Thursday, February 25, 2010

Money for Jesus

If you have been in any kind of church, you know that the offering plate will pass by you at least once during every service, but often they pass it around a second time, just to make sure God gets enough money.

As young children, we were encouraged to give 10% of our money to “god.” Yes, we were giving it to god. So, as child I bought that. My reasoning skills were not advanced enough yet to wonder why god needed money from a family with five children who barely had enough food to go around. My dad was in the military (later he became an assistant pastor) and let’s just say the military does not give a flying flip if you have more kids, the pay still sucks. My dad worked hard for us, I want to make sure I give him credit for that! He worked every day of his life until he retired to support his family the best way that he could, but I really wish that, rather than give his money to god, he would have saved it for himself! He is retired now and I would like to see him have enough money to travel the world, take my mom on a cruise and do things they have always wanted to do.

One day we were sitting in a church service with another boring message from the pastor (that he claimed god channeled directly through him- haha). At the end of the sermon the pastor decided that it was time the church “grew” (which technically means more money). So, since he knew that it was not that easy to get more money from his congregation, the pastor decided that he would start asking people to bring their gold, jewelry, and other valuables and put them in the offering plate so that they could gather the money for a new building. I stopped my writing and looked up in surprise when I heard this statement (okay, I know you want to know what I was writing. Well, in my boredom, I used to write the lyrics to “forbidden” songs. Songs like Madonna, “Borderline” and other sinful songs, this was the only way I could make it through the boring sermons about hell and how I was going to burn there.) I felt something twinge in the pit of my stomach.

Even as a teenager I knew that there was something wrong with taking valuables from the “sheep” members of the church. Right away I started seeing the pastor of our church as an evil and hateful man. The next week, I watched people bring their family heirlooms, jewelry and other valuables and place them in the offering plate. Months later, nothing new or different was added to the church.

I wondered why god needed our money anyway. If god was an all-knowing and all powerful god, then wouldn’t he have enough money anyway? So, it was explained to me that the money went to the church, so that the church could help people. But I never saw any evidence of the church helping people. So, the logical conclusion to reach is that the pastor was taking this stuff, selling it, and keeping the money for himself, in the name of god. The next conclusion I came to was that this whole church thing was a major scam. Finally, a bit later in my life, I realized that Christianity was a scam as well. I still believe this. I still wish my dad would keep his money. I wish that pastors of huge churches would stop using the money from poor, hardworking people to buy themselves luxurious homes, cars and private educations for their kids.

Another point I would like to make about this is this: If god wants to bless Christians who spend many days a week praising him and worshipping him, wouldn’t he bless them with free money, wealth and prosperity? And if there were a god, wouldn’t he spread this money around to the poor people all over the world?

God does not need your money! If you are rich and want to help someone, find a really good charity that you know will put that money where it is needed, and give it to them! Depending on the size of a congregation, churches can rack up thousands and thousands of dollars every Sunday. On top of that, since they call themselves “non-profit” they don’t have to pay property taxes for the church building. Non-profit my ASS! This money is free and clear! If hard working people who buy a house and barely scrape by each month paying the mortgage and the taxes on that property are required to pay taxes, then churches should have to do the same thing! Click here for an excellent argument on why churches should pay property taxes.

God is not going to be around when your house forecloses, you lose your job, your child gets sick, or your car breaks down. If he was, I would say give him the money as an incentive/insurance policy. But, since he probably won’t be helping you out, I say, GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR MONEY! Keep it!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PLEASE DON’T TELL ME YOU WILL PRAY FOR ME!

"Consistency is severely lacking in religion. If you believe God saved the survivors, you MUST therefore also believe he killed the victims." KT Trebor



The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of AtheismIf there are any Christians reading this blog, they will be offended no matter what, but many will be baffled when they read the title of this blog. Let me explain why I don’t want to hear, “I will pray for you” ever again!

1) Prayer does not work!

During my lifetime (I am 45 years old, so that counts as good amount of time) I have NEVER seen a prayer answered. Not one. I have never seen anyone’s prayers work any more than normal luck and life happening in its own time. So, if there is ever a time when I am ill, or dying, or some other such terrible life-event. Please don’t tell me you are praying for me. I would rather hear something like. “I love you and I am here for you.” Or “Can I take Noah for a while to help you out?” or any other kind of helpful statement that will actually help me and not make me feel like you are just saying empty words. In his book, “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” Christopher Hitchens says this about prayer:

…One might open the newspaper to read that the largest study of prayer ever undertaken had discovered yet again that there is no correlation of any kind between “intercessory” prayer and the recover of patients.(Well, perhaps some correlation: patients who knew that prayers were being said for them had more postoperative complications than those who did not…)

Prayers have never worked and never will, because there is no god. If there were a god, he/she would actually listen to prayers and do something about bad things that happen. Thousands of innocent kids and adults die in earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural disasters all the time. What kind of god would allow that? Beautiful and innocent babies and young children die from abuse starvation and neglect every day all over the world. If god is all-knowing and can control everything, then where is he? So, if any prayers should work, it should be prayers offered up for innocent babies and children. But they don’t work.

When the local story broke about the 7-year-old girl, Somer Thompson, being missing, people began praying, holding prayer vigils and telling news reporters that their churches were praying for her safe return. Somer was found dead in a landfill in Georgia a few days later. Wouldn’t a just, all-knowing, all-loving god have prevented that from happening? Especially with all the prayers being offered up for that sweet, innocent girl? Think about it! Did they not pray hard enough? Did they pray with the wrong attitude? No, they prayed to someone who does not exist. So then, when she was found dead, do they turn to their god and question him? Nope! They say things like, “Well, it was god’s will!” or “He must have wanted her in heaven sooner than other children” WTF? Is that kind of crap supposed to make people worship god? Unfortunately there are people who are dumb enough to keep praying and worshipping this evil god.

Finally consider this quote taken from www.scientificamerican.com"

"The three-year Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP), published in the April 4 American Heart Journal, was the largest-ever attempt to apply scientific methods to measure the influence of prayer on the well-being of another. It examined 1,800 patients undergoing heart-bypass surgery. On the eve of the operations, church groups began two weeks of praying for one set of patients. Each recipient had a praying contingent of about 70, none of whom knew the patient personally. The study found no differences in survival or complication rates compared with those who did not receive prayers. The only statistically significant blip appeared in a subgroup of patients who were prayed for and knew it. They experienced a higher rate of postsurgical heart arrhythmias (59 versus 52 percent of unaware subjects). "

Interesting!!!

2) Prayer is selfish.

Often Christians pray for things like their football team to win, their daughter’s cheerleading team to make the championships or for their car to magically run again. These kinds of prayers are usually self-centered and don’t take into account the fact that there is another team, with equally wonderful and good humans on that team, playing just as hard, and putting just as much work into winning. Of all the problems and pain in the world, is their god really going to be sitting there saying to himself: Yes, you have prayed for your car to work, so therefore I will take time out of my busy day (millions and millions of prayers to “answer”) and will make sure you have a fixed starter. This is selfish thinking, if you really believe in god. I have heard people pray for their team to win over a “non-Christian” school team because they are faithful and offer up prayer. Having god on their side should be enough to help them win the game, right? ha!

3) Prayer is arrogant.

Most Christians I have met are arrogant people. They think that their religion is the one and only right one (despite the fact that there are thousands of other religions in the world) and they think that when people suffer any kind of pain or hurt in their lives they must deserve it One of the main reasons that I turned away from Christianity was the hypocrisy and arrogance that most Christians have about their religion being right and everyone else’s being wrong.
Here is a quote that I took from one of my former students. She posted it as her Facebook Status:

"WOW God is soooo good! I just witnessed a car accident with the car right in front of me! One more second and that couldve been me my sister and my god-daughter! Thank You Jesus for covering us!!"

I would like to know why god got credit for this? What about the people in the car in front of her? Don’t they matter? Are they just not good enough christians so god decided that their car should get smashed? This kind of thinking is dangerous and ridiculous! Someone was driving like an idiot and someone else (an innocent person) had to pay for it. That is how life goes sometimes. Don’t give a useless and evil “god” credit for saving you and deciding to smash up someone else! If there was a good and all-knowing god he would have seen the accident coming and prevented it!

Along the lines of arrogant christians: Just because you prayed for something (ie… a friend with cancer) and your prayers were “answered” please don’t take the credit and say it was because you prayed for them. You really don’t have any more control than any other humans over what would have happened anyway.You are not that special!

Saying “I will pray for you” puts people in a position of power. It gives people the impression that you have a hotline to god, because you are special like that, and that your simple prayer to him is going to change things because you are that important. That is just total bullshit!

4) If god is in control, then why do you have to pray?

Most christians believe that god is in control. They say dumb things like “Let go and let god” and “Jesus take the wheel.” If they believe that way, then what the hell is prayer for? Why waste your time and breath on someone who has already decided the way things are going to be? Why would you want to pray to a god who allows innocent people to be hurt or die while allowing child molesters and rapists to keep on living?

My own experience with prayer not working has been one small step in the direction of being an ex-christian. I never saw it working. I never felt like god was stepping in for me when I was in crisis in my early 20s and married to an alcoholic. Where was god? Certainly not there for me and my small children! I started to realize, not overnight, but slowly over time, that god did not exist.


P.S. There is a movie, based on a book called "Prayers for Bobby." Bobby was gay and his parents were christians and would not accept it. So Bobby prayed to god that he would not be gay. But his prayers did not help. Bobby killed himself because he was gay and god was not there to help him. I will write more in future blogs about how religion is dangerous in so many ways! Aceptance and love would have helped Bobby. Not prayers!



Here is a link to the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y78m84V29DQ


UPDATE! After viewing the awesome website that "Interested" listed in the comment secion, (http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/) I found these videos that explain in the most logical and simple way why prayer does not work! This website and http://www.godisimaginary.com/ are also great websites to read through!

Check it out!! Thanks "Interested" for sharing your website with us!!



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My First Kiss: Hell Here I Come!



Most people have their first kiss at school, in the back of a car, on the front porch, or at a dance, right? I had mine in the only place a controlled, sheltered preacher's daughter could have: In my bed. I will explain. :)


On one of my very few visits out into the "world" I met a waiter at the Spaghetti Factory who was beyond cute. Since I didn't get out much, I thought this was the most exciting day of my seventeen years so far. We had gone as a youth group to Seattle and stopped to eat. I whispered to my friends, blushed, smiled at him and thought he was teasing me when he came to the table and asked where I was from (surely I was not the type to have this older nineteen year old flirt with me?). I don't think I could even answer him I was so shy. My friends told him what church we were from.

Two weeks later, at the end of a thrilling sermon about hell's flames, the rapture and why women should always be submissive to their husbands, (no, I really don't remember the sermon, but it is safe to say he covered at least one of these topics) one of my friends excitedly pointed to the back row of the church where LeRoy, the waiter from the Spaghetti House, was sitting, smiling at me as I saw him. I seriously lost my heart, temporarily, and could not breathe. I had no idea how he found this church. It was a tiny church in Port Orchard, Washington, in the middle of the woods. It was like a surreal experience to see him there. After church he ran up to talk to me, which got me some severe and angry looks from my parents. (I am sure they were thinking... who the heck is that OLDER man- he had a mustache-talking to Lori? We need to get her away from him now! She looks way to happy!) I had no idea why he would talk to me, but the warmth spreading through my body told me I did not want him to stop. We chatted for about a half hour before I was whisked away to the house across the street. I found out later that he had ridden his bike (bicycle) from Seattle to the ferry, taken the ferry to Bremerton (1 hour) then got on another ferry to Port Orchard (1/2 hour) and ridden his bike from the ferry (long ride) to see me!

He immediately started writing to me, and I could not stop thinking about him after that day. I was so angry at my parents for lecturing me about not being allowed to date, asking me who this guy was and what he wanted with their daughter (thanks a lot mom and dad! Am I that unattractive that it is so hard to believe a handsome man would want to date me?) and giving me a long set of Christian rules to go by. If you read my last blog entry, then you know that I was on a mission to find someone to kiss me. This guy seemed to be a good candidate for sure!

LeRoy, who I am pretty sure had no interest in church, came faithfully to church every Sunday. He eventually got a motorcycle, which thrilled my dad beyond belief. (lol) He somehow charmed my mom enough to talk himself into our Sunday dinners after church sometimes and was occasionally allowed to stay between services on Sunday afternoon. But we were watched very carefully and never allowed to be alone. This went on for 3 freaking months! I was so scared to let him get near me, because I guess I feared that things would be all downhill from there- lol (What a lot of faith I had in my self-control) But really, I knew he wanted to kiss me, and I really wanted to kiss him, and I had no idea how we would ever get alone. So, one day LeRoy suggested that he could stay after church, wait until my parents went to bed, and then I could sneak out of my bedroom window and we could be alone in the woods together. I compromised, not wanting to leave the house, and we decided that he would just sneak into the room.

I waited all evening in my bed wearing a very sheer pink nightgown. I thought of my family. My parents' room was upstairs and on the opposite side of the house. It was very rare that they came downstairs once they went to bed. My sisters were up there with them. My brothers had a room across the hall with a bathroom between us. I knew I was taking a HUGE risk. It was a warm summer evening in Washington State, and I was shaking like a leaf. I started thinking that perhaps this was a bad idea. My bed was right up against the window and I was sprawled across the bed staring up at the moon and night sky. When I heard the soft tap on the window I almost screamed. I opened the old wooden framed window and helped LeRoy climb into the room. He smelled like Chaps Cologne and cigarettes. I started shaking more than before. I was scared to whisper. He seemed to sense my fear and tried to calm me. We laid back on the bed and he waited a few minutes while stroking my hands, so softly. Then he sat up and leaned down over me. His warm lips touched mine and I was lost in his kisses. With his clothes still on, he got on top of me and we kissed for hours. I was shaking so much that I really am not sure I enjoyed it as much as I should have. That night, Leroy never touched me anywhere, except to kiss my lips. But his hard man "tool" (lol) pressing into me indicated that I am sure he wanted to! By the time Leory left my room at 3:00 A.M. my newly kissed lips were swollen and my mouth was tired. I felt exhausted; initiated into the world of kissing.

I never slept that night. I wondered if God had seen or even cared what I did. Would God really send a young girl to hell for such a "sin?" Why would this God of ours create us in such a way that we wanted to kiss, love, and have sex and then condemn us for being that way? I often thought about God and felt angry at him for so many things. As I teen, I felt he ruined my life by making my parents so strict that I was not allowed to experience things like other teens. Sometimes I was angry and did not even know why. Now I do.

I knew I could never tell my mother about my first kiss. When she asked, much later, I lied and told her that he had kissed me once, and quickly, behind the kitchen door when we had a minute when no one was in the kitchen. I feel sad that I couldn't tell my mom the truth. I felt so evil and ashamed of myself for sneaking a man into my room. I wondered what my parents would have done if they had found him in my room. But, even with all that guilt and shame, I still found ways to do more and more with my boyfriend.

We never actually had "intercourse" but we sure did try everything else. We dated for two years. He even moved down to Florida when my parents took us all across the country because of a dispute between the pastor and my dad (to this day I have no idea what that was). I eventually found out that Leroy was not the man for me, but I am grateful to him for a wonderful memory so many years later. And actually, I am grateful to LeRoy for giving me one more reason to doubt the existence of God.