Christianity, Marriage, Logs and Cherry Picking

SCOTUS has now made gay marriage legal in all of the USA. This is a wonderful thing. Feel free to shout ‘MURICA’ at the top of your lungs or shoot your semi-automatic rifle in the air in celebration at this momentous moment in history or….you know….don’t….because….bible.

Over and over and over I see conservative and fundamental Christians, the ones opposing same sex marriage, posting the biblical definition of marriage and the short version is this: “It’s Adam and Eve not ADAM AND STEVE!”

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Dr. James Dobson and the Big Fear

download_20150122_145356An old friend just sent me this as a “check this out” and I found it to be especially disturbing. I’m sorry if people have grown tired of my soapbox religion talk, but I feel that there’s important takeaways to be had for everyone, myself included. Continue reading

Two Years Later – 10 Things I’ve Learned

lessonIt’s been well over two years now since I first admitted to myself that I no longer believed in a god. Two years. Wow. That isn’t a massive amount of time by any stretch of the imagination, but when I look at all that has transpired in those two short years, I’m astounded at what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and what I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Continue reading

Celebrating Ignorance with Joel Osteen

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I’m sorry but this guy is dangerous and spreading nonsense to millions of people. Why people send this man more and more money truly baffles me. It’s a celebration of ignorance and an assurance that feeling and intuition trumps information and data. It’s gross.

Maybe it’s time to convert to the prosperity gospel and spout off nonsense that makes people feel good and rake in piles of cash.

As much as I love to hate on the guy, I’ve got to give it to him. He’s a phenomenal salesman.

It reminds me of a great moment and line from the amazing flick “There Will Be Blood.” After Daniel Plainview, an oil man and capitalist, watches a preacher named Eli do a faith healing and cast out demons, Daniel sees through the performance and looks at Eli and says sincerely, “That was one Goddamn hell of a show.”

 

Atheism, You’re Smothering Me

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I’ve been feeling this way more and more and it’s my own fault really. I’ve not only surrounded myself with the online culture, but I’ve perpetuated it by blogging about it for the last year or so myself.

Given enough time and exposure, anything in life can get wearisome or old and I feel like that’s where I’m at with the culture right now. This does not mean I feel atheism is wrong, in fact, this is the most sure I’ve felt about a belief (or lack thereof) in my entire life. It’s just that I feel like the newness and excitement of it has finally wore off. I don’t recognize a belief in gods….yippee….what now? Keep talking about how I don’t believe in something? Being honest with myself, it feels like it would be bordering on nonsensical for me personally.

Originally, my blog was to help me flesh out my own thoughts and as a way to inform friends and family of the why and how I became an atheist. I feel like I’ve more than accomplished that goal.

When I first left religion, the internet was the greatest friend I had. It connected me to Facebook groups and blogs and people that all felt as I did. The solidarity it helped build in me was invaluable at that point in my life. I read every article I could on unbelief and watched endless debates. I comprehensively studied apologetics and worked hard to break them down so as to better understand my opposites. I wrote and talked to many people online that I now count as good friends and I couldn’t be more thankful, grateful or happy for all of you and for all of that.

My final push into frustration/annoyance/embarrassment was this morning when I read about a privately owned diner that gave 15% discounts to it’s patrons if they pray before their meal. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent them a letter threatening a lawsuit if they didn’t stop. It was then that I realized that many atheists like to feel as persecuted as the believers that they mock for feeling constantly victimized. This move by the FFRF did nothing to help freethinkers except further “prove” stereotypes about us as true in the minds of believers.

One very pivotal person in my life, the son of a preacher that turned agnostic over a decade ago, once gave me some excellent advice. He told me to live excellently and to be a great man. That when people see that I can be a good person that lives a fulfilled, happy and morally upstanding life without a god, I’ll effect more lives that way than I ever could with words. It’s a form of reverse proselytizing that I’ve come to love immensely, but if we’re keeping track, I’ve led more people away from Jesus in 2 years than I led to Jesus in 29, so I count my efforts at blogging and openly challenging religion to not have been for nothing.

I will probably still write posts on unbelief if I ever feel compelled to, but I can finally say I’ve accomplished my goal and that I feel wonderfully at ease. I’m just going to enjoy being Nate again and not Nate the Strong Minded Atheist as it will, from this point on, not add anything to my life, but headache.

I’ll continue blogging about movies, music and anything else that feels appropriate. And maybe I’ll finally get down to writing some sets and give stand-up a go.

So thanks to any of you reading this or any of you that have posted on this blog as I count all of you as friends. Your support, love, challenges and friendships have made me a better person, a better man and a better freethinker.

I love you all.

My Sincere Request For You To Stop Telling Me You’re Praying For Me

prayer_request_buttonI’ve written about prayer on and off in the past, but this post will be much different. It’s a sincere request for you to stop praying for me or, at least, stop telling me you’re praying for me.

The longer I’ve been in unbelief the more and more this ever present issue bothers me. To the believer, I’m sure it’s an astoundingly dumb thing to get bothered over, but to the unbeliever, it’s very passive aggressive and, given enough time and repetition, downright insulting.

I’ve been hearing it much more the past month than normal so felt I should just issue a blanket request to please stop.

Do know that I am fully aware of the love and good intention behind every “I’m praying for you,” but please be aware that it is passive aggressive. When you know full well that I don’t put any stock into the ideas of gods and continually tell me you’re praying for me, it’s just rude. I understand you think you’re being helpful and even encouraging, but you’re not. You’re reminding me of how wrong you assume my position is while touting your belief in my face as absolute truth.

What if at every parting I told you that I was praying to Apollo for you? Or that Apollo is working wonders in your life? Or that Apollo told me to tell you that he cares for you? Wouldn’t that eventually grow tiresome?

While I’ve never said it before, I do know some atheists that when told, “I’m praying for you,” will respond with, “I’ll think for you.” Maybe it’s time to flip to that strategy just to shake things up?

If you really feel that your god has everything in control and anything is within it’s power, why tell me you’re praying for me? What purpose does it serve to inform me of your prayer? Is your god not powerful enough to do it’s miracles unless you inform the person you’re praying for them?

Basically, I’ve just grown most tired of someone trying to sell me the idea of a loving god that would happily help me in trivial tasks, but not help the 9 million children that die every year before the age of 5. When viewed in the light of real torment and misery, it’s narcissistic and arrogant to assume that a god that allows suffering on such a massive scale would take time to help me in some menial task.

So, please do me a great favor as a friend or loved one and stop telling me you’re praying for me. I’m weary of hearing it and have tired of smiling and nodding and saying “thanks” so as to not suffer through a long dialogue about why I’d appreciate you to stop telling me that.

With all that in mind, may the God of Healing and Light, Apollo, guide you and keep you well. May His face shine on you and your loved ones and may you know the peace of living life in Him.

Be blessed.

 

Knowledge Does Not Restrict Free Will

Free Will“Because free will” has to be one of the most oft-quoted phrases uttered over and over by apologists or defenders of belief. It’s used as a cure all for any critical talk of gods or holy texts.

When I prod as to why god doesn’t reveal himself or make himself known in a tangible way, that seems to be the only response I ever get. “Because god wants us to use our free will to chose him or reject him.”

What everyone needs to understand is that the knowledge of a god being real wouldn’t stop someone from being able to choose to follow it or not. If a god revealed itself to the world, we would still be free to reject it’s authority, divinity, or rule. I wouldn’t automatically be subjugated to it’s leadership. Having knowledge that a god exists wouldn’t in any way force me to worship it. If anything, it would most help me make an informed choice because you know, there’s thousands of gods to choose from.

This point couldn’t be made any clearer than from Christians’ own bibles:

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” – James 2:19

Demons, according to the bible, believe in god and reject him. They’ve seen god with their own ethereal eyes and still reject him. Could humans not possess the same ability?

So I ask, what would your god have to lose by revealing itself? There are currently 2.18 billion Christians on a planet holding 6.9 billion people. That means that at least 4.72 billion people are going to hell at this rate. Wouldn’t god making itself known stand to potentially save billions more from hell, the very place it desires strongly to save us from?

One friend berated me when I was very early in my doubting phase when I asked that question. “How dare you be so selfish, Nate. How dare you ask questions of god like that.” I didn’t think it was too much to ask. If anything, I thought it was more compassionate and loving to make itself known. If the end result is hell, why wouldn’t a loving god help more? It’s then that I remember that the loving god made hell, or allowed it’s creation, and it’s that same god that created the rules for us to go there, so it’s probably not that loving to begin with.

So please, stop yelling “FREE WILL” anytime you’re backed into a corner. A god that made it’s existence known to the world in a tangible way could still be rejected, but at least all doubt would be removed from the situation.

Now if we could only get Bigfoot to reveal himself in something other than blurry pictures and shaky camera footage…..