Friday, March 19, 2010

One God Further...

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. [Zeus, Apollo, Hermes etc…] Some of us just go one god further." Richard Dawkins


When I was a teenager, I was very sheltered in my limited Christian world. I went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night (For visitation; another word for harassing people and trying to get them to come to church). I went to the school that was part of the church, every night we had “devotions,” we prayed before we went to bed and we did not have friends who were not part of the church and school. The only exposure to the outside world we had was when we went to the store, or visited “unsaved” family.

The summer I turned eighteen our family took a trip to Massachusetts to see my dad’s side of the family. It turned out to be the last time my dad saw his father. We were having a good time: I played with my cousins (“unsaved” of course) we swam in the lake near their house and we got to see family we didn’t even know we had. We were there for about two days when I heard my dad and his dad in an argument. The argument went something like this: (very simplified version coming from my memory at eighteen, so it could be a bit flawed)

My Papa: So, if I leave you money after I die, are you going to give it to the church?
My Dad: I will give 10% to the church.
My Papa: Well, I am not going to give you any money then, I don’t want it to go to the church.

After some yelling back and forth, my dad told us all to pack our bags and get ready to leave. It was very disappointing to leave early! My dad was angry for a very, very long time and I remember we tried really hard not to annoy him on the drive home. I felt his anger was like a time bomb.

I remember thinking that my cousins were cool and nice people. I remember my aunt telling me she felt sorry for me that I was so sheltered, and I agreed with her. But mostly, I remember thinking: Why the heck are they going to hell? What made us so much better than they were? Were we being a bit arrogant and mean-spirited?

Most of them were catholics, and my parents belief was that anyone who does not believe the way they do is going to hell. I really started thinking about this. What made my parents think that my cousins and grandparents were going to hell? I could see that my parents did not know everything, obviously at age eighteen I thought I did. (haha) I did not dwell on this thought much, but it was there, swimming around in my thoughts, along with all the other ones. As the years went by I could not reconcile these thoughts. Wasn't I a disbeliever of Allah? And didn't they talk about how wrong we were? So I was an Allah atheist! (haha)

Didn’t the crazy people who flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 believe that their religion was the only right one? Didn’t the pope feel strongly that catholics had the religion thing down pat? What about Jews? What about people who had a different doctrine than the one my parent’s church had? I started to wonder why they ALL felt they were right and EVERYONE else was wrong. There was something wrong with that! The more evil I saw coming from the church, the more I was convinced. They were all wrong! All of them! Not one of them had the right and true religion/god!

Of the main churches we attended growing up we had one pastor burn down the church to get insurance money, one who went to jail for molesting young girls (I was one of them) and one who died in prison while awaiting his trial for molesting who knows how many kids. I saw Ted Haggard fall from grace (a man who was so hateful toward gays and then had sex with a male prostitute) I saw Jim and Tammy Bakker fall off their god pedestal and I I saw so many hypocrites in the churches I attended that I knew christianity was not going to work for me.

I remember being told how silly the stories were that other religions told about the story of creation. Then I began to think that ours was pretty unbelievable too. Watch this funny video by a very funny youtube atheist comedian to put the creation story in perspective

The thing that bothered me the most was when Baptists would say that anyone who did not believe in [their] god was going to hell. If you asked for details, this meant innocent children, people in the jungles of Africa who had never heard of their god ( I was told this was why it was necessary to send missionaries out to save the lost souls) and, as I said, catholics, methoists, muslims etc… What kind of god would send innocent people to hell because they did not get to read “his” bible in their lifetime? Not the kind of god I wanted to worship anymore! I remember when my Papa died my parents said he was probably in hell. This was disturbing to me. Would god really let a person die in a lake of burning fire for eternity because he did not worship an unseen, unproven, useless god who had never done a damn thing for him or his family? Who would want a god like that? Who would be gleefully happy and smug knowing someone was in hell? Who would choose to spend their life worshipping this god? I knew I did not want to waste my life like that!

As this video by The non-stamp collector shows, no god is the right one. The concept of god is wrong. Religion is wrong and people who force it down the throats of others are wrong!



If you have a respectful comment, I would love to hear from you! I welcome all points of view. I do not welcome hate or disrepect and those kinds of coments will be deleted!
I LOVE getting comments, it makes my day! Thanks!!

15 comments:

  1. Even though I'm not an Atheist, I enjoyed this post very much :) I'm supposedly a "Catholic".

    Anyways, I'm just speechless at what your childhood must've been. I really can't imagine growing up in such a strict environment. I can't even think how'd I manage. And ugghh, f*ck that low life of a "pastor". I was completely shocked when I read "(I was one of them)" I think I must've had to reread that part 3 times to make sure of what was written. I'm so sorry :(

    Funny you mention Baptists. ALL of my cousins are Baptists. They look down on me and my family for not being as "devout" as they are. I guess we're all going to Hell then :P I can't even bring up something like dinosaurs in a conversation with them. If I talk anything about Evolution, they start spewing off about how King Kong isn't their great great grandpa.

    They also go to a different country every year to help educate "those less fortunate about the wisdom of God".

    Okay, I do believe in a God, but who are my cousins to shove their beliefs down people's throats? What makes them believe that they are right? Ha, what if they're actually wrong? I'd like to see the egg on their face >:)

    Every time they try to "educate" me on "how to live a pious life", I have to grin and bear it. But what I really want to tell them is to get off their f**king pedestal and stfu. Let people believe what they want :)

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  2. I know exactly how you feel Wishful femme :) I hate it when people try to cram their beliefs down the throats of others. I HATE it a lot! :) Yes, unfortunately that pastor was a slime ball and although he did not hurt me or (cringing at details here) do as much to me as he did to others, I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I have been very protective of my kids because of this and I am sure they don't appreciate me not letting them spend the night at someone's house that I don't know.

    Yes, baptists can be the worst at this "we are the right ones bull shit, but many religions do the same thing. You don't have to be an atheist to read my blog and am honored that you stopped by! :)

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  3. So if you were born without hearing, and you were blind... that's like an instant ticket to hell. Crap. If god was real, that seems like a really stupid joke. I bet he laughs with his pals (you know holy ghost and jc).

    There was another theory in my church (eastern baptist). My parents could never fathom the idea of unborn or newborn children going to hell, or people from the bush- so they assumed that if people hadn't had a chance to hear the "good" news, they would be spared from the depths of hell.

    Upon hearing that, the first question that popped into my mind made sense.. why not just have abortions then? It's like a free pass to heaven! I mean surely a caring parent would give up their own (eternal) life if it meant a guarunteed pass to heaven for their child! Why risk it by letting them get born and screw up their own lives?

    Oh my.

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  4. As we have said to each other many times, "If those are the only people you find in heaven, I will gladly go to hell." HAHA. To bad for all those people worrying about it all the time, when there is no hell.(own belief). How about we just be good people and treat each other with respect and kindness. Suck on that Bible beating judgemental a-holes.

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  5. Thank you for this well written post. Just recently I told my daughter that I am ashamed to be called a christian...so I no longer consider myself a christian. A while back, my son (a baptist) told a jewish couple that they were going to hell if they did not take Jesus as their lord and savior.
    I see people professing their christianity and then being so hateful to all who don't believe as they do. Judging, judging, judging. And don't get me started on the religious right-wingers! It's like they go through life with blinders on.

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  6. I identify with a lot of what you wrote. Sorry to say, I actually used to believe this way & used to proselytize. I'm so glad I left fundamentalism. Freedom!

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  7. Lovely start to a lovely blog! Very excited to read and compare notes!

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  8. Hi, Lori.
    Just thought I would stop by.

    Nice to see another athiest blogger. Keep up the good work, sister!

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  9. Hi Lori,
    It seems what you have experienced in your youth was religion versus a relationship. God is not interested in religion but man doesn't seem to understand that and makes his own rules and regulations. I don't believe anyone who has unforgiveness in their heart (even a "christian") will go to heaven for if they did, how would they really know AND follow Jesus.

    God is a holy God, and He doesn't send us to hell. We make the choice on whether or not we want to take His plan of having a relationship with him. God has very high standards and set the 10 commandents to use as a mirror. I don't know any good people who have not kept all of those commandments 100% of their life. This is why He sent His son to be the perfect sacrafice for the sin of the world so we could have a right relationship with a holy God. I know Jesus has appeared to many people recently in dreams and visions in a Muslim country. They were drawn to Him by His love and have believed. In more ancient times, there is evidence in the symbols of the chinese language that Jesus could have appeared to them as well. God doesn't need a man to spread the Good news, but He loves it when His people do.

    I don't believe children under the age of accountability, about 13, or those mentally incapcitated are in hell either. One has to be old enough or able enough to have the ability to choose or not to accept Jesus. In the book, 23 minutes in hell, the author who was taken to hell by God to see and tell others about it. He was there 23 minutes, long enough to see different things, he saw no children in hell.

    There are many un-christian people or sinning people in the christian church. I hope you don't allow the sin of men to define your answers. Ask Jesus for a sign or wonder just for you that He is real. If you ask, He will surely provide one.

    We are all free to make our own choice though. Thanks for letting me comment on your blog,
    Kate

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  10. Kate, You obviously have not read all of my blog. I really don't need anyone to tell me what god thinks, needs, or wants. I DON'T believe in god, heaven or hell. Please read all of my blog and go to a christian blog for support. Saying "god is a holy god" is meaningless to an atheist!

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  11. Isn't it interesting how every christian claims THEY are different? That if you've had a bad experience with christians, it's because they weren't real christians?

    Lori, your experience growing up WAS even worse than mine or most christians. Your family was a special kind of christian, that's for sure.

    Kate, I was in many different churches for the first 20 years of my life. I went to a christian school. I went to bible college. I met hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of christians in that time. And you know what?

    Every single one was exactly the same.

    Even the ones who 'focused on relationships instead of religion.' Oh, I've heard that so much!! Even the ones who prayed every day. Even the ones who read the Bible every day. Even the ones who were missionaries. Even the ones who had visions and spoke in tongues. Even the ones who made prophecies and laid hands on people and healed them. Even the ones who were nice, kind people. Even the ones who were passionately in love with the jesus they felt in their hearts.

    They were all exactly the same. So were they all pseudo-christians? Were they all fake?

    You can't see it, Kate, because you are in the midst of it.

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  12. Engaging blog Lori, I hope that pastor has been held accountable since.

    Kate is so blinded by her faith she wont be swayed, a read of her blog shows that very clearly.

    Kara, you've summed it up nicely, but if Kate was to substitute 'God' with 'Zeus' or 'Thor' or 'Horace' or 'Santa' in her rant she may just understand how we view her comment and why she can't be taken seriously by rational thinkers.

    eg
    "Thor is a holy God, and Thor doesn't send us to hell. We make the choice on whether or not we want to take Thor's plan of having a relationship with him."

    Kate should keep her delusions private.

    Keep them coming Lori.

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  13. I'm curious. In your post, you stated, "I started to wonder why they ALL felt they were right and EVERYONE else was wrong."

    Then you go on to say of religious people, "They were all wrong! All of them! Not one of them had the right and true religion/god!" Aren't you doing the same thing you're accusing others of? Aren't you stating that only your beliefs are right and everyone else is wrong?

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  14. Dear Anonymous, (No name?)

    My "starting to wonder" was a process I was going through. Kind of like "hmmmm how can they all have the right religion?" So, no I don't think I am doing the same thing I am accusing others of. I think that my blog is explaining the process I went through to get where I am now. I don't believe there is a god. That is what an atheist is. I can say that I am fine if someone believes in god, that is their choice and I am going to respect that. But, I don't think they are right. I hope this helps explain that.

    Thanks for reading my blog. :)

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  15. Hi Lori,
    It is unfortunate but it is tru, there are too many christian and overall religious families that make the same mistakes. I am sorry taht you had to go thru all of that. they really didn't allow you to enjoy life and true happiness, based on what you say.

    But that doesn't prove that there is no God. I t proves that we are all flawed. And religious people really don't follow God but their crazy rules.

    My heart breaks when I hear of these stories bc there are too many. But you are the kind of person that inspire me to be a true follower of Christ. So I can make a small difference.

    Anyway I don't know you but your story touched me and I hope that at some point the true God reveals himself to you and shows you how much he loves you. You will see you have things in common with him bc he he hates religion and hypocrites too.

    Love.

    Maria.

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