ANOTHER DOUBTING THOMAS (HOME PAGE)
“The Bible has noble poetry in it… and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies.” – Mark Twain
Once upon a time I was a member of the Church. My faith was as strong as anyone’s. I received 90% of my education from Private Christian Schools. I was baptized. I converted people. I protested outside of clinics that provided abortions. I prayed in rapturous ecstasy, gently rocking side to side, hands raised overhead. I tithed. I spoke in tongues (well, I mimicked those who pretended to speak in tongues). I owned four bibles with my name emblazoned in gold on each (my current tally is eleven). I considered missionary work. I dated only my fellow Christians. I pitied the people who worshiped all those other false gods. I knew my god was the real deal. I believed. I had no doubt.
So what happened? Sorry to disappoint, but my progression from die-hard Christian to Skeptic and Atheist wasn’t the result of some dramatic/traumatic event. It was a gradual evolution. Once I was free of the church and its constant reinforcement of Christian dogma, I received an incredible gift; the ability to think for myself. With this newly open mind I began to discover that the real world didn’t match up with the one represented by the church. It’s an amazing thing to no longer be wrapped in the comforting embrace of religious delusion and be forced to confront reality on reality’s terms. It was with this newly open mind that I decided to revisit my bible and let me tell you, reading the bible with a fresh mind, one no longer clouded by fantasy, but clear and hungry for truth is quite an experience. The Bible may be the most available and most purchased book in the world but it is also certainly the least read. Allow me to clarify; by read I don’t mean skimmed through during family bible study or reviewed specific favorite passages during the Sunday sermon. I mean really read it, front to back, absorbing every depiction of God encouraged genocide, God-ordained rape, constant, primitive sacrifices to a god whose bloodlust seems insatiable, rampant sexism, unbridled racism, countless contradictions, superstitious nonsense, sexual depravity, inhuman cruelty, petty jealousy, blatant lies and obvious, revisionist mythology. If only more people would take the time to truly read the “good book”, surely more people would, like me, no longer be able to worship the god depicted in its pages.
This site is really just an attempt to create an online catalog of the many observations and questions I’ve accumulated during my evolution from believer to skeptic (click on the Categories listed at the top right of this page). Christians may find them to be irritating, obnoxious, silly, eye opening or troubling, but my desire to understand how they can continue to believe when confronted by the very same issues that resulted in me losing my faith is sincere. This is why I created it in blog format; to allow those who wish to comment a way to do so. But please, only intelligent responses. I don’t need to be told that I’m going to burn in hell because I refuse to worship your particular god or don’t follow your particular concept of Christianity. And please, please try to refrain from simply regurgitating scripture or religious dogma. If these are the only types of responses you’re capable of coming up with, you might as well remain silent. Remember, the bible no longer holds any authority for me, so these standard, comforting, oft repeated, oh so familiar tenants all have the same subtitle: “Because The Bible Tells Me So.” Also, if you are unable to come up with a reason or an answer, simply shoving “faith” in the resulting gap serves no purpose other than to comfort yourself. Faith is merely a synonym for hope; providing an answer only for the desperate. And just so we’re clear; I’m not trying to ‘convert’ any Christians into Atheists. I don’t even believe it’s possible. For an individual to abandon the practice of worshiping gods (your god, their god, his god, her god), they must come to some very personal revelations and make some very personal choices. No one can turn someone into an Atheist.
And before any Christians come at me with the tiresome issue of why Atheists waste our time studying and discussing something we don’t believe in, let me direct you to my article – “Why Atheists Are NOT Wasting Their Time” that the good people over at www.PathofReason.com were kind enough to publish. AND before anyone decides that they have me figured out just because I embrace the label Atheist, they might want to read another of my articles – “Why Our Labels Always Fail To Define Us”. It would be as foolish for someone to assume that they knew my position on the Theory of Evolution, or the Origin of Life, or the Big Bang, or abortion simply because I refer to myself as an Atheist as it would be for me to assume that I knew a person’s opinion regarding these same topics just because they called themselves a Christian. If history has taught us anything, it’s that many of those who have referred to themselves as Christians, if judged on actions alone, would not have been labeled as such by anyone else. I could gather a hundred different people, all of whom consider themselves to be Christian, and ask them all if they thought anyone in heaven would be more beautiful than another and why, and I would very likely receive a hundred different answers.
One of the most irritating things I encounter with Christians is how they constantly speak for all Christians as if there were a universal mindset in what is arguably the most divided and divisive religion in the history of mankind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by a Christian that Christians don’t think this or believe that or encourage this or tolerate that, etc. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe the flood depicted in the bible was caused not by rain but by the fabled water canopy (a dome-like shield of water supposedly covering the earth) collapsing all at once. But do ALL Christians believe this? Let’s hope not. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that there are no innocent children or even babies as we are all born sinners and that God sends babies and children who die to heaven or hell based on what they would have done in their lives had they not died. Do all Christians believe this? Of course not. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the Bible is infallible, free of any man made errors or historical inaccuracies. But these people are understandably in the minority. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that only they are capable of morality. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe the age of accountability begins at age 5, others have said age 8, others have said age 12, others have said age 18. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that a man’s freewill can not be overcome by anything, not the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol, not mental disorders (schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, etc.), not traumatic experiences, nothing. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the earth is a few thousand years old and those who believe that it is a few million. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the story of creation depicted in the book of Genesis is fact and those who believe it is allegory. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that sinners are sent to hell to burn in eternal hellfire and those who believe that death is the punishment for sin, not torment in hell. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the sixth commandment states that Thou Shalt Not Kill and those who believe that it states that Thou Shalt Not Murder. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that it took 120 years for Noah to complete construction on the Ark and gather up all the animals and those who believe it took only a few years. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that Noah gathered 7 of every ‘clean’ beast & 2 of every ‘unclean’ beast & 7 of every fowl of both sexes, and a male & female of every ‘creeping thing’ and those who believe that he only gathered a few of various species and that these species eventually ‘became’ all the rest (I believe that’s called evolution). I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that we will all be equal in heaven, in other words when you arrive in heaven you will equally love the spirit of your daughter, who was raped and murdered when she was just nine years-old, and the spirit of the scumbag who raped and murdered her but accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior the day before being executed on death row. Then again, I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that people will be rewarded differently in heaven dependant on their deeds here on earth, in other words, there will be a hierarchy in heaven; the fellow who was born into wealth and chose to spend it all on orphans will have a bigger mansion than the fellow who was born into poverty and did little more than live a clean and decent life. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that with death comes the dissolution of marriage; a husband and wife are no more. In other words, a woman whose first husband beat her, cheated on her regularly and left her bankrupt, will find herself in heaven standing beside his repentant, Christ accepting spirit feeling no more or less for him than she does for the spirit of her second husband who was devoted to her for fifty-two years and died of heartbreak just days after she finally succumbed to the devastation of Alzheimer’s. In heaven, your beloved is no more special to you than a complete stranger. Just so we’re clear, heaven is a destination I’m supposed to strive for, yes? To reiterate – There is no Christian authority. Please speak for yourself, not for all believers.
Like almost all other religious people I was indoctrinated into my religion as a young child. At the exact same time I was being told about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, at the exact same time my innocent, naive mind was certain the dark interior of my closet and the recess under my bed became passages to some nightmare world whenever the sun went down, at the exact same time that in my ignorance I was absolutely certain that if I left my bedroom window open at night the tree outside would crawl inside and eat me while I slept, at the exact same time that my foolish, child’s mind believed everything my parents told me, they told me about Jesus and God. I would argue that one of the most harmful things a parent can do to their child is teach them theory as fact, regardless of how wonderful they think that theory may be. Once myth has been established as fact in a child’s mind, it is very difficult, even as an adult, for that person to shake that belief. If a child is surrounded by people who believe in Santa Claus, isolated from those who don’t, and has this belief continually reinforced (presents arrive miraculously, cookies and milk are consumed, hoof prints on roof, magical tales recounted nightly, etc.) throughout their life, guess who still believes in Santa Claus as an adult. Religious indoctrination of a person who lacks the ability or has yet to develop the ability to reason for themselves is the equivalent of brainwashing. The followers of David Koresh and Jim Jones taught the delusion they accepted as fact to their children. Many of those children paid the ultimate price for their parent’s gullibility. For every Christian who is 100% certain in their faith, so feels perfectly justified in teaching their child the ‘absolute truth’ of Christianity, there is a Muslim, a Scientologist, a Mormon, a Hindu, a Buddhist, etc. who feels just as certain in their faith. Until there is only one god and one religion in this world, teaching a child a theory as an absolute must be discouraged. I find it unethical for anyone to teach a child that what you hope and pray to be true is in fact undeniably, unquestionably true. Teach a child what you believe to be true but also teach them that there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of other people who believe in something entirely different and that it is up to them to come to their own conclusions. Teach your child absolutes as absolutes, theories as theories, faith as faith, science as science, hypotheses as hypotheses, etc.
All visitors are welcome on my site and no one’s comments will be censored (that is unless you are one of those irritating parasites whose only comment is to direct me to a place to purchase cheap boner pills). Feel free to place as many links to other sites in your comments as you like but understand that this wordpress site has its comment filtering settings on default. This means that it will automatically hold any comment that includes more than one link for moderation (my approval). I usually click the approve button the same day the comment is left but if it takes me a few days, please be patient. Also understand I did not create this site to have a continual back and forth with those who do or don’t agree with what I say in my posts. I look forward to reading all comments but unfortunately I don’t have the time to reply to very many. And if anyone can offer any advice on how to make this site better, more convenient, easier to navigate, etc. please speak up. It’s still a work in progress.
Let’s try and keep it courteous, people (wishful thinking, right).