1/28/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Allan Potter ~
I feel like I could write for days on this subject. My journey has been a very fluid one and I know that it is not complete. One thing I have learned is to keep an open mind, without one, I would not be where I am today.
I grew up in a very non-religious family. My single mother never once forced me to go to church and constantly reinforced to me that I was to come to my own conclusions. (Thank you Mom) I decided to try church because my Mom gave me that opportunity and I have always taken the viewpoint that I cannot judge something unless I am informed on it. I doubt my thoughts were that coherent at age 8, but nonetheless they were there. Plus, a few of my friends helped persuade me to go with them. I can remember going to church every Sunday for years. Being a Lutheran Church, I was confirmed, saved, and thought it was cool that I got to drink a sip of wine every month. But it was in the teachings that I was the most interested. Our preacher’s sermons were, for the most part, innocent and well intentioned. Most of the ten commandments made sense to me and were applicable to real life scenarios. Ultimately though, it was never anything that my mom or basic common sense hadn’t already taught me.
Then something happened, probably as a result of my continued intellectual growth. I started to realize that there was a very specific agenda on his mind and that my personal thoughts didn’t matter in the eyes of the church. I can specifically remember him making a remark that basically damned gay people to the eternal fires of hell. It was on that day that my journey began. Once the seed of doubt was planted, the rest of the carefully constructed elaborate lie came crashing down like dominoes.
I think most people who reject the existence of god, start with rejecting the church first, as I did. I was done with organized religion and the segregation it freely promoted in the name of god. My new god was more forgiving, more compassionate, and more understanding. I rejected the idea that any god that loves his creation so much would so easily dismiss those who never even had a choice in worshiping him to eternal damnation. So, for a few years I created the god that I believed made the most sense for me. Unfortunately, this theory began to fall apart at the seams as well, and rather quickly.
One determining factor was science. I am no scientist, nor would I consider myself anything more than a layman when it comes to the scientific world, but the concept is outstanding. Science relies on proof, something that no church or synagogue could ever provide. Scientists could just as easily come up with convoluted stories to explain the mysteries of the universe, but they choose to burden themselves with proof because through observation and experimentation, it is available. Scientists have certainly not unlocked all of the secrets, but they are working on it, and I can appreciate that.
Another determining factor was how far-fetched the stories in the bible really are. Jesus comes back from the dead, Jonah survives inside the belly of a whale, the entire earth floods, the list goes on. All of these stories were believable 2,000 years ago but, to those not drunk with the passion only indoctrination can provide, they seem nothing short of preposterous now. In a world where all other facets of our being now require proof, we must hold religion to the same standard. Faith is the crutch of the church. There is no need for explanation or proof, only faith will provide you an eternity in heaven. Once you have someone believing in that ideal, the rest is easy. Ultimately, I fear for us as people. I fear for our existence simply because an ideal like faith and the promise of an eternally peaceful afterlife can convince men to fly planes into buildings.
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