that I was on the right track. God was confirming his works through  my ministry and the subsequent testimonies of those that attended my sermons.

What atheist or even former believers who have never been charismatics don't seem to understand is that charismatics don't just require objective evidence to believe in something. The reason for this is that they are immersed in the world of super naturalism and for the them that world is just as real or even more real than the world as viewed from a naturalistic point of view. That is why you can't reason with a theist for the most part, much less a charismatic!

Charismatics are very much about "feeling" things in their mind/spirit and those feelings serve as evidence to them that God is real. They don't take things into consideration like indoctrination and their mental predisposition to believe based on that indoctrination. I was astounded when I embraced atheism and began to research explanations for my own subjective experiences. I found many parallels in what I did in researching hypnosis!

The so called divine revelation that charismatics claim to experience is nothing more than a product of their own mind. In hypnosis you have to implant suggestions into a patient or subjects subconscious mind in order to help them. Well, when you think about it, that part is already taken care of for you since you already have a room full of indoctrinated miracle mongers and subjective experiences of the divine. Most charismatics I knew went to service to worship God, but most of all they said that they wanted to feel the presence of the Lord or see the manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the demonstration of its power through signs and apparent wonders.

I've heard them comment that a particular preacher or evangelist at a service was lacking the anointing of  God because they did not "feel" anything. When he preached or ministered to them they felt nothing! I've had people tell me that when they heard me preaching and speaking about the word of God that they felt the Spirit in the form of chills running up and down their spine or electrical currents coursing through their bodies! I felt that myself when I ministered and preached but I realize now that that was not the Holy Ghost! It was a subjective experience which my indoctrinated mind  was predisposed to receive and believe, and most importantly interpret as divine in origin.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Repetitive drivel

I find Christianity irritating and annoying. You might wonder why I have such a disdain for this religion so I will help you understand. My first gripe with Christianity is the whole idea of how its followers are always harping about how God loves us so much. Genesis chapter six verses five and six clearly state how the imaginary God feels and thinks about us.

5 Yahweh saw that human wickedness was great on earth and that human hearts contrived nothing but wicked schemes all day long.6 Yahweh regretted having made human beings on earth and was grieved at heart.    (NJB)

According to the bible we are all vile and evil creatures even in the New Testament we are constantly being reminded how filthy we are before the Lord.
10 As scripture says: Not one of them is upright, not a single one,
11 not a single one is wise, not a single one seeks God.
12 All have turned away, all alike turned sour, not one of them does right, not a single one.
Romans 3:10-12

The bible degrades us and tells us constantly how we are no good and how we are going to be tormented in hell if we don't give the fictional god Jehovah all the glory for our very existence. The bible is nothing more than a big book of imaginary threats with a lot of bark but no bite. God creates man and puts him in a garden with one commandment "don't eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Are you kidding me? That's like putting a kid in a candy store and telling him not to touch anything!

According to the bible God creates man and then puts him in a situation that it doesn't take a genius to know that it will end badly. He creates his own problem, namely;sin. Outside of the bible that word like God and the idea of God has no meaning. Sin is an imaginary problem created by an imaginary God who in turn was created by some guys or gals with one hell of an imagination.

Another problem I have with Christianity is how their followers like to harp on about how knowledge of God is some sort of gift. They talk about how we can't understand the word of the Lord without his Spirit to guide and open our minds to God's ways. Quite frankly, it's not that difficult to understand that nonsensical book. I get more out of reading Dawkin's or Robert M. Price than I do from the so called knowledge that you get from reading the bible.

Christians talk about humility while at the same time being some of the most arrogant and smug sons of bitches on the planet! They feel privileged that they are going to one day be with their imaginary God and that the rest of us vile unbelievers are going to roast in hell for all eternity. Even if it was proven that God was real I would not serve him. The biblical God has every quality I hate in a person! He is arrogant, petty, a murderer, thief, self absorbed, megalomaniac!

There is but so much that can be said when you are talking about the bible. We are all filthy sinful creatures and only Jesus could make it right for us before his imaginary father in the sky! Worship him or else! We get it, it's nothing more than stupid nonsensical repetitive drivel. Get your head out of the clouds and come back to the real world theists!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bow down and obey! Or Else!

I did not realize this before but when I was a theist I was unaware of the great intimidation factor inherent in Christianity. I saw it everywhere else except in Christianity and believed that I was saved or set free from the evil sinful nature I had involuntarily inherited just by being born into the human race.

In Arabic, the word "Islam" means submission or surrender, but when you stop to think about it the same could be said about Christianity.  Christianity requires that you submit your life and will over to its imaginary guy in the sky, who apparently going by his track record in the Old Testament has quite the temper. The teachings of all three religions of the book Judaism, Christianity, and Islam emphasize fear of the Lord as a commandment: 11 In fear be submissive to Yahweh;12 with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry and your way come to nothing, for his fury flares up in a moment. How blessed are all who take refuge in him! Psalms 2:11-12 (New Jerusalem Bible).

The actual visible cue that you have taken this warning to heart is that you live in complete submission and obedience to what you believe to be God's will. This is not just all over the O.T. it is quite prevalent in the N.T. : 28 'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Matthew 10:28 (NJB)

You demonstrate your fear of the Lord by your actions. You live your life consciously aware that nothing that you do can be hidden from the eyes of the Lord. That God will make you accountable both for those things you do in the light as well as in darkness. God is the ultimate big brother! Like Santa he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!  Forget about governments invading your privacy when you have God who basically deprives you of your privacy and makes it outright non-existent.

As a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim you have to walk around on egg shells your entire life as you try to check even your thoughts from being displeasing unto God. You no longer represent yourself, you represent Mr. Big the man in the sky himself. Jews prostrate themselves before him, Muslims bend the knee and touch their foreheads to the floor, and Christians bend the knee, raise their hands up to the sky, and cry profusely before his imaginary presence. I am actually ashamed that I let myself believe in this nonsense! 

The idea of some conscious entity living on some nonexistent plane who cares or despises us based on our willingness to kiss his ass or not is nothing short of insane. To sacrifice the little time I have on this earth to strive to please him/her/ or it is an act of foolishness. Many Christians don't even bother to read the bible, so how are they supposed to know what God's  will is? Even when they do read the bible it is so self contradictory and self refuting that one can never know what God's will  really is.

Let me make my self clear about my position for those theists in the cheap seats that keep asking me the same stupid questions repeatedly. I don't believe in God or Satan and not just the biblical God but any god from any religion. I don't believe in angels, demons, or hell nor do I fear any of those things since I see them for what they are: bronze age superstitions! I don't believe in anything the bible has to say about an afterlife of bliss or torment nor do I care what it has to say. And finally, I don't believe in any so called holy books from any culture especially the bible! I think that I have covered a lot on what I don't believe so I guess I will see you all on my next post.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Christianity's arrogant claims to absolute truths

One of the things that I find most irritating about the Christian faith is their excessive claims to absolute truths based on their own superstitious delusions which they derive from a book. In my opinion these claims fall flat for several reasons. The first of many reasons is that this book, the bible; is man made, produced, edited and distributed. The fact that everything in this book is based loosely on popular oral traditions of the times based allegedly on "divine" revelation makes these claims seem even sillier.

"Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication-- after that it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to ME, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him." [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

The fact that there are no extant copies of these texts available to date and that what we have are imperfect copies of copies of these texts makes it impossible to know what the original texts said in the first place. Remember that these copyist known as scribes copied these texts entirely by hand ( they didn't have digital copiers back then) and were prone to make mistakes and even be tempted to "correct" or insert their own bias and interpretations into the texts. And since we don't have the original texts we have nothing to compare our current copies to for accuracy.

The fact that there are so many contradictions in the scriptures are proof of them being due mostly to the authors interpretations of the teachings in the texts. So basically even before you get your English translations of the bible you are already dealing with an "interpretation" of not just the original mostly anonymous authors but of their various scribes and translators.

Even if you were inclined to learn Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (the original languages that the bible books were written in) you would still not be able to grasp the true meaning and intent behind the scriptures and particular doctrines you may be studying, for the simple fact that we don't have any of the originals to compare these scribal copies to.

The fact that the many Christians sects and denominations the world over can't agree as to what the bible says and teaches is a testament against absolute truth. Remember that each sect and denomination is another group of believers who disagree with the others that have arisen before them. The funny thing about this all is that they expend as much energy discrediting each other as they do in their feeble attempts to discredit atheism, evolution, naturalism, etc.

As in English and many other languages they all have one thing in common; they evolve with time. Just like we have English words that have several meanings independently and in the context in which the words are used so does Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek, especially in their ancient forms. A word may have had several meanings when they were written that are no longer used today or understood in the same manner. One of the rules I use to try and understand biblical texts is the formula of who, what, when, where, and why.

  • Who wrote the text in particular?
  • What was he referring to or writing about? What was going on in the region at the time?
  • When was he writing as in what time period?
  • Where was he writing and to whom was he referring to?
  • Why was he prompted to write about that particular subject matter?
So as you can see it is quite easy for these text to get "lost in translation" on several fronts. Finally, the fact that in the English language alone there are many translations is a testament to the disagreement among biblical scholars as to what certain words or phrases mean in the original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic languages. So my dear Christian there are no absolute truths that you can claim based on the texts, and as you should know by now especially if you're a charismatic believer; your subjective experiences count for nothing when it comes to claims of evidence.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Never good enough for God

8 Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God;9 not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NJB)

One of the important things that is made evident by the above cited text is that ones salvation is not dependent on ones works or how he/she live their lives here on earth. But rather, that salvation itself is a gift from God. Basically, based on this teaching nothing that you do in this world will ever make you good enough for God. You can be the nicest and most loving human being on the planet, but if you don't have faith you are doomed! A lot of people who don't bother to read the bible but profess to believe in God have come to the conclusion that we are all God's children, that if they just live a decent life that they are guaranteed their spot in heaven. Nothing could be further from the fictional truth of what the bible actually teaches!

If we are to take the bible at its word then there is not one person on the face of this earth is ever going to be good enough. In reference to the Hebrew law and justification by faith we are told that:
24 and all are justified by the free gift of his grace through being set free in Christ Jesus.
25 God appointed him as a sacrifice for reconciliation, through faith, by the shedding of his blood, and so showed his justness; first for the past, when sins went unpunished because he held his hand;
26 and now again for the present age, to show how he is just and justifies everyone who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:24-26 (NJB)

This text answers several questions; verse 24 reiterates the fact that all are saved through God's grace and verse 25 assures that Christ's alleged sacrifice is for all times including those that died before from the beginnings of man and under the law, and finally verse 26 states that it is for the present and obviously for future generations. Although it appears that they did not believe that there were going to be any future generations since certain scripture texts make it quite clear that the first century apostles and believers expected the return of Christ in their generation.

James chapter 2 brings in some other elements into play regarding faith in conjunction with works. 

19 You believe in the one God -- that is creditable enough, but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear.
20 Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless? James 2:19-20 (NJB)

As you an see, good deeds should be the results of your faith. In other parts of the bible it states that as a believer you must bear fruit. It's one thing to tell someone you love them and its entirely another for you to show them that you love them by your acts towards them. So despite what some misinformed believers claim faith without works is useless! The bible compares those believers to cymbals that make no sound or sowers that plant their seeds on rocks where they just wither and die. Although it is obvious that you are not saved by good deeds they are part of the package of one who professes faith in Christ.

I could cite scripture and go on and on about this but I think this little crash course should suffice. But here is the kicker oh good and faithful Christian!

4 Thus he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love,
5 marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure, Ephesians 1:4-5 (NJB)

In this discourse to the Church of Ephesus Paul informs the church that they were chosen by God before the world was made! To keep this in context he is specifically referring to the gentiles and how they have become heirs to salvation through Christ.  This is one of several texts used to preach the doctrine of predestination, and if this is true no one really knows who will actually be "saved." In fact the bible states clearly that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). And Jesus himself is quoted as saying

20 I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.
21 'It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:20-21 (NJB)

So in conclusion, if you are one of those believers who live life as he/she pleases committing so called little insignificant sins such as lying and cheating etc. It might not matter that you go to church once or several times a week and quiver and quake under the power of the holy Spirit. You might just be as hell bound as I am. And if we are to take the predestination doctrine seriously even if you are living a good life according to your own standards and kissing God's ass endlessly it might not matter either. You might just be as hell bound as I am, but there is some good news after all! It's all a myth, and hell does not exist. Ah the great pleasure of living in reality and not being bound to silly ancient superstitions! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Does this look sane?

I know what it looks like, but contrary to what you may believe this is not a hold up in progress! It's actually a bunch of religious nuts worshiping God. You can tell by all of the smiles and apparent joy reflected on their faces. People don't normally smile when they are being held up; or so I used to think. But upon a closer analyses of this picture these people are being held up; and the funny thing about it is that they don't even realize it!

They are being robbed right under their noses and at the same time having their intelligence insulted! They are being robbed of the most basic and fundamental human ability: the ability to reason. My trusty Sage dictionary and thesaurus defines reason as: ' The capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination.' Most of the time when we think about discrimination our minds tend to wander to the negative aspects of discrimination such as racism, sexism, etc. but there is also such a thing as positive discrimination. The ability to discern bad from good or a truth from a lie are two of the most common positive aspects of discrimination. Not all lies are so obvious, but with a little background research we can expose them as such and steer clear from them.

Worst of all, they have given up their ability to make their own decisions and to think for themselves. They have decided to "let go and let God" as one of their more popular slogans tends to advocate. Like all fundamentalists they shun the burden of having to make the tough decisions in life and have put their lives in the hands of a mythological creature that was invented by man himself! They have given up living in order to please the imaginary guy in the sky.

When I see people today doing these things I feel a sense of pity for them because I used to be one of them myself. I used to praise the "Lord" for doing absolutely nothing for my life that I could not have done myself. I used to shout to the heavens yelling hallelujah at the top of my lungs. I used to senselessly wave my arms around in the air so that God would notice me lol. In those days I didn't think for a second that I was being robbed, duped, conned into believing a lie. I cried tears of joy although I realize now that all that was was a psycho-emotional reaction to my extreme beliefs.

Fundamentalist go to church with one objective and one objective only: to "feel" a touch of God. They are creatures of sensation only and are constantly looking for sensory stimulation from what they believe to be the divine. They feel that if they feel a touch of God then they are on the right track and must be right with God. Not many of them actually read the bible and are usually told by their pastors and church leaders as I was not to read books that contradicted their beliefs.

According to the leaders of these churches; anything that contradicted your beliefs or criticized the bible was nothing but a ploy of Satan to sow the seeds of doubt in your mind. If demons were real and I had to give them names I would call them ignorance, gullibility, etc. all the negative terms we could think of to define a person who is easy to deceive.

When a person talks to himself or hears voices in his head he is called insane or mentally unstable, but a person doing the very same thing in the context of religion  is in touch with God! Talk about a double standard! Raising your hands in the air shouting at the top of your lungs, and talking to yourself and calling it prayer makes it okay. There is nothing sane about what the bible teaches, there is nothing holy or divine about its concepts of God, and there is nothing sane about believing that a man who allegedly died two thousand years ago will be someday coming back! From a logical point of view believing in Christianity is simply being one step shy of insanity.

Extreme Christianity

There is one word in the entire English language that just does not go with any religious belief or practice; that word is fundamentalism. The free online dictionary defines fundamentalism as: 1. 'A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.'

Fundamentalists are proud and think of themselves as the one and only true followers of God, and they tend to take religious practices to the extreme. They tend to be judgmental of everyone who is not a member of their circle of "divinely" selected members. They joyfully look forward to the end of this evil world and have their heads already in the clouds hoping that very soon their body would follow. Their eyes are always heaven bound on the look out for the return of their Lord and savior Jesus Christ. They sing songs about forever being in his presence in a future state and relish the idea of being washed in his blood and purged from their sinful nature.

I was a fundamentalist! I at one time thought the bible was the inerrant and undefiled word of God, that he walked with me and talked with me at all times in the form of the Holy Spirit which at that time I believed had taken residence in me. I saw demons everywhere and the influence of Satan on everyone and in almost any situation. I preached in the streets, on the radio, in the local churches and anywhere else where I had the opportunity to do so. I wanted to bring as many souls to the foot of the cross before I left this world for good.

I was emotionally and psychologically completely immersed in my beliefs and there was nothing that anyone could do or say to prove me wrong. I felt God's presence, heard his voice in my head, saw visions, and had many dreams that I believed were direct communications from the divine. In the name of Jesus I spoke in tongues, apparently healed the sick, cast out devils by the legions, etc. I saw and witnessed God's power in every service; so my faith was only strengthened by these apparent displays of divine intervention.

Notice in the definition of fundamentalism how I underlined the words rigid adherence and intolerance? Somehow even though I was lost in a fog of extremism, there seemed to be something of me left in there. I was never intolerant towards other faiths; of course I thought they were wrong but I did not judge them for it. I saw them as people who had be duped or deluded by Satan into believing a lie. Part of my job as a "servant" of the one true God was to get them to see the truth, and I did so by learning about their religions from their own source books and then showing them the error of their ways. I did not see them as my enemy I just saw them as lost souls who needed to be pointed in the right direction.

I was very non-confrontational, the way I saw it is that if I told you the "truth" and you refused to believe it then that was on you. I had fulfilled my part by just letting you know that you were wrong. When it comes to the rigid adherence aspect of my beliefs I prayed for hours at a time. As a Christian I read the bible cover to cover both Old and New testaments four times and on one of those four times I read it in Spanish to compare that translation to the English ones. I've never cried so much in my life! I cried for the unsaved, the sick, the dead, the dying, the many injustices of this world and I literally took the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Leaving the fold was one of the hardest and scariest things I had ever done. I have never done drugs but I have heard accounts from others of how difficult it is to kick those bad habits and how easy it is for some to relapse. I think leaving fundamentalist Christianity is similar to that in some sense and I have met theists who have broken free only partially to then relapse at a later time in their lives.

Fortunately, I have not relapsed. I feel that my life is now more fulfilling and has taken on new meaning than when I was a believer. I live for the here and the now and I am fully aware that like many before me my time on this earth is limited. I have been free from superstition for the past eighteen years and have never looked back. In my life now there is no room for gods or superstitions and there is no fear of hell or death. I live a down to earth and simple and practical life that is productive in every way possible. I look forward everyday to what tomorrow will bring although I know it is not promised. I live in the here and now, I am happy, and most of all: I am free!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In love with Jesus Christ

Upon reflecting on my past experience as a Pentecostal evangelist I realized something very important yet odd. I realized that during those four wasted years of my life I was literally in love with Jesus! Not in a gay way, but rather in the sense that I was fully psychologically and emotionally engaged/invested in my belief. My theology was simple: God was the father, Jesus was the son and only way to gain access to the father, and the Holy Spirit was my attachment to them both; my spiritual teacher and guide.

During those days such terms as being "filled with the Holy Spirit" or seeking the "anointing of the Spirit" were very real to me. I fully believed back then that I was called to serve not just God but his creation as well. My goal was to replicate or even exceed some of the apostolic miracles that I had read about in the scriptures! I wanted to be a spiritual giant and I wanted to do everything in my power with the help of the Lord to be in right standing with him and to fulfill my calling to the fullest.

I can honestly say that God was the center of my universe! I ate and slept the Word, I dreamed about spiritual things and had visions and spoke in tongues while I felt the accompanying sensations that were common with those experiences. I remember the sense of joy I felt when someone came up to me after a service and claimed that they were healed of some malady or when some came up in response to my alter call after a moving sermon. I was overjoyed with the thought of angels rejoicing every time someone gave their lives to Jesus and I imagined that they were having one hell of a celebration in heaven.

7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance. 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.' Luke 15:7,10 (New Jerusalem Bible).

It was verses like the one above that in my mind reaffirmed God's love for me and my love for him. I thought of God as the father I never had and he also made up for a mother who was also absent during most of my childhood. I found in God a protector, guide, comforter in times of grief, and in my mission a purpose: to save as many souls for Jesus before I left this Earth. I was a fundamentalist in the worst way and I took the bible quite literally.

I am convinced based on my experience that there is a correlation between falling in love with a person and being in love with God. When someone falls in love with another person to the extreme they exhibit the same characteristics as I did for Jesus. They only see the good in that person and for the most part are completely blinded to that persons faults or choose to ignore them. Their love for that person takes precedence over everything. They want to be in contact with that person as much as possible; in the case with God, at all times. They think of the person always and wonder what he/she may be doing at this moment. Sometimes they talk to the person aloud even though they know the person is far away and can't hear them.They are fully emotionally and psychologically invested in their relationship.

I was in love with Jesus, but like anything else taken to the extreme, this relationship did more harm than good. In the real world some people even go as far as taking their lives when the one they love has left them. I committed suicide the day I "gave my life" to Jesus: I stopped being me and began living his life and trying in all things to fulfill what I believed to be his will.

In conclusion: It is for this reason that I believe that many Christians; particularly fundamentalist believers, have such a hard time weaning themselves away from their former beliefs. It took me six years to fully overcome my former beliefs and the accompanying fears that came as a result of my actions. Pascal's wager at one time made a lot of sense to me! What if I was wrong! But from a logical standpoint and with my wits about me, I can see it for what it really is: a waste of time thinking about, and nothing more than an extension of the delusion that is belief.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why are there so many contradictions in the gospels?

Many people have sought to answer this question in so many ways but as expected it is never answered to the satisfaction of all. The apologist's deny any contradictions and are working hard to try to reconcile those contradictions; while the non-believers such as myself see these contradictions as proof that the gospel story cannot be trusted as historical or factual.

I've thought about this question for quite some time; and have come up with what I believe is a simple answer to why the synoptic gospels as well as the gospel according to John are so different from each other and disagree on the details regarding the life of Jesus. First and foremost is the fact that none of the gospels are first hand accounts of the events that they describe. Second, none of the authors of those gospels are actually the persons whose names are attached to the documents. Until about the mid second century the gospels were all recognized to be anonymous works, and their authors because of this till this day remain unknown.

If you take into consideration that the gospels were entirely based on oral traditions and not historical facts, but rather tales or shall we call them what they really are? Folktales. The online Mirriam Webster dictionary defines a folktale as': a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people.' Our gospels definitely meet all of the criteria of a folktale as defined by Merriam Webster. 

One last thing to consider is that oral stories tend to change and evolve with the telling. As time goes by they are usually embellished to convey a certain teaching or in the case of the gospels; the many doctrines that have been derived from the many tales that they are composed of. If there are any historical facts in the gospel tales about Jesus it is almost certain that they have been greatly exaggerated as time has passed and are not the same tales that were being told in the beginning. I am pretty sure that what we have is the greatly exaggerated tales of the anonymous authors of those gospels.

This last fact is made evident from the various ways in which the tale is told by the various authors who are telling them. If we include the gospel of John among the synoptic gospels what we are really reading in them is four different tales told by four different authors and their interpretation of the oral traditions as they have received them. Taking this into consideration will help make sense out of why there are so many discrepancies in the tales about Jesus. 

The authors of the gospels are four different authors with four different tales to tell based on their own individual interpretation of the tales that they have received orally most likely from their family or friends. Out of these four tales the authors have all come up with their own doctrinal beliefs based on what they have learned and how they have learned it. If you study the New Testament carefully you will be able to see the various doctrines within the texts themselves. Even back then the church was divided on doctrinal matters regarding the end times, resurrection, the role of women in the church etc.

In closing I think that this simple idea about the gospels in particular can also be extended to the entire bible as a whole. It helps explain why we have so many contradictions in the scriptures and why they cannot be reconciled without going through some ridiculous mental gymnastics to try and make sense out of nonsense. Think of it as being similar to having four psychiatrists write on the same subject separately and then putting all of their works together into one book. This is what happened with the gospels and the bible as a whole, I am pretty sure that the various authors of the scriptures had no idea that one day all of their works would be put together with those of other writers both in agreement and at odds with their beliefs.