sent in by Erik
Like most people, I was born into a Christian family. My mother was a baptist, my father a catholic. Luckily, they were both of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" variety, in that they did not ram church down my throat but just said there was some God up there who loved me and Jesus is his son, and prayer is good...blah blah blah.
Unfortunately for them, I was not in tune with their passive natures. They went to their jobs, took care of their kids, voted in an election now and then. I had more concerns and an eager need to do something about them. My parents would always advise me to just pray to cope with my troubles. That wasn't good enough for me. So I went to church, on my own, to try and "reach" my God. Once again, the sermons I had heard repeated the passivity of my parents: "It's all in God's hands," relax, get through this life and the next will be wonderful. Once again, it was not good enough for me.
If I could digress for a moment, I'd like to mention that I'm an avid martial artist. I've been studying since the age of 14, and it was through martial arts that I received an epiphany. Martial arts styles and schools are like religions, they have a founder, a set of doctrines, and they have traditionally claimed that their style is the best and it does not need to change. I felt that way about my first martial art, Kenpo. Then I read a book called The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee wrote that one must liberate oneself from the limits of tradition in order to see the art of combat in its simplicity. In truth, every martial art has limitations, and one must go outside of the "system" in order to transcend that art's limits. His philosophy of fighting, Jeet Kune Do, or the Way of the Intercepting Fist, was the first real attempt to break away from the limits of tradition in the arts. In reality, combat is fluid, constantly changing, and every situation is different.
It's not a big leap to then say that religion is nothing more than a tradition, set forth by a founder, and then accepted as "it" to the point where nothing needs to change or evolve. In truth, life is fluid, constantly changing, and every era and moment is different.
Bruce Lee advocated learning from other arts and incorporating what is useful, rejecting what is useless and adding what is essentially your own. I applied this philosophy to life. I examine how other people, and cultures think, behave, and believe, and make the best parts of them my own.
Going back to my religious experiences, I realized that Christianity's pacifism does not suit me or this age. Now is the time for activism, not a blind acceptance of the status quo. There are things about Christianity I think that are useful once the "divine background" is abandoned, but for the most part, my life choices have been little influenced by Christianity.
I believe that since I have liberated myself from the traditions of Christianity I'm able to see life in its pristine simplicity. And I'm all the better for it, I hope. I have called my approach to life, the way of the intercepting mind. Not very original I know, but a name is just for convenience anyway.
I intercept philosophies and keep them with me when I must, and I intercept biases and eliminate them. If you've made it this far on the page, I thank you for letting me rant. Be gentle when replying.
Became a Christian: Born into it (like most people)
Ceased being a Christian: 19
Labels before: Catholic
Labels now: Agnostic
Why I joined: Raised as one
Why I left: Discovered other options
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)