Sunday, April 29, 2018

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. However, the phrase “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” is one that I refuse to allow without saying pointing out the ignorance. Here, we will explore why I think the saying is complete bullshit and people need to stop saying it!

1) There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Go ahead and look. I will wait. Okay, now that we have settled that, can we agree that you can’t say it is in the Bible anymore? It is not. You can twist a few verses around to try to make it fit for you, but Christians like to do a lot of that anyway, so that is not a shocker. Just stop saying it because you sound ignorant when you do.

2) This phrase is used against LGBT people to justify hatred. So, it’s ironic to think about the fact that some Christians preach about how God is love and try to act like they are such good and moral people, yet their hateful, abusive, and bully-like behavior toward LGBT people is pathetic. I have been taking a class for foster parenting for the past few weeks with my daughter, who is considering taking in a foster child. At least two families in the class have adamantly admitted that they do NOT want an LGBT child/teen in their household. One mother implied that having a gay boy around her sons will corrupt her sons. Really? With up to 20% of youth in foster care identifying as LGBT, I find this kind of attitude disgusting! But, when I think about it more deeply, I realize that LGBT kids would not want to be in their home either. Who wants to be preached at and told they are not okay being who they are. How about Christians worry more about their own hateful attitude toward LGBT people and less about this ridiculous saying. Telling people to love a person yet hate who they are is a sad way to act like a person who is supposed to show love. To love someone is to show unconditional love toward that person.

3) Who are you to decide what is a “sin” and what isn’t? It seems to me that many Christians choose to identify sins as something that they themselves feel negative feelings toward.  Some Christians see tattoos and piercings as a sin. They think you should not modify your body. They may also see alcohol, cigarettes, smoking pot or even dancing as a sin. Does that make those things wrong? No. The thing that Christians can’t get into their heads is that, as much as they are free to practice any religion they would like, they are not free to force those views on the rest of us. Including other religious groups, agnostics, atheists or anyone else.

4) It sounds so damn self-righteous! Maybe some people have heard this saying so much that they think it sounds normal. It does not sound normal at all. It sounds mean, holier-than-thou and just plain rude and hateful. As I stated before, feel free to believe the way you want, but don’t expect the rest of us to go along with you. When you say that you love a sinner, but hate their sin expect a lot of people to see you as an asshole and NOT a good, moral, decent human who cares about other humans.

5) I know I touched on this above, but it needs to be said again. Telling a person that WHO they are is “sinful” is horribly messed up and damaging. Especially to young kids and teenagers. With all of LGBT kids committing suicide in the United States, it is time that we try to make them feel loved, safe and protected. NOT THE OPPOSITE! I would think that Christians would be more focused on things that are offensive and immoral to most of us. Most Christians use this phrase as a passive-aggressive weapon against LGBT people. However, you rarely hear them say, “Love the murderer, hate that he murdered someone,” Or “Boy do we love that child rapist, but we hate that he raped a child.” Rarely does anyone who has a normal set of morals and ethics try to show a lot of love toward these kinds of people. Which proves my point that it is another cherry-picking technique that is used as a microaggression toward people of whom Christians disapprove.

Let's work on trying to show kindness and love to others, the way you claim that Christ has commanded you to do, and leave the rest of us who are just trying to live our lives alone. It would be great if you would consider stopping using this offensive phrase.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Control Issues

While watching the Hulu Original show, Handmaid's Tale, I started having some memories of having similar conversations with myself; The same kinds of conversations that Offred has with herself while under the control of the Commander and his wife. Even though she is in captivity, and almost every activity that she does is monitored and controlled, they can't have her brain, her thoughts, her memories or her opinions.

I remember sitting in church as a teenager and thinking these thoughts:
1) If there really is a god, why have they not shown me a single reason to believe in them?
2) I hate the pastor and he is a creepy crook.
3) Attending church is a waste of my time and I wish I was doing something else.
4) I hate these fake people.
5) If there was a god, why would he allow kids to be harmed and molested by pastors?
6) Why is this damn church more important to my parents than me having my own opinions?
7) Why does it matter what I wear? If I was born naked and this god created me, why is it so horrible to wear a bathing suit and swim around men/boys?

Those are just a few of the thoughts I was having. Plus more. If I would have voiced any one of these thoughts to my parents they would have freaked the hell out. I was not allowed to think these things.

It is sad how much I can relate to Offred and the other women in Handmaid's Tale. At least I got to grow up and form my own views, opinions, thoughts, desires, political views, etc.. Even though I feel that my relationship with my parents is irreparable (in most ways), I was able to come out of the closet, decide I don't believe in their god and form relationships with the kinds of people I was drawn to. I also refuse to waste my Sunday mornings in church.

Being raised to be a zombie with (They hoped) no brain of my own makes me realize how dangerous and damaging this kind of control is. How do we solve this? Question everything! Don't believe people who say things like "Everything happens for a reason," or "God works in mysterious ways." That is just bullshit. Question, read, research and come to your own conclusions.Don't let anyone control you. Ever! Pay attention to politics. The dystopian world of Handmaid's Tale is not as far-fetched as one might think!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Arrogance of Christianity

I recently attended a birthday party for a good friend of mine. I put aside my highly sensitive, introvert messages to myself (Like, ugh, people) and went because I care about her and I know she would come to mine. Her mom invited me and I  really did enjoy myself. The party was at a beautiful park on a lake. They rented out a gazebo close to the lake. Overall, it was very pleasant.

One incident stood out to me that illustrates the complete and utter arrogance of many Christians today. There was a group at the gazebo next to us called "Earth." (At least that is what the sign said.) I thought they looked cool and interesting. Immediately one person pointed out to me (in a very condescending tone) "Those people over there are worshipping Mother Earth." *eye roll I said nothing, but thought to myself "So fucking what?"

Just before we ate, everyone gathered and held hands and forced the group into a Christian prayer to thank God for the food. I awkwardly looked around in disbelief at how often I am subjected to being forced into religious rituals as an atheist.

Toward the end of the party, someone else said to me, again, condescendingly, "Did you see those crazy Mother Earth worshippers over there? I was going to go over and ask them if they were worshipping Jesus" Since I don't hide my facial expressions very well, she quickly added, "I mean I didn't though." All I said was "That's good."

Why do people (and by people I mean mostly Christians) think it's ok to force their beliefs on others, but don't recognize that others have a right to believe how they want? It is the ultimate example of Christian privilege. Think about this, Christians. Think. If you were suddenly told, during a birthday party, a work event, or really, anything, that the majority of Muslims there wanted to have a prayer, how would you feel? Awkard? Appalled that they would be arrogant enough to assume you want to pray to their God? Annoyed? Well, guess what? That is how others feel when you force them into your religious rituals. If you want to be allowed to worship as you please, then you MUST allow others to do the same.

Thanks for reading. I have been on a long break working for crappy places that sucked the life out of me and I am now taking time for myself to write and relax a bit. So, you will see more blogs from me in the future. Please share!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Prayers at Work. Please Stop!

It has been a while. I guess all bloggers must go through stages like this. I write and write and write and then I feel drained. I get away for a while. I think. I write blogs in my head. I think some more. I deal with people at work and situations at work that just annoy the crap out of me. I write another blog in my head but I am too tired to get it down. Repeat.
So, a friend of mine has encouraged me to write again. I have resisted writing for a while now. Mostly because I need so much down time and I never get it. So when I am off work, I avoid activities, like writing, that drain me emotionally. However, after writing this morning, I decided that writing also heals me and moves me forward. So I decided to come over here and write. Even though my family reads this blog (which is why I have not written for a while- I feel like they are so distant from me since I have become honest and open about who I am… and it’s painful).
I mostly want to write about being an atheist in a VERY Christian work environment in the Bible Belt. I recently joined a new department at work. This was a good move for me because the job is much less stressful and overwhelming. Two of the main department heads are gay: A gay man and a lesbian. I thought that this would be an ideal place to work because it is honestly rare to find LGBT people who are extreme Christians. I guess I was wrong about that.
We had a get-together a few weeks ago and shared some food. Just as I was about to grab a plate and get some food, I heard the dreaded words, “Let’s pray.” I was momentarily shocked. My thoughts: um WTF? Seriously? Am I working in a public, State College?? WOW! I looked around, desperately hoping to see someone who did not have their head bowed and their eyes closed. At first, I saw no one. I started to feel suffocated. I started to feel angry. I heard movement behind me in the kitchen area and I saw a coworker in there acting busy. I don’t know if she was trying to avoid the prayer like I was, but maybe one day I will find out that I am not the only person there who resents being subjected to a Christian prayer every time we eat together.
Let me tell you what I have concluded after several weeks of thinking about this incident.

1 1)   I am not being too sensitive to think that this is WAY wrong. Forcing a department to pray to your god is not only rude; it isolates people in other religions (and people with NO religion).

2 2) I find it very wrong to conduct a public prayer session in a place of employment. This is one place that people do not feel safe to say, “Hello? I am an atheist and I really don’t want to pray over the food.” We have to bite our tongues because we have a mortgage to pay and children to support. We also work 8 hours a day with these people and who wants to be the person who makes a big deal about a stupid prayer?

3)      If you claim that you do not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, etc… then this means that you should not PRAY over your meals in a public college.

4)      Doesn’t your religion teach you to pray in private? This public show of religion is just arrogant and wrong.
I asked my son what he thought of this incident. He said this: “How would they feel if you threw down a prayer rug and fell to your knees saying, praise Allah?” Exactly! How about if a room full of people started doing that and there is one person who wants to pray to their Christian god? How would they feel?
I feel that I don’t really fit in anyplace I go in the south. I am a bisexual. I often annoy lesbians who think I should “Pick a side.” I feel lonely at work when people have religious conversations about god, and how things are meant to be. I have had to hear long conversations about how god has a plan for everything, Some of these people are also the worst backstabbing bitches I have ever encountered. So, I vent on my blog.
 I have let go some of my anger. I think this blog has helped. I have a few acquaintances at work who are Christians. We do not talk about religion or politics. I still respect them as humans and see the good in many of them. Some of them, I’m sure, pray for my soul every night. (The ones who have seen my house and my paintings and who know I do not attend church).

I think it’s important for people to realize that the world is made up of many different religions and many different kinds of people. Don’t be the type of person who is arrogant. Not everyone worships your god!

Friday, January 18, 2013

So Persecuted

I have been absent from writing in my blog for a while. Life has been stressful, and, obviously, I don't handle stress too well. I do however get comments sent to my email. I am normally pretty tolerant and let comments go a lot of the time. But I was thinking while reading a comment the other day how annoying most Christians are when they comment on my blog.

First of all, the last few have had various "Churchy" names. I guess they don't realize that they all link back to some stupid church in Canada. I have no idea how they have the time and energy to seek out a blog that is very OBVIOUSLY not Christian and have the nerve to comment that they are offended by what I say. Um, WHAT? I really am shocked that I have to even say this, but I don't give a flying damn flip that you are offended by what I say. I live almost every day of my life hearing rude, hateful, bigoted comments from people. My blog is a place for me to vent, share my thoughts and views and to allow these thoughts to be read by others who may have had similar experiences.

Christians are NOT a persecuted group and I am so disgusted that you like to put yourself in that category. This is not going to be a long rant, but I want to make it very clear that if a blog offends you because the writer does not believe in your sky daddy, or does not share your bigoted views or does not think that some ancient book was written by stupid, controlling men who wanted to keep their followers in line is the TRUTH, then go read a blog that you can agree with. You will be the first ones to rant and rave about your right to bear arms, your right to believe in god, your right to (Insert whatever you want to here...). But somehow, when others practice the same freedoms, you are all of a sudden offended. Who cares? I have ZERO interest in your feelings or whether or not I offended you. Most people who blog about humanism, atheism, or whatever, DO NOT CARE that you don't like it.

The chances of you coming to my blog with your bible verses and preaching and winning me over to "god's side" are 0.000000% Is that clear? I would NEVER, EVER go back to that kind of delusional, ridiculous thinking. EVER! So go waste your time on gullible, dumb people who are too stupid to think for themselves. Maybe you can control them and they won't offend you so much.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hate is Hate

 The following letter to the editor was printed in our local Folio Weekly August 14, 2012 edition.

Chick-fi l-A Supporter
To: Denise M. Reagan, Editor

First, let me congratulate you on becoming the new editor of Folio Weekly. I’m sure you’re finding it exciting and most challenging as well.
Anne Schindler’s spark will also be missed, I’m sure. I appreciate seeing my testy opinion letters appearing for reader reaction from time to time among a sea of differing views. As you stated, the president and chief operating officer of Chick-Fil l-A, Dan Cathy, offended the gay community by expressing
his biblical stance on marriage [Editor’s Note,
July 31]. However, as I see it, his words in that
Atlanta radio interview express exactly what
mainstream Christianity believes. God’s way
always leads to a happier and healthier lifestyle
with a better ultimate outcome.
I can’t believe that the highly respected
John Delaney, UNF president and former
Jacksonville mayor, would write a letter to
The Florida Times-Union “supporting the
gay rights ordinance based on the teachings
of Jesus.” What kind of Bible and strange
teachings of Jesus is Delaney referring to?
Certainly not found in my King James Version!
[The destruction of] Sodom and
Gomorrah was merely a fireworks display
compared to what we’re provoking the
Almighty to do. God has said, “I will tread
them in mine anger, and trample them in
my fury … for the day of vengeance is in my
heart, and the year of my redeemed is come”
(Isaiah 63:3&4). In the meantime, I’ll be
among the thousands enjoying Chick-Fil-A
nuggets. Hope to see you there sometime,
where God is always smiling.
William H. Shuttleworth

When I finished reading that I was pissed. Then I was sad. Then I was pissed some more. Then I wanted to write back in response to the letter. But my new job has me so stressed out and tired that I did not find the energy to write back before the next printing of the paper completed. So I decided to write my response here.

Not- so- Dear William Shuttlebutt:

I am shocked and sad that you could actually think/believe that your “mainstream Christianity” is so mainstream that you could write something like this to a local paper and expect that everyone believes the same way that you do! Your letter is so full of contradictions and stupidity that I hardly know where to begin!
First of all: Although this may come as a shock to you, not everyone is a Christian. Not everyone believes the crazy irrational way that you do. There are many different religions and views in this country, in our world, and even in little old Jacksonville, Florida. Just because a few idiots at your church agree with your bigoted, narrow-minded views does not mean that everyone does!

Second of all: How do you believe (and try to force the rest of us to as well) that a god who is willing to “trample in his fury” [you imply anyone who is gay] is also a fair and just god and who is “always smiling” on people because they choose to eat greasy chicken from a chain restaurant whose owner uses his ignorance and stupidity to bring in business is anything close to fair or Christ-like?

Third: Although I do not share the religious or political views of John Delaney (most of the time) I can tell you that he is right in this case. You don’t have the right to twist and interpret [your] bible to make sure it lines up with your ignorance, hate and lack of love for others. In fact, if you were following the teachings of Christ, you would not support a man or his business who so obviously hates a group of people simply for being who they are. It is not “strange” to want equal rights for all people. It is strange to think you can speak for Jesus (who never said a word against LGBT people if you read your holy book) and it is strange that you feel so strongly about this that they only way you can make  a stand for your odd views is by continuing to eat greasy chicken and write to the paper about how right you feel you are. Do you not see how stupid, bigoted, angry, hateful, judgmental and hypocritical you sound? Not sure your Christ (if he existed at all) would approve of your attitude! You can take your "healthier and happier lifestyle" and shove it!

Lori ( a bisexual atheist who believes in equal rights for all people, whether you like them or not.)

 Rachel Maddow said it best! Equal rights should be automatically granted to all people. Our right to live freely and share the same privileges of heterosexual couples should not be up for vote by bigoted, homophobic haters who hide behind their holy book and have no idea how ignorant they are to people who use their brains. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

You have questions? I have answers!

I recently received this series of questions on my Facebook wall and thought it would be a good idea to share the answers here. Thanks for asking them, Shane, and I hope I have answered them clearly enough.

Hello, Lori,

So far from what I can discover on your blog, Lori, is that you haven't been an atheist for an extended period of time. I like to ask new atheists a few questions to see how much in common I have with them. Perhaps you can ask these questions of your readers.

1. When you outgrew your need for faith did it emotionally hurt you? Did you mourn the passing of your faith? The short answer is yes. I did feel hurt emotionally. I did mourn the loss of my faith. Losing my faith hurt for many reasons. One of the most painful things was losing the support and close relationship I had with my family. I am not sure I will ever regain that. Even recently at a family gathering, I felt like an alien or, more appropriately, the black sheep, when everyone had to pray over the meal and many conversations revolved around church. I just don’t have much in common anymore with my flesh and blood family. I love them all very much, but I feel that being an atheist has put a huge wall up and I am not sure it will ever come down. Outside of my family issues, I also feel that when I started reading and seeing that I just did not believe in a deity any more, I went through what I feel was mourning. I often felt angry (if you read my blog you can see evidence of that), depressed, went through some denial, and in general felt a huge upheaval happening inside me emotionally. Change is sometimes painful. My entire world view began falling apart. I had to rethink things like the afterlife, morality and so many other things in which I believed. I firmly believe the change and emotional turmoil I experienced (still experience at times) was normal and I would not ever go back to blindly following a faith, god or religion without concrete evidence. I think it is important to note that I feel like a more fulfilled and complete person now, without faith in a god, than I ever did when I was religious, Religion and faith, for me, caused doubt, distrust, lack of questioning authority, feelings of confusion, and I was in a state of constant unhappiness and darkness. I felt that my core belief of treating other humans with love was NOT a part of Christianity. I feel Atheism more closely aligns with my core values. (See question number 5 for more elaboration on this)

2. What were the key factors for you to conclude that neither god nor gods exist? This is a tough question for me and is really the main reason I wrote this blog. There were several factors and the transition was gradual as I began reading and studying different religions. When I attended classes to obtain my degree, I learned about a variety of different religious views and cultures. Learning these things made me begin to question things like: Who has the “real” God” and who are we to say another religion is wrong and ours is right? I also began to see that there were hundreds of thousands of different branches of different types of religion and most of what I experienced and saw was people locking themselves into a certain doctrine- based on the way THEY interpreted their holy book- and then they would surround themselves only with people who felt exactly the same way and criticize and belittle anyone who didn’t. That seemed very “un-Christ-like” to me and I began thinking a lot about things like…who really is right? The conclusion I came up with is that religion is a crutch that people use to exclude others. Many religious people also twist the Bible around to cater to their own fears. The way some Christians (and other faiths) treat people treat LGBT people is a prime example of this. I do know that many people use religion as a way to feel comfort about death and to feel closer to loved ones who have died. They find it easier to believe the people that they love are waiting for them in heaven. I understand that, to a point, but I also I think there is a time when people need to grow up and face the reality that when we die, we are gone. It is natural and the way it is supposed to be.
Another factor that turned me away from religion and god was the fact that rich people had a god who answered their prayers. Poor people didn’t. Kind of like Santa Clause. Santa likes the rich kids. But the poor kids? Screw them! Same idea here. Rich people have everything they need, simply because they are fortunate enough to have the money to buy it. But they say things like “Thank god! We got a new car this week,” But that same god neglected to make sure that the homeless family in downtown Jacksonville got food. When you ask religious people about this they say ignorant things like “god works in mysterious ways.” Well, your god is an ass hole then! This kind of thinking led me to believe that there is NOT any evidence of an all-knowing, all-powerful GOOD deity, because if there was, he/she would be kind and not allow bad things to happen to innocent children.

3. Now that you're an entity that values reason over faith how has your life improved? How has your person-hood evolved? I feel that my life has improved because I no longer worry about things like heaven, hell, or an afterlife. I do not worry about which religion is the right one to follow. I follow none of them. I feel free and happy to be able to wake up each day- glad that I am still an inhabitant of the earth and I can make a difference every day in THIS life. I have taught my kids to question everything and to read and study on their own and to value evidence and logic. I do not blindly believe everything I am told. If I question something, I research to find answers. I read a variety of books, blogs and articles and feel that I am constantly evolving and learning more about the world- based on science and reason- not on what I was told as a child or on what an outdated book tells me to do/be.
4. For the sake of argument let’s say we both decided that the individual written about in the Bible named Jesus existed. If you could converse with this person now what would you ask him? Hey Jesus, what’s up? :) Can you believe this crap? These crazy nuts in this day and age are using your name and influence you had to have an excuse to be ass holes! How do you feel about that? What would you REALLY do? Haha!

5. In your own words please tell me what does being an "atheist" mean to you? I know the word atheist has negative connotations to many people. But to me, being an atheist means that I am good and kind for the sake of being good and kind. I do not expect a reward in the afterlife. I believe I am a moral and ethical person who listens to my own instincts. If something feels wrong to me, I don’t do it. So far, this is working for me. I don’t have to follow a book to be a decent person. I just have to decide each day that I am going to try to make a difference, try to be kind and understanding to others, try to accept people and love them in spite of their flaws, try to give to people less-fortunate, try to continue to be a positive influence in the lives of my children, try to take care of the body I have, try to live this life to the fullest. I have always strived to live with what I call “the big picture” in mind. When I am lying in bed dying, whenever the end of my life is close, will I be able to look back and be proud of who I was and how I treated people? At this point, fancy diplomas, big houses, expensive cars, money in the bank, how far up the corporate ladder I climbed and many other things that seem so important in life just will not seem as important to me as leaving behind a legacy of goodness, kindness and love and knowing that I passed that on to my children. Am I perfect at it? HAHA NO! Some days I struggle. Some days I want to give up. But, I can honestly say that living life with the big picture in mind is a much healthier way to live than trying to score points with an imaginary deity in the sky.

I can think of more questions to ask but I think that is a lot to think about. I really am interested in reading your answers. I've been an atheist for 12 years now and I've never once regretted my decision nor have questioned my decision to disavow faith. You and I both share common experiences on our treks to becoming atheists.


Thanks Shane! I am glad you encouraged me to write in my blog. I always feel better when I write. :)

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...