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With These Thoughts I Leave You.
Part 2

By Carl S ~

All our lives we've been told belief itself is a treasure worth hanging on to. By what stretch of the imagination? Just what does it mean, ”to believe?” To believe is to trust in some things and persons as being genuine, honest, truthful! Let's be honest. Trusting in any god means trusting in those who speak for that god, in their opinions! To believe also means to have firm convictions and opinions. It's funny though, that many people who believe their “personal” convictions and opinions originate from their own minds, are merely repeating those of others, without thinking. And their “personal relationship with God,” sounds like everyone else's.

Absolute faith is absolute conviction. The faithful want no connection to evidence, preferring to be connected feels true. There seems to be an unspoken faith that spiritual feelings never lie. Religious belief prefers to worship opinions. These are hardly reasons to adore faith; they are reasons to fear it. Dump “belief gifts.” Give them to a Salvation Army store.

A day following one Christmas, I watched gift recipients bringing in their unwanted gifts. The store had one lane open for checkouts, and six for returns. Would that, some day, faith would be returned to places of purchase in exchange for the financial and emotional investments put into it!

I've asked myself how a believer becomes a nonbeliever, and I think the answer is simple: After some time, an individual gradually gives up the habit of non-thinking and develops the habit of thinking. That changes everything. Thinking is the real salvation.

To what might we compare faith? Faith is like a paranoid individual: the person knows in his heart and mind that whatever he feels and fears is absolutely true, and there's nothing that can urge him to believe otherwise. I've found talking to a person of faith is like talking with a sociopath about morality and empathy for others: that person can't relate; those values have no personal meaning. The sociopath would probably regard me as an inferior for having them. We see the biblical sociopath God rejects any amount of caring that diminishes his pleasure of being cruel.

Did you leave religion, or did it leave you? You may be throwing religious baggage overboard. For me, that ship has sunk; I don't have that problem. There’s an old saying, something to do with at first you possess something and then it possesses you. But maybe you're one of those who don't want to be possessed. Maybe you're a comfortable nonconformist by nature, All those I admire have been nonconformist: innovators, protesters against injustice, inventors, imagining alternatives from outside the boundaries and rules, and acting on them. This includes my father.

Honestly, I don't know how to get those who don't care to care, and I'm tired of trying. I've dedicated many hours punching away at the keyboard, starting with a typewriter (and I'm still without typing skills), to help others get out and stay out of religious brainwashing, using arguments, logic, and humor. Freedom needs constant vigilance, and I've already gone past my obligatory hours of guard duty.

It was after her church service when I told my wife her fellow church-goers were “only telling each other stuff.” Nearly 20 years later, after more listening and observation, that conclusion still stands. I find it true for all believers. All those “answered” prayers and “miracles” turn out to be nothing more than personal stories! Everything's feel-good oriented. Churches are strictly set up to control the minds and hearts of even the non-religious “spiritual” individuals, by using emotional manipulation.

Churches are strictly set up to control the minds and hearts of even the non-religious “spiritual” individuals, by using emotional manipulation.One time, I asked Webmaster Dave if I should continue writing, and his answer was “as long as you enjoy it.” o.k. Many testimonies on the site have one thing in common: Individuals begin having a “relationship with God/Jesus” through thick and thin times, and then it becomes stale, dis-illusioning, and a real drag on the mind and emotions. It becomes like rationalizing excuses for an abusive partner. Still others get tired of trying to force a round peg into a triangular hole. I'm just tired.

Bill Watterson was right about quitting before everything becomes just repeating yourself. I’ve been over ten years on this site, on a trip without a destination. It's a wonderful world out there, with more anger, victories, laughter, failures, learning, tears, disappointments and discoveries awaiting ahead. There'll be more shaking my head and laughing out loud or secretly, at the folly of human decisions. More wondering why, when they're settled in comfortably, they so often spoil or destroy their security. There are days when I'm jaded like George Smiley. So far, I find more reasons to care than not to.

Each day, when I watch my beloved, I see why I fell in love with her, and each time I'm re-affirmed to being faithful to her. I've always taken my promises seriously; that's why I make so few of them. More time to Enjoy and Appreciate. Once in a while, I'll watch the 1956 film, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” to remind me what happens to human beings when they allow religion to take charge of their brains and feelings. One reason I'm not a believer is because I know I and the vast majority of humanity are not and have never been bad by nature. I'm happy to be a permanent enemy of God, since “he” is a misogynist, has no sense of humor, and prefers making destruction to making love.

Thanks to Webmaster Dave for posting my writings and finding pictures to go with them. Thanks to the divine Wizened Sage, a true friend, for his critiques and editing, without which I might not come off as sane and reasonable. I won't throw any of my stuff away; we've put too much time and effort into it. These, our mutual progeny, will be in saved files. Thank you readers too; I do appreciate your comments. Hey! Why the hell are you reading this? Let's go out and fly!