I Don’t Believe So

Priest

An Atheist and a Christian walk into a discussion. The Christian – surprisingly politely – asks for an explanation. I thought that I might provide one.

Thank you for your polite response. I respect your right of choice. If you don’t mind would you please share what first caused you to question the validity of Christianity when you began believing otherwise? I’m just curious. Was it something someone did or the church you were attending or a major life experience? For you to believe one thing for so long and then decide to believe differently had to be a major life changing moment.

You have made two fundamental unsupported assumptions in your question.

First, no-one chooses to believe anything, Atheism, or otherwise. Anyone who claims that they, or anyone else does, is either mistaken, or lying. We all believe what we do, only when we become convinced. It’s just that some people are more easily convinced than others.

Second, most people who leave Christianity to become Atheists, do not have a single, major, life-changing moment. It’s like Chinese water torture – drip, drip, drip, drip. Or like a new-born baby, growing into a full adult. There’s never a day when they are what they were yesterday, but it’s a constant series of tiny, un-noticed, incremental changes. For many, these changes are powered by a slew of social, secular, and saintly causes.

Read the Bible, it will give you Faith and Belief

Don’t read the Bible, you might not ‘interpret it’ correctly – says the priest/preacher who is interpreting it.

You have free will – but don’t use it to think for yourself. Accept what you are told, and DON”T QUESTION!
The church which preaches love and acceptance – discriminates against LGBTQ.

The ‘infallible’ Pope just finished changing a ruling that a previous infallible Pope made.

There are hundreds of religions in the world, and they all insist that they are right and Christianity is wrong. The three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, all disagree with each other. “Catholic” means ‘universal in extent, pertaining to the entire Christian body, or church’, yet there are three ‘universal’ Catholic sects, Greek, Russian, and Roman. At least two of them must be wrong – along with more than 20,000 Protestant divisions.

We are told, especially by the RC Church that, “There is no supermarket Christianity. You must accept all of it.” But the Holy Church picked and chose what gospels to put in, when the Bible was created. The Gospel of Mary, Christ’s supposed mother, was not put in. The Gospel of Peter, the Rock upon whom the Church was built, was not put in. They voted on whether Jesus was God or not. If Jesus was God, who did He pray to, in the Garden of Gethsemane?

And the ‘Inerrant’ Bible…. 😯 I have a Word file with 23 pages of mistakes and contradictions. There are two versions of Creation in Genesis. One says that Adam was created before the animals; the other says that the animals came first. There are two versions of Eve’s story. The first says that she was made from the dust, like Adam; the other testosterone-driven drivel claims that she was made from Adam’s rib. In neither was she present when God forbade eating the magic fruit.

Moses came down from the mountain twice, but the two pairs of tablets hold different sets of the Ten Commandments. Could God not remember the first set? One says to remember the Sabbath, and keep it Holy. Check with a Jew, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, or your calendar – Saturday is the Sabbath, not Sunday. A pope made all Christians into sinners

Two different people supposedly constructed the Ark of the Covenant. Two different people are credited with killing Goliath, only one of whom was David, and that was with a sword, after the stone had stunned him. Both accounts contain historical inaccuracies. In one, he was a Philistine, in the other, an Amalekite. There are two different versions of the death of Judas.

One version of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus says that those with him saw the figure of Christ, but heard nothing. The next one says that his companions heard the voice, but saw nothing.

Drip! Drip! Drip! Eventually they wake up one day and realize that it’s all exceptions, and no rule – no great, life-changing decision. Believe it all – or nothing. Okay, Nothing it is. Reading the Bible is the best way to create Atheists. Other than carefully selected and justified passages, most Christians haven’t. If a Power exists which created the universe and us, it neither needs nor wants our puny adoration and obedience – and it need not be called God. We’re just an ant farm. The “God” that Atheists don’t believe in, is the one in your imagination.

I imagine that there will be a Flash Fiction or a WOW on Friday. There’s only one version of the story of me being happy if you show up. 😀

Ego And Insecurity – Episode 2

Bible

Trying to debate the existence of God, with someone who has renounced critical, rational, logical thinking, is like trying to administer medication to a dead body.

A Fundamentalist Christian recently declared that, if he found a passage in the Bible which stated that two plus two equaled five, he would unquestioningly believe it. Another was quoted as saying that, if it was proved to him that the entire Bible had been written by forgers, he would still believe that they were Divinely-inspired forgers. Who could have a meaningful debate, or even an intelligent conversation, with someone with such desperately hidebound assumptions?

A recent Christian response to anyone presenting Biblical mistakes or contradictions, has been to defensively ask (demand), “Do you think that you are smarter than me?” That question is as vague, insecure, irrelevant and meaningless as all their unproven beliefs and claims. Smartness is almost impossible to define or measure. I’ve written of a woman so clueless that she didn’t realize that she had Polish ancestry. Yet she owned three homes, while my MENSA-grade IQ was still paying rent.

“Smart” is not the matter at hand. Instead, it is the gullible, sheep-like, unthinking, dogmatic rejection of any portion of evidence of reality that conflicts with their (and their church/religion’s) unthinking hope/wish that their existence was exactly the way they needed it to be, to make them feel good about their life choices.

I realize that ‘salvation’, and ‘eternal life’, are very important concepts. It’s just that far too many people put far too much belief and energy into things that have no real connection to God. In a legal sense, I’ll stipulate to the existence of God. That means that I may, or may not, accept the concept, but I’ll allow it for the purposes of discussion. I’ll also, grudgingly, agree to ‘Christ as Savior.’

ALL the rest, is bullshit! Petty rules and orders, dreamed up by men, for the benefit of men. God doesn’t need you to kneel. Even if He did, he’d want you down on BOTH knees, not just the right one, with the left foot forward. He doesn’t care if you accept Him, dabbed with ashes, or oil, with a little water sprinkled on you, or dunked whole-hog in a creek or pond.

I can manage to get born, married and die without some guy in a funny hat and dress being there to demand his 10% – not for GOD, but for him, and his church. Ritual actions can be important, not in terms of God, Jesus, and salvation, but for ‘the group – the congregation,’ as well as those performing them, so that the group will accept them.

They are an external indication of an internal decision of belief, but no specific rites or actions are any more “right”, (or wrong) than any others. Lutherans will not go to Hell, just because they don’t genuflect, no matter what your priest/preacher tells you. In the Old West, preachers were often not available. Many couples were ‘married’ by gathering friends and family, and performing some overt, ritual act, like ‘jumping over a broom,’ with a Bible present.

“Church” becomes a place where we go once a week, to pass judgement on others. A lot of folks would do well to dispense with the irrelevant details, dreamed up and enforced by men, having nothing to do with God, Christ, or salvation, and concentrate more on ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto others….’

Episode 1 is here, if you’re interested.

Insecurity Blanket

security blanket

I was recently reassured that, as a person, I have value.  That’s not something that I usually worry or am in doubt about.  In my usual, humble way, I am normally pleased with who and what I am.  That did not hold entirely true before my recent trip to visit BrainRants.  Online, he seemed like a nice guy, but in person, he would be

 A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

Could I keep up?  Would I fit in?

He has two university degrees, and a small string of subsequent educational certificates.  He has more letters after his name than Noah Webster.

I have a Grade 12 education, and a few minor employment-related post-secondary courses.  Of course, over the course of a lifetime almost twice his, I am a continuing scholar of the English language, communication, amateur psychology, and the human condition.  Would that be enough?

Hero

He left the Army as an officer.  While I have respect for people in uniforms – police, fire, ambulance, etc. –I am not necessarily impressed with just the fact that someone is an officer.  Too often it merely indicates a slavish, unthinking addiction to rules and regulations, the established system, prevailing policy, and current convention.

He earns five times what the wife and I receive together, in our paltry retirement pensions.  I’ve met some monied ‘gentlemen’ – business owners, and captains of industry.  Some of them were nice.  Others had homes where commoners mowed the lawn, not sat on the furniture.  Would I be accepted?

I had concerns that I was travelling to meet a cultured, scholarly, conservative, socially-judgemental ‘Gentleman.’  I need not have been concerned.  All my petty fretting and worry was for naught.  The true mark of a gentleman is his ease with any company, in any situation.  True gentleman that he is, he immediately and completely put me at ease.  I kept up.  I fit in.  What I was, was accepted and enough.

We spent a glorious week, discussing a wide range of topics, unaffectedly bouncing erudite words off each other in normal conversation – and letting the other know that we’d noticed (Paucity – Ding!  There’s another.)

He was the stereotypical common man, who just happened to have more formal education and income than me.  He was the kind of guy that I might have been, without my learning disabilities.  I will never doubt myself again!  Thanx, Rants, for providing far more than just a great getaway vacation.  😀

DRAWANAWARD

Ouroboros

Recently, Cordelia’s Mom bestowed a Versatile Blogger Award upon me.  I treasure it, as I have treasured every blog award given to me.  It’s always nice to know that someone indifferently highly regards me and my abilities.  It has also been fun revealing little things about me, and making fun of myself while I was at it – however….

Like Ouroboros above, the snake that eats its own tail, or the central character in Robert Heinlein’s short story, All You Zombies, I’m going to bring this tale to an end at the same place where we came in. CM’s award was the 15th that I’ve received in the last 4 ½ years.

It all started with another Versatile Blogger Award from The Kindly Hermudgeon, as a nudge to get me moving down the blog, blog, blogging trail, like the Easter Behemoth Bunny.  Since then, there have been many lovely awards, from many lovely fellow bloggers.

award-free-blog

For two main reasons, I have decided to make this an award-free blogsite. First, I feel I have run out of previously untold facts about myself, and don’t feel I have the creative ability to compose any more acceptance posts that are humorous, or entertaining – hell, I’d settle for vaguely interesting.

Second, most awards urge you to pick 10, or 15, other worthy sites to pass the blog-torch on to – and link to them – and notify them. That all sounds suspiciously like a job, and I got out of the job business over 6 years ago.

At least blog awards are a little more upscale than office chain letters. The wife used to hate them.  She had a work friend who was addicted to them, and was always ‘honoring’ her with a copy.  She refused to play along, and always returned them to her friend(?), with the instruction to ‘choose someone else.’

They’re as bad as some religions; always trying to guilt you into doing something you may feel is poor behavior and manners, and always with the threat of retribution over your head. “The last woman who broke the chain got old and fat, and had to go home and make supper for her husband and kids.”

My creative consultant, darling daughter, LadyRyl, @ RylsRostrum, designed The Award-Free flag above, and will install it for me – long-distance, remote-control – like piloting a drone. While it could have applied anytime, OCD me wanted it effective the first of the month.  Then I realized that ‘the month’ was April, and the 1st was April Fool’s Day (how appropriate), and that some of you might regard it merely as a prank.

To those of you who have gifted me with awards in the past, I say again, Thank You Very Much! You have made me feel loved, supported, included and respected.  To those of you who might feel in the future that I deserve a bit more recognition, I will acknowledge any award and its donor, and display it, but there will be no long speech (Pheww, you dodged a bullet on that one), no ‘big reveal’, and no ramification.  (Look it up!)

😀