Thursday, July 12, 2012

Religion versus Belief in God


The various religions around the world are man-made. The so-called religious texts that were supposedly inspired by God were all written by humans. Every single strand or variation of religion around the world is
supposedly the "truth" according to its followers. Generally, Christians think that Islam, Judaism and the other religions around the world are fake, and that all of the followers of these religions, no matter how good and well-intentioned , will suffer in a lake of burning sulfur for eternity. And of course, Muslims believe that all Christians and Jews have it wrong. In fact, radical Muslims often declare jihad and go out and kill people who belong to other religions. Christians used to slaughter people in God's name too. Why cant people just believe in a God instead of buying into some phony religion lock stock and barrell? Why does God have to have a name? Why does it matter what God's name is? Cant people see that all religion does is cause problems around the world and divide the world? Why does belief in God have to go further than simply a belief in God? Why do all the fabricated, petty details matter? It matters because humans want to be divided. Humans aren't happy unless peoples of the world are pitted against one another. It does not have to be this way. Well maybe it does. Maybe people are really that ignorant. Maybe people want to be blinded by religious dogma. Maybe some humans just cant cope with reality and need to hide behind man-made religion. Maybe people cant handle death and the eternal separation from loved ones. Maybe humans want to be loved so much that they invented a saviour who has unbounding love and affection for them. Wake up you idiots. You are not that important.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Growing Aversion to Religion

My father is a jack of all trades, a self-made man. He left home at age 18 and was on his own, never receiving a dime from his parents. In contrast, his brother was a momma's boy and is basically in poverty to this day. My father was a woodworker, draftsman (later computer aided draftsman), welder, fishing tackle producer, gardener, landscaper,  biblical theologian...etc. At NC State and Duke Universities back in the 60s, he managed to tick off some "liberal" professors and this may have kept him from achieving a PHD. He would apparently try to preach to them about homosexuality, short skirts and so on. He moved the family from Raleigh, NC to Lawrenceville, VA in 1971 where he took a teaching job at a community college. He continued his study of Christianity on the side. He learned Greek and Hebrew and read countless books on theology to try to properly interpret the scriptures. He once asked a Jewish Rabbi about the chances of learning Greek and Hebrew well enough to be of use in biblical interpretation. The Rabbi scratched his head and replied, "Well, about the chance of a monkey building a rocket and going to the moon."  He was on the verge of quitting his job at the college and attending bible college at Grace Theological Seminary in South Bend, IN, but decided against it since the professors there were elitist and didn't give him the time of day. Although my father is a conservative christian, I would not call him a strict fundamentalists. He has serious issues with Calvinism and modern Dispensationalism. He has often been accused of teaching salvation by works. He believes that faith without works (fruit) is dead and actually never truly existed to begin with. He is vehemently opposed to the carnal christian theory.
 
I was "saved" and baptized in June of 1977 at a Baptist church in Roanoke Rapids, NC. It was a regular occurrence for older women in this church to run to the pulpit after sermons in tears to get "saved" or re-saved. I vividly remember a sermon delivered by evangelist Johnny Pope who was a fire and brimstone style preacher. He tried to convey how hot hell would be and how long the eternity of suffering would be. In one instance, he referred to a bird flying around the globe and picking up a piece of sand off of a beach and then flying around the world and back again, picking up another grain of sand off the beach and so on and so forth. He explained that after every single grain of sand was gone from that beach, "ETERNITY HAS JUST BEGUN!!". I remember being in fear as a child. I told my father one time that I had doubts and wasn't sure if I was saved. He told me that faith started out as a little kernel and grew over time. Some nights I would be in my bed all worried and my mother would walk in. I would tell her about my lack of confidence in being saved and she tried to reassure me, saying that salvation is a gift from God and that all I had to do is accept it. I vividly remember thinking to myself at age 13 or 14, "What if evolution is true"? "What if the rapture occurs and I'm still here?" I would spend entire days in fear. So even though I grew up in a godly household, I never really felt comfortable with religion and I certainly was never sure that I was "saved". As I progressed into high school, I focused on my studies and just tried not to think about my predicament with respect to religion. I must say that I generally have fond memories of childhood. I had and still have very loving parents who spent lots of time with me. My mother worked with me on my homework every night and helped me study for tests. Our family vacationed every year and Nags Head was our favorite location. I remember many fishing trips to the local lakes, to Nags Head and to the mountains. My brother and I worked outside every summer. We had a large yard and cutting grass was a big chore. We also tended to the grape vineyard, fruit trees and strawberry patch, and helped cultivate every fruit and vegetable imaginable. I remember spending many hours in the garden picking bushel baskets of Lima beans, digging up potatoes, shucking corn...etc. We picked rocks and weeds out of the garden on a regular basis. My father built a bean sheller and we charged people to shell their beans. I had great parents. I don't have much to complain about with regards to my childhood.

Around 1981, my father and a few other men started their own church. We never had more than about 20 members. We met in an old school building. We had prayer meeting on Wednesday nights and sitting through these was pure hell. I can still imagine a ring of 15 people sitting in Polly Bishop's house.
Every person, except for the kids, would take turns praying. Some of the individual prayers were very long winded and lasted for up to 10 minutes. The whole service could easily last 2 hours.

After I left home and attended undergraduate school at the University of Virginia, I was too focused on school to obsess about religion.  During my 2nd or 3rd year at UVA, I met a woman at an oriental dance. She invited me to her place that night for tea and then invited me to her church the next morning. I walked quite a distance to even get to the church on this warm and humid morning. When we walked into the catholic church it was standing room only! I can remember getting exhausted from standing and I apparently became dehydrated and lost most of my vision (everything became white and fuzzy). We had to leave the sanctuary and I sat in the hallway to cool off. We left the church and that was the last time I heard from her. I guess I didn't pass the religion test!! Actually, given my sheltered life up to that time, I really had zero experience with women. During a summer session after my 3rd year in college, I took an English Composition course. I vividly remember a satirical essay I wrote on Christianity, with special emphasis on hell and free will. This essay went over very well with my professor and she gave me an A on it. lol. So I was basically a non-believer by my last undergraduate year.

The longer I stayed away from home, the more I rejected Christianity and religion in general. But through my late 20s and early to mid 30s, I still had this nagging concern in the back of my mind. What if hell is real??!! What if I'm going there?? Recently I have drifted further away from formal religion. In fact, over the past 10 years, it is fair to say that I have developed an intense hatred for mainstream religion. I look around me and all I see are drones who accept all this BS without a shred of evidence, but purely based on faith and on what they have been told since they were a toddler. How can otherwise intelligent people who work in science related fields believe this garbage? Well, it is very difficult for humans to pull away from supposed religious truths that have been engrained since childhood. Why? Well it's obvious. If people question what they have been taught, then they are basically renouncing their faith and would be doomed to hell for eternity, spending trillions of years wailing, gnashing teeth and begging for a drop of water to quench their thirst. Additionally, people want to believe that they will see their loved ones again after death. People fear death and the eternal separation from loved ones. Religion provides them with hope. Also, pastors tell their congregations that while church is not essential for salvation, it is important in the cultivation of their faith. The truth is that interaction with fellow believers in church is the best way to keep people hooked on a particular faith. Otherwise, the brainwashing may just fade, eventually leading to an awakening.

Even today my parents constantly pester me about religion. My mother desperately wants to ensure that I will be going to heaven before she leaves this earth. My brother has quit his medical practice and is in Bible college preparing to be a minister. I am not sure why I turned out so differently from my brother. The only reason I can come up with is that I am by nature a non-conformist. I am an extreme non-conformist at home, at work and basically in everything I do. I am as far away from being a drone as one could ever imagine.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Does God Crave & Demand Worship?

What is the purpose of worshiping a deity? Why is it essential? Churches in the United States are filled with people who think they are obligated to spend hours each week heaping praise on the "holy spirit" through prayer, music and sermons. Can this deity not survive day to day without the adulation of millions or billions of vastly inferior beings? Does this deity really have a need to cast billions of humans throughout history into hell fire if they do not worship him/her or it. Do humans think they can curry favor with the almighty through fervent and incessant worship? Does the almighty make lists of who has served it well and who hasn't, exacting petty revenge on those who do not worship while heaping great rewards on his faithful flock? In the words of Robert A. Heinlein, "The most preposterous notion that homo sapiens have ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, shaper and ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history." In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche,"I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pathetic Beliefs of Humans

It's a losing battle. People would rather believe in a collection of fairy tales that contain ridiculous and evil notions such as eternal hellfire and brimstone for "God's" supposed beloved creations, rather than science. Humans need to believe that their lives mean something, that terrible things happen to "innocent" little kids for a dam good reason, that they are important, that they will live forever, and that they will see their loved ones again. Otherwise, most humans just cannot deal with every day life, the unknown and the eternal separation from loved ones. In the words of Karl Marx, "Religion is the opiate of the masses".

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Jews

The american Christians tend to support the Jewish people and want to protect them from their enemies. But this support only extends so far. Christians generally believe that the Jews, most of whom do not believe in the New Testament, will enjoy eternal damnation. Yes, they believe that these good, peace loving, hard working people will be cast in a lake of burning sulfur for trillions of years and then trillions or more years and then trillions of more years! It's sad that the main ally of the Jews considers them worthy of eternal torture. This is far worse than any genocide committed by a cruel dictator. Death by the hands of a dictator or a terrorist is at least fast in a relative sense. Eternal damnation by the hands of a supposed caring and loving God is very slow. In fact, it supposedly has no end. Imagine roasting in fire for eternity. This is just an unbelievably twisted and perverted notion. If this is really true, then the Christian God is much more wicked than Adolf Hitler.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Change your Lens

When kids are born into a Christian household, they are taught that the Bible is the ultimate book that is inspired by God. Kids learn to view the world through a specific lens called Christianity. Everything they do in life is colored by this lens. Likewise, Muslims and Jews view the world through their respective lenses. Why don't these lenses ever wear thin? It's because Christians surround themselves by people with the same colored lenses. They attend church on a regular basis so that their lenses become revitalized. On occasion, people are able to snap out of this irrational trance and think for themselves. I am not wearing a religious lens. Sometimes I just want to scream and wake people up and help them remove their lenses. But I cant. It is very frustrating. I refuse to become a drone. I will always think for myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Prayers and Miracles

So, how many faithful servants of the lord Jesus Christ does it take for a particular prayer to have a successful result? How hard do they have to pray? What if they don't pray quite hard enough? What if there is a weak link such that one of the participants doesn't pray as hard as the others? The notion that God answers prayers more readily depending on the number of participants and length of prayer sessions is laughable. Does God not respond if there is one person praying and only for a short period of time?

There is no proof that prayer works at all. Have you ever seen a poor, hungry person pray for a full course meal to appear on the kitchen table and then it suddenly appears? If these things would actually happen once in awhile then I would be a lot more apt to believe in a deity. Why are there no "miracles" that can be witnessed by many people? If so, show me the unedited footage. But if God made miracles, then too many people would believe, and we can't have that. It needed to make it so that most humans would end up roasting in hell for eternity. That game is a lot more fun right?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why Are Churches Full?

Why are there so many churches and why are they full of people? If there was no such thing as the concept of hell, do you think these churches would be full? Hell no!! People go to church to avoid burning in hell for eternity and to socialize with others like themselves. Christians are encouraged to go to church in order to keep the brainwashing going and to give money so that an even bigger church can be erected so that even more people can be brainwashed.

Blind Faith

It is impossible to have a rational conversation with someone who has faith in a God. Anything that goes against their unfounded belief is automatically bolderdash. I still can't understand why blind faith in Jesus Christ makes one worthy of eternal bliss. Here are a few of my favorite quotes relating to faith versus reason...

“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” ― Carl Sagan

 “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” --Thomas Jefferson

"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall." [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

"The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason." — Benjamin Franklin

"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but this charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."  — Albert Einstein

"What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism." --Albert Einstein

"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." — Ferdinand Magellan

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." — Kurt Vonnegut

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." — George Bernard Shaw

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." — Friedrich Nietzsche

"What I'm asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives." ― Sam Harris

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stop Trying to Save me From Hell

I am the black sheep of the family. My brother just quit his family medical practice to go to bible college. In my family it is not good enough to simply be a good person. I am supposed to attend church on a regular basis and get to know other Christian couples--so says my mother. My parents desperately want me to attend church on a regular basis. It is the mission of my mother to get me to heaven. When I go visit my parents, the subject of church always comes up. I can hear my mother now saying, "Jonathan, I sure wish you would become a member of a church and get to know other Christian people." If my parents knew what I really thought they would be devastated. So there are only a few people that I can share my true feelings with. The last two times my parents visited we went to a particular church. I told them that I was attending this church occasionally. However at the intermission, when everyone shakes hands, two women approached me and said, "I don't believe I've seen you before," completely blowing my cover!! This happened both times my parents visited. I was actually attending this church 4 or 5 times per year, but not often enough for these women to remember me. I just wish my parents would just cease and desist, but I know this will never happen.

I feel Sorry for These People

Despite my strong displeasure for mainstream Christian dogma, I really feel sorry for many Christians. Many cling to the belief that they will see their loved ones in heaven when they die. It makes me sad thinking of all the old people who cling to the hope of being reunited with their spouses after they pass away. Religion provides a sense of hope for these people. They have a reason to push on and live life even after their loved ones are gone. I would never want to try to take this away from them. That would be cruel. They wouldn't believe me anyway, but I would not even want to upset them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Eternity in Hell!

Many Christians believe that hell is a place of torture that "Christ Rejectors"/unbelievers go when they die. They believe that the vast majority of humans will spend an eternity being tortured in hell. Christians disagree on exactly what hell is. But most of them agree that it is a place of torture--perhaps a lake of fire. When I was a kid, I attended church with my parents on a regular basis. I went not because I wanted to but because it was expected. I recall missing several Superbowls because my parents drove 30 miles from southern Virginia into North Carolina to attend church on Sunday nights. Yes, we attended church on Sunday morning and Sunday night. Just any church would not do. Their church had to be extremely conservative but not charismatic. I shall never forget a fire and brimstone sermon at a Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, NC by evangelist Johnny Pope in the late 1970s when I was 9 or 10 years old. Pope explained how hot hell would be and tried to explain the concept of eternity. He said to imagine a bird picking up a piece of sand from a beach and flying around the world. Then imagine the same bird coming back to the same beach and picking up another grain of sand and flying around the world. Over and over the same bird would pick up grains of sand off the same beach until finally, every single grain of sand from that beach was gone. Then Pope said that after every grain of sand was gone, ETERNITY HAS JUST BEGUN!! I remember as a kid being depressed at times and just laying in the bed in fright because of the notion of hell and the rapture. It is very hard for me to understand the concept of eternity. Just imagine being tortured relentlessly day after day after day after day for millions and billions of years. Then after all that suffering, your suffering has only just begun. Just imagine billions and billions of years, then billions and billions of more years, then trillions of more years followed by trillions of more years. Any God that does this to the majority of humans is a sick creature indeed. Is this kind of God worthy of worship? I say no. In fact, I say that no such God exists. I fervently reject this God with every fiber of my being. I claim that such a religion is nothing less than pure evil.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Good People Go to Hell Too!!

It is not good enough to simply be a good person according to many Christians. You need to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from your sins. Why does a blind, 100% belief in Jesus, Heaven and Hell make a human great and deserving of eternal bliss? Why does a disbelief in Jesus (or agnosticism) make a human deserving of hell-fire and damnation for eternity? I have known many people in my life and many of them were not Christians. Some of them were atheists or agnostics. One of my personal friends is an atheist and several friends are agnostics. This is the clincher for me. If these people deserve hell, then to hell with hell!! This reinforces my belief that there is no hell.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Narrow is the Path

Matthew 7:13 (King James Version) states that "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." What a evil verse of scripture!! This implies that the vast majority of people on the globe will burn in hell. This is nothing but pure evil. Is this really how the Christian God operates? If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then why would it set a plan in motion that would result in eternal suffering for the vast majority of humans? Is God some evil being who devises ways to see its creations suffer. If God is omniscient, then surely it made designs on what humans would do and believe. Why didn't God just design humans so they would have a natural desire to choose Jesus Christ as their personal saviour? That way, most of the humans, except for the Hitlers of the world, would go to heaven. But no, that would be too kind-hearted. Why should all these little critters go to heaven? To get a sense of fulfillment, god needed to devise a sick game to make the vast majority of humans choose hell. But wait, we all have free will right? LOL.

Hell

I do not believe in hell. Hell is simply a tool to proselytize. It is used to scare people into accepting Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. The concept of hell is nothing but pure evil.