I was born to a mother the age of 15. She had her issues, but who doesn’t when you have a kid at 15. That’s a lot of growing up to do really fast. I can criticize her, you can’t, so don’t. She did her best, but times were tough. Growing up for the first 10 years of my life my two grandmothers made sure I was taken to church or made to go to church. We were Baptists. At a very young age, I was baptized in our small church. After moving at a young age, I stopped attending my small country Baptist church and went to a non-denominational Christian church. I learned the Bible. I learned of God’s love and forgiveness. Mind you, my grandmothers weren’t overly religious, but they wanted me to know who God was. I will always be grateful for that. Those early years would have been much more difficult without those who were kind in church and school. On a side note, as I got older, I learned teachers were kinder than those in my church and began spending more time in school than church.
The idea of being able to pray and things would eventually get better was a huge draw for a kid who grew up on welfare, food stamps, some unsavory types in the home and some sadness inside me that I never understood (and still don’t). It’s funny because I have specific memories of being a child and wondering why my prayers were never answered.
The church gave me stability. I liked what we were taught about Jesus and that he believed that all people should be treated the same. I wasn’t by most people. Everyone looked down on me, even as a child. Kids were mean because we were “trashy”. Adults, on average, looked down their nose or talked about my mother like I couldn’t hear it. Despite all the things we were told Jesus taught, it never seemed like anyone believed it because of how they talked about and treated us. None-the-less I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be better than I was. Everyone looked up to clergy of whatever faith they belonged, so I decided I wanted to be a minister.
MY MOTHER WORKED. But having a kid at 15 meant you dropped out in those days. Dropping out means low wage jobs. My mom struggled. As a boy I watched my mom cry. I cried with my mom. I watched my mom sleep from working and struggling with mental illness, and I wanted nothing more than for her to be awake to spend time with us kids. There were Men. She needed love like any other person, and often she found the wrong kind that only hurt her and us. There was substance abuse. When you combined the men and the drugs and alcohol things got really ugly. The physical abuse was mostly to my sister and I, but on occasion my mother got it too. She was mostly verbally abused though. There were a lot of bad things. My point is it was tough for everyone. I only see that now looking back, I blamed her for so long. She did her best, AND I AM ALIVE because of her.
Life got harder and harder. I prayed every night and usually many more times during the day. Nothing ever improved. In middle school the abuse came to a head and praying and talking to our preacher wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I went to my grandmother who reported it to the police. We were removed from my mother’s custody. Eventually she lied and pretended to get her act together as well as going to NA meetings, so a judge granted her custody again. She had finally found a man she was sticking with, at least for a while. The problem was he had the worst drug problem of all and had been one of the most abusive.
I was always an outcast. As I got older, I knew I had to hide who I was. We moved and I took the opportunity to start hiding who I was. I didn’t let anyone know they type of family I came from. I dressed up (like with a tie). I liked nerdy things. Maybe I took the things I learned in church too seriously because I really loved people. I thought I needed to know every person as well as I could. I wanted to be able to help them in some way, though it always ended up making me look like a kid with some crazy issues, which is what I guess I was. When it came time to like girls, well that was an even bigger mess.
Life all changed in High School though. I had been portraying myself for some time now as coming from a normal family and did my best to speak and dress better than I was. I developed an entire persona and even became good at adapting who I was to the group I was hanging around with at the time.
I got my first REAL girlfriend my freshman year. That made me feel like I had abandoned my beliefs and became selfish. Yes, I ended up having pre-marital sex in high school. Needless-to-say, I had a crisis of faith. I met a new preacher and focused on things with him, I began a much more intense Bible study. At the request of that preacher I became more involved and got baptized again. The more time I spent with this preacher and his family, the more churches I attended. I met a lot of people, some my age, some adults. I quickly saw they hypocrisy of it all. The bible itself was so hypocritical. One place it told us to be bigots, the masters of slaves and to stone to death most anyone for any minor crime and then the new testament told of God’s love and forgiveness. We learned not to judge others, but that is exactly what happened with everyone in these churches. I would have extensive conversations with many clergy about these contradictions. The best answers most could give is that we must strive to be better. When it came to the bible there was always this B.S. about the new testament basically voiding the old, other than the parts that were convenient to whatever narrative was being preached at the time. The biggest change was that I had started learning other religions in History Class. I was intrigued by what I had learned and began doing additional studying on my own.
I began to question things, and the answers I got EVERY time were ambiguous. I got to thinking about Prayers. I had been praying my whole life. I sat with a notebook and made a list of things I could remember praying about. At times they were childish things I wanted. There were people I prayed for, guidance, myself, my family, material things, food, and at least four things that if granted I would consider complete miracles. Not a single thing I could think of had ever been answered.
My Grandpa always said, wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills up faster. Well at that point I realized prayers were wishes that no one was answering. On a personal level, I realized that if there was a god, he had never in anyway been there for me.
After my sophomore year in high school, I tried to kill myself for the second time and was committed to a mental institution for a summer. Upon getting out I told my mother she would have to sign emancipation paperwork, or I would make sure I didn’t fail the third time. I explained I was going either way and would no longer be her burden. She seemed pleased with the idea and signed the paperwork in front of a notary at a local bank.
There was a woman who was a second mother to me who had also helped me make it through High School. She is a devout Christian and I know she would say God sent her to me. If he did, then that is the one time in my life he has been there for me, but I don’t buy that. That was a very good woman who went so far above and beyond, not God.
During my final years in high school, I realized through a wide variety of ways, there was no god. I had learned so much from my own experience and what I had learned from studying these religions throughout history. There were thousands of religions and if you went back to the beginning of time it increased exponentially. Out of the thousands, did it make sense that only one was correct? They couldn’t all be correct. Really, the way they were each so strict about their beliefs, only one could be correct. However, there was a possibility which made much more sense. I hadn’t been praying to the wrong god all my life. There was no god. It made much more sense that all of them were wrong.
Religion was behind nearly every conflict and evil deed in history. Nearly every war had at least a religious undertone, but for most it was straight up the cause. There were the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, I won’t even get started on the middle east. Then there are all the groups who are religious in some way but do evil things in its name. There is the KKK, Islamic Jihadists, anti-abortion murderers, the churches that protest at soldiers’ funerals and harass their families, Christian anti-gay hate groups, catholic priests who molest children and I could literally go on and on.
I didn’t fully lose my faith though until about 2010. I bounced back and forth. I tried so hard to hold on. The more I saw in society and reflected on my own life I couldn’t see it. In 2010 I really started seeing things in this country that made me even want to lose my faith in mankind. Racism was making a big comeback, or so it seemed. People who espoused to be Christians not only weren’t holding to the values of their faith, they used that faith as an excuse for the hate they were pushing. They were so pro-gun, so pro-death penalty, so ant-charity and the worst one of all was they were totally not accepting of anyone different than they are. Jesus would never be pro-gun or pro-death penalty. I am a believer in the 2nd amendment, but this was too extreme. Jesus was the ultimate socialist, but suddenly Christians were vilifying anyone who wanted to see the rich help the poor. The idea of social justice or socialism of any kind was now being portrayed as an evil Nazi scheme.
There are also those who want to change the country I love into a “Christian Nation”. This country was intentionally created with a separation of religion and government. The first amendment is first for a reason. Yet, these groups want to change it all. They started in the 50s by lobbying to change our national motto from “e pluribus unum” to “in god we trust”. Our original motto was never codified. It was just accepted since it was not only created by the founding fathers, but it TRULY put into words what our country was about. Out of many, one.
Those same groups want to and have tried many times to put the Ten Commandments on the steps of our courthouses but speak out about sharia law as an evil proposition. The truth is that neither have a place in a modern government! Christians are the first to criticize the Islamic religion. Islam is so like Christianity it’s practically a copy. The difference is they have held on to the old ways for much longer because they still have countries that are ran by their religion.
I respect the rights of others to believe what they want, no matter how silly I might believe them to be, but I draw the line when someone pushes their faith on me or degrades my beliefs.
Christianity is so full of hypocrisy that it literally makes me angry.
Yes, it’s harder to go through life not believing there is a magic place I get to go when I die. It sucks not believing there is some mystical magical man in the sky who is controlling everything, and I have nothing to worry about. The fact is, that it isn’t true though, so I refuse to believe. I am a moral and ethical person, and I don’t have to be threatened with eternal damnation in order to be so.
It’s arrogant and disrespectful for a Christian or any other religious person to push their faith on someone who has their own beliefs. ESPECIALLY when that person specifically states their desire not to be preached to about it.
Now if someone wants to have an educated debate about their beliefs and mine, I am open to that, but if you can’t do that without getting angry and defensive about it, you should just keep your magic beliefs to yourself.
Then there is the historical and physical evidence not to mention the logic.
So many religions have variations of the same stories. The Bible though, is a book that was written to be so vague that you can interpret it to mean whatever you want it to mean. Christianity has been the justification for so much violence and war. There are so many miracles, plagues and other crazy things in the bible that can be explained by science or history as primitive men not understanding their surroundings and blaming or crediting God. There is also the fact that religions have been used and were likely created for the additional purpose of control over populations. Monarchs and nobility have always been said to have been divine-right. The catholic church capitalized on this even more by creating the Pope which is their worldwide reaching monarch who is supposed to have a direct channel to God. Additionally, the Catholic church and many others have tried very hard over the years to stifle education of populations, only allowing clergy to obtain knowledge. They also controlled what knowledge was real and what was heresy going as far as to kill or imprison scientists, explorers and many others. This allowed the control of the masses. The goal was to make the average man go to his clergy for all decisions, thus making every decision in every life controlled by the church.
Then there are the absurd claims, like talking animals and all the magical supernatural crap.
I have decided that I am a Deist. I will explain further in a moment, but I first have to say that when I first came across this belief structure, I was so excited because it was the belief system of Washington, Jefferson and many other founding fathers and free-masons. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have such a love for my country and its origins. These men are the equivalent of prophets to me. I have literally knelt in awe at the tomb of George Washington. I can only imagine, but I presume it is a similar experience to that of a Catholic visiting the Pope or St. Peter’s Basilica. It was truly spiritual for me.
So, Deism is can be defined in two different ways, but the way being use here is as follows: A system of belief which posits God’s existence as the cause of all things and admits its perfection and the existence of natural law and Providence but rejects divine revelation or direct intervention of God in the universe by miracles. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator or absolute principle of the universe.
So, in my case and with everything I have been able to find and read about Washington and Jefferson, I believe there is something more beyond me which I can’t fully comprehend, but I refuse to claim to know anything more than what there exists empirical evidence for. I believe in a battle between good and evil. I also believe that in that battle for it to exist in this universe that there is a certain balance to things, including good and evil. Every now and again that balance is tilted and must be realigned. I believe that through observation of nature and everything around you, using your own reasoning and the scientific method that we as humans can and will eventually understand so many things in our universe. Best of all, this can be done without fairy tales or made up stories.
Just to lay it out. I don’t believe in god for these reasons.
- I used to, and despite all my efforts, he always failed me.
- There is absolutely no REAL empirical evidence that he exists.
- There IS evidence that the belief in a god has done much more harm than good.
- You shouldn’t need to be threatened to do the right thing!
- To believe, you have to ignore history and science.
- Contradictions in the faith. (Bible and some teachings)
Here are logical reasons not to believe in Christianity:
- There is clear evidence that prayer does not work despite the Bible promising prayers will be answered.
- There is clear evidence that humans invent gods. Humans have invented so many gods that the default assumption should be that a god is a supernatural entity invented by humans. Christianity would need solid evidence that the Jewish god is an exception to this rule but there is no such evidence.
- There is clear evidence that religions and gods are propagated through culture by infecting children, and no evidence that they are propagated by gods.
- There is clear evidence that Christianity has evolved as human understanding of the world has changed whilst a real, God-given religion, should never need to change.
- There is clear evidence that humans on this planet have unequal access to Christianity so, if Christianity were true, billions would be condemned to hell for no fault of their own. This contradicts the Christian notion that God is omnibenevolent.
- There is clear evidence that the Bible, supposedly inspired by God, is liberally sprinkled with the type of errors we would expect from its Iron Age authors but would not expect from the creator of the universe.
- Christian theology is incoherent to the point of absurdity. God killing his son so he can forgive our future sin is like me breaking my son’s legs so I can forgive my neighbor in case she ever parks her car on my drive. It is quite ridiculous.
- There is clear evidence that the arguments presented for the existence of the Jewish God are logically flawed—all of them have been shown to be unreliable. If this were not the case, all honest and intelligent people would accept that God exists, just as all honest and intelligent people accept that black holes exist.