I can no longer force my heart to follow what my mind cannot justify

Sent in by Chip S

I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents had not made a conscious decision for atheism, I suppose. But their daily lives and lack of religious practice certainly would label them as non-Christians. They were always in that ambiguous category of people who simply had no time for theism or atheism. It was simply a non-issue.

For a whole I attended church with a friend, in elementary school. Of course I didn't comprehend enough to understand what was being taught, let alone make a decision to subscribe to the beliefs advocated by that church. But I did learn enough to remember certain things... John 3:16, the claim that Jesus was God, etc. I had this vague understanding of the person called Savior.

It was in middle school, which I now quaintly think of as the “Dark Ages” of my life that social awkwardness and intense depression led me on a search for more. Perhaps it was not as conscious of a search as I would now imagine, but a search nonetheless. I found an old family bible gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. I've always loved books, and to find a book in our house was rare. So of course, I read it.

My adolescent mind was floored. From the battle scenes of Joshua to keep me entertained to the eternal life-giving promises of Jesus, I was caught up in the promises of this Bible. I supplemented my knowledge of the Bible with videos from the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The text itself plus the constant cries for conversion from the hosts of the channel led me to a conversion experience without stepping into a church.

I was immediately enthusiastic about this idea of Christianity. I demanded that family members begin dropping me off Sunday mornings at the local Methodist church which continued to send us monthly newsletters even though no one had attended in my earliest recollection. Of course, the calm atmosphere of the Methodist church would not fulfill my insatiable boyish desire for excitement.

After my first visit with a friend to the Apostolic Pentecostal Full Gospel Church my freshman year of high school, I was caught up in the loud music, the cheering even the idea of speaking in tongues. For six months I attended this small church, one time I was even grounded from church for quite a while because the Friday night youth service lasted until 4a.m. and I didn't call home. Eventually as the "emotional high" of the services began to wear off and have less effect, much like (I hear) the effects of drugs, I began to question. They made some pretty radical claims. The people at the Methodist church would not be in heaven, for example. You had to speak in tongues to be a child of God. They made extraordinary claims about the ability to do miracles and prophecy the future, but no actions ever seemed to follow the rhetoric.

Though it was hard, I wrote them a letter outlining my problems with them. Things didn't seem to make sense. Their denomination had only existed for a few decades, what about the two thousand years in between? Was everyone from that time in hell? Surely, not. Speaking in tongues seemed to be so silly at times, like they were all just making up things off the top of their heads. None of it sounded anything like a different language, and none of them sounded similar. A few days after I delivered the letter, four of them came to my house to explain to me why I was going to hell. I had committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, you see, and that was unforgivable. Though some might argue that it could be very psychologically damaging to tell a fourteen year old that he was damned to hell, I can't help but think it was at least courteous for them to let me know. As I was now an apostate, all but one of them cut me off from their social lives, and she only because she held out hope that I hadn't completely damned myself.

I hopped churches for a while. Back to the Methodist church, to an Assembly of God church, a Freewill Baptist church, even another Apostolic Pentecostal church (maybe they were right, and surely these people wouldn't know about my blasphemy!). Eventually I found a home in a Nazarene church, where though I've always felt a bit the outsider, the people were generally good and accepting of me. The youth group was huge, and almost immediately I was thrust into leadership positions.

As my high school years passed, it seemed only natural for me to pursue full-time ministry. With my negative experience with the Pentecostal church in the back of my mind, I found that I was a "good Christian." Leading small groups at youth group, leading my school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and spending nearly all of my time witnessing to anyone who would hear me out. I had found a skill, if you will.

At the (extremely persistent) prompting of my youth pastor, I shipped off to the regional Nazarene University for college. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by Christians. It was thrilling at first, people were all generally nice. Classes all began with prayer. Chapel was held three times a week. For the first semester I was happy to finally be in a place that advocated my values.

But over time I found that I was in the minority. In the fall of my freshman year, the White House was up for grabs. Of course the majority of my school was in love with George W. Bush. My Kerry-Edwards poster was taped to the urinal of my dorm. Some of my friends referred to me as a "baby killer." When I suggested in a class that homosexuals weren't in fact destroying America, I was sneeringly labeled "liberal" by a classmate. A label I have proudly worn ever since.

It was as I began to explore more deeply into my religion classes that I first began to seriously question. Of course throughout my years as a Christian I had asked questions, but always had come back to the idea of "faith." I found it disconcerting that my freshman biology professor gave me a "C" on my final paper because I refused to write about how creationism made more sense than evolution. I was frustrated by my Christian Life and Ministry Professor who prayed for the forgiveness of Democrats. I was frightened by my history professor who mentioned the "mystery cults" during the time of Jesus who seemed to have many similarities to Christianity... and no body wanted to hear more about them.

As my freshman year turned to sophomore year, some of the inconsistencies of faith began to strike me. Some of the poor arguments for Christianity started to bother me. Some of the doctrines of the church shook me. For a while I pressed on. Then I found myself attached to Calvinist theology of election and predestination. I became convinced that the reason things didn't always make sense to me and the reason I still struggled with the same "sin" as when I was a new Christian was that I was simply not elect. God did not love me.

Out of sheer willpower I broke free from that notion and again became enthusiastic about the cause for Christ. My frustration with the shallow religion courses prompted a change of major to philosophy. My passions began to thrive around the philosophy of religion and I was bound and determined to prove the existence of God, particularly the Judeo-Christian God. My desire to be a minister was replaced by a desire to be an apologist.

As I became aware of the cosmological, teleological, ontological, etc. arguments for the existence of God, I became obsessed with the need for a rational explanation for Christianity. I devoted countless hours my junior year of college to reading anything I could get my hands on. Books from atheists, journals from Christian thinkers, videos of lectures by Christian apologists.

In my Systematic Theology class which dealt heavily with philosophy of religion issues, I found that I thrived. The class was the hardest religion course I'd taken. The professor was brilliant, and serious about his work. He required his students to read, a lot. And his exams consisted of nothing but very intense essays. I would study for weeks for those exams, and often got them back with notes that read along the lines of: "Great work, best essay I have read yet."

As the year pressed on; however, my doubts only increased. So much didn't add up. And the parts that did add up required that I work from the conclusion backwards. I pressed further, beginning to read much more technical philosophy of religion works.

All the while, I was preaching at regional churches through a campus ministry. And I was good, I think. Often, with or without an altar call, people would come and pray. After services old women would approach me and tell me, "You need to do full-time ministry!" The church board of one congregation approached me at the end of service as a group and told me I had "saved their church" from infighting.

But none of this would confirm for me any kind of "call" on my life. I was unable to work past the contradictions, the absurdities, and the missing gaps of Christianity. Why would God command the Israelites to murder entire people groups? Why did the psalmist glory in the thought of bashing the heads of Babylonian babies against rocks? Why did Jesus tell the gentile woman she was a dog? Why did Paul say that women should not be allowed to speak in church? Why is homosexuality an abomination, but pride is "okay?"

For the summer I worked two jobs and took two classes. I kept incredibly busy with little time for a social life. And all the while, one phrase would float through my head each and every day: "Does God even exist?" I kept reading, and kept reading. I kept questioning those things that had always bothered me, and yet I found no answers. Only ridiculous explanations: Judas hung himself and then he fell off a cliff and his innards burst out.

I finally made the decision that I knew my mind had made months before: it really was a myth, a legend. An attempt by a primitive society to explain the world around them. A failed metaphysical explanation of the universe. Having not been raised in the church, I feel more foolish that I was an outsider who was duped. I pride myself on my reasoning ability, on my rationality. And yet, for years I believed in a deity that now seems completely ridiculous.

Now here I am, a week away from returning to an evangelical university where belief in Jesus is a requirement for admission. I've used the internet to make public my newfound atheism to avoid having to do it personally. Though at this university I have formed some of the closest interpersonal bonds of my life, I find myself dreading the return for my senior year. I have been flooded by e-mails and phone calls of people trying to re-convert me. Yet I can no longer force my heart to follow what my mind cannot justify.

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36 comments:

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Wow, Chip. Great account of the struggle to make reason out of something that is inherently irrational.

My deconversion covered a lot of the same ground, but you've compressed my 20+ years into just a few. Sounds like it's been a whirlwind for you, moving from believer to liberal to skeptic to heretic. It's a good thing that the only fire heretics face these days are the fires of social and academic rejection. I wish you the best in your final year at school.

I'd love to hear your strategy for living as an atheist in an evangelical school for the months ahead. I think you can afford to judge yourself less harshly on the matter of "foolishness." The church has practiced techniques for drawing people in for centuries.

Awkward teens are a great target for them. It's an easy age where kids naturally tend to feel that there is something wrong with them or that they are inadequate. What a relief to hear that it was all Adam's fault and that God is ready to make it all good for us. Would be truly fabulous if it wasn't all BS.

Again, good luck in the coming year. You've clearly got a good mind and will find your way through.

Bob said...

Good Post! The sign of a clear mind is when one can ask an honest question without a preconceived answer. When one has to seek the answer, honestly, religion will succomb to logic. Welcome to the real world

Nvrgoingbk said...

Hi Chip!

Like you, it was while attending college that I found the courage to really begin looking into my faith and the creeds in which I professed. I had been questioning all of the same things that you had for years, but limited resources prevented me from being able to really find the answers. It was a lesson in futility to ask pastors and other Christians. They had been just as brainwashed as me, so what was the point? Their "answers" were only insulting to my rational mind anyway.

After starting college at the age of 31 and after having been a Christian for some 16 years (I was 'saved' at the age of 16), I began to slowly wake from my evangelical, fundamentalist, Christian nightmare and see the world and religion for what it really was. It was during my second semester when I took a World Religion class that I finally accepted the fact that I had been duped. Through my school studies and my own independent search, not to mention the truths I had found over the years regarding false doctrine, etc., I was finally able to kiss Christianity goodbye. It was in July of that summer semester that I became a member of this site and submitted my "leaving religion" testimony.

My son and I were watching a wonderful educational film about the sun last night, and they brought up Galileo. The church was successful at getting him to recant through threats of torture. After showing him the various tools they could use to insure his suffering, he tucked his tails between his legs. Not many of us would have had the courage to do otherwise. Knowledge has always been the enemy of the church. But as more and more began to poke holes in the black shroud of faith, the light of truth would find its way through. It was always there just waiting for one brave soul such as yourself to reveal it.

I do not envy the position you find yourself in now. I attended a secular college, so my faith or lack thereof, was never an issue, except in my religion class which was taught my a Roman Catholic who loathed my knowledge of the scriptures and knew that I could lead the class into the truth far better than he (I still managed an A in the class despite his cringing everytime I spoke aloud.)
You, however are having to return to a pit of ignorance and dogma. Good luck. There is no advice I can give you. Just be glad that you are almost through having to perpetuate the cherade. This is your senior year. It's almost over.

SpaceMonk said...

Hi Chip.
It's good to see somebody who understands all the christian apologetics being able to see through it and break away. People always seem to think if only we could have christinaity explained properly we wouldn't be able to deny it, but no...

Anyway, if you don't plan on going into an evangelical career, then an evanglical university seems the wrong place to be. ?

I don't really know the situation, but maybe you could quit and transfer to a real university? I imagine credit could be transferred?

Anyway, don't be afraid to be difficult for the lecturers in class ;)
You might wake some others up who are in a similar situation to you. Get the wheels turning in their minds.
They shouldn't be too worried - if God is for them who can be against them... ;)

ryan said...

I heartily agree with spacemonk. Chip, get the bloody hell out of there. You are a bright guy and you are casting your pearls before swine. Best of luck.

nvrgoingvk, Galileo is one of my favorite subjects. I read a book titled Galileo's Daughter. (can someone tell me how to italicize with this thing?) Each chapter begins with a letter from Maria Celeste to her father. We encounter through this exchange a warm and generous man, who just happened to be cursed with a blistering intelligence. He was forced to recant, in the end, on his knees. ON HIS KNEES. Tell us, whoever comes trolling in here, that xianity should not go the way of slavery, child labor, and syphilis.

As I never tire of repeating, atheism gets us off our knees and on our feet. Many years ago I saw on a church sign--aren't they always so cute?--the following little motto: "A man on his knees will never stumble". Well no shit. We are safe on our knees. We stumble only when we are on our feet and moving forward.

Good health to all here.

Kathleen Marie said...

How very sad. I feel so sorry for you. How lost and alone you sound and also a bit angry.

You should not return to that school. Deception is not a good thing and you are being disobedient by disobeying their rules.

I will pray for you.

What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe.

Athiests and others for some crazy reason like to put God in a box (ie church) but that is not where he is at.

So, whether you leave school or not, God will "never leave you nor forsake you".

Hugs!

Thackerie said...

Kathlee Marie wrote, "What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe."

I have personal relationships with REAL people. We do things together and talk about things. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we get on each other's nerves. Sometimes we learn from each other.

But how do you have a relationship with someone who's "perfect"? How can you have a two-way conversation if that person is always right? Unless, of course, that person is just a figment of one's own imagination. Then, you can have a jolly "relationship" with your own mind as long as you delude yourself into thinking it's a separate being.

ryan said...

kathleen, I am going to ask the obvious question: suppose someone dies without ever having this "relationship". Does that person go to hell? If the answer is yes, then sweetie, you have a religion.

I agree about not putting god into a box. If the supreme being exists--which I doubt-- he is not living in anyone's box. My "relationship" with that god would be one of mutual acceptance and approval. Reward and punishment would amount to the box you mentioned.

So far so good?

The idea of a relationship with god began during the '60's. It was fashionable then to talk about one's lover as a "relationship". Teen-age xians--"jesus freaks"--adopted this and started to talk about their relationship with jesus. You will not find the words "relationship with god" or
"relationship with jesus" in anything written prior to 1960. It is a very new idea.

Anyway, it is a useful idea. It helps to save face, and not sound like a religious nut.

Rick said...

Isn't Kathleen Marie's idea of god just that - one more idea of god? Cherry picked ideas from a rag of a book by someone who knows the whole thing is bullshit yet holds out to the idea and need to have a god? She recognizes religion for the farce that it is, but still likes the idea of a creator watching over her so has started her own new and personal religion so that she can stand apart from the madness with the freedom to say "That is wrong, but I am right".

Seems to me its still all based on what a person wants to believe - not what is truth.

Spirula said...

What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe.

I am always amused by Christians who come to an Ex-Christian web site and lecture us about what Christianity actually is, when one considers the number of former pastors, seminarians, devot Christians there are on this site. Apparently, not only is Kathleen not familiar with historical church doctrine, but with church history. The whole "personal relationship" is a warm-and-fuzzy theology appearing in the late 20th century. And it's only a largely protestant one at that.


Athiests and others for some crazy reason like to put God in a box (ie church) but that is not where he is at.

Well, not believing in god makes it pretty difficult for us to put god in any kind of box, let alone identifying where "he is at". Christians like to stereotype (put in a box) atheists in order to side step the valid arguments and critiques of their religious doctrines and claims.

But thanks for the strawman Kathleen. We've assembled quite a collection from you fundy trolls.

Aspentroll said...

Chip: Finishing out your last year will put you in a good position to thwart any attacks on you from the "fundies". The more of their knowledge that you have can make your atheist arguments stronger.

Kathleen Marie: Get a life and some help for your delusional
thinking. God is imaginary and praying is just wishful thinking.

Huey said...

Kathleen Marie said:

"What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe."

Kathleen, if christianity were not about church and/or doctrine, then neither would exist. But both do exist and further, exist for every christian sect, without exception.

Ryan is correct when he says that this "relationship" is a recent fabrication. If what you say is trus, then why did almost 2000 years to discover this? Or did the good lord once agin change his unchanging mind?

When you go to church, do they not preach doctrine to you? I know they do. If doctrine is not part of this relationship with god, then why do they need to repeat it, week after week? Try going against their stated doctrine and then you will see how much it does not matter.

I do agree with your viewpoint about deception not being a good thing and you are very correct about being disobedient. If you attend a school, even though you are paying for it, you tacitly agree to abide by their rules. By his admission, belief in jesus is a requirement. In short, he no longer qualifies to be there.

I want to thank you for your kind and polite post. It was refreshing, considering some of the apologetic, dripping with vile and hatred, obscenely profane posts that we do get from christians.

boomSLANG said...

Kathleen Marie said: How very sad. I feel so sorry for you. How lost and alone you sound and also a bit angry.

Please, Ma'am...don't feel sad; instead, feel joy, be supportive... give encouragement. Yes, yes, give encouragement---much in the way you'd give a spouse who finally got brave enough to leave an emotionally abusive relationship, encouragement.

Seriously think about this: If a dear female friend of yours was involved with a man who always made it clear that she is free to leave him if she so chooses, but yet, at night, he whispers in her ear that he'll track her down and kill her if she does, would you feel "sad" if she uncovered the "lie" of that "love"??? Wouldn't you be happy for her if she found a way out of it? Be honest.

The truth is, Kathleen, love that is based on conditions, is bankrupt from the get-go. The "love" extolled in Christianity is a sharade, Kathleen.

Kathleen: I will pray for you.

To perform such a ritual, you are wasting precious seconds of the life that you know that you do have, to do so. Further, you are asking a nonexistent 'thing' to use it's nonexistent 'mind' to magically fix something that doesn't need repairing. A critically thinking mind don't need fixin'.

Kathleen: What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that [it] is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe.

No. Christianity is about believing that you have a "relationship with God of the Universe". That's where "Faith" comes in. The ol' addage, "with faith, all things are possible!" is ironically true in a sense, but unfortunately, not in the Christian's favor. You see, with "faith", a literal INFINITE amount of things can be "true". You cannot say some things based on faith are more likely true than others, without incorporating evidence to support it...yet, "faith" is to believe without evidence. That's the whole point.

Kathleen: Athiests and others for some crazy reason like to put God in a box...

Firstly, Atheists don't believe in God/gods. Secondly, do you discontinue to NOT believe in Santa, even though a child might accuse you of putting restraints on the possibility of his existence?..i.e.. putting Santa "in a box"?

Kathleen: ... but that is not where he["God"] is at.

God is in your head and in the pages of books; nowhere else.

twincats said...

Kathleen Marie wrote: “What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe.”

What I don’t think Kathleen Marie and the rest of the trolls understand is that church and doctrine are just where it BEGINS for most folks here. If you read a few deconversion stories and threads, you’ll see that they found the “personal relationship” with the “God of the Universe” to be less than satisfactory (to put it mildly, in many cases.)

Kathleen Marie also wrote (to Chip): “You should not return to that school. Deception is not a good thing and you are being disobedient by disobeying their rules.”

Twincats sez: If it’s one of those places where lying for Jesus is condoned (vis a vis evolution being unproven/untrue, homosexuality being somehow worse than wearing cotton mixed with wool or eating the wrong “unclean” foods, other xtian cults being wrong and bound for hell, etc.) I personally wouldn’t worry about that. Why should Chip treat them better than they treated him?

dano said...

Kathleen Marie wrote:
"So, whether you leave school or not, God will "never leave you nor forsake you."
Hugs!"

Hey Kat!
Why has God left and forsaken, all the babies around the world, who are dying in their mothers arms, as we speak, from starvation and disease?

I'm sure they would number in the hundreds of thousands!
Dano, agnostic

Chip S said...

Spacemonk & Ryan-- For the record, I will be returning to school in the fall. Since it is my senior year, if I were to transfer now it would require spending extra semesters, meaning I would not graduate on time. Unfortunately, I simply cannot afford to do so.

However, I have made my de-conversion public. For better or worse, both students and (some) faculty know of my ultimate rejection of theism.

Joe-- I appreciate your encouragement. If by the end of the year I've devised some form of strategy, I'll be sure to let you know. However, I fully expect that I'll be taking it one gruelingly long day at a time.

Bob-- Thank you, sir.

Nvrgoingbk-- To be fair, my evangelical school is not a complete pit of "ignorance and dogma." Of course, the people there have come to very different conclusions than I have (well, some of them have simply accepted the conclusions without even looking at the question, but we'll look past that for now). But I have a good group of friends and the people are generally good. While some of the professors turn college class into Sunday School, there are others who give out quality education. Just saying, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. My Christian schoolmates disagree with me (and I believe they are wrong), just like many of my friends subscribe to a different political party (again, I think they are wrong). But ultimately, they still have value despite being wrong.

Anonymous said...

Chip

I was in a similar situation in a Christian University. I was almost unable to finish my degree. I would have lost years of education and tens of thousands of dollars if I had come forward. I took the prudant path and finished my degree so I could get a good job. If money and time is not an issue then ok.

Dave8 said...

Chip: "Yet I can no longer force my heart to follow what my mind cannot justify."

I heard a sermon many years ago, in an independent southern baptist church, where a metaphor was used to suggest God is of the heart, and the devil is of the mind. That says volumes about how many religious approach life in general.

You made a good point to suggest that people have value, no matter their belief; however, not all people are beneficial to be around.

A degree is a degree, unless you are seeking a graduate degree beyond your current major in philosophy. I found myself in a similar predicament, I wanted to attend an entirely different university, but followed my wife to a christian university instead.

I don't regret going to college, at least from the view that I met a lot of good friends and professors. However, I will say that I have learned much more since leaving formal education. Part of what I learned after leaving, is that most all colleges are businesses and there is little qualitative difference between two competent English professors; one teaching Macbeth within a non-accredited college and one who teaches at an ivy league university.

Nowadays, the degree isn't about education; no one pays 200K to go to Harvard for an "education". They pay 200K to Harvard, for networking purposes, the 200K is an investment where the returns are in theory to be found when seeking a six figure salary amongst alumni.

While at a christian university, I didn't take a position on anything; what I learned from my "college experience", is to adapt to the environment in order to get to a position where I had more control in my life.

So, to the liberal psychologist professor, I was a liberal, to the conservative professor advising on religious survey courses, I was an advocate of theological research.

What I learned was "adaptation", and becoming resourceful to meet the objective of graduation, and a full-time non-religious job.

Going to college was a game of sorts, it teaches one to basically see the other point of view, yet, when all one sees is other points of view, there lacks an objective answer for anything.

That of course, doesn't show up on the syllabi when starting a course. I graduated with a degree from a religious institution, but haven't really been asked about it since leaving other than friends who are just curious. It's great for a shocking conversation starter with friends who attended MIT, etc.

Philosophy is a good flexible degree, it underpins all subject matter, and in many regards, forces the student to come to terms with understanding the relationships that support each field of study. I am pondering a second graduate degree, perhaps in philosophy.

Here's some info :-) for, when you are told by someone uneducated that philosophy has no use, or that is has very little practical use...

"Philosophers Score Better
As the University of St. Thomas Philosophy Department reports:

The University of Virginia's Office of Career Planning and Placement reports in "A Comparative Study by Major of Law School Admission Test Performance," that the average LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) score for a philosophy major at that school was approximately 15 points higher than the average for any other major. In addition, the American Medical Association conducted a study in which they found philosophy majors had the third highest acceptance rate into American medical schools. York University investigated philosophy major's performance on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and also found philosophy majors performed an average of 5% better than the average. In the verbal portion of the exam, philosophy majors scored higher than all other fields, including English. The quantitative portion of the GRE is historically where humanities majors do poorly, however philosophy majors still performed higher than social science majors with the exception of economics."

"As the Times of London opines:
In this country [England], the Higher Education Statistics Survey puts philosophy of science right up with medicine in its employment record for graduates."
http://www.thereitis.org/displayarticle637.html

Good luck in future endeavors.

Lorena said...

Brain-washed Christian said:
"What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe."

Lorena responds:
Amazing how Christians disregard the parts of the story which prove the former believer is knowledgeable and was a sincere Christian for many years.

Each and every time they patronize the ex-Christian and dismiss his/her struggle in the name of ignorance.

That proves that the religion makes people into dumb robots. I am sure the well-meaning Christians are not really stupid. It is a case of temporary insanity caused by the brain-washing belief system.

rickyusvi said...

Ahem. I haven't finished reading the comments yet, but i just have to respond to this bit of confusion.

Kathleen Marie wrote: "What I think a lot of people don't understand about Christianity is that is is not about church or doctrine but it is about a personal relationship with the God of the Universe."

Christianity is all about doctrine (and money). It's believe or burn (Mark 16:16, John 3:18), and if one has to believe, there has to be something--a doctrine--to believe. Now, you can believe what you want about what Xianity is and isn't, but there are more than 2 billion Xians around the world, and they (or their leaders) have their own ideas of what Xianity is. On what basis does the world decide that you are the authority on True Christianity™?

Kathleen Marie wrote: "Athiests [sic] and others for some crazy reason like to put God in a box (ie church) but that is not where he is at."

Kathleen, you are really, really confused, and you need to stop telling people things that you don't know. In order to put God in a box, one first has to believe that there is a god. Atheists, by definition, believe that God is a figment of your imagination. I don't know how you got the "crazy" notion that we were putting him anywhere.

Kathleen Marie wrote: "So, whether you leave school or not, God will 'never leave you nor forsake you'."

I don't think that Chip expects anything from his Imaginary Sky Daddy. I'm just guessing, but i think Chip is unlikely to take seriously any advice that presumes the existence of what he considers imaginary.

Kathleen Marie wrote: "Hugs!"

Hugs!

rickyusvi said...

SpaceMonk wrote: "I don't really know the situation, but maybe you could quit and transfer to a real university? I imagine credit could be transferred?"

I wouldn't bet on the biology.

_________________

ryan wrote: "(can someone tell me how to italicize with this thing?)"

How to <i>italicize</i> with this thing. And <b>boldface.</b>

ryan wrote: "As I never tire of repeating, atheism gets us off our knees and on our feet. Many years ago I saw on a church sign--aren't they always so cute?--the following little motto: 'A man on his knees will never stumble'. Well no shit. We are safe on our knees. We stumble only when we are on our feet and moving forward."

There is a saying, "A ship is safe when in port; but that is not what ships are for."

George Davis said...

Great post, Chip. I love your integrity. I wish you well and hope out of the situation you can bring about something truly rewarding for yourself. Best wishes!

Bill said...

Hey Chip,

What a nice story : ) I guess in all the testimonies I have read on this site I've never heard it put, "I've been duped." Unfortunately most doing those doing duping don't know they are being duped.

You did make me realize one thing about myself and why I never was duped. My childhood was great. I was raised by parents where religion was a non issue and I was surrounded by many great friends and good times. My childhood rarely had a bad mood. I never had a point where my brain was still impressionable where some religious nut tried to get to me. I was never proselytized as a kid even for a moment.

In my mid 20's during my all time low from alcoholism I tried to find Jesus and God Damn I was sincere. My rational brain was mature at that point despite the fact that it was pickled. The real thinking part of me would never accept the whole bullshit story. I pretty much went through the motions of belief and that was about it. I remember sitting in the one and only church I ever joined just thinking to myself, "What a load of shit." It was so easy for me to become a strong atheist after reading a couple good article refuting religion.

Has anyone really ever analyzed that personal relationship with God bullshit. Like God is just in the home of two billion people at the same time having coffee so to speak while maintaining the functions of the entire universe. I don't think even God could spread himself that thin. How one can have a personal relationship with nothing is beyond comical.

xrayman

ryan said...

Thanks, rickyusvi I am trying this now.

ryan said...

Well I'm damned if it doesn't work. Thanks again. I am an intellectual snob and I am keen to do things correctly, like book titles. I am re-reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, This is just after finishing Irving Stone's The Origin,, a somewhat fictionalised biography of Clarence Darrow.

Too bad kathleen didn't drop in again. The collective commentary on that relationship horseshit was superb. Maybe over her head?

Telesmith said...

Chip-

I'm in much the same situation as you are. Thanks for the post, it and the following comments have helped me wrestle with what to do. I'm taking systematics this semester and can only hope the bullshit doesn't rot my brain away.

Peace

Anonymous said...

Just because you cannot see it does not mean it does not exist. The wind cannot be seen yet we know it exists because we see the effects of it and feel it. Can't you see the effects of God and feel Him. Oh he is there! After reading your testimony I am deeply bothered at the lack of love that "fellow christians" have shown you. I can certainly understand your hurt and desire to turn away from them. Turn away from them - but turn towards God. They are human and lacked God's love in their treatment of you and your convictions. God is real. He does what he says he will do. Incidently, God does not like pride at all. In fact when Christ comes and rules for the 1000 year period some will still fall to Satan (who is bound) because of their fleshy pride just like Satan did.

Huey said...

Anonymous said"

Just because you cannot see it does not mean it does not exist.

I agree! I am sick and tired of everybody denying the frappin obvious! It is plain to anybody with with even the most mediocre amount of common sense that the Invisible Pink Unicorn DOES EXIST!

You morons need to get a clue before She tramples you with Her Holy Hooves!

Anonymous said...

The affects of God come from your own beliefs and feelings. Once you put away childish beliefs about a higher power you realize the feelings were just that....feelings.

Dan Sanders said...

Why are there "anonymous" Christians? Apparently, they ARE, indeed, ashamed of the gospel of Christ. At any rate, can't they speak English, rather than "Jesus-speak?"

Just another ten-second homily with no basis, scientific or otherwise, to back it up.

Astreja said...

Huey: "It is plain to anybody with with even the most mediocre amount of common sense that the Invisible Pink Unicorn DOES EXIST!"

Word, brother Huey! Blessed Be Her Holy Hooves! (cuts a big slice of ham and pineapple pizza as an offering for the IPU)

There are a lot of *other* things that we can't see, but which might actually exist Somewhere Out There. Just for starters:

- Russell's Teapot

- The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Ramen!)

- Every god ever described in the religious mythology of this planet. Prove to me that Shiva doesn't exist.

- Every character from every other work of fiction ever written on this planet. Prove to me that Frodo Baggins doesn't exist.

To the August 31 Anonymous who thinks his or her god is real:

Denying the possible reality of the above entities, yet declaring your god to be self-evident by virtue of some nebulous "effects" puts you in a rather untenable position. How do you know that these "effects" are from your god and not from Athena or Thor or a god you've never even heard of?

Or, indeed, from a god at all? Most likely, you felt something generated by your own mind.

Continue to believe whatever you want, but be aware that belief is not equivalent to truth. It's not even admissable as evidence. Many people feel that there's an invisible being out there. I find it telling that their personal accounts of this being are wildly different from one another, and that we have no corroborating physical proof after literally thousands of years.

Brikley said...

Anony: "Just because you cannot see it does not mean it does not exist. The wind cannot be seen yet we know it exists because we see the effects of it and feel it. Can't you see the effects of God and feel Him. Oh he is there!"

We, whether eruditiously or not, give names/identities to those things we can isolate within Nature. So, which piece of Nature do you suggest is synonymous with the word God?

AtheistToothFairy said...

Anonymous wrote:
Just because you cannot see it does not mean it does not exist. The wind cannot be seen yet we know it exists because we see the effects of it and feel it. Can't you see the effects of God and feel Him
----
AnnoyingMouse,

Of course you realize that you are the very first Christian to ever compare your invisible god to the invisible wind....NOT.
Your 'borrowed' comparison is not only very old, but greatly flawed as well.
Let's see how the wind and your god differ in their invisibility quality.

WIND:

The effects of the wind, along with the general qualities of the air we breathe, can be scientifically measured and have been well documented.

We can directly use this invisible wind to fly a simple kite, which even a young child can grasp the reality of this invisible wind. The child doesn't need an adult to reassure him/her that the wind is actually real, for the kite defying gravity and the pull of the kite's string, is it's own proof. No faith or brainwashing is required really.

This invisible air even holds-up very heavy airplanes, and while the concept of how that happens is a bit more complex than the child's kite, it doesn't take a grand leap of faith to understand that the moving air across the wings is enough to provide the needed lift.

Invisible air contains oxygen that aerobic life forms would die without.
The invisible air is needed by the four-alarm fire you saw on the tv nightly news, but also by your car's combustion engine.
We can compress air. We can heat it and cool it and then use the result to heat and cool our homes and cars etc..

We 'feel' the wind on our skin. We feel the pressure of the wind against our bodies and see it blowing our hair and 'feel' it cool our moist skin.
We see it blowing leaves and snow flakes; and even sand.

So yes, I have no qualms with using your words 'FEEL' and 'EFFECT' when it comes to invisible air/wind.

GOD:

Now, you claim we can FEEL god and see his EFFECTS, just as we can the invisible wind.

Can you feel god blowing your hair around?
Can you feel god pushing against you as you walk, as you can a strong wind?
Can we see something amazing, like the invisible air holding up an airplane, about your god?
Does he do ANYTHING obvious like the invisible wind does, that any living person would easily attribute to your god?

While you claim we can feel god like we do the wind, I think what you mean is you feel god in an emotional way, not a physical way like we do the wind?
Note: If however you do mean FEEL in a physical manner, then you are surely our next messiah....Everyone "Say Hallelujah" !!

Thus, you feel god in the same way humans feel love and anger, and while we call these things feelings, they are not to be confused with the physical sense of feeling something like the wind. These emotional type of feelings only reside in one's own mind and cannot be shared directly with another human being, like the wind can.

You say we see the 'effects' of your god, as we do the wind.
We can measure this invisible wind but we can NOT measure your god, nor prove his existence scientifically, as we can the wind.
We see clearly the direct effects that wind produces but in order to believe the effects of your god, we have to have faith in order to 'see' them.

The nature of the invisible wind and the nature of your invisible god are simply not interchangeable.
The air can be demonstrated to exist by anyone on this planet, your god is only demonstrated to exist within your own god-mind and nowhere else.
We don't need faith to know the qualities of the invisible air, but we sure need plenty of blind faith to assure ourselves of your god's existence.
I can prove to you that the invisible air is real and has had a consistent behavior throughout the ages of time.

Now it's your turn to prove to us that your god is as real as the invisible air you equate him to.
I'm sure it will be a long long wait till you produce your god proof.

Meanwhile I'll be happy to send you a bona-fide can of invisible air, which comes with a certificate of authenticity and is guaranteed not to require an once of faith to make it behave like the wind.
As soon as your provide your first fundie god proof, I'll be glad to send you some invisible ultra-violet light waves and a box of x-ray radiation, this way you can add to your esteemed collection of invisible objects you worship in your life.




AtheistToothFairy

Anonymous said...

Chip, I was fasinated by your story. I can relate to much of what you shared. Since you are hanging in for your last year of college and you didn't transfer to a secular college, I'd like you to consider examining Israelogy: the missing link in systematic theology. The author is Arnold Fruchtenbaum. This was his doctoral thesis. You may have a good time challenging your religion professors with some of Arnold's work. It's brilliant. His website is Ariel.org. He's not very popular with mainstream replacement theologists, which makes up about 80% of western denominations. I'll leave it at that. B'shem Yeshua, Brook

sillywhispers said...

Chip,

Congradulations! Ever hear of the Freedom From Religion Foundation? The founder was a minister who finally came to the conclusion he was preaching malarky. They have a website. Your story reminded me of him.

I have some advise. If you are trying to get an undergrad degree on financial aid,leave and go somewhere else immediately or you will lose out. Go see a financial aid counselor at a nearby state university about transfering in.

Otherwise, if you can stomach it, pretend your way through and get the degree there, then find a regular University to get your Masters.

I hope everything works out well for you.

Sillywhispers

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