9/05/2011 | Share this article:(Please Critique)
By Monk_XP ~
I don’t believe anymore. I’ve went through phases where I’ve convinced myself that I have been a believer, and for all intents and purposes, I was a very devout follower of Christ. I went to every service. I said prayers. I served communion. I taught Bible study on both Sundays and Wednesdays. I wrote articles that represented my feeble attempts at apologetics. I tried (and failed) to follow the prescribed precepts of the Christian faith. I gave God the glory and honor for everything I did on my own. I don’t know what else a believer is supposed to do. If that’s not a believer, what is?
Why don’t I believe now? Ah, how many pages I might write on this subject! Well, first off, faith and belief have never come as easy to me as they’ve come to others. I’ve never enjoyed attending church services, always seeing it more as a nuisance than any benefit. I don’t think faith has made me a better person. I think it has made me a more neurotic person, a less reasonable person, a more depressed person, an insufferable and selfish person. Faith has not helped me cope with my daily troubles of life, nor has it helped me cope with my major troubles of life. In short, I don’t believe because I have never garnered any personal benefits, no personal growth, from faith and belief. And, yes, I have certainly tried to gain these things. I’m not sure what else I should have done to attain them. If God were indeed to exist, he obviously chose to keep the perks from me. That’ll be as it may. All I know are the facts, and the facts are that I have received nothing from faith and belief. That’s the anecdotal side to things.
Then, we come to the logical side of things, the rational. Men and women far smarter and far more articulate than me have cited the various and multitudinous reasons why belief in any god (but especially the God of the Bible) is a preposterous and untenable position once one is fully exposed to the many facts of life and of science. So, I will not list all those again. One should read them for his or her self. There are many books on the subject. Avail yourself of them. From the extensive reading I’ve done, I have found that there is ample logical, rational, philosophical, scientific, and reasonable reasons why one can safely reject theism. It is true that many have read these same things and maintained their beliefs, but they do so and remain sane only by employing a phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance” (defined and dealt with extensively in anti-theistic literature as well). Basically, as I have understood it, cognitive dissonance is when one holds two opposite ideas in one’s head and uses both equally in day-to-day life. For example, one can understand that all people die and do not revive after three days, yet believe that Jesus did exactly that. I’m certain that this is the cause of many mental breakdowns, and I include myself in the number of people who’ve both practiced cognitive dissonance and had some serious psychological repercussions for my trouble.
Some specifics (in random order):
- God did NOT create the universe 6,000 years ago, nor in 6 days. In fact, he probably didn’t create it at all, because he almost certainly doesn’t exist!
- Astronomy clearly has shown that the earth was NOT created before the sun, stars, etc. (as told in Genesis).
- The Old Testament is a wilderness of horrors, including genocide, infanticide, bigotry, and xenophobia. Attempts to explain this away are successful only to the extent that one suspends all sense of reason to accept them. One must have a form of Stockholm Syndrome to conclude that God could do these things and still be kind and loving. Part of his “plan”…what plan!? What loving plan could justify the things we read? So very sad.
- There is no conclusive proof that Jesus even existed.
- Christians ask why the apostles and early disciples died martyrs deaths for something that wasn’t true. They might have been deluded. It happens now, in the 21st century. It could certainly have happened then. Then again, these APOSTLES and DISCIPLES may have been imaginary.
- The Bible IS full of contradictions, WAS written by fallible (and sometimes LOONY) men, it DOES contain errors, it HAS been edited and added to (and subtracted from) over the centuries, and it WAS chosen by men long after the events it purports to expound.
- Jesus almost certainly was an invented literary figure/hero. That is exactly why he can appear to be so many things: God, Man, Loon, Teacher, Social and Religious Reformer, etc.
- There is absolutely NO WAY you can reconcile the concept of hell with a loving and just God. Don’t even try. (Note: If Yahweh is omniscient and omnipresent, then how could hell possibly be a place where his presence is completely withdrawn? If Yahweh WERE truly omniscient and omnipresent, then it would be impossible for him to withdraw himself completely from ANYWHERE, including hell. This concept of hell is as ridiculous as any other concept of hell, and is, indeed, just as ridiculous as the rest of the christian religion. In addition, those who accept the view that hell is just a place where Yahweh is absent are, yet again, showing christianity to be contradictory and false: Yahweh could not be both omnipresent and yet absent from a location.).
IN addition to the above, I’m fed up with the Church of Christ (CoC). It is too fundamentalist, literalist, xenophobic, bigoted, legalistic, and arrogant. I am not (and can not) be as certain as they are, and I grew tired of pretending. There are, of course, many good people in the CoC, but that is neither a reason to continue nor an excuse to overlook the multitude of problems. I went and remained loyal as long as I did for my family’s sake. I can do that no more. I will do something else with my life than waste time and money and emotional energy on such a bereft and decrepit and dilapidated and decaying institution. To remain would lead me to be in an “institution” indeed!
I will not try to “prove” my position in depth to Christians, not even my family. I’m not smart enough to do it verbally, most would not read my reasons in writing, and it would largely be wasted time and energy. Most importantly, I do not think that the onus of proof should rest on an agnostic/atheist like myself, but rather on the Christians…on those making the outlandish, insupportable claims. To try to defend anti-theism and rationalism to a hard core, devoted believer would not work and would make me look foolish for wasting my time. You cannot combat irrational fantasies with reason and truth when people will not accept the verifiable facts and do not argue from any stance but that of blind belief. Wisdom and experience have taught me that I’m much better off to punt the ball back in their court until they either get curious enough to look for themselves or else give up and move on with life (thinking, of course, that I’m destined for an eternity of suffering and misery in hell…because that’s what a loving God does to his creations that use the rationality and reason he allegedly gave them to follow the facts…).
As I said, I could go on and on. I'm thinking of using this as an "introduction" if anyone asks me why I don't believe. I have not cited sources, as this was me talking off the cuff. I don't claim originality for any of this, and of course, I'm sure most, if not all, of this has been said before by smarter people than me. I'd like some critique/commentary, please. Thanks for reading.
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