Question with 8 notes
liznet said: What religion did you practice or consider yourself to be a part of before you decided to become an atheist?
I grew up Catholic originally but was fairly young still when I started to separate myself from it. By the time I first read the bible on my own I didn’t really consider myself any particular religion but was one of those “believe just in case” types of people. Once I read the bible I was able to give that up fairly easily and started to explore what I considered more fringe religions. I studied Wicca/Wiccan for a while and even took part in some “rituals”. From there I discovered Satanism and found it extremely interesting. Looking back I can see why it appealed to a younger me but it lost a bit of its luster as I matured. I moved on to Buddhism and for a while even referred to myself as a Buddhist Satanist, borrowing parts and idea from each. I even went so far as to get a tattoo that I felt related to my Buddhist views. Through this exploration my belief in any type of “higher power” became less and less to the point that I felt it was best to simply give up on any type of organized religion. I feel each of my little explorations added something to my world view and my personality so for that I’m grateful but they certainly aren’t without their own flaws.
Question with 10 notes
Anonymous said: I'm a teenager who has recently become an atheist. My entire family and most of my friends are religious though. I hear a lot about "prophecies" from the bible being fulfilled and so even though I know god doesn't exist, I don't know how to respond to prophecies. Do you know anything about why they aren't true? I know they are pretty vague prophecies.
The people who wrote the New Testament all had copies of the Old Testament easily at hand when writing. It is quite easy to imagine that they simply wrote the story to match what they believed to be prophecy. One of the easiest examples to point out is that Jesus is said to have been born to a virgin mainly because of a mistranslation. When reading the Old Testament there is a prophecy that states the messiah will be born to a “young woman” but when this phrase was translated from Hebrew to Greek because of some confusion in the language many people took the word to mean “virgin”, not just young woman. As a result of this some of the New Testament authors had to create the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin. It honestly makes better sense that the story was simply fabricated since the authors were so far removed from the time of Jesus birth they would scarcely have even oral tradition to rely on. There are many other examples of this that can be discussed such as the very questionable lineage attributed to Jesus to make him “of the house of David” (which wouldn’t matter anyway if Joseph wasn’t his father) and the hoops jumped through to have Jesus be born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth.
Another possible aspect is, if we assume Jesus was a real person, that he simply did everything he could to try to fulfill the prophecies. Jesus was a devoted Jew and according to the bible had spectacular knowledge and understanding of scripture so he would know exactly what the OT calls for when looking for a messiah. This too we can see in the NT itself in a way. One particular passage that intrigues me in the bible seems to show a very human side of Jesus. When he is preparing to enter Jerusalem he knows that prophecy states he will come in riding on an ass. He tells his disciples to go on ahead of him and locate a donkey and a colt and bring them back to him. If he’s fulfilling prophecy why aren’t they already there? This also raises the question of if the stories are simply fabricated why write in this very un-messianic interaction?
In short it’s very easy to see why Jesus is said to fulfill prophecy, because that is exactly how it is presented. Discussing if he actually did these things and if these things could somehow be verified historically independent of scripture is an entirely different story. Each and every prophecy could be picked apart and debated in this way to some extent but in the end we’ll still be left with some gray area. That is just part of the reason why people who believe in Jesus are forced to do so on faith, rather that on facts. If we had all the facts available to us it would be extremely easy but since we have to recreate history, well considering human motive, tampering becomes a very likely aspect. I wouldn’t worry one bit rather he did or did not fulfill some supposed prophecy because even if he did fulfill some aspect of it I would still say that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Question with 27 notes
biblestudywithme said: Hello! I ran across your blog when I was looking for new blogs to follow. I am a Christian, I have been saved for 7 years now. Before you stop reading I'm not here to bash your beliefs. I guess I can say I dislike the traditions of most churches that people consider religion also. I don't know you and I am not going to claim to agree/disagree seeing how I have only read your intro. I think that there are too many hypocrites claiming to be Christians. Is this close to why you hate "religion"?
I honestly considered your question for a while before answering but I have to say I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a Christian that I can’t consider a hypocrite. I’ve never met someone that I feel claims Christianity but actually follows all of the teachings out as fully as they are describes in the bible. Don’t get me wrong, in some ways I’m quite glad that Christians don’t stone adulterers or kill people for working on the Sabbath but even in the less extreme teachings Christians are still hypocritical. Perhaps in some small shack somewhere there is a Christian who truly does embody the (positive) teachings of Christianity and follows them closely but I’ve never come across this person and feel it’s quite likely I never will. It is simply not possible for the average Christian.
I often get messages from Christians looking to find a common ground in the feeling I have towards religion and their own world view but you likely won’t find much. I honestly think it is a symptom of ego and a way that many Christians attempt to seek outside validation. They want “their” version of Christianity to not have the same stigma attached to it that they see in “others” views of Christianity. It alleviates them of the guilt or stress in calling themselves a “Christian” well still realizing the travesty that is Christianity in general. You may find a good number of things that I point out about religion that you agree with if you take the time to look but chances are there would be little if anything I agree with in regards to your view of Christianity. I don’t accept that there is a purely “good” version of Christianity, being solely good doesn’t require a religion at all and anytime you add in a religion it only muddles things.
So in short, no, that isn’t the reason I hate religion. “Bad” Christianity doesn’t make a “good” Christian a hypocrite, Christianity in general makes an otherwise normal person in to one. As much as you may not like many of the things that Christians have done the world over if that is your religion you must accept and face the fact that thousands of people do terrible things because of it. Trying to distance your Christianity from the real terrible history of Christianity is attempting to white wash over problems and alleviate yourself of any association to it. To me that is unacceptable.
Question with 10 notes
Anonymous said: My whole life I have been an atheist and have been condemned, looked down upon and made to feel very alone for that. Upon reading through your blog, I have discovered that I have very similar, if not the same thoughts and values towards religion. I believe that religion is for people who can not take responsibility and/or are insecure so they feel the need for a "higher" power to validate their thoughts/actions/feelings. I'd also quickly like to thank you for making me feel not so alone.
Thank you for the message. It is sad how often I get messages like this but I always like to share these ones as a reminder to everyone that they are not alone. I think most of the US based Atheists especially have all had this feeling at one time or another. Our numbers are always growing and personally I look forward to the days when I can tell my grandchildren about the ridiculous things people “used to believe”.
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When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.
Question with 137 notes
Anonymous said: I understand what you mean, but I want you to know the other side too. I'm a pro-marriage equality, evolutionist Christian who didn't resent anyone outside my religion. I'm not going to try to convert you, that's just rude. You haven't tried to convert me. But I would like you to know that (At least in the Church of God I attend) the basis of Christianity is to help people, not condemn them. It saddens me that so many people of my religion are ignorant and refuse to be any other way.
I understand that Christian like yourself exist and of course I find Christians like that to be much more agreeable than their fundamentalist counterparts but it’s still always a bit confusing. I can’t really understand how someone can use their sense and logic to say that they know better than their religion in some areas but still turn to a religion for some of the most important and biggest answers in the entire universe. You are saying that your holy book is wrong on certain topics yet you’ll still follow the other teachings. How can you live with this contradiction and hypocrisy?
Especially when it comes to the topic of evolution because to me that really undermines Christianity completely. If you believe evolution to be true then the story of Adam and Eve can not be true. If the story of Adam and Eve is not true there was no “fall”. If there was no fall then what purpose did the crucifixion of Jesus serve? What importance would Jesus have at all? If there is no “original sin” to be forgiven it is simply a bloody murder and nothing more, how do you resolve this in your own mind? Or is it maybe something you’ve never considered or simply written off in some other way?
I can’t really relate or understand people that only put a half ass effort in to their beliefs and don’t critically examine them. I personally couldn’t live with such a contradiction, being a person of reason and logic that type of conflict and doubt would cause me constant turmoil. Assuming you’re a logical person, how do you do it? Hopefully I won’t be met with one of those sappy “spirit of the message” type comments because you and I both know those are complete and total garbage when we’re attempting to discuss the historical veracity of Christian claims. If you only follow the religion because of the “spirit” it invokes you’re essentially admitting that your religion is no more correct than any other and is unworthy of serious consideration when it comes to it’s validity. Either you must come up with some way to resolve this within yourself or your faith is on very shakey grounds.
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Anonymous said: What is your opinion of people who believe that your criticisms of Islam are invalid because you're a white male?
I believe they’re using a terrible criteria to attempt to silence someone who has actually taken time to research it and make myself more aware of it. I have to say that type of slander seems to be terribly effective against many people, which I see as a real shame. Those people are ridiculous and I stopped caring for their opinion a long time ago. I have every right to say that Islam is a terrible barbaric religion.
Question with 29 notes
Anonymous said: Hello. I am not going to debate with you but I am going to say that what you hate isn't religion - it's religious people. Religion in itself is not hurtful. In fact, religion hides scientific truths and eternal wisdom. Sometimes people misinterpret their religion or they become extremists, but then so do atheists. You're a good example of that.
You’re welcome to debate me if you actually have a worthwhile point instead of simply attempting to dictate to me how I feel and what I think. In reality you’re actually entirely backwards. I don’t hate people, it’s religion I hate. I often refer back to one of my favorite quotes from Steven Weinberg - “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Religion doesn’t hide any truth, we’ve never been unsure of a fact and used religion to find the best answer, it is always science. If I am an example of an “Atheist extremist” (a term that makes me laugh as it is) I think most people would be okay with that, considering the most extreme thing I do is make a few blog posts exposing the reality of religion. I’d gladly deal with thousands of “Atheist extremists” over even a handful of Christian or Islamic ones. No one has ever been killed “in the name of no god”.
Question with 11 notes
escapingsaccharinity said: What is your definition of religion? That may sound simplistic, but hear me out. I'm a Christian, and I find many of the connotations of the word "religion" to be repulsive as well. You and I are probably in a agreement that it is foolish and irresponsible to believe an idea without critically examining it. To be exact, do you consider all Christians, pagans, and other spiritual practitioners to be "religion followers," or do you adopt the possibility that a spiritual man is not a religious man?
To me religions have two simple requirements to be considered a religion. There must be some measure of “faith”, believing something despite evidence or in spite of evidence to the contrary, and “dogma”, some measure of teachings, principles, or rules that have been passed down and most within the religion are expected to adhere to or believe. There may be people that find ways to work around this definition but for me it is the best I’ve come up with. The major religions of the world all follow these two simple criteria and Christians are certainly no different. If you consider yourself a Christian, you’re part of a religion, no two ways about it
It honestly really bothers me whenever I come across the “I’m a Christian but I don’t follow a religion” people because you’re simply attempting to disassociate Christianity with all the negatives you see in “religion”. There is no honest way to do that. Christianity is a religion and if you follow Jesus Christ you are a Christian, this is a definition argument not a matter of perception. People are literally attempting to deny the definition of words when they say “I’m a Christian but not part of a religion”. There is no good way to argue this with people because opinion doesn’t matter. When someone doesn’t accept the definition of a word and attempts to argue against it there is really nothing more that needs to be said than you’re simply wrong.
People that refer to themselves as “spiritual” are often no better. Ask someone to define what they mean by “spiritual” and you basically get a vague answer similar to a pseudo-religious believer. No one can define what it means in concrete terms because it is intentionally vague. They again are attempting to disassociate their ridiculous beliefs with other people’s ridiculous beliefs. They’ll often denounce how ridiculous organized religion is at the same time going on to talk about the color of their aura or some other equally fatuous garbage. The line that separates a religious person from a “spiritual” person is often very thin and in many cases there is no need for a distinction between the two.
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