"No one dares suggest that neon signs blinking the
message that "Jesus Saves" may be false advertising."
- R. Laurence Moore
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
So, If I put money in the basket, I go to Heaven?
Well, after some thought and from reading Delta's recent deconversion story...I thought it might be interesting to share mine with the community. I've always been fascinated with how Freethinkers are born, how they evolve, how they break free of the religious mold set forth by society/family/government/etc . It truly seems to be a rather rare occurence. I admire these individuals, and hope that their audacity will lead others to a similar outcome.
To begin, my family can be considered non-denominatonal Christian. My mother, being the more religious of the family, always encouraged and forced (during the young years) all of the family to attend church, which as you may already know, is AWESOME. My father doesn't really have an opinion about religion, though I believe he's a Christan "on paper" and usually does whatever is necessary to appease my mother. Growing up in a Catholic family and going to Catholic schools, slowly molded my mother into a moderately religious Christian. Thankfully, she did not turn out to be a fundamentalist.So my brother and I grew up going to youth bible study groups, countless sermons and even became Catholic conscripts due to our mother. Of course, we were to young to understand what exactly we were doing, we just wanted to appease our mother.
I can recall rather vividly the thoughts that went through my mind while in these bible study sessions. It makes me wonder, does everyone have these thoughts? Perhaps they're just too afraid to think them? ASK about them? I had a plethra of questions that never were answered, not even given a remotely reasonable answer. Reading the Bible was equivalent to reading a fairy tale, with seemingly the same type of stories, characters at times, and "big picture" moral concepts. I thought things like, how the fuck could Noah fit two of EACH ANIMAL on a boat during that time? Why does everyone speak in metaphors? I certainly don't know what they're saying, and i'm not going to pick and choose what sounds best if I don't know. How the hell would a SNAKE trick a woman into eating an apple (a special apple which plunges all humanity from then on, into mortality)? Why didn't Adam eat the apple? Why isn't Jesus a woman? or an entity? Why is Jesus so nefarious at times? Why can't I see or talk to him? Why won't he show me he exists, so I will be certain? Of course, these are some lower-level questions, but were immensely important for me at that time. Questions like these really "got the pagan ball rollin'" for me and I still haven't found reasonable answers for them!
My mass and sermon experiences were also very influential on me during the teen years. My mother forced the family to go, and my brother and I spent the hours sleeping, going to the bathroom frequently, making obscene drawings in the pamphlets, or trying to rationalize the preacher's "crazy talk" (which never once worked). My brother and I were under the assumption that no one actually bought into that stuff, it's just so silly! But clearly as we all know, EVERYONE seems to buy into it. My biggest problem was that no one ACTUALLY followed what we talked about, or read about...it was just a sunday thing it seemed. In addition, I was simply amazed at what stories the preacher would come up with or read from the Bible, and how insane they sounded. What the hell are we doing here then? Why do they profess to be Christians if they behave exactly the opposite of how they are supposed to?
My most memorable experience was the first time I encountered the infamous "Basket of Faith" or "Basket o' Guilt" being passed around the aisles. For those who don't know how the bucket works, it's rather simple, see Figure A-1 at the top of the page.
Now remember, this is only a general layout of the basket. As you can see, churches can easily rack up thousands of dollars per sermon doing this. I'm sure there are many other things you could think of too. In addition, prices may vary depending on what church you attend, the time of year, or denomination you are. Example: Naturally, it costs Catholics less to sexually abuse/molest/rape children as it would for say, a Baptist. Though, i'm not saying a Baptist wouldn't, only that it would cost more money for the individual. But enough with this tangent, back to the story! This bucket absolutely blew my mind, and I loved watching how the pressures of society affected others. I thought, why the fuck do they want money? Isn't that Jesus' responsibility? I have never once given money to the church, and I never will.
During my mid teen years, I begin hanging around a group of "popular" friends and acquaintances who attended a bible study called "K-Life". I was young, naive and wanted to be accepted by the "cool people", so i occasionally went with them to this event. Gradually, I noticed just as I had noticed with church, that rarely anyone followed what the Bible mandated. Additionally, the stories and parables became more and more absurd or ambiguous. Once again I asked, what's the stuff inside Stretch Armstrong? Err... rather, what the hell is going on here? Seeing this growing trend among the "faithful" really pushed me away from religion, especially Christianity. Later on, I would only attend in hopes of meeting hot "Christian"girls, if you're a man, you know exactly what I mean.
As the years passed, I began learning more and more about the evils of religion, primarily the evils that Christians (as well as other religions) have spread throughout time. Countless lives have been ended for absolutely ludicrous reasons or beliefs. I began to grow a hatred for these people, a deep disgust for what they've done and as I began to see, are STILL doing every day. I became much more aware of how religion impacted the status quo. With this newfound hatred and distrust in religion, I wondered to myself, what am I now?
Was I an Atheist? Pagan? Heathen? Agnostic? I was somewhat apprehensive about finding out. The terms, especially Atheist still have a VERY negative connotation to them, thanks to the irrational and fundamentalists,etc of society! I began extensive research into the matter and eventually came to the conclusion that my beliefs generally followed along the lines of Atheism.
It was a momentous time, but at times, I felt somewhat ashamed. Am I doing something wrong? Should I have these thoughts? All of these negative thoughts passed when I began having religious discussions with my older brother (by about 3 years), whom I looked up to significantly. We had never really engaged in a serious, or lengthy conversation over religion and as we began to, I learned that he also shared many of the same beliefs I did, and he was also an Atheist. This was particularly moving to me, I no longer felt ashamed to be an Atheist. My brother, the straight A student, who's been successful with everything his entire life, was an Atheist like me. I learned quickly that it was ok to be an Atheist. How could someone as intelligent as him, go astray? He then opened my eyes to the countless other atheists and freethinkers throughout history. How could so many people "go astray"? The capacity of these peoples' intellects is astounding, why do I feel ashamed to think the same way they do?
Years past, as my knowledge of religion, philosophy and freethinkers grew. I became increasingly interested in religous affairs, joining Atheist/Freethinker groups, combatting fundamentalists wherever they may be, and diving into a sea of religious/philosophical text. This is basically where I find myself now, and I couldn't be any more happier to be free. There's a prodigious amount of additional information and events that led me to this outcome, but there's just not enough room to write it all.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Youth in Asia?
Youth in Asia?
Recently, numerous articles and discussions from mainly religious individuals/organizations about Euthanasia, have been quite galvanizing. I am absolutely sick and tired of peoples' generally unfounded religious beliefs interfering with reality. Of course, who isn't tired of this? To my dismay, the future is rather dismal for freethinkers. I only pray to the "Earth Mother" that humans pull their heads out of the skies and focus on the fucking ground. Anyways, on to Euthanasia.
By definition, Euthanasia means "The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment." Now, we can't just end lives without the consent of the patient right? Right. Voluntary euthanasia is absolutely necessary and morally acceptable. It should be essentially, the patient's choice and no one elses. Humans have a right to life, and a right to death. Is this irrational thinking? That a person should be in control of their own life? To choose whether or not they die (whether or not they can choose, is another story)? For humans sake, if i'm afflicted by some horrid disease..and was going to die slowly, painfully across a few weeks...and i requested to be euthanized, what the hell does anyone else have to do with it? Would you deny my request?And more importantly in this discussion, what do religious beliefs have to do with my decision? The ONLY beliefs that are of any importance are my own. Keep your religion out of my life. When was it a Christian's business, whether or not i die? Or how i die?
I can recall one day in one of my philosophy classes where a christian student responded to the idea of euthanasia with something along these lines, "Well, i think that the person should just fight it out...and not just give up...it's God's decision on when you go to Heaven/Hell...I don't think they should be allowed to to do it". Holy shit, and we were talking about someone who was terminally ill and in constant agony. I then commented, "Wow...so, if my son was in such a position, or me, or anyone in this classroom, and made such a request, you would deny it if you had the power?". To my disgust, her reply, though slightly apprehensive, was essentially a yes. I can really feel God's love. I only HOPE that most of the Christian community has a different view. Excuse me for a moment, but what do your generally childhood beliefs have to do with me and MY existence? When the fuck did you think you could interfere with my life, my pain, my happiness?
As i've said before, your beliefs can affect the lives of COUNTLESS humans, shouldn't you put some time into them? Even if you do, or as many christians claim they have, that doesn't mean you can implement them into my life (or anyone elses). I will certainly laugh at you if i see you giving money to the church, or speaking "in tongues" at church, or praying, but i'm not going to drastically affect your life (or make you suffer unjustly) due to my agnostic beliefs. Hell, you can even laugh at me for not praying, or for being a humanist, or having premarital relations.
Now, of course there is much I have left out in terms of regulation, problems with implementation, etc which require SERIOUS debate and discussion, but for religious beliefs and their place in such a topic, they have none and should never have any until we can prove their affirmations. I honestly do not understand most of the religious, what the hell are you thinking? Is it groupthink? Are you literally missing part of your brain (that develops reason)? Consider this an entreaty to the immoderately faithful (and i don't mean faithful in a good sense), your views have no place in the lives of others, so unless you can PROVE what you say(or have some scientific founding), shut the hell up.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Another order of fundamentalists coming right up!
My posts have been lacking recently due to finals, i apologize. Surely once i'm out for the spring, i'll have more time. Before you read on, no, this short blog has nothing to do with adult bookstores, i just found that to be hilarious ..as well as enticing to visitors!
I just had a friend of mine send me a disturbing link of something that happened a few months ago, involving some crazy christian fundamentalists, and i suggest you all check it out! I don't even know what to say...except, praise jesus. I love christians! You sure don't see any atheists or agnostics(as well as many others) doing such things, do you? I'm not sure why it's hosted on www.exposetheleft.com, but oh well. Take a good look in her eyes, and monitor the way she talks...pretty scary shit.
Arrgghh,I hate religious fundamentalism, when the fuck was it considered a good trait? Why is it something that is still praised or looked highly upon by some? Look it up in the dictionary, and WHY the hell is that praiseworthy? Nothing quite pisses me off more than people who think intolerance and ignorance is a good thing. But, we'll discuss this at a later date...keep up the good fight!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Let's get personal!
Well, i wasn't planning on making a post this week due to school, but i feel that my readers (though few in number :( ) will find this quite interesting. Now i'm going to try my best to keep this away from any sort of "myspace" or "xanga" type entries, full of emotional drama. This past week, my girlfriend, whom i've been with for around two years, broke things off. Why you ask? Simply put, because i'm not a Christian.
Let's go over some quick background information. Our relationship has always been a very positive one, on both sides, no moments of infidelity or anything whatsoever. She had told me many times that i was "the one" and that God "destined us to be together" (in a purely religious sense, typical of many relationships). She was a moderately religious christian ( as in, she would go to church on sundays but also go against the Bible in NUMEROUS ways) , and she knew that my ideas generally followed along the lines of Agnosticism/Atheism.
Our ideas clashed sometimes, but nothing serious enough to cause any damage (for example, she was against gay marriage on the bounds of "It's not natural/right" and "well, what would it lead to? People marrying bears?"...hell, i think that would be sweet), or so i thought. We never fought over religion, and rarely even discussed it. Though it shames me to say, for her, i pretended to be a christian around her family at times(who are hardcore fundamentalists, no doubt. They told me to read the Bible alongside my Philosophy text...i wonder why) and also attended church with her on occasion. I did this to please her, while hoping she would soon come to her senses and follow reason and science.
Clearly, i was wrong. To my amusement, she stated to me that she had been through a religious "calling" from Jesus (this is gonna be good!). She told me that she didn't think she could be with, or raise a family with someone who wasn't sure of the existence of God. Yes, you heard that right, she didn't want me to be UNSURE of a God, she wanted me to be, apparently, as intellectually advanced as her and know the truth to existence. She wants someone who is ASSURED of the existence and nature of God. Also, she wanted someone who could "grow" with her "in Christ" (whatever the fuck that means). In addition, she thought that my beliefs in reason and truth would have a deleterious effect on our children, whom she wanted to raise in the church( cause it builds morals, right?). Also, we know that Atheists/Agnostics can't raise children right(just like homosexuals ?...no, not quite.)? So, as you can imagine, she decided for us to stop seeing each other.
Am i angry? No, i'm actually rather pleased that i uncovered her ignorance so early. Though, i am somewhat sad to see such a positive ( in many respects) relationship go to waste. I think to myself, what could i have done to prevent this? Well, i concluded, there's not much you can do when your in one on one combat with "God". Once people are past a certain point psychologically (beholding "miracles",having religious "callings" and making improper associations between these things and ordinary events in life), there is absolutely nothing you can do. Should i hold my tongue and profess to her that i'm (or want to be) a christian to possibly save the relationship? Absolutely not, it's crucial that freethinkers stand by truth and do not falter (which is difficult to do in our world, as i well know). We know what happens when reasonable men do nothing...a religion is born!
Saturday, March 04, 2006
A Slight Concern
Recently, i've had numerous talks with religious (mostly Christians, like this cool cat to my right from www.swordandspirit.com -->) people in regard to certain "hot topics". Topics such as abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, and stem cell research, to name a few. I can't help but find myself deeply troubled after each discussion. Many religious people ( not based off of just these few recent interactions) don't seem to understand the effects or repercussions of what they believe, (taking things "from faith" aka, a belief that cannot be proven through rational thought, science, etc) especially when it comes down to lawmaking/voting. There are CONSEQUENCES ( or perks if you voted "God's way", except you may have to wait till you die to receive them, oh, and you have to be the right religion/denomination too! Good luck!) when you cast a vote to limit stem cell research, for example.
You are DIRECTLY affecting other peoples' lives, their futures, their families, etc. Wouldn't it be wise to put a significant amount of thought into something such as a vote, before casting it (especially when it affects others)? Or is that asking too much?(Yeah, i know it may be at the same time as Celebrity Fit Club, but please, help humanity).
Let's think about abortion for a moment. Godless heathens killing unborn babies, right? Well, it's not quite what your religious leader would like you to think. Most Christians (in addition to other religious groups), from my own research and experience, want to simply outlaw abortion. On what grounds are you basing this off of? Have you made an elaborate investigation into the subject? What are your references? (Please don't say the Bible, please don't say the Bible (insert other religious documents here) Oh, the Bible...what a surprise, the epitome of truth and justice of all human literature. I've heard countless arguments for why abortion is wrong from Christians, all stemming from the Bible. " God is the only one who can give life and take life away", is one which i hear quite often.
Alright, well let's return to the secular realm, the real world which we all live in today. First of all, can you prove your beliefs in your God? No. Ok, so... let's keep our minds in the real world. "In 2003-2004, there were an average annual 204,370 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault" in America, according to a reputable organization. Why does your God allow this to happen? Free will defense? They are pagans? But anyways, in some of these cases, the victim can be pregnant from the attacker, what should we do? Shall we make the victim have the rapist's baby? That way, we wouldn't upset ol' J-man(cause he directly speaks of this situation in the Bible (insert other religious documents here) right?). Absolutely not, that's just absurd. We should allow the victim to have an abortion. Should we permit abortion at all times, across all situations? Honestly, i have no idea...and because i have no idea, i'm going to do the right thing for humanity, and keep my opinions out(voting included) until i have done major research. I beg you, if you know nothing on a subject, do not get involved with it( unless it's impartial research) because your ignorance can be deleterious to others.
PLEASE remember that you are AFFECTING other people's lives drastically. Do you have any idea what kind of damage you can cause (due to beliefs based generally on childhood influences or a simple lack of knowledge)?
Due to the sheer length of the post, i shall continue with the other topics on another day. Meanwhile, check out these interesting anti-abortion pictures. My personal favorites are the "return to sender" and "abortion mill" pictures.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
I Heart FundamentalistsSo we've all heard of religious fundamentalism, radicalism, extremism, conservatism...have you ever seen it? What does it mean exactly? Well, you're in for a fucking treat.
Do we really want people like this in our world?
Are they looking out for what's best for humanity?
Behold, the radical Christian. This is from one of the recent "Trading Spouses" episodes on Fox (where essentially two families trade spouses for a certain period of time). When i saw this on TV this evening, i became infuriated that there are actually people that exist in our world who are as mentally corrupt from religion as this. What shames me the most is that a substantial amount of the human race have minds quite similar to this, we're not talking about just Christian extremism (Don't even get me started about you, Muhammad). I'll talk more about this another day.
Oh, and while waiting inbetween classes I came across this pleasant article in the latest Newsweek. It's titled, "Cut, Thrust and Christ"...how kind. It's basically about a debate team from Liberty University (also noted as, and i quote, "Jerry Falwell's fundamentalist Baptist college") who are diligently training to flood "the system with thousands of conservative Christian lawyers". Boy, that's just what we need more of!
What i like most about the article is the word usage involved. For example, in the actual Newsweek magazine which i read (go ahead, check if you don't believe me), the words in the next selection are a little different than the website has, which leads me to wonder. The magazine read that the university was intent on" training debaters who can perform assault ministry", what the fuck is ASSAULT ministry? Could you have used a better word for it? Or is that really what you mean?
Strangely enough, the online article is slightly different with "We are training debaters who can perform a salt ministry" (which has some reference to Matthew 5:13). Is this the mistake of Newsweek? Perhaps a typo in the original version? Perhaps it was the original statement and due to fear of criticism, negative view from public, etc, the university asked ( or demanded) Newsweek to change the selection. I don't know about you, but i'm sufficiently frightened.
Think about it for yourself, do we want our religious organizations to be using such rhetoric? What's next? "Our Warlords of Christ hope to commit a genocide of sin in the United States in the name of our Lord, Lieutenant General Jesus Christ."
Though, look at the bright side, our Vice President shot a man.