A Journey to Honesty

sent in by Frank Sims

I wish I could remember my very first experience with Christianity. I was raised Catholic, but shortly after my eleventh birthday my family slowly drifted from the church and its teachings. My mother was a proud believer, but my father oscillated from a believer to an agnostic. The general lifestyle of our household was mostly secular.

Early Doubts

I’m going to tell you up front that I had a lot of doubts about Christianity – even as a young boy. I didn’t tell anyone; though my mom might have picked up on this when we occasionally would tangle in a theological discussion. The discussion, such as it was, usually ended with the statement that I should believe because anything else was simply inappropriate. I remember the day I engaged my Catholic fourth-grade teacher in a small debate about tenability of Adam and Eve and early creation. Since this was a Christian school it ended quietly with a note sent home to my mother. Upon leaving my home for the Navy at age seventeen, I continued my life without religion of any kind.

Married with Children

Many years after my honorable discharge, I met my future wife at the insurance company where I worked. Interestingly her background was Nazarene. She wasn’t practicing at the time and the only time we spoke of religion was when we were engage in a debate in which I found myself defending the Catholic faith. This debate eventually proved fruitless for me, as I was only defending the traditions for which I felt more comfortable. Before our son’s first birthday we were married in a Disciples of Christ church. We briefly continued our attendance after we were married, but soon found ourselves distracted with other secular matters. There was no demonstration of Christian faith in our family, no grace at meals, Biblical discussions, nor bedtime prayers. At different times my wife and I would speak of attending a church. My reasons were simple; I felt that there needed to be some moral anchor in our children’s’ lives. I know this may sound ridiculous coming from one who had reoccurring doubts, but I really didn’t understand all that Bible stuff; I just wanted my children to know the difference between right and wrong and I didn’t know of any other alternatives.

A Gamble with Faith!

A month after September 11th, 2001 - it happened. We received a flyer on our door that there was seminar at the town hall that better explained the prophecies of Bible and what was going on the world. This indeed was a time of confusion, we decided to attend. For a very small town there was an auspicious attendance. The seminar, hosted by a Seventh-Day Adventist Church, outlined some prophecies from the book of Daniel and Revelation. Little did I know that simple evening planted the seeds for a journey that I would take to this very day. My wife and I attended group Bible studies over the next several years. Yes, there were many times I questioned or even doubted what I was being taught. After two years of study, my understanding of the Bible was slowly growing, and though I had strong questions I somehow managed to keep my doubt in check.

One night in Bible study my pastor explained that he was going to publicly ask if anyone wanted to be baptized next week in church. He privately asked I would consider volunteering. After some brief conversation with my wife and other church members, I wanted to do the right thing and be baptized. So when he made his public announcement I stoop up in front of everyone. I was asked to come to the front of the church where I was dutifully smothered in hugs and praises. Let me tell you now my baptism was the beginning of the end of my faith.

Personal Revealation

At first, I grew weary of all the church dogma; I couldn’t eat unclean foods; I couldn’t have any secular activities on the Sabbath (including mowing the lawn); for crying out loud I couldn’t even dance! If someone else was in my position they might have considered exploring a different religion. I wanted to have a deeper exploration of my faith in general. I endlessly searched the Bible for anything that truly blossomed in unparalleled wisdom, or a display of overt scientific revelation that today's scientists would tout as a foundation of our natural world. I wondered if there would be one book, chapter, or verse that would compel me to surrender all my skepticism concerning the apparent magical, mystical, and sometimes savage nature of the Bible. Along with verses that encourage and inspired, were verses that contained threats, pointless rituals, and superstition.

I remember that I was horrified to learn that God instructed his people to kill Sabbath breakers. I was more saddened to learn they followed through with his lethal instructions. I appeared to be the only one who noticed any of this. No one in our Bible studies ever openly doubted or even questioned the killing of Sabbath breakers, Noah’s ark, the six literal days of Creation, Adam and Eve, the Tower of Babble, or anything else that seemed unbelievable to me. Whenever these Biblical stories entered group discussions, everyone would speculate on the details to somehow rationalize the absurd. They would often guess “Well, maybe it happened this way, or maybe it happened that way.” I wanted to blurt out, “Maybe it’s not even true!” No one would even consider the possibility on just one of these stories as being mythical. At some point I realized I was all alone in my doubt, even my wife was sold on all the “truths” of the Bible. The one truth for me was that I was not being honest with myself. That’s one truth I did not want to face, especially alone.

Honesty Begins

One day while driving home from church I told my wife that I had some doubts. I didn’t want to overstate it, but I thought she should know I was no longer mentally on board with certain beliefs. I remember saying “I can’t believe that God waved his magic wand and poof the world was made.” I also remember her startled and hurt reaction to this. I felt uncomfortable with these very private thoughts escaping from my lips. I didn’t say anything for a little while longer, but one day it popped out again. She was incredulous; she stated that she felt betrayed. This was the beginning of a long difficult part of our relationship. I didn’t care that we believed differently, but it was really important to her that we felt the same way. She wanted and needed my spiritual leadership in our family. She had felt that we were both on the same spiritual page, and now she she felt completely alone in trying to raise our children in a Christian environment. I knew I had felt differently for a long time, and I didn’t have the courage to say otherwise. When you have news that will break the heart of someone you love, you’ll find any excuse to delay the news for another day.

As time went on we had to deal with the reality of our differences. Even so, I noticed we spoke less and less about the subject. Our occasional discussions of religion would end with my wife feeling hurt or angry; this is the last thing I wanted.

I soon came to the realization that I too wasn’t comfortable with our different beliefs. Once again, I wasn’t being honest with myself. That is why I repeatedly questioned her unwavering faith; I wanted her to identify with me somehow. My constant questioning of her faith had the unintended result of pushing her away, rather than helping her understand me. As my honesty prevailed I realized I didn’t want to be alone in my beliefs any more than she wanted to be alone in her beliefs.

And Now...

Believe it or not I still read the Bible and occasionally visit the church. But now I view the Bible with an open mind and allow for all possibilities, even those that many would deem heretical. While many Christians would consider this spiritual suicide, it is the only way in which I can view this book. I don't regret the experience even for a moment. In my youth I didn't know what I believed or why. After exploring the Bible and my conscience, I realize that my beliefs are a part of me, and there is no honest reason to reconcile them with anyone else's beliefs.

For many, the Bible is a true revelation from God. For me, it is an ancient collection of anecdotal testimonies and personal claims to divine inspiration. In my mind, that is my only possible assessment. I didn’t choose to believe this way, it chose me. A journey to honesty requires courage.

One Final Thought

I know many believers do not understand the thoughts and motives of those who remain skeptical of Biblical beliefs. I’m not skeptical because I want to live a guilt-free life of immorality. Furthermore, I’m not claiming to have all the answers. But one has to have some method of deciding what is true and what is probably not true. For some people this method may be following the teachings of ancient text. The rest of us will use the Scientific Method, where truth is the collection of verifiable human experiences and recorded scientific observations. From these collections we can form our own ideas, theories, and opinions. Yes, we may be wrong before we get it right. But with each wrong answer we have to opportunity to learn, and ultimately move one step closer to the right answer. Our understanding of reality grows with each new fact and observation. And though many people may continue to believe in invisible worlds and undetectable beings, we are learning that the truth is far more fascinating than anything we can possibly fabricate.

44 comments:

Jamie said...

Hey, thats quite the story, my names Jamie I was raised in an atheist/agnostic home, grew up agnostic, changed to professed atheist, then after an experience i had switched to a Christian, my beliefs are more situated id say around many of the baptist beliefs, but ill share my entire story if you have curiousity, my beliefs are simply, "what the bibe says" and i believe God preserved his word, Jesus himself said, its what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, im not much of a debater, but he even declared all foods clean....7:15 there is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him

so the unclean thing, i guess had something to do with your catholic faith?
well i dunno, if you want to hear how i found Jesus or anything
email me at jamiehoban@shaw.ca

much love
Jamie

Perry said...

hello, Frank.

Sounds like you made the decision to keep the family together, even at a very modest price to your own integrity. (Going down to the Scam Centre, occasionally). A practical and reasonable solution, in my view. Like you, I have a rather 'different' approach to the bible. As a literally true blueprint for humanity, I regard that claim as hogwash.

However, I don't see the bible or other "holy scripture" as devoid of merit. They often contain some distilled wisdom of the past, made contemporary and re-arranged for a 'new' era. Here's a proposition that I want you to consider:

Open the bible at the division between the old & new testaments. On the left, you have eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth; give as good as you get and a little extra if what you got was bad.

One the right you have forgive and forget, do to others what you would have them do to you, love unconditionally, despite adversity, bless enemies, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, etc., etc. "Greater love hath no man . . . ."

In my view that's the sum of the book: an 'evolutionary' advancement of the human condition. The waxing of compassionate feelings and benign thoughts – nobler human attributes. Correspondingly, the waning of lesser human, more animalistic behaviours such as strike back, without pity or mercy. A move from the focus on 'lower' things, literally, (digestion, elimination, procreation – below the belt), to the higher things, literally, of the heart and mind, of reason, conscience, conviction and intellect.

Consider putting that in front of your lady for consideration, perhaps? If the mention of faith comes up, ask why Paul said that it was prudent to "prove all things . . . "

All the best to you on your continuing journey away from phantasy of phaith.

J.T. Steeler Fan Finally Free said...

Hey Frank, Great story man. Leaving Christianity is hard. People don't realize but it really is like being addicted to a drug or something. I was a christian for about five years from age 15 to 20 and then struggled with all the God thoughts for about five years until I finally told myself enough is enough. Some parts of the bible are so rediculous that you just know in your heart that a Holy and Almighty God could not have never have written this garbage. You can just tell especially when it comes to women that it was written by immature 4rth century uneducated men and NOT an almighty God. Sunday mornings were hard for me for so long because I was so used to going to church and being with family. Hopefully you too can find your way out of the maze. It is a very hard maze and you'll find some excellent thinkers on this website who were just like you and me. They are willing to help others think thru this very difficult maze. I wish you all the best for you and your wife and just hope for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

MadBunt said...

Hi Frank,

I grew up SDA, and I was doomed the day I was born to be indoctrinated into their belief system. I was a rebel from the start because I always wanted to do what they said was a sin, and most everything to the SDAs is a sin! LOL.

It took me a very long time to get rid of the guilt and fear that this particular religion bestows upon the participants, but I broke free and haven't looked back for a second to doubt my decision.

I am an atheist and I am proud to say so. I have no doubt that I made the right choice. I was in my early 40's, and am now 57, and feel so liberated and happy with who I am and how I live my life.

Living free of religion and god has helped me become a better person if you can understand that.

You are right, the truth is "far more fascinating than anything we can possibly fabricate."

Anonymous said...

How long ago did "Christians" decide to take every single word of the Bible as literally true? Not many. A couple of hundred at most. Christianity is 2000 years old. The Bible was written by men about 2000 years ago, but the oldest Christian Churches have guidelines on how to interpret the Bible and never did they say and nowhere do we read in the Bible: every word is literally true. Christianity is about Christ. If studying the Bible doesn't help much to tell us who he is (which if it did then this site wouldn't exist) then we should study the history Christianity - particularly the 4th to 11th centuries. You're all smart enough to know that not everything in the Bible adds up. Why don't you go a set further and ask why do these crazy preachers say it does, when did all this nonsense start?

Passerby said...

To Anonymous at 1/30/2006 5:57 AM:

Proverbs 30:5-6. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

There is another verse from the Buy-BUll that is similar to this one, but brainwashed Christian fundies use this verse to support their veiw of an inerrant book.

Btw, there is not one brainwashed Christian apologist out there who doesn't "add words" to this ridiculous book to make it more palatable to the sheep.

Cheers

freedy said...

Frank,.."the truth is far more fascinating then anything we could possibly fabricate."
THAT SAYS IT ALL!!!!!!!
(no further comment needed!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your testimony. I've been an athiest for about 5 yrs. and the psychological freedom has been phenomenal. There's a site:
www.rense.com that has an article,"Getting Religion-Supernatural Selection?" that's interesting. New articles on every topic come in quickly, so just scroll down until you see this title.

Passerby said...

To Anonymous at 1/30/2006 5:57 AM:

Chris L. from another thread found the other verse:

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

Cheers

freedy said...

Cris l,..I guess that means we should stone all adulterers & pork
eaters!Funny how the bible toots it own horn.(nothing else will)

hugiboo said...

That's really a sad story. I hope it works out for your family, but I have a feeling it won't. I can't say I know what it's like to be an atheist as I have held Christian beliefs all my life, although I have only been a committed Christian for roughly two and a half years, but I do understand what you guys are talking about, about stuff not adding up. I know because I have had to deal with a lot of that stuff and I still will have to deal with more of it. I know that science doesn't contradict Christianity and I embrace science as do many Christians, including roughly 40% of top scientists. I can't back up that stat, I watched it on a television program discussing the science-religion debate, but check it out. Anyway, a lot of what you guys are saying is misunderstanding Christian beliefs, so many of you are arguing against something other than Christianity. But if you want to talk about it, I'm more than happy to talk about it. If nothing else, I can tell you what Christians do believe (I mean critical thinking, Bible believing Christians, not wishy-washy or mindless Christians). I'm a Baptist by the way, just so you know where I'm coming from. Anyway, good luck raising your family, and I hope for their sake that they do become Christians.

hugiboo said...

Oh yeah, my email is hugiboo@hotmail.com if you want to talk about stuff or if you have any questions.

^_^

Ben said...

The reason that most Americans do not believe in the Q'uran, is because the Bible was shipped over here by the pilgrims, had the Q'uran been shipped over here instead of the bible, then most Americans would be bowing to Allah 5 times a day and touting, "Allah is the only God." This just goes to show just how thin skinned and ignorant the American people really are.

And now GWB is giving his whitewashing over on to the American public once again and everyone is setting there agreeing with this fool. Religion is the same as politics, people would rather believe a lie, than to investigate what really is the truth, leaving it up to the preachers and politicians to tell us what is the truth according to them.

The biggest liars ever to exist is politicians and preachers.

Anonymous said...

Religion is a lie for you to believe.

boomSLANG said...

" If nothing else, I can tell you what Christians do believe."

...::yawn::...

Uuh, could you first provide us with some Christian I.D., or a badge, or some form of legal document, or a trophy, or dogma tags, or some shit like that?...y'know, something that'll show us your official "Christiandomness"? I mean, I could be a goat-blood chuggin' chainsaw-murderer and nothing would stop me from waltzing into J.C. Penny's to buy a little gold cross necklace, for christ's sakes. lol! If I leave the country and fly back in, how 'bout if I just tell the U.S. Customs people: " Hey, I'm a true American citizen.....lemme tell ya 'bout 'merica!" LOL!

Anyone with half a brain can see the subjectivity flaw in the "I'm a True Christian" gag. Not to mention the bazillion different denominations of "True Christianity". Scram, clown.

freedy said...

Hugiboo,.. I was a "committed" christian envolved in ministry for
20 years. Why do't you come back in 17yrs. or so and we"ll talk!
Just kidding,..believe me when I say,"we know exactly what christians/baptists believe!
In a nut shell this is what you believe,.."jesus christ was the son of god who became flesh and walked among us as a man" Right?
Well, we no longer believe that "MYTH"!

sandy w said...

hugiboo wrote "I'm a Baptist by the way, just so you know where I'm coming from."

LMAO...You write that almost as if we'll all sit back and just give you respect because you, unlike those "other" Christians are a "Baptist", as if that Christian title does anything for me.

NEWSFLASH!!!!...Baptist are brainwashed too!

J.T. Finally Free said...

Hey Hugiboo, Just to let you know bud YOU SOUND LIKE A KNOW IT ALL ARROGANT POMPOUS JACKASS. It was people like you that made my exit out of the church alott easier. I'm sure this man's marriage will be fine. Look at all the Failed Marriages in the church. The success rate is no greater than secular society. It's just that the coverup is greater in the church and not as discussed as much. My ten years in the church I saw alott of divorces and I went to a fairly large church. I guess I just cannot get over what an arrogant person you are. I guess when it comes down to it I can't really criticise you because I was that same person a few years back. I'm just thankful I found my way out of this madness called Christianity. THANK YOU LORD JESUS PRAISE YOU LORD!!! LOL LOL!!!!

Anonymous said...

J.T.

"I'm sure this man's marriage will be fine. Look at all the Failed Marriages in the church. The success rate is no greater than secular society."

The divorce rate in the Bible Belt is twice as high as the more secular parts of America.

34% of Fundamentalists are divorced compared to 21% of Atheists and Agnostics.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_diov.htm

Anonymous said...

I read your story and was really amazed that you said things like..."I had strong questions but I somehow managed to keep my doubt in check." Why the hell didn't you ask questions? Satan wants us to believe a lie and never know the truth. It is only through searching and questioning that you will learn about the real chacter of God. During the time you were searching, did you really study or just listen to a pastor preach? When I read stories like yours, I assume that you never really had a relationship with God, probably rarely prayed, spent no more than 30 minutes a day reading your bible, and never shared your faith. Clearly you had lots of questions that were never answered. I promise you the answers are there if you start studying again and ask God to show you the real truth.

boomSLANG said...

Seriously, would it be considered "breakin' balls" to ask all you drive-by fundies to click on "other", and make up a f%cking alias? Jesus christ!...it's not like we're going to try and track you down to talk to you. YOU came HERE.

Okay, Anon Fundy # 7,000,000 said:

"It is only through searching and questioning that you will learn about the real chacter of God."


(I think I'm gonna hurl. Seriously. God damn it if I'm not convinced that self-induced ignorance is the true "evil" in this world....::sigh::..)

Okay---"questioning" and "searching" is the prescription to know God's "chacter". Marvilous. Have you ever "searched" for any kind of truth about the universe outside the Holy Bible, per chance? ' Didn't think so. Have you ever "questioned" the validity of your own belief system the same way you questioned all the other belief systems in the world?....with objective common sense? Nope, ' didn't think so.....and I'll prove it by the way you answer this question:

Anon---how do you know that the right "Satan" hasn't deceived you into believing in the wrong "God"?

...stay tuned.

Ben said...

I used to think that I could put a group of logical words and reasoning together and convince people fairly fast that they are complete fools for falling for the religious brainwashing, boy was I completely wrong.

I used to think that people wanted, needed and desired logic and common sense, that there was an internal longing for absolute truth and human understanding and true knowledge, boy was I completely wrong.

I had viewed myself as being on a mission to aleviate my surroundings and neighbors and colleages of all false doctrines and untruths, boy have I ever been wrong.

The longer I live, the more I can see how engrained and fanatical and down-right blatantly insane for the thirst of a promise that only a preacher or the bible can endorse.

The American people and the whole world is becoming less than intelligent, by dumbing-down knowledge and replacing realization with 1st.century ancient myths.

We should all sell all our belongs and follow Christ, Mohammed, or Al Gore, or Mickey Mouse, whats the fucking difference? none that I can tell, we should park our cars and ride camels and wear birkas, and we should carry a staff and take baths twice a year and be seen as being a follower of some mythical Holy God, we should all be lucky to be seen praying in public, so people would know by our works and deeds that we are true followers of Christ or some mythical being.

I've been reading comments on this website for over two years, and no matter what anyone writes, no matter how brilliant and wise and unarguable or how completely substantiated with undeniable proof suffient to convience a rocket scientest, no one can convince a fundy of a single goddamned thing, no fucking way, it's as if someone says one single thing that opposes their silly beliefs that they have accepted when they were a little child, their brain shuts down and goes into it's religious shell of isanity, and will not hear of reason, no way, you keep your logic of no gods away from me, you're threating me with logic and reasoning, I'll melt like the wicked witch of the west, if you spew your anti-religious near me.

One perfect example is the fundy jackass Anonymous of 5:04 pm, skeered to leave even a false name...ha ha ha

They left this pile of shit here:

It is only through searching and questioning that you will learn about the real chacter of God. (Annon.... I know what the real charcator of god is but I'm not telling, it's for you to find out, I have this special knowledge, I have this, I have that..I...I...I am gifted..I...I...I am saved but you are not..I...I...I love me...I....god loves only me,)

You poor pompas fool.

During the time you were searching, did you really study or just listen to a pastor preach?

A pastor preach?...what the fuck is a pastor going to say with his miniscule IQ? the same ranting bullshit that has been said for over 2000 years, it means nothing but only to a brainwashed fundy fool.

When I read stories like yours, I assume that you never really had a relationship with God, probably rarely prayed, spent no more than 30 minutes a day reading your bible, and never shared your faith.

You self-righteous babbling fundy fool, you are so far remove from reality, it's so scary that we have to share the same planet with a bunch of hypnotized brainwashed fundy lunatics, how can we help these sheeple, these zombies, these things, these androids, what can be the anidote to bring these godbots into the now of reality?

I saw on TV where someone recently burnt 6 churches down, I wonder why...lol, there were several burned last year, why would anyone want to burn down a religious house of god, that some man built?

I'm still looking for that antidote to quelch the religous mind disease, it looks like I'll be looking for a long time.

Dano said...

Ben,
You will have to admit though that there is some comfort in knowing that a few people agree with every jot and Tittle of your message above. I am one of those people like you who is hopelessly lost, and will never understand how anyone buy into the ancient pagan mythical belief, and still be an advocate for a superlative education system in this country.

Is that why we used to be number one in education in the world, and now we can't find enough people smart enough, or educated enough to do our engineering, without going to India, or some other third world Country?
Dan

Passerby said...

Hey Ben,
You've probably read this before, but here it is again. This very elegantly written article comes from the islamic perspective, but applies to Christianity as well.

http://www.humanists.net/alisina/wean_from_islam.htm

Here's an excerpt:
"When I looked with care, I saw there is not a single person I could find guilty to be angry with. I realized we are all victims and victimizers at the same time. The only culprit is ignorance. it is our ignorance that makes us believe in charlatans and their lies. It is because of ignorance that we let these impostors inseminate hate in us in the name of false deities, ideologies or religions. It is our ignorance that does not allow us to see our oneness and hinders us from understanding that we are members of one body of humanity related to each other and interdependent with each other.

It was then that my anger gave way to a profound feeling of empathy, compassion and love. I made a promise to myself to fight this ignorance that divides the human race. We paid dearly for our disunity. The disunity in the human race is caused by ignorance and the ignorance is the result of false beliefs and pernicious ideologies often concocted by emotionally unhealthy individuals for self-serving purposes.

Ideologies separate us. Religions cause disunity, hate and antagonism. Humanity needs no ideology nor does it need any religion. As members of the human race, we need no ideology, cause or religion to be united, but to be disunited, fight and kill each other we need to have an ideology, a cause or a religion."

http://www.humanists.net/alisina/wean_from_islam.htm


Christian fundamentalists are no different from other religious fundalmentalists. They are just ignorant and remain that way out of fear and/or lack of education.


I addressed this to you so the Christian fundies who are in denial might read this:-) I know how many Christians won't read anything against their faith for fear of the mythological being called Satan...those blinders are hard to remove.

Cheers

btw, good post

Mediocrity Sells said...

In regard to why there are so many scientists and engineers not employed or receiving advanced degrees in the U.S.

There are plenty of MBTI personality types that could fill the jobs of an engineer or scientist. However, people don't seem to want to spend ten years or more of their life trying to get a professional certification and experience to finally get a decent paycheck. Those who are smart, and could do great work in the fields of science, tend to find easier means by which they can live comfortably without the need to bang their head against a wall. For example, one could enter into the military as an officer, and retire within 20 years. True there are risks associated, but, a person could retire and seek future employment before another person who went the professional gauntlet route starts to earn a decent paycheck. Also, while someone is employed in the military, the military will pay for an advanced degree, once again, preparing them for a second career. Typically, those who have 20 years of experience and an advanced degree will out-perform those who are just entering the job market after 8 years in their field.

So, there are capable people, but, our department of interior makes it a point to ensure we force our people towards jobs the gov't is willing to fund. For instance, there are some U.S. agencies that report the highest number of mathematicians employed. Now, beyond what these people do for a living, it appears that the sectors that are getting the scientists and engineers tend to be more into the federal job market.

Doctors have tended to want to work in the gov't arena, as they are protected from malpractice suits. Ten years or more, is a long time to work for peanuts. Those who are of foreign status, go home to work immediately and are paid quite well. There are also americans who leave the U.S. to work in foreign countries so they don't have to deal with the beurocracy.

Education needs to be standardized, but it needs to be geared towards a persons' natural cognitive mapping. Of course, those who don't like labelling will of course, call this labelling. The department of interior, uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a tool, and they suggest that it shouldn't be used to pigeon-hole anyone to any specific careers. However, we all know, there are people who should not be working in nuclear physics labs.

Our economy in the U.S. pays for mediocrity, not excellence. Its all about the fast buck, and competition, cutting corners, and maximizing profits. If one enters the gov't agencies to work, they can not patent their work, and will not receive monetary benefit for outstanding contributions to their respective fields. So, a person has to choose to enter into the field of mediocrity in society, with the potential to make decent money, after banging their head on a wall for about ten or so years, or going into the federal service, where they work for a mediocre paycheck and little to no recognition for their contributions to their fields.

The only reason someone would want to work in these fields, is to experience working in air-tight chambers that levitate, which would seem to be gee-whiz for at least ten minutes, and then the novelty wears off, I would assume.

There is little incentive to excel in engineering and science for the better part of peoples' lives, even if someone is gifted towards those fields. Why would someone roll the dice in hopes to one day make a decent living, knowing they may never live that long, and if they do live that long, they aren't guaranteed that the certification requirements or demand is still the same.

In the haste of the gov't to keep everyone working 16 hour days, in a competitive market, to keep them too busy to think, people find they don't have time to invest in the fields that require long-term commitment. The return on investment (ROI) is also a calculation that has to be taken into account. A college degree, at a university that can actually get a student well employed, is going to cost a hefty dollar. When they start working it will take them "x" number of years to pay back those loans, and the return on investment will be extended even beyond the number of years it takes to receive the degree in the first place.

Lest we forget those who may have a cognitive gift to engineer or engage in science, but are self-motivated or enticed to move into areas that don't require high-levels of logical reasoning. Lets say, those who take up jobs in religious studies. Yes, it may be painful for these people because of the obvious conflict between their natural ability to process information logically, but, there are people who are devoted enough to torturing themselves that they can persevere for many years in that environment.

Oh, and don't forget the poor, who have to find jobs immediately in order to support their families, they have even fewer years to work at getting advanced degrees.

Universal Ideology said...

Not knocking the following quote, but I respectfully disagree with the following:

"Humanity needs no ideology nor does it need any religion. As members of the human race, we need no ideology, cause or religion to be united, but to be disunited, fight and kill each other we need to have an ideology, a cause or a religion."

http://www.humanists.net/alisina/wean_from_islam.htm

"An ideology is an organized collection of ideas."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideology

There obviously has to be tolerance in order for humanity to be united or find unity. "Tolerance" is a value, that builds part of a persons' ideology. If humanity, doesn't embrace certain common values, to include respect for life, tolerance, etc., then there will never be unity, there will continue to be those who are intolerant and those who don't find a problem murdering people due to differences of opinion or cartoons for that matter.

Humanity must get beyond social groups who hold inclusive ideologies toward a more universal ideology with a common set of values. Now, attaining those sets of values, and finding ways to support and achieve those values in this life is the real challenge. Many nations use "law" as the rule for standards of conduct, and attempt to normalize values, but, "law" is a "reactive" measure, not a proactive measure. Perhaps, one day, there will be a proactive measure that will assist in the normalization of values so that nations and people of the world can understand one another as people first, and uniqueness and diversity as a secondary thought.

Ben said...

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I consider all you wonderful kind thinking people and this website, my very close extended family. I lost my family to the mind cancer called religion, although it was words that convinced them to loose their common sense and they lost their place and their personal lives in rational thinking, they are as it stands right now, mentally dead. I tried to awaken them with words, but my words have no merrit, they would much rather put their trust and faith in a ancient myth or in a preacher that has a hidden agenda, for his personal gain.

I will continue to strive to find those magical words that will loosen the mental grip that religions own. Thanks all again, yes I have read the article of the Muslim guy, very brilliant, Thanks passerby, I want to hear those words coming out of the mouth of a Christian, in America, like Billy Graham, or GWB, I know that will never happen. I would also like to hear that testimony from a fundy that I know personally, but I know the chances of that are futile.

I suppose I will have to invent a time machine and revert back to before Jesus's day and kill Joseph and Mary and all the priests and prophets and scribes before they have a chance to exploit their insane beliefs, I may as well kill Mohammad as well, I would like to have lived on this planet Earth when there was total world peace if that ever existed, I would like to travel to different parts of the world where I would not hear of any religion or theology, just warm kind human beings wanting to live in peace of like mind, is this too much to ask? I know I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Imagine living in a world, where the world would be as one.

Dano said...

Mediocrity Sells,
So government is not "The answer to the problem, Government IS the problem"????????
Dan

Passerby said...

Universal Ideology,d8

Good point regarding Ali Sini's use of the word "ideology." Maybe Ali Sini should've said:

"Humanity needs no ideology lacking tolerance nor does it need any religious based ideology?"


Cnn just released a story about Russian skinheads and their hate crimes against foreign-born residents. It reminded me of the ideology of the skinheads/kkk here in the U.S. and their intolerance towards certain groups of people. Today, we have some muslim denominations who will kill people over a cartoon because of religious based ideologies. And of course there are many Christian groups with their ideology of intolerance towards certain groups of people(e.g. homosexuals).

How do we achieve a universal ideology when it appears every nation has factions spewing intolerance among its own people. And as you noted, it's a real challenge to achieve this universal ideology.

Aside. Someone told me a long time ago that there will always be prejudice (which can lead to intolerance) in this world because we as a people have been programmed to categorize things---that we as a people like to classify objects---that we like to classify people according to some trait. It is within this order that prejudice will arise. I thought that was quite interesting.

Cheers

Mediocrity Sells said...

Dano: "So government is not "The answer to the problem, Government IS the problem"????????"

The problem with education, and career orientation is complex. Its driven by supply-demand by both the gov't and commercial economy. Therefore, the gov't seems to be self-regulating how many engineers and scientists are employed by gov't agencies, and gov't also regulates commercial enterprise via federal law.

In short, gov't is in charge of regulating supply-demand curves in our capitalistic economy. Even if someone were to be the next brilliant engineer of all time, if they were placed in an environment where there was no demand for their talents, then they would have to find employment in alternative occupations.

A capitalistic market, in a free trade economy, creates competition. Competition creates the "need", for engineers and scientists. Hence, why free market economies are being pushed to the four corners (per the bible) of this flat earth. It creates more job opportunities.

Competition, is further stoked by "consumerism", and "materialism" demands. If no one wanted to buy the cell-phone, the market would have died, and telecommunication engineers would not be in demand.

IMHO, there are engineering jobs, that are legitimately trying to make efficiencies in our lives by integrating technologies, and increasing basic quality of life needs. However, we all know, that engineers who work for automotive companies, deliberately design their products to have a specific life-span. It doesn't cost any more or less, than the odd nickle, to design the same vehicle to run four times longer, but that of course, reduces demand for car sales by 75%, and reduces the number of engineers that can be employed during that 75% period of non-carsales.

In a utopian society, the good of the whole would be taken into account, and engineers, and scientists would work for the betterment of humanity without having to worry about basic living expenses, which are controlled by gov't and the state many times. Since that isn't happening anytime soon, engineers and scientists will continue to be regulated by gov't agencies, like the department of labor and interior, and their ability to generate open market oppurtunity.

If medical degrees were granted in greater quantity, then that would increase the number of physicians working, however, that would reduce the demand for physicians, and pay would drop as well. Then, of course, there would be fewer people wanting to become a physician. Gov't regulates the number of certified professionals there are in the U.S., via professional certifications that can be awarded per university and other control mechanisms.

So, is the gov't responsible for the current decrease in engineer and scientist job opportunities. Yes. They may not be the parent giving their child career advice, based on the childs' natural abilities, but they are creating the environment by which that child will have to compete for a job.

I take it, there may have been a question, as to whether our gov't structure is perpetuating the problem based on its own structure. The gov't does regulate. Whether or not the gov'tal structure is the 'best' structure to facilitate the employment of citizens based on their talents is a slightly different question, and one in which, I relegate to others of international persuasion to chime in.

I will say, however, as my name implies, until there is a model whereby people can be employed based on their natural talents and rewarded appropriately, many will work in careers in which they will not excel, and many times, at best they will perform with mediocrity just to earn a paycheck. Everyone is predisposed to being better at some careers than others. Take human services for example; no matter how much I would want to be a nurse, (and, I have done my clinicals), I would not be a great nurse, not for lack of knowledge or ability, but for lack of personality to the job. However, if I am starving, I will be the best nurse I can be, but that doesn't seem fair to me nor the patient in most cases.

Universal Ideology said...

Passerby: "How do we achieve a universal ideology when it appears every nation has factions spewing intolerance among its own people. And as you noted, it's a real challenge to achieve this universal ideology."

Intolerance is the product of insecurity, anger, ignorance, etc. Some feel the only way to make themselves seem more valuable or worthy is to attack and lower everyone else around them. Intolerance, is the result of social programming gone wrong.

Passerby: "Aside. Someone told me a long time ago that there will always be prejudice (which can lead to intolerance) in this world because we as a people have been programmed to categorize things---that we as a people like to classify objects---that we like to classify people according to some trait. It is within this order that prejudice will arise. I thought that was quite interesting."

Yes, our natural ability to categorize allows us to partition and encode information based on our cognitive filters, and we all have different filters at some level. We pull from that pool of information, to conceptualize or envision possibilites. We test for these possibilities, and some are found to have merit, and others not (transcendent reality for instance).

Our Values are learned, and accepted as children without question, we don't hold enough information to claim a Value as wrong. Later in our years, we become more autonomous, or at least many of us do, and we begin taking new information and checking it against previous values. Sometimes, we find that our newly formed values, conflict with what we have been taught in the past, and thus, change is possible.

To change a persons' values, or an entire groups' values, requires education and environmental conditioning. This can be affected by law, which seems to be the easiest method, but its a reactive measure, not a proactive measure. Here is a radical idea, perhaps, parents should be held accountable by law for child rearing up to a certain age as a proactive measure. Once a child reaches a certain age, they are held accoutable for their actions, a reactive measure.

Nations must work together to form a normalized set of values, and invoke measures to enforce those values. However, changing international policy, to get normalization of values between nations, doesn't really affect the sub-cultures and terrorists, they will still continue to operate, until they are isolated from society, as that will stop the spread of intolerance best. Take care.

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous (the same Anonymous that I just responded to in another thread?) said "It means that you has [as?] a [an?] atheist has [have?] been given total freedom to believe what you want! and to do what you want! thats what you are really feeling!.."

A few points:

1) Can you please use the "other" button when you post, and pick some name for yourself, so we can at least respond to you consistently? You can still hide your name if you want. Thanks.

2) You have absolutely no idea what anybody here is feeling, unless we express that to you. And even then, you can't be sure, right? So, what's the point in claiming you know something that you do not?

3) As an atheist, I am not at liberty to believe "anything I want". Belief is a cognitive state that *results* from experience. Even if I wanted to believe that my great Aunt was still alive, I could not, because all evidence points to the contrary.

4) As an atheist, I care only to believe what is *true*. If I were to discover that there really is a god, I'd be happy to change my thinking, and my rhetoric. (I doubt my actions would change much, except to include ritualistic things, I suppose.) What would be the point of denying anything that is clearly true?

5) I have spent decades examining the evidence and reasoning behind many different religions (mainly Christianity). My honest conclusion is that they are *all* myths (i.e. stories that reflect our thinking, but say nothing about objective reality), and Christianity in particular has no better supporting evidence than other major religions. I see absolutely no reason to think any of the foundational Christian dogma is true; for me to say otherwise would be dishonest.

6) I firmly believe that if one is to have any chance at discerning what is *true*, one must look at complex issues from all sides, and not jump to conclusions. Toward that end, I've studied scripture, and read more Christian apologetics than nearly all the fundamentalist Christians that I know well (there are quite a few in my family). Have you, in turn, studied what non-Christian scholars have to say about Christianity? (If you are the same Anonymous I replied to recently, I already asked you this.)

.:webmaster:. said...

Annoying "anony" troll post deleted.

Anonymous said...

jim avro

Why all the concern about you wanting to know my name?

Cant you see that there are three buttons that we are free to choose from?

If you dont want me to remain anonymous-like some of us want to?

Then why have the anonymous button to choose from in the first place?

Or has freedom of speech and identity run its course in the states?

lets say i have no name!(thats my real name!) said...

Regarding your friendly Atheist the Mr EDWARD GIBBON(1737-17940)

We know that this chap wrote "The fall and rise of the roman empire"

And what a good job he made of it!

Yet,its a pity that after all those years of his study and research into his famous book.It is noticable that nothing like a greater desire to find more about the love and nature of God didnt rub-off onto him?

For all his years of searching into the Pagan,and Romish religeon's all his years of deep thought and meditations,didnt d his soul one bit of good?

Its sad to know that he found great comfort in the histories of Paganism,amd Popery(both cruel and evil religeons in there own right!)

Yet! In his studies of christianity(strange as it seems i know) he found not even a flicker of joy,or peace to his eternal soul?

These are his dying words...

"This day may be my last. I will agree that the immorality of the Soul is at times a very comfortable Doctrine. All this is now lost.Finally, irrevocably lost. All is dark and doubtfull"

This was said to many friends of his at his bedside.)or dont you believe this as well?

The point is..That The genuine DECLINE and FALL was in fact-his own! ..Dont you think?

Dano said...

Lets say I have no name! (That's my real name!),
If you believe you are going to heaven, because of the mythical beliefs that you have, and I am going to be burned in hell because I am not capable of believing in irrational Bible stories, you are insulting God. A God who supposedly loves every one of his creations would not be that petty or unloving.

He would be aware of the fact that billions of people have not or never will hear those stories, and billions more are taught different stories form birth, and believe them just a tenaciously as you believe yours.
Dan

Jim Arvo said...

Priscilla: "Why all the concern about you wanting to know my name?"

I would have hoped that the answer would be very obvious, but I'll spell it out as clearly as I can, so there will be no further confusion. I couldn't care less who you are or what your name is. The problem comes when there are dozens of people calling themselves "Anonymous". Maintaining a consistent made-up "name" is helpful in 1) addressing you, 2) referring back to something you said, and 3) distinguishing you from all the other anonymous posters (for the sake of maintaining some continuity of the discussion).

Does that clear it up?

You do realize that by choosing a consistent screen name that you in no way reveal your identity, right? You may remain hidden.

Priscilla: "Or has freedom of speech and identity run its course in the states?"

This forum is an excellent example of freedom of speech. Here you are, explaining why you believe that atheists are miserable, and we sit back and let you (for the most part). It's actually quite interesting to hear what you have to say, and trying to figure out how you think.

According to Priscilla, the dying words of Edward Gibbon, author of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", were "This day may be my last. I will agree that the immorality of the Soul is at times a very comfortable Doctrine. All this is now lost. Finally, irrevocably lost. All is dark and doubtfull", and she continued "This was said to many friends of his at his bedside.)or dont you believe this as well?"

You ask if I believe it. Well, what kind of documentation do you have? By now you should realize that most of these bedside "confessions" are apocryphal; in fact, everything else you've said thus far is very dubious, or outright falsified, yet you expect me to believe this story on your say-so alone? You don't seem to be absorbing what's going on here. Your stories are getting shot down. You have no credibility, partly because you seem to just latch on to whatever story strikes your fancy, with no apparent skepticism at all. That's how rumors spread, and how legends grow. I prefer to check the facts first, if you don't mind.

So, short answer, "no", I currently have no reason to believe it is true. It might be true, but until I see some credible documentation, I'm going to remain skeptical. Fair enough? By the way, I've not raised this issue with you previously, but even if some of your stories do turn out to be true (or have some kernel of truth), I'm not sure what that proves.

Reminders....

* Have you read through any of those links that the webmaster has supplied yet?

* Have you looked up what Lockyer says about Darwin's dying words yet?

* Have you read any books that examine Christianity critically. If so, can you name a few?

(For the benefit of others reading this thread, the poster I am responding to has been posting in several threads, including this one, and always as "Anonymous". I've been asking her to please adopt a consistent screen name, and eventually decided to just unilaterally to dub her "Priscilla", for no rhyme or reason. Until I hear some specific objection from her about that handle, I'll keep using it for the sake of consistency.)

pault said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Gospel is Fiction said...

Pault, why did Jesus allow Judas to commit suicide, and why did Jesus allow himself to be murdered if he were truly innocent. Why worship a god, who murdered his own son, or even worse, murdered himself. The Jewish tradiditionalists refuse the "gospel" also, care to explain that one. I'll help, Jesus wasn't god, nor was he a deity or demi-god according to many historical writings of that era, to include the gnostics, ebionites, etc.

Your "gospel" is no more valid, than all of the other religious letters, scripts, and texts of the gospel era.

.:webmaster:. said...

Pault, don't copy and paste, or your posts will be deleted.

freeman said...

Hey The Gospel is Fiction,

You said, "why did Jesus allow himself to be murdered if he were truly innocent. Why worship a god, who murdered his own son, or even worse, murdered himself."

I never thought of that before, god committed suicide! lmao

Passerby said...

Hey Freeman,
Good to see you're still around.

God committed suicide, but he has three lives. The mean father, the pathetic son, and Casper, the horny holy ghost. Or, is it 1+1+1=1. haha

Cheers

pault said...

webmaster

I dont get you?

Why did you delete my message?

i only wrote that which is freely available on the web-to christians at least?

The Gospel Is Fiction said...

Pault: "I dont get you?"

Is that a question?

Pault: "i only wrote that which is freely available on the web-to christians at least?"

Great, so why not download the entire internet on this one site. Perhaps, it would be much easier for you to provide a hyper-link to the site you suggest is freely available, and then make comment.

Anyway, if Jesus was god, then Mary was his daugher in christ, so, does that mean that Jesus inseminated his daughter? Then Mary became mom, so, does that mean he became hims own father by sleeping with his mother? Jesus then committed euthanasia by intentionally allowing himself to be crucified, what a role model. The guy didn't keep the sabbath, he was a politician and used situational ethics whenever it suited him. Why don't you just comment on these short observations.

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