Deep Thoughts · The Diary Of My Mind

Deep Thoughts: Why Am I An Activist?

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.

world

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.

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Something Different Saturdays

Something Different Saturday: More Human Than Human

You can thank me later for the great flashback to some classic White Zombie but today I want to talk a little bit about humanity. To be more specific I want to talk about those people who want to transcend their humanity and become something that’s better(?) than they currently are today. I’ll discuss some of the reasons that I see for this want of a better existence, why it’s not a healthy mindset to have, and how being human can already be pretty damn great.

Why?

So the first thing that we need to talk about is why someone might want to leave humanity behind.  The truth is that life can be pretty awful at times. We deal with disease, war, death, injury and all sorts of Kardashian bullshit. Life can be pretty damn depressing at times and when you are in this state of mind you might seek a way out and one popular way out is to imagine that this life is not the only one.

Let me list a few things that I was going through when my faith was at its peak.

  1. An Awful Marriage.
  2. A debilitating nerve issue which made walking nearly impossible.
  3. A job that sucked
  4. Lots and lots of stress

And so with this in mind I would consider that this life must simply be preparing me for something better. If I didn’t have something to look forward to then why would I even bother continuing on with this shitty life? If you think my story is unique, think again, time and again I have spoken with other former ministers who had the same set of circumstances going on in their life. Now I’m not saying that you cannot be a happy person and faithful, you can. What I am simply pointing out is for you to truly dwell on wanting to transcend humanity, your life has to be bad enough that you want to leave this world behind.

Going with the first reason I laid out is the feeling of being powerless. Maybe you have no clear ability to change your current life situation and so you believe that if you could simply transcend this world you would be able to exist in a powerful and fully in control state. Perhaps this comes in the form of a blissful heaven that exists somewhere after this life? It could come in the form of transcending humanity and becoming pure conscious thought. Maybe it’s integrating your mind into some form of technology that would allow you to do all the things you have always dreamed of doing but were too scared to try.

Lastly, maybe you just don’t like people…

I don’t personally like people. Being autistic and not knowing it means that I lived for over 30 years of my life without the knowledge of why I was so different from everyone else and thought that if I could just figure out the right things to say and do I could be normal just like everyone else. This led to an intense hatred of humanity. I saw my fellow human beings as idiots who were here to be little more than an annoyance to me as I tried my best just to get through life.  This led me to the desire to escape from this reality and was probably one of the biggest draws that religion had. Once in heaven there would be no pain and so I would no longer feel the pain of being the odd one in the group, I would be normal just like everyone else.

Why is this not healthy?

So let me tell you about something that happened today. I took my family out to dinner at a local establishment. We sat at what looked like a quiet table and ordered our food. Not long after sitting down I realized the massive mistake we had made.

Two women sat beside us having a discussion about a sick friend that had recently passed away. Soon their topic moved on to religion, then psychiatry, then every little fault about every single person they had ever known, making sure to point out exactly why they were better than those people and how it was god that made them these superior beings. You might be saying…why were you listening? I tried not to but one of the women wa so boisterous and mind numbingly annoying that there was no possible way to not hear every single damned word that came out of her mouth, dontchaknow?

lex

Now why do I mention these women? I mention them because of how sad their lives must be. They are incapable of enjoying life and instead spend their time looking down on everyone that they see as sinful or even a little bit different. That is exactly what this mindset breeds and it is no wonder because at its core it is nothing but a cheap form of delusional narcissism. The only thing that these women take joy in is that their god loves them and has set them apart to be superior to their fellow human beings.

Strangely enough they must have missed this scripture…

“Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.”
-Proverbs 6:16-19

So the reason that this type of mindset is not healthy is because it prevents you from enjoying the life that you already have. When you spend your time attempting to get to the next world or the next state of evolution you will ultimately miss out as this life passes you by. However, you’d never hear a complaint from these people because the more they miss out on and the worse their lives get the more they will extol the virtues of your superior lifestyle. Your delusions must grow in comparison to the life that becomes less and less satisfactory which leads to even more self-ostracizing from the people around you.

Being A Human Is Already Pretty Damn Great

Look at the animal kingdom and tell me of a single species that has developed music, art, poetry, literature, medical science,  automobiles, space travel, the internet, etc…. Only a single species on earth can lay claim to these things and that is us, humanity. We have, at our fingertips, every work of fiction and non-fiction that has ever been written. We can enjoy Mozart and Bach. In the western world, even the poorest of Americans can still enjoy more leisure time than at any other time in history.

To put it simply, being a human is awesome. We are the thinking man, Homo Sapiens. Though our mental powers we have risen above our nature and progressed as a species in ways that no other species on earth ever have. In the history of this planet humanity is nothing more than a blip on the map and yet look at all that we have been able to do in the 100,000 or 200,000 years that our species has existed. Think of how much further our species might go in the next thousand to two thousand years if we put our minds together and put our superstitions in the past where they belong.

Now, it is possible though not probably that there is another life after this one. Maybe you will exist in a better form than you do today and I will be completely wrong, but…if it isn’t and you waste this life attempting to escape from it, you’ll be none-the-wiser but a life will have been wasted and that to me is truly sad.

 

The Diary Of My Mind

Nostalgia: How I Wish It Could Be Like It Never Was

Let me tell you a story…

red shed

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
(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.

The Diary Of My Mind

Magical Thinking BS

So I thought I would jump on here and talk a little bit about something that has really been bothering me lately, magical thinking. Magical thinking is a means of elevating your own status in an effort to give a higher purpose to ones life, however, from my own experience it tends to lead people down a path to depression, sickness, and alienation from reality. In this article I’d like to touch on what magical thinking is, how it is harmful, and how one can still find purpose and joy in a life free from this style of thinking.

Magical thinking takes on many form. Many religions teach that this world in which we live is really just a proving grounds for a better life in the hereafter. Christianity also has the “Name it and claim it” crowd which teaches that if someone wants something bad enough and has faith enough, then they will ultimately be granted their want. Other forms of magical thinking include belief in “the secret,” past life fantasies, believing oneself to be an “empath,” karma, synchronicity, and many, many, others.

The key aspect of all of these beliefs is that they allow a person to believe that they are more, or superior, to the others around them. Spend any amount of time in an “enlightenment” group on Facebook and you will quickly see what I am talking about. Thousands of voices speaking about how they have reached a stage in enlightenment which only they can guide others toward. One of the funniest things you will find is that the majority of these “enlightened masters,” will claim that one must remove all aspects of ego from your life in order to reach this state,  however, what could be more egotistical than to claim that you are an enlightened master?

So why do people fall for these beliefs? As stated above, it allows a person to believe they are more than the average man or woman, and in this way they feel special. If you haven’t noticed, life can suck at times. It is in those times that we feel the worst that we are most susceptible to magical thinking. My personal conversion to Christianity came at a point when I thought that life couldn’t possibly get any worse. I could try to make my way through life or I could become a “child of god” and gain a heavenly home for myself free from all care and worry when my life ends. Simply put, it feels great to delude yourself, at least for a time, and so many are drawn into this type of thinking.

The problem in this lies with the fact that delusion can only stand if you continue feeding it. Over time, these delusions will grow and what once seemed ridiculous will now be accepted as truth. To bring my personal story back into this, my own faith grew from Christian, to minister, to healer, to prophet, to my ultimate downfall and the crushing reality of all the time wasted on these harmful ideals. Now some might say, what harm is there in allowing folks to believe whatever they want to believe?

The harm comes from the futility of these beliefs and how fragile they actually are. Many will claim that god or a force in the universe is all-powerful, can do anything, and all we have to do is remove every aspect of our humanity in order to reap the benefits of this god or universal force. When one fails to receive these gifts, it is seen as due to a lack of faith, bad karma, or that you have been too judgmental and not accepting enough of the universal will. What these feelings ultimately lead to is depression and the one thing which will pull any delusional person out of a depression is a deeper and more fantastical delusion.

In my short time in this world I have met numerous people who believe themselves to be aliens, claim to communicate with rocks, pray to unicorns, claim they can kill me with a hex, angrily condemn me for not being open to the idea of a flat earth, alien seeding, or that all the governments of the world are working together to destroy our ability to ascend to a higher plane of existence. What I have found within the depths of these beliefs is a deep sadness, a longing to find purpose where no purpose is found, a need to hide the scars of their past, and an anger for the life that they find themselves in. Find me an “enlightened master” and I will show you a human that has grasped at life for so long and felt so alienated by the world that they believed they had no choice but to delve deeply into a comforting delusion.

There is good news, though maybe not as good as some would hope. Taking off the mask of delusion that you built up for so long is not a pretty process. It involves pain, heartache, and many setbacks. Over time though you will find that life is a wondrous place filled with joys and experiences to fill a thousand lifetimes. Life will also suck at times, you’ll go through rough times and it will be up to you to bring yourself back out of it, but it is possible.

In the last several years since my deconversion, I have gone through some very rough patches. I’ve experienced depression, anxiety, fear of the unknown, and all sorts of calamities, yet I’m still here. I enjoy life and have found other ways to deal with life issues when they hit. No longer do I turn to magical thinking and a belief in something greater that will rescue me from my life, it’s all up to me now and I am doing it.

We all want to feel special and that life has some purpose yet the truth is, we are all organic matter. We are born, we live, we pass on our genes, and then we die. In order to live life to the fullest we all must find ways to add purpose and this is our greatest strength. God didn’t cure polio, a man did. The universe didn’t invent the pacemaker, we did. Literature doesn’t write itself, men and women do. Mountains are climbed, great leaps in technology and medicine are made, the chains of slavery have been broken, women attained rights, and humanity is the central character in all of these. We’ve driven animals to extinction and brought species back from the brink of that same fate. Life is what we make of it and so far humanity has done a pretty damn good job.

For thousands of years, a simple case of the stomach flu would almost surely mean death. God, the universe, and karma were completely powerless to stop the ravages that plague committed with mankind and yet we stopped it. We worked towards a goal and now the flu generally means a couple of missed days at work, some medicine, and plenty of fluids. We live in a wonderful time that our ancestors would have seen as completely magical, yet reality brought us to where we are and reality is what will take us into the future.