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Continuing the journey

Actually I think I'm probably a Deist, where before I said Agnostic. I don't mind labels too much as long as they seem to fit, and from everything I've seen so far, Deism better describes where I'm at.

The fricken 4 blood moons

A couple years ago when I was still a Christian, that's all my parents would talk about with me and my wife when we visited. Blood moons, blood moons. They would set us down, and we'd have to sit through Pastor Homophobe Hagee with a big mural behind him talking about 4 blood moons from their DVR.

My parents do not live nearby. We have the opportunity to stay overnight with them perhaps 4 or 5 times a year, when it would be nice to just have them as my parents, and me as their son, and my wife as their daughter-in-law and just spend time together. But there for awhile, we knew what each visit would entail--some planned event where they were going to practically chain us to the sofa, and to wow us with the blood moons, and that Jesus was coming soon, and that something was going to happen with Israel (like something isn't always happening with Israel) and it's this big fricken miracle in the sky that's "God's Billboard" (Hagee's term not mine), of monumental things about to happen.

While I was still a Christian, I looked up all of the past historical events that Hagee proclaimed happened EXACTLY when the blood moons took place before, only to find out those events didn't actually happen when the blood moons took place, but sometimes a year or two before, or a year or two after. I sent the link to Dad, but it didn't phase him, because in his mind it still coincided since it was K for close.

But now, the 4th blood moon has come and gone. And guess what, no more talk of blood moons from my parents. No: 'oh I guess they were wrong about that' or 'hmm, thought for sure something would happen' or even trying to make some event coincide. Nope. Nothing. Just like it never happened. They're able to just walk away and go on to the next big thing whatever it is. Before the blood moons it was "the EMP is coming!" and they got all prepared by buying one of those all-in-one generators from life-long grifter/adulterer Jim Bakker. When we see them in a couple of weeks, I guarantee it'll be something else.

So Hagee and Bakker get their millions from preaching and selling fear and they each give another puff on their proverbial cigar. it's a win-win all around. They get their money, and the gullible Christians feel a little safer from the manufactured menace. Everyone's happy.

If I sound a little bitter, I am. I had the best parents in the world for years, before they both bought into all this stuff. We were all three of us Christian, and we were happy, and I understand why people would rather not unplug themselves from the Matrix and start questioning their beliefs because things can be pretty good ...until you take a step back from believing that you're being oppressed and see who the REAL oppressors are, and who it hurts.

I can never go back knowing what I know. Part of me wants to believe in something, but the other part of me is happy to just be free from all of it.

Trying to make sense of layered emotions

I just got done watching a little bit of a couple of the "pastors" praising the outcome of the Orlando shootings because at least it took some "pedophiles" off the street. WTF?

I'm just done defending any of this sh*t anymore. Then I remember of course that such a small percentage of Christian ministers share such an odious, hateful, and un-Christlike stance, and it's true. Very few leaders in the Christian faith believe this type of thing, let alone say it. I have no idea why either of these pieces of trash aren't in jail, because this goes beyond any semblance of free speech, into inciting violence of fellow human beings. People can believe what they want, but when it starts threatening someone's safety, it's crossed over.

The aversions that Christianity often has with being LGBT are usually more nuanced like: you can be gay, but just don't act on it. Or feeling like they own the word marriage, so if two guys want to play house, they should call their union something else. The vast majority used to believe that orientation was a choice, and now more of them believe that there is something to nurture or nature.

Then I consider the pro-LGBT Christian organization called NALT, which is an acronym for "not all like that" which of course sounds like a charitable name on the surface. First of all, it acknowledges that there is a problem with some Christians who condemn being gay as sin, it makes a distinction from that ideology, then pledges to be an ally to LGBT in spite of the connection to Christianity.

They actually do good things. I'm not berating them at all. But think about it for a moment, the name: not 'all' like that. If they have a faith that is so off the rails when it comes to treating LGBT people as fellow humans, that as the name implies, most who call themselves Christians are haters, so they don't want you to think they're like 'all' the rest... I mean, you have "ALL" and then pretty much the next segment away from that extreme is "Not All" ...? Do you see what I mean?

Yes, there are good things happening not just with NALT, but in hundreds of other organizations within Christendom, but if at its core the ideology is so broken that they have to turn 180s on the fundamental stances within their religion, what's the point in dragging people through that?

I suppose if I really believed in the god of the bible and I wanted to believe that all the hate stuff is just what came along later, and all we need to do is get back to basics before the religious trappings convoluted and confused everything, then I guess they'd have a point.

So defending the religion has just become so exhausting that I have no desire left to defend it. Which brings me to this: I wonder if I'm even qualified to lead the (mostly) Christian LGBT group I founded on LiveJournal 12 years ago. Can I be impartial and keep it a safe zone?

a poem

I thought I'd share some free-verse I wrote a year ago, at near the beginning of walking away from my faith:




Doubt

playing jars of clay on the way home to see if
there is anything left inside,
a scrap
i can still call Christian
ready to capture in my gentle hands the scurrying
scared fluffball, bring it up to my chest
just under my chin, to let it know
it's safe
but i have no such assurance, bless'ed or otherwise
not anymore
too many disappointments, dashed dreams, nagging doubts
peeps come to me for help and i
am reluctant to give it
what if i lead them astray? what if they end up in
what...hell? the only hell i know is the one created by the
scholarly ones, the ministers who profess their love
with their ample dose of
"love the sinner, hate the sin"
in their view, a charitable phrase
they read the bible every day, you see, hardly miss
a sunday at church
they speak to this god of love and he speaks to them
this god whose love is apparently so
conditional
so how can any of us truly KNOW what we know?
is our faith in the biblical authors of old a little greater
than in modern day charlitains who are still among us
and still proclaim their visions?
'God told me to run for president'
'the gays are to blame for the flood' the tornado, the increase in autism
should we give one of them a golden pen with which to write
the very mind of god for the faithful to read
a millennia or two from now?
I guess I'm just looking for a little place to belong on lj at the moment. I've recently personally denounced my long-time Christian faith and I feel this is a safe place to maybe make a public declaration out of purely psychological need to do so.

I can't really express these things on my community, rainbow_ark because it was founded to be a safe place for LGBT Christians in the furry fandom and don't want to say anything there that would transgress that safe zone, plus the fact, I care too much about them as individuals.

I don't hate Christianity or Christians, I just cannot in good conscience ascribe to it anymore personally. I sincerely hope none of my words offend anyone here, but this is my personal story and the place to which MY life and journey have brought me. Everyone's mileage is going to vary, as it should, but below are some of the main, sometimes overlapping categories into why I will no longer call myself a Christian.

In the political realm
Read more...Collapse )

Validity of the Bible
Read more...Collapse )

My own parents
Read more...Collapse )

So where I am at the moment, I'm basically an agnostic. I really don't think we can prove whether or not there is a God or gods. I think that's the point that science and faith have made together all these years, but what has driven the point home for me is that holding a particular faith up as the standard and declaring all others to be false is being presumptive at best. A lot of times it has everything to do with the culture that we were born into and grew up in. People in India, most are going to have the Hindu faith. People here in the west, they're going to believe Christianity is the one true faith and all others are copycats. China or Japan, a likely outcome is Buddhism in their youth into adulthood. None of these people have ever talked to God in person, but they have "faith" about others who have.

Since I've denounced it for myself, I have a sense of freedom and relief that I didn't think was possible. There's no more guilt over not being good enough all those years that I was never winning enough souls, or studying or praying enough. I never seemed to have the profoundness of experiences that others said they had, etc.

I don't call myself an atheist. For me there are 3 things that in my mind are not explained by big bang and evolution, and those are, 1) the existence of love, 2) self-awareness, 3) the aesthetic of positive relationship of colors found in nature. So I'm still searching, and open.

The Damon Fowler saga

 Damon Fowler of Bastrop, Louisiana asked his school to obey the law and not impose sectarian prayer on his high school graduation, and for that he's being ostracized.

on Reddit
My graduation from high school is this Friday. I live in the Bible Belt of the United States. The school was going to perform a prayer at graduation, but due to me sending the superintendent an email stating it was against Louisiana state law and that I would be forced to contact the ACLU if they ignored me, they ceased it. The school backed down, but that's when the shitstorm rolled in. Everyone is trying to get it back in the ceremony now. I'm not worried about it, but everyone hates me... kind of worried about attending graduation now. It's attracted more hostility than I thought.My reasoning behind it is that it's emotionally stressing on anyone who isn't Christian. No one else wanted to stand up for their constitutional right of having freedom of and FROM religion. I was also hoping to encourage other atheists to come out and be heard. I'm one of maybe three atheists in this town that I currently know of. One of the others is afraid to come out of the (atheist) closet.
Damon Fowler of Bastrop, Louisiana asked his school to obey the law and not impose sectarian prayer on his high school graduation, and for that he's being ostracized--by the town and by his family. He has apparently received death threats as well.

 He shared his concerns on Reddit
My graduation from high school is this Friday. I live in the Bible Belt of the United States. The school was going to perform a prayer at graduation, but due to me sending the superintendent an email stating it was against Louisiana state law and that I would be forced to contact the ACLU if they ignored me, they ceased it. The school backed down, but that’s when the shitstorm rolled in. Everyone is trying to get it back in the ceremony now. I’m not worried about it, but everyone hates me… kind of worried about attending graduation now. It’s attracted more hostility than I thought.
My reasoning behind it is that it’s emotionally stressing on anyone who isn’t Christian. No one else wanted to stand up for their constitutional right of having freedom of and FROM religion. I was also hoping to encourage other atheists to come out and be heard. I’m one of maybe three atheists in this town that I currently know of. One of the others is afraid to come out of the (atheist) closet.
Though I’ve caused my classmates to hate me, I feel like I’ve done the right thing. Regardless of their thoughts on it, basically saying I am ruining their fun and their lives, I feel like I’ve helped someone out there. I didn’t do this for me or just atheists, but anyone who doesn’t believe in their god that prayer to Yahweh may affect.
As he wrote in the letter, Damon contacted Principal Stacey Pullen on Tuesday and said he would be in touch with the ACLU if the prayer happened. Pullen said changes would be made to the program so there would be no legal issues.  Then, Mitzi Quinn, a faculty member at BHS for 25 years, decides to open her mouth to badmouth Damon. A teacher publicly trashed a student. Seriously. She said:
“… what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates.”
She also said that other non-religious students have shut their mouths about the prayer and that Damon should too. What a ~role model.~


Anyway, the school agreed not to perform the prayer but yesterday, at Senior Night--a school-sponsored event--the valedictorian did it anyway.



xposted to atheism and antitheism 


ETA: UPDATE: Prayer from the graduation ceremony held today:

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I have a question. . .

I know, so many of you probably get annoyed whenever you see a post from me pop up, lol, but,  I promise, I come in peace!  Lol!   But seriously, I am curious about something.   I expressed, in my last post, that for the most part, I have come to terms with myself and religion, and that is still true. I have noticed though, that whenever I am looking through different communities, I sometimes see posts in which the writer is mocking God, Jesus, or the deity of another religion, and I get upset. I want to say offended, but that is not the appropriate description. I feel the people writing those posts are wrong. They have the right to believe or not believe, just like anyone else, but I feel they should still take the feelings and beliefs of others into consideration. I feel they are being disrespectful. Am I making sense? I know that just because the words look good i my head doesn't mean they look good in print.  I am just wondering if anyone else ever has the same  feelings and do you ever say anything about it?  

Seeing the sun after the rain


As we all know, my blogging debute was an utter failure. I went running head first, and eyes closed, into a topic that, I know, can tend to push me over the edge. I often get overly worked up and become oblivious to the things I am saying. Well, not so much what I am saying, but how I am saying it. This is something that most of you all figured out already. Because of my absentmindedness, many people got offended and very angry with me, and were, by no means, shy about telling me so. The whole thing blew up into a argument that lasted about two days. I think most people in my position would have just deleted what they posted and never return to this forum. In past situation like this, that is exactly what i would have done. I am glad that I chose to stay and defend myself. I do not regret anything that I posted, I only regret that I was not more careful with how I said things. At first when everyone responded, they were upset, hostile, and some were even right out mean, but eventually everyone started to calm down and I was able to explained myself and my intentions more clearly. Everyone, in the end, understood what I was trying to say. Though things started out a disaster, in the end, it turned out to be an amazing experience. Through my mistakes, I gained a little bit of inner peace. There were many things that several of you said to me that really made sense. I know that in life, I will never find the answers to alot of my questions. Those answers will be waiting for me when my time in this world is done. I have come to truly believe in karma and that what you release to the world is what the world will return to you times three. So I believe that as long as I do my best to live a good and honest life, I will receive the same in return. As far as the rest of it goes, I believe eventually, things will fall into their proper place, and that is when I will find the path that I am meant to travel.  

It is what it is

If I have learned anything in my life's travels, it's knowing when to give up. This has not been a total failure for me, though. I may not have gotten the feedback I had hoped for, but I did learn that "exchristains" are just as, if not more, close-minded and ignorant than any other christains. This wasn't about preaching the Bible or anything else. It was about learning what changes a persons beliefs, and trying to understand what changed mine, and seeing if anyone else saw the same things, in the Bible, that I did and if there were things that other people saw that I didn't. It was simply about learning something more. I do feel better, though, knowing that there are people out there that are WAY more messed up in there religion than I ever thought I was. I wish you all the best of luck in your travels through life. May you find the path that brings peace to your heart.
 

The Bible and the Truth part 2


I would like to correct something that I said in my last post. It is not the Bible that is flawed, it is the reader.  It is not the fault of the book if the reader chooses to see what is not there.  The Bible is a great book that tells many great stories that are meant to help people live good and righteous lives, and I am not convinced that it is anything more. I have been told by so many people that I will go to hell for saying that about the Bible, and that the Bible is the actual documentation of the events in it. That couldn't be more wrong. Not a single word of that book was written by any single person mentioned in any of it's stories. In fact, not a single word of it was written until long, long after the characters in it were dead and gone. Not a single word of the Bible is written in first person. There is not a single first hand account of any of the events mentioned in the Bible. It wasn't even written by anybody that may have been standing by to witness the events. No, it was all written by several different people, several generations after the fact, and generations passed between the different authors of the different books.  So to say it is a history book is hardly a true. It's nothing more than a collection of stories passed down from one generation to the next until someone decided to write down. Another thing people seem to be unaware of is that the Bible as we know it, is incomplete. Over half of what was actually written is missing from it. Some of the scriptures were to decayed to read so instead of trying to guess what the author was saying, they just pieced parts together that looked right and left the rest out. Doubt it? If so, think about this, the majority of the old testament took place before the developent of the first written language. Second, there are generation gaps between stories proving the author was not there at the time. So how can anyone expect me to take the the word of someone who wasn't even there? Do people really believe the authers were able to tell the stories exactly as they happened? It's just not possible.