Just shake your head and nod

sent in by John

I grew up in a strick Catholic household. The pressures to live the Christian life are so powerful it's actually amazing that some of us come to the realization and reject it. I can remember times in my life where I was scared about going to hell. I remember feeling so alone during those times. I recall thinking, "I don't deserve to go to hell. What have I done to deserve it?"

Getting past those emotions, the emotions that are central to the stability and survival of the church, I decided to actually study the stuff. When I really looked at the Bible objectively, it all made sense. The Bible is clever and deceiving to the average person. Christians are taught early on that the synopic gospels are simply 3 different perspectives. However, Time tables can overlap, historical figures can overlap, details and inconsistencies become hard to detect, and if you are looking to confirm your faith, those discrepencies will not appear. It's amazing how many people can read over those details, and then claim the bible is free from any error. I found so many weird differences between Matthew and Luke for instance.

Although I don't believe in Christianity anymore, I still enjoy learning about the Bible. For a while my goal was to find as many discrepencies as possible so when a Christian would come up to me I would totally crush him scripture wise. But I learned religion doesn't work like that. People aren't going to believe you. Most people aren't going to think for themselves. Emotions, culture, ignorance, or whatever reason people have for their beliefs will remain unshake. Many Christians are the sheep that follow their shepherds. Instead of caring about what they believe, we need to pray that their leaders have good intentions. When any Christian comes up to me, I shake my head and nod. I don't argue. I don't get upset. I don't try to instill what I believe onto them, even though they might be doing that exact same thing. I don't really care. I just pray that they can live out their lives peacefully. For some people, Christianity is the only hope. It gives people a place to call home.

I think i'm like everyone else. I hope there is God. I hope that this place isn't the last. It just happens I can't accept Christianity (or any other world religion for that matter). But what I can say probably has it's roots in my old faith. We need to give up all the material shit in our lives and protect and defend what's fair. Televangelists that rob old people of their money and hope, Priests that molest boys for their own sick pleasure, cult groups that make their followers drink coolaid cyanide, and all sorts of other crimes are being committed. These are the shephards for some people!! Shake your head and nod to a benevolent Christian when they come up to you next. Somehow we have to find a way to ensure they're in safe hands.

14 comments:

Daniel said...

John,

You are right that "religion does not work like that." People who have acclimated themselves to strong belief built in the face of evidence to the contrary are not likely to deconvert simply upon being presented with more evidence. I am convinced that it creates a nagging worm of doubt in the minds of rational people, though.

We were all taught that Xian values, which you were then, and probably still are now, strongly supportive of are Biblical and contingent upon it and upon the Xian god, actually are not.

I thus wouldn't call them "sheep", per se--so many people do not believe they can maintain their values without their god or religion. Their values are really what keeps them in it, because they really don't believe that people can be good or moral without Xianity or Islaam or etc. I know this is true for myself, for my wife, and for a few friends of mine--we just could not believe that atheists or deists or general nonreligious folk could be ethical and satisfied people. I never met an atheist who was open about it and honest and friendly.

Now hopefully I am one. And hopefully we can help people to shed their fear and confusion and ignorance of what it means to be nonreligious.

freedy said...

Religion is nothing but a band-aid
trying to cover huge festering and infected wounds.......

This is fine if you just have a paper cut!

crushedviolet said...

The only reason people believe that without god they would lose their morals is because they don't want to take responsibility for their actions.
To not believe in god would require you to look inwardly and in doing that you would have to admit you are ultimately responsible for your actions.
Not because you are evil and sinful and not because the bible or god tells you what to do. If it weren't for humans you wouldn't have right or wrong, not god, we decide, it isn't rocket science to determine what it fair.
No one wants to stand up and deal with their actions. God to Xians is mainly there as a safety blanket to keep them in line (mindtrap). To the truly self disciplined it only takes a little thought. Be free, determine what is fair and just in the treatment of others for yourself, without bias. That is what being unreligious is about

Shannon said...

And it sure doesn’t seem that even if you have the moral base that religion is suppose to give you that it stops a lot of people’s ‘immoral’ behavior.

With almost 90% of U.S. claiming some sort of a religious belief, it seems to me that if religion really offered an unsurpassed moral basis there would be less gluttony, adultery, murder, and stealing.

freedy said...

If we become responsible for our own lives,we would'nt need gaud,right?Then what would happen to the "diablo" and all his demons
"Crushed...& Shannon,....,
sounds like ya'll might have
hit on something here!

J.T. Finally Free said...

Great Testimony!! I used to always wonder why so many christians I met would always say something like if it weren't for the Lord I would be on Heroin Right Now!! If it weren't for the Lord I would be addicted to sex!! Etc... And you really do just have to shake your head and nod!!LOL! I used to always think to myself when I was younger What The Hell kind of People am I really going to church with???? What a fraud christianity is. Like many in here I still can't believe I got caught up in all that nonsense!!!!

crushedviolet said...

My point exactly freedy and shannon. Thanks :)

Lillith said...

Wow, I would have said the same if you hadn;r spoken first! I am not a bible believing Xian, but I keep my bible close at hand as a weapon against xianity. I read it when it's referenced on TV, I go past the sunday school story to the stuff they avoid telling us (ie Lot's daughters and the boinking incident)oh yeah not to mention the fact that my book is the royal ass kissing King James version, we don't know what they translated from ...etc etc everywhere I look there is an arguement against the "Holiness" of the word. It's been years since I've seen a "Good News" version and I think that one is only the new testament...so many xians only half the allegorical history so that the arguements that the bible is truth are based on bad translations of bad tranlastion and so on and so on.

Whitey said...

J.T. Finally Free said... I used to always wonder why christians I met would say something like if it weren't for the Lord I would be on Heroin Right Now!! If it weren't for the Lord I would be addicted to sex!! Etc... And you really do just have to shake your head and nod!!LOL!

Congrats, JT, in the depth of your ignorance you've come up with, possibly, the stupidest remark I've ever heard on dependency. It shows not only a complete lack of understanding, but also a depressingly sad absence of human warmth and compassion. Okay I get it, some of you have felt the need to turn away from Christ, but does that give you an excuse to become so bitter and uncaring that you're unable to recognize, as most 21st century people do, that addictions for the most part are a disease? And in case you haven't noticed, it's not only Christians who confess a dependency on the Lord's strength in overcoming weakness. Do yourself a favor, check out an AA or Alonan meeting and see how many rely, to great success, on a higher power. And while you're there, you may rediscover your humanity...I'm hoping you do. Whitey

Al-A-Nun Ignorance said...

Whitey: "Okay I get it, some of you have felt the need to turn away from Christ, but does that give you an excuse to become so bitter and uncaring that you're unable to recognize, as most 21st century people do, that addictions for the most part are a disease?"

You can't turn away from something that was never presented, so perhaps, you mean to say, we have turned away from the literary description that has been passed down over two thousand years by people who make mistakes regarding a Christ, or something.

Addictions are a disease? Great observation, you must be a practicing psychiatrist. Lets see, if you can choose the best solution of these next two scenarios, okay.

One scenario; a coke addict goes to a treatment center for their addiction, and while at the treatment center, they are given another addiction, religion, as an alternative.

Second scenario; a code addict goes to a treatment center for their addiction, and while at the treatment center, they are told that they must find themselves, and come to terms with their past through counseling and therapy, because they will always have to live with their conscience, no matter how much they continue to repress their painful thoughts with chemical dependency.

If subject in scenario two finds their life, and accepts themselves honestly with unconditional love, to include all their faults and shortcomings, they can work on creating a brighter future. However, subject in scenario one, is still hiding from the root problem, by transferring the problem from themselves to some religious icon. This person, has not confronted their internal problem, and thus, has done nothing more than hide behind a different wall with a different label.

Personally, the only reason some of the treatment or counseling groups enter some higher power into the picture, is because there are some people who are starting with no willpower at all, and thus, "transferrence" of the problem is an initial solution. However, moving beyond that point when they get strong enough is the "right" answer. However, from all of the counseling sessions I have witnessed and the many people I have personally been involved with, I can say, that the follow up sessions don't lead to further counseling that would bring about personal growth and self-reliance. Therefore, Al-Anon groups that use the greater power, are only useful to get a person started, it is 'not' the final solution to the problem.

What an alcoholic is attempting to do, is run from reality, some practicing Al-Anon counselors, do nothing more than provide a different means to hide by giving the "greater power" object to hide behind. If ignorance is a disease, there are many Al-Anon counselors who are ate up with it.

Perhaps, giving false hope as a crutch is just easier than attempting to get into psychotherapy. Truth be known, Al-Anon facilitators are typically not certified or licensed as counselors or psychologists. It is nothing but a support group, using the traditional 12 step process for recovery. If ignorance were considered a disease, the entire Al-Anon organization and foundation would be considered ate up with the disease.

Those who have money, seek professional help, those who are on a tight budget, seek out those closest to them, or outreach groups for support, no matter how unqualified the friends or groups may be. They believe something is better than nothing, and as much as that may be true, shifting from one bad habit to another, is 'not' the healthiest psychological answer. Their situation, just may not provide them with a decent alternative.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, from a never-been-catholic perspective, taking responsibility for one's actions means being able to appologize for the wrong caused and to never do it again. In Greek, it's the word is metanoia. You no longer want to live a life a stupidity and selfishness, and in order to do that, a change must take place... metanoia.

No one is a "good person---" whether or NOT he/she believes in a God, acknowledges God, or follows God (all of them are different). Each individual, religious or not, does bad things. Maybe not heroine, but there are many things that make people regretful.

Religion doesn't cover people. But Christ can change people. Metanoia in English is "repent."

All it means is "change your mind."

In order to take responsibility for our actions, whether we are followers of God or not, we need to change our mind and repent for the previous irresponsibilities.

There is only one place I think I'd feel comfortable taking 100% responsibility for my lust, rudeness, conceit, etc. And that's straight to the cure. NOT THE BAND-AID of religion, but ther CURE. Christ.

Whitey said...

Twas Al who said: "Addictions are a disease? Great observation, you must be a practicing psychiatrist."

Sorry, Al, I'm not into the whole head shrinking thing, or the blame Mommy and Daddy at 200 hundred dollars an hour thing, or anything as elitist and pretentious as you just made psychiatry sound to me, and others out here in the good old red states. Too bad, guess I'm out of your intellectual feel good loop. If only I had more dough to throw on my neurosis. Oh well, I guess I can always rely on a good old fashioned bar fight to loosen up the old head gasket.

What is it with people who make snide remarks regarding another's perceived lack of understanding?...(a very subjective perception, I might add.) Do you intentionally wish to place me on the defensive, or is it you... fearful, cowering behind the latest edition of the APA journal?

Your abhorrent disregard for 12 steps program is of no concern, I only wish you'd made your dissent mildly amusing (ala Woody Allen). But that's probably asking a bit much, isn't it? No, Al, my only concern is results. And who can say -- the future, unforseeable -- that you also may be stricken beyond the hope currently alloted by the APA or modern medicine... and will it be your only option is the heretofore maligned Grace you find so deplorably old fashioned? Hope you'll get down with it... if and when your time comes, which it will. Till then, Al, Good Luck. Hope 'it' keeps workin' for ya. Whitey

Anonymous said...

Speaking of psychiatry, anyone who believes a god sent his demigod son as a blood sacrifice for mankind is nuts. When will psychiatry recognize that religious belief is a mental disorder?

Al's Friend, Leroy S. said...

Whitey: "Do yourself a favor, check out an AA or Alonan meeting and see how many rely, to great success, on a higher power. And while you're there, you may rediscover your humanity...I'm hoping you do."

Okay Whitey, according to your pretentious remark, you are the stand-in shrink, giving your obvious professional advice and diagnosis for an online personality. Attend AA meetings, and find a god, just pick one, any one, that's your suggestion for a better humanity. Right, stop giving out psyche advice, and its not an APA journal used to diagnose deviant behavior, its called the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). So, if you feel compelled to continue giving out psychological advice, by guiding people to a group which does not have a certified professional facilitating, by all means, you continue attending.

Whitey: "Hope you'll get down with it... if and when your time comes, which it will. Till then, Al, Good Luck. Hope 'it' keeps workin' for ya."

Keeping control of my mind, seems to be far more valuable to me, than letting someone else play leggos with my mental blocks. When my time comes, I will be in control of my faculties, and if I become incapable of maintaining those faculties, I have a living will with a DNR request if I slip past a certain point. But, thanks for asking Whitey. Ya' know, it strikes me odd that you mention a higher power, why a 'higher' power, why not an 'under' lying source of existence, supporting our ephemeral lives. Well, I know its a foreign concept to believe, that we are all spawned from the same source, I mean, somehow, we just have to be different from eachother when we die, I mean, how else could we discriminate after death if we didn't have some spiritual thumb-print to pass further judgement and biasness.

What works for me, Whitey, is having been there for a short while, and knowing the peace experienced. There was no higher power, just sheer overwhelming serenity. If you need to believe everything will be all right, because you still feel attachment in this life, to people, or others who may have passed away, then perhaps wanting to keep a figure alive in form is the way to go, and hope you will be able to pick them out of a spiritual line-up at St. Peter Headquarters. Well, there is your humored ending.

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