A Biblical crisis of faith

Sent in by Jim RL

I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. I read the Bible often and prayed every night. God was very real to me through college. During college I went to church every Sunday with my grandmother.

I quit reading the Bible when I got to the end of 2 Samuel and it tells the story of God killing 70,000 Israelites via an epidemic because David took a census that God told him to take. I just couldn't accept that story. I had a pretty liberal view of the Bible, but this story couldn't be true. My God wouldn't do that. The God I prayed to, talked to wouldn't do that...couldn't do that. The crisis of faith was never quite settled, but the feelings that story gave me eventually died down.

After college I still went to church in Columbia, South Carolina. I wasn't very comfortable with the more conservative church there. A priest in a homily once referred to NPR as "National Communist Radio". I didn't like the fundamentalization of the Catholic Church, so I went less and less.

I then began looking around at other faiths. I read Taoist and Buddhist literature. I attended a UU service a couple of times and even visited a Zen Buddhist temple. I began meditating and did some Tai Chi. I liked a lot of it, but it wasn't really right for me. But, I need some faith...didn't I?

Last spring I began reading a lot of the atheist bloggers over at ScienceBlogs. Pharyngula and Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge stick out the most in mind. At first the outspoken atheism rankled me quite a bit. I really liked their writing in general, though. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that atheism was a real option. I started thinking "Why not?", and it short order I had accepted that I was an atheist.

It was months later that my wife and I really talked about the issue. Apparently she had gone through a similar crisis of faith, and had given up on God soon after I had. It was a great discussion. I still haven't talked to my family about it. I don't know how they will react, but I am not looking forward to it. The conversation has to happen soon, though.

24 comments:

clair said...

Hi. I need to point out how much easier it is for me to be married to an atheist, instead of begining a struggle to live with someone who is not ready to see reason. All of the people who wake up, throw off the heavy yoke of JC only to watch a sleeping loved one continue to drag that mothermucker, sadly trudging to the promised land timeshare that will never solidify, very sad.
Good luck to sharing with the rest of the family, and I'm glad you have a wife you can share your thoughts with, and one that is not afraid to think. It means a lot, ask any one of the many who must live instead with frustration. Clair, off to make Stronger Now a cup of coffee........

Anonymous said...

"I quit reading the Bible when I got to the end of 2 Samuel and it tells the story of God killing 70,000 Israelites via an epidemic because David took a census that God told him to take. I just couldn't accept that story. I had a pretty liberal view of the Bible, but this story couldn't be true. My God wouldn't do that."

This is one reason the Catholic Church originally did not really want the masses to read the Bible -- to afraid they would start thinking for themselves. I have to laugh every time an ardent Christian tells me to go read the Bible -- they have probably read not much of it themselves and don't realize that for many of us, it was reading the Bible which ended out blind faith.

Jamie said...

Having grown up in the church, with my mother taking me since I was a baby, I find that reading the bible for myself really didn't horrify me as the same stuff would have in another book. As a small child hearing the bible stories over and over again, I think I was desensitized. I remember asking why Isrealites had to kill everything and everybody, but I was a trusting child and believed that my teachers actually knew the answers that they passed to me.

For some of us, I think we just get so used to what is in there that we no longer even realize how awful some of it is.

billybee said...

JimRL,

Thanks for your post.

We all have the potential to make a long and lasting positive impact for change among our families and friends.

All the best to you and your wife as you blaze the trail.....

It ain't easy, but thankfully, people like you are willing and courageous enough to do it.

ryan said...

About 2 samuel: this is a superstition from that backward and barbaric part of the world. These savages believed that numbering people was numbering their souls, and only god must know how many souls there are.

To this day, countries with a high bedouin have to be very careful with a census. If these shitkickers get wind of it, they go crazy.

The bible simply carries with it the superstition of its origins. It is too bad that people cannot separate fact from bullshit.

Hi to billy.
special hi to otc; your last reply to me was so much garbled gibberish; you cannot understand what I am saying. Not surprized.

Huey said...

chuckyjesus said:

"I have to laugh every time an ardent Christian tells me to go read the Bible..."

Yeah chucky, I laugh too. The last time a xtian asked me that I said that I had. Then she asked me "Well yes, but did you STUDY it?"

Sometimes I think there's just no getting ahead. Then I come back here for a "renewal of faith" or lack of it. I suppose I should be careful what I type here. Some idiot xtian is probably going to claim that I have just proven atheism to be a religion.

Telmi said...

JimRL,

What surprised me is that you had read upto 2 Samuel before quitting the Bible.

That shows a certain element of patience.
There are enough passages in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers to put a person off and make him/her feel like throwing the Bible into the trash bin.

Who can worship such a god is beyond belief.

Jim RL said...

Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. I really appreciate the supportive comments, and I wanted to respond to a few.

clair,

I am really lucky to have a wife to share these thoughts with. I was fairly horrified of idea of telling her, but she asked me one day. We both kind of came out as atheists right then.

telmi,

I'm pretty surprised it took me that long too. I just breezed through rules for selling your daughters into slavery. I breezed through the massacre of Isrealites for worshipping a another god. I breezed through tons of genocide.

I'm not sure why the census story stood out so much to me. It's kind of because he forces David to take the census because he is angry for some unnamed sins. Then afterwards God is all set to kill tens of thousands for what David did, as David begs for mercy.

God just comes of as a bloodthirsty tyrant demanding his pound of flesh. He could have just killed the Israelites for whatever sins were committed, but instead he goes through this elaborate plan.

billybee said...

Yesss....PRAISE ye education! All glory praise and honor to you, oh information.!!! (insert some tongue talkin') GLORY GLORY GLORY to thee, oh ability of mine to learn...!!!!!

to otc; there ya go...guess I do worship something after all...

Anonymous said...

Hello, before God killed all of those people, he gave them warnings and told them what would happen if they didn't comply with him. He told them the concequences and they knew it. He gave them like a million chances too, but then he did what he told them he would do the whole time. It was THERE choice to be given the consequence by not doing what they knew they had to.
Next time you have an issue, just go to a pastor or something, jeez.
I feel sorry for you that you don't believe any more... you must really think life isn't worth living now.

billybee said...

Liza trench coat;

uhhhhh.......... oh,never mind.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Liza Trenchcoat wrote:
Next time you have an issue, just go to a pastor or something, jeez.
I feel sorry for you that you don't believe anymore... you must really think life isn't worth living now.

------
Well folks, seem we have yet another teenage girl who has chosen to impart her entire life's wisdom (of 16 years) upon us.

So Liza, what you're saying is a "pastor" is more knowledgeable about this bible book, than the culmination of all the many ex-xtians on this site, and we should seek one out, yes ??

Yes Liza, you "feel sorry" for us, that we don't believe anymore. Thanks for your sympathy about that.

In return though, I'd like to say that I feel really sorry for you, that at age 16, you no longer have your belief in Santa, the Easter Bunny and Peter Pan.
Heck, I bet many 5 year old children would be devastated to learn that you have lost those beliefs; in what their young minds are still sure exist.

If the only reason you think life is worth living, is to live for some fictional god-being, then young lady, you are living out your life based on a lie and that lie's promises.

Let me ask you this then:
If that 5 year old child told you that the only reason they saw for living, was because of Santa Clause bringing them presents once a year, how would you respond to such a child?

To the ex-xtians you posted to here Liza, you are very much like that 5 year old child who is convinced the adults are wrong about Santa's existence and will preach to us about how wrong we are, but in this case, about some god you have zero proof for.

We don't see our lives as been futile in nature, anymore than you gave up on life when you discovered Santa was a myth. When Santa was revealed as a myth to you, did life stop for you or did you just take another step in the growing-up process and move on in life towards new goals and ideas?

What we put behind us Liza, is trying to live our lives for your god, trying futilely to live up to your god's impossible standards and grateful that this evil god and his hellfire plan, have been zapped from existence.

We now know the events in this world are not god-caused and happen, just because of chance.
We now know there is no heaven as a reward, nor a hell for some eternal punishment for not buying into your mythical god and his man-written storybook.

So yes Liza, you may continue to believe in your childhood Santa, errrr, Jesus, but for the rest of us here, we have outgrown such an immature notion as a 'jesus' savior.



ATF (Who knows the godless Boomslang (amongst others) is just dying to be "saved" by yet another TEEN girl.......NOT, I BET)

Astreja said...

Excellent point about kids and invisible friends, ATF! One's zest for living simply does not vanish into thin air one picosecond after discovering The Truth About Santa.

And this is what baffles Me about the whole "meaning" thing:

How does one gain purpose in one's life by viewing oneself as the plaything of an invisible puppetmaster-god? It would seem to Me that existence solely for the pleasure of someone else would negate any and all purpose.

Jim RL said...

Hello, before God killed all of those people, he gave them warnings and told them what would happen if they didn't comply with him.

So, do terrorists and tyrants, what's your point? You do also realize that he killed 70,000 people via an epidemic and no where does it say that God only killed the bad ones. Also why bother with the whole census thing.

Also, if the Bible is such a paragon of virtue why is the punishment for raping a non-engaged woman that you have to pay for her and marry her? Hell, if your raped in a crowded area and don't yell loud enough then you get stoned too. Why are you allowed to sell your daughters into slavery? Why is genocide not only condoned, but encouraged in the Bible?

You may be able to come up with some justification for this story, maybe your god does spread epidemics to punish people. But, all of the immorality that God allows and encourages in the Bible.

feel sorry for you that you don't believe any more... you must really think life isn't worth living now.

This says a lot more about you than it does about me. I've never been happier. I'm free from superstition and goofy rationalizations like you are stuck making for a misogynistic and genocidal god. I hope you can feel the same freedom some day.

boomSLANG said...

"It was THERE choice(!)"

"Sweet sixteen"... but sixteen, nonetheless.

SamiB said...

"I feel sorry for you that you don't believe any more... you must really think life isn't worth living now."

(cue the canned laughter)

Actually dizzy lizzy, I feel sorry for you. If your faith is so strong why are you hanging around an athiest website?

Go on, you know you want to come over to the other side, don't be afraid.

freethinker05 said...

samiB, I think you are absolutley correct as to why alot of christians visit this site.
I believe deep down that they (christians) want to hear non-believers speak up is because they know the bible is full of contradictions and they want to hear more to help them realize the need to find the truth about the man-made religion.
Peace, Roger...A/A

twincats said...

It seems that the girl who came in from the cold in her trench coat was yet another hit 'n runner...

I think that there are other reasons xtians come here besides a secret desire to be free of their god yokes, although my hope is that they are the majority!

I think some of them just like to poke the hornet's nest and cause a ruckus among us 'godless' types (no offense to the pagans or anyone else; as we know, to the xtians, you're just as godless!)

They can do this for fun and every other evil impulse and still not feel like they've been sinful since they can justify it by telling themselves, others AND their nonexistent god that they are just trying to save a few souls, if they can.

fofaro said...

catwh

Fresh Fire said...

To God's Elect, strangers in the world.
Praise to God for a Living Hope.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
1 Peter 1:3-12

.:webmaster:. said...

And what, Fresh Fire, was the point of that spontaneous ejaculation? Your masterbatory spraying of Bible verses all over the screen won't generate any new births, if that's what you were looking to do.

In the future, just link to verses that you think are so arousing.

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

To Allah's Elect, strangers in the world.
Praise to the Almighty Allah for a Living Hope!

And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! [Qu'ran 9.030]

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. [Qu'ran 9.29]

Witness the Miracles of Islam for yourself! Undeniable proof that Allah is God!

Raul said...

Hi,Jim! To me this part of the Bible also was the critical point,which lead me to making this decision. I've mentioned it in my testimonial from 29 of april. And only to think,that there are xtians,who approve the idea of their God killing 70 thousands people or 42 children,e.t.c. with words like "God is not only all-loving,but also fair" and "they deserved it". :0
I am really glad,that you and your wife agree on the topic,so the "sword of Jesus" isn't cutting your family. I am sure you make a great couple.

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