Brother Jeff Responds to Brother Believer

Brother Believer left me this glorious comment a few days ago, and I would like to respond publicly.

You seem to be mad at God for some reason. It seems as though you had a close family member of wife or something die and you preyed to god but nothing happened. So you dedicated your life to discrediting and mocking the Bible.I just want to say if you don’t believe in the Bible keep it to yourself. Your so mad at God that you just have to offende all who believe in him?. Its either you don’t believe or you do. Don’t worrie I wont waist my breath on a nonbeliever that go to great lengths to bad mouth the Bible. Mostly cause the Bible say (Matthew 7:6 ►
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.) So that’s you but I will say that the way things are made the sun, human bodies, the way tree and humans depend upon eachother oxygen and carbon, stars,galaxys,and pretty much everything.I find it hard to believe that all this was created out of pure coincidence. I mean come on when you choose to believe in science you literally choose to believe (absolutely nothing created everything) ie the big bang if you believe in that. Even scientist say if the sun was to close it would burn up the earth and if it was to far the earth would freez. I’m sorry but me myself find it hard to believe that it’s like that purely by chance. While the Bible is nonsense to you its makes perfect sense to me. So why knock what I believe in? Just keep it too yourself and keep quite. It also seems you have some form of biblical knowledge so why not just wait to see if the Bible is wrong or right. We will all find out sooner or later

You seem to be mad at God for some reason.

I am not mad at your Imaginary Friend. I don’t believe that God exists, so being mad at him would be silly and a complete waste of time and emotional energy.

It seems as though you had a close family member of wife or something die and you preyed to god but nothing happened.

There have been two instances where family members died horribly of cancer, and very religious family members prayed and, predictably, absolutely nothing happened. One was my step-father’s grandson’s wife. She suffered much and died horribly from breast cancer at the age of 34 a few years ago. Her body was eaten up with cancer and she suffocated to death in the hospital emergency room when both of her lungs collapsed. The doctors could do nothing to save her. I’m sure she had several very religious family members praying for her, yet their god did NOTHING to alleviate her suffering or cure her cancer. That is 100% predictable given that fact that their god doesn’t actually exist. The other instance of cancer in the family was my very religious young cousin’s husband. I don’t recall what kind of cancer he had, but he suffered much and died horribly, and if I remember correctly, he was 27-years old. He had several very religious family members praying for him and their god predictably did absolutely nothing to alleviate his suffering or cure his cancer. However, these instances of cancer in the family where god predictably did absolutely nothing have nothing to do with my lack of belief in a god or gods.

So you dedicated your life to discrediting and mocking the Bible.

I have not “dedicated my life” to this work. But, totally and completely discrediting the Bible is amazingly easy to do and mocking it and silly religious beliefs is a lot of fun! Glory!

I just want to say if you don’t believe in the Bible keep it to yourself.

No, I will not, because the Bible is bullshit and the fundamentalist Christian religion is dangerous and harmful to individual believers and to the world as a whole.

Your so mad at God that you just have to offende all who believe in him?.

I am not mad at your Imaginary Friend and I’m not really concerned about who I offend. Hearing the truth about their holy book and their religious beliefs is predictably going to offend Christians, but I don’t really care. The truth must be told.

Don’t worrie I wont waist my breath on a nonbeliever

That assertion is contradicted by the fact that you took the time to leave me a somewhat lengthy comment.

Mostly cause the Bible say (Matthew 7:6 ►
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.)

Thanks for Insulting me for Jesus and for sharing the love of Jesus in such an glorious way! Glory!

So that’s you but I will say that the way things are made the sun, human bodies, the way tree and humans depend upon eachother oxygen and carbon, stars,galaxys,and pretty much everything.I find it hard to believe that all this was created out of pure coincidence. I mean come on when you choose to believe in science you literally choose to believe (absolutely nothing created everything) ie the big bang if you believe in that. Even scientist say if the sun was to close it would burn up the earth and if it was to far the earth would freez. I’m sorry but me myself find it hard to believe that it’s like that purely by chance.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about and no idea what science is or how it actually works. That is sadly typical for a Christian. Our universe and our world were not created by coincidence or chance, but by purely natural processes which we now have very good explanations for. Modern cosmology beautifully explains how our universe and world came to be and the science of biological evolution beautifully explains the diversity of life on this planet. As far as the orbit of the Earth goes, the natural forces that determine the orbits of the planets in our solar system, including the Earth, have been understood for centuries now, and predictably, it has absolutely nothing to do with your god or with any of the thousands of others gods dreamed up by mankind.

While the Bible is nonsense to you its makes perfect sense to me.

A collection of ancient religious mythology riddled with hundreds of meaningful contradictions, several hilarious absurdities, and many horrific atrocities (see also this link and this link) makes perfect sense to you? You don’t know much about the book you claim to revere as the Word of God, do you? That too is sadly typical of a Christian.

So why knock what I believe in?

Because what you believe in is dangerous, harmful bullshit. And because it needs to be done. And because doing it can be fun! Glory!

Just keep it too yourself and keep quite.

Nope, I will not keep it to myself and I will not keep quiet. The truth about your holy book, your god, and your religion must be publicly made known for the good of everyone who hears it.

It also seems you have some form of biblical knowledge so why not just wait to see if the Bible is wrong or right. We will all find out sooner or later

I know a hell of a lot more about the Bible than you do and a hell of a lot more than most Christians do about their own damn holy book. I don’t have to “wait and see” if the Bible is right or wrong. I already know that it is wrong about just about every claim it makes (predictable for a collection of religious mythology that is thousands of years old), and that is very easy to prove.

Glory!

Debunking Religious Experiences

Reading an old post from my friend Matt over at http://www.ragingrev.com got me thinking about my own religious experiences from back in my Christian days. I used to absolutely love Charismatic praise and worship services! I spent hours daily praying and worshiping god. Seeking god was my very favorite thing to do! The emotional highs I experienced were intense and convincing at the time. I really thought that I was experiencing the presence of a very real and good and loving and holy god. But now that I have been out of religious belief for as long as I was in it (15 years), I can look back on it all and see that the incredible emotional highs were driven by the equally incredible power of belief. And now that the belief is gone, so are the emotional experiences. I no longer believe in or experience god, and I am perfectly happy and okay with that, though getting to that place took a while and it took a lot of work. Here is an excerpt from Matt’s blog post:

These experiences, for many many years, solidified my belief in god – they were physical evidences of spiritual truths that my god had gifted me with the ability to experience. I still remember them strongly and I still feel that immense “heart tug” when I hear the sort of worship music that was present during those times…if ever an atmosphere was ripe for manipulation of young minds it was this one and I was it’s victim.

Today I’m not really writing to tell my story – I’m writing to try to explain the dangers of experiences like these pose to young people and how some of these youth will ultimately be let down by these experiences and why they, as great as they may seem, are the result of psychosomatic responses to emotional over-stimulation.

At this point in our understanding of human psychology and development we know that young people are more susceptible to manipulation of all sorts, more often that not those that remain in charismatic churches and uphold charismatic beliefs are those that are either born into the movement or are young when they get into it….it appeals to that lack of emotional maturity that so many young people have as well as the overwhelming lack of critical thinking skill that make them the perfect candidates for this newly emergent version of Christianity.

For me, these experiences eventually turned into a pursuit for more of god…almost like a better fix on your drug of choice, it becomes insatiable. This pursuit consumed me and had me on my face seeking “him” often – this pursuit and the eventual let down it became made me into the the atheist I am today. Yes, seeking god’s presence ultimately brought me to this place the moment I realized just how easily my emotions and emotional ineptitude could have lead up to the experiences I had already had and brought me ultimately to question the weight of experiences in determining truth. I had to reject those experiences, something many can never do because of the crippling fear instilled in them from an early age, in order to reject the god I had. That fear, coupled with this incredibly emotionally subjective experience are a cruel way of gaining converts.

So why do these experiences seem so very real?

The answer is quite simple, but somewhat complex to truly understand – the art of Hypnosis and Suggestion as originally coined by Franz Mesmer, is the ability to suggest to an individual or group under the right conditions as to what will occur and to have that prophecy of sorts come true. It can be complex or simple, intentional and completely accidental, but it is very very possible.

You can read Matt’s full post here:

http://ragingrev.com/2011/08/the-new-charismatics-debunking-experiences-with-god/

One thing he wrote that stands out to me is this:

These experiences, for many many years, solidified my belief in god – they were physical evidences of spiritual truths that my god had gifted me with the ability to experience. I still remember them strongly and I still feel that immense “heart tug” when I hear the sort of worship music that was present during those times…if ever an atmosphere was ripe for manipulation of young minds it was this one and I was it’s victim.

I have been free from religion for 15 years, but I still feel an emotional pull when I hear the old worship music or old Christian Rock music that I loved back in the day, such as Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart. I understand that the emotional pull is not god or the holy spirit, but simply a reminder of emotional highs from the past and of beliefs once held sacred. I can look back to my days of drinking and using drugs too in the same way. Sometimes I feel an emotional pull to drink or to get high on pot and/or cocaine again, but that doesn’t mean that I go do it. When those thoughts come up, I recognize them as reminders of a past long gone now and of choices that I no longer make. I can’t drink right now because of medications I am on and I choose not to use drugs. I’m a bit old for that lifestyle now, anyway. My almost 49-year old body won’t take the abuse anymore even if I wanted to go there…

Another man I know of who has written similarly on the issues of conversion, brainwashing, and religious indoctrination is Dick Sutphen. He is a popular New Age author and teacher, and a while back he wrote a piece called The Battle for Your Mind. You can read it here:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/TR/sutphen.html

I realize now that all those years ago back when I was 19 years old and I experienced a dramatic religious conversion and change of lifestyles (from a typical teenage party animal to a fundamentalist religious believer), I was the victim of religion-based emotional manipulation and abuse and the victim of tried and true religious conversion and brainwashing and indoctrination techniques.

Part of the journey from religious belief back to the real world is realizing what has been done to us and why. And then, we can begin to heal the damage that has been done to our minds and to our emotions.

You can and you should be FREE. You deserve to be FREE and to live this life FREE from the emotional manipulation and abuse of religious belief. Glory!

Why I Am Not a Believer

I recently have had some contact with the man who “led me to the Lord” way back in 1985. His name is Mike, and I still consider him to be a good friend, though we were out of contact for many years. Our religious journeys over those years have been very different. Mike is still a devout Christian believer. I am an ex-Christian and an Atheist. Could our paths over the years have possibly been more different? Yet we still get along well, at least judging from our email exchanges. I love Mike and he is still a very special person to me. But we will have to agree to disagree when it comes to religion. Mike said that if we had a couple of hours to sit down over coffee, he could clear up 75% of my “misconceptions” about the Bible. I would love to spend that time with a good old friend, but I doubt I would come away a believer again.

I wrote a site to explain to Mike why I no longer believe, and it is publicly available here:

http://dearmike.religionisbullshit.me

Mike claims that it was not “hard hitting”, but that wasn’t necessarily my intent. I simply wanted him to understand why it is that I no longer believe in God or in the notion that the Bible is the “word” of a god. Mike claims that I don’t know much about the Bible judging by my site, but nothing could be further from the truth. I will freely admit that I have never read the Bible in its entirety (it is a long and mostly very dry and boring collection of books), but I do indeed know quite a bit about the origins and contents of the Bible, which in large part is why I no longer believe it. I am all too aware of the Bible’s many major problems and flaws, which is why I find it impossible to view it as anything close to being inerrant or infallible. I know about the hundreds of contradictions, the hilarious absurdities, the many horrific atrocities, the bad “history”, the myths, the fables (stories involving talking animals), etc. I know that most of the books of the Bible were authored anonymously. We have no idea who actually wrote them. If God was going to author a book, He could do a lot better than the Bible!

Mike still believes strongly in the existence of the God of the Bible. I, on the other hand, see absolutely zero evidence for the existence of any god at all. I do not believe in the God of the Bible. But…I also do not believe in the thousands of other gods mankind has dreamed up. Yet Christians typically have this reaction if you admit to not believing in their god:

The only place God ever says, thinks or does anything at all is in the minds of believers, and that is a huge clue to me to the reality of his nonexistence.

Mike strongly believes Jesus Christ was a historical person and that he was and is God. I, on the other hand, strongly doubt the existence of an historical Jesus, and I reject the idea that he was or is God. That isn’t a conclusion I reached overnight. It comes after years of thought and research, but I believe it reflects the most likely truth about Jesus. I just finished reading The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus. Earl Doherty makes a very strong case in the book for the nonexistence of Jesus as an historical person. I am open to any proof that Jesus really lived in history, but I doubt any is going to be forthcoming, from my friend Mike or anyone else. Such proof simply does not exist. The apostle Paul believed in a spiritual Christ who never had an earthly existence, and the stories we know about Jesus from the Gospels can be shown to be constructed from the Old Testament by a process known as midrash. The few mentions of Jesus that exist outside of the Bible can be dismissed as hearsay. And Jesus as he is portrayed in the Gospels ranks very high on Lord Raglan’s Hero Pattern scale. Pretty convincing stuff to me…

Sure, there is a part of me that would find it emotionally satisfying to believe again, but the cognitive dissonance would be too much to bear. I know that from experience because I have bipolar disorder and the manic phase of that illness features bouts of religiosity that have seen me briefly return to faith several times over the years. But it never lasts. Part of the reason for that is the mania dying down, but it’s also because I simply know too much about the Bible and the Christian religion to find belief tenable again for any length of time. I have actually written a book on the subject. I sent a copy of it to my friend Mike, and I would like to make it freely available here.

http://www.religionisbullshit.me/bipolarreligiosity.pdf

That part of me that wishes for belief again hopes that Mike comes up with evidence that will make that possible, without the cognitive dissonance being an issue. But…I doubt seriously that such evidence will be forthcoming. It simply does not exist. And I am familiar enough with Christian apologetics to know that very little of what a Christian apologist is going to have to say is going to stand up to critical scrutiny. And so…I shall remain an ex-Christian Atheist.