I was not planning on writing this post tonight. This subject wasn’t on my list of things to write about, but here I am. I will try to be as brief as I can. A WordPress reader told me a few days ago that I was arrogant, blasphemous and was “spreading venom and hate” because of the things I write about here. I was warned that my words will come back to haunt me. (Which is the watered down version of “you’re going to burn in Hell”) I take exception to that for many reasons, but mostly because what was said about me was factually inaccurate.
I made a post the other day about people seeing Jesus’s image in rocks and other objects called “Jesus Is My Rock” I was basically asking what kind of god would show his image in all sorts of places as just an image, but not show up to comfort and encourage us as the Bible promises when we call on him? Someone got offended because they think that an attack on Christianity is a personal attack on them. Is God not capable of standing up for himself? Does God need people to step in on his behalf to point of the wickedness of the unbelievers and threaten repercussions…just before adding that they will pray for them of course? Let me clarify my positions a bit…
First of all, I don’t shake my fist at God in anger. I don’t “deny him everyday” as I have been accused of. I am not mad or rebellious at all. I just no longer see any evidence that God is there at all. If he is, we have no way of knowing that and it doesn’t matter anyway because it is clear we are on our own down here. Prayer, including intercessory prayer, doesn’t work. History bears that out. Not just my personal history, but all of human history. Coincidence is not answered prayer. Excuses for unanswered prayers include “You didn’t pray for the right things” or “You didn’t pray the right way” or sometimes “It wasn’t God’s timing” or my favorite “You were never a true believer to begin with.”
Let me give you some history of me and my blog here. I was a believer from the time I was old enough to know about God until a couple of years ago at age 39. I officially accepted Jesus at age 14 so from then until 39 was a quarter century of devotion. I believed as other believers believe. I trusted in God and God’s word. I devoted my life to studying the Bible to know God even better and to follow his words as commanded. I used to write about being a true Christian here on my blog. I was disappointed and let down by the church. I felt they strayed too far from scripture. I left the church, but vowed to be the best Christian I could be. That might not come across through some of my newer posts, but I’ve been writing for 4 years now. My earliest posts show a very different me. You can find them here.
I know that people who believe right now cannot fathom the idea of losing faith. I couldn’t either for most of my life. But when I thought I had started my journey of becoming a better Christian, I was actually going down a road that led to me losing my faith. Believing in the Christian story requires faith. Not only faith in things unseen such as God, Jesus, Heaven, angels, etc…but also faith that the book where those things reside is historically reliable. Let me tell you right now, it isn’t. “But the Bible has had many places and people verified as being historically accurate and have been proven to have existed.” So what? Stephen King writes about real people and places too. Are his books to be accepted as true stories based on eyewitness accounts? Of course not. But the Bible asks us to do just that.
The Bible is the source of hope for many. Billions actually. There are just over 2 billion Christians in the world today. That many people can’t be wrong, right? Well just over 2 billion Christians out of nearly 8 billion people would indicate that yes…they can be wrong. In fact, almost 75% of the world thinks they are wrong. And with thousands of different sects within Christianity, it is clear that Christians themselves think that other Christians are wrong. The Bible for me, is no longer a source of hope as it once was. It is a source of empty promises, inaccurate science, unverifiable (and oftentimes debunked) history and ridiculous stories of myths and magic. It has talking animals, seas that part, wooden staffs that transform into snakes, virgins having babies, people dying and rising again and even walking on water. It has to be true, right? Why? Because it’s in the Bible? How is that the measuring stick we use to gauge truth? What is that based on? These things only exist in the Bible so we have nothing to compare it to. That’s a problem if you are trying to show evidence.
Evidence is proof. Evidence is factual. Evidence is falsifiable. Evidence can be tested and tested and tested again. The result will be the same each time. It is reliable. Faith is the opposite of those things. It’s what you use as an excuse when you have none of those things. Faith is what holds religion upright. If you don’t believe (you have to believe without justifiable cause to do so to be part of it) religion would crumble. I can no longer have faith based on words. If the Bible could be proven to be historically accurate or if the promises within actually came to fruition, then I could put my trust in the words. But as that hasn’t happened, the places, events and characters in that book are fiction to me until proven otherwise…and that includes God, Jesus, Moses and countless others. Prove me wrong. I’m always ready and willing to accept all evidence. But remember, you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible any more than I can use Stephen King’s “It” to prove that killer clowns live in the sewer. Evidence needs to transcend the Bible and exist outside of those pages. But it doesn’t.
I am many things, but arrogant, hateful and bent on “destroying hope” I am not. I don’t spread venom. I spread truth. I don’t seek out Christian blogs to comment on so I can spread hate and take the hope away from as many people as I can. I write so that I can share what I know and expose the lies and dangers of religion. The question was asked of atheists, “why waste time writing about things you don’t believe in?” “Why not just let it go and move on from it and let people believe what they want to?” For the most part, I really don’t care what people believe in. When I do care is when religion breeds hatred, oppression, segregation, misogyny, and division amongst any group. Also, I object when religion is used as a weapon to attack me on my own personal blog because someone’s feelings got hurt. Why do I write against religion? I write against it for the same reason I vaccinate my children. It’s a disease and the risks of doing nothing are too great.
I lived the religious life (the Christian life) for a very long time. I know why Christians get upset with what I write now. But when I was a Christian, I didn’t even really know what I was involved in because I went by what I was taught. When I actually read the Bible myself, I learned so much more that churches tend to gloss over or ignore completely. When I raised my hand in praise as the worship music filled my soul, I didn’t realize I was agreeing that killing adulterers was okay, killing innocent children was okay, rape was okay, killing homosexuals was okay, slavery was okay and that incest was a God-approved activity. Before you say, “but that was Old Testament”, remember the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. You can “but Jesus” this or “but Jesus” that. The fact is that God supposedly never changes. If the OT God thought these things were acceptable and either condoned or ordered them, he feels the same way now and you raised your hand in agreement to them. Those who don’t believe that don’t understand the book or beliefs of their own religion.
I can’t condone these things. Not in the Old Testament past or the New Testament present. That is the behavior of a monster, regardless of when it happened. I also can’t believe in or follow a god based on writings that have been shown time and again to be man-made for man’s purposes. They have been changed by man over and over again. There is a biblical “paper trail” that bears this out. Ignore it or deny if you want to, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I thought the Bible was infallible because it came from a god who was infallible. Truth is, there is no evidence to suggest anything in the Bible was divine or that any miracles ever happened. There is however, plenty of evidence that suggest much of it was plagiarized from earlier myths and Pagan stories.
I have no interest in destroying hope. If you believe in Heaven, that doesn’t concern me. If you think Grandma or Grandpa are waiting for you at the Pearly Gates, go ahead and believe it. But Christianity, the religion I was raised in, is far different. It is not just beliefs, but commands to do and say horrible things to people. It is a religion of fear and control based on the stories of man with no evidence to back it up. It divides families and countries. It creates wars and kills innocent children. It vilifies people based solely on who they love. Religion is not harmless. Religion throws homosexuals off of buildings, cuts the heads off of people and flies planes into buildings. “But that’s not MY religion!” Have you read the Bible? The stories are horrific and often worse than those I mentioned. If you accept the Bible as being true, you accept it all. If you choose to ignore parts or only practice some of it, you do so on your own. You have made your own religion out of the ingredients in the salad bar of the Bible. It’s okay. Most do, and most also judge others based on which parts of it they believe in.
If you come to my blog and want a discussion because you disagree, I will be happy to do so. If you want to come by just to drop a couple of “drive-by” comments and speed out of there, leaving the skid marks labeled “...I’ll pray for you”, don’t bother. I’ve not only heard it before, I’ve lived it before. It’s nothing new and it’s divisive, not productive. If you then leave my blog to write a post on your own blog, just know that I might find it. When you boast about standing up to this sinful person and that you are praying for them, all you are doing is drawing attention to yourself. If your God is real, I’m sure he can handle his own affairs and would prefer you stick to the facts. If you have the facts to put me in my place, go that route. But name calling is just childish and solves nothing. In fact, I think he calls for you to turn the other cheek. Of course, turning the other cheek doesn’t really apply in this situation. I never actually slapped your cheek. You showed up on my blog, grabbed my hand and slapped your own face with it and then said, “How dare you?!”
I don’t worry about God’s wrath. He is supposedly a God of both wrath and love, but I’ve been told before that, of all the things he is, “…the greatest of these is love.” If God withheld his love, empathy and presence from me every time I prayed, why would I be concerned that he is now so angry that my words will haunt me? He has never answered one prayer or stopped one tragedy from happening in my life. He doesn’t stop innocent children from dying or stop disease and war. He hasn’t struck down anyone who is of other religions. Is he waiting for judgement day to show us all how naughty we’ve been? He can hide forever and ignore pleas for comfort and requests for more faith in him, but he’s going to let me have it when I lose that game of hide and seek each time because he’s found the perfect hiding place? What kind of god hides from everyone, says nothing, does nothing and lets people pray without results and then gets enraged when they finally say (sometimes after a lifetime of searching) “I give up”?
What kind of god gives nothing and expects everything without ever proving he’s even there? What kind of god creates sin (or allows another to create and run wild with it) and then punishes those who fall victim to it? We are supposed to feel bad about being sinners even though we are supposedly created as sinners? I was supposedly born into a fallen world (not my fault) and I sin as a result (again, not my fault) and I am supposed to feel bad about it? According to the Bible, all fall short of the glory of God. Those are ridiculous standards. We don’t even have a choice but to be sinners according to the Bible. So God is immediately disappointed in us…even before we are born. That’s fair.
The whole Bible story reeks of BS and there’s a good reason for that. It is contradictory, full of inaccuracies and doesn’t live up to the promises made. It is the one and only source for the Christian faith. When the one and only source is a bad source, the whole story falls apart. I am like every other atheist, freethinker and ex-believer out there. I am willing to be proven wrong. I will bow down and praise the Lord day and night for eternity if I am wrong and it’s actually all true. I was always open and willing to accept that and that hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is I can no longer believe based on words in a book. Show me something more than words or “feelings” and I will honestly, and without reservation, consider any and all evidence. Don’t just think I won’t because you think all non-believers are set in their ways. We’re not. So show us what you’ve got and prove us all wrong. If you can do that, you can save us a seat on Sunday mornings.
I will end by saying this: The truth is not venomous. You can’t hurt someone else by spreading it around. If what you believe in as truth is shown to be false (as my religious truth was shown to be) then that truth may actually come back to bite you depending on how you used it. It’s not the end of the world though. It may sting for awhile, but you pull yourself up and move on to bigger and better things. I will never stop sharing what I believe to be the truth. If it offends you, prove me wrong. If you think it is blasphemous, prove me wrong. If you think it is hateful, sinful or arrogant, prove me wrong. No one has yet, so good luck to you.