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!

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.

Easter and the Power of the Christian Message

Christian messageThis Easter Sunday morning, I woke up early and watched… the Jesus Film. This post contains my thoughts on the love of Jesus and the power of the Christian message. It’s not typical fare for this site, but my atheist friends, please bear with me… 🙂 The last time I saw the Jesus Film was in 1985 when I was 19 years old. My good friend Mike had just won me over to the Christian faith, and watching this film sealed the deal. I was extremely moved back then by the love of Jesus, and I still am today.

I invite my Christian friends to consider my thoughts. I invite my ex-Christian friends as well to consider my thoughts. I’m not asking either group of folks to agree with me. All I ask is your time and your thoughtful consideration. 🙂

I urge my Christian friends to consider the power of the message that they possess by faith. The story of Jesus is the story of LOVE. It’s the story of forgiveness. It’s the story of redemption. It doesn’t matter to me whether the stories we find in the Gospels are literally true or not. What matters to me is the power they have to change lives. These ancient stories that come down to us from a different time and a different place in history still have tremendous meaning and power today. Like many things in life, they can be used for good or they can be used for evil.

The Christian faith has motivated good people to accomplish great things in this world. But unfortunately, it has also been used to justify hatred. The first thing that comes to mind is Christians using their faith to vilify the Jewish people as the murderers of their Lord. Antisemitism is still a problem in the world today. Hitler used his Catholic faith to justify murdering six million Jews, and he made it clear that he believed that he was doing the Lord’s work. All of that was decades and centuries ago. But sadly, many Christians still use their faith as a vehicle for hatred. Jesus never said a single word about homosexuality, yet many prominent Christian preachers use their pulpits and their media outlets to preach hate against the gay community. A couple of the more extreme examples that comes to mind is a pastor in Arizona, I believe, who is openly calling for gays to be murdered. Another vocal pastor has called for gays to be rounded up and penned like animals so they can’t reproduce… but though most Christians don’t wish physical harm to come to gays, they make it clear that gays and lesbians are not welcome in their churches.

How incredibly, tragically sad is that? My understanding of the love of Jesus is that it is unconditional and that it is extended with open arms to EVERYBODY. That includes gays, lesbians, transgender folks, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, the homeless, the mentally ill, and the list goes on and on… isn’t LOVE the most powerful force in the universe? How can it possibly be limited to a select few when EVERYBODY is in need of it?

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Consider those words of Jesus. Has anything more powerful ever been spoken? Imagine what our world would be like if we as a species lived those words. What if we all believed in a God of Love and we dedicated our lives to living out that love towards others? And what about loving our neighbors as ourselves? Who is my neighbor? Sure, it’s the folks who live in my neighborhood, most of whom I’ve never even met. But my neighbors are also the citizens of my city and my state. And the circle grows wider to include the citizens of my country. And then it grows ever wider to include the citizens of all other countries on this planet. And it grows wider still to include every single human being currently living on this planet. My neighbor isn’t just the folks next door. My neighbor is EVERYBODY, and they are all equally deserving of my respect and my love.

If I had a church and I was publicly representing the Love of Jesus, guess who would be welcomed in my church with open arms? Yes indeed… ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY! And, in my opinion, that is how churches today should operate. Their doors should be open to EVERYBODY.

My Christian friends, do you realize what those of us on the outside of your faith looking in see when we look at your faith? We see it being used to spread hatred and bigotry. We see it being used to bilk those who can least afford it out of their money. We see it being used to build giant cathedrals and to buy jet airplanes for rich televangelists. Does Jesus need a jet plane? Do any of his followers need a jet airplane? No, of course not. In my opinion, those who claim the name of Christ need to wake up and realize that they have the most incredible message on earth. They have the potential to do tremendous good in the world. It is tragic beyond words that the greatest message the world has ever known is being used to spread hatred.

My message to Christian pastors is this: STOP USING YOUR PULPITS TO SPREAD HATE. USE THEM INSTEAD TO SPREAD LOVE! People in this world need LOVE. It is LOVE that they are looking for and it is LOVE that will win them over.
I am not currently a Christian, but I love the message of Jesus. This life is a battle that we have no choice but to engage in. Every moment of every day we are faced with the choice to do good or the choice to do evil. We can choose to reject those who are different than us, or we can choose to welcome them with open arms. We can choose to help others who are in need or we can choose to look the other way. The Love of Jesus as I understand it compels me to look at this world through the eyes of LOVE. The Love of Jesus compels me to do good and to help anyone I can in any way that I am capable of. It inspires and compels me to love everyone, regardless of their faith or their beliefs.

My Christian friends, you have an incredible gift to share. You have faith in a loving God and you have been shown incredible love. My suggestion to you, offered in love, is to get busy sharing it! Show God’s Love to EVERYBODY, not just people you are comfortable with. Your message, the Christian message, has the power to change lives and to change the world. Think about that reality and use it wisely and with love…

My 2 cents… if you’ve read this to this point, you are amazing and thank you. I don’t ask you to agree with me. I just ask that you consider my thoughts. Thank you, and I hope you have an awesome Easter Sunday.

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.

If Jesus is the Word of God…

Christians consider Jesus to be the Word of God, based on at least two verses of scripture.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13 ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

And the Bible is considered to be the Word of God, so when you read the Bible you are reading Jesus! Glory!

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

Christ-returns-white-horses-Rev19-bylined

If Jesus is the Word of God and the Bible is Jesus in written form, then the Bible must be Perfect, right? And, indeed, Christians do believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible. Believing that Jesus is the Word of God sounds great…until you consider the contents of the Bible. Let’s take a brief look at just a few troublesome verses.

It doesn’t take long to run into trouble. In fact, the very first verse of the Bible is wrong, and things just go rapidly downhill from there.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

The universe was not created by a god, and billions of years separate the beginning of the universe from the formation of our solar system and the earth.

Genesis chapters 1 & 2 contain contradictory creation myths and the account degenerates rapidly into a ridiculous myth involving two obviously mythical people (Adam and Eve), a talking snake, and magic fruit from magic trees.

adam-and-eve

If the Bible is the Word of God, shouldn’t it reflect reality as it actually is instead of containing ancient mythology? A real creation account from a real, existing omniscient God would make the fields of cosmology and astronomy and astrophysics superfluous because all of that knowledge would be there for us to simply read, courtesy of God in the Bible.

Christians believe that Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus, calling him the prince of peace.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

Back in the late 1980’s, Twila Paris had a hit song entitled “Prince of Peace”, which I loved back in my Christian days.

But, if Jesus is the Prince of Peace, shouldn’t the Bible be a book of peace? Shouldn’t it promote love and tolerance and understanding toward all of mankind? What we find instead when we actually read it is a book absolutely loaded with shocking brutality and violence.

Jeremiah 19:9 – “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.”

Hosea 13:16 – “Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.”

Psalm 137:9 – “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

Leviticus 26:29 – “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”

The Bible contains many shocking atrocities, too numerous to list here, many of them depicting God either ordering or directly committing mass murder or genocide. Relevant link:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html

The brutal beating that Jesus took while supposedly paying for our sins would be considered an act of brutality today, and if it was in any book other than the Bible, most people today would be repulsed by it.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

christ_passion_movie_cross

I wrote about the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, a barbaric idea by today’s standards, not too long ago. Relevant link:

http://religionisbullshit.me/doctrine-substitutionary-atonement/

I could go on, but I think this post is getting long enough, and I think I have made my point. Glory! 🙂

Christianity – A Clear and Present Danger

Christianity is not a benign or positive belief system. The reality is that it is a clear and present danger to everyone who encounters its teachings, and particularly to those who have the misfortune of getting sucked into the cult. Christianity is a toxic and harmful set of teachings, and the potential for significant psychological harm is great.

christianity defined

Christianity is an absurd and hilarious belief system, but it’s not so funny, considering the harm that it causes not just to individual believers, but to the world as a whole. On an individual level, Christianity causes all kinds of needless psychological suffering — a tremendous amount of fear, guilt, and shame — none of which has any basis in reality. Christianity is damaging to the world as a whole not just because of the psychological damage is causes, but because it teaches and promotes the hatred of entire groups of people (such as homosexuals), and it teaches that all non-Christians are destined for an eternity of endless suffering in a flaming Hell.

The core teaching of Christianity is that mankind has fallen from grace and needs a savior, and that savior is Jesus Christ. As the mythical story in Genesis relates it, God created mankind perfect and sinless, but because of the influence of a lying serpent (the devil), Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, and their rebellion caused the spiritual deaths of all of mankind that would follow. A savior is promised in Genesis 3:15, and Christians believe that Jesus is that savior and that he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Christianity teaches that all men are born into sin and that without a savior we deserve to burn in Hell forever. As John 3:18 puts it (speaking of Jesus, of course):

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And consider Isaiah 64:6:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

With such a warped and false view of mankind — that we are filthy sinners deserving of Hell — how are believers supposed to develop a healthy sense of self-love? If, as a believer, I believe that I was born so bad that I deserve to burn in Hell forever, how am I supposed to feel good about myself? Or, as I asked myself in writing a few years ago:

With this kind of belief drilled into me for years, how can I be expected to honestly feel good about myself? How can I possibly really love myself and see myself as worthy of love with this kind of toxic garbage still infecting my thought processes and my sense of self-worth? How can I possibly have a healthy sense of self-esteem having believed this of myself for so long? I am fully aware now intellectually that “sin” is a religious concept with no basis in reality but after so many years of fearing and hating my supposed sinfulness and asking God often to forgive sins both of commission and omission and so often feeling judged and condemned and not forgiven and disregarded or forgotten by God, how do I overcome those toxic beliefs and find healing? How do I go from the “sin consciousness” that was drilled into me by the Christian cult to accepting and loving myself as I am – a flawed and imperfect but basically good and loving human being? Hmmm… I am indeed imperfect as everybody is, but am I really “flawed”? Such is the pervasiveness of toxic teachings, even after years away from the church.

Christianity is false and dangerous because it gets the basic facts about human nature horribly wrong. Contrary to what Christianity teaches, humans are not born evil or depraved, and we certainly are not born deserving to be barbecued forever in a flaming Hell. The truth is that, as a species, we are basically good. Most people in this world are good people who want what is best for themselves and for those that they love. Most people, given the opportunity, will enthusiastically do what they can to help others and do what they can to leave the world a better place than they found it. I have lived on this earth almost 50 years, and while I have encountered a few genuinely evil people, the vast majority of people I have encountered have been good, well-meaning folks.

From the tragic error regarding human nature, we get the doctrine of sin. Sin is usually defined simply as “missing the mark”, and in Christianity it means failing to live up to the supposed holiness and perfection of God. How much needless human suffering has this one religious concept caused? Christianity teaches that mankind is lost in sin and that our very nature is offensive to a holy God. Despite the fact that sin is a religious concept with no discernible basis in reality, millions of good human beings down through the ages have suffered needlessly from guilt and shame caused by this false and toxic teaching. How many genuinely good people have been trapped in mental religious prisons of guilt and shame from which they may never escape? Christians celebrate the freedom they supposedly enjoy in Jesus, but how free can you really be when you view your own basic nature through a warped religious lens and you spend your days constantly monitoring and censoring your thoughts and actions in an effort to please God? How happy can you be when your whole existence consists of trying desperately not to piss Jesus off? Christians spend their lives trapped in a tragic cycle of believing they have sinned and angered God and then having to ask forgiveness for that sin. What an awful way to live life! It is impossible to enjoy life when you live it constantly worried about pissing Jesus off!

There are two religious concepts that Christianity teaches that are extremely toxic and harmful — the doctrine of the sinfulness of mankind and the doctrine of eternal conscious torment. The doctrine of of the sinfulness of mankind constitutes an egregious basic error concerning human nature. What Christianity teaches about human nature is diametrically opposed to the actual truth. The foundational lie that the Christian religion is based on is that mankind is basically evil, while the truth is that we are basically good.

Eternal conscious torment? That’s what Christianity teaches is in store for all non-Christians. Depending on denomination, Hell is either a flaming torture chamber of fire and brimstone or simply “separation from God” (not biblical, but proposed to make the concept of Hell more palatable to civilized, modern minds). It’s what Christians live in fear of for themselves and those that they love and what they believe we are born deserving. If there is a teaching more morally reprehensible and egregiously wrong than the doctrine of sin, this would be it. This has got to be the most evil and demented concept ever dreamed up by mankind. Religious belief warps the moral compasses of men beyond recognition. Can you imagine a future more awful for the billions of good, decent, loving, caring, compassionate, well-meaning people who have lived their lives as non-Christians? According to this teaching, every atheist, agnostic, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, and everyone else who failed to put their trust in Jesus as Savior is destined to be tormented consciously forever, without any hope of reprieve. I personally cannot think of a more heinously evil or morally reprehensible and repugnant teaching than that of the eternal conscious torment of nonbelievers.

So… in Christianity we have a religion that gets the basic facts about human nature egregiously wrong and a religion that locks believers into endless cycles of religious fear, guilt and shame (think you’ve sinned/repent, think you’ve sinned, repent, think you’ve sinned/repent, endlessly, always living with the fear that you have sinned and angered God), a religion that teaches that we are born deserving Hell, and a religion that teaches the eternal conscious torment of all nonbelievers. I can’t think of any religion that I would run the other way from faster than Christianity for my own mental health, peace, happiness, and sanity.

Two Adams, Two Myths…

I just posted this thought to Facebook and thought I would expand upon it here:

Somehow, I don’t think that rejecting the idea that the world is as it is because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people to eat magic fruit from a magic tree makes me a bad person or worthy of being tormented forever in a flaming hell. I also reject the idea that Jesus was the second Adam because, obviously, there never was a first Adam. The foundations of the Christian religion crumble under even the slightest rational scrutiny…
Rejecting such ridiculous stories/ideas makes me a thinking person and a citizen of the scientifically advanced 21st Century. Many of us have moved way beyond looking for answers in ancient holy books and ridiculous myths. We are waiting impatiently for the rest of the world to catch up and hoping that they do so before we destroy ourselves over whose Imaginary Friend is better or more powerful…

Obviously, rational thinking people don’t believe in talking snakes or in magic fruit from magic trees. But, what about Jesus? Plenty of people in our modern world revere Jesus either as God in the flesh or as a great moral teacher or…something along those lines. But, let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about who Jesus was and what his mission was. This is not going to be an in depth or deep theological piece. I just want to take a look at some basic claims and subject them to rational scrutiny.

There are two contradictory and absurd creation myths in Genesis that lay the foundations for the Christian religion as we know it today. Putting aside the contradictory accounts of when plants and animals were created, let’s focus on the story of Adam and Eve and the talking snake.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-23)

For thousands of years, this creation myth seemed like a good explanation of how mankind came to be. But then, along came modern scientific knowledge. We now know that mankind was not magically created by a god some 6000 years ago. We evolved from a long line of hominid species over a period of millions of years. Modern scientific knowledge renders the biblical creation myth(s) ridiculous or just plain silly. No scientifically educated modern person can or should take these accounts seriously. The first Adam, presented to us in Genesis, is quite obviously a myth. Adam never actually lived and neither did Eve. And a talking snake? C’mon… get real…

What about the second Adam, Jesus Christ? Let’s look at a passage of scripture from Romans 5:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[e] because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass[f] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness[g] leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21 ESV)

And, also, Genesis 3:15 (commonly believed to be a Messianic prophecy) and 1 John 3:8.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

According to Christian theology, the first Adam’s sin caused the spiritual death of all who lived after him. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, appeared to destroy the work of the devil (the talking snake), who was responsible for deceiving Adam and Eve and convincing them to eat the magic fruit from the magic tree, which if the story is to be believed, caused the spiritual death of all of mankind. The first Adam is a myth, and so is the second. Without a first Adam, there can be no second Adam. If the story about the first Adam isn’t true, then neither is the story about the second Adam. The foundations of Christianity crumble to dust with just the slightest critical scrutiny… Glory!

christianitygameover

Our Founding Fathers were not Christians!

Saw this Phil Robertson quote posted to Facebook and had to respond.

robertson christian nation

Um… no. America was founded by men who were primarily Deists and who also understood the dangers of religious tyranny and theocracy. If you take the time to do the research and read what our Founding Fathers actually had to say about the Christian God and the Christian religion, you would find that they had very unfavorable things to say about both. Thomas Jefferson took the time to create his own version of the Bible, which is still available today. He took out all of the supernatural bullshit and left in the stuff that he liked. Needless to say, with the supernatural bullshit gone, Jefferson’s Bible is a much thinner book than most Bibles are.

America is not a Christian nation. America is and always has been a secular constitutional republic.

For more on what our Founding Fathers had to say on religion, see these glorious sites:

http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/35-founding-father-quotes-conservative-christians-will-hate/

“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” – 1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams

Sister Lynn Prays for My Conversion

I have a chronic illness (bipolar disorder) that required a short hospital stay recently. I have been battling a bout of severe depression that sent me to the Providence Psych ER four nights in a row and then to an inpatient hospital for a couple days after that. I am much better now, and a couple of days ago or so I published this status update to Facebook:

Feeling well enough to publicly bash religion again. Not everybody will be happy about that, lol… but I am happy to still be here to be able to piss religious people off and, perhaps, get them to THINK too. Glory!

Sister Lynn, who is evidently unaware of my status an ex-Christian anti-theist atheist, replied with the following comment:

Well Jeff I’m keeping the faith & continue praying for your recovery. I will also pray for GOD to open your eyes and all other atheists. Without him the world would be a worse off place! Now that I know your atheist your name will be forever on our church’s pray list for you conversion! God Bless

My response to Sister Lynn was as follows:

I am not just an atheist. I am EX-Christian anti-theist atheist. I got sucked into the fundamentalist Christian cult when I was 19, and I didn’t FREE until I was 34. My suffering from then undiagnosed bipolar disorder was made much worse than it had to be by doctrines such as sin and trying to please an imaginary god who never gave me any feedback. I spent 15 years of my life worrying about pissing Jesus off and worrying that my family and friends might be going to Hell. NO WAY IN HELL will I EVER be returning to that kind of mental slavery to fear-based doctrines and ancient myths and lies.

You are welcome to pray for me and to put me on all of the prayer lists you care to. I can tell you right now that it will not do one bit of good. Prayer has no power whatsoever other than making the person doing the praying feel good.

You can pray for me all you like, but you are not likely to convince me again that the world is the way that it is because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people to eat magic fruit from the magic tree that god ordered them not to fuck with. I’m also not likely to believe again that god had to sacrifice himself to himself to save us from himself due to such a ridiculous alleged event.

There is not a shred of credible evidence that a god of any kind actually exists. God never says, thinks, or does anything at all in the real world, except in the minds of believers. To me, that is a huge clue to his actual nonexistence.

Religion is the greatest tragedy to ever afflict mankind. The world would be MUCH better off without it. Without religion, the world would not have the history that it does of Inquisitions, Crusades, religious wars, and religion-based terrorism (such as Christians bombing abortion clinics or Muslims bombing just about everybody). The world also would be much more scientifically and socially progressed if the tragedy of religion had not occurred, because there would not have been the religion-based resistance to social and scientific progress.

Atheists do not need to have their eyes opened. We already accept and deal with the world as it actually is. Religious people DO need their eyes opened, and they need and deserve the opportunity to be FREE from religion and religion-based fear, guilt, shame, and ignorance (the four driving forces behind fundamentalist religion).

Sorry if that’s not the friendly response you were hoping for. It’s nothing personal. I have had a very rough time lately and I’m really not in the mood to discuss religion or the associated ancient myths and legends in a very friendly manner at the moment.