Its all gone to Shit

** warning, this post contains expletives **

I’ve blogged recently about some of the issues facing our current church. First there was (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/dark-clouds-looming/) and then there was (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/a-wonderful-positive-conclusion/).

Well, now there has been a breakaway group that has left the church and started holding Sunday afternoon meetings in another location; without the blessing of the parent church. Worse than that, the protagonists write secretly to people that they would hope to get support from and invited them to attend.

Quite frankly, I am incensed and thoroughly pissed off over it. It has caused hurt and upset in my household and also for my friend, the pastor.

One of the defecting couples is consists of a very immature wife and very easily led husband, the husband being the subject of the later part of this post (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/on-women-in-the-church/). It doesn’t help that the ring leader of this group is the staunch creationist responsible for this (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/creationism-on-my-doorstep/).

 

Righteous Anger

You know when you’re so angry that you can’t think about anything else and you really want to say something hurtful to the source of that anger? Well that was me most of last Sunday.

My chance came when the wife mentioned above put a Facebook comment about how good God was. My wife practically begged me not to do anything, saying she didn’t want or need me fighting her battles. For me it’s more than just that, there is an horrible injustice going on here and bitter people with an agenda are actively causing pain through selfish motives. It’s wrong and why can’t I call out bullshit when I see it?

So I fought my urges to unleash both barrels and simply asked if she was aware that people were hurting and where did she see god’s goodness in that? Quickly she came back with an apology for causing offense, said she was aware and was sad and simply wanted to point out that god was good.

Sad!

She’s fucking sad!!!!

Does the stupid thing and her cohorts know that’s it’s the direct result of their actions that have created this? Being sad doesn’t cut it. God didn’t create this situation and God isn’t fixing it. People did this, bitter, selfish, insipid people. People who profess faith and the love of god did this. Being sad is not fucking good enough.

So I fought back what I wanted to say and twenty minutes later came back to find her comment deleted. I hope she felt suitably chastised, though I suspect not guilty enough to do anything positive.

I’m still angry, but I feel a little better. I will also be more cautious about posting on this subject from now on as its an on-going situation. Update may have to wait until its over and the dust has settled.

How does the (online) ex-Christian community affect those who have questions of faith or doubt?

I would like to thank M. Rodriguez of the The BitterSweet End  (http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com) for the following post. I suggested the title to him in response to his invite for me to write him a couple of guest posts because I was interested in another persons experience on this subject.

How does the (online) ex-Christian community affect those who have questions of faith or doubt?

For Many atheist or ex-Christians who really were not involved in evangelism during their Christianity they may not fully realize how much their interaction with a believer or doubting Christian impacts a person or affects the psyche of a person.

Now for the doubting or skeptical Christian there are a lot of skeptic websites debunking Christianity; but a good portion of those websites are really designed for other atheist to mock Christians.  Personally during my de-conversion I did not visit a lot of atheist websites for that very reason (and also a lot of them had a lot of profanity).  Fortunately I did find several Christian friendly atheist blogs that were about intellectually challenging the dogma of religion, and not mocking it.  Now for me the majority of my experiences have been good.  I have found a number of really good atheist blogs that I visit occasionally that are focused on being against the delusion of God and NOT the Christian person.  And I have a very supportive group that visits my blog on a regular also.  And they were very supportive when it came time for me to tell my wife about my de-conversion, with words like good luck, best wishes, our hearts and thoughts are with you.   Just real encouraging.

However not all my interactions have been positive.  During my deconversion process, I put up a post called the Atheist Challenge, which was 10 questions I thought would be very difficult for an atheist to answer.  And being a doubting wavering Christian, (but still a Christian) they were phrased in a way as coming from that perspective.  In saying that the Christian perspective, that they were loaded questions which assumed God.  And for me at that time, I did not fully comprehend that they were assumed loaded questions, because to me God was assumed true, so to put it any other way would be illogical.

Because of this questionnaire, I did receive some very sarcastic, uncooperative comments from atheist.  Calling my questions stupid and really not trying to answer, but provide a sort of reverse Ad Hominem argument with ridicule.

Fortunately there were other atheist and ex-believers who knew the background of why I asked the questions.  So they quickly came to my defense, against those who criticized me and the intelligence of the question.  Not that I was trying to prove atheist wrong, but these were genuine questions I really had and personally experienced.  And questions, that I knew I would get if and when I deconverted.  (And I did get a version of every single one after I did de-convert).

In that post questionnaire many of the so called difficult questions were not so difficult.  And because of the massive response I received, I can confidently say, that the atheist questionnaire/challenge did have a direct effect into me finally coming into the realization that the Christian Faith and Belief is fallacious.   So I have to say thank you to all those who took those questions seriously, and really did try to answer the questions of a former doubting Christian.  I appreciate the online community of atheist and ex-believers who took my questions seriously; because it was a turning point in my de-conversion, because those last 10 questions really closed the door on my doubt.  However this could have been a different story…..I could have dropped my inquiry into my religion right then and there, because of the negative perception & reaction of a few atheists.  And just returned to my Christian belief, because I did not want to be like all those other angry atheists.  And that thought really did cross my mind….But like I said, those Ex-believers and Atheist who were familiar with my story and my blog gave me the hope and confidence I needed to come to the terms of truth.

There is a saying that gets passed around in the Christian evangelical community…  you might be the only God people see…  Meaning that your actions and treatment of others might be the only interaction that a person might have with that belief system.  And that they may reject your God, not because of rational argument, but on how good or bad their interaction with you goes.  It further implies that the impression you give is a direct reflection of your belief.

Never more true is this statement as it applies to atheist & atheism.  What I mean by that, is that a Christian may say some harsh and mean things on an online forum or blog (Go to Hell, Burn in Hell, God hates you) but for every unkind Christian on a blog, there are 2-3 more who are willing to say I Love You or Jesus loves you.  Atheist-Atheism-Unbelieviers don’t have that luxury.  If an atheist puts up a mocking and ridiculing comment on believers, that really might be the one and only interaction which that believer might have with an atheist-unbeliever.  And that negative perception of an atheist will carry with that believer, and spread because there are not very many other atheists to help correct that one mis-action of the angry atheist.

Now some may think, that this point is really some type of irrelevant emotion appeal, and that atheism is the intellectually honest position, so that they don’t have to be nice or loving or show compassion, because the believer should be able to recognize and rationalize intelligent argument and be able to come to the right conclusion regardless if I am mean or nice.  Well that misperception becomes irrelevant in the grand scheme of human interaction.  Just ask yourself… Would you rather be Intellectually Right/Correct OR Loved & treated with kindness and respect?  And if you act in a way that is unloving and mean, why would a person want to be a part of that group?

And this answer right here is why so many people flock to religion, especially the liberal versions of it.  We can be as intellectually correct as much as we want, but if we don’t genuinely care about the wellbeing of a person it means nothing.

Guest Posts

M. Rodriguez of the The BitterSweet End  (http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com) blog asked me to write a couple of guest posts for his blog. This I was very happy to do for him and in return I suggested a subject for him to write about for me.

My first guest post has already been posted and is available here: http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/being-in-a-mixed-marriage-christian-atheist-the-issues-that-come-up-and-overcoming-the-issues-of-dogma/

If anyone wishes to either write a guest post and invite me to write than I am happy to oblige. Specifically, I would be interested in anyone who would wish to write a post on a subject that is related to the Christian to Atheist journey but from a perspective that I have not already presented here in this blog.

Posts may be anonymous if desired.

Does anyone know a Christian spouse married to a former Christian?

One perspective I would be interested in hearing about and inviting to guest post here, would be that of a Christian whose spouse has deconverted. If you are in that position or know someone who is, then please do get in tough I would welcome your perspective and reading your guest post.

Book Review – Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?

Cover of "Creation or Evolution: Do We Ha...

Cover via Amazon

More than a year ago I was lent this book by the pastor and I have eventually finished it (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creation-Evolution-Do-Have-Choose/dp/1854247468). The book is held up by some as a refreshing view on the relationship between Christianity and Evolution.

I found the book mixed and ultimately disappointing, but there are some good bits in it.

On first handling the book it is clear that the intent is going to be to show how acceptance of evolution does not have to be at the expense of religious belief, specifically Christianity. This aspect interested me, given my journey, so I started the book specifically looking for how it would answer that specific challenge.

Evolution

Most of the book is devoted to explanations of various bits of evolution. By necessity they have to contain a certain amount of technical language. However, I found on the whole that the passages on evolution are lay friendly and do a good job of explaining why evolution is not only a valid theory, but an accurate description of observed fact as best we know it.

The book explains well how evolution is a naturalised process and our knowledge of it has no pre-requisite of any god. The processes we understand are fully explained and there are no missing bits that require the invocation of the supernatural.

Creationism and ID

Creationism and ID are also dealt with effectively, albeit with far fewer pages. They are accurately shown to be scientifically deficient and their need to have a god directly be involved to ‘push the process along’ is shown to be a limiting factor for which there is nothing to show.

One good point that is made in the book is the argument for beauty. Many creationists will look at the world we see now and argue that the beauty there can only have been put there directly by god. I once made precisely those arguments. The book counters by saying that the processes that made us and all we see around us are no less beautiful and they too came from god. When a creationist views the world and sees beauty and says it must come from god, they are by implication saying that the long processes that made the beauty they see can not be beautiful because they don’t believe god did it that way.

This is a dangerous way of thinking because it creates a closed mind and stops that believer from fully appreciating the glory of their god’s creation.

The book explains well why creationism and ID are not valid.

Tying Evolution and Christianity

So the big question I wanted to book to answer was, given the above, how does the author, who professes his faith at several points throughout the book, demonstrate that belief in god is consistent with evolution and, more specifically, show that there is a logical reason to hold that view. Sadly, the answer just doesn’t come.

No matter how much I wanted to see an argument for god, it just didn’t happen.

Conclusion

The book successfully argues for the science of evolution and against the god of creationism. As a result it has confirmed my position as an atheist and done nothing at all to tempt me back to faith. I suspect the author would be disappointed, but he should not be surprised.