The organization Recovering From Religion has started a hotline for those who are recovering from religion. This is in response to all of the “…countless emails and phone calls from people seeking help on their journey away from faith, at all hours of the day and night”.
If you are recovering or have recovered from religion, you know how terribly painful a process this can be. Not only are you abandoning a life-long set of beliefs, but you face ostracization from friend, family, and co-workers. You also live with the fear of the negative reactions you may receive when people find out you are an atheist.
I have applied to answer the Hotline and to help out with their Facebook page. If you are recovering from religion, or are an life-long atheists, and want to help, go and apply. It is a great cause that will help the millions who are struggling with losing their religion.
I read a lovely blog post. It is about people with disabilities. Please read it.
My comment on this:
I grew up with a learning disability. I was teased, bullied. But I’ve succeeded beyond what any of those people who made fun of me, or even most of the teachers and guidance counselors could. My son has autism spectrum disorder. Family, friends, strangers in the supermarket, all would try to tell me how to handle him, how to raise him, how to “fix” him. He is not “broken”. He never was. He is his own person. He is my son.
Yesterday I talked about the horror behind the story of Noah. I had considered expanding on the concept horror embodied in the idea of sacrifice found in the Bible by also talking about the who Jesus story, but decided to just keep it simple and stick to Noah. I saw a comment on the Noah post that made me wish I had talked about Jesus.
It’s sad to hear that this is what the message of Christianity is becoming about. Dead religion will tell you one of two things about God…(1) He’s schizophrenic (He loves you but He hates you) or (2) He’s mysterious (nobody can figure Him out). But here is Jesus, who arrives later on as the Messiah. It is in Christ where God’s nature is revealed, and He is a God of Love.
Things may still be unclear about the Bible and there seems to be a lot of contradictions on God’s nature. But, the Cross made a significance, a proof, to how much God loves us (John 3:16). Hope that helps!
His argument is one made by many Christians to negate the nastiness of the Old Testament: that God suddenly became a merciful and loving god once he sent Jesus (or became Jesus, the Bible is a bit confusing on that point) to save us all.
Even if you grant that this argument is valid, the whole idea of sacrificing someone, someone who is supposedly innocent, is just as horrible and depraved as anything in the Old Testament. Sure, it’s just one guy, not every person on earth, but the number of those sacrificed isn’t the issue. The issue is the need for a blood sacrifice at all.
I was raised Catholic. I could never understand why God required a sacrifice to free us from sin. If he is all powerful, why not just forgive our sins and be done with it? The priests explained to me about Original Sin. That didn’t make any sense to me either. Why would God punish every human who ever lived just because the first two people sinned? Why not just forgive Adam and Eve their sins? Or if He couldn’t find it in his all loving heart to do that, why not just strike them both dead and be done with it? He’s God. He could just make more.
The idea that Jesus, the only son of God, the innocent lamb, had to die just because the rest of us were sinning bastards is insane. That isn’t love, it is sadistic and cruel. Worse, it is pointless. If God is all powerful, then either forgive each of us our sins or smote us, don’t go killing your only son, especially when he doesn’t deserve it.
The idea that the god of the New Testament is now a loving, merciful god as opposed to the angry, vengful god of the Old Testament; that he is somehow a new and improved god, is absurd. The sacrifice of Jesus is no different than asking Abraham to kill his son, or the killing of all the first born of Egypt. It is just as cruel, just as horrible and depraved.
The fact is, God, both the old and new versions, is a dick, pure and simple.
I went to my Son’s church today to hear him sing in the choir. They were really quite good. The music was a mix of gospel and soul with some latin rhythms thrown in. Of course, the lyrics were all “praise the Lord”, and “Jesus” repeated ad nauseum.
I could see that people were moved by the music; many singing and swaying to the beat. It was inspiring. Not inspiring in a spiritual way, but in a “isn’t this great that we can all enjoy this together” kind of way. I can understand why people would be moved to feel as if some kind of spirt was among them.
I felt that too, but it wasn’t a spirit of gods or angels or anything like that. It was a spirit of belonging and sharing. I’ve also felt the exact same feeling at rock and pop concerts. When I saw Elton John, the crowd sang and swayed to the soulful lyrics of “Rocket Man” or “Candle in the Wind”. When I saw Simon and Garfunkel, it was “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovey)”. When I saw Paul Simon solo, it was “You Can Call Me Al”; Barry Manilow, “I Write the Songs”; Chicago, “Saturday in the Park”.
These musical experiences were all moving and inspiring because it allowed us, as an audience, as humans, to share common emotions of love, joy, tenderness, and excitement. It is the spirit of togetherness and sharing of emotions that is at play here, not the spirit of the lord or any other supernatural entity. Music unites us and allows us to share our humanness.
The pastor (this was a Protestant service, in contrast to my last church experience) gave a sermon titles “The Dangerous People”. According to him, the people who are truly dangerous, “to themselves and others”, are those who “think they know, but don’t know” (his exact words, not mine). He said that we need to be willing to accept council and instruction from others. He couched this in knowledge of the Bible, using Apollos and Paul from the New Testament as examples.
He said that Apollos was a great preacher and very knowledgeble in the scriptures, but that he only knew of John the Baptist, and since he didn’t know of Jesus, he was somehow dangerous to himself and to others. How Apollos was dangerous he didn’t say. What he did say was that once he was told of the true way of Jesus, he learned from that and started preaching the gospel of Jesus. That, somehow, was supposed to show us how we must listen to wise council and not assume that we know everything.
He never said how we can differentiate good council from bad, truth from falsehood, only that we must be willing to admit that we don’t know everything and to listen to those who know more. He also didn’t tell us who “those” are. I found the message pretty muddled. I suppose that you could take from this that we must be humble and open to new ideas, but I didn’t get the feeling that this was what he really meant. To me, he seemed to emphasize the idea of “dangerous people”, but without ever letting us know how to tell “truth” from falsehood.
One other thing that he said really struck me, because it was so self-contradicting. He said that we have the liberty of praising and doing the will of God. How can you do the will of an all powerful god and still have liberty? This is subjugation disguised as liberty. It is the same as saying that Americans value liberty, but then say that we are not real Americans if we don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance, completely missing the fact that by pledging allegiance to anything, be it God or country, we are trading our liberty for servitude to some higher master.
I’ve been learning quite a bit from my forays to church. I’ve learned that there are some wonderful ideas out there about how we can be better people, but they always get watered down by the trappings of religion. Instead of using the example of how we should be humble and admit that we don’t have all the answers in order to think for ourselves so that we can learn and grow, it comes down to just having faith. Well, you can’t have faith and truly think for yourself, because to really think for yourself means to question everything, which faith can not allow.
I find it almost sad to see such potential for real understanding of the human condition and the world we live in lost in a morass of faith, platitudes, and servitude to a “higher power”. This makes us compliant and docile, just like the sheep that the shepherd figure of Jesus requires us to be.