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.

It is Not Okay!

I just lost a friend over on Facebook over religion, and I posted this rant:

Just lost another online friend over religion. She couldn’t handle my outspoken atheism, she accused me of hating her god, and then she unfriended me and blocked me. Good riddance, I guess. I don’t apologize for being outspoken about religion. Religion causes tremendous harm in the world to the world as a whole and to individual believers. It’s not something that I can or should be silent about. I don’t really give a shit what people choose to believe privately, until they try to force it on everyone else. And hatred — hatred is NOT OKAY. I don’t give a shit what your ancient holy book says, hating gays is not okay! Oppressing women is not okay. Threatening children with Hell is not okay. Teaching ridiculous ancient myths in our schools in place of real science is not okay. Bombing abortion clinics is not okay. Murdering children is not okay.

If you are offended by my outspoken atheism, tough shit. Accept me and love me as I am, warts and all, or get off of my friends list. I am NOT going to change to make anyone else happy or comfortable. I agree to disagree with plenty of my friends about politics and religion and other things as well, and I expect the same consideration in return.

I will post whatever the hell I want and I’ll be as blunt and “in your face” as I want as well. I am doing my part to make this world a better place, and I will not apologize for doing that. If you decide to no longer be a part of my life, don’t let the door hit you in the ass. Plenty of people love and accept me exactly as I am, and I’ll take them any day over people who want me to change to make them happy or people I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around… Enough said…

I would like to expand on that a bit. Other things that are not okay include faith healing and crediting God with healing instead of hard-working doctors and nurses. And prayer… prayer accomplishes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I am sick and tired of hearing about the alleged power of prayer. Prayer has no power whatsoever other than making the person doing the praying feel good for accomplishing NOTHING.

It is not okay for faith healers to bilk gullible religious people out of millions of dollars. It is not okay for Pat Robertson or some other religious nut to blame gays for natural disasters. It is not okay to advocate murdering gays so that we can have an AIDS-free Christmas.

It is not okay to condemn all non-Christian people to an eternal flaming Hell where they will be consciously tormented forever.

It is not okay to accuse atheists of “hating God” because we don’t share Christian religious beliefs.

And the list goes on and on and on… Christopher Hitchens was absolutely right when he said that religion poisons everything. Religion is the greatest tragedy ever to afflict mankind.

New Creations in Christ?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

This is one of the first things new Christian believers are taught after their conversion, is that they are new creations in Christ, and that their old sin natures are dead and gone, crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). New believers soon find out, however, that though they are religious now, their old “sin nature” keeps cropping up and interfering with their good intentions to live an exemplary Christian life. The Christian life is depicted as a constant battle between the flesh (the old dead sinful man) and the Spirit (the new man, the new creation in Christ). Paul discussed this spiritual battle at some length in Romans, chapter 7. And Paul reminds us in Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” In Romans 12:1-2, Paul advises us to renew our minds and not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

But is any of this actually for real? Is there such a thing as spiritual rebirth (John 3:3-7) and transformation (Romans 12:1-2), or is it just something that sounds good on the surface but isn’t actually real? Unfortunately for Christians, the latter happens to be the case. There is no God, and therefore there is no such thing as salvation or spiritual rebirth. There is no Christ to be made new in, and no Holy Spirit to transform their lives and lead them into all truth (John 16:13).

So, the Christian life, rather than being a real battle against real spiritual forces (see Ephesians 6:12) (a forged book, by the way) and the old sin nature, is a battle to try to live up to impossible standards. Christians are expected to be “perfect as their Heavenly Father is perfect (See Matthew 5:48). And, of course, every time a Christian believer fails to “be like Christ” and falls far short of the ideal perfection of God, which of course is often, religious fear, guilt, and shame set it. It’s a never ending roller coaster of managing to live right for a while by sheer willpower (though the claim is that it is by the power of God), until, inevitably, a sinful thought or act occurs, and then the believer must ask forgiveness. And then, inevitably, they will sin again, and once again the religious fear, guilt and shame set in, and the believer has to ask for forgiveness. And, of course, believers sin all the time, because nothing about them has changed, expect for the addition of religious beliefs that have the potential to do them a great deal of psychological harm.

God is not for real, there is no such thing as sin, and there is no such thing as salvation. Humans have no spirit or soul that needs to be saved or “reborn”. Fundamentalist Christianity is a miserable roller coaster ride of trying and ultimately failing to please a nonexistent God, and the result is many trips through the hellish depths of religious fear, guilt, and shame.

No matter how much religious activity a believer engages in (prayer, praise, worship, Bible reading), the result is still exactly the same. After the religious high wears off, it’s right back to the miserable roller coaster ride from hell. Real, lasting positive transformation rarely occurs, and if it does, it is of course due the the person’s own efforts to improve themselves rather than the Holy Spirit transforming them from the inside out.

Of course, rather than living lives that are victorious in Christ (see Romans 8), believers are left with the disappointment of still being exactly what they were before they got “saved” — imperfect, fallible human beings. The forged book of 2 Peter claims that we are partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4). But, yet again, it is another false belief and false promise. There is no divine nature to partake of, so believers are left high and dry once again, to live with religious fear, guilt and shame on the spiritual roller coaster from hell.

If you are a Christian who happens to be reading this, then please think about it! Aren’t you tired of the sin/repentance sin/repentance roller coaster of religious life? Isn’t it time to jump off of the religious roller coaster from hell, embrace the world as it really is, and live a life of JOY and FREEDOM? The ironic thing is that religious believers are promised a life of blessings and happiness in Christ, but happiness only actually comes, in most cases, when believers walk away from the faith and face the world as it actually is head on, and they learn to accept themselves as they are — imperfect and fallible, but good. There is no God. There is no such thing as sin. There is no such thing as salvation, and there is no Christ to be made new in and grow in.

I couldn’t possibly be happier these days as an ex-Christian atheist! I am no longer on that religious roller coaster from hell, and I haven’t been for sixteen years. I am FREE, and you can be too! Glory!

To God be the Glory!

I successfully escaped the fundamentalist Christian cult fourteen years ago, but I certainly can still remember what it was like to live within that religious mindset. I used to think that I saw God active in my life and in the world all the time. Now, of course, as an ex-Christian atheist, I think I do a pretty good job as perceiving the world and the universe as it actually is, and of course there is absolutely zero evidence that a God of any kind actually exists. God never thinks, says, or does anything at all in the real world, except in the minds of believers. And, that is a huge clue to his actual nonexistence.

Here in USA and in other 1st World countries, it is quite common for religious believers to give God the glory for simple things like finding lost car keys or having their favorite sports team win a ball game. I can remember quite well, a few months ago, that God enthusiastically got the glory for the win when the Baylor softball team beat Kentucky in a stunning and very exciting to watch comeback victory. Baylor scored eight runs late in the game, and they stunned and eliminated Kentucky from the playoffs. Kentucky’s season ended quite suddenly and unexpectedly for them, and one of the Baylor players who was interviewed after the game enthusiastically gave God the glory for the win. But, the very next day, Baylor lost their next game and they too were eliminated from the playoffs. Where was God then, when just the day before He had blessed them such a stunning victory? God got the glory for the victory one day, but the next day when a miracle win was not delivered, there was no mention of him at all. How quickly God fades from the scene even in the minds of believers when life doesn’t go their way…

I have been an atheist for fourteen years now, and it still just floors me that 1st World Christians truly believe that God cares about helping them find their lost car keys or about giving their sports team the victory when, if God exists, he has plenty of much more important things that he should be giving his attention to. These Christians living prosperous and comfortable lives rarely give any thought to the thousands of starving children in the world in places like Africa, who could certainly use the intervention of a loving God who cares deeply about them. And, what about outbreaks of serious diseases such as Ebola? Where is God when those people need his help? What about people suffering from AIDS? Where is God for them? What about amputees? Why doesn’t God ever bless them with new limbs?

And, what about the “Prosperity Gospel” that at least once used to be so popular here in America? The story from popular “health and wealth” “name it and claim it” preachers was that God wants us to be rich. He wants us to have the best of everything in life and to enjoy divine health. I even heard one such preacher claim enthusiastically that Jesus was rich (John Hagee, I believe). And, of course, that is all a bunch of pure, unfiltered bullshit. Millions of Christians who bought into the “prosperity gospel” and faithfully prayed for and claimed riches in this life stubbornly remained exactly as they were to begin with. Their prayers and magical incantations (statements of faith) went unanswered and unfulfilled. And, despite loudly and enthusiastically claiming Divine Health, they remained sick.

It is a glaringly obvious fact that God does not actually exist. But, if he does, he has much better things to be doing in this world than helping believers find their car keys or win ball games. And he certainly has better things to do with his magical powers than enriching the bank accounts of believers.

Glory!

Pray to Your Chair!

Prayer is, in reality, an absurd thing to do. It gets no discernible results because there is no god available to hear and answer prayer. But… try this experiment. Instead of praying to God, pray to your chair. I guarantee you’ll get the exact same results.

reclineryes

Just like with God, sometimes it will seem as if your chair has said, “Yes!” to your prayer request. Glory!

reclinermaybe

Just like with God, sometimes it will seem as if your chair has said, “Maybe!” to your prayer request. Your chair may need you to wait until the proper time for your request to be granted!

reclinerno

And sometimes, just like with God, it will seem as if your chair has said, “No!” to your prayer request. Damn!

So you see, praying to God and praying to your chair achieves the exact same results! Glory!