No good reasons to believe

Sent in by Midwest Atheist

I was raised as a Lutheran. I was a very committed believer and went to church almost every Sunday. I was confirmed in the church and gave a lot of money as a child, for which the church was more than willing to freely provide the donation envelopes.

When I went to college, I began to doubt my faith. Over the course of two years, I went from a stringent believer to a person willing to call myself an atheist. This was not something I woke up one day and just decided to do. It was a process of learning about the Bible: exploring the different contradictions and incorrect history that it contains.

I began to see that there is no good reason to believe that the entire Bible is the inspired, inerrant words of a god. And after much reading and contemplation, I realized that if I didn't believe in certain sections of the Bible, than I needed to question what I really did believe. I needed good reasons to back up my beliefs, and I discovered that there are no good reasons to accept nearly anything in the Bible as literal truth.

At the age of 22 I realized that I was an atheist, and I continue to remain so.


Shaggy Maniac said...

I too was raised as a Lutheran. Though I had doubts from earlier on, it was also in college that my doubting became more significant. It was only about two years ago that I finally realized that I really am an atheist. Simply put, the continuous adjustments that I had to make to my notion of "God" in order to reconcile the same with what I experienced in reality led to a notion of "God" that was so empty that I finally accepted that I really did not believe in any "God" at all. I feel much more free and at ease with myself now that I have abandoned any vestiges of belief. It has also occurred to me that the Lutheran obsession with "grace" is really a toxic, guilt inducing idea. Good riddance.

The only thing I miss is the music. I actually enjoyed singing liturgy, hymns, and in a choir. Obviously one can enjoy those things outside of a church/religious context, but I do still miss it. Strange.

Telmi said...

Midwest Atheist,

I, too, have discovered [ages ago] that the Bible is a load of crap.

All the best,

Epicurienne said...

For me, it was reading the Bible all the way through 4 times that made me realize Christianity was bunk.

There's a section where it lists Jesus' genealogy. Only there's a problem: it lists the ancestry of Joseph.

If you are a Christian, aren't you supposed to believe that the Biblical god was Jesus' bio-dad, and Joseph was his stepfather?

If that's the case, why is Joseph's genealogy in there at all?

Aspentroll said...

Reading the bible is key to having a realistic belief system. After reading this ridiculous book any sane person should put it all
together and start wondering
how this book with all it's
errors,misquotes and inconsistencies is anything but rubbish.
It was obviously written by ancient men who wished to dominate everyone of lesser intelligence than them.
This dispicable book is responsible for more tragedy than is imaginable.

Mandy said...

Aspentroll Said: "This dispicable book is responsible for more tragedy than is imaginable"

I fully agree with you.

I knew a guy one time who was dealing with severe depression. He had done everything he knew to do according to the christian faith. He never could find peace and relief inside of the christian faith.

He finally got to his wits end after struggling trying to find peace and happiness with Jesus, and one day he went to one of the associate pastors of his church, and told him that he could not find peace and happiness with Jesus alone, and that he was about to give up.

The Associate pastor told him that apparently he doesn't have enough faith and it's not god's fault, of course it never is according to these nit wits.

My friend told the Associate Pastor that he couldn't understand the purpose of his life here on Earth, and he was told this crap:

"The only purpose for your existence is to serve God, and we are suppose to be content in Jesus and Jesus alone, not your job or having a girlfriend".

I will say that same hypocrite is married, and apparently Jesus was not enough for him.

Not long after he was told that my friend committed suicide.

I'm sure that same Associate Pastor thought that is what happens when people don't put their faith and trust in Jesus. Which is a very arrogant belief IMO. It seems that christians and pastors do not want to accept responsibility for the ignorant things that they say, and the damage they do to the lives of other people. It's always the excuse that this person had a problem with God instead. It makes me sick.

That's one of the big reasons why I am no longer a christian today myself, plus I now see the lies and contradictions in the bible such as Jesus' promises to comfort those who are in pain.

Jesus apparently failed to do so for my friend, and my friend's walk as a christian was authentic. I wanted to clarify that before some judgmental know it all christian decides to come on here preaching saying that my friend was probably never a christian to begin with.

Working on it said...

"I knew a guy one time who was dealing with severe depression. He had done everything he knew to do according to the christian faith. He never could find peace and relief inside of the christian faith."

I am incredibly sad about the loss of your friend. Your friend sounds like he was going through the same thing I have been going through.

I made the choice to get into therapy after placing my whole self into the Bible but still having suicidal thoughts.

I don't know what to say. I want to believe the Bible, but I also need to function as a person living here and now. That was my choice for getting help.

Being obsessed all the time with doing this or that to appease Jesus is very hard on a person. :(

Mandy said...

Working On It Wrote: "I don't know what to say. I want to believe the Bible, but I also need to function as a person living here and now. That was my choice for getting help."

Being obsessed all the time with doing this or that to appease Jesus is very hard on a person."

I agree, and I hope things get better for you. Hang in there, and try to take things from a realistic approach.

Unfortunately there are some people who think depression or any other type of mental illness is something that you can just get over or get rid of. I have found that many people are ignorant when it comes to Mental Health Issues.

From what I have observed, not many churches are qualified to deal with mental health issues. Some even shun those who have depression.

I have never been a fan of biblical counseling personally.

Best wishes to you. :)

Mandy said...

I also wanted to add to my previous post that people need to take care of themselves, and learn to trust in their own abilities.

I have found through my own personal experience that if anything gets accomplished in my own personal life, it is when I take the initiative to get off my butt and do something, not get down on my knees and seek out an invisible god for advice.

For me personally, seeking and trusting god only led to one let down after another. The only time I was able to accomplish a goal was when I took charge of my life.

I do not agree withthe popular christian saying, "Make Jesus Lord and Master of Your Life". That statement and popular belief among many christians is not practical. It gives people false hopes. Once again I am speaking this from my own personal experiences in dealing with Christianity.

No matter what any christian, pastor, or bible scripture says, I have found that doing things by taking charge of my own life is the only way I have ever been able to accomplish goals. Seeking an invisible "Higher Power" has never given me the answers that I need nor has it ever helped me to accomplish goals in life.

Today I no longer listen to what any christian has to say, and I don't care about what the bible says because I know what works for me, and that is all that matters to me.

No christian can tell me any different. My own personal experiences are real enough evidence to prove to me that seeking an invisible god does not work when it comes to making every day decisions and accomplishing goals.

The only person who can change and improve their life is yourself. Never allow any christian to bully you with their opinions and their manipulation such as threats of hell and damnation.

No matter what anyone believes, life is too short to worry about pleasing an invisible god all of the time. You have to do what it takes to make you happy. I refuse to make myself miserable by worrying about if god approves of my decisions in everyday life or not. I lost many valuable years of my life worrying about serving and pleasing god.

freethinker05 said...

So help me....ME!!! Mandy,"your ah fine girl". Love and Peace, Roger..A/A

twincats said...

Oh, yeah!! Let's hear it for the ex Lutherans!

My religion really started to crumble when I took world history in college and found out that the only reasons Luther's reformation took off were that he was physically far enough from Rome (unlike the unsuccessful Savanarola) and he had the support of the majority of the German nobility who were tired of paying tribute to Rome and seeing no benefit from it.

They all but said that Martin Luther was little more than a convenient zealot!

I didn't find out about Luther's rampant anti-Semitic bigotry until I started coming here.

Anonymous said...

Well, it all began in earnest for me when I was exposed to a very bright Ethics professor who asked the following question: What does an omnipotent being need?

Point being that the notion of moral decision-making based upon religious authority is fundamentally flawed. The answer to the above question is obvious; an omnipotent being does not, nor cannot, by definition, need anything. Therefore, there can be no bargains made with such an entity. Moreover, if one devotes all of their life to following the conflicted moral teachings found in the bible this does not guarantee anything post mortem. You still have to be chosen...

Consequently, we cannot possibly owe such an entity anything. The argument goes, in religious fundamentalist thinking, that since we were given the gift of life we owe our creator something in return. But this is a contradiction in terms - a gift is, by definition, not an act which requires something in return. If it does, it is not a gift it is a bargain or transaction (a trade, if you will). If it is such a trade, then the other side is in need of our actions or inactions in the bargain. But if the person we are trading with has zero needs, truly omnipotent, then what's the point?

That's right, there is no point.

In the case of Christianity, the supposed trade is that we ought to adhere to God's will and to live under his explicit code. Problem is, we are instructed what this cod is not by direct, personal, direction from an omnipotent being we can see, touch, smell or hear with our ears but rather by other highly flawed humans presuming to know the mind of God. Such hubris is stunning...

Moreover, if one considers the Christian concepts of morality and justice one can only come away with some really serious issues and questions. Christianity represents the complete rejection of Greek thinking and Greek justice (Aristotelian), and a philosophical slide back towards the primitive.

Per the Sermon on The Mount, humans are not to judge because, as humans, we are fundamentally worthless-we are all sinners (so goes the "logic"). So, rather than make judgements (use your mind) we are instructed to love those whom we would otherwise deem as worthless; Men and women of questionable character, criminals, tyrants and dictators, are to receive our love and not our judgment.

But to love is to value - just as you cannot have causeless wealth or causeless health, you similarly cannot experience causeless love. To require men to 'love' because of edict is to render ones mind useless and to require that one not use his inate abilities of reason, the very trait that allows us to survive.

All of this is based upon one giant intellectual ripoff - original sin. If man is evil by birth, if he has descended from a state of perfection into something else, that something else must be less than perfect ergo we are all flawed (evil) by birth. Sort of like a game played with loaded dice. This fall from a transcendent state of perfection (The garden of eden) is consistently found in virtually all religions and it requires man to worship death rather than life. Religions are all anti-human in their fundamental forms in this regard.

Ayn Rand said it best when she stated the following:

"If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man's nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched."

My journey out of Christianity was one based on hard and long thought, and full due consideration. I respect others rights to worship as they see fit but I can no longer live, intellectually, in a dualist universe.

Anonymous said...

Epicurienne wrote:

"There's a section where it lists Jesus' genealogy. Only there's a problem: it lists the ancestry of Joseph.

If you are a Christian, aren't you supposed to believe that the Biblical god was Jesus' bio-dad, and Joseph was his stepfather?

If that's the case, why is Joseph's genealogy in there at all?"

Because the idea that Jesus was the physical Son of God came about more than 100 years after Jesus died. The virgin birth of Jesus is only mentioned in two books of the NT (Matthew and I think John). But these gospels were written much later than the rest of the NT. I have never found any mention of the virgin birth in any of the epistles. It was only when the virgin birth thing took off that Jesus was seen as the actual physical son of God rather than the son of Joseph.

boomSLANG said...

Anonymous November 26, 2007,

That was a great post. Pick a pseudonym and stick around. 'Loved the Ayn Rand, BTW.

"Working on it",

Keep working on it, and know that there are people here who were/are in your shoes. And you're right... the anxiety of trying to measure up to some intangible "Divine" standard is essentially, and ironically, a living "hell". Stick with reason.

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