This will be my first blog on thinkatheist... and I'm not really sure what I want to write about, only that I want to write. I'm sitting in the office of one of my best friend's father and am thinking about the past year of my life (as it is the last day OF this year).

The year began in Pueblo, Colorado. I had moved away from Nashville the previous year (the end of May 2007) and was at the early stages of my transition from Christianity to Agnosticism/Atheism. Like Sam Harris, I really don't like classifying myself at all, but it helps convey non-belief in less than a sentence. Actually, those are the two labels I would refrain from giving myself if I were admitting my current state of mind to a Christian.

In any case, detoxing from Christianity has been a scary, emotionally-draining and incredible experience. It all began with a book by a man named Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis) and his liberal views about Jesus/God. He said that Christianity was more like a trampoline than a brick wall where, if your removed a couple bricks, the whole thing would come crumbling down. As it turns out, Christianity IS "Brickianity", in that it does crumble once you extricate certain core beliefs. As much as the author of the above mentioned book would like to believe Christianity is flexible (even fun), it most certainly is not. A good verse to cite would be Revelation 3:16, where is says "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Rob Bell started out by demystifying Hell. Apparently, the word for "Hell" in Hebrew is Gehenna, which is actually a town dump in Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna). Essentially, Jesus was using this actual physical location as a visual reference... not a literal threat of eternal damnation. Can I tell you what I relief this was for me? It's not that I necessarily had a fear of Hell, but more that I really wondered about a "good" God who could send anyone, guilty or not, into a place like that. Besides, most people on the path to darkness were pretty chill people who didn't do really anything worthy of such an extreme punishment. I suppose that's why Dante's Inferno depicts Hell as having layers which were targeted to different levels of sin. Whatever the case, Hell had been dismissed in my mind.

Bell continued to list the cultural and interpretational discrepancies between Judaism and Christianity, which really did nothing to improve my faith but caused me to distrust myself to read the Bible at all. When there were such glaring differences just in the way we think (for example, extending your left hand in the middle-east is considered a great insult while here it's only a friendly greeting), the Bible became useless to me as a reference for behavior PERIOD. And, even though I didn't think of it at the time, God is supposed to be transcendent... so, things like culture and interpretational errors should be overcome easily, as He should be able to communicate with people from all walks of life). He's TIMELESS, right? Apparently not.

Then, my landlord (who also happens to be a Christian apologist) told me that the events in Revelations had already occurred in 70 A.D., I really had to start looking into my alleged faith and find out just what it was I was claiming to believe. He successfully turned my world upside down, which forced me to dig deeper... and dig deeper I did!

I decided my next move should be to go to the Jews and see why it was that they rejected Jesus (www.jewsforjudaism.com). They had a very simple, very straightforward argument. There were very clear guidelines that their Messiah had to meet in order to be considered THE Messiah. Turns out, Jesus really doesn't meet any of those qualifications... except if you twist words to fit a certain agenda. I expected the Jews' argument to be the equivalent of a three year old sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "la la la" really loudly. These people really didn't have the luxury of misinterpreting their texts; if they got it wrong and ended up worshipping a false prophet, they were damned... literally. So maybe I should become a Jew?? Uhhh... no. I should keep searching.

I've read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris, and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and I'm working on End of Faith by Sam Harris right now. I've also read Neitzche and science magazines (Wired) and MANY other works... not to mention several blogs on myspace (which include a link to the movie Religulous and Zeitgeist). Christianity has been completely debunked in my mind and there's no turning back. Organized religion is a tool used to control the masses and I really want nothing to do with it. My problem is that my family and most of my friends are Christian, so I have to tread lightly. Treading lightly is not actually what is needed, but... discarding religion from our society won't be possible without patience and learning how to best approach a subject with someone who is highly defensive and deeply entrenched.

Now, as I'm about to enter the New Year, I'm scheming all the ways I can make my life more closely resemble what I feel it SHOULD look like. I have ideas for jarring people into thinking about their religion and possibly becoming more open to seeing it for what it is. Even though it's a terrifying transition, it is necessary. Our country will eventually implode if we don't get rid of this virus. Although religion can be said to have done some good, much more horrific acts have come about as a result of someone pledging their allegiance to an imaginary friend.

I really hope this Web site will be a great networking tool for me. This is probably where I'll launch my t-shirt line from, so I hope when I feel the time is right, my friends on thinkatheist will support me. I'll definitely do the same for them.

Thanks for being out there...

Views: 79

Comment by Frink on December 31, 2008 at 5:20pm
Good post, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Actually, you've given me something to write about.
Comment by Kirstin on December 31, 2008 at 5:26pm
Such a smooth read Cara I really really enjoyed it! :) I am really excited to help you connect any way I can. I might even re read it again :) I totally agree this site is really exciting :)
Comment by Steve on December 31, 2008 at 5:27pm
Thanks for posting. I can relate to you somewhat; although even years after abandoning Christianity it is still hard for me to shake the fears associated with believing.

Anyone else have that problem?
Comment by Morgan Matthew on December 31, 2008 at 5:36pm
great post Cara

I really hope this Web site will be a great networking tool for me. This is probably where I'll launch my t-shirt line from, so I hope when I feel the time is right, my friends on thinkatheist will support me. I'll definitely do the same for them.

We can surely set something up for you Cara. Lets talk more about this so I can get a better picture of what your ultimately wanting to do. Your best bet to contact me and chat is threw AIM: at ThinkAtheistCom

I really enjoyed your well put together piece. :]
Comment by CJoe on December 31, 2008 at 6:38pm
Hey Steve...
According to the Bible, fear is not "of the Lord" to begin with, right? Fear is something that is used to control and manipulate people. You should be less afraid of some alleged after-death punishment (which NO ONE can prove) and more afraid of people that would manipulate you through your fear. You can be convinced to give 10% of your income to a church because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't, but what is that money actually going towards? Have you seen the homes of Southern Baptist preachers? Back in the time of Luther, people were told to give money so they could buy their dead relatives out of Hell. That sounds pretty freakin' sketchy to me. Is the God of the Universe really motivated by money? Probably not.

Anyway. Fear has held many people captive, but the only way to overcome that fear is to face it head- on and overcome it. I'm sure that sounds easier than it is, but Critical Thinking is your best ally. Just keep asking questions and paying attention when things don't make sense. If something is inconsistent or contradictory, make a point to investigate it.

We shouldn't be afraid of the monsters in our closets... who don't exist outside our imaginations.
Comment by Eddie Goldman on January 5, 2009 at 12:41am
Excellent post. Religion is such total nonsense that it can be completely debunked, deflated, and discarded from any number of directions. You can use history, science, philosophy, or even common sense to expose its foundations as fictitious, contradictory, and dangerous. It is a social bully which, just like the rest of that breed, runs and hides after it is hit back.

Hopefully another function of sites like this is to assist the various forms of non-belief in becoming more generally accepted, of removing the stigma and fear put on them by the religious authoritarians. That would no doubt make it easier for people like yourself who have understood what a scam it is, but are surrounded by people who may not be tolerant of your views, or even of your right to hold them.

So stay strong and smart. A lot of us are trying to fight the same fight.
Comment by Physeter on March 22, 2013 at 4:28pm

Thank you for pointing me to this blog. One of the sad things about the internet, as opposed to books, is that it's harder to find interesting things that are past...the internet is set up to help us read whatever is happening now. But this post is exactly the kind of experience I want to hear about right now. I hope the rest of your blog posts are as interesting and useful.

Comment by Jorita on March 23, 2013 at 7:35am

How does a dictator stay in power, with FEAR. I view the biblical god as a dictator

Comment by Jorita on March 23, 2013 at 7:58am

I love history and he is no different to Hitler in my mind, The one and only true nation, killing people from other religions, controling with fear, looting, genocide,total obedience ect

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