Never again am I going to believe anything anybody tells me without hard proof

Sent in by Stephen

I am a long time lurker on this site and I just felt the urge to "come out" as a ... well I don't know if there is any word to describe my belief system but I'm sure you'll all get the idea once you read what I have to say...I guess the term "truth-seeker" is about as close as the English language allows.

My upbringing was of the loose catholic variety where we belonged to a church but were about as far from any extremist belief as you can get. I live in New Zealand and here, any kind of extremism is generally frowned upon, even the Christian variety and extremist Christians are often a target of public ridicule (yay! :o) ) . So I wasn't wrapped up in any evangelical/extremist type belief system, but I was still influenced by dogma to believe that there was a god, who was watching over us and was basically in control of the universe and everything and that everything was going along according to his will. Luckily the denomination of Catholicism that ran my school (the Rosminians) were a rather practical bunch and they would explain how god would use various natural phenomena to get his message across. I have rather vivid memories of being taught in "Christian living" class how the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites through the desert was probably a tornado etc etc and thinking "that sounds reasonable and not as far out as the bible made it sound". Also, they were very heavily into the "new law," i.e., everything Jesus said that did away with the old law. Jesus sounded like my kind of guy. He sounded like he was more interested in being correct than popular and as an extremely unpopular kid at school this ideal appealed to me like water to a fish! We stopped going to church, which was boring as hell except for the priest who is now the bishop of Auckland. I was always impressed with the quality of his sermons and now think that this was probably because he focussed on the positive words of Jesus (who I truly think never existed), but he would carry them out and at one stage after becoming bishop he offered pregnant women financial incentives not to have abortions. He was basically using the Catholic churches money to support single mothers. What a guy! But when I was 15 we stopped getting up every Sunday morning and trudging off to a church full of people who were more interested in dressing up than "receiving the message".

From the age of 15-18 I was still at the Catholic school and made it out without being too indoctrinated, but after the age of 18 I felt a "spiritual yearning". I'm sure most here know what I'm talking about, the sort of feeling that there must be more to this fantastic creation than what we can see, feel, touch, smell and hear. I tried various sects of yoga and meditation groups but sooner or later, these would end up with some kind of guru worship. The original goal did not seem the same once I had gotten in a bit deeper and it seemed so facile that I would just leave these groups. Still, I'd often continue to receive mail and emails from them.

After this phase I went traveling (NZ is a small place!) got into the international travel scene: drugs, cults, you name it. After awhile all the "spiritual" paths seemed like so much bullshit, refried and served up with a different flavour, so I basically gave up on the idea that another person was going to be able to show me "the way". I had serious doubts that "the way" even existed in the sense that most people think, i.e., a narrow path that if carefully trodden, leads to "salvation". Oh I had moments of clarity, bliss and a feeling of calling, but none would last past the initial motivation to stay on the "path".

Then, to the consternation of many of my Christian associates came my physics education. I turned into a modern day Galileo (one of my heroes), discounting all their bullshit dogma with rational and more importantly reproducible science. The best time I had at university was arguing with Christians about how the universe worked. Many of them seemed to still be thinking that the sun orbited the earth. The most fun was arguing with a lecturer of theology who said that because something was not detectable doesn't mean it doesn't exist. He used the example of my brain. He said that no one had seen my brain so therefore we couldn't be sure that it existed. I burst out laughing (I was 30 years old when I first went to university) and went on to say that if we went to the CAT scan machine at the medical school, we could indeed see that my brain existed in reality and that any obfuscation by him would not change that fact and all the other things he said existed without detection (i.e., the wind of all things!!) could be detected and evidenced by alternative scientific proofs. I began to see the importance of proof in any rational discourse. Needless to say the lecture theatre was pretty quiet after that. :o)

Anyway, I began to look into religion in general and read the entire site at www.jesusneverexisted.com in a weekend (another mind-fuck) and came to the conclusion that religionists are nothing more than a bunch of power-hungry elitists who aren't interested in the truth nearly as much as they are interested in power over others. After tallying up the number of deaths that can be attributed to the Christian religion (I'm quite the math Nazi as well) at almost half a billion, I cried inside for 2 whole days over what had been done in the name of "Christ" and "god" and thought, "Never again am I going to believe anything anybody tells me without hard proof." It was a tough and gut-wrenching time, but looking back it was well worth it as I see the universe (the world is such a small place for an astronomer :o) ) with much clearer perception now that I have dropped the whole religious ideology way of looking at life. To be honest, I feel much better and more fulfilled without it. Even disclosing myself here has bought considerable relief.

Thanks for reading and letting me share.

18 comments:

Bill said...

Steven said,

"in a weekend (another mind-fuck) and came to the conclusion that religionists are nothing more than a bunch of power-hungry elitists who aren't interested in the truth nearly as much as they are interested in power over others."

Part of the beauty of having power and control over the masses is the power to scare people into surrendering mass amounts of their hard earned cash.

This morning when I turned on the TV beside my computer that disheveled old fuck Jimmy Swaggart was on the screen. It was quite obvious he was playing on the pure stupidity of the most moronic of Americans to milk all the cash he can in the broken twilight of his once zillion dollar ministry. I remember when I used to be scared shitless of his message in my youth, now as I watched him I felt like I was watching a Mad TV sketch. It was comedy at it's finest.

For those too young to know. Jimmy Swaggert was the Stadium filling "A list" preacher of the early 80's who preached so strongly against sexual sins and was caught with and very homely hooker.

Great post Steven. I am glad to have you here !!!!!!!!

xrayman

jimearl said...

Welcome Stephen and thanks for sharing your story.

Part of the good of the internet is that we are able to access things that when I was young was impossible. The information available on the web is mind boggling. I have my own site at www.freefish.us.

Stick around and help us fight the cretins that show up here from time to time. Cheers, Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the "I want hard proof" club! Once you join, you can't go back; it would be like going back to being 5 years old and believing in Santa Claus again.

The way non-theism has been growing, I almost feel like I've joined the crowd with the Guy Fawkes' masks on...we're not fooled any more and we're not going to take it!

No god/ No fear said...

Great post. I could relate to many of your observations. I grew up in a home where spirituality was emphasized over dogma. My parents tended to look to science to explain many of the phenomena in the bible as opposed to accepting a literal interpretation for everything. The ironic thing is, there is something inside them that keeps them from questioning whether or not Jesus even existed. Sometimes when we discuss religion I feel that we are separated by only a thin line as they are seriously turned off by the dogma that comes along with any religion. I often ponder why I escaped the mind control and they are still victims.

To this day I wonder which form of belief--spiritual or dogmatic--is harder to escape. Fundamentalism has many built in controls to keep its victims from even investigating their doubts but a more complex spiritual belief system employs very clever mental gymnastics in order to explain away even the most ridiculous passages in the bible.

Sophia

billybee said...

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billybee said...

I had serious doubts that "the way" even existed in the sense that most people think, i.e., a narrow path that if carefully trodden, leads to "salvation".

Steven,
I LOVE this idea. The search for a "Higher Power" is what kept me in the dark for decades. I've given up on the idea altogether and my life and worldview have improved dramaticaly.
GREAT post!!!! BTW, I'm on my re-read of Kennith Humphreys book that you mentioned. I'm not a historian by any means but it sure gives me a lot of info to research. His premise is fun to consider, and I like his humor.
Thanks again!

ryan said...

billy, I wanted to make a few comments just for the sheer pleasure of it.

I labored for years under the pathetic delusion that there was a "way" and a "higher power". I now understand that the only way is my way, and that there is nothing higher than myself.

Those of you who object, I leave you to your delusions. Have fun.

Free Thinker said...

Great post, Stephen! After I reached true freedom from religion I liked to call myself a "nontheist" and/or a "freethinker" but "truth-seeker" is right on the money also! Erich

Free Thinker said...

Sophia, Very wise comments you made here. I've read other posts from you and appreciate your input! I hope you stay on this site a long long time. Thanks, Erich

No god/ No fear said...

Thank you so much, Erich, for your comments! I've lurked on this site for quite a while now and have enjoyed your posts as well. It's great to be able to interact and connect with people whose insights I find really interesting. I appreciate the nice welcome :-)

Sophia

fjell said...

Welcome home, Steven.

This is a site for truth seekers, for those who simply want to know "what's going on in reality, and how is it best ascertained?"

Christians, of course, will claim that this is nothing but a weigh station for religious criminals on the run, but, this is simply a part of the smear campaign which one accepts as part and parcel of actually being brave and honest enough to declare oneself on a search for truth which does not begin and end with handed-down preconceptions about time, eternity, and the universe.

I hope you can benefit from rubbing shoulders with like-minded individuals and that you feel very welcome here.

fjell

sir fer said...

Thank you all for the wonderful response. I read this site every day as inspiration and it really works :o)

""what's going on in reality, and how is it best ascertained?"

This is the crux of the scientific principle and has been a pillar of intellectual strength which has helped me thru many a difficult time in as much as it helped me seperate fact from fiction and the known from speculation.

Gaining this ability lifted several huge weights off my sgoulders and brought me a great deal of psychological relief, much more so than any cult group who claimed to have the answers.

Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, these guys are just the evangelical version of catholic child molesters.

Wayne said...

Great post!

I'm so happy when another can "come out" and not feel ridiculed or pressured to "return to the fold". I hope you've found this site as an oasis in a desert of xtian nonsense as much as I have.

Speaking of the mega-evangelists, have you ever seen the movie "Marjoe"? It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary, and it exposes the fraud that is the evangelical preacher... I recommend it to anyone and everyone. It's a truly disturbing and fascinating film.

Anyhoo... Welcome to your newly found REAL FREEDOM!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Stephen,
"He was basically using the Catholic church's money to support single mothers."

Was there ever any indication that he was directly responsible for their condition in the first place? (ha ha ha, just kidding)

Seriously though, welcome to the real world. My study of science was also instrumental in my deconversion. Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" did it for me. It showed me the advantage of skepticism, logic, and clear thinking.

Telmi said...

Great post, Stephen.

I enjoyed reading it and I wish to see lots more of such postings in this forum.

sir fer said...

Ah yes "Cosmos", I read it many years ago and still have a signed copy. A truly great book.

Trancelation said...

Thanks for giving me something to read and thanks for sharing, Stephen!

One of the most important aspects of scientific, to me, is this: here is the evidence; what is the end claim? For the religious, for the fearful, easily-misled masses, it is: here is the end claim; where is the evidence? All religious thought stems from assumption. My dad used to say that when ASSUME you make ASS out of U and ME. I mentioned that ASS U ME ing there was a God, and he hasn't brought that shit up ever since, but you can tell he wants to. He ended THAT discussion with: WHATEVER! YOU BELIEVE IN A GOD!

My dad, "ironically" enough, is an alcoholic.

Anyway, welcome to the heathen masses, Stephen. Hope to hear more from you.

Anonymous said...

billybee said, " I LOVE this idea. The search for a "Higher Power" is what kept me in the dark for decades."

This is interesting. I wish I'd been looking. But I was sure, so damned sure that there was a god in the sky. Early age indoctrination, I guess.

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