A Reluctant Atheist…

I am an ex-Christian because I know the Bible isn’t actually true and I am an atheist because I see no evidence at all that a god of any kind actually exists. God never says, thinks, or does anything at all except in the minds of believers, and that’s a sure indication to me that he/she/it does not actually exist. But, I spent 15 years of my younger life as a very devout fundamentalist Christian. I also have bipolar disorder, so I spent those years swinging between periods of devout religious belief and periods of doubt and unbelief that usually featured heavy drug and alcohol use. I realize now that both methods were my attempt to self-medicate the bipolar illness that I didn’t know I had at the time. And I have realized recently that religious belief is so tied to my bipolar disorder that, for me, it can never be real. When I am manic, God seem very REAL to me, and I become very spiritual and sometimes I flirt with a return to Christian fundamentalism. But when the mania dies down, the religious beliefs inevitably go away too. My feelings of the presence of God, which have been very intense at times, are just a product of mental illness and nothing more. There is a part of me that misses my religious days and a part of me that wishes that I could share in the faith of my Christian friends. But, I know it’s not real. God doesn’t actually exist, prayer doesn’t actually work, and Jesus Christ, if he indeed lived in history, is long dead. And the Bible? It has been thoroughly debunked online for many years now… so, though I wish on a purely emotional level that it could all be true, I know it isn’t. And I think facing reality as it actually is and living in the REAL WORLD is very important, so that’s what I strive to do. Knowing that this life is it — the only one I will ever have — makes life so much more precious and I value every moment I get to experience here on Earth, and I value every moment I get to spend with those that I love because I know that life is not forever and that it will really and truly end. There isn’t a heaven waiting for believers and there isn’t a hell waiting for nonbelievers. There is just very likely… nothing. But that doesn’t really bother me. If there is no life after death, then I won’t exist to care that I don’t exist. And if there is something after death, there is no evidence that there is anything to be feared. So… I do my best to be a good person and a contributing member of society and I live my life as though God doesn’t exist… because there is no evidence that he does. And I believe that that is the Truth! Glory!

Why I Refuse to Fear Hell

I was forced into a conversation I didn’t want with a Christian friend last night, so I am going to share some thoughts. I am not out to upset my religious friends who may visit this site. But, I cannot and I will not share your fear of Hell. And here’s why…

Hell is… NOT REAL. As is the case for, well, all religious claims. There isn’t even the tiniest shred of evidence to back up the claim that Hell is real, and that holds true for all other religious claims, whether they are pleasant or scary.

Back in my very religious days, I once believed in Hell. I thought it was real because, like most religious people, I engaged in circular reasoning. Hell was real because the Bible said so and the Bible was the Word of God because it said so and I was assured that that was the case by people I trusted at the time. But they too engaged in the same circular reasoning for the same reasons I did. It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s one of the reasons religion continues to survive despite the fact that the Bible has been thoroughly debunked online now for many years.

I no longer believe in or waste a moment of my life worrying about or fearing Hell, for the following reasons.

1) Hell is a morally reprehensible concept
2) There is exactly ZERO evidence that Hell actually exists
3) I cannot and would not worship a God who would create such a place or who would burn anyone for any reason for even one second, because such a God, by definition, would be EVIL. Such a God would, by definition, be a MONSTER!

According to the Bible, Hell is a flaming torture chamber where human beings are barbecued forever with no hope of reprieve and where human beings are tormented by demons non-stop, forever, with no hope of reprieve.

Does such a terrible place actually exist? NO, of course not.

If a human parent burned their child for even one second for ANY reason, we would quite rightly consider that parent to be a monster, and we would remove that child from their care immediately. But… millions of people enthusiastically worship a God who not only burns his children for seconds, but for all eternity! And this monster of a God gets a free pass, and we are assured that this God is Love and that he has good reasons for barbecuing his children for all of eternity with no hope of reprieve. We are told that this God is holy and that he cannot tolerate sin, and that if we don’t accept Jesus as our savior so God can wash away our sin and see us through the blood of Jesus, we are filthy sinners who deserve to be punished infinitely for finite sins.

But… THINK ABOUT IT. Can a God who burns his children for ANY reason be considered holy or righteous or even good? NO, OF COURSE NOT. Even if we are not his children but children of the devil if we don’t accept Jesus, is it right to burn us? Is it ever acceptable to burn anyone for ANY reason? OF COURSE NOT! When Christians had the political power to do so, was it ever right or acceptable for them to burn people at the stake? NO, OF COURSE NOT!

And, of course, it is not right or acceptable for a God to burn anyone for even one second for ANY reason… such an idea is monstrously evil, and such a God would be monstrously evil…

I reject belief in God primarily because there is not a shred of credible evidence that the Christian God or any other god actually exists. But if the Christian God did exist and Hell was real, I would reject that God on moral grounds and I would quite rightly consider him to be monstrously evil…

If you would not burn your child for any reason, no matter what they did, then why are you worshiping a God who supposedly burns human beings forever with no hope of reprieve?

And I’ll say this too… some Christians recognize the morally reprehensible nature of the doctrine of Hell, and they try to soften the concept by saying that it just means separation from God… as if that was something awful. But I will say this. I have had more peace, more joy, more happiness, and more contentment since I walked away from belief in God than I ever did when I was religious. And, I value myself and my life far more now than I ever did when I was religious. If separation from God is Hell, then I have to say that I am not suffering for it at all. Not one bit…

My 2 cents… which I hope will break the cycle of circular reasoning in my religious friends and get them to THINK about what they profess to believe… Carry on… 🙂

When Your God Dies

Posted this to Facebook and thought I would share it here too. Glory! 🙂

Those of you who have been friends with me on Facebook for a while know that I used to bash religion – a lot, and usually I wasn’t nice about it at all. But back then I was still stuck in the “anger” phase of de-conversion. Walking away from 15 years of devout religious belief was not just a matter of me shrugging my shoulders and thinking, “Oh, well, that sounded nice but it’s not actually true” and moving on unscathed by the experience.

There are phases to religious de-conversion that closely correspond to the stages of grief. They are essentially the same. The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most of the time now I find myself in the acceptance stage of grief, but for a long time I was stuck in anger and also in depression.

God

When your God dies, that is an event of major importance! We all grieve when a human or animal loved one dies. But when your God dies? That’s far worse, and it’s just as painful as a human death is, if not more so. Because when your God dies, so does the hopes you had for an awesome and eternal afterlife and your hopes of being reunited with lost loved ones at some future date. And what also dies is your hope that at some future date your God will dispense righteous judgment, right all wrongs and wipe away all of the suffering associated with this life.

When your God dies, so does everything supernatural associated with that belief. What dies too is belief in angels, demons, heaven, hell, and activities such as prayer that require a supernatural component to actually work. When your God dies, what you are left with is what is actually real and that we know actually exists — the natural world in all of its grandeur and beauty — the vast cosmos consisting of billions of galaxies, of which our solar system and our beautiful planet are but a very small part.

When your God dies, what dies too is the belief that you were specially created to serve and worship this God. What dies too is your belief that you are special to this God and that He loves you and cares about what happens to you. When your God dies, you realize that you are not the special creation of a God, but rather the product of millions of years of biological evolution, and you realize how amazing it is that you are here at this moment in time and you realize how precious and incredible and amazing this life is.

My God died almost 17 years ago, in early 2000. It was a death brought about by doubts and questions that had plagued me for years that I never found satisfactory Christian answers for. It was a death brought about by a great deal of thinking, reading, and research. It was a death brought about by seeing just how easily people on the skeptical side of the fence dismantled my cherished Christian beliefs not with ridicule and derision, but with solid, credible evidence and verifiable facts.

My God died a long time ago, and I have lived quite happily free from the fear, guilt, shame, and ignorance that so defined and drove the fundamentalist religion that I was once so deeply involved in.

So… when your God dies, that is a life-changing, life-defining event of major importance. When your God dies and everything that you believed was real dies along with him, it takes a long time to process and to come to terms with. It takes a long time to rebuild the framework that defines your reality. But it is possible to come out on the other side of the grief and all of the processing of it through its various phases complete and whole and happy and grateful to be alive.

If you want to know more, I wrote an article describing what it’s like to make the journey from Christianity to Atheism a few years ago. You can read it here:

http://smokeyinthebox.com/journey-christianity-atheism/

I can only speak for myself and my experience, but I hope this gives you a better understanding of me and what it was like for me to experience the death of my God all of those years ago.

Fundamentalist Religion – A HUGE Worldwide Problem

fundamentalist religionI posted my thoughts on fundamentalist religion to Facebook and decided to share it here too… Glory!

I’m depressed. There is so much hatred in the world, and sadly, much of it stems from the fact that in the 21st Century, people are still killing each other over mythological religious bullshit that ignorant men dreamed up thousands of years ago. We are still killing each other over whose Imaginary Friend is better or more powerful! Here and now in the 21st Century! I would like to think that most of us know better than that now.

fundamentalist religionFundamentalist religion is a HUGE problem here in the US and throughout the world. Fundamentalist Christians routinely use their religion to hate on gays, transgender folks, and women. It is particularly nauseating to hear hatred against gays regularly preached from the pulpits, yet these hateful, bigoted religious assholes never say a word against eating shellfish or wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics, both of which are condemned by their ancient holy book.

fundamentalist religionChristianity has been anti-woman from the word “go”. According to the ridiculous creation myths in Genesis, it was the woman, Eve, who convinced Adam to eat the magic fruit from the magic tree after the talking snake convinced her to eat it. Eve was the bad gal! Women have been getting the short end of the stick ever since, though obviously, the ridiculous mythical story never actually happened. According to the same silly ancient myth, God in his infinite love, made childbirth extremely painful for all women because Eve made the mistake of listening to a lying talking snake and she ate the magic fruit from the magic tree that God had told them not to fuck with. Religion has been used for centuries to subjugate women and relegate women to the status of second-class citizens. For a very long time, women were little more than property. And according to the Apostle Paul, they should be silent in church and they should not have positions of authority. And in the here and now of the 21st Century, religious Republican politicians are continually trying to deny women the right to decide what they can do with their own bodies! In the minds of these women-hating religious assholes, it would be better for a woman who has a legitimate need for an abortion to get it in a dark alley with a coat hanger than in a much safer modern hospital setting. I’m a guy and I don’t have a vagina, but I am 100% with the women shouting at these assholes to stay out of their vaginas! Oh, and according to many of these religious assholes, rape is consensual or the woman asked for it by the way they dressed! Holy shit!

fundamentalist religionThe Christian religion has a very long and very sad history of suppressing social progress and scientific discovery. The Bible is a flat-earth, geocentric book from cover to cover, and for centuries people believed that the earth was flat and supported by pillars because the Bible says so. And it was believed that the flat earth was covered by a solid dome firmament with the stars stuck in it because the Bible says so! It took Copernicus and Galileo to move us away from this ridiculous primitive cosmology, and the Church resisted every step of the way!

Scientific discovery was flourishing in ancient Greece and in other places in the ancient world, but then Christianity came along and snuffed it out for centuries. The Christian religion is directly responsible for that awful time in history that we know today as the Dark Ages. The Church had tremendous political power, and religious ignorance reigned supreme for centuries. The only place that science had a chance is in the Islamic world, and we owe a debt to Islam today for preserving what scientific knowledge had been gained before the Christian Dark Ages snuffed out the proverbial candle.

The Bible quite clearly teaches that mental illness is caused by demons, and that belief was used to, well, demonize the mentally ill. We know today that mental illness has genetic and environmental causes, and obviously it has nothing to do with mythological evil spirits. But, of course, this same Book claims that the cure for leprosy is a magical incantation and the blood of a slain bird…

In the Islamic world today, fundamentalist religion is still used to marginalize women and to deny them even the most basic human rights. Women have to cover themselves completely, and they can’t vote and they can’t drive a car. I’m pretty sure that in countries such as Saudi Arabia, women are still little more than property… if they do enjoy status better than that, it’s not much…

And fundamentalist religion is being used right now to justify mass murder in the form of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

Isn’t it time for the RELIGIOUS MADNESS TO STOP??

Isn’t it time for the voices of REASON and SANITY to be heard above the din of religious INSANITY and HATRED??

I realize that this post will be ignored by my religious friends and it’s gotten way beyond TL;DR status anyway for most folks… but that’s my 2 cents…

I am tired of the religious hatred and insanity that is tearing this world apart! It is PAST TIME for us to throw off the chains of fundamentalist religion and this ancient mythological religious bullshit that has NO DISCERNIBLE BASIS IN REALITY, and it is time now for us to work together to build a much better and much more peaceful world!!

Again, my 2 cents… Glory!

New Atheism, Meet Existential Risk Studies

This is very important reading, whether you are religious or not. But it’s especially important if you are religious.

From http://thehumanist.com/magazine/march-april-2016/features/new-atheism-meet-existential-risk-studies:

While the New Atheist movement isn’t, and has never been, a monolithic phenomenon, its primary motivating idea can be reduced to a single statement, namely that religion is not merely wrong, but dangerous. In fact, religion is dangerous precisely because it’s wrong: it commands believers to act according to “moral” precepts and guidelines that are ultimately based on private revelations had by ancient prophets claiming special access to the supernatural. Put differently, religion is our very best instance of institutionalized bad epistemology, and this is what makes it unreasonable to accept. And when its doctrinal systems are put into practice, they often compromise our well-being and prosperity.

Copious evidence substantiates this contention. On the one hand, history is overflowing with bloody conflicts driven by antagonistic religious dogmas held by fanatics who cared more about the otherworldly than the worldly. And, as the 2014 Global Terrorism Index affirms, religious extremism constitutes the primary driver of terrorism around the world today. Even more, numerous empirical studies have shown that, to quote the sociologist Phil Zuckerman, secular people are “markedly less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian” than religious people. And the most secularized countries tend to be the happiest, the most peaceable (according to the Global Peace Index), and, as reported by the Economist’s think tank several years ago, the “best places to be born.” While Christopher Hitchens’ declaration that “religion poisons everything” might be somewhat exaggerated, religious belief is consistently associated with diminished levels of human flourishing.

I’m an ex-Christian, an Atheist, and a Humanist. I believe that we could build a beautiful world right here and right now if we just were willing to put aside our differences and work together. But the most important thing we can do right now is to fight the religious extremism that is threatening our very survival as a species. I’m certainly not one of the biggest atheist names on the Net right now. But even so, the realities in this article are why I speak out against religious belief and why I feel it is so important for us to leave religious belief in the dustbin of history as the bad idea it was and is and move on to much healthier ways of believing and living in this world.

A part of me just doesn’t understand why so many people still cling to religious belief when it is so manifestly ridiculous. I mean, come on, Christianity is based on the belief that the world is as it is because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people to eat magic fruit from a magic tree. And the mission of Jesus? He came to earth to magically undo the magical damage that the magic fruit caused (1 John 3:8). And after Jesus magically undoes the damage that the magic fruit from the magic tree caused, He’s gonna kick the Talking Snake’s ass once and for all.

How much more ridiculous can religious belief get? Christianity is absurd and it’s very easy to refute, yet millions of otherwise intelligent people cling to it and believe in it very strongly. In a way, I understand that because I was there too for fifteen years of my younger life. But I realized it was bullshit and I walked away and, of course, I’m much better off for it. I wish for everyone to be FREE! That’s why I speak out, so that hopefully I can leave the world a better place than I found it.

Glory!

My Books

These are books that I have authored that I hope will be helpful to others.

This is my story of my struggles with bipolar disorder and bouts of extreme religious belief.

This is the story of my journey from devout Christian religious belief to atheism.

This is my tribute to my cat Tasha. I had her for 16 wonderful years, and I held her in my arms as she passed away at the vet’s office on February 5, 2015. Worst day of my life, and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Atheism Isn’t Supposed To Be A Luxury

http://i2.wp.com/thebluegrassskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/think.jpgI recently attended a freethinker meet up in my area. I was looking forward to the meeting since we were all bringing food to donate to a local food bank called the Freestore Foodbank. This is a cause I’m always up and ready to contribute my time to since I know pretty often what it’s like to live on a scrap food budget. My cupboard is chock full of discounted food like scratch and dent can goods, re taped dry good boxes, and tons of dollar bags of beans and rice. Yes, I appreciate all too well the assistance of a food bank.

This group get together wasn’t just about the food drive though. There was also a guest speaker by the name of Derrick Strobl, who was visiting on behalf of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. His visit was to better clarify what humanism was all about. In that process, he shared quite a bit of his personal experiences as a youth that brought him along the path to becoming a humanist. imagesThere were several stories he related that I had completely identified with. I was probably shaking my head in agreement during most of his talk without even realizing I was doing so. One story in particular was to do with a Sunday school class, and being taught via a construction paper book, the colors of salvation: black is sin, red is the blood of christ, white is purity, and gold represented Heaven.

I distinctly remember this same lesson, but not with a homemade booklet. My teacher used large cuts of fabric in those colors, and he would drape himself with them as he explained each one. Except, he had two black drapes instead of one. This youth pastor would always start with the black of sin, explaining how it permeates every aspect of who we are. Then he would wrap over Christ’s redeeming blood, which cancelled out the sin for those who repented. White, being purity, was the result of said redemption. And then he would drape the yellow-gold cloth on the cross on the wall by the podium, explaining we had eternal reward waiting for us since we accepted God.

resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-oh-you-became-a-youth-pastor-you-had-such-a-promising-future-as-a-film-actor-617011Then our pastor would get very quiet, still clutching the mis cut draperies around his body, nothing showing but the toes of his shoes and his stern face bobbling on his exposed neck. He would walk over to the second piece of black cloth, telling us how once we accepted God there was no going back to sinning. If you went back to sinning? He would then dramatically cover the previous three layers with the extra piece of black cloth saying seriously, his eyes looking almost wrathful,”You get nothing but darkness in your life. No rewards. No blessings. Nothing.” That son of a bitch would walk around like that the rest of the lesson! I must have seen this routine at least half a dozen times while attending that church, and it always riveted me.

It did more than that really. That black cloth quite literally colored my thinking. It covered every redeeming quality I thought I had going for myself. Just knowing that any good I had done could be so quickly discounted to nothing because of sin really upset me. imagesI already was living in a home of impossible standards. Now this? I was overwhelmed. Of course, I knew that all I would have to do was pray for forgiveness every time I sinned, but how many times were allowed? Was there a limit to how much sinning I could be forgiven for? And I was also skeptical. If you pray for forgiveness, part of your motivation is trying to keep on God’s good side, so was it really genuine repentance if part of your brain evenly remotely worried about going to Hell and wanting forgiveness to avoid it?

I believe in my case, lessons like the colors for salvation do more harm than good. At least, the way my youth pastor delivered it wasn’t the best example. I left those speeches always focused on trying to be rid of sin. I never invested time in the purity part because I was constantly praying to be forgiven for thinking about my mom in mean ways, or for sneaking into the pantry and having eaten half the canister of the French’s fried onions. There was never any purity because all I saw were the mistakes I made. That programming is still very much present my mind today. It is very hard for me to recognize any benefit I bring to the table in relationships, whether they are personal or social. For my entire childhood my home echoed with constant criticism of who I was.

Some have often told me after hearing this part of my Bible studies as a child that obviously my church focused more on “talents” than grace. Grace, which according to some and not others, should be all you need to get into Heaven. Which never made sense to me either. Why have a judgement day if I accepted God? Does it matter how much I sinned if I’m automatically saved by grace? I thought you didn’t lose grace. confusion_bibleThese were questions I never received a good answer to simply because no one could completely agree. I walked away from the question with the idea that I’m saved by grace, but the palace high life is optional. After all, why should I care if I had a nice palace or lived on the streets of Heaven? I mean, we’re talking about Heaven here. Anywhere in Heaven. A street corner was suitable enough to me so long as I didn’t burn forever.

This type of psychological abuse was taught to me in church, and taught to me at home. This is all I’d come to learn about understanding myself in the first twenty-five years of my life. The phrase “It’s all your fault” became “It’s all Kate’s fault” and I embraced it wholeheartedly, totally believing that there was always something I was doing wrong that was ruining the happiness of others. But it didn’t stop at just letting myself be the whipping boy so to speak. No, this programming took an even more sinister turn as I got older.

So, if I was black with sin, God could reject me. Essentially, He could potentially take away that which Jesus–which is ironically part of Yahweh in mortal form–granted me. Kind of like the way my parents would take away their approval of me over the littlest of things, and it was such a bear to earn that favor to begin with. Or like the way a lover demands the return of all he has invested after a break up, even if the relationship lasted nearly fifteen years. And sure enough, my distrust of those offering help, gifts, and even love, was born. civilization-5Everything had a hook, and I decided that I just wasn’t a good risk to bet on. The hook wasn’t a normal type of tit for tat catch though. The hook was something worse. It was a disbelief that this person really knew who I was and still wanted to be with me, and at some point I was going to trip a switch and send this person running for the hills angry and hurt by me. This led to a very controlling nature about my environment, my personal possessions, and willingness to be vulnerable. Distance became my best friend. Despair flavored every sip of life I tried to drink.

This is just one small layer of the damage I’ve been peeling away year by year, day by day, sometimes hour by hour. I went through a lot in order to get myself out of the emotional battering of my mind in a religious community, and the physical abuse still follows me around. But there are those who have it worse. There are those who are stuck. Completely helpless at the mercies of a doctrine they don’t even want to believe! Some of the things these closeted skeptics go through easily dwarf my own experiences growing up religious.Sophia-trapped Can you imagine being denied contact with the outside world if you don’t attend church? What about mandatory corporal punishment when you’re nearly twenty years old? There are things that go on in this country that many in the atheist/skeptic/humanist societies do not realize. Some say,”How hard can it be to say no and just move out?” If you aren’t raised in an environment where you have personal liberty, it’s hard to even realize you can say no to begin with.

Take the story of Lauren and Jennifer. Home schooled in a Christian setting. Mother controls nearly every aspect of what they think, do, dress, eat, or even read. No major extra curricular events. Total isolation. No freedom. The eldest sister gets out, but had to leave her younger sister behind. Her sister almost didn’t go to college because her parents took the liberty of planning her life for her. No choice in the matter. The sisters had to communicate secretly since all email and phone calls were monitored. Christ, the younger sister wasn’t even allowed a key to the house. It took until her 18th birthday to get out, and her older sister had to come and get her. That mad dash for freedom still ended up in a physical altercation with their mother. Without her older sister, Jennifer might not be attending college, possibly set up for marriage by a man of her father’s choosing.

the-big-prison-family-orange-is-the-new-black-35320444-600-369Now, this isn’t the norm, but it isn’t uncommon either. Most religious families aren’t going to let one of their members “just say no and move out”. You’re their property because you’re their child. That’s how you are viewed, even in biblical doctrine. And I’ve seen instances of extreme control like I showcased above in families where all the children are grown and in their thirties. If you substituted mom with boyfriend or girlfriend in the story of Lauren and Jennifer, one would automatically think this was a notable domestic abuse situation. And this is where the problem lies. Many atheists do not recognize that the type of control exerted on Lauren and her sister is indeed domestic abuse. The only difference is that the violence is being perpetrated by a parent in the name of belief. In this country, it’s pretty much a protected type of abuse unless it makes headlines because of a “God told me to drown my kids” type of situation.

ignoranceI ran into this the other night at a Freethinker meeting I had attended. At the end of the meeting, when everyone kind of wanders around and takes a few minutes to talk with the guest speaker or event organizers, I took a few minutes to ask a few members about what the group does to help those wanting to escape, or are just biding their time while hiding their growing disbelief. Looks of confusion greeted the question. I clarified a little bit, explained I was wondering if there were any support for individuals who were literally trapped in religiously abusive situations, like with family that won’t let them leave the home, or those who are subjected to excessive priest interventions because a mother cannot handle her child rejecting God. The reply I received from one was,”I wasn’t aware that these kind of situations occurred.”

Now, I’m not in any way trying to criticize someone’s ignorance. How can I? If you didn’t know, you didn’t know. To clarify, it was explained to me that Recovering From Religion has branches within both of these skeptic groups, which I am thankful to hear. The guest speaker’s own organization has crisis line information to be offered as well, but not in relation to domestic abuse. This initial lack of understanding was probably a surprise to me and these two members I spoke with. More than anything though, it really highlighted what I’ve been seeing in attitude around the web and at other skeptic groups the last eighteen months.

indexAtheism has become a thing of privilege.

I’m not talking about money here. I’m talking about privilege of personal freedom. While atheist and humanist groups all over the United States will have guest speakers who escaped cults like the Branch Davidians, or former ex-Muslim soldiers who are now atheist, there is almost zero dialog about those escaping the mainstream Christian faith. I expect this lack of coverage if I were attending a faith ministry, but not a skeptic society. There is a genuine need for activism on the parts of the helpless in the Christian faith community. If you read the story I linked to Lauren and her sister, you can see that even their own faith community didn’t want to step up until after things had reached critical mass and their mother had physically struck Jennifer in the face. And it seems the skeptic community hasn’t even reached that place yet.

I don’t know if it is a situation where unbelievers want to see that others in their community have “earned their stripes”, or if religious domestic abuse isn’t a territory we’re ready to start addressing head on. But for all the cries of how religious indoctrination shouldn’t be forced on the young, that religion doesn’t belong in the classroom, and teaching children that they are grievously imperfect is abuse, how can we not be ready? I would wager if more cases of domestic abuse of a religious nature were brought to court, we might see a clearer path to more definitive legislation that guarantees the right to choose what you believe without abusive retribution.signmonkies

Look how we rally against towns that have a large Haredi Jew majority that won’t allow their women to drive? The cause for the disbelievers at the mercy of religious parents isn’t any different in importance, regardless of the brand of faith. Right now there are grown men who had to move back home to be able to finish college, and if his parents have made it clear he must renew his faith or leave to the streets. Don’t you see? We do have a social form of Sharia being practiced in this country already, and it isn’t just utilized by some members of Islam, but by its sister’s believers in Christianity.

emma_goldman_quote_4Atheism is about liberty of thought. The freedom of self to decide what you want to believe or not. There are many who know they don’t believe, know they need out, but they don’t know how to accomplish this. This is where many humanism and atheism groups could step in and at the very least have information to succeed in doing so safely. I’m not saying we need a team of special atheist forces to storm castles and rescue people, but sometimes just simply having a resource to vent with, a regular meeting once a month, or even an anonymous online group, just to have a haven for information to be shared can make a huge difference in the lives of those who are trapped.

For those who would like to read more about the types of difficulties today’s generation of youth face when coming out atheist, please check out this link. Here is a prime example of the absolute extortion some grown adults go through even when they are out in the open atheists. The problem is real.

Brother Jeff Responds to Brother Derek

I have recently been carrying on an interesting and amusing conversation with a very religious Catholic named Brother Derek. He wants the Lard Jesus to magically do something about my glorious Facebook Page and my glorious website. LOL… 🙂 Here’s the conversation so far, and as far as I am concerned, it has run it’s course…

Brother Derek
May 2nd, 7:38am
Jesus I surrender this to you , please take care of it …

Brother Derek
May 6th, 8:25am
live in your nothing world and have no final eternity which is what we are chosen for

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 6:00pm
Are you expecting your Imaginary Friend to magically do something about my glorious Page?

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 6:01pm
None of us is going to live forever. When we die, we really die! Enjoy this life while you have it because it’s the only one you are ever going to get!

Brother Derek
May 20th, 6:41pm
another man who has only belief in himself just like SOLOMON or SATAN !!!! It is not your knowledge and NOTHING WORLD but it is by the child within us accepting and believing and following his eternal way that we will be brought into his eternal Kingdom which is more wast and beyond anything inside of your pea brained head !!! In Genesis one of the first things he did was to create light which travels at the distance of which is 299792458 meters per second …. and that is only the beginning … or neglect me !!! Persecute me !! Condemn me !!! Sacrifice me !! And say there is nothing !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 9:07pm
I believe in plenty of other things besides myself. You obviously don’t have a clue about what atheism is or what it means. Atheism is, quite simply, a lack of belief in a god or gods. Satan (the Talking Snake) obviously doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist either. The contradictory and absurd Genesis creation myths are laughably hilarious by today’s standards. But if you read the text, you’ll find that plant life was created before the sun was! LOL. Day and night were also created before the sun was. How, exactly can you have Day without light? LOL. I have no interest in persecuting or condemning you, but I do want to see you FREE! Glory!

Brother Derek
May 20th, 9:45pm
and you ain’t seen nothing yet …. the Holy Spirit is within me and is greater and more than each and all of what you demand and need to believe … MIRACLES our what we are !!! We are his light and his way each day to bring in more of his love and friendship FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE … I am not what I was and there is not much I am capable , today , but by him and through him more and more people find him in me and find happiness in there heart from my ability to put myself into burden to help them with their burden which I hope in time they will help me with my burden for it is through his Glory and Power and Kingdom forever and ever Amen Amen …

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 9:56pm
Wow. You managed to write an entire paragraph of bullshit! Congratulations! Glory!

The holy spirit doesn’t exist, and you can’t be free and be religious at the same time. It’s impossible. Religion might make people happy temporarily, until they realize that the beliefs are myths and the promises are false.

We are not miracles. There is no such thing as a miracle. Like the rest of the life that exists on this planet, we are the product of millions of years of biological evolution.

Brother Derek
May 20th, 10:05pm
live in your nothing having just it and the HOLY SPIRIT fulfills me helping me to become FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE and I am a KNIGHT OF COLUMBUS and we give $$$1,000 up to $$$$1,000,000,000 saving our world , ending abortions , helping those becoming flooded , tsunami victims , children with disabilities or sicknesses ALL OVER THE WORLD .. for CENTURIES .. Praise GOD Praise his name !!! Praise Jesus !!! Praise Mary !!! Praise Joseph !!! Praise Paul !! Praise Peter !!! Praise Barabus , who , as you , believed he knew all .. and his name is SON OF MAN !!! Praise you !! Celebrate in Thanksgiving for we our a Miracle and a fire for our God .. Amen Amen … Jesus I leave this difficulty up to you .. please take care of it …

Religion is Bullshit
May 21st, 8:24pm
The Holy Spirit doesn’t exist, and you cannot be religious and be FREE at the same time. As I’ve told you before, that is impossible. Praising your Imaginary Friend accomplishes absolutely nothing. Same goes for your other imaginary/dead friends. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth. The historical Jesus has been dead for a very long time, and he can’t help you do anything about this glorious Page or my glorious website.

Brother Derek
May 21st, 9:04pm
yes he can !! yes he does !! Forever more !! Making me a follower and a Ctholic !!! FREE FREE FREE FREE

Religion is Bullshit
May 21st, 10:26pm
You are not even close to being FREE, Brother Derek. You obviously have religion really bad, but there is hope for you to return to the REAL WORLD! I did it, many others who were trapped in religion have done it, and you can too!

Brother Derek
The real world ?? Lucifer was thrown down from Heaven from being a defiant , prejudice angel , just as a 1/3 of the Angels that disobeyed and were unwilling to follow in GODS way which is what is on Earth and is trying to take from our Eternal GOD , but , sounds like you have nothing , believe in nothing , are nothing and keep living in a negative , SATN consumed fall away position that , as a CAtholic , we ask for you to try and believe in his TRUE way so , you too , may become FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE because either you believe and follow in his way or you are very short in understanding and belief which we are willing to help and expose his true way !!! There are different levels of understanding .. the first .. when you are given something as in food or shelter , that is the first , the second is when you are sending me this insane / backward information because you are taking your time and effort to make an attempt [ WHICH IS WRONG !!! ] to achieve a goal , the third is when you give of yourself entirely for the help of another individual to help them and give to them for their option , and the fourth [ WHICH YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ] is BELIEF !!!!!!

Brother Derek
May 22nd, 8:08am
I pray for you and beg of the Lords’ mercy to help you and praise you because you are one of his many children !!! Amen Amen !!! Jesus I surrender this to you , please take care of it !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 11:50am
Lucifer? Angels? They don’t exist. That’s the stuff of ancient mythology, not reality. As I have told you before, I believe in plenty of things besides myself, and my life is certainly not “nothing’. My life is amazing, and it has great meaning to me. Of course I understand what it means to help others. I do it every chance I get quite happily, and it’s the driving force behind my glorious website. I am passionate about helping others get FREE of religion!

You can pray for me all you want and I do appreciate the sentiment, but it won’t do any good, Prayer, quite obviously, does not work. There is no God out there to hear or respond to it, and the only thing it does is make the person doing the praying feel good for accomplishing absolutely nothing! The “Lord” does not exist and he cannot help me or you or anyone else. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth, and the historical Jesus has been dead for a very long time…

Brother Derek
May 25th, 2:30pm
Baptisms !! First Communions !!! Penance !! Confirmation !!! Marriage !!! Holy Orders !!
Blessing of past individuals !!! The Eucharist !!! His WIne !!! Jesus I surrender this to you please take care of it !!! I have a 4″ hole in my left forehead that the Almighty Lord helped me to recover and spread of his Spirit and Freedom his has given to me !!! Bless you !! Praise you !!! Celebrate in all Thanksgiving as we have always done to be thankful and praise because we our children !!! Amen Amen !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 3:14pm
So you have nothing intelligent to say in response? Just religious nonsense?

Brother Derek, I believe our conversation has run it’s course. Take care, and I wish you well. And, of course, I wish for you to someday soon find FREEDOM from religious belief. Glory!

EDIT: Brother Derek failed to comprehend the fact that our conversation was over. I took the time to respond to him one more time, but I’m not likely to do it again.

Brother Derek
May 25th, 10:00pm
Have you not heard of Elijah ?? Elisha ?? Malachi ?? Ezekiel ?? Zechariah ?? Amos ?? Hosea ?? Mathew ? mark ?? luke ?? John ?? Moses ?? Abraham ?? Saul ? David ?? Solomon ?? Yet you defy and ridicule his word in your own defiance and neglect casting vipers and scorpions as if you believe you are true ?? I AM !!! We are eternally saved and free within his kingdom which will only become available when you say that he is the lord God of all eternal Kingdom , my heart is hardened and torn that another individual I do not know is crucifing me .. sacrificing me .. and you do not know who your brother is and what you eternal spirit and freedom has the ability to achieve by GOD’S LOVE !!!! Amen Amen

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 10:54pm
What did you not understand about the fact that our conversation has run it’s course?

Sigh… of course I have heard of those people. I am quite familiar with the Bible and its contents, which is one big reason that I don’t believe it and that it it is impossible for me to take it seriously as the “word” of a god.

Moses and Abraham are mythical. It is extremely likely that they never actually existed. If you knew anything at all about modern biblical scholarship, you would know that. If you knew anything about biblical scholarship, you would know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the gospels that bear their names. The gospels were written anonymously, and the names we know them by were added much later. It may be church tradition that those men wrote the gospels, but it’s NOT reality.

There is no such thing as salvation, and there is no such thing as “saved” or “unsaved”. Those are false distinctions made by a demonstrably false religion. God does not have a kingdom since God does not exist. I do not have a eternal spirit. There is no such thing as a soul or a spirit. Those are the stuff of myth, not reality.

The Bible God is NOT love. The biblical God is a murderous, genocidal maniac who makes Hitler look like an awesome guy by comparison. READ YOUR OWN DAMN HOLY BOOK! If you had, you would know this!

I am FREE, but you are not! Not even close!

I will mock the Bible as much as I care to as publicly as I care to. It’s ridiculous, and it is a huge amount of fun to mock and ridicule it! Glory!

Now… I am DONE with this discussion. Like most religious people, you have completely lost touch with REALITY and you are impossible to reason with. When was the last time you had a rational thought? Ever?

I am not likely to waste my time responding to you again.

There Is A Time And Place To Be A Hero

It seems my workplace has a never-ending fount of social no-no’s and religiously related eye rolling. This is something I kind of value about my job in a small Southern federal office in the Bible Belt. That attitude kind of bit me in the ass the other morning, and it took me a few days to process this because I was completely caught off guard by a supervisor’s audacity during a conversation. I really had to take time to reflect on his motives behind his words.

anotherheroA little background is in order, I guess. First of all, this supervisor is just temporarily wearing the big hat, but he takes the role seriously and is overall likable guy. Yes, he’s religious, and I would even say sometimes a bit pushy about it, but not in a proselytizing kind of way. It just shows through during general conversation sometimes, but he generally doesn’t push his beliefs at you, just shares them. And that is a difference I really appreciate him demonstrating. It’s hard to find folks like this fellow in my area of Kentucky.

So, let’s go back to Saturday morning. I was pretty miserable when I woke up, didn’t want to work, but I am responsible and know there are bills to be paid. I show up, start putting the onslaught of Good Housekeeping and Vogue magazines into their assigned case holders, and try to ignore the growing ache in my abdomen. I have uterine tumors, you see.  I can’t afford a hysterectomy right now, so am just miserably existing with good days and bad days when it comes to cramping, bleeding, and nasty medicinal side effects. I’ve been floating in between pain gauges for almost a year now, and that has obviously affected my depressive side a bit more than normal too.

And I have hay fever. I live in the Ohio Valley. You get the picture of me in Spring pretty clearly now, right?

Cramps, nausea from pills, and sneezing like crazy. This Saturday morning is a bad one, and I’m not really bantering back and forth that much with my case mates like I normally would. Finally, a particularly nasty round of sneezing hits, and a co-worker next to me asks if I’m going to make it. I offhandedly remark that I would gladly take a bullet at this point, he laughs telling me I am awfully dark that morning, and I join him in laughing, making it clear that some days a bullet isn’t so bad to what I have now. After all, a bullet means no more pain a split second after it scrambles my brain against a wall. I was immediately agreed with in my logic, and the two who were agreeing with me know how I am.

melancholyseasI do genuinely wake up hating life sometimes. I do contemplate finally being done. Like many in this world, I’ve lived way too much life for my own good in such a short span of time, and it can be overwhelming sometimes. My coworkers know my dark humor isn’t an attention tactic whatsoever. They know if I could guarantee no pain or hardship for my children, family, and friends, I’d already be gone from this world. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling like this. There isn’t anything wrong with acknowledging this kind of thinking. Obviously I have my priorities straight because I am still living and participating in life. I don’t sit at home and stare at bullets all night, and I most certainly am making the most of my life. I am not a danger to myself or anyone else, so leave my darkness to be what it is. A release of pain.

My supervisor doesn’t understand this about me though. While we’ve had some interesting conversations, they are shallow in nature. Typical discussions of the weather, the volume of magazines we have to deliver, or vacation plans. The big issues of politics, faith, and society rarely grace our talks because he’s a listener of sorts. He’s overheard me interact with others who pushed the lines with me, and I think he already knows what direction I lean if pushed on issues like sexuality, God in schools, and so on. He can’t handle that level of a discourse and doesn’t want to, because it’s work and he does know that work is my sanctuary from such things. Firsthand he has watched me run off Jehovah Witnesses that were harassing us in our vehicle lot. He has watched me step out of my case and identify myself as one of the government benefit receiving “moochers” that my coworkers would rant about being lazy, abusers of the system..

This Saturday morning though, he tried to step into my head, and I know he was oblivious to the fact he stepped into an ocean of melancholic whirlpools and not just a small puddle of humor because he proclaimed, quite loudly I might add,”Kate, if you ever feel that way, you call me.” He cocked his head slightly when he said that, his tone being like someone explaining how to properly slice a cake into eight pieces. An instructor’s voice.

“I mean it. Kate, you call me if you ever feel that way.”

My buddies next to me that were still dealing with their copies of Time magazine quit laughing. I think they realized how just utterly out-of-place our supervisor’s expressed concern was, let alone the manner in how he showed it. All I could do was just awkwardly laugh and shake my head, thanking him and mumbling,”You have no idea…” He immediately went back to his desk work, the incident two seconds in the past and out of sight.

silenceThe whole event struck me off guard. Not because someone disagreed with how I express my tired attitude with life, but the way in which this person displayed their disagreement. I couldn’t tell if he said it so loudly because that is what supervisor’s do when it comes to work matters, or because he was trying to exonerate himself of any responsibility. It’s in the book of wearing the big hat that if an employee shows signs of self harm, counsel them, and I can understand his feeling the need to do so. Generally though, these counseling attempts are privately done, and most certainly not in a teacher voice. The issue never came back up later after I returned from my delivery route either, so it made me question the whole situation even further.

That’s when it occurred to me what happened, and he’s done this in the past right under my nose. He was being a hero in the name of his own conscience. I see this a lot because it’s a typical human trait. We all do it. We see someone making a bad decision, and we just simply advise them not to without any deeper explanation or insistence not too, and wash our hands of the situation. We have absolved our personal responsibility in our own minds. The thing is, there are certain times and places for doing such a thing. On the main floor of your workplace in response to someone’s morbid humor about desiring death? That is not one of those appropriate situations of flippantly washing your hands of someone’s expression about life problems. Sometimes, keeping your mouth shut is the best tactic.

But much like feeling there is a need to express a belief in God when good things happen, or say “Bless you” after every sneeze, my supervisor went into auto pilot mode and responded in what he deemed socially necessary and appropriate to keep his inner voice at bay. He is wearing a big hat, so every situation must have a response, despite the reality this isn’t necessarily true. Keep this in mind before you insist on making yourself feel better about someone else’s situation. When you function in auto pilot, you lose depth, and there will be times you have zero clue how far down to Davie Jones’ locker you have plummeted, which can make a situation far worse than if you had just kept your heroics to yourself.