What Freedom Means – Christians vs. Atheists

The aim of this glorious post is to contrast what freedom means to Christians vs. what it means to atheists. Of course, I think real freedom comes from being absolutely and totally free of religious beliefs and fears. But, let’s take a look at the different views.

John 8:36 says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”

The Christian Rock artist of the 1980’s and early 1990’s turned preacher now, Mylon LeFevre (of Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart) had this to say at a concert back in the 1980’s:

The Word says that we can be free in Jesus. And we need to be free, man. Everybody wants to be free. There ain’t but one way to do it. You can’t be free in religion and you can’t be free in yourself. You can be free in Jesus. We have something that is real to celebrate. It is new life. New life in Christ. This new life didn’t come from our parents. I just read in the Word today that the life that comes from our parents will fade away someday. But this new life that comes from Christ is real and true and it lasts forever. … God is love, and his love lasts forever. This is freedom. Enjoy yours!

And here is his song titled “Freedom” that celebrates what he considers to be true freedom — the freedom supposedly found in belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and in surrendering your life to him. I still love the music, though I no longer believe the message.

I can’t help but like Mylon as a person, though I know that he is a typical big name Christian preacher and musician who has made a career out of religion, and he has made a ton of money from it. I disagree very strongly with his religious beliefs and with his definition of freedom now, but I saw him in concert a couple of times back in my Christian days, and once when I was backstage seeking counseling and prayer, I actually got to shake the man’s hand. I commented to him about the concert that “that was fun!”, and he said something in return agreeing that it had been. It was awesome actually getting to meet one of my Christian music idols of the time, brief though the encounter was. Glory! 🙂 Mylon came across as a genuinely nice guy, and I’m sure that he probably really is. And to me, he was the definition of a “cool Christian” back in those days. I may still have a bit of hero worship going on with him though I no longer agree with his message, lol…

Mylon’s definition of freedom I can no longer agree with. It’s impossible to be truly free when you are enslaved to a bunch of fear/ignorance-based ancient myths that make no sense to modern, educated minds and it’s impossible to be truly free when you are constantly worried about religious concepts such as sin and about pissing Jesus off. It’s impossible to be truly free when you are worried about Hell and about people you care about and love possibly going there. I didn’t find freedom in religion at all (and Christianity is a religion. This “it’s a relationship, not a religion” nonsense is just that — nonsense).

The truth will set you free, but first it might piss you off. – Anonymous

I didn’t find true freedom until I got totally free from religious belief and totally free from religious fears! TRUE FREEDOM is the ability to live life authentically and honestly without being wrapped up in endless cycles of fear, guilt, and shame caused by religious belief and indoctrination. TRUE FREEDOM is being able to BE YOUR REAL SELF, free of religious programming and religious fears. I am free to be ME now, warts and all! I am FREE to choose a life for myself now that makes ME happy and that hopefully serves others and makes them happy too. I am FREE to ENJOY LIFE, totally free of concerns that what I think, say or do might piss Jesus off. I am FREE to live my life just being ME, with no reference to God or religious or spiritual beliefs at all. I am a much better person now than I was when I was a Christian. I am no longer concerned with the belief or even in the possibility that there might be a God to fear or a Hell to fear. I am no longer concerned that I or anyone else might be headed for an eternity of torment in a flaming Hell. I left that fear-based religious nonsense behind long ago in favor of the real world. Now that I am FREE of religion and religion-based fear, guilt, and shame I am free to live life honestly and authentically as ME! I am free to love everybody, and that certainly includes people who happen to be gay. People that I would have condemned to Hell when I was a Christian I am good friends with now, though I personally am straight as an arrow. One of my most valued friends over at the ex-christian.net forums is bi-sexual with lesbian leanings, and she is in to BDSM. Does that bother me now? Hell no. Not one bit. She is an awesome person, and I really enjoy hanging out with her online. We have visited over Skype once, and it went really well. I don’t have to be into the same things she is or have the same sexual orientation that she does to enjoy an awesome friendship with her. Our differences simply don’t matter, and that’s one of the most awesome things about being free of religion is letting go of unnecessary and harmful and often hateful religion-based judgment. I really don’t give a shit now what sexual orientation people have. I don’t even really care what beliefs they hold, as long as they are not hurting themselves or others and as long as they are good PEOPLE. Now that I am free of religion, I am free to love PEOPLE exactly as they are, warts and all. I truly love just about everybody on the face of this planet as people. I think I can name the people in this world that I truly hate on one hand, and that’s after 48 years of life on this planet. That was certainly not true of me when I was a Christian. I was busy hating myself for being such a sinner and I was busy hating others because of their sexual orientation or because they held religious or political beliefs that were different from my own. Now, the differences don’t really matter. I happen to be a very liberal American Democrat and an atheist. But I am free to be good friends with anybody I choose to be friends with because I find them to be good people, regardless of what their religious or political beliefs might be. I have good friends who are conservative Republicans and Christians. I don’t agree with them on those subjects, but I am FREE to not discuss or really care about our differences, and that is awesome! I think I have made my point. REAL FREEDOM is amazing, and it is awesome, and I wish it for everybody in this world. Glory!

An Observation made by a Christian

My Christian friend Jeremy posted this observation on his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago or so.

Don’t take this the wrong way, just making an observation: It’s pretty cool when you study the authenticity of scripture and the bible that… yup, it’s not just a bunch of “stories”, but also very historic. And this is widely agreed upon worldwide … not that I ever doubted it, but it’s fun to put the pieces together for my own eyes!
I’ve heard people say ignorant things like “Jesus wasn’t real”…
Jesus was very real and actually religions that may ‘not’ call him God almighty in flesh, like I believe, agree on the fact he was real lol and even testify of his power!

My response:

What authenticity of scripture? We don’t even know who wrote most of it, and that includes the Gospels, which are the only records we have of the life of Jesus, aside from a few disputed extra-biblical references. The Bible absolutely is, for the most part, “just a bunch of stories” that ancient men made up. The Bible contains a great deal of myth and legend. In fact, the first eleven chapters of Genesis, including the two contradictory and absurd creation myths (two obviously mythical people, an omniscient God who clearly is not all-knowing, a talking snake, magic trees, and magic fruit! Gimme a fucking break…Oh, and let’s not forget the magical flaming sword meant to keep the two obviously mythical people out of the obviously mythical Garden of Eden..), are known to be myth. The Bible also contains hundreds of meaningful contradictions (see http://bibviz.com/ for a graphical representation of them that conveniently ties them all together), many atrocious accounts of God either ordering or directly committing mass murder and genocide (for examples click here and here, and much known bad alleged history. The Bible does not fare well when it reports history, and it’s actually this fact that is now widely agreed upon worldwide. Even the Gospels are now known not to be history and they are certainly not eyewitness accounts. All four Gospels were written decades after the events that they purport to portray allegedly took place, and they were all written anonymously. The Gospels are now known to be myth, as Dr. Richard Carrier explains clearly and brilliantly in this video:

People who claim that Jesus wasn’t or isn’t real are not being ignorant. They are going with the best evidence and biblical scholarship currently available and are telling you the truth. There may well have been a historical Jesus who was an itinerant apocalyptic Jewish preacher. But the only accounts that we have of his alleged life are the four canonical Gospels, and they are so loaded down with myth and legendary development that little, if anything, remains that can be known of the historical man. Stories of dying and rising gods were around thousands of years before Jesus allegedly lived, and several events in the alleged life of Jesus are closely and strikingly similar (see http://www.pocm.info/ for more info on this fact). Jesus as depicted in the Gospels (though he is presented very differently in each gospel) also ranks very high on Lord Raglan’s Hero scale, which is a huge clue that the Gospel stories about him are myth rather than history.

Two books that I highly recommend that make a very good case for the “Jesus Myth” theory are:

Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All
http://www.amazon.com/Nailed-Christian-Myths-Jesus-Existed-ebook/dp/B007GPG290/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411345656&sr=1-1

The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?
http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Puzzle-Christianity-Challenging-Historical/dp/096892591X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411345764&sr=1-1

This is my review of “Nailed”: http://religionisbullshit.me/nailed/. I was quite impressed with the book. For a much more critical review of it, please see http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/2011/05/nailed-ten-christian-myths-that-show.html?m=1.

Jesus as he is depicted in the Gospels quite clearly was not and is not real. If the historical man did indeed exist, he most certainly was not divine and not God in the flesh. Most major world religions may indeed agree that Jesus lived in history, but they do not “testify to his power.” Orthodox Jews, in fact, maintain several well known “anti-missionary” sites that thoroughly debunk Christian claims about what they call the Old Testament (Jews call it the Torah or Tanakh) and they make it quite clear that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah. Here is just one example of what Jews have to say about Jesus.

You are free to make public any observation you wish to about your imaginary god or your mythical Jesus. Just don’t expect those of us who know better to remain silent on the issue. 😉 For the record, I saw your post the other day claiming that the name of Jesus is powerful and that it is the name above every name. I’m here to tell you that the name of Jesus has no power whatsoever in the real world, magical or otherwise. The Jesus of the Bible is a myth, and there is nothing that you can say or do to change that fact. Glory!

From Atheism to Christianity – a Review – Part 4

This glorious post is Part 4 of a glorious review of this article. Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found here, here, and here.

In addition to convincing me of the inherent reasonableness of the New Testament record of Jesus’ miracles, Lewis’s writings also helped me to understand why the Christian concept of God as a union of three persons within one Godhead (the ‘Trinity’) made sense, and why ‘God the Son’, the second person of that ‘Trinity’, had to come down into our world as Jesus, to ‘die for our sins’ and conquer death on our behalf.

There is nothing reasonable about miracles, whether we are referencing the alleged miracles of Jesus or the alleged miracles of Allah (such as Muhammad’s winged horse flying to the moon), or the alleged miracles performed by Hindu gods (such as Ganesh drinking milk). As I have pointed out in previous posts, the Gospels are not history. They are myth written decades afer the supposed life and death of Jesus, and not much else. There is absolutely nothing sensible about the doctrine of the Trinity! The Trinity is three Gods who are also somehow magically Each Other, yet they are also somehow magically separate and distinct co-eternal Persons who are all equally divine and all God. Please explain to me how this absurd nonsense “makes sense” to you. I would love to know… The concept that God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Himself makes no rational sense at all! There is no such thing as sin. Sin is a religious concept with no demonstrable basis in reality. Myths about dying and rising gods have been around for thousands of years, yet not a single one of them is real and not a single one of them has actually conquered death, and that certainly includes Jesus.

As Lewis explains in his most readable book, Mere Christianity, God is Love personified since, as our Creator, He is the divine source and origin of all human (and animal) love. But since love involves relationships between people, we should not be altogether surprised to discover that God in His own Being is a loving union of three distinct persons – described in the New Testament as ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Spirit’. It is of course true that this revelation may at first appear startling and strange, but it does not seem unreasonable once you think about it. The same thing applies to the apparently perplexing and contradictory notion of unity in diversity. How can God be a union of ‘three-in-one’? Well, says Lewis, what appears to be an impossibility in our dimension of being is not necessarily an impossibility in God’s dimension of Being. To use his very helpful analogy, you can’t picture a union of six separate squares in a two dimensional world, but you can picture a cube in a three dimensional world. So just as a cube is one body made up of six separate squares, so God is one Being made up of three separate persons. Again, this revelation may come as a shock, but it does not seem unreasonable. And this, argues Lewis, is another reason why Christianity has that strange ‘ring of truth’. It gives us information about God which no-one would ever have thought of making up, yet still manages to make some kind of sense. It involves a mystery about God which goes beyond our human understanding but not against it, which is surely what we ought to expect if there is a God.

The God of the Bible is hardly love personified, and he could hardly be said to be the source of all human and animal love. Try actually reading the Old Testament and then try, after reading the numerous accounts of God either ordering or directly committing mass murder and genocide, telling me that this God is loving. Even the New Testament doesn’t cast God in a very good light. In Acts 5, he murders two people simply for lying to him about their finances, and if the book of Revelation were to come true in today’s modern world, billions of non-Christian people would die horribly and then be sent to hell to be tormented endlessly with no hope of reprieve, forever. For a fuller treatment of the character of the Bible God, please see these links:

http://religionisbullshit.me/the-character-of-the-bible-god-2/

http://religionisbullshit.me/character-god-revisited/

The doctrine of the Trinity doesn’t make sense to me no matter how much I think about it. Three Gods who are somehow magically Each Other while at the same time being three separate and distinct Persons does not make rational sense! Every argument I have heard in defense of the Trinity has not made sense or has been absurd, and this one is no exception. That’s always a defense of religious concepts that are irrational, isn’t it? They are a “mystery that is beyond our human understanding.” I think it is much easier and much more honest to simply call it the absurd mythological bullshit that it is! Christianity has no “ring of truth” to it whatsoever, and of course concepts such as the Trinity can be made up by men, and that it obviously the case here! Nonsensical doctrines and obvious myths is not at all what I would expect from a real, existing God who was interested in revealing himself to mankind. If God actually exists, he could easily clear up the religious confusion that exists in the world by making an appearance and letting us know who he is and what he wants of us. Yet, thus far, except in the stuff of ancient myths, he has failed to do so.

I must emphasise, at this point, that the Christian concept of the Trinitarian nature of God is not something that Christian theologians simply invented many decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection. It emerged quickly and naturally as Jesus’ first disciples and followers came to understand the logical implications of His life and teachings, and reflected on what He Himself had said about His relationship and union with His ‘Father’. And since love was and is at the heart of that relationship, and explains why God created the universe and gave us the gift of life, it also tells us why His rescue plan for the human race necessitated His arrival in our world as a human being, and His cruel death under Pontius Pilate.

The alleged resurrection (Magical Undeadening) of Jesus is an obvious myth, and not a real historical event. Of course Christian theologians invented the Trinity just as they invented everything else about the religion. Religion is entirely man-made and that is a glaringly obvious fact to everyone except the religious, of course. The doctrine of the Trinity was not made official in Christian thought until the Council of Nicea in the year 325 AD. Relevant link:

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/trinity.htm

God’s “rescue plan” is absurd! God had to brutally torture Himself and sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Himself? Or, in more humorous terms, Jesus (the Magic Sky Man) had to be brutally tortured by the Sky Him version of Himself and then He had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from the Holy Farter version of Himself? Just how, exactly, does this absurd nonsense make rational sense to you?

As I have already pointed out, the God of the Bible is not loving, and he did not create the universe. I will not get into a deep discussion of cosmology because it’s not my field of expertise at all, but the universe was created approximately 13.7 billion years ago by the process known as the Big Bang. It had absolutely nothing to do with a god speaking a powerful magical spell from Nowhere, presumably in Hebrew, as the Bible absurdly asserts. It is absurd to think that a God would create this enormous universe, which consists of billions of galaxies, with mankind in mind. As Carl Sagan so beautifully put it in his Pale Blue Dot:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

This concludes Part 4 of this glorious series. Part 5 is coming soon! Glory!