In August, 2010, Anne Rice came out and said, “I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-science. I refurse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being a Christian. Amen.”

I couldn’t have agreed more with her decision. For quite a few years, I’ve spent time deconstructing my own faith and came up with a very similar conclusion.

I can no longer call myself a Christian.

Ironically, I think this is a very “Christ-like” decision, since I don’t think modern Christianity represents Christ and the teachings of modern preachers seem to me very unintellectual, simple, and money and power hungry. I think if “Christ came back” he’d say WTF?!

But, I don’t blame the state of the Church on preachers themselves. I think each individual who accepts the teachings of pastors also has some part in the state of the church. Accepting the state of the church as anti-gay, anti-science, anti-feminist is something I did for years. I became a reverend in that state. I didn’t question the under educated pastors who were passing on terminology and ideas that hadn’t been well-thought out or deconstructed. They hadn’t been doubted by them, or criticized. They just slopped it into my bowl and I drank from it.

I resigned from being a reverend in 2003. I still continued to do ministry until 2005, and there I started attending college. A secular college. The deconstruction of my faith came during my college years, but not necessarily because of them. Immediately after leaving my cult, the slop just tasted terrible. I started recognizing that most of it was b.s. and I’d questioned it BEFORE Master’s Commission, and needed to revert back to that time before I entered into a mind-control environment. It was hard to get in touch with who I was before Master’s and the ministry, but I did it. I found a girl who was guilt-free, lacked a constant condemnation, and thought a lot about everything. That girl was normal (for the most part), listened to secular music, watched Rated R movies, and read all kinds of different books. I resumed my life there.

I’m not a Christian anymore. I didn’t lose my faith. I decided to get rid of it.

My faith was cumbersome to my personal growth, to my well-being as a human being, and to my desire to be a compassionate person who loved the world as it is.

I was wrapped up in fundamentalism for years. Someone said:

“Fundamentalism is a form of organised anger in reaction to the unsettling consequences of rapid social and religious change.”

I don’t believe fundamentalism is representative of all Christianity or all Christians, but what I believe doesn’t coincide with either belief system.

What I believe now is that there is no heaven or hell. Those are scare tactics taught to us by pastors around the world to pressure us into a relationship with God. Sometimes this is for their own “number game.” Sometimes it’s so that they can say their church is growing and the Holy Spirit is moving. Sometimes it’s for the perpetuation of something they learned was “right” and just kept doing without questioning whether it was right or godly or not.

I believe the Bible is not inerrant. It’s complicated. It’s a historical document, filled with interesting stories and myths. Did God create Eve out of Adam’s rib? Probably not. In fact, that’s the exact type of thing I’m talking about. That myth perpetuates the idea that Eve is less than Adam. She also tempted Adam and caused them to get kicked out of the Garden. Those early Genesis teachings are anti-women and reinstate patriarchal power structures that are harmful to male and female alike.

The Bible is also filled with the promotion of slavery, more oppressive language toward women, gays, and it can be a dangerous tool in the hands of fundamentalist Christians inciting violence and war rhetoric (the “army of the Lord” fighting against the “ungodly”).

I don’t believe America is or should be a Christian nation. First, there are a lot of Christians who disagree on things such as abortion, gun control, the environment, etc. I believe the United States is a nation of Jews, Muslims, and multiple other religions, ideologies, and beliefs. America also contains a group of citizens who are anti-theist, atheist who are not “heathens” or “evil” or even wrong. They’re human beings. They’re not going to die and call out to God on their death bed. They’re satisfied with their lives.

I respect science and scientists. I believe evolution is more plausible than any of the other theories of why we exist today. I think it’s necessary to learn and educate ourselves about how we’ve evolved as a biological being and anthropologically.

I believe that women are not sub-human to men. We don’t need to submit. We are not superior, but equal to men. I disagree with men and women who oppress women using the Bible, political and cultural ideologies, etc. This use of the Bible to promote the “gentle-spirited” woman is harmful for women; it doesn’t consider us individuals capable of being wild; and it’s oppressive to men, promoting the idea of a “manly man” as the only ideal of a godly man. These teachings (explicit and implied) harm people’s confidence in themselves, pervert individual traits, and control sex and gender roles.

On that note, I’m strongly against patriarchal religion. I don’t believe that God or gods are a Father. I don’t think God is a Him, and this language and idea oppresses women and men.

I share all of this with you because I’m ready to come out as Anne Rice did. I’m tired of putting on pretenses that I am someone I’m not. I’m proud of how I’ve evolved into the woman I am today, the relationships I have with people who support me (and a pretty awesome family who loves me through all of this) and like me for who I am rather than what I believe or don’t believe. I’m also really excited about drafting the plans to my own life, following some and discarding others based on what I think is right, not what someone tells me is right (or God’s voice). My life has become a journey filled with heartache, and pain, growth and critical thinking, and embracing the wild and exciting part of myself.

I’m happy with my quirkiness, my ability to make people laugh, and the unique way I form a thought, feel things deeply, and care about people.

I like me.

 

Lastly, in the style of Reddit, please feel free to ASK ME ANYTHING.

Views: 149

Tags: Christian, atheist, secular

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 7, 2011 at 2:45pm
There are no good reasons for believing in god.  What reasons there are apply with equal validity to other gods, which you do not believe in.
Mere assertion on your part. We haven't even discussed theistic/atheistic arguments and evidence!
If you do not have a good reason that justifies your belief objectively, yet you still cling to it, then you have rejected reason as a process.

That does not describe me. I agree that if the premises in an argument are not true then they are not good reasons. Why are you trying to paint me with that brush? In the reasoning process, the reasons should be sound. Do we agree?

God is a non-falisifiable hypothesis.

 

First, while useful in some respects, the Principle of Falsification is itself hard to falsify so it is rather self-refuting. But, given the principle, one could perhaps falsify the God hypothesis by conclusively refuting the arguments for Classical Theism. Rebuttals have been offered but nothing conclusive.

I think the best the atheist or theist can do is to show which view is superior. I think Theism is superior to Naturalism. But again, we haven't even begun!

The existence of Harry Potter is also a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
But don't make a Category Error, Mo. A finite, limited being is not in the same category as an infinite, unlimited Being who is ontologically ultimate.  And that is a terrible misuse of the term "magic" (the attempt to manipulate forces or spirits to perform a feat or the deliberate sleight of hand for entertainment purposes).

 

 

 

 

Comment by Mo Trauen on February 7, 2011 at 5:36pm

There is NO evidence, except the evidence tending to show that gods are all manmade.  If you have any, present it.

 

Good reasons are not the same as sufficient reasons.  Sufficient reasons are those that justify accepting a hypothesis as objective fact.

 

One can never falsify the god hypothesis for the obvious reason that the hypothesis includes the notion that the some power is being used to fool you into thinking you have, which was the point I made before and which you are now trying to avoid.  In addition, the god hypothesis is infinitely malleable and therefore and infinite number of proofs requiring an infinite amount of time would be required.  The hypothesis also contains the notion that the thing being hypothesized is outside the realm of human sensory experiences.  Thus, there are three separate reasons to conclude that the god hypothesis is non-falsifiable, any one of which is sufficient. 

 

Trying to lead me into the maze of insane, circular arguments offered by medieval scholars won't get you out of the problem that it is up to you to provide evidence that your hypothesis is true.  My burden of proof has been met by the lack of evidence.  If you have evidence, offer it--instead of trying to play jesuitical tricks.

 

Those medieval arguments were all adequately refuted before any of us were born.  Only someone drinking the Kool-aid would assert otherwise.  I have read them and they were all so patently ridiculous that I, frankly, have no patience for them.

 

Harry Potter is indeed in the same category as god for purposes of defining non-falsifiability.  Other categories are not relevant to that point.  Unexplained or unexplainable supernatural powers are "magic".  Would it make you feel better if I called it "real magic"?

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 7, 2011 at 7:08pm
There is NO evidence, except the evidence tending to show that gods are all manmade.  If you have any, present it.

KH> Atheists and Theists alike have considered the evidence and arguments for God for centuries. To say there is no evidence for God is ignorant. Check Alvin Plantinga’s “Two Dozen or So Arguments for God”.  The most you can say is that you don’t think the evidence you’ve heard is good, etc.

I think the evidence for God can be summarized:  1)Evidence for God is found in the beginning of the universe (Big Bang Cosmology).   2) Evidence for God is found in the fine-tuning of the initial constants and conditions found in the Big Bang itself for the allowance of intelligent life. 3) God best explains the existence of objective moral  values and duties. 4) Evidence for God is found in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Keep in mind these are summations. Which do you want to discuss first?

 Good reasons are not the same as sufficient reasons.  Sufficient reasons are those that justify accepting a hypothesis as objective fact.

KH> If reasons aren’t good then they’re not sufficient. Can you give an example of a “good” argument that is not a “sufficient” argument when analyzing a view?
 
One can never falsify the god hypothesis for the obvious reason that the hypothesis includes the notion that the some power is being used to fool you into thinking you have, which was the point I made before and which you are now trying to avoid. 

KH> Please address what I said about the Principle of Falsification.

In addition, the god hypothesis is infinitely malleable and therefore and infinite number of proofs requiring an infinite amount of time would be required. 

KH>  Perhaps! And that is why some things are more difficult to falsify than others. In addition, the history of philosophy, v

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 7, 2011 at 7:21pm

KH>  Perhaps! And that is why some things are more difficult to falsify than others. In addition, the history of philosophy, via conceptual analysis, has uncovered many attributes that God would require given the hypothesis. Your argument seems to be with “gods” (finite godism, etc.).

In addition, atheist philosopher Dr. Kai Nielsen said, “Even if all the arguments for God fail, it still might be the case that God exists”.

 


 The hypothesis also contains the notion that the thing being hypothesized is outside the realm of human sensory experiences.  Thus, there are three separate reasons to conclude that the god hypothesis is non-falsifiable, any one of which is sufficient. 




KH> So you think something is only verifiable if it is detectable by the five senses?

 
Trying to lead me into the maze of insane, circular arguments offered by medieval scholars won't get you out of the problem that it is up to you to provide evidence that your hypothesis is true.  My burden of proof has been met by the lack of evidence.  If you have evidence, offer it--instead of trying to play jesuitical tricks.

 

 



 


KH> Let’s get Burden of Proof straight first. I think you’ve got it wrong.  Every view makes truth claims. All truth claims bear the burden of proof. Atheism is a view that makes truth claims. Theism is a view that makes truth claims. We share the burden of proof. (Only in scholastic debate where a resolution is debated is the Burden of Proof on the one making the resolved claim. But when debating a question, i.e. Does God Exist?,  both bear the Burden of Proof).
 

Those medieval arguments were all adequately refuted before any of us were born.  Only someone drinking the Kool-aid would assert otherwise.  I have read them and they were all s
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 7, 2011 at 8:29pm

All truth claims bear the burden of proof. Atheism is a view that makes truth claims. Theism is a view that makes truth claims. We share the burden of proof.

 

You are the only one making truth claim about the existence of god. Atheism claims not to know. We have no evidence so we do not believe. Theists claim to know therefore the burden of proof is on the theist to produce evidence. Nothing you listed above is Evidence.

 

You are also putting forward Jesus or his father (who is also him) as the First Cause. Why not say Allah or the FSM (praise be to it). I can only assume that you believe in the Christian god and he gets all the kudos.

 

You also mentioned earlier that science and religion are not at odds. Well they are. The bible is not a science book. Earlier you said:

 

“The controversy is whether Darwinian or any other evolutionary theory eliminates the concept of God and to what extent it can adequately explain the diversity and complexity of life.”

 

This is only a controversy for Theists. It is accepted by Atheists because if you study it you understand it and if you understand it makes complete sense. The Theory of Evolution is proven. It is another reason god is eliminated. This is a truth claim that I am making and I can back it up with evidence.

 

Kevin - Nearly every time a new Atheist recounts their story a Theist is first in to comment, be they ex christians or ex muslims. Most of this discussion is unrelated to the initial post. If you wish to continue this debate I will join in. I would suggest though that you open it as a new debate. Lovelygirl has written an honest account of herself and her experience. We all admire and respect her for that. If you have read her post and don’t agree with her then I can only assume you are into hardcore Christianity. I find it strange that Theists land on posts from people who “have seen the light” and broken free of

Comment by Mo Trauen on February 7, 2011 at 10:23pm

I have been asking believers for nearly 40 years to show me some evidence and they never have been able to.  Every bit of evidence boils down to a theist saying some version of "I can't believe the universe or some part of it exists without having been created".  And, in fact, that is all you have offered here. 

 

(I won't even bother to respond to the drivel based on your personal belief in the Jesus myth.  Just because you choose to believe it doesn't make it fact.  Though the fact that you would include it in that list proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are engaging in circular reasoning--you are essentially arguing that your religion proves your religion.)

 

Like all the others, you simply engage in name-calling and tell me to read some authority.  Well, if you are so sure that this authority is worth my time, then tell me why I should bother to waste my time reading one more version of the argument from personal incredulity intertwined with god of the gaps argument.  That's all you've got:  You can't come close to explaining the universe, therefore god exists.

 

Why can't you just admit that you don't know where the universe came from?  It's the truth. 

 

The existence of the universe or any part of it proves absolutely NOTHING about where it came from. To say that it does is to engage in the purest circular reasoning possible.  The existence of the universe is the very question that you are trying to answer with the god hypothesis.  To say that the existence of the question proves your answer only shows that you had already assumed your answer was the right one--or only one.  Frankly, you haven't even shown that your answer deserves to be included in the list of possible answers.

 

The fact that you or any other theist can't imagine another explanation isn't even relevant to the question.  The beginnings of the universe do not depend on your ability to imagine them any

Comment by Mo Trauen on February 7, 2011 at 10:34pm

con't:  more than the existence of gravity depended on the imagination of those who believed in the flat earth held up by a god theory.

 

Their reasoning fails for the same reason that yours fails:  Because you are trying to apply your earthly assumptions to a situation that is completely different.  The debunking of the flat earth held up by a god theory showed clearly that all such "I can't explain it, therefore god" arguments are invalid.  Though I think that point should have been obvious long before that.

 

"An invisible magic man in the sky did it" is not a respectable theory of cosmology.

 

One final point, did it occur to you that the universe seems just right for us because we evolved here?  If it were different, we would have evolved differently or not at all.  The universe wasn't made for us--it made us, we are part of it.  How could it not be "just right" for us?  You think this point is telling only because of your habit of circular reasoning.  You are implicitly assuming god made the universe with us in mind--otherwise this "argument" would make no sense at all--which means that your "argument" is based on an assumption that your conclusion is true.  Circular reasoning.

 

 

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 12, 2011 at 2:31pm
I'll start a new thread in the Theist Arguments and You section. Thanks.
Comment by andrew j van der veen on March 7, 2011 at 10:36am
Congratulations human, I bet you feel FANTASTIC now ! For me:  I'm a " ball of energy "  after leaving theism behind...watch out world! :)
Comment by LovelyGirl on March 7, 2011 at 11:55am
Thanks Andrew! It's really funny, because I've found myself more energetic and ambitious lately. After I came out, I'm really enjoying life and moving forward with my goals. It's so nice!

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