Tag Archives: Religion

Just so you know: your Christianity is far less “peaceful” than you think.

I consider myself to be a realistic person, overall. While I may speak in hyperbole in my everyday life (“This is the best thing of all time! Do you hear me?! Of all time!” “Okay, I already looked for that, like, twelve billion times.”) I try to think and speak “professionally” as accurately as possible. I am well aware that outliers do not define a trend. I obviously don’t think that all Christians are violent, immoral, etc.

However: I do think that, pointing out the outliers, when it comes to safety, can be important.

See: Christians Openly Advocate Killing Atheists on FOX News Facebook Page

And, my personal least favorite:

Obviously, the people who are going to “Like” FOX News on Facebook will be a fringe group, probably angrier/more extreme than your average person. And when you add “Christianity” into the description, I’m honestly not surprised about this reaction.

I’ve had many different adverse reactions personally to my proud atheism. I’ve been told that I am a Devil worshiper many times. I’ve lost potential friendships. I’ve been cut off from my immediate family, communication-wise. Yes, this is extreme. But no, it is not uncommon. And, while I’m sure that there could be some atheist parents who would do the same if their child chose to become religious, I would think that this would be an extreme divergence from the norm.

I started this blog to share different views with people who probably haven’t thought about it before. So here it is: religion in general, and Christianity specifically in the Western world, has been the cause of death and destruction where atheism has not. I would seriously like to know what possible, bodily threat atheism is. Has it brought about genocide? Absolutely not. The list of Christian serial killers is far larger than the list of atheist serial killers. The list of Christian pedophiles can top any other list by just including the priesthood. This doesn’t bring up any spiritual text at all, nor any other religious group, most of which can all be counted to be violent or harmful in multiple ways. By any “moral” measure, atheists stack up as much more moral as a group than any religious group does. As Jen McCreight sums it up: “I know this doesn’t represent all Christians, but it certainly debunks the notion that religion automatically makes you a good person.”

So please, somebody explain it to me: why kill atheists?

(tl;dr: Wow, I didn’t expect to be so angry about this.)

Edited to add: I want to add this to make the purpose of my post very clear: I am genuinely interested in hearing from people of all religions, and especially Christians (as I live in the United States, and this is the religion of the majority) what about atheism can cause people to treat atheists so negatively, beyond just disagreement.

Advertisements

The Importance of Numbers (Or, How in a Roundabout Way, I’m Pro-Life)

Official photo of Congresswoman Michele Bachma...
Nemesis #1 tbh

My politics are obviously not informed by faith (kind of difficult for that to be true when I don’t subscribe to any faith). But they are also not informed by my lack of faith; it would make no sense for my atheism to inform my politics beyond perhaps being one less thing to tell me how to think/feel/vote.

Though I am a proud feminist, I am not informed by my feminism. People might point out- “aren’t you pro-choice? Isn’t this because you want reproductive rights for women? Isn’t that feminism?” And I would say “my feminism is the part of my life that helps me make personal decisions and helps give me a drive for activism, but it does not tell me how to vote.”

I am obviously and definitely a secular humanist. If there were any kind of label that I subscribe to that informed my politics the most, it would probably be this. This is because, underlying what does inform my politics, what I am looking for are the answers to the question- “what is best for humanity?” (This can easily lend itself to “what is best for nature,” because humanity is kind of nature’s bitch, and we have to appease nature and treat nature with respect and kindness. Nature will go on without us very easily.) I think that the idea of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” is extremely misleading; one should not, in my opinion, call themselves “pro-life” if their concern for life stops the minute it exits the womb, if they care more about the potential for life than the actuality of it, if they vote in ways that aren’t informed about poverty, about education, about the death penalty, about the environment, about human rights. That is life, at least it is life in the United States, and that is what we vote for.

But what does inform my politics the most, what I look to before anything else, are facts, figures, statistics. Numbers. These are the tools that help me to grasp- what is the result of the availability of abortion, or what would the result be were there to be a lack of abortion availability? The same goes for science education, for environmental measures, for laws that have the ability to limit human rights to any one group of people. What matters to me is- what do the non-partisan fact-checkers say?

I was worried when Sarah Palin stepped onto the scene, but that was nothing compared to my fear of Michele Bachmann. The easy thing for people to say about my abhorrence for Bachmann is that I don’t like her because she has the evangelical, home-schooled thing going for her, something I obviously don’t agree with. While yes, it’s one thing that I could pick on her for, my annoyance isn’t with her faith, but with her lack of truth or reason. Out of all of the candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012, Bachmann has the worst record of stating any truths at all, and yet she is one of the top-runners for the nomination. Why? Because she “speaks our language,” which is the language of the United States Evangelical. Michele Bachmann is, of course, well-suited to become a favorite amongst the average citizen voter, because the average citizen voter is a Christian, and the average Christian’s vote is informed by faith and not verifiable fact. (I understand the argument “God is fact, and what he says is what’s important, and that’s fact for me.” But until you can supply empirical evidence to back up the claim that “God is fact,” it will still be a faith issue.

In theory, I have no problem with people letting faith be a big source of their political views and their voting record. What I have a problem with is people disregarding the importance of facts, numbers, statistics, truths, for anything. If an atheist voted for an atheist solely based on the candidates lack of faith, I would have a problem; the same with a woman voting for a woman based on her sex chromosomes, Democrat for a Democrat based on his party affiliation, etc.

I used to say that the important thing was for everybody to vote. I retract that statement. The important thing is for everybody to vote informed. Not informed by far-partisan media (such as The Daily Show, Fox News, MSNBC, etc.) but by non-partisan facts, statistics, numbers. That is my utopia.

Why friends are good, and also difficult

In the thick of the street festival, some demo...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve had a lot of mixed reactions from friends since starting this blog and ~spiritual journey~. Some Christian friends have been extremely supportive of me, and even said that by questioning God I’m showing more reverence for him than the people who blindly believe.

And then again.

Not that many of my friends have been abrasive to me. Only my parents have shown their discontent at my new life change, at least up until a few days ago.

Now, I completely subscribe to the idea of “Don’t Be A Dick,” but mostly when it comes to everyday interactions with friends. I am definitely not going to tell a Christian or religious person that they are wrong- I will only say it online, and not about them specifically. I generally refrain from using the word “atheist” to define myself, because I know the repercussions that could ensue. But still, it is true; I am an atheist, and I love being so.

Three nights ago, one of my friends decided to tell me that atheist was the least reasonable thing a person could be, and that moral relativism made no sense. I spent two hours defending my position to this friend, and in the end neither of us were happy.

“He’s just concerned about your immortal soul,” my other friend told me later on. This makes sense to me. I used to be concerned for my non-Christian friends when I was a Christian, but never enough to tell them that they were wrong.

How abrasive is it okay to be? Is it okay to defend your position, even if it will make the other person upset? How “out” is it okay to be around Christian friends?

Thank You, Grilled Cheesus!

A promotional balloon for Glee in New York City.
Image via Wikipedia

Now that I live with my sister and my brother-in-law, there are certain things that are expected of me. One such thing is that I wait until my sister gets home on Tuesday nights to watch Glee with the family.

This is a rule that I clearly broke when I found out that the episode was going to be about religion.

In the first minute and a half, one of the characters (Finn, for those of you who watch the episode) makes a grilled cheese sandwich that happens to have a burned section that looks like the classic “Jesus” visage. He begins to pray to the “Grilled Cheesus” and, every time he asks for something, his prayers are answered. (I would say that 100% is actually a pretty awesome track record. I’d pray to that.) After these few minutes I immediately ran outside to tell my brother-in-law that this was the best episode EVER.

I was pretty pleased with the way that atheists were portrayed on this episode. They had one atheist whose lack of belief came from a lack of an answered prayer (Sue Sylvester) and one who just seemed to not believe, but also had some negative views of religion’s actions against homosexuals, women and science (Kurt). The things that he said kind of came across as very classic atheist, as though somebody Wikipedia‘d atheist arguments and decided to have him mention them (the Teacup argument, the FSM). Still, it seemed to come across well.

My only problem with the episode was how it seemed like, by the end of the episode, the lesson was: it’s wrong to not believe in anything, you have to believe in something, otherwise you life is empty and foul. My hope is that a young freethinker will watch this episode and find a positive role model, and also that young believers can find positive role models as well.

After all, Mercedes sang Bridge Over Troubled Water in a gospel style. I could never hate on that.

Real Time

Before you read: just so you know, this is an extremely long rambling post meant mostly for me to figure things out for myself. If this is all tl;dr: I WILL PROBABLY WRITE MORE PERSONAL THINGS HERE IN ADDITION TO COMPLAINING ABOUT CHRISTIANITY. For those of you who know me in real life and have an interest in the inner workings of my brain (I’m looking at you, Knowlsey) read on.

Obviously, it isn’t a huge secret that I have been writing less and less on this blog. This isn’t for lack of thought or research on my part; I’ve been steadily doing “fun time” reading about science and religion on my own as I have been all summer. The biggest difference is now that I have questions about my own reasoning for writing here.

When I started writing this blog, it was because I was confused and needed somewhere to organize my thoughts. I also wanted a venue to share alternative thoughts and theories with my religious friends in hopes that they might be a little big more exposed to the universe, to science, to things they have never heard before. I absolutely loved a conversation that I had last week with one of my closest “church friends,” a girl I was even roommates with during my first year of college, because I got to ask her a lot of probing questions about the nature of God, but also because I got to share with her things about the theory of Evolution that she had never heard before. With the same excitement and vigor that I once used for sharing the gospel I now used to share science and the history of life.

I definitely don’t feel that I am any worse off now than I was before I started questioning things. To be honest, though I thought initially that a “snap” had occurred in my brain, I can now see the gentle downward slope of my belief. In high school, I was constantly searching for meaning and nuances from God in every occurrence. In college, I began embracing many life experiences that are decidedly non-Christian (cue my exploration of my own sexuality, which definitely included plenty of sex and an admittance to myself that I do find many ladies sexually attractive, not to mention my experiences with the most relaxing of herbs). Later, especially after moving into a house with my physicist roommates (one of whom I am celebrating our one year anniversary of being in a relationship with on Wednesday) I began to explore the role of science not just in my life, but in life in general. A notable moment was definitely when I came home from one friend’s house where I had been drinking to find the boys and their good friend drinking wine and talking about religion. I was invited to join in this discussion, which was extremely fun to be a part of. My two roommates were both decidedly atheists, and their friend was similar to me in that he lives a quite secular life but still has a religious background and foundation. This night was extremely significant in a few ways; not only did I realize how extremely attracted I was to Jose, but I also realized how flimsy my faith was and how inarticulate I was about it (although I’m sure the copious amounts of wine didn’t help). Later, when I was told that I should leave the music therapy program, my parents told me to go somewhere and be quiet with God. I never did. I went to church a few more times, but was never completely satisfied. I listened to some sermons that were podcasts (or as I called them, Godcasts) but I kept on feeling struggles between my own personal values and what was being said in the sermons.

And then, Boob Quake happened. I didn’t find out about the event until the day of, but it was a very exciting day for me. I immediately loved the idea of the day- it was a great, science- and fact-based, skeptical and feminist event. As I started to read Jen McCreight’s blog, I started to realize that these all fit extremely well into my personal values, values that I was unable to articulate until I read her blog.

And then, well. I read her entry about the Creation Museum, saw that the museum taught that plants came before the sun, and the whole idea of Christianity broke down in my mind. And then I started this blog.

I was extremely surprised at how much support I got immediately from starting this blog. Many of my friends are readers and supporters of me, and this makes the blogging process a lot easier. I have also gained support from other skeptic bloggers, especially Godless Girl via Twitter, and this was a great reinforcer for me to have some positive feedback on what I was doing.

That isn’t to say that there haven’t been any negative changes in my life from my “skeptic conversion.” I’m sure that I have annoyed countless people through Facebook with my plethora of skeptic and science posts. And then there is the fact that my mother hasn’t spoken to me for two and a half months, despite the fact that we live in the same apartment. I haven’t even seen her in this time frame. We spoke for about thirty seconds via the phone once when I was in the hospital, and that is it. This is because, when we were speaking, we would end up fighting. Every conversation would include her saying to me, “the answer is right in front of you, but since you won’t accept Jesus I have nothing else to give or say to you.” I also got into a huge fight with my dad over evolution, which included him screaming “It’s all phooey!” As for my younger brother, I have no idea what he thinks or feels about me as he barely says two words to me on average per day. (This is probably par for the course, as he is an eighteen year old boy.) The only member of my immediate family who speaks to me is my older sister, who considers herself spiritual but not religious. My sister and her family have been the biggest familial support I’ve had through this process so far, even to the point where they have offered to let me move in with them (I probably will soon).

I guess at this point in my exploration, I know a few things for certain- I definitely am not a Christian, and I wouldn’t even say that I believe in any deity at all. I’m hesitant to call myself an atheist, but I am definitely a skeptic, and I love the term “free thinker.” But the important thing is that I can no longer blog only about research and things that I find that upset me, or even the reasons why I am going to hell- I have to talk about myself and my experience, and not just in a peripheral way.

Also, I am sure that this extremely long post will scare all readers into thinking that every personal post will be this long and useless. To you I say- you’re probably right. Beware!