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Proud Heathen
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism
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New Reading
Wednesday. 11.24.10 3:08 pm
After the episode with my youth pastor, I realized I'd forgotten most of the research I'd done and the facts I'd learned that originally led me to the realization that I don't believe in god. So, I purchased The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, to shore up my rationale for being an atheist.

So far, it's a pretty good book. He does a good job of (at least up to the point I'm at), of breaking things down into terms that a layman (or someone who doesn't have a degree in philosophy) can understand.

Favorite part so far, is a (very accurate) description of the god of the old testament. Boy was he an asshole.

[edit]

Favorite quote so far (not from the book, but he quoted it)..

On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism'.
- Barry Goldwater
- Republican Senator, Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

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A run in with the past
Tuesday. 11.23.10 11:30 am
So, several months back I signed up for Facebook, just to have it. I have a lot of family on there, so I figured it'd be a good way to keep in touch. Almost immediately after signing up, I set my religious status to "atheist". Because, well, I am. No one really seemed to notice, which is fine by me since it wasn't something I really wanted to discuss with anyone. Just wanted to be honest.

So recently, my youth pastor (from way back in the day) sent me a private message. Most of it was religious stuff.. blah blah "why did you turn away from him?" blah blah "who or what corrupted you" (which by the way, I'm offended by the implication that it had to be an outside force that made me question my religion, and not the absurdity of the whole structure).

Anyway, I just wanted to post the last thing I sent her. I just wanted to clear the air with her and make it clear that this wasn't something she could talk me out of.

I've learned a very important lesson about posting to facebook from my phone. Nothing longer than a few sentences. lol. I typed a paragraph worth of response, and hit the back button by accident. So, I'm gonna try and re-do it from memory.

While I have fond memories of my life as a christian, I'm afraid it's not a decision I can unmake. I made a rational choice, after careful consideration. I hate to use this as an example, and please don't take offense, but it's kind of like believing in Santa Clause.

When you're a kid, it's easy to blindly accept that Santa somehow makes it around the world to all the homes in one night, and that he lives at the north pole, and that he somehow knows when you're being good or bad. But when you grow up, you realize it's just a story adults tell kids so they'll behave, or because it's just nice and makes them feel good. You realize that it's physically impossible for Santa to make his one-night journey. That no one lives at the north pole. It falls apart under basic logic and rational thought.

This is how I've come to feel about religion. Many parts of christianity, especially the bible, display flaws and inaccuracies under careful study. And studying the history of the bible, how it was constructed, and the events occurring at the time and before and after, brings me to the conclusion that it isn't a holy book. It has flaws. And if I accept that the bible is flawed, then I can't take what it says at face value. Otherwise I'm just deluding myself. I'm intentionally putting my fingers in my ears and ignoring facts accepted by a majority of scholars and scientists who know a heck of a lot more about things than I do.

Maybe I could have done that 5 years ago, when I was still going to church. But now.. now that I've stepped outside that bubble and admitted to myself that I just don't buy it anymore... I can't make myself take a step backwards. My brain just won't let me.

And I honestly don't see a reason to. I feel fulfilled in my life without christianity. I still have morals even though I don't get them from the bible. I'm still happy even though I don't believe in God. I'm not afraid of death just because it might mean eternal nothingness. After all, if it is, I won't even notice.

If any of this sounds bitter, it's not meant to. There's really no bitterness or emotion involved in this. I'm not mad at God, nor was I when I first began to think these thoughts. I just started thinking. And it snowballed. And... well... I feel like I woke up. It's as simple as that.

Ok, that was much, much longer than I thought it'd be. lol.

Even with all that being said, I appreciate everything the church (you and John especially) did for me and my family, I would never discount any of that. There's no arguing that religion has it's good sides, and that it leads people to great acts of generosity, which is why I'd never EVER try and talk anyone out of there beliefs.

But for me, it's just a dream from my childhood. And having woken up, I can't make myself go back to sleep. Nice as the dream may be, to me it's still a dream.

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