Beyond the Fear and Guilt - A Secular Life

sent in by Ken

I began to have doubts about god, heaven and hell when I was in my early 20's. I met a liberal, critical thinker who presented ne w ideas to me at my first office job. He challenged some of the dogma and beliefs I had since childhood. His name was Larry.

For a number of years I began to stay away from church and rarely attended. By the time I moved out from my parents house, I had altogether stopped going to church.

I got a subscription to Playboy magazine. Along with the hot babes, I discovered that you could actually read the articles. Many of them were about George H.W. Bush, the Republicans, and Fundamentalist activities. I decided that I was a Liberal. I joined the ACLU. I stopped believing in god.

Years later I discovered Skeptic magazine and Michael Shermer. The Biblical Flood story always peplexed me, and was the main reason I didn't believe the bible anymore. Skeptic re-inforced these doubts and led me to many other books skeptical and critical of the bible. Tim Callahan, Randall Helms, Shelby Spong, Carl Sagan were some of the many authors I discovered.

I am now 46 and call myself a Bright. I feel at ease with myself and my life. I don't suffer the guilt or the fear that I see in my xtian friends. I don't pick fights and flame wars so much, but I will not stand for someone trying to put words in my mouth or attempts to force religion on me.

It must be a difficult thing for many to give up the false hope of Christianity. I know many intelligent people that understand the arguments. I wonder how many of them are closet Brights.

Chattanooga
TN
US
5
24
Was: Presbyterian, Methodist
Now: a Bright
Joined because: I had no choice. It was forced upon me as a child
Left because: I grew up and learned to think critically.

4 comments:

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Ken,

Welcome to the site. I think you'll find many interesting people and thought provoking posts here. Two of the authors that you mentioned are among my favorites: Randel Helms and Carl Sagan. In particular, I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend both "Gospel Fictions" (Helms) and "The Demon-Haunted World" (Sagan). They are both marvelous. I wish that everybody could be exposed to the ideas in Sagan's chapter titled "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" (chapter 12) at some point in their lives. It's essentially a simple easy-to-understand guide to critical thinking. It's also infused with wonderful quotes from the likes of Francis Bacon.

You also mentioned that you are a Bright. I've been a member of that movement (see this link) essentially from the start. Like many others, I have some trepidation about the moniker "Bright", but the idea of the movement is long over-due, in my opinion.

As with most threads here, it's likely that your post will begin to attract a few proselytizing believers who feel that their experience somehow trumps ours. I urge such posters (futiley, I know) to first ponder whether they understand the position they are attacking. In my experience very few do; indeed, the vast majority seem to have only been exposed to one side of the argument, and are only dimly aware of the vast literature that undermines their position (such as the books I mentioned above, which are an infinitesimal sample). I very frequently ask such posters if they have read anything that critically examines Christianity. I believe I've only gotten one "yes" to that question thus far (after repeatedly asking the same question many times), but as yet, not one Christian visitor has been able to name a single such book that they have read. But I'll keep asking...

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

dancetotrance said...

"I got a subscription to Playboy magazine. Along with the hot babes, I discovered that you could actually read the articles."

Sure, That's what we all say. LOL

Anonymous said...

There have been several people in my life that have been tutors, leading me to freedom. Two of them were -Former- catholic priests.

The first was a high school teacher named Mr. Yeller. He opened my eyes to the world around me. He was wonderful at setting point against point and letting us decide which way we should go.

The second was Gerry who I met in 1981. Very very bright, and a audacious sense of humor. We are friends to this day.

If we are open to it, people come along to make a difference in our lives. I am thankful that I have had a few that love me for who I am, and have encouraged and taught me along lifes path.

Onanite

RHEMtron said...

"I very frequently ask such posters if they have read anything that critically examines Christianity. I believe I've only gotten one "yes" to that question thus far (after repeatedly asking the same question many times), but as yet, not one Christian visitor has been able to name a single such book that they have read. But I'll keep asking..."

i get that same problem. i also agree with you when you say they dont try to understand the other view.

ive tried to read popular christian books such as "the case for christ" with an open mind. but logic and just plain ol' common sense kicks in saying "this is wrong!"

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