Saturday, January 25, 2014

On seeking God

9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10

Often when I find myself confronted by fundamentalist Christians I am often told that If I seek God with an open mind that he would make himself known to me. Today I found myself reflecting on this claim and wondering if after all these years of being an atheist, if maybe somewhere deep down inside I am still seeking. Let me explain: since I left the church in 94' I have always held an interest in Christianity and the idea of God. Today all I read are books on Christianity, comparative religion, science and other things related to beliefs. 

The verse I have cited Luke 11:9-10 is interesting to me because I felt that that is exactly what I did. I sought God at one time with an open mind in spirit and in truth as is prescribed in the scriptures. I devoted four years of my life preaching the gospel and ministering to the masses. Subjectively speaking I had found God. I felt his presence every waking moment of every day, I heard him guide me in my head in my own voice, I lived entirely dependent upon his guidance for my life. I looked for signs in my daily life of his approval and confirmation of his will and plan for my life. I never thought to question my beliefs nor did I dare. 

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37

I can honestly say that in those days I loved the Lord more than life itself and was willing to die for what I believed in. I prayed not just on my knees at designated times but also all day long I spoke to the Lord in my mind. I asked for guidance and strength to resist temptation and I prayed for my fellow man that he may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ my savior and Lord. I thought of the biblical God as the ultimate father figure. All powerful, all wise, and all knowing and trusted in him with all my heart.  I had dreams of Jesus and visions of Christ I felt the surge of the Holy Spirit within me when I prayed to myself or for others. I believed that I was anointed with various gifts of the Spirit and thought I was helping people with my prayers. 

In those days nothing mattered to me more than to live a life that I thought was pleasing to the Lord. In the scriptures obedience is key and it was hard work to try and stay on the right track in my daily walk. But I can honestly say that I loved the Lord more than life itself. I find it insulting when a theist states that I was not a real Christian or that I did not truly seek the Lord. I felt that I went above and beyond what many calling themselves Christians today could ever imagine. But my experience as a fundamentalist believer taught me some things that many atheists could never comprehend unless they have had a similar experience like mine. I learned that in the end its all in the mind. 

When you read the Bible as I did as a theist and then as a nonbeliever I noticed a huge difference. When reading as a theist I read it with reverence and fear I took every word to heart and believed that in doing so I was edifying my spirit. I did not notice many things that would have made me question my beliefs at the time. It wasn't till I read the Bible objectively as an outsider that I began to see the barbarity in its verses. I no longer saw a loving father figure deity but a morally bankrupt monster and murderer of the human faculty of the mind and destroyer of the human spirit. 

Reading the Bible objectively is an eye opening experience. I began to question the actions of God against humanity. I began to try and work out better solutions to genocide and mass murder and I found that God's motives for these actions were petty and unwarranted. God demands obedience, love, and submission. All three  of these qualities do not point to the idea of a loving god but rather reflect the actions of a communistic dictator and a tyrant. I find it ironic when I hear theists state that communists were for the most part atheist. Atheism is not an ideology so whether they were or not is irrelevant. The God of the bible acts just like a human tyrant reminiscent of Hitler, Mao, or Papa doc. 

This God of the Bible is a racist, a misogynist, he endorses slavery, the death penalty for the most minor infractions, etc. This is not a god to be loved but rather to be feared he is not a father unless you classify him as an abusive father. He is manipulating, controlling, and oppressive. He condemns the search for knowledge, truth, and objectivity. I have sought God; but in the end what I found was a monster. 

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Christian Conundrum

Conundrum:  a question or problem having only a conjectural answer 
Conjecture: an opinion or idea formed without proof or sufficient evidence

I've been an atheist since 1994 a total of 20 years, and I was an extremely fundamentalist Pentecostal evangelist for a total of four year from 90' to 94.' Throughout the years of discussing the reasons why I have left the faith with theists of all sects and denominations; I have noticed that there is one divide that separates atheists from theists. The theists insist upon it and the atheists refuse to accept it. That divide is founded on the concept of faith. If you discuss the idea of faith with various theists you will immediately come to know that you will probably get a bunch of ideas about what faith is none of which will agree with the other.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

According to the definition of faith and the many examples of faith in chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews faith is synonymous with hope but not just hope in the ordinary human sense of the word but in hoping against all odds or the seemingly impossible. Faith from the Jewish/Christian/or Muslim perspective is not dependent on objective or empirical evidence but rather on subjective evidence; namely hope that what you believe is absolutely true. Theists have many reasons for believing. Some claim to feel God's presence, others claim to have been healed from some ailment or malady through faith, others claim to receive answers to their prayers, etc. 

Faith does not question beliefs; it is faith coupled with subjective experiences and fervor that reinforces irrational beliefs. You can't rationally explain how a man who allegedly lived 2,000 years ago, was executed by crucifixion, placed in a tomb, and somehow against all logic rose from the dead. Even more incredible is the belief almost two thousand years later that this same man will come back to earth to redeem his church!  

Contrary to what some theists want one to believe there is nothing mysterious or esoteric about faith. In it's simplest form faith is the same as conjecture: an opinion or idea formed without proof or sufficient evidence. Faith requires that you first make the investment of belief without requiring evidence or leaning to your own understanding. Contrary to what theists believe that initial investment of belief without evidence is what is commonly referred to as a leap of faith. But before faith comes a belief in God. 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6  

In order to please God you must first be willing to accept that he is; believe that he exists. Once you believe this then you must believe that he will keep his promises as outlined in the Bible to his people and those that seek him. This is all that faith is; the assurance that God exists and that he keeps his word and his promises. Here is the biggest stumbling block for an atheist such as myself: I can't believe in God without evidence of his existence and having read his so called word (the Bible) four times thoroughly I can't bring myself to believe that he exists. 

After having read the Bible three times in English and once in Spanish I found that it was full of self contradictions and incompatible representations of God. I was taught that God was good, loving, righteous, and just. He was often compared to a human father figure and his love for his children. In my mind God was the ultimate good and his integrity was unquestionable. But as I read the scriptures I read about some of his actions against humanity and no matter how I tried I could not justify mass murder, misogyny and slavery. Just because other people chose not to believe in God in my mind was not sufficient reason to kill them. I came to the conclusion slowly but surely that this god was not a good god or a moral god but rather a monster and a tyrant. 

Today I view the God of the Bible and the Koran as morally bankrupt and as a corrupt tyrant. Their favor is based on your complete and utter surrender to them. There is no free will when your only choice for good is to submit body, mind, and "spirit" to a deity whose existence is for the most part improbable. Failure to do so carries the threat of consequences that even follow you after your physical death! That's not love, that's tyranny! 

Theists insists on the absolute truth of their beliefs and want to force those beliefs upon everyone else. Like their God they too remind you of his threats for disobedience and when they were in charge they demonstrated that they were willing to kill, torture, and maim all those that refused to accept the absurdity that is their beliefs. Some states want to make atheism illegal even today! 

Unlike theists, atheists insists on logic and reason before committing to a belief system or doctrine. We recognize that in order to be a Jew/Christian/or a Muslim we would have to suspend the use of our minds. We would have to betray reason and dispense of the use of logic to believe in the absurd without evidence. This is where theism and atheism clash and the one place where we will never see eye to eye. 

The Christian conundrum also applies to Jews and Muslims and any other religion that insists on the existence of gods whether personal or impersonal as real entities without evidence. What is that conundrum? The fact that logically and reasonably the gods of any religion cannot be proven to exist empirically or objectively. The only one that could prove the existence of God in the case of the religions of the book is God himself. Unfortunately for believers either he doesn't want to do so or he simply can't because he just doesn't exist. 

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.     Bertrand Russel, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

Never, never do violence to your rational nature. He who in any case admits doctrines which contradict reason, has broken down the great barrier between truth and falsehood, and lays open his mind to ever delusion.    William E. Channing, Thoughts 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures and all word definitions are taken from the online version of the Merriam Webster Dictionary.                        
As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Atheists are not angry!

One of the most irritating accusations that theists like to make against atheists amounts to nothing more than a bad straw man attack. They accuse us of being angry at God and willfully negating the "truth" so that we can live as we please without accountability to anyone for our actions. The first problem with this is that theists seem to not understand the meaning of the word atheist or what an atheist is. As the word theists refers to a person who believes in God or gods atheist refers to a person who is of the opposite opinion. The "a" is used to refer to without followed by theist (God/gods) it's not that complicated.

Unlike theists; atheists have more rational reasons not to believe in gods, demons, angels, or any other strange entities mentioned in the Bible. The bottom line is that there simply is no objective and empirical evidence for the existence of these entities anywhere. In fact, to make matters worse the existence of God is unfalsifiable making it impossible for science to even test for the existence of God. For theists it's all a matter of faith which is simply hoping that what you believe is true without evidence. Theists rely heavily on subjective evidence regarding their beliefs such as feeling God's presence around them, within them, and manifesting through them in the form of so called gifts of the Spirit such as glossolalia (speaking in tongues), prophesying, having dreams, and visions, etc.

The problem with these subjective experiences is that they are all induced in the mind by a fervent belief in the doctrines one has been taught and exposed to. What theists fail to recognize is that there are many other religions throughout the world that also claim subjective experiences and yet those are ignored or called dupes of Satan to mislead people from the one true faith. Logically if I were to accept a Christians experiences as evidence of the existence of God then I must also accept the subjective claims of all the other religious non-Christian adherents of the world.

Now that that has been clarified let's get to the matter at hand. When someone says that they are an atheist they are saying I don't believe that the Bible is the word of God, I don't believe in heaven, hell, Satan, angels, demons, or any of the other mythical characters mentioned in that book. Quoting scripture at us is an exercise in futility since we don't accept the Bible as divinely inspired nor revere it. To a large majority of us it's just a book of ancient myths and superstitions.

The only thing I find upsetting about Christianity or Islam ( the two most aggressive faiths) is that they try to shove their religion down everyone's throat whether we like it or not. It's ironic but when Christianity was once in power they persecuted everyone who did not accept their beliefs. They even persecuted and murdered those that accepted their beliefs but went against their orthodox interpretations of what those beliefs should be and labeled them heretics.

Fundamentalist Christians of today are not that different from their early ancestors in that they want to rule the world with their ugly ideology. Here in the United States they use deceptive means to try to influence our politicians to write laws that favor their religion. They want to ban abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, freedom of speech for anyone who opposes their beliefs. They try to equate patriotism with Christianity. Under the false pretense that the U.S. was a nation founded under Christian principles they try and claim this nation as their own.

Atheists are not angry at God. That statement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever since it is pretty difficult to be mad at something which we think it is highly unlikely to exist. We don't "believe" that God does not exist thus it is not a matter of faith. We simply mean that there is no convincing evidence for his existence and it is more probable that he does not exist than that he does.

Theists are claiming rights for themselves while at the same time denying them to others. They want prayer in schools, the teaching of Intelligent Design as science, they want to force our government to favor their religion completely ignoring the Constitutions admonition about separation of church and state. This country through the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants the freedom of religion for all religions and not specifically Christianity. We're not angry at God we are angry at you who can't seem to live and let other live in peace.

I personally don't care who you worship you can worship Satan for all I care as long as you are not harming anyone in any way. You often speak of having a personal relationship with the Lord; well why don't you try keeping it personal? Your job as a believer is to preach the word and leave the rest up to God. Not force your religion down the throats of any who refused to believe. Not even Jesus used this tactic.

47“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. John 12:47-48

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

A horrific biblical tale!

The Bible is chock full of stories that are referred to by scholars as doublets. often a story is told more than once but with slight variations such as the story of creation, Noah's ark, etc. Other times the story is told in an entirely different way, in a different setting, with different results. This is one of those stories.

Everyone knows the story of Lot. God had dispatched angels to Sodom and Gomorrah disguised in human form. They were met by a man named Lot who God thought was a just man and worthy of being saved from his plans of destroying the two cities. There is a similar story found in Judges 19 about a man and his concubine. I will compare both accounts since  you will see that they are almost identical not just in the telling but even in a word for word comparison although the end results were very different.

So let's start by looking at the similarities of these two tales. I will cite portions of the story of Lot followed by portions of the story of the man and his concubine. Note that the story in Judges never gives us the name of this anonymous man. We are only told that he is a Levite.

1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square." Genesis 19:1-2

Note that when they arrived Lot immediately intercepted them and offered to allow them to stay the night at his house. They had originally intended to stay in the square.

16That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”18He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me in for the night.Judges 19:16-16

In this tale the man sits in the square and is spotted by an inhabitant of the city who subsequently offers to take him in for the night. So in both of our tales our travelers have been taken into a household for the night.

3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Genesis 19:3

21So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink. Judges 19:21

Both house guests were fed and well taken care of. 

4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Genesis 19:4-5

22While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.” Judges 19:22

So far these two different tales are very similar in content and circumstance. 

6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Genesis 19:6-8

23The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.” Judges 19:23-24

Notice that in both tales they offer up their daughters in the second he offers up the man concubine as well. The reason for this was because they felt an obligation to protect the men who were guests at their home. The other reason is that women in the Bible were considered property like cattle and in so in these two tales their safety and well being was not as important as that of the men. Another great demonstration of misogyny in the Bible! It's not a misguided unfounded accusation; it's a fact! 

Here is where the two stories diverge from one another and the similarities I have highlighted end. In the case of Lot when the men try to force themselves into the home the angels strike them all with blindness and gather Lot and his daughters and wife and allow them to flee the city before its coming destruction. In the second tale there were no angels to defend the home owner nor his guests and it took a turn for the worse.

25But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. Judges 19:25-26

27When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.29When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.  Judges 19:27-29

Christians claim that the Bible is a good book about morality and God's love etc. but its full of tales like this one. When you read this story you have to ask what is the meaning of this? Where is the moral lesson here? The fact of the matter is that there simply isn't one. Also, the similarities of these tales indicate to me that they were most likely not even historical events but rather works of fiction. There is so much unjustified murders and deaths in the Bible some of which are committed by the good Lord himself that it is ridiculous to call God good. There is nothing good about a deity as barbaric as Yahweh.

The so called claim that God is the source of objective morality sickens me. I think that my moral standards far exceed those of this allegedly good and supreme deity. I can honestly say that I have never murdered or killed anyone for any reason, I have never stolen from anyone, I have never purposely deceived anyone. The biblical God is guilty of all these things and more. 

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Life without Jesus

And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' Luke 12:19

Although I don't have it all figured out yet this is my philosophy of life. I've had a rough life and I've had my highs and lows just like anybody else, but I feel that I am privileged to have had the opportunity to live this life. As a believer I lived as though this life was nothing but a way station to the life that awaited me after my physical death. I invested a lot of my time in activities which at the time I believed were my calling from God. I preached on the streets, in various churches, and ministered to the sick and down trodden. I believed in those days that my time on this earth was not mine; it was the Lord's. 

As a believer I thought that my will and what was important for me was irrelevant. I wasn't put on this earth to do my will but the will of the Lord. In my mind I constantly held what I believed were conversations with the Lord. Jesus was my first thought in the morning and my last thought when I went to sleep. I prayed often and read my Bible with such awe and reverence and did not see anything wrong with the Lord or any of his actions. 

I believed that sin was everywhere and I constantly fought it back in my own life. Sin being defined as something that is offensive to God such as disobedience to his word etc. was always looming. I saw this life as disgusting and depraved and felt sorry for how people willfully rejected Jesus and did not appreciate the sacrifice of his life as atonement for their sins. I prayed that they would come to repentance and that they like myself would come to see the error of their ways. I wasn't worried about their earthly physical lives; I was more concerned for the ultimate fate of their souls. 

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I realize now that when I ministered to the masses I did not do it from a position of arrogance, but one of genuine concern. I believed what I preached fervently and I worked on a daily basis to make sure that I was in God's good graces. I guarded my thoughts from straying and when I did have a thought that was ungodly in my estimation I would ask God for forgiveness on the spot. I saw everyone in the world that did not have Jesus as scattered sheep without a shepherd. 

The idea that God was just also blinded me to the fact that he was a murdering tyrant that did not deserve my love or worship. I like many believers still do today did not have a problem with God's brand of Justice. His flooding the world or ordering the ancient Hebrews to murder entire towns and cities did not bother me. I thought that he was God and he created us and could therefore do as he pleases with us. I did not think to question his so called actions and saw him as the ultimate good. 

Today, my life is different but I can honestly say much better than it was when I was a theist. I value this life and this time now as the only life I will ever have. I have more compassion for my fellow man knowing that I too can be doing well one day and be homeless the next. I find meaning in this life and love those people in my life who are important to me. Life without Jesus has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don't worry about sin, death, or offending a fictional deity anymore. I am not concerned with what happens to me after I die. I see death as the final stop in this journey called life and have come to realize that we all will eventually get there.

I now see death from a biological point of view and therefore no longer fear it. Knowing that it can come at any given time or at any given moment makes me appreciate life even more. I don't have time to sit in a church praising and worshiping mythological beings and nurturing superstitions. I no longer put my life on hold nor am bound to live up to the standards of a god whose  morality is questionable. Many of the things that this deity is said to have done to man would normally be called sick and immoral, but people still insist on worshiping him out of fear based on empty superstitious beliefs. 

I thought I was saved as a Christian from eternal torment in the afterlife. I believed in that eternal bliss that was promised in the Bible and looked forward to it with blind faith and joy. But as an atheist I believe now that I have been truly saved. I have been saved from living my life  shackled to false beliefs and superstitions. I have been saved from fear of death and have broken the chains of mental anguish and oppression that once held captive my mind. Live life now is my motto! Love, laugh, cry, etc. now and cherish those you love because you never know when you will be saying your last goodbye or if you'll ever see them again. This is life; here and now! Don't let it go to waste.

Note: All biblical citations have been taken from the New International version of the scriptures. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pentecostal fundamentalist oppression

Oppression :  a sense of being weighed down in body or mind

One of the most negative effects I had from the influence of fundamentalist Pentecostalism in my life was that of oppression. Oppression as it is defined above from the Merriam Webster dictionary which I have linked to. For the most part this oppression was self inflicted due to the depth of my delusion in those days. Although the Bible stated that we can never measure up to God's standards it also taught that we should strive to be Christ like in our own lives to the best of our abilities. 

 12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— Romans 5:12

Once I was convinced that I too had come under the condemnation of sin I felt indebted to God. In those days though I was not a practicing Christian I was brought up to believe in the Christian God, but I was always told about his love. It wasn't till I was 14 years old and in the 9th grade in high school that after meeting a believer in school that I finally converted and fully committed myself to God and embraced the Christian religion. That first time I only lasted a year before I backslid and left the church and went back into the world and to my old ways. But even though I was no longer a practicing Christian I still retained my respect for Christianity, God, and what I still believed was his word the Bible.

In 1990 on New Years day I converted once more; this was to be my final attempt at committing my life entirely to Christ. This time around I delved into the scriptures headlong and asked questions of the church elders often. I prayed often and fasted at least once every two weeks. I joined an evangelist from my church and was soon preaching God's word in churches, on street corners, on public transportation, in hospitals, and pretty much wherever I could. I always had a stack of Bible tracts on my person to hand out to people on the street. I had surrendered fully and in retrospect to the extreme to the so called will of God.

Sin: Any thought, word, desire, action, or omission of action, contrary to the law of God, or defective when compared with it.(ATS Bible Dictionary)

In those days I had committed four years of my life to the will of God and tried on a daily basis to put into practice in my life what I believed to be the commandments of the Lord. It never occurred to me once to analyze critically the concept of sin. It wasn't till I read the Bible for the first time in its entirety that I came to the realization that this God did not seem fair or just at all. When I began to question what I was reading I began to feel terrified at the prospect that either Satan would harm me during my time of weakness or that God would chastise me for even questioning him.

Why should I be indebted to God for something someone else did? Why should I be punished for someone else and their transgression that allegedly happened around 6 0r 7 thousand years ago? Why should all of man acquire the curse of ancestors so far removed in time? In my mind there is no justification for this then nor now. The key to freeing myself from this delusion is to acknowledge that God was not wise, loving, or just. In the end the best solution was to eliminate him altogether from the equation. No God, no one to offend, therefore no such thing as sin. But this task was easier said than done. I was deeply deluded and heavily shackled by the chains of my delusions. It took me six years to completely shake the effects of religious beliefs from my life.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

It's ironic to me that this verse is even in the Bible but in the way that it is used it is done so to promote the gospel of Christ. Even today when Christians speak of their religious beliefs they refer to it as the truth. But I found a greater truth than the one that Pentecostalism or any other form of religion could ever teach me. I found out through careful research that all religions were nothing more than ancient myths and superstitions. I found out that Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all other religions that required that you submit to one or many imaginary beings were all nothing more than delusions. In my case the truth in the form of reality set me free from the imaginary and frightening world of delusions to which I was enslaved. 

I might not be able to tell you oh dear theist exact details on how the universe came into existence or even how life began, but I can assure you that God did it is not the answer. The god of the gaps theory is not even a coherent and rational theory at all and is something that is not even worthy of consideration. It is entirely based on the presupposition that God exists. The burden of proof is entirely on you dear Christian to prove to me the reality of the existence of your God, and the absolute veracity of your beliefs. Honestly, I think it can't be done but I am often amused watching you theists give it the good old college try. 

It wasn't till I read the Bible without reverence and fear, but objectively that I came to the realization that it was no different than any other book of myths that preceded it. Faith is not a valid means of obtaining knowledge and thus is invalid as evidence of anything. All religions of the world apply faith in one god or even many gods and they are all equally deluded and equally wrong. 

I lived four years of my life worrying about keeping my thoughts pure, fighting what I now know to be very natural lusts of the flesh, begging the Lord for strength and forgiveness when I had thought I sinned. I was constantly walking on egg shells and wanted to please the Lord to the best of my abilities. But in the end  on that fateful day when the chains of my religious oppression finally fell away, I felt as though the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders. I could now accept and love people for who they are without prejudices or feeling pity for their souls thinking I knew where they would end up if they did not accept Jesus as the lord and savior of their lives. I love all people and now have a live and let live policy. Sin no longer exists in my vocabulary and the idea of gods has taken their rightful place in the category of myths. 

I'm an atheist who is a proud father, husband, and now grandfather. I find meaning in life itself and joy in being privileged enough to have the opportunity to experience it on a daily basis. I've had a rough life in general and often find myself in one struggle or another but I realize that life is random and unpredictable and basically shit happens that we just can't foresee. I've learned to roll with the punches and think rationally instead of relying on an imaginary guy in the sky for help. I don't grovel and cry out to a being who in my opinion is not there. Reality is much better than superstition and I live to better myself on a daily basis and enjoy all of the wonderful things this world has to offer. Heaven is a hope that only exist in the hearts and the minds of the helplessly deluded. Hopefully some of you will find your way back to reality as I have and begin to enjoy life for yourself instead of sacrificing it for a delusion. 

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures, word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary, and from the ATS Bible Dictionary.