Sent in by Sean
My family is supremely Christian. Roman Catholic to be precise, easily one of the most depressing religions on the planet. Or as Kevin Smith's 'Dogma' put it. “Catholics don't celebrate their faith, they mourn it.” I attended catholic school for eight years, my great aunt was a nun and the principal at the school I attended.
My faith was lost years ago. It wasn't a jarring, or particularly instantaneous event, it was a slow, and rational process. I was left scarred and nearly destroyed by my religious experiences. I was told that my sexual desires were evil, and that relieving myself in any way was evil, and would lead to my eternal damnation. I was, apparently, not even allowed to want to touch a woman until I was married.
Losing faith has made me a better person. I am far more tolerant of different lifestyles than any 'faithful' person I've ever met. I am calmer, more at peace, and much more fulfilled than I ever was as a Christan. Though, I openly admit, that many of them do their absolute best to be kind caring people. Faith's very nature ingrains prejudice into even the kindest people. You can see it in the way they become uncomfortable when dealing with such issues, even if they strive for tolerance.
The bible, in my view, along with any other religious text, is at the top of the list of the most evil, bigoted, and misused writings on the planet. Right up with 'Mein Kamph'.
It all started, oddly enough, in science classes. Biology in particular. Evolution always made sense to me, but that wasn't the issue that truly started it.
No, it was something as simple as the anatomy of a whale, and the improbability of someone surviving in such an environment for any extended period of time. I'm aware that there have been a few cases of people surviving being swallowed. They were pulled out no more than an hour after being swallowed, and the individuals involved were all whalers, and all had to be cut out of the innards of the animal. All required an extensive stay at a hospital afterwards as well. Surviving such an event at all is a recent phenomenon.
The silliness didn't stop there. Even at a young age, I was asked to believe people who told me that a giant magic rabbit would bring me candy and colored eggs, and hide them around my home each year. Which is, by the way, the result of pagan beliefs about fertility, and has nothing to do with Jesus.
There was also the insistence, that a large man, in a red suit, would climb down something my home didn't even have, and leave me presents. To put it simply, it became obvious early on that there was something suspect about it all. I was expected to take these people at their word, about things that happened 2000+ years ago. A hard pill to swallow.
Fortunately, I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut until I was out on my own, and out of their control. The last thing I wanted was to be forcibly counseled, and forced into more intensive brainwashing programs. My advice to youth in such a position is to follow my example. Excessively faithful parents can become quite forcible and hostile when dealing with this kind of issue. Punishing their children for the 'sin' of actually using their brain.
I had witnessed others being 'culled' back into the flock, and found the idea unappealing. They feel they are saving their children, and that it must be dealt with swiftly and forcibly. A horrible mindset to be sure, but faith cares little for logic and reason, and doesn't mind at all using cruelty to get it's way. The Inquisition, Conquistadors, and Crusades are all the evidence you need of that fact. You must be subversive, wily, and cunning to deal with it if you are found out. After an incident involving an abortion rally, I was forced to pretend to submit, and atone for thinking God was wrong. It didn't really matter if it brought crime rates down and made people's lives better. It was wrong, and they should suffer for their sins, and their unwanted children with them.
To put it simply, I was fortunate enough to realize that I was being brainwashed at an early age. By the time I was twelve, I was hiding the fact that I found my parents religious life was just plain stupid. I was told that god sent his own son to earth, to be tortured and murdered, and that it was a beautiful, and wondrous story.
If I had done such a thing to a child I had, I would expect to be prosecuted, and possibly given the death penalty, if not a lifetime behind bars.
Yet, god was merciful, and kind. The god that tortured Job, just to get into a pissing contest with Satan. God loves all people, but if you disobey him, he'll send you to burn in eternal torture forever. The god that made an entire race suffer death and plague, just because one man was being stubborn. Such kindness in our dark...err...loving overlord.
An event, that, by the way, has no evidence of any kind to support it. There is no evidence, of any kind, that suggest that the Hebrews were ever enslaved to the Egyptians. The only place you will find any mention of it, is in the bible.
Christians will tell you that the Egyptians didn't record defeats. However, Moses, who probably didn't ever exist, was supposedly a part of the royal family. It would be near to impossible to omit any mention of such a person, especially someone so close to the Pharaoh. There are also no records in any of the neighboring cultures, another oddity considering his position in the Egyptian Royal Family. Nor is there any evidence of an entire culture wandering in a desert for 40 years, no broken pottery, no graves, not so much as a mummified turd.
The truth of the matter is, the bible was written by men. It contains within it the bigotry, racism, and arrogance of men. It teaches that homosexuals are evil, women are property, and that slavery is acceptable in god's eyes. Even selling ones own family is encouraged in it's writings. There is actually a passage that says that disobedient children should be stoned to death.
There are some good ideas in the bible, but they are largely overshadowed by the dark side of humanity. The ten commandments, ripped off from Hammurabi's code, are not the foundation of the western laws. In fact, you'll find that out of all ten, only two are actually laws in the US. Don't kill, and don't steal.
To put it simply, the bible is a system of control. A means to keep humanity's ignorant masses under control and prevent education. The church has a track record of murder, torture, and blocking of civil rights, that it continues to this day.
It stands in the way of progress, learning, and actual facts. Murdering those who would dare speak out against it. The man who told them the sun was the center of our galaxy, was burned alive for his efforts to enlighten them. They've stood in the way of civil rights, and continue to do so today, speaking out against homosexuality, calling it unnatural. Odd, considering it's been recorded in more than 1500 species of animals. Hardly something you'd expect from an unnatural behavior.
They stand in the way of medical research. Claiming that stem cells are human lives. Odd, considering the embryos they use are frozen.
Think about it this way. If I put a mouse in my freezer for three days, and then pull it out and let it thaw after that. Do you really think it will begin running around the counter?
No. The mouse is still dead.
Faith is the absence of logic and reason, it had it's place in the world. Now, the time has come to move on.
To quote Douglas Adams "God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining."
My family is frustrated with my beliefs. I was expected to become upset when I discovered one of my uncles was gay. I'm the only one in my family who will speak with him anymore, and I can tell he is grateful for it. I could tell that it hurt my mother that I wasn't upset and didn't ostracize him with the rest of my family. I still don't feel bad about hurting her that way, and to be frank, it disgusts me.
I care about my family, but find myself tolerated, and not welcome in their presence at times. Still, I feel I should strive on. Education, and future generations are more important. It's time to stop the silliness, violence won't do it, education is the only cure for the world's collective neurological disorder. It hurts many people to hear it, but if you think there's an invisible man in the sky, you've got one.
"My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” -Douglas Adams on the nature of faith.
If Mr. Adams is a 'radical atheist', then I am an aggressive atheist. I have no problem telling Christians that their beliefs are stupid. Why? Well, because they are.
The problem with most of us today is we seem to have instilled within our culture the absurd notion that all views and beliefs should be respected.
This is wrong, other views and beliefs should be tolerated, not respected. I've no intention of tying you to a stake and threatening to burn, or shoot you because your beliefs differ from mine. Christians have proven in the past that they have no problem with such methods.
They should not be left unchallenged, or allowed to spread their ignorant foolishness without resistance. It's just as wrong as spreading it yourself. You must speak out and tell them to their faces that they are wrong.
Here is one such example of a conversation I've had at my job many times before, with various individuals. The details vary, but it goes largely the same every time.
“Have you found Jesus?”
“Why? Did you lose him? Do you have a description?”
“He's our lord and savior!”
“Looks like an Italian guy on a stick to me. You are aware that Jesus was Jewish? Either that, or he was Latino, I'm not entirely sure. I've heard rumors about him, supposedly he sells some fire bud. Whatever that means.”
“You're going to burn in hell! Let me help you!”
“Into ten percent of my income? No thanks. I like actually being able to have sex as well. I'm better off and healthier without basing my life on an anthology of Jewish fairy tales.”
“You shouldn't be so disrespectful!”
“Why not? You don't seem to have any problem telling me I'm wrong and how to live my life. Why should I treat you any differently? Now you're just being silly.”
They will gnash their teeth, become hateful and angry, and tell you that you have to respect their beliefs.
You must respond and stand firm. “No, I have to tolerate your stupid beliefs, not respect them. I have every right to point out the fact that you're a gullible brainwashed moron, and that your arguments lack logic or reason. You can't stop me. This is not the United States of Jesus Christ.” Assuming you live in the US of course. “In fact, I feel it is my civic duty to call you out for the unreasonable ignorant boob that you are. It is my duty as an upstanding rational human being! I cannot stand idly by why you spread this foolishness any further. You sir, are a sheep, and I'll take being a wolf over that any day.”
This of course leads to more frustration, which hopefully, will stop said unreasonable person from speaking to you.
“I have the moral high ground! You're an evil man!” they will cry.
“75% of the US population is Christian. 75% of the US prison population is Christian. 10% of the US population is atheist. 0.02% of the US prison population is Atheist. You do not have the higher moral ground.”
If you've got one of the nicer Christians, at this point they will offer to pray for you. The other type will rant and stomp away, probably to get you fired from your job. I'm fortunate enough to have a boss who will tell them no, and that they shouldn't speak with me on the issue if they don't want to be insulted in such a way, and that in fact, they have insulted me by trying to be so forceful. A rare and wonderful thing in my experience.
“No! Don't pray for me! Don't you know that actually increases the chances of my death? Especially if I'm in the hospital. You shouldn't, and if you must, don't say anything. It's not really comforting.”
“You're a bad person!”
“Well, I guess I could act like a good Christian and sell my sister into slavery, stone a few disobedient children to death, and murder and rape non believers, maybe burn a few innocent people at the steak, and learn to hate gay people. You know, like Jesus wanted. Oh! Maybe if I send thousands of innocent children into the Holy Land to be slaughtered if it would help?”
“We are not...”
“And apparently, forget how to read. You know, you can't pick the parts of the bible you like and ignore the rest if it's the infallible word of god. You've got to kill people for working on Sunday or having long hair too you know.”
“You're forgetting about all the charitable work, and good the church does!”
“No. That's kind of like giving community service to a serial killer as punishment. The church has done more harm than good.”
Naturally, this is a compilation, they usually don't hang around for more than a few rounds. Still, the principal is the same. Stand your ground and verbally slug them in the gut. It makes them less likely to push their crap on others. The more of us there are, the harder it becomes for them.
Viva la resistance!
By the way, if you didn't find this the least bit funny, they Jesus has destroyed your sense of humor. Be sure to thank him for it, not that he'll hear you anyway as he's been dead for 2000+ years, but still.
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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)