Sunday, November 27, 2011

God is not good, or existent (that I can see) but life is....

Sometimes when I don't write in my blog for so long, it is because I am having a difficult time. But lately, I really am doing well.

I have been working on healing myself. I am no longer in a relationship of any kind. I feel fulfilled and happy to be on my own for the first time in my life. My breakup with my last girlfriend was tough, but I learned a lot about myself. Rather than ask myself (when I make mistakes) what was I thinking? I am learning to ask myself, What was I learning? I can definitely say I have been learning a lot.

I have learned to ignore people who don't like or understand the fact that I am bisexual. Nothing is going to change that. I really don't think I would change myself, even if I could. I like being this way. It is difficult when my parents don't acknowledge the fact that I am, or when they think I am choosing to be this way, or when other people judge me and think I am just unable to make up my mind. But honestly, I like myself! I still feel pain every day when I think about my parents and the way they disapprove of me. No matter how old I get, I still want my parents to love me and to be proud of me. I am pretty sure they love me, but I wonder if they will ever accept me as I am and be proud of the person that I am.

Yes, I am still an atheist. I always will be. Until I see some real evidence that there is a god, which every day convinces me more and more that there isn't, then I will stick with logic and just say we have this one life, so I am going to do everything I can to make it great. I feel less angry about the way I was raised. I can see my parents were just doing the best they could. I can see they turned to religion as a way to cope with life. I understand that. I am trying to learn to judge them less and to understand things from their perspective. They are really good grandparents to my kids and I appreciate that they spend time with Noah almost every week and that they drive him to Boyscouts. He enjoys spending time with them too.

Noah and me on his birthday: November 1st
I have also learned that I am stronger than I thought possible. 75 days ago, I started working out and counting my calories. In the beginning, my reasons for this were strictly to get into my favorite jeans that had become tight. Now I realize I have gained a whole lot more out of this experience. I have gained confidence! I never thought I would be motivated enough to stick with a program like this. But I just keep telling myself I can do it!I realize I can do so much more than I give myself credit for- which has helped me in every area of my life. So far I have lost 13 pounds. I have about 7 more pounds to my goal weight. My jeans that I wanted to fit me are now baggy. :) I bought some news ones!

Things I want to continue to work on:
1) Being more accepting of people who have different beliefs than I do.
2) Trying to see things from the perspective of others.
3) Forgiving people who have hurt me.
4) Letting things go. Sometimes I am just too sensitive and I get my feelings hurt very easily.
5) Being the best and most moral person that I can be so that I can show others that imaginary beings are not what makes us good people. WE are what makes us good people. WE have it all inside of us.

Who would have known there were abs under there?
I will be writing again soon. I just wanted to give a quick update.

Thanks to those who read my blog! I appreciate it!

A special and BIG thanks to Vyckie Garrison for all the mentions on Twitter. Check out her awesome blog here:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Those Angry Atheists!

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi

I recently had a Facebook show-down with my ex-sister in law. (And others who had to put their two-cent about religion on my page) I have posted the positive replies and the supportive responses here as well as the stupid crap that people feel they HAD to say. Here is how it went.

I posted this status update on Facebook:

I just realized a bunch of people deleted me as a friend from Facebook. Pshh What was it? That fact that I am bisexual and speak out for gay rights? Or wait.. maybe it was the post about not beating your kids? No? Ohhh It was the fact that I am not a Bible thumping conservative? Oh well. No big loss! If you dump people who have been your friend that long because they think differently, you are more close-minded that I thought!!

Now, I am all for people stating their opinion and disagreeing with me. But I DON’T appreciate people telling me how to feel, how to believe, and what kinds of things I should or should not post on my OWN Facebook page. Here are some of the responses I received:

1) Friend Joyce: “No way I'm deleting you as a friend! I love you and to be completely honest I love you more now that you're being honest about who you are :) I’m too old for lying about who or what or when or why or where LOL just tell me the truth...I’m a big lot of ways :) “

2) Friend Amy: “good riddance. There’s a reason spring cleaning feels good. (I know it's not spring but you know what I mean.) Adios, nut-jobs.”

3) Friend Step Up: I ♥ this post! Keep being you!

4) Friend Eric Ragle: Florida sounds just as backwards as Tennessee. Stay strong! You're awesome.

5) Friend Laura Caton-David: As a native East Tennessean (now in FL), I can tell you that in many ways it is just as backwards or even more so!

6) A friend and former boss: Lenroy Jones ‎...can't get rid of me that easy :-) much love coming from Lexington! You’re still the beautiful person that I met in Jacksonville Florida! Awesome Lady!!! ..and highly intelligent. Me back: Lori Graham Atkinson Thanks Lenroy! :) That made my day!!!

7) Former student Kelsey: Love you, Ms. Atkinson :) You've always been one of my biggest Role-Models ♥

8) Cousin Jennifer: Hey You, Lori! I won't leave you...I am totally the proudest sister of a gay man and am very grateful to have an open mind! I love you, cousin of mine :)

9) Cousin Jim: Lori, there is a God as I know deep down that even when things are not going right as they rarely do, God is there. I can't prove it anymore than I can prove the existence of infinity. The God we all hoped for and believed in as a child has been replaced by the God of mercy who lets us learn from our decisions. Pray for mercy, be merciful, and you will see God act in your life. I'll keep you in my prayers.

10) My response to Jim: Hi Cuz, I respect your right to believe in a god. I like things that can be proven and I like evidence. I don't like blindly following something because of a vague feeling or because of a deep down feeling. When I see some evidence of a god, I will believe it. Thanks for your input though.

11) Cousin Jim’s response back: I understand Lori, I'm an Engineer and have studied science my whole life and still can't find evidence for many of the theories that have been put forth. Get under the stars for several hours and keep looking, if you don't believe in God after spending several hours looking at creation and trying to imagine that it was all created randomly from nothing with no beginning, you must be looking at something else. There is nothing vague about the feeling you should get when contemplating the vastness of the universe. Maybe a bottle of wine will help?

12) My Response back again to Cousin Jim: Cuz Jim, I live way out in the country with a lot of trees and an acre of land. My son and I love to lie out on the hammock and look at the stars. We love to name them, talk about them, etc... The feeling I get is one of amazement at the beauty. I don't give credit to a god for the beauty any more than I give credit to a god for my awesome son! Just because something is awesome and beautiful and can't be explained by science, does not mean we have to "fill in the blanks" with a god.

13) Cuz Jim back to me: Not just "a god" the one and only God; Jesus Christ as taught and preached by the only institution revealed to preach Him, that, of course, being the Catholic Church Lori. Set up by God himself to teach us. He's as real as it gets and unlike a lot of scientific ideas, Jesus Christ has stood the test of time. Look into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and what truth they teach before you listen to all the "modern" ideas, most of which will be gone with the wind before you know it. Truth; whether it be scientific or religious can never be contradicted by truth, there is nothing to be afraid of.

14) My response back to Jim: I don't agree with you, Jim. But I respect your right to believe the way you do.

15) Cousin Jim’s final words: I love you Cousin Lori, hope to see you soon! It was a lot of fun getting to know you the little bit of time that we did while you were here. By the way, you don't have to agree with me Lori Graham Atkinson, I'm just a flawed guy trying to make my way in the great big sandbox.

16) Other friends:

I think you're awesome, Lori!

Not me lady!!!! We haven't even met but I respect you and you stay on my Facebook!!!!!!

For what it's worth, you're still one of my favorite people.

AMEN SISTER!! Good for you! If someone doesn't like who you are or your thoughts, they can go piss off. :)

(Best friend and more... Mel) I understand all of your views on religion, or whatever point you're trying to make to Lori. You say you love her and then try to push your own beliefs down her throat. Do you honestly think you get her to quit believing what she does by being pushy? Probably not. No more than she can make you abandon your beliefs. Why not try something new. How about simply saying I love you no matter what you believe, or who you are. I am here whenever you need a shoulder. I don't know...just a thought. Here's a little bit of education for a few of you that like to use the word 'CHOICE'. Being gay, bisexual, straight, transgendered or whatever is not a choice. That's why it's called a lifestyle NOT a “choicestyle. “

17) Ex sis-in-law, Myrna: I'm not dumping you! God isn't dumping you, either! Love yourself enough so that it doesn't matter if those you think should love you, don't. I miss the happy, joyful Lori with a great sense of humor. Reading angry posts all the time makes me want to sign off FB. Just my thoughts! Love you!
18) My reply to sis-in-law Myrna: Myrna, If you were in my situation, you would be angry too. I have LOST MOST OF MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY because of religion and ignorance. Please DO take me of Facebook if you can't handle the good, the happy, the angry and the rest of me. I am still the same Lori that you helped with birthing Angie. I am the same Lori that loved and took care of Helen when she was ill. I am the same Lori that laughed and had fun with you and Chuck when I was still with Joe. I am the same Lori- only more outspoken and I WILL NOT be silenced by people when I am having a difficult time. I keep Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. I also feel that MY page is MY page and I can vent when I want to vent. If people do not SPEAK UP and STAND UP for injustice and ignorance than it will continue. I LOVE MYSELF enough to speak my mind. Sitting by quietly is not the way to accomplish change. I love you Myrna, and I will always see you as my sister-in-law, but please know I will understand if my FB posts upset you and you delete me as a friend. p.s. I no longer believe there is a "god." If there was a god, so much injustice would not be going on in the world. If this "god" is all powerful, then he/she/it needs to step up and start doing some good in the world!

19) Ex sis-in-law back: Lori, I'm going to say this again and I hope you hear me. I LOVE YOU! You are my friend. I'm not going to remove you as a friend on FB or in life. It isn't that your posts upset me as much as I miss the balance of good happy thoughts along with your personal views on life and politics, religion and loyalties. I don't see happy Lori anymore. If you weren't my sis-in-law, I wouldn't bother to offer my thoughts. I'm sad you renounce God because I do and always have believed He is the only One who has the answers you are looking for. I just hate to see you go through life as an 'angry person'. It will suck the life out of you. Of course, you can have your 'voice' on things and issues that you are passionate about, but you were never taught the love of God whose Peace passes all understanding. I hope you will have as open of a mind about that as you hope others will have about your choices and sexuality. There is a lot of ignorance and intolerance about Christianity and relationship with God as well. Be forgiving! Sending you big Hugs and I will continue to pray for you to find happiness and peace.

20) Me back to sis-in-law: Myrna: I miss the old Myrna that was less conservative, more fun, more open minded and accepting and less judgmental, but I don't go on your page and tell you that. Why? It is your page and your voice. Please don't pretend to know how many versions of "god" I have had crammed down my throat. I WAS taught about god in every way, shape, and form and I have found it all to be a bunch of shit. That is part of my anger. I will pull out of the anger and move ahead, but I need supportive friends who understand this. Many, I should say MOST, Christians deserve the intolerance because they try to cram god down the faces of others in every aspect, including politics. Please don't tell me to be forgiving. You have no idea how it feels to be me.

The same day of this exchange, I came home to find my 14-year-old cat, Casper dead. So I was not having a good day anyway. But the point I would like to make here is this: Please don’t tell people how to feel when they are having a difficult time. Also, trying to cram your religion down someone’s throat is NOT going to make them post more positive and happy Facebook statuses. For the record, I don’t think my posts are very negative. When I am going through a tough time (Like a recent breakup with my girlfriend, or having to take my ex BF for to court because he would NOT LEAVE ME ALONE) I was quiet and did not post much on Facebook.

My choices when reading these kinds of responses (the annoying ones) were 1) Ignore them 2) act like I agree with them and not let them know they made me angry 3) Be myself, realize this is my Facebook page and tell people what I NEED to say. Obviously, you see I chose number 3!

Many anti-theists have written about why we are angry. We have a good reason to be! Here is one of the best explanations of why atheists are angry by Greta Christina.

I would like to add a few of my own reasons that I am angry.

1) When I took my ex- partner of nine years to court for harassing me, jeopardizing my job by stopping by, emailing and leaving notes on my car, my father, my very own DAD, wrote a letter FOR my ex. Not only did he, or my mom, not support me, but they wrote a letter FOR the man who has made my life miserable. WHY? Because they don’t agree with my “lesbian lifestyle” and they think I have gone off the deep end because I came out as an atheist. THIS MAKES ME ANGRY. But most of all, it hurts me. Some days I cry every day because I feel a major loss. If my parents had died, it would have been sad. But having them ignore me, and basically disown me is far more hurtful. Anger is a natural stage of mourning. So get off my back!

2) I am angry because I live in the Deep South and I am a minority any place I go. There are very few atheists or bisexuals where I live. It is lonely and I often feel angry when I am in a conversation with someone and they ASSUME that I believe in their god. I DON’T!

3) When I want to put a post on Facebook, I get the above responses. The ones that make the angriest are the ones that, again, ASSUME that everyone agrees with them. Like this: “You were never taught the love of God whose Peace passes all understanding. I hope you will have as open of a mind about that as you hope others will have about your choices and sexuality. There is a lot of ignorance and intolerance about Christianity and relationship with God as well. Be forgiving! Sending you big Hugs and I will continue to pray for you to find happiness and peace.” PLEASE don’t tell people what they were or were not taught! It tends to make them upset, and yes, angry! Don’t tell someone to be forgiving either. I will forgive… in my own time. And, if you want to know how I feel about someone telling me they will pray for me. Read this.

Finally, I feel that I am not defined by my anger. I AM angry sometimes and sometimes I feel at peace. But just because I am angry, does not mean I have to be defined as an "angry person." I am going through the motions and going through the stages in the best way that I can. Please, please, please people who claim to be Christians: If you want to come across like your Christ, then stop judging and start showing love and compassion. Whether or not someone believes the same way that you do.

The longer I am out of Christianity, the more I can clearly see how much of a cult it is. I will NEVER go back and I feel freer every day. Angry? Sometimes. Get over it!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Focus on Hatred

Let me just put this out there:

I STRONGLY believe that MANY fundamental "Christian" churches are doing more harm and spreading more hate than anything else in the United States at this time.

Not only are they not helping families and NOT supporting humans with love and support, but they are teaching, preaching and living pure hatred every time they try to put themselves in the position of god.

Consider a quote from the website for "Focus on the Family:"

"Homosexual behavior violates God's intentional design for gender and sexuality."

Homosexual behavior? James Dobson and all of the other haters in this organization believe that people choose to "behave" like they are gay. They believe they can interpret their fictional book in any way that they want to interpret it and think it is okay to spread hatred and misinformation to their blind sheep. They take what they want from a book that they claim is god-inspired and use it as a weapon of hatred. Way to be like christ!!

Here is another quote from those family-friendly folks:

"Focus on the Family is dedicated to defending the honor, dignity, and value of the two sexes as created in God's image – intentionally male and female – each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships."

Um.. Sorry but what about the honor and dignity of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual/transgendered? What about our own unique qualities? Didn't your "god" make us the way that we are?

A group that claims to be "Christians" which literally means christ-like, and uses a title for their organization like "Focus on the Family" should be concentrating their efforts on helping people and making lives better for people who blindly follow their organization.

In order to claim to help families, you should be teaching love, acceptance, and compassion for our fellow human beings. Shouldn't this organization be one that people turn to for support, love, and acceptance? Isn't that what your christ would do?

One more fun quote from the kind, loving folks over at Focus on the Family:

"From the Christian standpoint, marriage is a relationship of love in which a man and a woman model for each other the self-sacrificial nature of Christ's love for His church."

There is a lot in this quote. First of all, I am glad they recognize that this ridiculous view is coming from their [demented] "Christian standpoint."

Second of all, who says marriage has to between a man and a woman? Oh, wait... that is your standpoint. Not mine. So leave your silly views about love out of our government.

Marriage is a commitment that two people who love each other make. YOU can't define that for the rest of the United States! Everyone deserves equal rights. Not just the select few who happen to fall into the realm of "normal."

Finally, if christ loves his church so much, then where is he? Is he answering your prayers? Is he showing up to prevent natural disasters, starvation and other horrific ordeals humans have to endure? No? They why do you love him. God sounds like an abusive spouse. Maybe you should consider a divorce. Or at least choose to follow an organization that does not claim to focus on the family, but only spread lies, misinformation and deceit.

I really wish I felt love and acceptance from my family. The only way to show a family member love is to accept them, care about them, treat them with dignity and respect and welcome them into the family fold, no matter who they choose to love. I am the same old Lori I always was. I still love my kids. I am still more moral than most Christians I know, I am a good mom, a loving person and sometimes a bit too tolerant of family members. I have not changed who I am. I have only chosen to BE who I am without shame or guilt. I am asking for love and acceptance. Nothing more.

Check out the video below. When did you choose to be heterosexual?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Not a Happy Camper

Most kids like it when you mention summer camp. Right? My son went to camp for two different summers and attends Boy Scout Camp sometimes and he really seems to like it. When I hear about camp, I inwardly cringe and have to keep my negative camp views to myself. Why? Because camp, for me as a teenager, was nothing but an anti-woman brainwashing session.

My most vivid memory of my Christian camp experiences is not of me cruising the lake in a canoe or falling in love with the cutest boys. Nope. I actually remember that I felt TORTURED that we had to attend a “church” meeting every day 3 times a day. How boring! Girls sat on one side of the outside (i.e... miserably hot in Florida) auditorium and boys sat on the other. (I guess they thought there would be too much temptation if we sat next to one another?). Many times we were broken into groups. The girls would go listen to a woman talk and the boys would hear a man.

The one session that stands out in my memory the most is one that was called something like “Women of God.” We were told that we were to save ourselves for our future husbands. We then talked about what a good woman of God does. Here is what I remember:

1) You should remain pure until God’s choice finds you and asks you to marry him.

2) After you get married, you should always strive to make your husband happy. He is the head of the household and he makes the rules. You follow his lead.

3) When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is get dressed, smell nice and put on makeup for your husband. He deserves a woman who does not “let herself go.”

4) You should plan good meals and find out what your husband likes.

5) Limit time with girlfriends and others who will take time away from your husband.

6) We should always aim to be pure in actions and dress. Always dress modestly! (Which meant, as I said from other blogs, dresses or “Culottes.”)

7) Never argue with your husband. When he makes a decision, you should back him up with a smile on your face.

Well, I could go on for a while, but I think you get the idea. We were supposed to turn into Stepford Wives and become robots for God. I remember thinking at age seventeen while I sat there at camp… Wouldn’t my husband love me even if I did not wear makeup? I honestly got stressed out and wondered if I would be able to keep a man happy if I changed, gained weight, forgot my makeup or neglected to make dinner.

As time went on, I began to become bitter about these camp lessons. (Which were also reinforced in church and Sunday school as well)

Here is what these lessons failed to consider:

1) What if I did not like God’s choice?

2) What about my happiness? Shouldn’t our relationship be a mutual respect for one another?

3) If my husband loved me, he would not care if I was wearing makeup.

4) Both people should cook and care for the house. Why was I a housemaid? Because I had a vagina? Grrr

5) Not having a relationship with other people outside of my relationship felt like torture and solitary confinement.

6) Men in religious “cult-like” churches always worry so much about what “their” women wear. The only conclusion I had for this was that they had personal problems with lust and did not want the women to “tempt” them by wearing something that actually showed they had a shape.

7) If a woman is told to not argue with her husband and that he is always right, where will she ever gain confidence in who she is as a person? What if he is abusive? What if he is an alcoholic? (as my first husband was) What if he is just a control freak jerk? Why should a woman “submit” to a man like that?

8) What about what SHE wants? What if she wants to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a military pilot, or a bank executive? Why are the woman’s needs not considered?

9) Okay, I know this one is obvious, since if you know me at all you know I am in a relationship with a woman…but what if we don’t want to be with a man? Then what?

I raised my daughters completely opposite from any of this bullshit and I am glad to say that they are both very intelligent, kind, loving women who have a voice, an opinion and their own mind. I would rather have had them be a bit on the “sassy” side growing up, knowing they have a voice and their own identity.

I am also raising my son to respect women and to know that they are his EQUAL, not beneath him. He calls me a “Femi-Nazi,” which annoys me, but I would rather have that label than one in which I am subservient to men. I tell him that a feminist is a woman who wants EQUAL treatment. Nothing more. Nothing less!

The problem with Christianity and most religions is that they fail to see the worth of women. They fail to raise their daughters to believe that they are special and worthy of equal treatment. This kind of message tells girls and young women that they don’t deserve anything good, that they should settle for the first schmuck that comes their way, and that their lives are to be controlled by others. I don’t know about you, but that is NOT what I want for my daughters, or anyone else’s’ for that matter. Christianity, to me, was mostly anti-woman! As time went on, the messages that they tried to put in my head began to change. I realized my worth and I began to see my life as a better place without religion.

Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin

Many extreme Christians have phrases and comments that I consider beyond ridiculous. I often just ignore their sayings and move along. Howev...