Wednesday Woo becomes a podcast this week. I hope you enjoy it!
Suicidal thoughts are a serious issue and should be dealt with by the help of a psychiatrist and most likely medication. Let me just say that anyone who is actually considering this should seek help, and I do not want anyone to think I am making light of a bad situation. People who have followed this blog will know that my struggles with faith began with the suicide of my cousin. Please, if you are suicidal, seek help. Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Good Evening Heathens and Hell-Bound friends and foes alike. First off I would like to thank Genetically Modified Skeptic for providing me with the idea for tonight’s article. If you haven’t checked him out, please do so and definitely subscribe to his channel. Also, if you’d like to read the last article in this series, click here: Bad Theism: Angels
So tonight I want to talk a little bit about melodramatic bullshit. We’ve all seen this argument from time to time,
“If god didn’t exist there would be no reason to go on.”
It’s another one of those platitudes that theists love to use as an excuse for their continued belief, even in the face of mounting evidence against their claims. Well, tonight I’d like to tell you it’s absolute bullshit and if it’s true then these people already need psychological help.
Another great example comes in the form of a comment, posted on this brilliant video created by Genetically Modified Skeptic.
The video is obviously meant to be satire and just to have some fun with some of the arguments that apologists use in support of their claims. However, take a look at this comment.
I’m not even going to touch on points 1-3….ok maybe a little…I’m a glutton for punishment.
Point 1: Can you name one prophecy or miracle that is supported by actual verifiable evidence? Has any of your evidence been verified by the scientific method?
Point 2: According to your scriptures, is Satan able to create anything? If Satan cannot create anything then how could he create the concept of evil? Who created Satan?
Point 3: An Appeal to Authority doesn’t necessarily negate the argument given but only if the authority that you are appealing to has proven the point in a satisfactory nature, meaning provided verifiable evidence to back up the claim that you are attempting to defend. Since god has not even proven himself to exist with verifiable evidence, any appeal to his/or her authority can be automatically dismissed in an argument.
Now that we have that out-of-the-way, what I really want to talk about is the comments 4th point.
He’d kill himself?
All I did was quit the ministry and start blogging, perhaps I was doing it wrong???
Truth is, I really don’t think he would kill himself, and if you really want to know, I think he’s already on his way to becoming an atheist. I’ll let you in on why I believe that later.
When I was in high school I was in an incredibly abusive relationship. I didn’t have a lot of confidence at the time and so I put up with it. The main reasoning for this was that it was better than not being in a relationship, at least by high school standards. However, I could only put up with it for so long, and when I finally broke off the relationship, my ex said that she was going to kill herself. She did not and is still living today.
When I told my ex-wife that I was leaving, she told me that she would kill herself. Going so far as to shave her head and get herself committed. Once again, she is still alive and thankfully far away from me.
Here is what happens when the very religious begin to doubt the existence of god.
- You try to up your faith, praying more, fasting more, reading the bible more.
- These efforts fail.
- You get depressed.
- You get mad
- You either leave the faith or find some way to delude yourself even further.
Now I’m not saying there has never been someone who committed suicide after losing their faith. Depression can cause even the best of us to question the value of life, I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. However I’m still here.
Theists like to promote the idea that without god there would be no purpose to this life, but life is filled with a plethora of things to bring us purpose. I have numerous friends who are atheist and they all find ways to give purpose to their lives. Some are YouTubers, others are photographers, some are foodies, artists, musicians, sculptors, writers, podcasters. Many atheists are highly charitable and find ways to help others, giving back to their community and making the world a better place. They all live life with purpose and I would say that the majority of them are pretty content with their lives.
My cousin committed suicide just a week after he got saved in my church. God did not grant him purpose, he wasn’t filled with a blissful spirit that led him to embrace life. He took a shotgun, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Purpose is not found in god it is found within ourselves, in what we choose to spend our time and energy on.
Theists also like to claim that without god, we would all live in a chaotic world where murder, rape, and Justin Bieber dance parties would be the norm. I think Hitchens puts it best in the following video.
The idea that we can only have morality with god is preposterous. I would lay claim that I am much more moral, now, since I left the faith than I was when I was a still a minister and a believer. You want to know why I say this? It’s actually quite simple.
When I was a believer and I did something wrong, I would pray for gods forgiveness and then feel better. I no longer have that security blanket to make me feel better about the mistakes that I make. Instead, I simply try to not do anything that I should feel bad about later. If I do something that hurts another person, I don’t ask god to forgive me, I seek out the person and tell them how sorry I am for having hurt them.
Atheist in the Making
Lastly, do you remember when I said that I believe the author of the comment is already on the way towards atheism?
Well here is the case that I’d like to submit.
When I began to have my doubts I started acting even more religious. I fasted more, I prayed more, I read the Bible more, and I made idiotic comments online arguing for my faith. I was the worst of the worst when it comes to bad internet apologist trolls. I used every bad argument that you can think of in an effort to feel as if I was doing something good for god and that he would reward me by strengthening my faith.
I don’t think that I was unique in this aspect.
I honestly believe that a lot of people are like I was not so many years ago. Their faith has been waning for some time and so they are desperately doing anything they can in an effort to restore their faith. They sink deeper into their delusions and try their best to rationalize their faith in the most absurd of ways. They say that atheists have no purpose, no morality, and that without god they would kill themselves.
I know this, because I said this. When I was a theist I remember clearly saying that if I found out that there was no god, I would kill myself. I’d have no reason to live, no purpose, and I would choose to end it all. Life is a struggle and why would I put myself through this struggle if I didn’t know that I was on my way to heaven?
I’m still here.
My purpose is still to help others. I was a minister not because god called me but because I earnestly wanted to help people. I love causing people to laugh, making people think, and being able to be there when I am needed. Learning is my passion, I read voraciously and absolutely love a good documentary on just about any subject. I love my family and want to see my children grow up and have kids of their own. I want to grow old with my wife and enjoy her company for as long as possible.
My purpose is what I say it is, and that’s why I’m still here.
Many of the arguments that atheists receive come along the lines of this rationale…
“Okay, I get it, you’re an atheist, why don’t you just shut up about it and let me believe what I want to believe?”
Well, the reason I won’t shut up about it and why I write on this blog is that I wish we could get to a point where I didn’t have to talk about the topics that my blog entails. I’d be perfectly happy to write a blog about video games and movies. Hell, when I consider the amount of views I got for my blog about the Legend of Zelda, I could probably make a fairly good living writing blogs along those lines. However, we don’t live in a world where I could feel comfortable writing a blog about the nonsense that I do to entertain myself.
We live in a world…
- Where Religion threatens to invade education nearly every single day.
- Where Freedom from religion is not seen as equal to freedom of religion.
- Where Atheists are murdered on a daily basis simply for rejecting the god that their leaders say to worship.
- Where the vast majority of our elected leaders believe in an imaginary man who gave us a rule book, and they vote according to that rule book.
- Where the leader of the free world states that god is in control of things that we should take the reigns of and fix
These are just a few reasons why I write this blog. I’m not doing it to become famous, I’m not writing it because I have some grudge against religion, I’m doing it because religion has a grudge against anyone who does not adhere completely to their delusional worldview.
When I first set out to write this blog I did so for completely therapeutic means. I needed to get the story of my deconversion out there so that I could move past the hurt I was experiencing and the regrets that I had for following and promoting a faith that I now consider to be absolutely repugnant. This blog was my means of getting through the struggle of leaving the faith and finding my new voice in a life not controlled by an all-powerful being that was constantly watching and looking out for me.
What this blog has become is a voice for others who have shared the same journey that I once did. This blog has led me to start a group on facebook for recovering theists, the Clergy Project, it’s allowed me to help others find that same route. One day I awoke and was called an atheist activist and I nearly laughed before realizing that this is actually what I had become. I’m an activist not because I want to be but because that’s just what you become when you see a need and you do your part in the effort.
So if you’re reading this blog and wonder why I just don’t simply shut up about positive atheism and living free from delusions, the reason is simple…
I won’t shut up because you want me to.
This is going to be quite possibly the dumbest blog that I have ever written…
So this question is actually going to be in response to a blog that I found here on WordPress. To quote the blog:
“Atheists do not believe in God. Yet, I am pretty sure that if we suddenly found out that aliens invented the Earth and created the animals and humans and plants, they would be ok with it.”
Okay, so first I realize that the quote above is not well written or well thought out but let’s simplify it a bit…(How does something invent a planet?)
“If we found out that Aliens were responsible for creation, would atheists accept it?”
The answer to this is rather simple to be honest. If we found out, meaning we found verifiable evidence that pointed to aliens creating us then we would accept it. Now before you think you got us atheist folks, let me also say that if we found verifiable evidence of a divine or godly creation atheists would also have no recourse but to accept that as well.
The thing is in both scenarios there is absolutely no evidence of either a god or a superior race of aliens creating life here on earth. There is however a plethora of evidence that points to life coming about by natural means. We may not yet fully know exactly what started the life ball rolling but we do understand what the building blocks of life are and how evolution by natural selection then pushed the system forward.
Secondly….let’s just point out that if life were to have been started here by aliens that would not end the atheist/theist debate. It wouldn’t actually move the argument forward by a single inch because…
A.) Aliens are physical creatures and not divine.
B.) Theists would then be able to simply say that god created the aliens that created us.
See how this would in effect change nothing on how either group were to view the argument at hand?
So to answer the question in a simple way:
If we found RELIABLE EVIDENCE that was VERIFIABLE of either aliens or god, we would accept it as true.
Lastly I want to state that simply because something is possible it does not mean that it is also probable. To say that I do not believe in god or aliens is not to say that these things have absolutely no possibility of existing. It is to say, I see no evidence that points to that existence and so I see no need to live my life as if they do exist.
Maybe the universe is just one big unicorn fart? It doesn’t appear to be a big unicorn fart and so I won’t base my life around that idea but is it 100% impossible? Whoa to you who doubt the great unicorn asshole which granted us life and all the blessings of this earth…
Atheism once again simply means to be someone who does not believe in a god or gods. Outside of that anything is possible.
As Matt Dillahunty put it:
For the last Argument Against Atheism, click here.
Disclaimer: I often get people who simply read the title of this blog and get upset. This article is not written in support of the claim in the title but as an argument against that claim. I hope you enjoy it.
I spend a great deal of time reading theist blogs looking for ideas to use as future entries to this blog. The argument today is one that I have scrolled over simply due to the fact that I didn’t feel it was worth even talking about and yet the more I scrolled past these articles the more prevalent they seemed to become. So today I tackle the idea that atheists don’t believe in god because they are dumb.
Now this argument can come in a couple of forms which I will list now.
1.) Atheists are just dumb, or The fool has said in their heart that there is no god.
2.) Atheists deny reason and logic by denying the existence of god.
3.) The Devil blinds atheists to the reality that god exists.
4.) Atheists stupidly proclaim that there is no god while inwardly knowing that there is.
In this article I will attempt to debunk each of these claims.
1.) Atheists Are Just Dumb
First off I want to point out that it is possible to be an atheist and be dumb. Nothing about atheism claims to be endowed with a superior intellect than any theist. Atheists simply do not have a belief in god or gods. What this argument attempts to claim is that all atheists are dumb and it is simply due to our stupidity that we attempt to make the claim that there is no god.
From my own personal experience, the less informed I was the more theistic I found myself to be. That isn’t to say that theists are stupid, I am and have been known to have a good grasp of life and ability to reason. Throughout school I was almost always at the top of my class and have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. At the age of three I taught myself how to read and have been reading ever since.(This is not due to a higher intellect but in the fact that I have autism and reading is little more than pattern sorting)
However, when there were facets of my life that I did not question I was a theist. I was skeptical of all things outside the faith but in regards to my theism I left it alone. This might seem strange to some atheists who were never a part of a faith but it is perfectly possible to be rational and logical in all areas of your life but still hold an illogical and irrational view of faith. For example, I could tell you exactly why the moon landing wasn’t fakes, why vaccines are not harmful, or why reptilians do not control the world but I could not tell you why the belief in hell runs contrary to the belief in a loving god. My faith was off-limits to my critical thinking skills and I think that many believers find themselves in exactly this same state of mind.
Prior to becoming an atheist I started college. I will never forget an assignment that I was given in a critical thinking course. The professor asked that we write down a few things that we were absolutely certain about (With the exception being matters of faith), after that we were to rank these in certainty. Once we did this we turned in our papers and were told that our assignment was to write a paper based on the counter arguments to our most sincerely held belief.
My assignment ended up being an argument against the “American Dream.” I remember thinking to myself, how on Earth am I going to argue against the American dream. However, I sat down and began researching the American dream, in the end I an innumerable source of information on-line which allowed me to see things from a new perspective and I ended up getting an A on the assignment. It wasn’t easy to keep my personal bias out of the article but in the end I found myself fascinated with the idea that I could be wrong.
After that assignment the professor told us that we should use these skills for any strongly held belief. It is something that stuck with me throughout the rest of my college studies and eventually helped me in regards to leaving the faith. When the doubts started to mount but my mind clung to those beliefs for dear life, I began to question and research. It is through that research that I found the courage to leave the faith and I will always be thankful for the lesson that my professor taught me. Even though that professor was also a Christian minister. (PLOT TWIST!!!!!)
2.) Atheists Deny Reason And Logic By Denying The Existence Of God
This one is fairly easy to debunk and will require much less time and effort. For starters reason and logic both must be based on facts in order to be considered good reason and logic. Since the argument, “there is a god,” has no verifiable evidence to support such a claim it cannot be used in a reasonable and logical manner. You can however use bad logic in order to prove the existence of god but bad logic is never in any way reasonable.
All dogs have four legs.
Allgators have for legs.
Therefore all alligators are dogs.
It seems like a logical argument but the truth of the matter is that it is bad logic and completely unreasonable. Hitchens Razor states
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
What this means is that if you say god exists and yet provide no verifiable evidence for the existence of god then it is equally acceptable to say “I don’t believe you.” No evidence is required to prove that I don’t believe you since no evidence was provided to prove your initial claim. This argument against atheism is complete bunk.
3.) The Devil Blinds Atheists To The Reality That God Exists
So the next couple of points are really not debatable due to the fact that any argument counter to the claim simply feeds into the initial claim. However, being a glutton for punishment I figured that I would touch on these two points. The first claim is that the only reason that atheists cannot see the proof of god is because the devil has blinded them to the reality that god exists.
The only argument against this that I can offer is anecdotal and so it technically is not a good argument in and of itself but since the original claim is indefensible I will allow it….since I write the blog and fuck you if you don’t like it. lol
When I first started having my own doubts I begged and pleaded with god to prove himself to me. Not because I didn’t believe in him but because it would absolutely destroy me if he did not exist, or so these were my thoughts at the time. I spent countless hours reading the bible and in tear-filled prayer trying to regain the faith that I felt falling away from me. I fasted to the point of sickness and gave up anything that could even remotely be considered as sinful. I sought counsel from other religious people and hoped that something would bring the breakthrough that god was real and working in my life.
It was only after many failed months, that equated to a few years in total, that I finally accepted my newfound lack of faith. Remember, I wanted my faith to be real, I wanted it more than anything in the world. Every single morning I awoke hoping that god would reveal himself to me in some way. Expecting this is obviously not evil when in the Bible numerous people doubted god and were provided with clear evidence that god existed. For example, doubting Thomas had to actually stick his hand inside Jesus for him to truly believe that he had raised from the dead and yet this was not actually counted against him in terms of the faith. Doubt was not sin and expectation of gods revelation was not a sin either, I was an earnest believer hurting and struggling, yet god never once stooped down to even provide me with the slightest example of his existence. The devil never played a part in this…
I need only point out that the bible clearly states in the book of James:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
In my state of submission, prayer, and fasting the devil couldn’t have even gotten near to me if we are to believe what the bible teaches. Thus this argument is null and void even if it is not actually a debatable argument.
4.) Atheists Stupidly Claim That There Is No God, While Inwardly Knowing There Is A God.
Popular among apologists is the idea that atheists pretend to not believe in god while in reality they really do. Once again this is not actually a debatable argument since any argument against it once again feeds into it, but in the interest of this blog and my readers I choose to take a stand.
The only real argument that I can see which we can use here is how do they know that their god is the real one. A Christian apologist will use this argument to prove their theology and yet what is to stop a Muslim from using the same argument against the Christian. Isn’t the Christian just pretending to not believe in the Islamic god, while inwardly they know that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger? What is to stop the atheist from claiming the exact same argument in that the Christian pretends to believe in god knowing fully that god actually does not exist?
The true argument against this claim is that it is self-defeating. Absolutely anyone of any faith can make this claim with an equal footing. Perhaps there is someone who earnestly still believes in Thor, what is to stop him from claiming that everyone on Earth pretends Thor doesn’t exist knowing that he really does. I mean we have a whole movie series based around Thor and in a way this is a type of worship and adoration, so aren’t we all just pretending that Thor is non-existent?
The key reason that these claims are used is due to the fact that they are easy outs. A Christian or member of any faith can use these arguments without any need to defend them. They allow them to separate their minds further and allow that portion of the mind which deals with faith to remain fully sealed against skepticism. I found myself in this situation several years ago and I also found myself using these same arguments at the time. They are poor arguments and only truly point to the futility of attempting to prove that god exists.
Well, I just watched the Kansas City Chiefs blow an 18 point lead and lose a playoff game so in order to get my mind off of that I decided to jump on here and write my counterpoint to the article that I wrote a few days ago, The Fear of Heaven.
As stated in my last blog the only reason that I saw Heaven as a good alternative is due to my fear of hell. Heaven was seen as a boring and awful place but hell was definitely something to be shunned, wasn’t it? Well, the more I looked into the Biblical narrative the more I began to see the Christian idea of hell as nothing but a fear tactic used to do exactly what it had in my life. A place of eternal punishment, if you don’t take a moment to actually think about it, is more than enough to keep you in your pew on Sundays, paying your tithes, and doing the will of the church. In today’s blog I will discuss a few of my reasons for why hell is not a place to be feared and what’s more is a place that was never meant to be viewed in the way we do today.
Hell and the Old Testament
It comes as a shock to many Christians that the Jews did not have a definitive view of the afterlife. The Old Testament is based around the idea that if you follow god’s law, your life here on Earth will be blissful and blessed. The only real story that goes against this in the OT is the story of Job and yet in the end, due to his strong faith, he is rewarded with much more than he lost due to the trials that he was put through. (Although getting a new wife and more kids would never truly replace someone you lost, but hey that’s not a part of the story) You’ll notice when you read the Old Testament that when the Israelites followed god they had nothing but sunny days and more gold than they could handle, at one point it states that the wealth of Israel was so great that silver was as numerous as the rocks on the ground. When the Israelites turned away from god they would go through nothing but struggle and heartache.
The OT narrative is one of allegory and is meant to point out that if you are a good and just person, good and just things will happen to you, if you are evil then evil will happen to you. I know that in reality this is not the case but that’s the narrative the writers of the OT were attempting to promote. It was the same style of prosperity doctrine that I spoke of in my article Wednesday Woo: Christian Edition: Name It And Claim It.
In terms of the afterlife we find that the Jewish people were split on the idea. Some viewed death as going into an eternal sleep(Sheol), while others believed that their was a paradise in which the good entered but the bad were separated from.
Simple evidence of this claim is found in the book of Acts:
“For the Sadducees say there is neither a resurrection, nor angels, nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” Acts 23:8
Regardless of whether you were good or bad the Israelite’s had no concept of eternal punishment, the evil would be punished in this life having their kingdoms destroyed, their children die, or famine descend on the nation.
Hell Is Based On The Greek Hades
What might upset conservative Christians more than anything else is that their idea of hell comes from immigration, not necessarily of people but of ideas. The Greeks had a belief in the afterlife where the souls of the dead would go to Hades. When a soul entered the greek underworld they would first have to pay a fare for a ride to Hades, if they couldn’t pay they became a spirit roaming the earth, if they could they entered the underworld. Once there they were judged based on the merits of their past life. If they were good they were allowed to enter the Elysian fields, a place of bliss and happiness. If they were evil or simply because the gods did not like them they could be eternally punished.
The New Testament states that when we die we are judged, the believer gets to go to heaven and the unbeliever goes to hell where he will be eternally punished. This is nothing more than plagiarism of already existing ideas that would have literally floated or walked its way into Palestine by the time Christs ministry is said to have begun. The Middle East, being in the middle of everything, has long been a crossroads of trade routes between Eastern and Western cultures. Not only were goods traded but obviously at some point ideas were shared as well and so Christianity adopted a belief in an afterlife that was incredibly Greek in nature.
Most of Our Ideas of Hell Come From Dante
Once again borrowing from the Greeks, as well as the Romans, Dante came into the picture and fleshed out our idea of hell. In his “Divine Comedy” there is a section called Inferno, where he talks of hell and adds details to the various layers that one can find themselves in. Gluttons might be forced to eat for the rest of eternity, constantly throwing up their food and being forced to chew it back down again. A Murderer might find himself being constantly murdered throughout eternity in one way or another. However, his ideas of hell have almost no biblical backing whatsoever and were a work of fiction meant to describe the journey from and evil sinner to being within god’s graces. It was never meant to be taken as fact and yet throughout time the church has borrowed from Dante’s vision in order to add even more fear to the believers mind and keep them steadfastly in the good graces of the church.
Hell Would Be Really Boring
Now I know what you are thinking, what do you mean Hell would be really boring? It’s a place of eternal punishment where all manner of torture can be executed on the non-believer. How on earth could that be boring?
Well, it’s really simple actually. We experience pain in an attempt to keep us from doing things that cause us pain. The positives of pain being that if we know something could hurt us, we are less likely to do it, and more likely to survive. Ask anyone with congenital analgesia if they wished they could experience pain and I doubt that a single one of these people would say no. Pain heightens the senses and often initiates the instinctual fight or flight response, it is integral to life here on Earth.
So why would this lead to hell being boring?
A person existing in a world where there is no ability to prevent pain, where death is not a possible outcome of that pain, would have absolutely no need to experience pain nor could they. Since those in hell are eternal beings just like those in heaven, they would no longer have any concept of not being in pain and regardless of how much you turned up the pain meter it would mean no difference. You can test this out today, though please do not test this out… If you were to place your hand on a burner set to medium-high heat and were somehow able to keep it there, you would feel no difference in the pain were you to turn the heat up to high. Pain is relative to not experiencing pain, so once you have burned your hand, turning up the heat will do nothing to the pain level you experience. (Once again, please do not actually perform this experiment)
So, if you are in a state of torment and you couldn’t die, eventually you would realize this fact and go about your business as usual. Just like in heaven, an eternity in hell would eventually be incredibly boring, though at least there would be some fear which would probably prolong the boredom from appearing for a bit longer than it would in heaven.
Hell Would Get Really Kinky
Let’s use a common example that we see occurring all the time here in the physical world.
Sam was spanked as a child fairly often. He grows into an adult and gets married. One day while making love to his partner he asks if they will spank him and when they agree he is given extreme pleasure by the thing that he feared as a child. Lots of folks enjoy a good spanking and in a lot of ways it is due to some strange form of nostalgia. Not only this but both pain and pleasure are relative emotions and are based around one another. Between each spank you experience a moment of calm which increases the pleasure.
Another effect that many adults enjoy is the power of controlled poisoning. Alcohol, Nicotine, and narcotics used in the correct amounts bring about an extreme form of pleasure, even though they are in fact a form of poisoning. The more you use the poison the more your tolerance increases and what might kill a beginner might only provide the experienced junkie with a slight high.
So how does this equate to hell?
Well, lets say on Tuesdays you get a hot poker shoved up your ass and it’s slightly less painful than the acid bath that you have on Wednesday. Well over time, the slightly less painful nature of the hot poker up the ass would convert to pleasure and you would patiently wait for the demon with the hot poker. On top of this over time any torture would eventually become tolerable and it would require a higher dose of torture to even have any effect. By the time you get through a hundred thousand years or so you’d be walking around with thirty hot pokers in your ass, your eyes gouged out, and a demons dong down your throat to even realize that you were still alive. Even then you’d be bored.
Hell Is Simply A Fear Tactic
People don’t like sitting in church, they don’t like giving their money each and every Sunday because god demands it, they don’t like being forced to live a dogmatic life that for the most part makes no sense whatsoever. Know what people also do not like? Being afraid.
Hell has consistently been used to keep believers in place. While you might not like any of the things your church forces you to do you definitely don’t want to risk even the possibility of hell and so you continue to faithfully do all those things you hate. When I first started having my doubts countless people would ask, Aren’t you afraid of hell? The truth of this matter might be both shocking and sad. I do fear hell but not because I think it is an actual place.
I fear hell because I was told to fear hell. I was told in Sunday school as a 3 or 4-year-old that if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will go to hell. I was indoctrinated into a belief that there is an unseen place of eternal punishment where the vast majority of humanity would end up. I was told that even a single sin could send you to hell and that even sins that you didn’t realize that you had committed could send you to hell. Nightly, before going to bed I would ask forgiveness from god just in case I had done something that might send me to hell.
As illogical as it might seem, in the back of my mind that early trauma to my mind still exists. It prods at me and pops up at the strangest of moments. Maybe I’m watching a movie or reading a book and the thought, “This will send you to hell” pops into my mind. It’s something that I think will constantly be with me but at the same time I know that hell is nothing to truly fear. It’s a made up place meant to do nothing more than exactly what it does to my mind, instill fear. I refuse to let this fear bother me, I will not let it control my life as I did for many years and I will continue to say,
To hell with hell.
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.
Let me tell you a story…
When I think back to my childhood, a memory sticks out very clearly. It was a warm summer day. I was playing in the backyard in my sandbox. To my right stands a swing set, and to my left a large red shed. My parents walk out the back door with something in their arms, a puppy. I jump for joy at the thought of having a dog and my brother sits gurgling making some sort of weird noise since he wasn’t old enough to talk yet.
Now, why am I bringing this memory up? Because most of it my mind made up…
- The shed was green, it had always been green.
- I had no sandbox at that house.
- My brother wasn’t old enough to have been outside with me.
- My parents gave me the dog for Christmas.
Now, how on earth is it that I have a distinct memory in my head of a completely different set of circumstances? Even today it is hard for me to believe how wrong I was about all of the details of this story. I have no memory of it being Christmas when I received the dog, I still clearly remember a sandbox where there was no sandbox, and I can still see the red shed even though it had always been green.
The reason for this is that our memories are not actually that great. This isn’t a knock against the human mind but a truth that we remember what we actually need to remember and the mind fills in the blanks with what it believes to be the most likely scenario in any given situation. The important portion of the story that I related earlier is that when I was young my parents bought me a puppy. Everything else surrounding that memory was deemed unimportant to my mind and so it simply played fill in the blank with the rest of the story.
This leads me to bring up something that each of us experiences from time to time in our lives, Nostalgia. Now one of the more interesting points about nostalgia is that at one point it was considered a serious mental disorder. People who suffered from nostalgia had a deep longing for the past, so much so that it could bring about crippling symptoms of depression and anxiety. Today we no longer see it as a mental disorder but I still say that it can have devastating effects on those who choose to live life through the eyes of nostalgia.
I grew up in the 1980’s during the Reagan administration. My parents, being staunch conservatives, raised me to believe that America had never before been better, and never would be better, than it was during the 1980’s. The truth of this matter is a mixed bag. The world did experience the end of the cold war which led to peace of mind for many who had lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation, but at the same time homelessness increased, wages lowered, and the economy took a major hit due to the failed trickle down policies of that administration. Thus the bright and shining 1980’s for my parents was the dismal and dank 1980’s for my grandparents.
“Make America Great Again” was the slogan of the Trump campaign and it was based entirely on the Reagan campaign of the early 80’s. A certain group of people do honestly believe that we were once greater than we are now and if we can only retake the reigns of society and hit the brakes on progressive reforms we will once again see our greatness shine. However this is 100% based on nostalgic feelings for a time that never actually existed in American history.
This nostalgia centers around the idea that America once took care of itself. We produced everything we needed, our factories were filled with workers, and everyone made more than enough money to raise a family on. The truth though is that the time period Americans are attempting to seek out wouldn’t have existed if not for the rest of the world. By this I am talking about WWII and the decimation of factories across Europe and Asia. When the other industrial nations were digging out from a horrific war, American business boomed. The war never touched our soil and so it was easy to begin manufacturing enough for both domestic customers and abroad. Unfortunately for the American worker, Europe and Asia rebuilt their manufacturing capabilities and when that happened our labor force took a significant hit.
So are these folks who wish for a return to the past also wishing a return of a horrific decades long world war which leaves the rest of the world incapable of producing anything? I sincerely doubt that. However without the same circumstances we cannot hope for a return of manufacturing jobs, which highlights my point, we are wishing for a set of circumstances that never actually existed apart from just after WWII.
(Contrails left in the sky after the Battle of Britain)
Nostalgia can take on many other forms which lead the mind down dangerous paths. This on the sky when you were a child. What color is the sky? I would assume you think of a healthy shade of blue without a cloud in sight. Your mind doesn’t recall the contrails left by airplanes flying through the air and so you remember a clear and sunny sky. This leads many to make the claim that the government is using chemtrails to pollute the air, they will state confidently, “There weren’t any of these chemtrails when I was a child.” No, you don’t remember the contrails because your mind didn’t think they were important enough to remember.
Most of us have had the experience of breaking up with someone only to feel badly about the break up a few days later and wish it had never occurred. Maybe you were in an abusive relationship or know someone who was in an abusive relationship. You finally break free and yet for some reason we feel the need to reconcile with that person, knowing full well that things will not get better, but our minds attempt to trick us into believing that simply being with the person was better than not being with them. This is nostalgia once again playing its wicked games with us or the person you know who went through this.
It has been said that “The past can be a wonderful place as long as you don’t stay there.” While our memories of certain events can be false, the lessons we learn from the past can stick with us forever. We should learn from the past and not yearn to retake what we believe once was. Humanities hope is in the future, in the advancement of scientific and medical knowledge, in the way we see our fellow humanity. Let the past remain in the muddied waters of our minds and attempt to make the best possible future we can together.
For last week’s Wednesday Woo, click here.
This week, I want to do something different and more personal. Here’s the story of my journey from woo.
I had always felt like a misfit – as if those who surrounded me on this planet did not reflect who I was deep inside. This caused a lot of anguish for me, especially after I lost my mom to liver disease nearly a decade ago. She was the only one who even slightly understood me, and even her assessments were sometimes distorted. I was all alone in the world, and desperately felt like I needed to find support and comfort. There were a few friends in my life at the time, but none of them truly seemed to understand what I was going through. They didn’t call or check on me very often, and when they did, the concern didn’t seem genuine, so it was as if I were a burden. I felt abandoned, and as though I wanted to die. There was no luster to any of the things I used to enjoy. Depression had a firm grip on me, and the only motivating emotion within option was anger; seething anger toward everyone and everything. My family felt compelled to argue with me over silly things like where mom was to be buried, and why we didn’t visit as often as they felt we should have in the past. This created a further divide; expounding upon the depression and grief I already harbored.
During these times of darkness, I ran into a lot of financial difficulty. At the time of my mom’s death, I was attending a local university in order to obtain a sociology degree. Depression did not allow me to function for quite some time after her passing, so thinking on a higher level just wasn’t an option anymore. I had a child to support, so it was time to dedicate myself to working full-time instead. Finding ample work to satisfy paying bills and providing for child care was especially tedious. There was a lot of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kinds of tactics when it came to paying bills, and we ate a lot of ramen noodles. I ended up working at a fast food place, putting in as many hours as I possibly could. Still grieving, and in a state of isolation, despite the fact that I was in a relationship at the time, I put on a brave face, and pushed through each day. He had a wandering eye, couldn’t keep a job for more than a few months, and wasn’t really on my level intellectually. All of the financial responsibility was put on me, but at least he could babysit while I put in more and more hours. It wasn’t long until I got promoted.
One day, while I was hard at work at supervising a shift at the fast food restaurant, I saw my dead mother walk into the establishment. I knew I was hallucinating, and was really afraid, disoriented, and panicked. After having that experience, I decided that it was best to seek professional help. They diagnosed me as “bipolar” then swiftly put me on antipsychotics, which seemed to help, but also stifled some of the characteristics which I felt defined me. There had to be another solution, so I got online to research what was going on, and found some videos on YouTube describing how it wasn’t “bipolar” but an “awakening”. This shall forever be known to me as mistake number one.
My angst to find belonging, as well as my resolve to find tranquility, instigated a willingness to allow my sense of reasoning to fade, and to open my mind to anything that would make me feel better. I began watching more videos on YouTube, including Teal Swan and Spirit Science, then decided that what I need to make my life better was to find enlightenment, which was, from what I had heard, the only pathway toward the peace I required. This opened the social floodgates for me, as I joined enlightenment and esoteric groups. I found myself with lots of friends who sought the same sort of relief from the ails of life. Suffering was what brought us together, and made us question absolutely everything about the reality in which we live. We talked about astrology, tarot, astral travel, aliens and who or what controls reality constantly. Oddly enough, despite all the discussions, I was afraid to disagree with people, even if what they said was something I knew was absolutely wrong or unfounded. All that mattered was getting along, and growing my social circle so I could feel I belonged somewhere. The problem was, I still didn’t really feel like I had found my “tribe” quite yet. There was something missing. My relationship wasn’t working, and by this time, I felt confident enough to leave him, and reunited with my long-lost love, Matthew. I was so happy to be with the one person I knew would really understand me, and felt at the time that it was god/the universe who had granted me that privilege.
Being a peaceful, loving pacifist, who considered all reality to be a creation of a shared mind, I thought all opinions were equally valid. That is until I joined a Gnostics group and saw some posts about how Earth was flat, and the holocaust didn’t happen. This provoked the skeptical side of me, which led me to question the people who I was associating myself. Having been raised fundamentalist Christian, I recognized some of the same tribalistic and anti-science rhetoric from my childhood. I couldn’t help but be bothered by this, so I began researching things people said and shared online to find the truth. It took some time and effort to do this, but it was worth it to truly know if what I was told and personally believing was true. I began to say, “No, that’s not true,” more often, and it no longer bothered me if people liked my evidence or not. It wasn’t merely about appeasing people so they would stay friends with me, but rather what was moral or scientifically proven. It helped a lot that I have a Matthew, who is also a skeptic, and never was convinced by my New Age beliefs, no matter how much I tried to convince him at the time. He questioned me often during discussion, which really highlighted the flaws of my logic. I am forever grateful to him for that.
One by one, my New Age beliefs came tumbling down. After a while, I started to see some major flaws in my initial attempt to escape reality. It was difficult to avoid when I gazed into the reflection of others who believed as I did. One thing in particular made me quite angry at the belief system, was seeing a friend get outraged because someone posted a video of the Syrian gas attack. This person was only upset because it disrupted their “good vibes” that day, not at the horror or injustice of seeing children suffer by the hand of a cruel dictator. I couldn’t even begin to fathom a lack of empathy on this level. That’s when I decided the entire ideology was merely an escape from reality, and a disgusting one at that. There is absolutely no moral compass in someone who would rather deny reality, and a sense of right and wrong, for a conclusion that only makes them feel better.
While I may be a misfit, and a now a skeptic, I still have found some companionship through seeking to understand reality as opposed to escaping it. It’s a much better place, since I don’t have to pretend to agree with everything for the sake of offending others. I can finally be accepted for the contrarian being I am, and while it’s not easy, it is worth the effort. I love science, current events, social dynamics and studying the human mind. These are the subjects I find joy in discussion now, as opposed to aliens and astrology. There is so much more to learn and strive for in reality, and I don’t have to make-believe in order to find peace, happiness, or understanding.
For last weeks Atheist Bible Study, click here.
If you would like to follow along with today’s study read Genesis Chapters 5&6
So today’s study starts with a bunch of genealogy from Adam to Noah. Why do we need this stuff? Maybe just to point out who got laid? It’s really more a way to say that lots of people existed by the time of Noah, lots of wicked and evil people…
This chapter begins with a bunch of horny angels, seeing just how sweet the women on Earth are and so they take some and impregnate them. The result of these unions are, of course, giants. God gets pissed off because he didn’t remember giving the angels sex organs to begin with. If anyone is going to impregnate a woman, it’s going to be him, but that won’t be for a couple thousand years… It then says that these giants became the men of older myths, which ones? Who knows, but anyway these half angel, half men, were like hercules.
Now for some reason God gets mad at man, even though he wasn’t the one having sex with angels, and limits their lives to 120 years. He’ll then immediately break this in later chapters but God’s kinda forgetful about his decrees and shit. So man looks at his 120 years and things….this is not enough time to do all the fucking and debauchery done…so man turns their sin on overdrive and gets busy. It states…
“The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” – Genesis 6:5
Now, you might ask yourself at this point. When did god lay out the rules for what was good and what was evil? How could man have any idea on what was sinful and what was good for them to do in the sight of god? Pleasure makes us feel good and pain makes us feel bad so perhaps humans were using this as their guidelines at the time. They had no rulebook, no commandments, it seems like god hadn’t even talked to anyone for several generations, so maybe they assumed that god had been a figment of their ancestors minds?
Yet, god is pissed that they are doing things that he doesn’t like. Instead of simply showing up, like he did numerous times before, and telling them to stop it. He decided that mass murder is the much better and more holy option. Not only that but he decides that he hates man so much that he’s just going to kill everything, and I mean everything…
So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” – Genesis 6-7
Take that you fucking platypus, screw you cow, go to hell salamander…God is pissed at man so you gotta go too! Who knows, maybe angels saw the sheep and did with them as they had with the human women? I mean is that any worse? Angels and Humans are different species or being as it is so maybe angels were just busy fucking anything that their light penises could penetrate?
Anyway, so it says God decided to kill everything, ….
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. -Genesis 6:8
It goes on to say that Noah is a righteous guy, who walks with God. How is he righteous? Who knows? Once again there is no rule book or guidelines, so we are to assume that Noah was just really lucky.
So anyway, the next section says that God goes to Noah and says…
“Hey, Noah… I am really pissed off at man and I don’t like how violent man is!” Noah nods and then god goes on and says, “So since they are all so violent I’ve decided to kill them all…”
Now, why at this point does Noah not ask if god understands the difference between a little violence and complete genocide, but he doesn’t. God then tells Noah to build a boat and it has to be to his specific standards. Since we now have a representation of such a boat in Kentucky and can say conclusively that this boat would never float, Noah should have been skeptical. Seriously a wooden boat this large would be torn to shreds by the action of the waves.
Anyway, god gives Noah all of these directions about the boat and then tells Noah he has to get 2 of every animal in order to save them from the flood. We will find in a later chapter that god actually wants Noah to take 7 of every clean animal and 2 of every unclean animal. Now just remember this because there is no rule book yet for Noah to know what a clean or unclean animal is. As far as we know, according to scripture, man is still subsisting on a vegetarian diet, not being given the ability to eat meat from god yet. So clean and unclean would be absolutely meaningless to Noah.
Anyway it then says that Noah does everything that god commanded him to do. That’s what you do when an omnipotent being threatens the entire world with murder, you get shit done and do it as fast as possible. It’s not like Noah had any choice in this matter, it was either do it or die…How’s that for Free-will?
Now, a question you might ask yourself here is why would god need to flood the earth in order to kill everything?
Isn’t this a being that simply spoke creation into existence? Couldn’t he just have easily spoken creation out of existence? If he wanted to start over with Noah, then he could have just as easily said, “Humans, be gone except Noah and his family. Animals, be gone except enough to repopulate.” Yet, no, the only way he can do it now is through mass murder. God’s gotten kinda lazy by now and I guess has forgotten that he is capable of speaking things into or out of existence.
So now, how is this taught in the churches that I’ve attended?
Well for one, it is never mentioned that god hadn’t actually set any rules for man at this point. It is often assumed that anything in the old testament is under the old testament law, and yet that supposedly hasn’t been written yet. So none of the people before the flood could have been said to be breaking any rules that had been set up by god.
The other thing that we are told is that, once again, the sins that the people were said to be committing was homosexuality. It seems that no matter what the story is, fundamentalists will inject a healthy amount of butt sex into it. What does that tell us about fundamentalists? Anyway, there is nothing to point to this in the story yet many Pentecostal ministers will point to this story as being the eventual effect of rampant homosexuality. This is also where fundamentalists get the idea that natural disasters are explicitly due to the sins of mankind and in no way due to anything natural. It’s dumb but it’s true that many teach it this way…
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the first part to this story and will stick around for future developments in Noah’s weird relationship with god. This is the first story with a bit more narrative and explanation, so the writers of the bible are getting better, it just took some time. Thank you for reading.