Freethought Friday

Free-Thought Friday: The Bible Used to Justify Abuse

Today’s Blog is written by Rob of @therobblog_rob. Thank you for the submission Rob! For the last Free-Thought Friday, click here:Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 3. Enjoy!


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For fifteen years I was a part of a very strict Pentecostal church. During this time I was not “allowed” to grow a beard, watch television or listen to non-gospel music. Once I became a preacher, short sleeves and coming to church in anything other than a white shirt and tie became a sin. My wife and two daughters did not cut their hair, wore skirts to their ankles and make up was out of the question. Let’s not forget, if you make two dollars you better pay twenty cents in tithes and give another 10 to 15 cents for offering (after God will provide).

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9

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These people actually believe they are correct and that the Bible means exactly what they think it does because God has given them a special revelation because they are his chosen people ( 1 Peter 2:9). They seem to think that if they can find a scripture that could possibly be interpreted as what they believe then that is a god reason to create a holiness standard or make a heaven or hell rule to dictate the behavior of the church. A perfect example of this is when 1st Corinthians 11 says that it is a shame for a woman to be shaven or shorn, hence Pentecostal women do not cut their hair. Could it possibly be that since temple prostitutes shaved their heads that Paul was advising women not to be mistaken for prostitutes? This is an example of Pentecostal and fundamentalist in general taking what was actually good advice and using it to exert the fear factor over their congregations.

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They also believe that God should get the glory for everything and that we should be” hid in Christ” (Colossians 3:3). What happens here is that God gets all the glory for anything that you accomplish and your self-confidence is shattered because you are taught that without God you are nothing and can do nothing on your own. As a matter of fact you were born into sin (Psalm 51:5) and in order to enter the kingdom of heaven you must be born again ( John3:5) because obviously you were not born good enough the first time.
Overall, these” Christians” use scriptures to explain why their ways are above your ways (Isiah 55:8-9).

 


Authors Bio

When I was twenty-six, I attended an Apostolic Pentecostal Church service attempting to find some meaning and order for my crazy addiction filed life. At first it was great, I was welcomed in the fold and began attending every service, Bible study and prayer meeting. About a year later, I met and married a woman from church and started a family. I was told I was called to be a preacher and the journey began.
Long story short, the more involved we became the more we realized that we were nothing but Pentecostal Pharisees and that unless you were one of us you could not be saved ( and some of us were in question ). It took fifteen years but we eventually left that church in search of something more genuine.
After trying a couple of different churches and preaching a few times, we realized that the life we were trying to hang onto was based on people interpretations of things that had little to no evidence of being true.
After cutting all ties with the church world I returned to school and received my BA and Communication Studies and I have realized that the world is a whole lot bigger than any religion allows it to be portrayed.

Fiction and Stories

Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 3

First off, I want to apologize for not getting this post up sooner. In all honesty I thought I had already done so.

For the first part: Click here: Free-Thought Friday #4: Losing My Christianity: Part 1
For Part two, click here: Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 2

Now, on to the article, the third and final part.


 

After about a week, we arrived back home to Texas, and rested for a couple of days from the trip. One night, mom and Thomas decided to drink some vodka, and celebrate their new relationship. It was very annoying, because living a trailer, I got to hear all the noises from their elation, which I found repulsive, but tried to ignore. The next morning I had plans to go to the movies with a friend of mine, so I asked mom if she could drive us. She said she didn’t feel like it, so I would have to cancel. But Thomas stepped up and offered to take us, assuring mom that it was absolutely no problem, and it would give them some more alone time while I was gone. She agreed, so we got into the truck and went to pick up my friend, who lived pretty far into the country along a very curvy road.

“Stunned that I wasn’t dead, I got up from the pavement to assess the situation.”

As I said before, Thomas liked to drive fast, and saw that I found it rather fun. He commented that going this fast, seat-belts would be practically useless, so we didn’t bother to wear them. Being more level-headed than we were, my friend opted for the belt. At 80 miles per hour, we flew down the road, until we came around a sharp curve, when suddenly there was a white car going much slower than we were. Thomas hit the brakes, but it was too late. The truck slid sideways, and we began to tumble. Everything was in slow motion, and I recall the scene very well. The truck flipped 3 times, and I had been thrown out the passenger window, and landed on the ground. Last thing I remember before passing out was seeing the truck about to fall on me. I woke to the sound of my friend screaming and crying. Stunned that I wasn’t dead, I got up from the pavement to assess the situation. I saw my friend, and checked to see if she was ok. She seemed a bit scratched up, but fine. The one alarming things was: I couldn’t find Thomas. I frantically searched for him while the sound of the arriving ambulance sirens rang in the distance. As they pulled up, I spotted his body, lying facedown in the water of a nearby ditch. I was absolutely horrified as the paramedics surrounded me, trying to get me to lie down. Frantically I denied their request, saying, “He’s in the ditch! GET HIM FIRST! He’s going to DROWN!” They didn’t seem to be heeded my command, so I started cussing them, “FUCK YOU! HE’S IN THE GODDAMN DITCH, ASSHOLE! I’M FINE, SO LEAVE ME ALONE… HE’S NOT FINE!” It wasn’t until I heard my mother’s voice that I obeyed their requests to lie down and let them examine me. I was still yelling for them to get Thomas, and pointing in that direction until they started moving toward him. After they looked me over, they told me they were going to put me in the ambulance. I refused, saying I was fine enough to just walk home, since it was only about 1/4 mile away. Mom told me this wasn’t happening, and after a few stern words, I conceded and got into the ambulance alongside my friend, who was still screaming. Now I could focus on getting her calm on the way to the hospital, but I still wondered what became of Thomas. Was he even alive?

The ambulance arrived at the hospital, and I got probed and prodded in various ways for them to find out of I had any significant injuries. Mom was there to ensure that I allowed them to do what was needed. They wheeled me to radiology, where x-rays revealed I had cracked my coccyx, which is the bone at the base of the spine. I was feeling better after meds, but we still had no word on Thomas. I was worried, but knew we would find out eventually what became of him. Having been sent back to the ER bed after x-ray, suddenly I heard a loud wailing. It was my mom’s voice, and after some time passed, she came and told me that once I was discharged, we were going down to Houston where Thomas had been life flighted. Apparently one of the medics had told her that he wasn’t going to make it, and he had gotten Thomas’ brain matter all over his hands. This was so upsetting – finally someone was in our lives that seemed to actually care for us, and now he was dying. After I was discharged, mom stuffed me in her other truck, groggy, hurting, and still a bit in shock, and rushed down to Houston to where he was. When we finally arrived and received an update on his condition, the doctors told mom that Thomas had sustained a closed-head injury, and at this point we couldn’t be sure of the outcome, since he was in critical condition, but it wasn’t as bad as the medic had conveyed before. All of his brain matter was intact, but the swelling was life-threatening, and he was in a coma. Apparently he had still been drunk from the night before, and that’s what led to his poor judgement while driving two teenaged girls to the movies.

Her friend was really nice to me, and took very good care of the various wounds that were missed at the hospital, as well as made sure that I tried to move around despite the pain, so I could regain my ability to walk.”

After having been in a wreck, and visiting two different hospitals all day long, I was tired, hurting, and ready to go home. Mom decided she didn’t want to go too far from where Thomas was, so she called up a life-long friend who resided in the area to ask if we could stay with her a while. Her friend agreed, so we went there. I couldn’t even walk on my own until a week later, so I pretty much stayed on her couch while mom frequented the hospital where Thomas was. Her friend was really nice to me, and took very good care of the various wounds that were missed at the hospital, as well as made sure that I tried to move around despite the pain, so I could regain my ability to walk. For her I shall always be thankful, and feel very lucky that someone was there for me when my mom seemed to abandon me. After about a month of staying there, I decided that I wanted to go home. Mom didn’t want to go, but I insisted she take me there. Mom opted to stay in Houston, so once again, I was alone, and felt totally abandoned. It was during this time I began a real rebellion against the idea of god, and stopped praying altogether. After all, what kind of loving god would have allowed so much of my suffering? I had always believed, always prayed, and remained faithful to the idea my entire life. What good did that do me? It was quite apparent that no one loved really me, and my parent didn’t seem to care about my wellbeing enough to offer guidance or take care of me when I needed it the most. Why did god give me parents that abused and abandoned me?

“You and me against the world,” was never true…”

Six months, and many surgeries later, Mom brought Thomas home. He wasn’t able to speak, walk, or eat on his own. He required constant care, and after a year or so, he regained some abilities, but was never quite the same. He had no control over his emotions, and would have angry and sometimes violent outbursts. I had begun to discover the opposite sex, and would take advantage of mom being stuck at the house with Thomas by running off, getting drunk on occasion, and hanging out with friends whenever I wanted. Some of the guys I knew were already atheists, so we would discuss the god concept quite often. I still maintained outwardly that I believed for a while, but had so much doubt and could no longer reason with them as to why I would still hold the belief. God had not kept us safe, but our decisions to leave did, and he certainly didn’t help maintain my relationship with mom. “You and me against the world,” was never true, but a platitude to momentarily make me feel better. Not long after I had turned 15 years of age, I decided to pray one last time, just in case there was a god. I wanted him to know that I was angry with him for putting me in abusive situations, giving me parents that didn’t give two shits about me, and for never once answering a single prayer. After that last prayer, I knew I was an atheist. I never went back to a belief in the Christian god, and have sought comfort in real explanations about things, lots of cognitive behavioral therapy, and delving deep into understanding life through science and philosophy as opposed to nonsense.


 

Jennifer writes the Wednesday Woo feature here most weeks. She is the love of my life and amazes me how she has coped with what she went through as a child as well as how she came away from new age beliefs later in life. I hope you have enjoyed reading this part of her story and I am so proud that she told it.

General Information

New Articles On The Way

So I’ve been writing again which is good and I hope you’ve enjoyed the newest articles from myself, Jennifer, and all the others who have submitted entries. I’ve had some new ideas that I will explore over the coming weeks.

1.) BS News report

This is a satirical take on the news of the week from my own unique point of view.

2.) The return of A Pentecostal Atheist Bible Study

3.) Deep Thoughts

Subjects may include science, medicine, paradoxes, riddles, basically anything that gets me thinking.

Anyway, keep on the lookout for these new articles as well as other posts in the future.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read so far, I appreciate you all.

Side note: What would you like to see more of in this blog. Any suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated.

Matt

Freethought Friday

Free-Thought Friday: What Atheism Means To Me: Marcia

Hello, I’m Marcia Wallace and I’m an atheist. I’m a former English teacher, lover of literature and medievalist. I’ve also been a police dispatcher and a travel agent in my life. I live in Michigan with my husband, a dog and cat who runs the house.

I won’t bore you with my story of how I came to be an atheist. It’s similar to so many others. I left Christianity searching for some truth. I explored other religions, found out none of them were true. I became an atheist. Education and critical thinking were the culprits.

What I do want to talk about is what atheism means. I say that atheism is a conclusion, not a belief. I don’t believe no gods exist, I have come to that conclusion through research and logic. It seems simple. No evidence for a god, whatever one you choose, would lead any skeptic to the same conclusion. The idea that multiple gods are worshiped throughout the world and each culture believes theirs is the true deity is evidence enough for disbelief. So why are believers so dedicated to their belief in a god?

I think believers, even those who aren’t fundamentalists, rebel at the thought that humans aren’t special. They want to think that the universe was made for the purpose of supporting human life, specifically a small group of believers in a particular god, theirs. I find this particularly arrogant and one of the worst harms of religious thought.

unique

The universe wasn’t made for us. We fit into this little corner of a huge, and mostly hostile universe because we won the evolution lottery, and that is a hard concept for deists to understand. The idea that we, as humans, are separate from this earth, from the rest of life on this planet, has led to abuse of life and the planet itself. The religious, even mildly religious, will deny humans are animals, that we are a species just like apes and butterflies. They want to believe humans are “special”.

Being separate from the rest of life, because of the mistaken belief that this planet and everything on it is put here to be ours for the taking has led us to overpopulation, drought, plague, war, pollution and climate change. We have a total arrogance when it comes to our place in this world. The religious believe that humans are not part of life, but above it because that’s what religion teaches. Religion says  we were put here to be masters of the earth, that the animals, the plants and the very rocks are human’s for the taking. It teaches that other life isn’t to be respected, but used. It teaches that humans are different from the other life on this planet, that humans are the only animals that feel, only human places count, only human life is important. That could be positive for our survival as a species, but religion further divides and deceives.

Religion teaches that only certain people, those who believe in their god, are important. They are the special ones, the chosen ones, the favored by the correct and true god and all others are false. We all know what differences in religions leads to. How many wars have been due to religious differences? Of course we call all see the absurdity of old fights in other lands about other religions, but never the absurdity in their own religious differences. Why the disconnect? Because they want to believe they are the special ones, the ones who have been given the gift of god’s favor in return for their faith and worship. Because they want to be special, separate, uncaring, unconnected, and not responsible for the treatment of this world and those in it.

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What is troubling about that thought is that believers miss the beauty of not being special. We, the human species, is part of this earth, related to every living thing on this planet. We are made from this earth, from the stuff of stars. We are part of the earth, part of life and part of the universe. How is that not amazing? If we would only think of ourselves as what we are, a human animal connected to everything on this earth, perhaps we could realize being special isn’t special. It’s a disability.

When we realize that we are a species, the human one, and we are all related, it changes the perspective. Humans are all we have, our survival and success as a species depends on helping one another, on taking the wide view and rising above religious differences. We need to understand and accept that we are part of this earth, made of the same stuff as this world, part of the amazing web of life that has evolved in this little part of the galaxy.

What is special, what needs to be protected, is life. All life is precious. We don’t know of any other life in the universe as yet. We hope that there is other life out there, but we haven’t found it. For all we know, life is rare in this mostly hostile universe and a planet such as ours is unique. We, as the human species of great ape, are a part of this haven of life, not apart from it. We have a singular opportunity to understand, respect and protect life and this living world, the only one we know of. We are special in that we, as humans, know all earthly life is connected. We know it’s a fact through our DNA research. What might be possible if we left our imaginary gods behind and instead looked to what is important, what is real, what is the basis of everything, life and the world that produced it? What if we believed in our connection to everything? What if we believed that the universe wasn’t made for us, that we were privileged to be part of it, connected to every other bit of the universe through the atoms that we’re made from, like every other thing we see, smell, touch or know of. But only we can say the words. Only humans can tell each other they are made of star stuff and know what that means.

No, we’re not special, we’re much more than that. We’re the universe learning about itself. We’re the stars expressing themselves. We’re part of the most amazing thing in the whole known universe, life. The best part is that this is not a statement of belief, but a statement of fact. Compared to what is real, religion seems so small.


Marcia Wallace is 65, retired and living with her husband and a dog and cat in Kalamazoo, MI. She is a former teacher, police dispatcher and travel agent, currently an artist. She is active in volunteer work for her neighborhood association and in an international medieval recreationist group.  She is a logical atheist, meaning atheism is a logical conclusion given the evidence or lack thereof for any deity at any time in history.

Freethought Friday

Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 2

For part one of Jennifer’s journey, click here.


 

We arrived home, shaken up, but alive, and went to bed. The next day, I told mom I had enough of this shit, and if we didn’t leave, someone was going to die, and I wasn’t kidding. She told me to be patient, and she had a plan – a remark that I had absolutely no faith in, but I nodded and told her she’d better follow through with it, because the situation with dad was getting so far out of hand that our lives were risk. A month passed before the plans actually fell through, which mom later told me was a tactic to assure that dad didn’t realize what was happening. She was on disability for a severe back injury she had suffered for over a decade, so every year or so, she had to be evaluated by a doctor to confirm she was still disabled. She told dad she had one of these appointments, so she and I were going to go to Texas so she could see her primary doctor. He didn’t seem to suspect any foul-play with this explanation, so it seemed things were going well. Mom gave me instructions to pack enough stuff to last us a while, but not too much that he would find it suspect, placing it little by little into the truck on the days before our trip. On the day we left, I couldn’t stop smiling. We loaded up into the truck, said our goodbyes to dad, before taking off. At some point between our getting in the vehicle, and pulling out the driveway, he seemed to realize we were leaving for good, and began to run after us like a madman. I turned around and gave him a nice, big smile, then waved like crazy at him. I never will forget the stunned look on his face. To this day it makes me giddy, which may be odd, but I really don’t care. I was free from the hitting, the degrading name calling, isolation, paranoia, and authoritarian household that had me in chains for my entire life. Things were looking much better, and I finally had a chance to be happy.

On the way, mom and I discussed many things, one being my doubts about god because of what we had been through. She assured me that god was still with us, and if he hadn’t been, we wouldn’t have survived or had one another. Now, he had given us the opportunity to be happy, and it was her and I against the world. I heeded her words, and thought she had a really good point. I never forgot when she said, “It’s you and me against the world…” I considered this evidence that god was real, and with us, holding us together against all odds and struggles. Such a wonderful new beginning! I prayed to god and thanked him for having helped us get away from the tyrant, and swore I would never doubt him again as long as he kept mom and I together.

After about 7 hours, we arrived at my granny’s house in Texas, which was exciting because I hadn’t seen her in years! My aunt was also living there to take care of granny after she had a stroke. It was so awesome to be around family again! Things were fine for a while, and I began school a couple of months after we arrived. It was scary to go to public school, since I had been homeschooled and isolated for so long. Lots of bullying went on, because I was socially odd, and didn’t quite fit in. All of that really didn’t matter much, as long as I knew mom and I were free and could spend quality time together. So I would walk home from the bus stop each day, expecting to see her there when I arrived, but for one reason or another, she rarely was. I would ask granny where mom went, and she said she didn’t know. At times my mom would show up, late at night with the smell of alcohol on her breath. I inquired where she had been, to which she replied she had been at the bar hanging out with friends she knew in town. This went on for about 6 months. Me going to school, and her arriving home late and drunk. I started smoking cigarettes at school due to the stress and lack of guidance at home. My granny caught me, and told me it wasn’t good for me. I asked her why it mattered? No one really cared. Then mom found out I was smoking, she pretended to be upset for a few months, but after a while, she began buying them for me, since she had begun smoking herself, and figured it would be hypocritical for her to tell me to stop rebelling in that way.

About January the next year, mom told me that she had found a place to live where dad wouldn’t find us, and it was a college town, so she had signed up for classes there. How wonderful! Maybe being away from her bar friends would allow for her to spend more time with me! I thanked god once again for helping us find a place, and giving us a real chance to grow closer together. I began school there, and actually started making friends. I loved the new place, but mom seemed very stressed when she was home, and on the weekends, of course, she still frequented various bars. She loved being back at college, and spent a lot of time studying, but we were fighting quite a bit. I began to feel as though she didn’t like me at all. It hurt my feelings, but at least she was actually there, and I had some friends to talk to. After her first semester ended, and to my utter dismay, she started spending more and more time at bars. By this time, I had turned 14, and was already quite rebellious and angry – especially after she brought home guys from bars that wouldn’t seem to go away. We had two different guys move in with us, one of which was a complete control freak that wouldn’t give me any privacy, and as ALWAYS drunk or high on something. One day, they left for the bar, and didn’t come back for a full month. There was barely enough food in the house for me to survive, and I had no idea where she had gone until she called me on the phone a week after they had left to let me know they were staying in Arkansas, and she didn’t know when they would be back, but would let me know. To say I was hurt by this would be a complete understatement. The woman abandoned me to vacation with a drunkard. I prayed and prayed for them to come home, at least before the food ran out. They finally did, so I assumed god answered my prayer, but there was still the matter of the additional drunkard flopping at our house.

 

He lived with us for 5-6 months, and after a couple of really bad, drunken fights between them, I advised mom to take that bastard back where he came from. She agreed, and he packed his stuff and they went back to his town. I waited for her to arrive back home until 3am, and to my utter dismay, she arrived with guy #2, whose name was Thomas. I was absolutely infuriated with her! I prayed to god that night that she would stop drinking. I pleaded with him, and bargained my life to him if he would just help me have a real parent that cared about me for once in my life.

A few days after Thomas had arrived, mom decided she wanted to vacation to Arkansas once again. I insisted that this time, they take me with them. She disagreed, saying she wanted to spend quality time with the guy she had just met. To my surprise, the guy agreed that I should go with them, and he was looking forward to the opportunity to get to know me as well. So off to Arkansas we went, and aside from my mom’s drunkenness, I actually had a good time! Thomas loved to drive FAST on the narrow highways alongside the mountains. It was exhilarating, and he was funny, smart, and quite an interesting character. One night after my mom had passed out, we spent some time talking about everything from life to music, only interrupted by the occasional animal that glowed their eyeshade with wonder at us as we tried to guess what species it was. I really liked this guy, and as I prayed later on that night before going to sleep, I thanked god for him coming into mom’s life, despite how they met. He actually was nice, and seemed to actually care about my feelings and well-being more than my own mom. Perhaps it would be a good influence for her, I thought.

To continue on to part 3, click here: Free-Thought Friday: Losing My Christianity: Part 3

General Information

Update: Weekly Format

So now that I have finished the entries to my journey, you might be wondering, where does this blog go from here? Never fear, this blog will still be chock full of daily content for your viewing pleasure. Entries will mostly follow a weekly format as described below.

Monday: Extra-Biblical Teachings/Crazy Christians/Strange Bedfellows
Tuesday: An Aspie In Iowa (Posts dealing with Autism/Aspergers)
Wednesday: Wednesday Woo & Strange Questions
Thursday: Arguments Against Atheism
Friday: Free-Thought Friday & Eat Me
Saturday: Something Different Saturday
Sunday: Satanic Sunday & A Pentecostal Atheist Bible Study

I will also write various posts as they come to me. I love writing and will continue to fill this blog with interesting tidbits that you might find both entertaining and informative.

Thank you so much for following this blog and for your continued readership, I appreciate each and ever one of your comments, your likes, and your questions. It has been a wild ride so far and I have loved every minute of it. You readers are fucking awesome!

Freethought Friday

Free-Thought Friday #3: Guest Bloggers Needed

For last weeks Free-Thought Friday, click here.

Free-Thought Friday is your chance to have your voices heard. I am looking for guest bloggers who something to say but maybe don’t believe they have a platform from which to say it. This article is all about you. Have something that you think fits any of the themes of this blog, let me know and submit an article. You can do that through the contact page on this blog or by contacting me either on Facebook or Twitter.

So what are some of the things that I am interested in? I would love to read about your journey away from faith or your life in general. Have something you want to rant about, this is the article to let you do it. Interested in sharing a story about your life, including maybe stories about your autism and how it has shaped your life? I’m interested in those stories as well.

Basically, if you have something that you think is important and needs to be said. Let me know and say it. I look forward to anything that you have and are willing to submit. Every time I read one of your stories I enjoy it and look forward to reading many more.

A few topics of interest:

Atheism
Agnosticism
Doubts
Former Faith
Autism
Asperger’s
Stemming
Sensory Overload
General Science
Physics
Evolution
Biology
Paleontology
Archeology
etc…

These articles are about you getting to have your say in the way you want to say it. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you!