Biblical Flood of Christian Homeschoolers Converts Blogger to Atheism

February 1st, 2010

There are a lot of new folks visiting this blog these days and many of them have NO IDEA who Pioneer Woman is which is absolutely shocking to me.  It’s a bit like someone not knowing who god is.  How is it possible that someone can walk around the blogosphere and never bump into Pioneer Woman?  Do these same people also walk around the planet and not realize that god made it?  Why yes!  As a matter of fact they do! And that would be because the new readers are all a bunch of atheists.  Yes.  A bunch of atheists have been visiting this blog.  And I am delighted to have them here. In fact.  Let me just pause here and put up a sign to let them know that they are truly welcome.  

 

WELCOME ATHEISTS!

 

Now how often do you see something like that in print?

Not nearly often enough I dare say.

Which is unfortunate. Because it has been my complete and utter delight to hear from these people and discover that they are among the kindest, most supportive, most thoughtful people I have ever had the pleasure to receive emails from in my life.  I mean, they had to go to some trouble to find my email address and write out a nice letter of encouragement and they don’t even have Jesus in their hearts!  It truly borders on the miraculous. And I don’t even believe in miracles anymore! 

The support that the on-line community of non-believers has shown to me has been very healing. Wounds that have been oozing ever since I dared speak against christian homeschooling, wounds that have been oozing ever since I wrote a horrifying post about visiting the lodge of Pioneer Woman and then realizing that one of my sons had placed a pox of pestilence upon my head – these wounds and a few others are finally starting to seal over.  In fact, recounting the tale of ‘The Lodge and the Pestilence’ in my freakishly uptight corner of the ‘homeschool-o-sphere’ was such a demonic rebellion against the principalities and powers that rule this corner of the internet that it could only be rivaled by the sudden and spastic announcement that I no longer believe in god.  

WAIT!

Oh Shit!

I AM SO TOTALLY SCREWED!

You see, many of the people who have read this blog over the years are cerebral terrorists.  Cerebral christian homeschooling terrorists.  Their comments have terrorized me.  Their e-mails have terrorized me.  The knowledge that they were going to read what I wrote and leave their passive aggressive comments began to terrorize me only a few short weeks after I started blogging.  They initially found me through my sister’s blog and eventually hundreds and hundreds more came from a link on Pioneer Woman’s blog.  I allowed their vocal presence to hold me hostage and it resulted in a gradual shift in my writing.  I became more and more banal, watering things down and sticking to the utterly inane for my material so that I could receive their stamp of approval and flee their hideous judgement.  

The reason the homeschoolers and their ilk could terrorize me, is ultimately because I thought they were right.  Deep down, in the darkest depths of my brain I knew that if I really loved god, I would never criticize a homeschooling mother who was only protecting her babies from the satanic influences of public education.  If I really loved god, I could not really criticize anyone or anything (except for movie stars and left wing politicians) and if I did, I was just driving another nail driven into the bloody and bruised flesh of Jesus.  

Sadly, I am both a writer and a deeply sarcastic person who loves to craft a finely tuned barb and hurl it at both myself and the occasional not-so innocent bystander who carelessly wanders into my sight-line.  It is very hard to share the love of Jesus by using sarcasm.  I have only seen one possible example and I doubt it’s effectiveness.  I was like Cain and his unwanted pile of garden vegetables.  God required the bloody sacrifice of a life bent in service to his will and I just wanted to make fun of him and his chosen people, the homeschoolers..  And so, like Cain, the rejection of my offering made me want to commit murder.  So I tried to kill myself.  

Not my actual self, but my inner self.  The things I could do well – write a funny song about goofballs who believe in creation science, tell a funny story about the lochness monster proving a young earth theory, poke fun at pioneer woman for selling out to the religious right  - all these things were bad in my former faith.  Unless I could make my jokes about creation science point someone to Jesus, it was meaningless.  As a result, I spent most of my adult life feeling completely worthless.  I loved to write about anything except Jesus and his death on the cross.  The reason I could never write about my faith, even though I knew I was supposed to, was because I didn’t want it to be true.  Which is also why I could hardly talk to my kids about god.  Oh, I could use god as an occasional threat (even if I don’t see you  - god does) but I could never tell them about god.  I was terrified of sealing their minds shut.  I was scared to death of making them hate people who believed something different than they did.  I didn’t want my kids to be christians, not real christians at least.  Please god no, don’t let them be real christians.  Let them be that kind of christian who can drink beer and say cuss words.  Let them be that kind of christians who can drive over the speed limit and have sex before marriage.  So we found a liberal church that focused on service and fellowship with very little visible doctrine and I settled in, got uber involved and tried to ignore the niggling doubt that I was killing my chance to be the person I could be.  

Then just a few months ago, I received a list of beliefs that I had to promise to follow in order to continue serving as an elder in my church.  I knew I couldn’t promise to follow any of the beliefs on that list anymore, because I didn’t believe in any of the things on that list anymore.  I was tired of pretending and I knew this was my big chance.  Like Carolyn Jessop, escaping her polygamous family in Colorado City with her eight babies in tow – I had to get out while the getting was good.

I know that some religious people do not suffer from their faith they way that I did.  There are people who are able to shove their religious beliefs aside and live their lives free of a god that watches their every movement.  There are people who go to church, listen to the sermon, shove a ten in the collection plate and leave.  A god is not hitching a ride on their back when they exit the building. 

But I was not one of those people.  I believed that god loved me, judged me, followed me , inhabited me, and was watching and listening to me 24/7.  I was drugged with Jesus. There was a cloudy film over my eyes.  I was paralyzed by the armour of god.  The unwieldy uniform kept me from fully expressing my talents and my abilities – especially the ones that could not be shot off like a flare gun for god.  I was in a cage.  A cage built out of the thin gilt pages of the bible, and I completely lacked the strength to rip them away.  

Shortly before Xmas, while wandering around a bookstore, my eyes fell upon a book.  It was called The History of God by Karen Armstrong.  I furtively picked it up and looked it over.  It seemed very interesting and I put it with the growing stack of books I had chosen for Xmas presents.  I continued walking around the bookstore and every-time I passed a copy of Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, I picked up a nearby larger cookbook by Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray or Paula Dean and laid it on top of Pioneer Woman’s making sure it was completely covered.  Sometimes I moved a Pioneer Woman cookbook over to the science section or the political section of books knowing that people who can read above a third grade level are far less likely to be tempted to take PW’s book home.  Then I walked quickly away feeling a surge of giddy happiness for having possibly saved one lucky soul from the tyranny of the christian homeschoolers.

As I continued to wander around the bookstore, I came across another book. It was called The Woman Who Named God by Charlotte Gordon.  I added it to my stack and when I got home I began to furiously read through both of these books as well as a massive tome published by National Geographic on the history of the middle ages called The Medevial World .  In Armstrong’s book, I discovered how religions grow out of the religions that preceed them.  One god mutates into another god throughout history according to cultural collisions, the needs of the people and the fanatical leadership.  In Gordon’s book I got a more in depth look at the story of Sarah, Hagar and good old Father Abraham who it turns out – was a supreme asshole.  Here are a few of his gross misdeeds…

1.  Lied to Pharaoh about his wife, called her his sister to save his own neck and so Sarah was placed in Pharoah’s harem.

2.  Raped a slave to have a child because his wife Sarah was barren.  (There is no way that Hagar would have had any choice in this matter).

3.  Had two wives (at the same time)  one of which was a slave.

4.  Owned slaves.

5.  Kicked his slave wife and his son out of his camp because his wife Sarah demanded it

6.  Forced every male in his tribe to cut off the end of their penises (with a stone knife and NO anesthesia) because ‘god’ told him to.

7.  Took his second son Isaac, up a mountain fully intending to kill him because again – god told him to.  

8.  Lied a second time about his wife, Sarah being his sister and AGAIN she was placed in a harem.

9.  Was a mercenary soldier and willingly attacked and killed other tribes for money.

10.  Whether or not you believe in a literal Abraham in your version of christianity – there is no way you can escape the severe and sinister delusion of god from which this character suffered.  He may be the first schizophrenic in recorded history.  I had read the stories of Abraham many times in my life and had long questioned the sacrifice scene, but Charlotte’s book allowed me to look at these stories with fresh eyes, and this time, I couldn’t rationalize away the horror, nor see how any of it had any intrinsic value at all.  

The National Geographic history of the middle ages painted a vivid picture of a christian theocracy in action.  Over one million men, women and children were burned under the inquisition.  Most of them illiterate and killed to meet the local quota.  Or Jewish converts who were under suspicion for simply converting to save their skins.  (They could not win for losing could they?)   Or supremely brilliant scientists and doctors and thinkers who were discovering that the natural world operated in direct conflict with what the bible described.  As a christian, it is impossible to make sense of this era.  Where the hell was god?  The god who stayed the hand of Abraham as he brought the knife down to kill Isaac.  The god who struck down Ananias and Saphira for merely skimming off the collection plate?  Why was this god not causing the hands, feet and testicles to drop off of any priest who set afire a human being?  Why was this god not causing a cathedral to crush the grand inquisitor during the annual prayer breakfast?  How about hit a few vile popes with a lightning bolt god?       god?          god?!?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

These three books were enough to knock the last crumbling vestiges of my shaky faith to the four corners.  I finally and irrevocably cast out the pretend demon god that controlled my mind.  I am discovering life without the surveillance cameras that were implanted in my brain at a very young age.  For in him, I NO LONGER live and move and have my being.  I AM FREE!  

My brain belongs to me! 

For the first time in my life;  my heart, mind, thoughts, acts, vision, passion, strength, weakness, virtue, failure, limits and talent all belong to me.  

TO ME!  

It is all mine!  

MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE!  

And for this I would like to thank all the christian homeschoolers.

Without them I don’t know if I ever would have loathed my faith enough to look for the escape hatch, nor recognized it’s crippling effect upon my mind. 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emboldened by all the wonderful e-mails and at the request of a co-worker because she is dying to know what people will say, I am opening up comments again.

Breathe deep

Exhale

Breathe deep

Exhale

Comments

  • Lauren M:

    I am so sorry that you have gotten hate mail over the years. Hate mail is never okay, no matter what, no matter how much one disagrees with a post. And I am so sorry that your view of God has been one of rules and regulations and a stern hand of judgment. He has been misrepresented to you, I promise. That is not the God I know and the one who knows me, the one I meet with daily. And though you will probably roll your eyes at this, know that He is radically in love with you and yes, even LIKES you. Because He is secure, whether you believe in Him or not. And He will NEVER write hate mail to you, so you can know 100% that any hate mail you get is NOT representative of Him. People may disagree with you, but if there is any hatred or cattiness, He is not in that. It is not His character.

    And as far as Abraham goes, he wasn’t the worst one by far! There are so many messed up people in the Bible! Have you read about King David?? A murderer and adulterer! And yet he is called “a man after God’s own heart.” While this may shake your faith, it reassures me that no matter how far I get from Him, no matter what I have done or will do in the future, I am supremely loved and delighted in by God. And yes, there are consequences to actions, but we are still delighted in by Him, simply because He created us. He’s really not that hard to please.

    I could probably ramble for a while on this, so I will stop now. Again, I am so sorry that people have hated on you.

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    As an atheist for 30+ years, I got a big giggle out of seeing Welcome Atheists in print! For a good read about by a funny atheist I recommend Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth. Most public libraries have a copy in some form (yes, I volunteer in my public library and I can direct you to the religion section.)

    Have a lovely day.

  • As far as the story of Abraham goes, and many others in the Bible that would appear to be unflattering, I have heard some people use this as proof that it must be real. Obviously, if it were fiction they wouldn’t have written that kind of stuff in there to make people look bad…so therefore it must be real, that makes the most sense.

    Thanks for coming out and making your story known. It would have been easy to just stay quite and blend in, like the vast majority of other atheists do.

  • U are Lost:

    speechless. just don’t make fun of other people, it will only hurt you.

  • Olivia:

    You are my hero!!! I’m so glad I checked your site before going to bed and starting another week.
    You give me so much hope in my lonely, newly discovered, godless world. :) Thank you, Thank you!!!!

  • Philip:

    You, madam, are a rockstar and a role-model. Be wary of Karen Armstrong. Read Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennet, Sagan and Russell to clean out the dust and rubble from your mind. Those boys of yours, they’re going to grow up so much the better because you came out as an atheist. I say again: You, madam, are a rockstar and a role-model.

  • TeddP:

    Rechelle,

    I have really enjoyed your stories and your pictures. You are a very talented writer, and I will be stopping by regularly.

    I am an atheist in a big midwest city and don’t really have to fly my flag. That you are making a stand against all this hatred and prejudice is very heartening. I may just have to do some shouting of my own…

    All the best,
    Tedd

  • Nancy in AK:

    I’m glad you are back! Lately, I have had similar thoughts about religion. I was raised Catholic and got married in a Catholic church and had my three sons baptised but i have not actively practiced in years and recently at age 43, I have been wondering about all the same things you wrote about. The whole immaculate conception idea seems like a crock. I’ll have to get these books!

  • Cooter:

    Welcome to the atheosphere! As a rural atheist, I am glad to count you in our numbers. The lack of god-belief can be a bit alienating in these small communities, but that is better than the mindless alternative. I am enjoying your blog, and thanks for opening the comments!

  • Logan:

    Hey Rechelle! Logan here…
    I love your story. I can relate to so much of it. Consider me one of your new atheist readers. Thanks for the warm welcome!

  • I wanted to be one of the nice people that sent you an email, but I believed you when you wrote that you weren’t reading any emails from the site. I’m so glad you’ve changed your mind (about the comments, however long it lasts).

    Revel in your freedom. Breathe deeply of the newly fresh air. Enjoy the ride. It’s a beautiful world out here.

  • courtney:

    kinda off the subject, but what’s your beef with PW?

  • Welcome to the fold. I took your walk several years ago,and never looked back. I would be honored to rejoin the blog roll.

  • Raymond:

    I know it takes a lots of guts to do what you did and I applaud you for it. As one former christian to another welcome to the world of non-belief. Keep up the posts they are great to read.

  • Rock on Sistah!!!!!!
    I am so happy to find a blogger that I enjoy who is an atheist. I always moan to my husband that none, NONE, N O N E of the bloggers that I most care for are atheists. Not only that, but that the all have to bring god into everything! Need a parking spot? God provides! Need a new Kitchen-Aid? God provides!
    Is there something wrong with me? If the “people” I surround myself and like the most all believe in a god, then shouldn’t I as believe as well? Sorry, I just can’t do that.
    Seriously, do you have to believe in god to have chickens, to love cooking, to covet a lowered baking center, to enjoy the flowers coming up in spring? I don’t think so, and I’m moved (almost) beyond words to find a blogger who feels the same.
    I know you’re moderating all these, so I’m sorry to write so much for you to filter through. But I really want you to know how much support I’m throwing your way!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cornelia:

    That was breath taking!! I have been reading blogs for years now and this is the first comment I have ever left. I too am a mom of four (4-14) and have been calling myself an atheist for the last few years. Like you I find it personally freeing and uplifting in a way religion never gave me. Unlike you, though, I live in a very liberal non-religious environment and know no one who is a practicing “anything”. IOn other words, it is easy for me to be an atheist. You, on the other hand, are so very brave for bucking the trend of your family, community and state/country. I admire you, applaud you and can’t wait to read your future writings. I hope the group of followers who you felt oppressed by stop coming here (I highly doubt it though as they are probably organizing prayer vigils right now!!) so that you can move this blog in the direction you obviously want it to go. Carry on Rechelle and thank you for being the most refreshing and thoughtful writer I have come across in a very long time.

  • Lucy Golden:

    Good for you! I’d love to sit & have a cup-O-joe with you, sista! You RAWK!

  • Ani:

    I don’t really know what to say, but doesn’t it feel good to know that /knowledge/ isn’t going to make you go to hell?

    I think you’re amazingly strong, and I’ve enjoyed reading your post and I plan to keep reading them.

  • Kathy:

    btw, that should have read “you’re” … I’m a grammar nazi..

  • Feel free to delete that last comment, as I probably sound like a crazy person, fresh out of the joint. I hope you don’t water things down. I very much enjoy your writing style.

    D

  • Melinda Gerow:

    “Cerebral Terorists” wow, don’t hold back!

  • Thank you (for the text in red) – I do feel welcomed! I stumbled across the apology post and it really spoke to me. Being an atheist to me has always meant being able to forgive what is human without reference to divine retribution. Thank you!

  • Lydia:

    WOW how have your parents reacting to this.

  • Holy crap! It’s the apocalypse! Comments are allowed!

  • Feels nice thinking for yourself, doesn’t it? Great post!
    tonya

  • I’m one of them there atheists that found you via link on Facebook, and then I had to shamelessly link to your apology over at Blue Lyon, for many of your regrets were mine.

    Welcome to the world of the open curtain!

  • Inga:

    Let it out. You go girl!

  • AJ:

    Wow. After reading this post that’s about all that goes through my mind is just “wow”.

    Your writing is so eloquent, passionate and real.

    I daresay I have no where near the confidence you have to express my beliefs so openly as you do. I had trouble even reading this out loud!

    I admire your ability to show how you really feel regardless of what reaction it may spur from others.

    Kudos to you.

  • CM:

    I just found your blog through a link on the Friendly Atheist and I’m sorry it took so long to find you. I have absolutely loved reading about your journey from darkness to enlightenment and can’t wait to read more. I’m really glad to see that you’ve enabled comments again…don’t worry about the Jesus people…there are quite a few of us who have your back!

  • Jacob:

    Truly inspiring, my thank yous thank you for sharing. You’ve gained a dedicated fan.
    As for the detractors I think Queen said it best “You think you can stone me and spit in my eye, love me and leave me to die?”

  • mateo:

    I’ve got a baby slung to my chest here in virginia at 255am. She’s one week old and I’ve been doing laps around the recliner to keep the one week old baby quiet so my wife can get some rem cycles in.

    so I’m pacing and bouncing around and reading my blogs on my palm pre.

    my fav blog post of yours is the one about your kids starting little league and you have to tell the coach that they bat left cause “they’ll be one step closer to first base.”

    don’t let the kooks get you down. A true christian won’t lecture you.

  • Jane:

    Brave girl! Aren’t we all just looking for truth?

  • Very interesting to see this process from the inside. And now that you have discovered your ability to stand on your own feet, as they say, I wish you much guiltless happiness. :)

  • Tim:

    Hi Rechelle,

    First, “Welcome to the family!” (to use a quasi-christian phrase)

    Being a recent died-in-the-wool (not a type) de-convert myself, since finding your blog through The Friendly Athiest (I think), I have truly enjoyed how well you have voiced thoughts and feelings that I have had for many years and have been having trouble expressing to family, friends, and acquaintances. Thank you.

    I have added your blog to my Google Reader profile and look forward to more of your posts.

    Cheers,

    Tim

  • Dementid:

    I just want to say you’re awesome. I enjoyed this story alot. I love to hear about people returning to reality like you have. Usually an atheist can’t bring people back because those that can see logic and evidence aren’t stuck in fantasy. All we can do is let the logic seep in without pushing it, or else risk them actively resisting intelligent computation.

    Thanks for being awesome.

  • Boz:

    I’m glad that comments are back on now. I am an atheist who found this site through links at other atheist blogs. Thankyou for the kind welcome. I like your writing style, it is very engaging and personal.

  • Isabel:

    Hi, I’m one of those new readers and I’m glad you’ve opened up comments.
    I just wanted to say I really enjoy those recent posts, I appreciate that you share them with us and I already admire you for what you. I wish you all the best.

    greetings from Germany!

  • Kelly:

    Yay! :) Congrats on the new found freedom! I found your blog about a week ago, and haven’t read all the articles yet, but the ones I have, I completely relate to. I grew up in deep east Texas, and my mother raised me to be an open minded christian who wasn’t afraid to think. So, now I’m an athiest, and she’s broken hearted. Ha! Anyhow, Congrats again, and you’re not alone out here in the big old world.

  • Cliff Meyers:

    Thank you for this, it has been years since my own freeing thoughts from god. It is enlightening to see this process from a third person perspective and reflect. Keep it up

    Cliff

  • Devin:

    It’s good to have another literate and smart voice among the rational people of the world. We are happy to have you. Yeah, you will get some nay sayers. But no one has ever done anything important without a group of people telling them they were wrong.

  • You know, I’ve found that most of the atheists I’ve met, regrettably much like many Christians I know, are only nice and supportive as long as they feel you’re going to agree with them. It’s sad because there can’t really be any dialog or exchange of ideas that way.

    The record about Abraham and Isaac troubled me for a long time. I’d be willing to discuss it with you, if I thought you were the least bit interested, but I don’t get that impression.

    So we’ll agree to disagree. You don’t have to believe in God for me to like you, Rechelle, but it would be easier if we could all behave in a more civil manner. It’s difficult to continue reading when I feel your words are more of an attack than a statement of your own beliefs. This post was more statement and a little less attack, and I appreciate that. Now how about that cup of tea?

  • Oh, good! The only problem I had with your “coming out” was the closed comments and hard-to-find email. If you’re going to take a stand, allow people to ask questions, OK?

  • David:

    Hi Rechelle. I hope you are so swamped with comments from Atheists welcoming you to the dark side that WordPress crashes for a bit. I also hope that at least of few of your Christian friends do not become former Christian friends upon hearing the good news of your enlightenment.

    Wishing you the best from Texas, USA.

  • Kitty Conner:

    Darling, congratulations! Everyone deserves to be the person they are. Everyone deserves the chance to figure out what they REALLY believe. Or don’t.

    May whatever floats your boat alway fill your sails!

  • Wow, very interesting. You have courage. I still like reading what you have to say Christian or not.

  • TRC:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year because the quality of writing and your wit are – frankly, top notch. I even enjoyed your “banal” posts. I grew up as a non-Christian in the Baptist South. And yes, I felt terrorized a lot, we were “heathens”, if we didn’t cut our grass on time they called the county on us, they sent people to the house to save us etc. ad nauseum. I really grew up hating them. But now that I’m an adult, I realize that, of course, not all Christians are like that. In my family there are practicing Atheists, Agnostics, Baha’i, Buddhists, Catholics, and OMG, the focus of the right, Muslims. No, I’m not even kidding, we’re very diverse. And everyone has suffered from being stereotyped. Some more than others. Most of the Atheists I know are good, peace loving people. They want to do good in a world without being promised eternal salvation. They aren’t selfish or hedonistic, as they are often portrayed by some. And not all Christians are self righteous, Pat Robertson loonies. Yeah, I know you’re a little bitter about having your mind shackled by them for 40 years, but it’s over now. And if you continue to carry around this much anger, there is a chance you’re going to miss out on someone or something awesome. It’s hard for me too, but I try to keep an open mind, and I also don’t want my kids to sneer at Fundamentalist White Christians the way some of them sneer at us. Still love the blog, still love you, have some tea and watch some Mr G’s class!

  • Technically, Sarah was Abraham’s half sisters(Genesis 20:12).
    So, I guess that makes him half lying and 100% incestuous. How normal was that back then?

    Glad to see you are finally taking comments. I had hoped find your email to give you encouragement but figured if it was that hard you wanted your privacy. Keep on posting, you got some new fans.

  • Cheyenne:

    God caused me a lot of anxiety too, but thinking about walking away from my faith gave me more anxiety, so I ignored it for a long time. About a year ago I remember being in church during a prayer and thinking, “Do all these people really think they’re talking to someone other than themselves?” and I realized that I didn’t think that they were. Then, around the same time, when my 6-year-old started asking questions about god, origins, etc. I realized that I didn’t really have a good reason why our explanation of god was the right one. So I began researching to really shore up my foundation, because my faith was down to that tiny mustard seed, but I knew God honored even the tiny mustard seed amount, and would help me figure it out so that I could give my kids a strong foundation. Of course, all of us who’ve been down that path know what seeking knowledge and truth results in. Then it became blindingly obvious why Eve’s huge sin was seeking knowledge, because it destroys a nonsensical faith!

  • Linda Joan:

    Dear Rechelle,

    I am a Christian -please don’t stop reading!! I feel very free in my Christian faith and not in bondage at all. I love you dearly, you darling girl!

  • Shay W.:

    Too many people – in the blogosphere, in our daily lives, everywhere – are afraid to be who they really are for fear of insulting someone or making someone angry with them. Rechelle, your honesty is an inspiration.

  • km:

    I knew you were self-censoring. I encourage your bold voice!! I am proud of your courage and I look forward to reading lots more about your journey :)

  • Thanks for sharing your journey. Another excellent, honest post. I have another book for you (its the one that broke my chains): Constantine’s Sword. Its very, very, very long, but an excellent read.

    Happy Monday!

  • MJ:

    No hate, no criticism, no preaching.

    I hope that you find peace.

  • Friendly Lurker:

    Bravo, Rechelle, you are free.

    Welcome back (to the land of the living) – we’ve missed you! Sounds like quite a trip you’ve been on. I wish you peace and success as you move into your new self. You are right to question and make sense of things for yourself. You need to be whole to be the best you can be – how difficult it must have been to feeling so inconsistent and “controlled.”

    I too am a non-believer, though still an otherwise spiritual, practicing Jew. Atheist is too strong a word for me (though clearly it is right for you at this time in your life). I am happy in my religion and deeply appreciate that belief in God is not a “requirement” in my community. I also know that those in my community who do believe in God have many different concepts for what that could mean. The controlling, vindictive all-consuming spy that you’ve been wearing around does not seem to be pleasant, reassuring, or have a positive impact, that’s for sure.

    Interesting food for thought: Israel, the name given to the father of the Jewish people as well as the Jewish state, means literally “struggles/wrestles with God.” This can mean lots of things – one is that it’s okay to struggle with your ideas and beliefs in God. It’s appropriate to question. Life is a process – a journey – and it’s far better to engage in it and think for yourself that to just shut your eyes and march forward. If you’re eyes are closed are you sure you’re going forward?

  • Gina B.:

    Rechelle,
    I’ve read you for a long time. It’s not because I thought you were Christian that I read you and it’s not because I’m Christian that I read PW. It’s because I think you’re both funny. Or, I did. I have no beef with you giving up your faith. No beef with your atheism. I, frankly, DO NOT CARE what faith people are. I’m Catholic but I have many friends who are MANY things other than Catholic.
    That being said, I’ll not be reading you any more. It’s simply because you’re no longer amusing. You’re insulting to those of us who DO believe in God, even if we’re not insulting you. You’re insulting to those of us who read PW because… because suddenly you don’t like her even though you went and stayed at her home not that long ago.
    Your faith is your business and none of my own. I hope you’re happy with your choices, but since you’ve insinuated that I don’t have the reading comprehension of a fourth grader, I’ll be going now. I’ll take my apparent lack of intelligence to one of the many other blogs that don’t have to insult their readers to feel good about their life decisions.

  • M.R.:

    Welcome to the real world, Rechelle!

  • Jollly Sapper:

    Thanks for sharing yourself with the world.

    The most interesting stories about shedding “the faith” come from those who tried with all their being to believe. These stories also seem the most genuine and touching even to those of us never indoctrinated into any religious doctrine.

    Here’s hoping that the positive vibes overpower the negative ones and you can keep sharing your story.

    Cheers.

  • I’m glad you are free!

  • I know the feelings you speak of. I spent DECADES of my life living with guilt, afraid to be myself, and only recently decided I am better than that. For the first time in my life, I am truly happy.

    I don’t feel it’s my place to define a god or tell other people what and how to worship him/her. I follow three basic principles: 1. Respect for myself. 2. Respect for others. 3. Without these things, life means nothing. And that’s my religion. Period.

    I don’t care if a person believes in god or not. I don’t care what they do for a living or how they school their children. I DO believe in free will and the fact that we are all different and without those differences life would be so boring and unfulfilled that none of us would WANT to live. Which is why those people who want everyone to conform to the same lifestyle as them are not worth my time.

    There will be comments, people who speak their mind are going to suffer the derision of others, and it will hurt… But you seem to have enough self-respect that you will overcome whatever is thrown at you. It’s part of growth, and freedom, and truly living instead of merely existing for another.

    And… It’s AMAZING, and I applaud you for doing one of the absolutely most difficult things a person can do. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nancy:

    You know Rechelle, so many of the things are “church rules” made up by a bunch of people, who think they are right….No meat during Lent, fasting on Fridays, tithing 10% of your income to the church, etc. None of those things make one a better person or closer to G*d. Asking to support a mission, in a country you don’t like the politics of, yet turning away the divorced neighbor from Holy Communion? Denying me (a devout Catholic of then 38yrs) membership to a church, because I wouldn’t grovel infront of a congregation to become a member, and seek their approval? Writing an essay why I am a worthy person to belong to their church? Rules made up solely for a power trip, that has nothing to do with faith. It should not matter what you believe or do not believe in, but how you carry yourself as a person. That is more important to me, than if you are a Christian or not….Peace.

  • And to think I’ve been following this evolution since you were talking about farmhouse trim (which I am slavishly copying)! I would not have guessed that you were as deeply immersed in “the faith” as you describe yourself…maybe because you seemed a little too smart to REALLY believe that people were going to HELL for not believing in a specific deity, regardless of the life they lived. I just don’t get that. You’ve brought up so many good points, I’ve really enjoyed the discussion. In fact, my husband has too! He recently read “The God Delusion”, which he very much enjoyed. It was a little too shrill for me, but might be worth checking out. Looking forward to seeing what’s next…we’ll stay tuned.

  • Amber:

    Rechelle,

    I was one of those who hunted down your email address because I just had to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I’m an Oklahoma atheist and I can fully understand why you had the comments closed. There’s only so much you can stand to hear from closed minded individuals. But now that you’ve opened comments I want to let you know that you are brave. And you are such a talented writer! You’ve got a new subscriber. =)

  • Clare:

    Bold post, Rechelle. Good for you for telling it like you see it.

    Being raised catholic I had many issues with a god, who we were taught to see as a human and give human characterists to. That was a big hurdle, and dropping it has been freeing.

    All that being said, I still don’t use the word god as a form of reference to how this whole universe manages to function, for it is clear to me there is SOMETHING holding it all together. So whatever energy that is working, I refer to as the Divine. I don’t understand it, but I’m trying to work with it.

    So, I would only add one point: Whatever the Divine is, you are also a part of it. You are a creator, a good spirit, and can use universal energy to your good. No intercessors necessary!

    Welcome to the life of discovery AFTER.

  • Francesca:

    Rechelle,
    Thank you for your wonderful blog! I have been traveling down a similar path towards atheism. I too am much happier and healthier now that the proverbial curtains have been torn off the windows.

    I am going to find the books you mentioned on your Feb 1st posting and immerse myself in history and logical conclusions (read ‘em). THANK YOU!

    Your parable is priceless. Go on kind heart. Best wishes to you and you family. This blog is now in my bookmark folder of favorite blogs.

    Thanks again! (I can’t thank you enough!)

  • leslie:

    I am glad you turned comments back on. I have been reading your blog for over a year now and I missed you while you were gone.

    It is interesting to me to see other people exploring faith and spirituality. After my son was born I realized that I didn’t really have any coherent beliefs regarding my personal feelings about Faith/God/Spirituality. I was not raised in any religion and although I had a pretty strong idea of the things I DID NOT believe, I didn’t really have any way to explain what I DID believe. I spent about a year visiting different churches/houses of worship and really came to the conclusion that I don’t believe in God in any traditional sense espoused by any established religion. However, there are pieces and parts of all the various religions that do seem to fit in with my view of the world. My beliefs tend to not adhere to any given doctrine and, put together, would probably offend some of the more fundamentalist members of any of the given religions. Do I believe in God? Not in a way that Christians, Muslims or Jews would recognize. Am I an Atheist…most devout Christians would call me that but I am not entirely sure that fits either. Most days Agnostic fits best but even that doesn’t fit perfectly either.

    I find discussions of religion and beliefs extraordinarily interesting and love talking to people about it. I always learn something (even if it is just who not to talk to about it any more). And, if I ever make it to your neck of the words, I would love to chat with you (and see your awesome house and watch British Period piece movies with you while petting the show cats).

    Looking forward to more posts.

  • sandra mc combs:

    I will not preach to you. I will pray for you.

  • Scott M.:

    Rechelle, Please pick up a copy of THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD by Carl Sagan. I went through a similar deconversion process. Assuming yours is like mine, this book is exactly what you need right now. Best wishes and welcome.

  • Sarah in MD:

    Thank you for welcoming us! :) BTW, if you haven’t read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Dan Barker’s Godless, I highly recommend both. Barker was a Xtian preacher for years before realizing he no longer believed. And Adams…well, 42! ;)

    Also, the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Very humorous book. :) Blessed Be His Pastaness. May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage. Ramen.

  • Melissa:

    What does your husband and family think about this change?

    I have read over your recent posts and many of the ideas you have about being a Christian are less Biblical than you might think. I don’t think God meant us to have big expensive churches- early Christians met in homes or public places. I don’t think God will mind if we give money to anyone who needs it- actually I believe tithing was completely done away with in the NT. I have also read some of those OT stories and wondered what those people were thinking- but honestly nowhere does it say God condones their actions, just that is what there actions were. We can read their stories and draw our own conclusions.

  • JJ:

    Here is the thing -any belief system – christian, muslim, athiest, etc. can become radical and misleading. There are both good and bad people in any “group” and there is always the possibility for power hungry people to take advantage. The key is having an open mind and – so simple – being considerate and kind. One problem humanity has is that so many do not want to think for themselves – they want it to be easy and be told what to do. Being ” Christian” is more of a human creation.
    Do I believe in God?
    Yes I do. Do I think he sits over me with a lightening bolt – ready to punish? MMMM NO! ( I think that would be Zeus anyway right?) I have the ability to think and choose – he did not want us to be mindless zombies. And who would want to be blamed for EVERYTHING that goes wrong? I don’t think he is that involved; he made us to be self reliant. However, I appreciate life for the miracle it is – there are just too many things that can go wrong – in the creation of a baby, the rise of the sun, the giggle of my little boy, that I can’t see us just as a random blob. Yes I think there was a big bang and I believe someone had to flip the switch!

  • Jen:

    Good for you! I give you mad props for not being afraid to be honest. Those idiots who have nothing better to do than slam you and send you nasty emails can take a leap.
    You inspire me to not be afraid of being myself!

  • Yes, welcome, Rechelle. I enjoyed reading your blog and admire your honestly. I’m amazed by the number of people who are personally offended by your decision though. So sad. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  • Nancy in PA:

    I’m so glad you’ve allowed comments!

    Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing so honestly. When you post I know that you have something to say, it means something, not just to keep it going for advertising dollars.

    I had a great discussion about your “coming out” post with my dear girlfriend who is a pastor of a UCC church. As expected, she was open to discuss without judgement, even if she disagreed with much of what you wrote. Surprisingly, there were many moments as she read that she said, “Well, okay, I can kind of agree, or I understand that.”

    Going off subject, your tea party pictures are fabulous! What kind of camera/lense did you use?

    Oh, and thank you for taking the time to respond to my email! YOU ROCK TOO! :-))

  • jan:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    Atheists are nicer, prettier and smarter than Xians. And we like anyone who plays nice too.

    Now let’s all play nice.

  • Melissa:

    WELCOME! I hope everything goes smoothly. It’s tough but in the end you will be so much happier. “Cerebral terrorists” is my new favourite phrase. Wishing only the best, Melissa.

  • kathleen:

    Well…this is an interesting turn of events. I’ve been an atheist since my 20′s thats about 30 years. My best friend is also which sealed our friendship more than 20 years ago. We are few down here in TX. One of the first questions people ask you in TX is what Church you go to. For years I hid behind telling people we were jewish (my husbands maternal side is jewish but we don’t practice) anyways they would leave me alone after that. For about 10 years now tho I have “come out” since I just really don’t care anymore. Your posts have been interesting and really size up a lot of my objections to religion. I have read a lot of historical documentation on religion and came to my own conclusions years ago. Also, someone I once admired said to me “the more education you get the farther away you are from god” which was her explanation of why college wasn’t needed. That of course cut my last attachments to any type of religion because I have never wanted or aspired to be “stupid”. For years now I have thought that religion just makes people weak its an excuse to not stand on your own two feet. Well anyways those are my thoughts. I have enjoyed reading your blog before the conversion and after. Stay strong, you will invariably scare some people away. Your friend Kathleen in TX.

  • So very glad you opened up comments!!

    Congrats on this life changing decision. Welcome to our ever growing community. You will find some amazing people within the Atheist groups — more support than you can imagine, really.

    Good luck to you — and keep us updated.

  • P.J.:

    Rechelle, I love your blog and not just because we are like minded! I also am an atheist, have been for almost thirty years. I don’t judge others and don’t allow others to judge me. I have raised two delightful, moral and intelligent daughters and have been happily and lovingly married for 32. I love my life in this world here on earth.

  • Debra:

    What does your hubby think of this? I am a Christian and won’t preach or judge. I think you’re a great writer and will continue to read your blog.

  • carrie W:

    I just wanted to say thanks for opening comments. I have been impressed by your bravery in “coming out” as a nonbeliever. I still have a hard time telling some family members out of knowing they will try to convert me the best they can. I wish I could say that I was surprised that you would receive hate mail, but alas I cannot. Most religious people are like small children when they don’t get their way and like to name call and throw a fit. Because that’s the way to show god’s love, right? I look forward to visiting your blog, as you are now on my list of favorites!

  • Aaron Braegen:

    Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not allowed to get mad, get insulting, get personal on your own blog. Don’t let anyone tell you not to express what you think because it insults them. You are an utterly engaging writer and since being directed here from other rationalist sites I have hopped back and forth amongst your previous posts with ever increasing enthusiasm and admiration. Not to mention laughing loud and hard.

    So, I continue to read back and look forward to what will come. I will judge, just like all sentient beings will do, but the only judgment you need care about is your own.

    Aaron Braegen
    Rationalist and reader from Australia

  • LiteraryOne:

    Just reading your comments that others have left; I am amused, laughing, and shaking my head.

    To quote the bible or Simon and Garfunkel…to everything there is a season!!

    I have a far greater reading level than 4th grade, I have a BA in English Literature! Yes, I am a “christian” or rather a no longer attending church services in the LDS faith. I have become and “intellectual” which in my former faith is equal to herasy!! But I still read the bible as well as other literary works. I have found that I believe in the gospel, just not the church!

    I have no problems with the feelings you are expressing! This is the life the God gave us and it is up to us to do what we choose to do with it! Please do NOT become influenced by what others are saying to you. This is YOUR road to travel!

    You are not alone in this experience!

  • Good for you, Rechelle! So glad you made the (very courageous) move to ‘the dark side’ (turns out it’s not so dark, after all, eh? And I think you’ll find that ex-converts are far, far more common than most people think. I know it was a *huge* revelation for me).
    Also glad your blog is back open for comments : )

    j

  • Little Appoe:

    Me thinks you may have thrown out the baby with the bath water. My religion features a loving God and my favorite feature is tolerance. The only thing I can’t tolerate is intolerance. But I’m working on that one!

  • I’m going through a similar thing and I really appreciate your honesty. As you can see and as I’m finding out as well, Atheist are not the hateful devil worshipers that our former religion told us they were. They are not lost, but I believe are the ones that see clearly and pretty much understand what life is about.

    I’m too scared to tell my family and friends right now, and that annoys me about myself, but maybe someday.

  • I am sorry that you have received hate mail but as a blogger myself we can’t always please everyone. Do what you feel is right in your heart for you and your family. Speaking as an Episcopalian, us “christians” are not all evil. I don’t home school, I do drink wine and OMG I lived and slept with my Husband before Marriage. Please don’t group us all in one pot as”satan’s lot” and I won’t group athiests! I believe that we are all entitled to our opinions.

    I started reading you because you were funny and talked about just life in general and now its seems that you are on one soap box and that alone. Where are the Rechelle funny stories? OK we get it you want to be an athiest, great…now can we hear about some other things too?

  • jancd:

    I’m sorry you are so angry. Isn’t it wonderful that life is full of choices? If you have heard the Word and choose not to believe or accept it, then you should be happy with your choice, not so bitter and angry. I hope your decision gives you the peace you have been searching for.

  • Megan:

    I can’t imagine how hard it is to walk away from faith and possibly relationships because of it, because I never had faith to begin with. Sure I used to “pray” to “god” to grant me boyfriends in high school, but when he didn’t I quickly gave up any hope that “he” existed. Stupid god.

    Welcome to the light side Rechelle. I have yet to meet an atheist that hates, judges, ridicules, condemns or is just a plain sucky human being. We’ve got your back and you don’t even have to promise to pray to the flying spaghetti monster in return. Nice, isn’t it?

  • First, welcome back to blogging. During the time you were not blogging, I missed you. You’ve been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time now. I appreciate your writing skills, your humor, and your sarcasm.

    I’m a very liberal Christian, and I try not to be threatened by other points of view. I will also say that while I have plenty of doubts (and lots of hostile feelings toward self-righteous, judgmental people), my faith and my active involvement in my church bring comfort and joy into my life. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, myself–even if it turns out that God is indeed a product of our collective imaginations.

    My own son and daughter-in-law call themselves atheists now, in spite of their Christian upbringings, and although I admit that it bothers me somewhat, I am not distraught over it. They are both good people and I love them dearly, so I don’t stress over their beliefs. Neither will I stress over your beliefs.

    I do have to say that the response from some of your atheist readers discourages me a bit. Some comments exhibit the same kind of bigotry and judgmentalism that is so often seen in narrow-minded Christians. I believe that I’m plenty smart, and I am well read, and I don’t like being dismissed as being unenlightened.

    I enjoy hearing about other people’s spiritual journeys, and I try not to judge. I hope that you will continue to write your true thoughts and feelings, but I also hope you will not dismiss those of us who think differently than you.

    Sorry this is so long. Best wishes, Rechelle. I want to hear more from you.

  • jen:

    I’m one of the atheists who’ve recently found you – loving your blog.
    Talking about Satanic public schools reminds me of a time when I was a kid…

    My folks had 4 kids, quite spread out. They sacrificed (A LOT) to pay the church school tuition (grades 1 and up – the church even had a high school) for the 3 oldest of us.

    The oldest boy turned to drugs and dropped out of school – not exactly the school’s fault, but they didn’t manage to prevent it any more than the folks did. The next boy got into trouble. My dad went to the principal to talk about it and was told “we’re not in the forgiveness business, we’re in the education business”… But they said my brother could graduate if he completed some minimum requirements (he was about 1 month out from graduation). The other teachers cut down what was required from him to the minimum, but the PASTOR (who taught the Bible class) said that to pass the course he had to write essays on 5 topics – the other students had to write an essay on 1 of the same 5 topics. So he didn’t graduate either.

    I was about to enter 7th grade and that point, and my younger brother was about to start 1st. We went to public schools the next year, and I LOVED IT. The students and faculty there were so much kinder and more caring than I’d ever experienced at a “Christian” school.

    Then one day, we’re sitting in church and there’s a visiting pastor. Rather than preaching a sermon based on something in the Bible, his ENTIRE sermon was about the evils of public schools, and how parents who are unwilling to sacrifice to send their students to the church’s schools are likely condemning their children to hell… Maybe he didn’t use that exact phrase, but it’s what he meant. My mom walked out. Today, she and I are both atheists. Not because of that one sermon, but it did demonstrate the lack of any loving or caring in the church.

  • Annie:

    I am also wondering what’s your beef with PW?

  • Jayne:

    Boy, am I glad you’re back!

  • Bridget:

    I admire you so much for doing this – not many would have the courage.

    Welcome to the real world!

  • sasha:

    Rechelle,

    Your declaration of mental freedom plastered a giant smile on my face. Thank you!

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog (via StumbleUpon) but look forward to combing through your archives to catch up and reading on in the future.

    I salute you!

  • Congrats, Rechelle! May you live a life full of peace and joy. Don’t ever self-censor yourself just to please a few.

  • Lynne:

    I’m one of your new readers via Friendly Atheist. Your story as a joy to read. Such humor and finesse! It epitomizes ethos, pathos, and logos. Please keep writing, I can’t wait to hear more about your new life!
    Thank you for your courage

  • tammyfrom oklahoma:

    I am sorry for you because know you are bitter and judgemental, never a pretty site for atheist or christians.

  • Jane:

    Thanks for the welcome. It’s lovely to be here. :)

    As a life-long atheist I’ve never experienced the process of disentangling from a religion. I admire your journey and applaud your courageous decision. And, I look forward to reading you in the future!

    (I looked up Pioneer Woman… wow, does she ever need to edit.)

  • Marilyn:

    I realize one’s faith (or lack of it) is a personal choice; but, I can’t help wondering what the CD and your sons think of your new world. I imagine theirs has been rocked. Your sister is to be commended for not entering this bloggy fray.

  • This post Rocks, Rechelle! I’m so glad I found your blog and am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your new freedom of thought, emotion, life, and everything else that goes along with shedding faith.

    I’m also really glad that you opened your post up for comments! there will always be ‘haters’ but I think that you’ll find a TON of support in these comments sections too! Most likely enough to MORE than make up for the disparaging comments!

    Keep on keepin’ on!

  • Shelly:

    Hello Rechelle,
    Glad you are back. I have been reading your blog for awhile, well within the past year. I am new to blog reading, I think this stuff is really great, I get to be noisey with permission. I have been wanting to start my own blog, but recently, have been rethinking it with what has happened to you.
    I am really sorry what ever happened, happened and sent you on your quest. That people feel that everyone should think the same way. I think everyone is entitled to their own way of thinking, and that no one should tell you that the way you think is wrong.
    I have enjoyed your blog, I think your writing is great and funny. I am glad you have opened your comments again.
    I am a christian, I don’t feel tied or trap in my beliefs, and sorry that happened to you. I will still be a follower of your blog.
    Be safe, you and your family and I wish you peace.

  • As one of the folks who tracked down your email, I’m glad you have comments back up :)

    I’m also an atheist, but I would say not to go rush out and read Dawkins and Hitchens and all that, as much as you might feel hungry for such things. Take a break, breathe the fresh air, and explore things for yourself for a bit. Don’t let anti/non-belief be your whole life (heck, that’s why it’s so freeing in the first place, right?)

    I’m also sorry some people can’t read others’ opinions without feeling as though it’s a personal insult. It’s one of the things that makes good dialogue and friendliness between religious folks and atheists really hard. But if I can swallow the fact that people really and truly believe I am going to hell (that’s not insulting?), then maybe they can swallow the fact that I think King David was a homicidal, genocidal maniac (funny, you picked out one of my main quibbles with the whole thing!) :)

    Either way, I hope that some of your past readers and commenters, who may be of a different mindset than me, stick around :) Could lead to some interesting back-n-forth on here at some point. :)

    Me, I’m looking forward to more stories from sports practice, heh.

  • I visit you now and again. This was something that made me go yep I understand everything you are saying. I grew up in a home that we went to church 3x’s a week and if I missed any I was not to do anything for that day. I believe in God and follow most of the comandments. My family and I do not attend church. I feel that to believe one does not have to go to church. The last church we went to we left feeling that we did not hear anything about the lord but we did leave feeling that all they were after was our cash. I was truly dissapointed in that church. We moved 5 plus years ago to a small town with 3 churches in it(one kiddie corner behind my home) and 100 people. We have yet to have someone come to our home from one these churches to invite us to worship.
    I remember as a child that when we moved somewhere new that someone always came to visit a new resident and invite them to church. . …..

  • Even the fact that we have to “come out” and feel hesitant, threatened or just downright frightened is saddening.

    Your life will have more meaning than you can possibly imagine now, Rechelle. You’re no longer held back. Once you can free yourself from the ultimate bondage–that of religion–you’re free to do anything.

    Thank you. And welcome to you, too.

  • Steven B.:

    Thanks for turning on comments; I wanted to welcome you to the free-thinking world last week. Good luck with your journey. There’s lots more you can read, as well. The popular authors like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett. Also check out Doubt: A History, by Jennifer Hecht (she didn’t get as much press as the others but I hear her book is well done).

  • Well said, Rechelle! I don’t know why it should be so difficult to come out and say that you are a person who thinks for herself, without fear of judgment, doing good things and being a good person simply because it is the right thing to do, but it is. Brava for having the courage to do it.

  • Just wanted to include my voice in the apparent din shouting bravo for being true to yourself! Regardless of WHAT you believe, you must be honest about it. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year because you are funny and delightful (even when you’re not).

    And your honesty encouraged me to finally change my Facebook religious preference to “atheist” and political leaning to “liberal.” I’m hoping now that the long lost, conservative Christian relatives, former co-workers and long-forgotten high school acquaintances will stop pinging me with bible quotes and Rush Limbaugh links. But that may be optimistic as now they’ll have more reason to try and save my godless, democratic soul!

    You go girl!

  • GW:

    kudos and hats off, sister! money and mind control in the name of god are quite the racket–cheers to you for thinking for yourself and being vocal about your utter disgust and rejection of it. looking forward to your walk–one foot in front of the other and HUGS!!

  • courtney:

    i agree with gina b.

    i used to get a kick out of your amusing stories and was a big fan of your blog, but now visiting your blog is like a big kick to the teeth. i am unashamedly a Christian. i don’t like you less for being an atheist, but i do not wish to be insulted for believing what i believe.

  • Congratulations on finding peace Rechelle. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding the “truth” we can each live with? I know you’ve been bombarded by some for your beliefs (or lack there of). It’s your blog and your right to express yourself. Of course it’s others right to be offended (but why do they need to be offended so loudly?!). : ) I have always enjoyed your writing (yes, even the banal posts). I do hope you move past your anger and rage and find the things in your life which bring you joy and happiness. And an abundance of sarcasm. Because this is where you will thrive and find blog readers who return the joy and feed your creativity.

    (For the record – long time Methodist who gave it all up a few years ago. I still believe in a higher power, just maybe not the one I was raised with. My church had been a welcoming non-judgmental place for a long time. However it became a sanctuary of “how much money do you give”. Yick. So I “dropped out” and started looking into other faiths. I’m probably a mutt at this point – you know, a mix up of a whole bunch of other faiths. It was pretty radical for our crowd, but surprisingly most have been very accepting. We just added religion to politics as topics not to be discussed when drinking.)

  • LisaMae:

    Hey! I’m so happy you’re back after your absence (I missed you).

    I kept reading because I got glimpses of the interesting, well read, sarcastic, thinking woman behind the blog.

    It’s nice to see the real you come out of the closet — it’s an incredible experience, right?

    Lisa

  • Christine from Canada:

    You’ve opened your comments! Atta girl!

    I’m an atheist from Canada, where evangelical Christianity is not nearly as prevalent. Still, I’m surrounded by righteous Catholics and three-times-a-year Protestants.

    I’d consider myself, to quote Richard Dawkins, a “cultural” Christian (i.e. I say “Merry Christmas” and am not offended by the phrase). I wasn’t crazy about mass prayer before awards ceremonies at my kids’ public school, but have always stood quietly nonetheless.

    We atheists are not the ones with a church on every corner. We don’t go door-to-door witnessing. We don’t tithe your money. We don’t have our own television programs. We keep our lawn mowed and we pay taxes. We help old ladies cross the street. Our kids are just as polite, just as smart (or smarter), as those from religious homes. When our kids sleep over at YOUR home, you talk to OUR kids about being Christian, say grace before meals, take them to church on Sunday. However! We don’t indoctrinate YOUR kids about the idea of godlessness.

    I find it ironic, then, that we’re part of the most reviled, untrusted groups in America. Little wonder why a lot of us seem “angry”. I’d imagine the deeper you are into an evangelical religion, the harder it is once the “curtain” (Rechelle’s parable) has been opened.

    Carry on with your blog as you see fit, Rechelle. Go ahead and vent, if you like — consider us your sounding board.

    Chin up!

  • Maren:

    Recently was pointed to your blog by a friend of mine and have really been enjoying it. While you may be losing some past readers with your new found wisdom, I do hope your new devoted fanbase will more then make up for that. I love your wit, your sarcasm, your open-mindedness, and your boldness.

  • Maria:

    Hello, Rechelle, I’m another one of those atheist-readers who stumbled upon your initial “coming out” post byways of another blog. I don’t often comment on the posts I read, no matter the blog, but I just had to chime in and tell you that you’ve given me hope. I was not raised in an overtly religious household (although I was baptized Catholic because my Mexican grandmother would have had a fit if I wasn’t), and have long considered myself faithless. I can see how it would be easier for someone like me — in my mid-twenties, overly educated, no intentions of having a family beyond the current husband and maybe a dog — to be atheist. To fall into the world so often deemed “immoral” by those so quick to judge, who run every realm of our day to day life from education to government to grocery stores… and yet here you are, nearly the very opposite of me, coming to the same conclusions! Again, it gives me hope that rationality can be found and prized by anyone, no matter their teaching or background, as long as they have an open mind. Keep tending it, reading, learning, asking WHY, WHY, WHY (which is what got me thrown out of Sunday school twenty years ago) and be happy with each new realization you come to. You’ll hit a few brick walls, but smashing through them is incredibly satisfying! Best of luck. :)

  • theresa:

    I like you. I love the way you write and the things you write about. I wandered over from April’s blog. I am a Christian, but I don’t care if you aren’t. I will continue to read here, as long as you get back to writing about books, life, plants, the things I enjoy reading from your point of view. I didn’t read you get Christian wisdom, nor will I read you to get atheist wisdom. Please write your blog again!

  • #1 I don’t know about you… but I’m looking forward to Spring!

    #2 I reorganized my husbands office today.

    # 3 I keep eating refried beans and rice for breakfast… is that weird?

    #4 Rechelle… Do you collect garden gnomes?…and when is a good time to plant kale? I’m bored and I need something to do.

  • Joel Wheeler:

    No matter what you choose, you will always have supporters and detractors. You may count me among the former in your new worldview and endeavors.

  • Aloha! Thank you for the kind welcome and welcome right back to you! I’ve bookmarked your blog– a wonderful journey from a wonderful writer. Isn’t it nice to be in the world and know that everything in your universe is now real?

    Here’s a lecture you might enjoy. It’s from a behavioral biologist at Stanford, who was raised in Orthodox Judaism and became an atheist. He examines the Old Testament from the angle that it could result from various mental illnesses, even OCD:

    http://blip.tv/file/2204956/

    Hope to be reading your blog for a long, long time.

  • Janet:

    I second Gina B’s comment completely.

    My only comment would be that I pity you.

    Not because of what you think you’ve found through your latest declaration but for all I know you’ve lost.

  • I found your blog a few days ago through a link. I read your first posts of the new year and browsed your archives. As I read I became an admirer of your writing. I then came back and read your recent posts and became interested in the new direction of your journey. I was delighted to see that comments have been turned back on. I admire your bravery in stating your lack of belief so openly. I welcome you not as some one that no longer believes, but as someone that now begins to understand. I and many others would like you to know that you are not alone on your new path.

  • Sarah:

    I, too, am sorry that you have received such hate mail. That is uncalled for from any one for any reason. Reading your blog wasn’t because you were or weren’t a Christian, but because I enjoyed your writing. Sadly, though, the anger isn’t how I care to start my day, so while I’ll check in from time to time, I’ll no longer have this as my homepage. I know, no loss for you, this is YOUR outlet, no one elses. Wishing you well in all your endeavors.

  • Thanks for the Atheist Welcome! And may I also say, Welcome to Atheism! :)

  • Judy:

    You’re a writer? Who knew?!

  • I read your blog when you were a Christian, and I’m reading (and loving it even more!) now that you’re an atheist :-)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of open eyes and a skeptical mind. You’ll never go back :-)

  • Tracie in Washington:

    Rechelle,

    Whew, you have just blown the lid off! I understand your strong emotions and why they are coming out in your blog, you need to work through them. I too am an un-believer but am not going to call my self an athiest. It just seems that when you associate with a group there are always those folks who will be unkind because you may have different ideas. So I just float in the Universe with my own thoughts. I grew up in Salt Lake City, UT, talk about religious pressure and completely un-believable for even the tiniest fraction of an intelligent mind. That was the beginning of my journey to my own self truth that continues 30 years later.

    I love some of the folks you have a attracted to your blog, they sound insightful, intelligent and worthy of debate. I will certainly keep tuning in.

  • Welcome to the club! I found your blog through one of the atheist blogs I read, and I think you are absolutely awesome. That hate mail? They are just afraid, and jealous. I loved your posts about becoming an atheist… they were so eloquent. It really is that simple, isn’t it? I hope you can shrug off all the passive aggressive comments, because you are so much better than all that!
    I’ll be RSS-ing :)

  • Frances:

    Rechelle, the most courageous, honest blog entry Ive ever read!

  • J. Allen:

    You are awesome. Fly on free bird.

  • Lunamarysol:

    Hey Rechelle,

    I’m happy for you. I find this process very interesting: how you’re working things out and your thoughts going from a fundamentalist church with a literal translation of the bible to something that works for you, heart and soul. I think letting your boys know what you’re thinking of & what you’re going through will be a good example to them, as well.

    You are awesome, you seem real and not just a person who keeps a blog of all the pretty rose-colored lovely things in her life.

    Sending you love and peace and strength!

  • Eric Shaw:

    I wish to add my support as another de-convert and as an aspiring writer. You write fantastically well. Well done. I have shared your apology on facebook, I hope you don’t mind, but I found it moving and I am considering writing an apology of my own, though I have much more to apologize for than just being a christian.

  • Lucy Golden:

    Oh…here I go again…

    I have to respond in your defense to some of the people who are berating you for being sardonic or insulting.

    Of course you’re feeling bitter & betrayed! Who can blame you. You’ve been force-fed a dogma that is not loving, but vengeful, hypocritical & irrational. When one has been lied to for so long, it’s only natural to vent to get rid of the anger & resentment. You’re no different from the Rechelle that posted a year ago; only now, your free from religions tight bonds! Spread your wings & fly girl! You ARE free!

  • Dawn:

    Your views are your own and it’s your choice. My thing is why have you been so angry. Rechelle you are down right nasty now. I don’t care about your religious views and I hate that anyone would be unkind to you. But, girl, why so much anger? Be whatever you want, but you no longer have any sense of humor. Period.

  • Alison:

    I read PW on a daily basis and I have NEVER noticed a religious tone in her blog. Contrary to what one commenter said, you are NOT insulting those of us who do read her. I read her for the recipes – that’s it! Come to think of it, the one I’ve tried sucked…so… Anyway, I love your blog. I’m a closet atheist/agnostic so I love being able to read about someone who is free among their peers. And by the way, the people who say they are insulted are only feeling that way because they let themselves feel that way. And you are completely free to feel however you want about PW! You can’t like everyone, right? They can move on :) Keep up the great writing!

  • Thank you for the welcome. :) I, too, found you via The Friendly Atheist. I see myself in much of what you write. I often find myself confused over how people can be so blind in their faith. But also remember being afraid to question.

    I hope you can ignore the people that fear your honesty will harm their own faith. Even having only just found you I find myself looking forward to new posts.

    Atheist snorgles all around!

  • pamcake:

    Hi, I just want to say that I have been reading your blog for probably 2 years or more, like back when you were the CDW. I read blogs to be entertained, or to enjoy really thoughtful writing, or to learn something. Your religion never had any bearing on why I followed you. I will admit that I passed over many of your posts because they were boring to me. However, lately, your writing has been sharp, insightful, funny and almost painful to read at times because I feel you(even though I dont consider myself an atheist). Keep up the great writing. I, for one, am enjoying it!

  • Jnine:

    Hi Rechelle
    I am glad you have found some answers to your spiritual questions. I have always enjoyed your blog and others – some Christian, some not – I guess it made no difference to me – I read ones I was interested in.

    I also do not know what your beef is with PW. I don’t find her preachy about religion at all. Sometimes she mentions Sunday dinner ‘after church’. Lots of people go to church, it is not that radical.

    I am absolutely all for ‘live and let live’, but your post was kind of rude to PW.

    Not sure if I’ll be back or not.

  • Even if you’re not a believer, you gotta admit that those food stories in the Bible are pretty cool!

    At The Greasy Skillet we cook for all, regardless of race, religion or politics. However, I don’t cook for mean people.

  • Linda:

    Thankful that you and your family are well. I was worried about all of you during your absence. You are on an interesting journey. Keep writing, friend!

  • While I don’t understand all of this, I’ll continue to be supportive of you and your blog. I admire your honesty.

  • Sabazinus:

    Atheists are generally a great bunch of folks. I’ve been checking in on your blog ever since I read about it at Friendly Atheist. Not only am I impressed by your recent discoveries, I think the photographs you publish are fantastic. Keep up the dialogue and keep taking pictures.

  • Leslie:

    Thank you for turning your comment section back on. I have been wanting to write to express my appreciation for your entry with the apologies. Thank you so much for expressing so eloquently the things that have been rolling around in my heart and mind for so long. That was exquisite and touched me deeply.

  • You and your fellow atheists are not alone in rejecting a traditional view of God. As a compliment to the comment by “friendly lurker” , this Wall Street Journal article notes that the “inventor” of the Bat Mitzvah rejected this notion as well: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624381204284814.html?mod=wsj_share_facebook

  • Alexis:

    Thanks for writing! You were able to put into words things I have been feeling for years and even though I don’t know you, it’s great not to feel alone anymore!

  • C. Morris:

    Our sister Rechelle:

    It can be that way, I understand well – having been an Atheist. And, the Vodka… nice touch – plenty understand, also. I never read the Bible… I do not attend any church. It is only spirit and heart that is my faith. One knows what is right in the heart. No law of any kind need be given to me or you to know which way is up / down / right / wrong. Faith, Hope, Love exist always … and you are a passionate love! History of thousands if not millions of years is a confusing tale to relate by anyone’s standard. I am sure that most of us could not relate perfectly to another… some intimate or odd anomaly that happened in our own recent life. Scriptures of all are meant to confound those who really have little feeling of even giving a kind word. Jesus Christ is in heart and spirit, and if I were God I would “disappear” also….. to allow anyone to manifest what they deeply desire. This also reveals everyone in the “Body of Christ” as one. And, we are ALL needed! And we are ALL a manifestation of God! I am loving you in our Lord, forever….. You will always be you, and I can never be you! What a beautiful mystery! You are never lost.

  • Amanda:

    I figured something might have been up during your long posting hiatus over the holidays, and am very glad to hear that this is what caused it (sort of like when the phone rings very early in the morning and you’re first thoughts jump to the worst case scenario). As someone who was raised in Los Angeles with very little religion, my own spiritual journey has been bumpy (as I think all are) but thankfully free of the kind of judgement and pressure that I know many people in many other situations are faced with. I applaud your decision to be honest with yourself and your readers tremendously, and although you have not really touched on the subject much, I hope that you find love and support from your friends and family during this time (I also read your sister’s blog and love whenever your posts involve each other, I have a sister as well and know the unique, sometimes maddening but mostly wonderous gift that is a sister). All the best to you and your family :-)

  • Amanda:

    Oh, and I can’t believe I wrote “you’re” instead of “your”. As a product of public schooling myself, I frantically tried to find the “edit” button in order to correct my error and not add fuel to the anti-public school fire, but to no avail. Alas, proof-reading was never one of my strong points.

  • MaryAnne:

    Glad you are back-be true to yourself.
    That’s pretty much all I got.
    Whoops I lied-please keep writing…

  • mandy:

    Good Luck on your new path! Years ago I went through the same thing. Letting go was one of the best things I ever did :)

    Was it just me or did you seem to have a lot of readers that would bitch and moan but just kept coming back? I have seen this on other blogs as well and I never understand it.

  • confused:

    I meant to just leave this site and never return, although it felt like I was denying a sister, I’ve enjoyed your stories and posts so much. Until recently when everytime I come here you insult me again. I personnally don’t care if you are atheist but like Gina B said I don’t like to be insulted any more than you do.

    While you claim to embrace athieism I really believe that you don’t know what you believe. If you did you wouldn’t have to insult those you claim to disagree with.

    I’m just curious how the country doctor feels about this.

  • Bob:

    Hi there from a fellow Athiest. Glad to have you on board and fascinated by your personal journey. Welcome to Reality. :)

  • Rainy:

    I looked, ok maybe not hard enough, for your email :) but I did look. I wanted to tell you that I love the way you write, and I love your sarcasm my children have picked up my sarcasm as well, and I know my mother loves it just as much as she loved mine haha. I really respect the way you have put yourself out there. Please continue and ignore the haters.

  • ann:

    You seem to have a slight problem with PW. It’s sort of amusing.
    Can you tell us how your family and friends reacted to your news?

  • meep:

    Book reccomendation: ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins.

  • Izzy:

    Rechelle,

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    Enjoy what you’ve found. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • JulietEcho:

    Another atheist here.

    I’m sure you have a lot of thoughts swimming through your head recently (and a long to-read list), but I wanted to leave you with an observation.

    There are going to be theists (some of whom have already commented) who’ll “pray” and “hope” and so-on that you’ll keep searching – and that you’ll end up back at Christianity. They’ll be quite kind and patient, and some will be persistent in their loving encouragement.

    I feel bad for these people. It’s hard to tell whether they want something for *you* or whether they want something to ease their *own* minds. Nobody has a monopoly on “seeking” and searching for truth – and friendliness and prayers and hope might be well-intentioned, but they have no impact on truth. Sometimes the truth stings, sometimes it’s bittersweet, sometimes it’s lonely, and sometime it’s freeing.

    If the people who best fit the “nice, encouraging, loving” description had a monopoly on the truth, Mormons or Quakers would probably have it right. As it stands, we all have to search for ourselves, and one of the lessons I learned early on in that search was to evaluation claims on their own, not letting anyone push me around intellectually or emotionally. If, someday, I eventually land back at Christianity, it WON’T be because I was enticed by all the love and support and community it offers – it will be based on (presumably new) evidence of truth.

  • DDM:

    Hate mail can be amusing if you look at it in the right light. After this all passes over, I urge you to look over the hate mail you have/will receive and laugh at their words. I think you might like it.

    As others have said, welcome to thought-crime free life. It’s a wonderful life to have.

  • J.J.E.:

    I would welcome you as an atheist, but we both know, there is nothing really to welcome you to. We don’t share anything except an absence in belief in god(s).

    However, I CAN welcome you as a fellow Christian de-convert. Welcome to the club. You’ve made it in spectacular style. I’d tell you that out here in the ex-Christian pool, the water’s just fine! But you already know that. While I’ve been wading in slowly over the years, it seems as if you waded out a bit, then mustered up a lot of courage, and plunged into the deep end. Congratulations and welcome! You are an inspiration.

    While your own personal journey is obviously the most important, I am also confident that your example will help save a lot of lost souls who are squandering their potential as Christians.

  • Grimm:

    I caught your blog as it was linked from Unreasonable Faith, and I must admit, I’ll be a steady (lurker) from here on in.

    Let me add my voice to others in welcoming you to the crazy, eye-opening, wild-west of rationality. I’m a recent … admitted deconvert myself, and I know just how bewildering it is. Trust me that it does get better.

    If you’d like to jabber on with yet more of us crazy souls, poke your head in at http://whywontgodhealamputees.com – the forums are lively, and there I learned I wasn’t alone. It’s a very nice feeling.

    Don’t forget that yourself as you go forward. I can’t wait to read more. Thank you!

    Grimm

  • Potco:

    Hello Rechelle, I am another Atheist who has discovered your blog, your parable was quite well written and your apology was very powerful. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. I hope you find life as an atheist rewarding, I have found it liberating.

  • I have a couple of questions. And I truly mean no disrespect by them.
    -How have your husband, sister and parents reacted to your change. Has this caused strife in your home?
    -Do you believe all Christians to be judgmental, hate-filled and ignorant?
    -Do you have plans to write a post about Pioneer Woman and what has appeared to be your dislike of her?
    I’m just interested in those aspects of you journey.

  • Welcome to your new life !!! We need more strong female atheist voices. Keep learning, exploring and sharing :-)

  • Welcome to a world of wonderful thought. Thanks for sharing your journey with a hint of humour.

  • Michael:

    You are an inspiration to others to shake off the ties that bind.

  • Just wanted to take a moment and congratulate you on your decision to be true to who you are and come out as an atheist. You will find many who will vilify you for the decision and many who will praise your honesty. The next few months will be somewhat turbulent, but it’ll settle down eventually. It is always better to live your life as you are and not as others expect you to be.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as the days progress.

  • Tonya:

    I am curious as to what your family thinks about this?
    I am sorry people were mean to you Christian or non Christian it is not nice to be mean to someone because you do not like what they have to say, if they do not like what you have to say they simply do not have to read your blog any more.

  • Brian:

    Inspiring words, brave woman. The world needs more people like you.

    Brian (Canada)

  • LKL:

    Hi Rechelle-
    welcome to the land of the living. Simultaneously freeing and a little scary to know that it’s all you, eh?
    Have you had to subdue the urge to go out and murder your neighbor, as the xians tend to claim that atheists will do without gods? No? Me neither… I never did get that one.

    Thanks for welcoming us atheists to your blog. I’d like to second the recommendation for Sagan books, particularly Pale Blue Dot; they’re not ‘atheist’ per se, but they do a beautiful job of expressing the joy, beauty, and freedom of this world, just as it is, and are great for advocating skepticism.

  • It’s a shame really, that you’ll have to endure the barbs of those whose worldview you once shared. To mangle a common saying “Hate the christianity, not the christian.”

    I’ve always been partial to Buddhism as a life philosophy (not as a religion), and while I’m terribly sarcastic as well, I like to look at people and think “we’re both human”. I feel connected that way, and it helps me in attempting to avoid “spouting hate”.

    In general, atheists are a great group of people who are good in spite of “god”, not through fear of it. Some are more intelligent than others (I’ve met a lot who are way smarter than I), but there’s really only one thing that we all have in common: a lack of belief in a deity. The variety is amazingly refreshing, particularly when one comes from a background where each individual was essentially a carbon copy of any other individual.

    Namaste!
    Oregon Skeptic

  • Nzo:

    A warm welcome to the world of the real. Really glad to have another moral, intellectually gifted individual on our side!

  • Locky:

    Welcome to reality. I hope you enjoy your stay.

    This world is a place of unlimited wonder and when you remove magic from it’s ‘creation’ it’s wonder only increases.

    I’m also very glad you opened your comments, open dialog is one of the greatest things atheist blogs have over christian blogs, especially creationist blogs.

  • Hey Rechelle,

    Although I am not an atheist (but was for many, many years), I strongly believe that most religion is mis-guided and man-created. That said, I also don’t want to make anyone else think like I think, often the problem, in my view, of religion.

    I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus; however, I do believe in a higher power, I just have no idea what form that it takes. I think claiming to know what that power is is extremely arrogant.

    I also believe that religion is taking too close of a role in our government.

    I have the Armstrong book, I read it years ago. I think I’ll read it again.

    Congratulations on thinking for yourself!!!

    Jules

  • Loudmouth:

    And I just want to add….I thought the PW cookbook was sophomoric, solipsistic, and the recipes are nothing I would make even if I could afford all the ingredients. I looked at it in the bookstore, and put it back.

    Nothing like living on a 20 million dollar cattle ranch, and then raking in the dough with your blog and your cookbook…..that marketing degree from USC has sure come in handy.

    Heh.

  • Hello lovely lady :)

    As far as the scolding comments some people have made about the way you express your opinions, something that stuck with me when I first left Christianity and became an atheist was the following, from an awesome website called losingmyreligion.com:

    “This is what happens when you first leave your faith…
    You look around and everything looks different. You push boundaries, you rail at the old and embrace the new. You bounce around and accidentally break a few things. Then, you get your bearings and calm down.”

    Embrace the experience and the freedom. Those who truly enjoy and love you for you will use some of that ‘grace’ stuff they’re always talking about to give you some space to be human. Those who can’t stand the heat probably shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

    Don’t worry about the offense of people who want you to stay quiet and be the watered-down version of who you are, going through what you are going through. I tried the same thing with my blog, some of my Christian friends heartily disapproved. I tried watering down, avoiding what was on my mind, ‘nice-ifying’ my thoughts at the expense of being frank and expressive – and none of it worked. Quite simply, unless you play the tune they want to hear, some people will always find an issue with what you write.

    You write fantastically. I wish you all the best in your new-found freedom and self-responsibility. It’s scary, exciting, liberating, dangerous and full of possibility. Love, an atheist.

  • Davo:

    I stumbled across this and it was very uplifting to hear of your strength in approaching lifes hurdles.

    It’s wonderful, full, and we get only one. There are many many good people, many nasty ones as well, but critical thinking is a beacon that once you find, allows you to sort with a better success rate ;)

    Enjoy it, and all the best to you and yours and thanks so much for sharing this.

    Godless in outback Australia.

  • Autumn:

    Well, count me amongst your atheist readers (but I also know who PW is!) I commend you for speaking your mind and being real instead of pandering to the majority.

  • Tony:

    Hello Rechelle,
    Welcome to reality. I saw the light about 7 years ago (it didn’t happen overnight) and it was the greatest thing that I have ever felt. I tell people that it was like a rebirth. Now I see how silly the arguments for the existence of God really are. Although, I am not much of a writer, I write a blog on the local newspaper in west Tennessee. (The Jackson Sun) Yeah, the god virus is everywhere here. I started writing because the religion is so thick here that someone needs to wake these people up. The internet is a powerful tool and I believe that it will all but get rid of religion in my lifetime. Keep blogging about the insanity of religion. There are people that are listening and friends that support your thoughts and actions.

  • Kimberly:

    Hi Rechelle, I have found your site through Unreasonable Faith. It is very enlightening hearing other people’s experiences in exiting their faith. And trust me, I know how it feels to be stuck in middle America and feel like something of an outsider for your beliefs (or lack thereof). And I know the frustrating i wondering how others can still believe that…stuff. Don’t let anyone try to intimidate you, because they will try. Rise above it, because not only are you more intelligent than they, you are also a better person.
    Cheers from North Dakota

  • Tony:

    Oh, I forgot to add. I featured a blog about you a few days ago about your awakening. I hope it inspired someone to take a step closer to reality. Again, best wishing to you…

  • Rechelle, there’s no need to post this, I’m just offering a welcome from a long-time atheist — one who thought for many years early in life that everyone else was surely also an atheist! :-)

    If you care to read on, I’ve got more to say, but don’t feel obligated.

    If you do read on, keep in mind that what follows is very blunt and very condensed…

    * * *

    As many people may have mentioned already;

    You are not alone.

    Keep that in mind. Better yet, take a look at reality;

    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    We’re sitting at 8% globally (~16% / 2 based on the chart). Not a dominant group, true, but not small either and for many counties in Europe we’re over 50%, and the estimate is that we’re going to be over 50% by 2040 in the USA (and before that in Canada and probably in Australia). We’re also less likely to divorce and more likely to be brilliant — though honestly, if you’ve seen the name “Brights”, I’m not a big fan of that. Too sugar coated.

    * * *

    Below, I’ve included a couple basic quotes and comments that I find are frequently helpful to me. Hopefully you will find them to be partially valuable and not too simplistic.

    “I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.” –Mark Twain

    Why this quote specifically? While I personally think I can disprove specific deities, it’s not my responsibility to spend any energy to do so. Neither do I need to be a genius or to know every little detail about everything. Really.

    Yet, I admit to having spent quite a few hours attempting many of those things. Consider that effort a neurosis on my part and not an obligation for you or anyone else.

    A companion to that is another curmudgeon, though a modern one;

    “Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” –Christopher Hitchens

    (Note: I disagree with Mr. Hitchens on quite a few issues, but not that quote.)

    So, when asked — often demanded — to offer proof against someone else’s propositions, keep in mind that they may bear the burden of proving their case, and that it is not necessarily your responsibility to do the work for them. As you probably realize, even though this is reasonable it is not something that people will immediately agree with. They know, or so they think, so they want you to do all the work to convince them (but not really as they (think they) are right! :-/ ). With that in mind, remember this;

    “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.” –Michael Shermer

    (Michael Shermer is a former Evangelical Christian and founder of Skeptic magazine and Executive Director of the Skeptics Society.)

    It’s OK if someone can’t see things as you do, or if they spend quite a bit of time attempting to justify what you consider to be unjustifiable. While you are not responsible for convincing anyone of anything, if you care to convince anyone in person (especially if they are a friend) then I recommend using very brief comments that allow them to mull the issues over for themselves. How you do this (if you care to) is very personal.

    Finally, I offer a little bit of a message using some of my own words on the difference between agnostics and gnostics, atheists and theists;

    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=833.msg75412#msg75412

    From that I will say that I’m an agnostic. I’m also an atheist. The two aren’t in conflict. Agnostics say ‘I don’t claim absolute certainty’ while atheists say ‘I do not believe’. So, together;

    agnostic atheist – ‘I do not know for certain, but I think there are no gods.’

    Yet, I’m also a gnostic atheist in regards to specific deities;

    gnostic atheist – ‘I know for certain that specific deities do not exist.’

    An agnostic atheist doesn’t have any burden of proof — they need only to say “Show me.” and then let the other person make their case. A gnostic atheist (or anyone that claims they know) has the burden of proof if asked; they have to offer evidence.

    That second position — gnostic; knowledge — is what many non-atheists think atheists are claiming 100% of the time. That’s not the case for me or most atheists.

    Note that I used the word ‘deity’ and not ‘God’ or even ‘god’. That’s intentional. There is a tendency of both theists and atheists to use the common name of the Christian deity Yahweh — God or god — as if it applies to all gods and also that there are no other deities worth even mentioning. Yet, most of the religious people on the planet do not consider the Christian deity Yahweh at all, and instead consider other deities.

    Small note: The people who rant about science vs. religion(theism) don’t know what they are talking about. Science may not bolster religious ideas, but many theists can be competent and conscientious scientists. Examples: Kenneth Miller (Dover trial) or Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project). If only the world were filled with such people, even if I disagree with them. I’ll let Lewis Black comment on that;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKA1UNAu-dc

    So, in closing, I want to offer these mostly cheesy comments on this wonderful world we are really in;

    Listen: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5015557

    http://www.ted.com/talks/julia_sweeney_on_letting_go_of_god.html

    Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_f98qOGY0

    The world is just awesome.

  • Hey, Rechelle, glad you found encouragement!

    One of the first books I read after I came out as an atheist was Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”. It’s still one of my very favorites. I also highly recommend “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman, for putting the final nails in the coffin for your recently-shed respect for the Bible. (Though one might argue Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason” does that even better).

    Thanks for the link to Barats and Bareta. I’ll trade you for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDp7pkEcJVQ :)

    “Jenni in KS” has a fair point, there are probably a lot of us who are only your best friends now because we’re on the same side… and maybe they’ll thin out after the initial crushing wave from whatever atheists started posting links to your Apology (though I myself got it from someone on a chat group). But for what it’s worth, I fell instantly in love with your blog after reading several of your recent articles, and am watching it closely from the RSS feed.

    Good luck in continuing in your transition!

  • Matt:

    May peace and inner happiness be with you in this new chapter of your life.
    I really got a kick out of your de-con story, to boot!

  • David:

    Welcome to a rational, sane world, Rechelle. It’s a shame that others do not have the same intellectual vigor to find out the truth for themselves.

    Keep going strong. :)

  • LW:

    Your story gives me hope that others out there, no matter how young or old, will finally come to their senses. If you have not read it already, I must say one of the best books on atheism I have read is “Why I Became an Atheist” by Loftus. It changed my life. There are so many wonderful books and blogs out there that will help you continue on your journey. I was raised a Christian and, like you, started questioning my beliefs until I realized none of them made any sense. It definitely isn’t easy to do a 180 with your beliefs, but I wish you the best and hope you enjoy seeing the world with new eyes.

  • Good luck in your new freedom. You are a rarity and will be an inspiration to those teetering on the brink of their own freedom.

    And to Linda Joan, above, I suggest you start reading.

    And to Jenni in KS, who wrote, “The record about Abraham and Isaac troubled me for a long time. I’d be willing to discuss it with you, if I thought you were the least bit interested…”

    Well – this is the place and the time. Why not put it out here for everyone to judge, not just Rechelle? I, for one, am interested in what you have to say and I’m sure others are, too.

  • Hi rechelle,

    I’m glad you found yourself and were able to shed the prison of faith.
    I can’t say i can relate, as i have been an atheist all my life, but from reading stories of other people i see how hard it can be in some parts of the world to be open about not believing in a god anymore.

    I wish you strength in your journey through life.
    Make it a good one!

    Love from the Netherlands,
    Pascalle

  • Very glad for you!
    Be true to Yourself, no matter what. It will give you more than any formalized religion or world-view.
    You are an inspiration and for me it was very helpful what you’ve written down here.
    Tanks

  • Suzy:

    I’ll have to agree with Gina. Your life choices are yours and I support them regardless of whether they are the same as mine or not. The problem I have is the insults and insinuations that us Christians lack intelligence. Furthermore, whatever is going on between you and PW is between the two of you. I find your “bashing” of her and her chosen lifestyle in this public forum to be quite tacky and unbecoming. For someone who admittedly “isn’t tough enough” to handle hatefulness and criticism, you certainly don’t seem to have a problem with it as you direct it to others. The term “she can dish it out, but can’t take it” comes to mind.

    Becoming an athiest doesn’t give you license to treat others poorly. The phrase “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” is a good thing to live by whether you believe in a god or not. In any case, I’d like to be supportive of your decisions, but I am currently finding that difficult.

  • Keith Allison:

    WELCOME ATHEISTS! is not something we see very often, especially on American sites. I have never been a believer and have happily lived my life free of superstition and fear – Welcome to the rational world!

    Rechelle, ignore the whackjobs who will moan at you for “not respecting” their delusions. You will have noticed already that there’s nothing a christian enjoys more than feeling persecuted and shouting it from the rooftops.

    From the chilly fields of England I raise my nice cuppa tea to you in salute!

  • Dear Rechelle, It’s so moving to read about you taking off those dark glasses and seeing the world in all it’s wonderful glory. Don’t take any notice of petulant requests for restraint or sulks from those who are so scared of hearing about feelings and thoughts that threaten their comfort zones. I want to see you scream and shout and cuss and let it all hang out as only a freethinking, freewheeler can. It’s healthy and healing to express your anger and your fear and your delight. And when people have genuine questions you will I’m sure revel in strong banter and discussion and hone your already admirable critical thinking skills – I’m looking forward to your contribution to many important debates. And I’m a massive fan of sarcasm lol! I wanted to send you encouraging words while your comments were off but am not as savvy as those who managed to find your email but I’m so glad others did. I recommend Christopher Hitchens ‘God is not great’ and freethinker.co.uk and of course the friendly atheist and everywhere he sends you. Also, I wanted you to know that I’m an atheist home educator in the UK and also sometimes struggle with the loons. I’m very proud of my outspoken, freethinking teens who have been raised to look at evidence and to argue with me and to be critical of everything and to find their own paths. I’m sure you will be just as thrilled when your boys stump you with their superior intellect as I am. Oh to be 14, to know everything and to be unfettered by someone else’s belief system. The journey you can go on with your boys is thrilling and wonderful – enjoy!

  • I think your doing a very brave thing by openly expressing your feelings and not holding back. Please don’t be discouraged by people who try to tell you you’re being insulting – anyone who claims you’re insulting them by not agreeing with what they believe is insecure about their own beliefs, it has nothing to with you.

    I think it’s a lot easier for some people to try to convince you that atheists are only being nice to you because you’re an atheist rather than accepting the fact that atheists can be nice people. We may be here to support you for coming out as an atheist but a lot of people are dedicated to supporting ‘newly out’ atheists because they had difficult experiences themselves when they got to the point where they felt they had to be honest about who they were. I don’t think people recognize how difficult it is emotionally to actually leave religion and ‘admit’ that they are an atheist. We support our fellow atheists because we know from experience that if we don’t support one another, few will.

  • Dear Rechelle,

    Welcome to the world of the rational, where people will accept you strictly on who you are as opposed to the things you believe or don’t believe. Yeah, us atheists are sort of funny that way, we even have theistic friends as long as those theistic friends have enough common sense not to try to make us adhere to their bronze age view of the world (which sadly seems to be a big problem for them in the American landscape).

    And don’t worry, I now find you much more amusing and entertaining to read. :)

  • Thank you for opening up your comments! I’ve been following you via RSS since your deconversion post. I’m an atheist too and your story was very touching!

    You sound like a very strong woman and I hope you find a new community with us!

  • Oh, by the way. Would you consider expanding your RSS feed to show the entire post instead of just an excerpt?

  • Wendy:

    YAY!!! Oh I was wanting you to have comments open from the moment I read your “coming out” statement. I’m so happy for you. It can be an interesting transition (evangelical preacher’s kid here—believe me I know)

    If you get some haters on here, let them post. LET them show the world how close minded and idiotic they are. Their words and actions will be their downfall.

    Glad to meet you. :)

  • I don’t think people realize just how hard to come out of the atheist closet.

    When I was a Christian, I was married to a wonderful youth pastor, had great fellowship, was generally happy-ish…except none of it made any sense…

    I eventually left my husband, who remembered every anniversary, but just couldn’t see why I didn’t believe the same anymore. That was hard. Going into a world with no support, VERY hard.

    You’re doing great and I love your mad writing skills! Keep your chin up! Your skin will get tough from those militant home schoolers….

  • For a lady, you really do have big balls! :)

    Congratulations on eschewing the dogma of religion in favour for logic and reason. Your determination in the face of such a daunting change is commendable to say the least.

    I wish you soul-enriching happiness in your new life. You certainly deserve that much.

    (From a UK atheist).

  • Ted Powell:

    Reality, the way things are, the way things happen
    Plus
    Reification
    Plus
    Personification
    Plus
    Embroidery
    Plus
    Makin’ stuff up
    Gives
    A metaphor that many people find fruitful, but some find an effective way of controlling other people.

    Just a thought…

  • Bob:

    Hi! Nice to see another Atheist out of the closet! Keep going. Keep blogging about what made you angry. It’s time we called religion out on the crap it does to people, and it’s time the people who subscribe to those religions to finally be made accountable for the damage it does to people.

    And thanks for allowing comments.

  • Stephanie:

    Hello! I found your blog through UnreasonableFaith’s blog. I so enjoy your posts. Don’t let the haters get you down. Hate-filled threats are their only defense when one of their own sees the “Light” and leaves their precious religion. Notice how their true character and morals are revealed through their posts and emails? Such hypocrites! If they had their way, they would probably burn you at the stake for having the audacity to leave their religion. Take GinaB, for instance. She’s upset so she’s taking her toys and going home. Typical reaction of a Christian. Good riddance, I say. She needs to get over herself and realize no one cares what she does.

    Anyways, your posts are very amusing and inspirational. I admire you for your courage.
    Cheers!

  • F.S.:

    Your blog is a credit to you! Having just discovered you via Stumbleupon, I felt obliged to offer thanks and encouragement. This is the first time I have ever bothered to comment on anyone’s blog, but I am inspired by your quest for a more rational (and interesting) world.

    I really don’t understand why so many people are upset by what you’ve written; it isn’t offensive. I suppose taking offense is just an easy kneejerk reaction. Easier, at any rate, than accepting and engaging with something unfamiliar/different.

    Kind regards from the U.K.,

    F.S.

  • Yes, you are awesome! I wish you all the best! I will continue to support you just as many others will.

    Thanks for writing!

  • Beautifully written, bravely done. Thank you.

  • mmm3:

    I am very curious about the attack on Pioneer Woman. I don’t like everything about her site and also totally don’t agree with home schooling and the christian smugness of most proponents. But, I didn’t especially notice religious preachiness in her writings. So, what have I missed in her writings? Or did something happen when you saw her in person?

  • Hi Rechelle – and thank you for the very kind welcome to your blog.

    I would like to add my voice (and HUGS and TEA and TREASURE and a whole new READING LIST!) to the growing ranks of new Atheist readers to your blog. I have luckily been an atheist all of my life, even while sat in Methodist sunday school here in the UK at the insisance of my mum – she gave me the opportunity to study the religious in their native environment and social groupings, which I have to say made my SKIN CRAWL.

    These reactions are such a classic illustration that it is not religious individuals whom many atheists find infuriating beyond belief, it is the beliefs themselves which are open to criticism and in many cases ridicule for their abject lunacy.

    You are evidence that the liberal expression of Doubt, and the insistence that remarkable evidence is necessary to back up remarkable claims can work as a strategy to help people evaluate their own place in the cosmos.

    People choose whether to believe, and having exercised your ability for free thought and critical thinking you have smashed the shackles of indoctrination and peer pressure. I wish you well on your new found journey of discovery, you are in good company (apart from that Catholic lady Gina who appears to be offended by the very air that you breath now, thereby perpetuating the stereotype of offense which the religious cling to as a last defense (but shhh dont let on – we arent listening. Ok?)).

    Still thats the Pope for you. BTW we like to call him ‘Eggs’. As in Benedict. :D

    Wishing you the all very best, heartfelt love and support Rechelle.

    Greg

  • PinoyHeathen:

    Your welcome to atheists is a very nice gesture! Thank you very much! I would hope that fundamentalist believers of all kinds will realize that it doesn’t require belief in any god to be a nice person.

  • Freth:

    Don’t get too carried away with Father Abraham as interpreted by an American former protestant …

    They see and do things differently in the Middle East.

    Remember that story about a father asking his son to go out and work in the garden? The first son said, “Yes, Dad. I will go and work in the garden.” But then didn’t. The second son said, “Sorry, Dad, but I don’t want to do it.” But later relented and did it. The question asked is which is the better son?

    According to the Arabs, the first son was the better son … because he did not appear to be rebellious to his father in front of others, and told him what he wanted to hear.

    Rape of Hagar? Probably not. In the Middle East to this very day, strong men still have multiple wives on various levels. And human nature being what it is, there is often competition for one-upmanship in position as wife or position for their children in the hierarchy of the household.

    Those people have a different language and think differently than we do … have different traditions & customs … that we don’t properly understand from our background.

    But then, we obviously know what is right for all people … and are determined to enforce it. :-)

  • amy:

    Love your blog. Former evangelical christian who was so tired of making excuses for god all the time. The mental gymnastics required to believe (especially as a woman), IMO, were just too taxing to continue. The truth did set me free. Have added you to my favorites.

  • Euan:

    To be honest I haven’t read this post, just wanted to stop by to say don’t beat yourself up too much.

    If you haven’t read Asimov’s essay, The Relativity of Wrong, I encourage you to do so. I think it’ll help.

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

    I’ll read this entry when I’ve had some sleep :)

  • JulietEcho:

    Re: All the comments accusing R of being angry/bitter/insulting:

    There are very few atheists who really believe that ALL religious people are bad or stupid or “unenlightened.” I don’t think that Rechelle should have to tip-toe around trying to respect the various religions though – generally, atheists think religious people are, at best, mistaken, and if that offends you then you’ve got pretty thin skin. After all, most people believe that even their friends and family are mistaken about some things!

    I’d recommend (for everyone, but especially for those commenters and for Rechelle) Greta Christina’s excellent post about Atheists and Anger at http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

    Atheists have a lot to be angry about, and it’s unfair to expect them to shut up about legitimate reasons to complain and rant. Until a great many things change, much of our anger is valid and important. Things don’t change when people stay nice and quiet and don’t complain – they change when people make a ruckus and remind the world that it needs changing!

  • You may well skim this in the glut of comments, but if not… I don’t know if congratulations or anything are in order, but I guess some benediction is deserved. What the (thankfully few) Christian commenters who are leaving because you seem “angry” are missing — or perhaps what they know deep down but are afraid to admit — is just how stifling and frustrating Christianity can be in this world. The process of trying to marry the faith in an omnipotent and all loving God with the reality of the world can leave you drained and fractured — far from the overflowing freedom it’s supposed to give. I’ve been through a very similar process of being made miserable by faith, and I commend you for taking the step.

    You probably already know this but, there will be obstacles. People — good people, who you like — will feel hurt by this. They may feel slighted, that your personal escape calls their judgement to stay into question. They may feel bitter, wondering why you get to escape when they have to stay locked in. They may feel angry, taking your actions as an act of rebellion against a system of morality that they genuinely feel stands as a barrier between the world and the forces of darkness. Very rarely will they be angry at you just for being an athiest, there’ll always be something else behind it, they’ll always be representing a faction, even if only subconsciously.

    But, the tricks you learned as a Christian can stand you well. Grace, love, humility, joy, peace are all available to atheists too! Not by saying magical words and summoning deities to intervene, but by the hard graft of being human. It’s really all up to you now. You get to decide when to be happy. There’s no God to fall back on, but also no God to be silent in those cold, dark nights, and from reading this post I’d wager your more used to experiencing the latter. Take comfort in love, in friendship, in life. The angry ones, the hurt ones, the upset ones, they too will pass.

  • Not a lot that I can say that hasn’t been said already. Whatever others may think of us, however we’re portrayed by the religious, we atheists have a community as strong as anyone else’s. You’re seeing that in your comments and you’re a part of it now. And it’s a community that accepts human strength and frailty and does good not because we fear hell or desire heaven, but because it’s just the right thing to do. Welcome home!

  • Katrina:

    I too found your blog through UnreasonableFaith. I’m not completely on the atheist ship yet, but I do think it’s very encouraging to read about your “coming out” and trials you have with Christianity. I have many of the same problems other atheists and agnostics do, but I guess my own breed of religion is that I just don’t really care of God exists. I’m going to keep helping people and keep trying to be a good person regardless. I just wish many, many, many Christians (or at least the majority of ones I’ve met) would follow their own mantra of “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” Anyway, enough about me. Thanks again for being so brave to come out in a public forum, and don’t listen to what others say.

  • David B.:

    I too saw your blog on unreasonable faith. I remember when I was in my early teens, not more then 10 years ago, and lost my faith. It can be tough. I had to wrestle with the existential issues and answer the question of why life has purpose. It was tough but years on I am happier for it. I am glad you are doing well.
    I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine.

    “People are my religion, because I believe in them. People are my enemies and people are my friends. I have faith in my fellow man, and I only hope that he has faith in me.”

  • Drek said: “…we atheists have a community as strong as anyone else’s. You’re seeing that in your comments and you’re a part of it now.”

    My wife is a reader of yours and suggested I look at your blog and all of its comments. I think by now you have realized that having escaped the tyranny of one norm you are being invited into the tyranny of another norm.

    The suggestion is that “you are not alone”. Actually you will have to be alone to take this journey. There is not room for a group expedition on this climb. It is all free style from here on if you want to succeed.

    If not, then get used to the new norms and the crying needs of those who want to pull you in to their “atheist” world of just say No. One group of true believers is not too different from another.

    Good effort and good climbing.

  • kathy:

    Rechelle, I was raised Catholic and I do believe in God. I am also an American,who believes everyone has the right to THINK, BELIEVE, and SPEAK as they choose. If people hate you for that, they have a problem not you. I think your anger will eventually subside. Then I think you will become more open minded about what others believe. Right now you sound as intolerant as the people you dislike so much! You need to extend the same courtesy to others as you want extended to you. I will still follow your blog; but, please watch the name calling.

  • S:

    Thanks for the welcome :).

  • jamoody:

    I’ve not read all of the comments, but I keep seeing where people are commenting to ignore all the harsh comments and criticism…but I haven’t seen that many. In my opinion, most of the ‘Christian’ commenters are being fairly supportive of you as a person. You, as someone they have grown fond of and will care about regardless of your beliefs. Am I missing something? Have I not read closely?

    I like your writing, your humor, your sarcasm. I do not like feeling like I need to pick a side. Your religion played no part in my reading your blog before, why do I feel like my religion (or lack thereof) plays a part in whether you want me to read your blog now?

    I know you have been going through a lot. I worried about you more than it is probably normal for someone to worry about a virtual stranger. I’m glad you are back. I’m just confused about whether you still want me here.

  • Happy Spider:

    Hi, I found your blog via The Friendly Atheist.

    Your sentence “I was like Cain and his unwanted vegetables” was really funny. A very vivid image. I liked how you then further developed this one sentence into a long paragraph about murdering your inner self.

    I hope you get further involved with the atheist blog community because I’d like to see what sort of sarcastic comments you’ll be moved to throw at them once you’ve lived with them for a while. The atheist blogs I read are not much for laughing at themselves. The evolutionists are at war with the creationists, so things are grim there. The Friendly Atheist provides warmth and support to people who tell heartbreaking stories of rejection and unhappiness. Unreasonable Faith is more into being earnest and inquiring than into being sharp-edged. Skeptifem is… actually, Skeptifem has a pretty sarcastic edge to it. It’s not as zany as you get when you let it all hang out, though, judgeing from your older blog posts that I have been reading.

    Oh, I was amused also by your big WELCOME ATHEISTS sign.

  • Molly:

    Rechelle.
    Welcome. I support you. I encourage you. I am so amazingly thankful that you made the decision to stop trampling down your rational thought… and that you’ve decided to write about it so publicly. Contrary to what other people seem to be implying in your comments, you are NOT alone. Many of us have come this way before, and I know how hard it is, and how hard it will be. I hope you’ll find the atheist community as supportive as I did when I de-converted. Best of luck to you – keep writing, keep thinking. Cheers.

  • elibbybet:

    brave. powerful. gracious. realistic. rational. fantastic.

    anyone who says otherwise is afraid of something.

  • So the lesson is: become an atheist = become vulgar and hateful. Great. Just another reason to never go back to that faith.

  • Brandon:

    Welcome to you TOO!!!!

    I found this blog through Unreasonable Faith and have been enjoying these “coming out” posts. It reminds me so much of my own recent escape from Christianity. I hear the celebration in your words, and feel it with you. Freedom is scary and risky, but it’s also exhilarating! We religious skeptics have got to stick together and support one another (not to invent some secular dogma, but to cheer on critical thinking). Don’t let the fundie haters out there get you down.

    BTW: You are not “name-calling”. I get that all the time too. Occupational hazard I guess. If we don’t ALWAYS use nicy-nice words to describe god or christian doctrine we’re being intolerant and shrill. Whatever. You keep right on telling the truth about the community you know best.

  • Sandy in MI:

    Good for you, Rechelle! I’m glad you’re blogging again.

    I gave up pretending to believe in God long ago and am much happier for it, and am happy for you to be at peace with who you are. Also, I got a kick out of your Welcome Atheists sign.

  • Shrubber:

    Welcome to the reality-based community! Love and happiness to you and yours!

    Cheers. Thanks for thinking.

    -Shrubber

  • Jean:

    Someone asked for an alternative to Rechelle’s view of Abraham. Just a few tidbits to think about: The Bible is all about the human condition. The story it tells is not a utopian vision of what “should” be, but rather chronicles what happens when humans are forced to confront that which is beyond themselves and within themselves. As such, the account of the almost-sacrifice of Isaac starts with God putting Abraham into a situation in which he would have to see some harsh realities of this world, among them the fact that humans demand ownership of things that don’t belong to them and the fact that fathers hand death down to their children. Because Isaac was a child of his father (a member of the human race), Isaac would eventually die. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it was merely an artificial recreation of an inevitable reality…a truncating of the time between birth and death and an exaggeration of Abraham’s culpability in that death. All children die because of their fathers–all fathers kill their children. No one in the human race gets out alive, thanks to the genetic hand dealt them by their parents. The “sacrificing” part of it that seems so appalling to us in actuality probably wasn’t so appalling at that time. Child sacrifice to appease or manipulate the gods was not at all unheard of, so the story up to the point of the raising of the knife might have been quite boring and unoriginal to the people of that time. When it starts to get interesting is once Abraham raises the knife to kill Isaac. THAT’s the point of the story. ‘Cuz when folks are so busy getting hot and bothered about Abraham being asked to kill his son, they forget the ending. Abraham DIDN’T kill his son–God LET HIM OFF THE HOOK. God STOPPED the killing. Death was allayed by the hand of God himself. And if you fast forward to the New Testament for the universal application of this little Old Testament snippet, you find out that the way God stopped death was by dying himself. Yeah, that’s such a horrible God, really despicable, wanting to alert people to the inevitable consequence of being human (death) like that and going out of his way to release them from its grasp. Isn’t it such a relief to know that Rechelle has joined the ranks of people in this world who make sure such a dangerous and horrible God gets the despising he deserves?

    And that’s just the tip of the Abraham iceberg. There’s way more that open minds could find if they really wanted to.

  • This Christian has only loved and encouraged and supported Rechelle for as long as she has had this blog.
    I have never uttered a word of hate or unkindness to her.

    I still love her.

    Her anger hurts me. I am stunned and feel so sad.

  • Bucky:

    Rechelle,

    As a fairly recent de-con I understand your anger and frustration with xtians. They insist that you respect their irrational beliefs and yet are extremely defensive and hateful when you point that out. It is not necessary nor productive to be tolerant of the beliefs of people who are willfully deluding themselves. Just FYI, when a fundie (@sandra mc combs) says “I will pray for you” the correct response is “Ok, I will think for you.”

  • sally:

    I am sorry for the hate mail. But maybe it was not hate mail but there opinions also. Your writing sometimes like today is so one sided and full of hate and slandering home school and not being honest at pioneers home and Christians. I guess this is what atheist people do. You are not anymore correct in all the facts than the other side. I do not think at this time you are writing about both sides but just how you hate everyone. I wonder how your parents, family, husband, and children, all feel about your hate writing. How would you feel if your husband wrote like you are doing now and you were a christian. Who is on your hate list next. I guess the word love is not in your life now. Oh I am wrong you only love one person it is yourself.

  • LKL:

    It’s funny how many of the xian posts are saying how ‘hateful’ your writing is… I don’t see that at all. You’re being honest in your dissapointment, honest in your disillusionment, and honest with what you’ve expereinced; how is that ‘hateful’?

    You do sound a little bit angry at all of the time that has been wasted, but sometimes anger is justified and rational; hate is generally anger taken to an irrational extreme. Just my not-so-humble opinion, but I don’t think you’re being ‘hateful.’

  • Tami:

    drlojobo. My thoughts exactly. Well said.

  • arrakis:

    I am very happy for you. My journey took a couple years, but the final step out of all spiritual pretense was practically instant. I am still recovering from years of belief, but I get better every day.

    Thank you for telling your story. I hope that the comments of support show you that you are not alone.

  • Bucky:

    @drlobojo. There is no “atheist community” per se. The only things that define atheism IMO are a lack of belief in a deity and the desire to look at the world using logic and reason instead of superstition and myth. This naturally leads to some similarity in opinion on some issues but there are a wide range of viewpoints on others.

  • IS:

    I am shocked, grieved…

  • Beebs:

    Funny, I read this the other night JUST after you opened it up for comments and I was too intimidated to post first! Dang! I wish I’d had more guts b/c now I’m buried. Oh well.
    Your post came on the very day I joined a new church and pledged to be more like Jesus. I find that funny. A year ago or so I would have been right on your heels, and now here I am. I would only hope that you keep both your heart and your mind open.
    I was raised Catholic and it never rang true. I am now going to a United Methodist church who talks about a God who loves. That’s about it. He loves everyone, unconditionally. No judging, no punishments. He grieves just like we do over the people in Haiti, etc. He didn’t cause it. He is heartbroken, and those who live as Jesus did will be the ones to give, help, rebuild. Many aren’t necessarily religious, but they’re doing what Jesus would have done.
    Hard to explain, but if you can believe God just loves and wants us to love… it starts to make sense and it sure makes my little world a better place when I practice it!
    This is the most I’ve ever talked about religion in my life. Well, maybe after a few beers at the Wheel in the 80s… but this might make sense tomorrow. Love, A Reader
    p.s. Your posts about your husband and Paris were some of the best words I’ve ever read.

  • Carol:

    I wish you lived closer so I could take you out for coffee! Unreasonable Faith has brought me here, and I am happy that you are experiencing the freedom that not worrying about judgement brings. Those who call you hateful have no idea of the what your journey has been and therefore cannot understand why you would be upset and expressing your honest feelings. I think most of us would call your venting ‘healthy’.
    Don’t let the haters get you down. ((hugs))

  • Tina:

    Thank you for the welcome and a warm welcome in return.

    “It take courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
    ~EE Cummings

  • Rebecca:

    The realization was slow and quiet until I finally said it out loud one day. But, what a relief to be able to openly discuss this especially with my wonderful fiance (who is a self-described “apathetic agnostic – don’t know, don’t care”). What is so distressing is living and working in the middle of the bible belt where I can’t talk about the free-thinkers meeting I went to last week or the solstice dinner but I have to be subjected to prayers at luncheons and descriptions of fellowship dinners! I truly believe that if anyone at work found out I would be immediately ostracized. The frigid reception to the news would be painful.

    I really love your sense of humor and know that you are among many, many like-minded, intelligent people.

  • Lynda:

    LOVE this!! You go Sistah!

  • raindog:

    Thank you for the welcome. I find your writing very entertaining.

    Don’t fret the negativity that some may heap on you. We’re with you.

  • Jo:

    Rechelle – I’m sorry to say this, but I won’t be reading you anymoe either. I agree with everything Gina B said. You can be whatever you want, believe whatever you want, but you are taking it too far. You are becoming humorless and cruel. I thought you were made of better than that. I know a very few atheists, and they aren’t like you. You aren’t funny anymore. It seems like all the love has gone out of you. No, I won’t be back and I have to say I absolutely loved reading you before.

  • Thanks for the welcome. That’s not something you see every day:)

    I found you via Friendly Atheist and I’m very glad I did. I read and loved your apology post, and then I happily spent most of Sunday reading your blog archives. I’ll be sticking around regardless of where your philosophical journey takes you. I’m looking forward to garden pictures!

    It seems that most of your readership is going to be supportive, which relieves me. I was worried for you, seeing that you’d closed off comments because some people were being hateful.

    To the folks who are so upset because Rechelle said some mildly pointed things about Christianity: Your religion is culturally and politically dominant in the US. Should an institution that powerful really be immune from criticism? She’s not persecuting you and she’s not being hateful. Criticism isn’t hate; neither is the crankiness that comes from realizing you’ve put an awful lot of time, effort, and money into something that isn’t true.

  • Betsy:

    Hi, Rechelle! I found your blog via Friendly Atheist and like what I’ve read so far. I wasn’t as involved in church as you appear to have been, but your apology letter rang so true for me; I know how you feel!
    To those complaining how angry and hateful Rechelle sounds to you- please know anger is a very common emotional response for a new atheist. Even if you don’t agree with Rechelle’s nonbelief, Imagine if you discovered you’d been lied to about something very important your entire life? How angry would you be? In my experience, the anger passes or at least mellows.
    This isn’t a battle about who is right or which “group” is better. There isn’t any tug of war over Rechelle between the new atheist readers or old Christian readers. Atheist or Christian, we are all human and we all have positive and negative attributes to our personalities. And I’m sure Rechelle has things to say that can interest all of us at some point no matter which side we’re on.

    Rechelle, I am curious to know how your husband and children have reacted? I hope they’re supportive of you.

  • Lee:

    I loved this post! I finally broke with evangelical christianity about 6 months ago after 21 years, so I can totally relate with both the trauma of losing your faith and the wonderful sense of FREEDOM! Thanks for posting your experience!

  • Breathe in, indeed! Welcome to the land of the living, young lady! I am so glad to hear and read of your escape from the yoke of theology, and also glad to count you among the sane and logical humans that choose subjective reasoning and intelligent questioning over fear and superstition and ignorance. It won’t always be easy… many god-folks will set you up as evil and damned and needing to be saved, but screw them. I highly recommend the blog unreasonablefaith.com, a sanctuary of wonderful a- and anti-theist smarts. Thank you for the XLNT writing and observations… I will be visiting often.

  • steph:

    Good for you! I’ve enjoyed the blog since long before the unconversion. As a catholic turned salad bar catholic turned lapsed catholic turned possible-unitarian-married-to-an-athiest I can totally relate to all of this. I remember going through it between ages 17 and 23 and it being a really hard progression.
    Just wanted you to know that you’ve got the support of goddies and nogoddies in this household. Keep your head up!

  • Question-I-Thority:

    Hi Rechelle – Heard about you at Unreasonable Faith. There’s a phrase for those who focus on emotional content and (too often assumed) personal effrontery instead of responding to the actual reasoned content — pearl clutchers. :)

    There are a growing number of us who will no longer stay silent in the face of immoral or vapid arguments from some of the religiously minded. Right on to draw attention to that unbelievably grotesque Yahweh character.

  • Thank you for the welcome!! :) Lovely blog.

  • I have been reading your blog for over 2 years and today is the last day. Not because your not a christian, but you have become angry and mean. There is medication for that.

  • I have been reading the comments on this post off and on all day. I am surprised at how many people seem to be taking what they perceive as your anger and mean attitude personally. I haven’t found you to be angry, hateful or mean towards any one person in these comments. Whatever has happened between you and PW is exactly that, between the two of you, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. From what I have read on your blog, you are more angry at the realization that you have spent a good portion of your life attempting to live by a set of beliefs that you no longer believe in, and trying to be someone you are not. That’s perfectly understandable.

    Be who you were meant to be, our lives are too short to be anything less than ourselves. It’s up to each of us as human beings, forget the religious labels, to be kind to one another, to look out for one another.

  • Chelsea:

    Hey Rechelle,
    I stumbled across your blog today and I have to say it is simply amazing to read. You tell it like it is an have such great honesty that it is refreshing to read. You should read “Fear and Trembling: Problema I” by Soren Kierkegaard. I think you would find it very interesting. It compared Faith to Ethics and shows that even a pagan can be a very good and ethic person, and just because you have faith doesn’t mean you are a better person than pagans and athiests. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

  • AngAk:

    Rechelle, It’s your blog, your life, your journey. I hope you find peace. And isn’t it interresting that most of the Christian posts want to know what the CD and your family think—it’s NONE OF OUR BUSINESS and what difference would that make. Really. and I’m a Christian who is struggling mightily since the suffering and death of my husband from the evil that is cancer. what good came of that?? doubts galore.

  • medussa:

    1) Yay!!!!!

    2) Thanks for turning on comments again, so I can post.

    3) You ROCK! There is nothing, and I mean better than a woman with a backbone and brains. And you have a vicious, sweet sense of humor to boot. Oh, and she can write (do you have a sister?!)

    4) You ROCK! Oh, I already said that.

    5) I found you though the Friendly Atheist, and I’ve been sharing your “Apology Post” with everyone and anyone who will listen.

    6) You have renewed my faith in the power of the brain to overcome a lifetime of brainwashing (or christian cerebral terrorism).

    7) You have renewed my determination to not give up on christians, as they, too, can see the light of rationalism. Eventually.

    Thank you.

  • Jody:

    Feels good don’t it?
    That freedom.
    I just recently (in the last few weeks) realized that the bible isn’t the word of god and I have nothing to fear.
    I walk around smiling like a fool, I feel so free and so alive.
    I’m going to live this life to the fullest, it’s the only one I have.
    I love your blog, I hope that everyone who reads it looks for their own answers.

  • Hey!!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of being an atheist! I want you to know it’s awesome that you’ve converted and I wish you the best of luck =) You run an amazing blog and I wish the best for you.

  • Scott:

    Congratulations, some of my favorite readers on the subject of religion and god include Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, check them out, combined they really opened my eyes to the fallacy of the bible and all religions in general. I love this quote:
    “The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also”
    -Mark Twain

  • michael z:

    The universe is a vast and mysterious place. It does seem doubtful that some fellows on camels figured it out several thousand years ago. But just because they got it wrong does not mean we’ll never come upon more viable explanations—–that will blow our minds.

  • Isabel:

    The Christian love demonstrated by most of the Christian commentators is staggering.

  • thank you for the “apology” post!
    I was raised in catholic school, by priests… was always afraid of them for no reason… mom used the god “can see everything, don’t lie” story… but never felt like it was true! it all seemed unreal. Growing up, knowledge hit and my mind opened up to possibilities that the bible and god wouldn’t allow… I couldn’t stop, and god faded away. Just like that.
    Today, I say out loud “I’m atheist” without fear of prejudice.
    You’re a brave woman, keep your posts… audience will grow as we are in the age of reason.

  • Josh Wahl:

    First of all I want to say that I am not a person who typically comments on personal blogs or forums. It can be very overwhelming to wade through postings when too many people feel the need to put their two cents in and I never do so unless I feel extremely compelled.

    That being said, I do feel compelled to respond and want to tell you how encouraged I am by your “coming out.” I came out as an atheist about three months ago and I can relate with you in a way you can’t even imagine. I think I have actually been an atheist for more than a decade but only recently realized it for what it truly was and now feel incredibly enlightened just to actually know it and say it.

    I was indoctrinated as a child (which I consider another form of what you call “cerebral terrorism”) which planted a lot of fear and doubt about what I would let myself believe and kept me from breaking the shackles of religion for so long. It can be difficult to make this transition, but I feel so much better about myself and where I stand. My mom is a very fundamental christian (my dad much more liberal and indifferent) and I was scared to tell her. But I did, without meaning to actually. She of course attacked me vehemently. I was left no room to argue or defend myself. I only asked that she respect my beliefs. And to her credit she has paid me that respect and even apologized to me. Regardless, she will never be ok with my choice, but I think it’s possible to still maintain a relationship.

    So don’t be afraid or let anything get to you. Its unfortunate that many view atheists as hateful and negative but I think from all the above posters you can see that is just not true. We have morals like anyone else. We also have beliefs that are valid and deserve to be recognized and respected. I truly hope you will find the support of family and friends. I am still trying to find that myself and find that some are shocked, some indifferent, and some who even tend to agree and share some interest.

    What matters most is that I finally feel free for the first time and it’s a wonderful feeling! Sounds like you have experienced this as well. Congratulations and good luck on your adventure!

  • Congratulations on waking up and coming out of the cult. I endured doing it as well and when I finally came out about it I was shunned by many people. I was once a minister in the faith and I recall just how dark things got as the doubts started to creep in, you’ve done a brave thing by sharing that with us and others and by challenging us all to think and keep thinking.

    I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Now you can find real joy in reality, rather than in broken promises.

  • and when I read this:

    “I am discovering life without the surveillance cameras that were implanted in my brain at a very young age. For in him, I NO LONGER live and move and have my being. I AM FREE!

    My brain belongs to me!

    For the first time in my life; my heart, mind, thoughts, acts, vision, passion, strength, weakness, virtue, failure, limits and talent all belong to me.

    TO ME!

    It is all mine!

    MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE! ”

    I cried with remembrance and joy for you. It is a wonderful feeling to not belong to god anymore.

  • WKF:

    It’s your blog write what you want. It has always been yours, yours, yours. Let the chips fall where they may.

  • Axelle the french reader:

    I did agree with all you said, and I’m happy to see that we can still comment on your blog now.
    Don’t worry, Rechelle, you’re not alone to be an atheist. It’s not because you don’t believe in God anymore that you became bad. As a lot of french people, I don’t believe in God either. But I think to be much more tolerant than a lot of Christians that I have read on this blog … To believe in God doens’t make you good or bad. It what there is in your heart, deep inside, who makes you good or bad.
    And I understand what you say about comments. As I said on sister’s blog, before, we had secrets diary, closed with a little key taht we had to hide from curious eyes. We could say all we want on it. No one was supposed to read it.
    But today, we have blogs … That every body can read… and judge !
    It’s very frustrating, for a reader, to not be able to leave a comment. But I understand your will to close this part of the blog.
    We’re not perfect, don’t worry, Rechelle, you’re not alone.

  • Janet Greene:

    I’m so very happy for you. I grew up the daughter of an evangelical pastor, and was thoroughly brainwashed. And full of guilt, fear, and insecurity. After I started to “doubt”, it still took quite a few years to get to the place where I KNEW the whole thing was crap, and I didn’t have that “what if they’re right” fear underlying the deconversion. I am now much happier and healthier because I value this life (it may be the only one we have). I no longer have external rules controlling me, so I have developed a conscience. I wish you the very, very best – your children are so lucky to have a mother who realized this!

  • Cindy:

    I’m a Christian and I am not ashamed to say so. We live in a free country and are entitled to our own beliefs.

  • Janet Greene:

    To Gina B. – I would like to provide a note of explanation to this christian who commented above. If Rechelle doesn’t seem as amusing on this topic, it’s because it’s a huge (and traumatic) life altering experience. And let me tell you, as a former christian – there is disbelief that I believed in this, and that people I care about still don’t see it! And there is anger. Anger that I was so badly misinformed – brainwashed even – and that it stole years of my life and quality of life. Add to that christian friends or familiy who get angry or turn their backs, or are hurt and just don’t understand…It’s hard to be funny when you’re going through all this. It takes time to get to the place where you are not triggered by anything christian or religious – for me it was like post-traumatic stress and it took years to get over it. Rechelle will be funny again! Please give the woman a break!

  • Janet Greene:

    To Confused – sorry, must interfere here again in defense of Rechelle! You said: While you claim to embrace athieism I really believe that you don’t know what you believe. If you did you wouldn’t have to insult those you claim to disagree with.”
    This is not true – at least not for me and many, many other christians who have been de-converted. We are insulting because we are angry! For me, I was lied to by my parents and my entire community. So much unnecessary torment and angst – so much time wasted on my knees when I could have been doing something useful! This is an exciting but also painful journey. Please don’t expect her to be happy all the time. Life is a balance of all emotions, and she’s here to share her journey with us, her readers.

  • Janet Greene:

    If you have not already done so, read “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. I think you’ll really relate.

  • Mary:

    thanks Rechelle!

  • Liberating, isn’t it, Rechelle? :-)

    If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another, and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. ~ Albert Camus

    ~josh

  • Bucky:

    @Cindy. “I’m a Christian and I am not ashamed to say so.”

    Looking forward to a world in which she is.

  • arniesmom60:

    Awesome! Welcome to intellectual freedom.
    I love you, sista!!! :o)

  • Ooooh I so want to know if you have read the Poisonwood Bible? My daughters counselor recommended it to me after finding out my parents are fundamentalist Christians. I’m picking it up from our library today, there was quite a waitlist to borrow it which surprised me as our area is predominantly Christian.

    I think you are doing the right thing speaking out for what you believe in and who you are. It is your blog after all. :)

    • I have read that book Leechbabe. It’s good. I should read it again now that my beliefs have uh… changed.

  • Cassie C:

    WOO HOO Comments!!! Thanks Rechelle! I hope everybody is being nice!

  • No problem at all with the atheism; my only problem is with the fact that you broke bread with somebody in her own home and then started putting her down.

    Not classy. If I don’t like somebody, I won’t be going to her home. If I go to her home and see faults, she was nice enough to have me over; I’ll keep my opinions to myself.

    • Oh good grief! What is this covenant of the breaking bread? Is that in the bible too? So let me get this straight – since I went to her house, I can never refer to her blog as the work of a someone who exhibits all the mental prowess of a seventh grade girl? Dang it! I just did it again! When will I learn?

  • you rock sistah!
    personally I left the church after the doubts started at a very early age…even after 12 years of Catholic school..I made the pretense after 3rd grade of believing so as to avoid harassment. I finally stopped participating in mass and receiving communion when I entered high school…it was a difficult 4 years in religion class..they told me to sit in the back and stop asking so may questions…LOL
    Nuff said!

  • Kimberly:

    I couldn’t agree with Donna more. It bugs me that you’re knocking another blogger after being a guest in her home, it just rubs me the wrong way. As far as you being an atheist, it is your life to do with as you choose.

  • Jean:

    Your attacks on PW are completely tacky. She invited you and your husband into her home for a weekend. After which you stole her sheets and left her house with a possible lice infestation. You didn’t even have the class to tell her about the lice. Instead weeks later you wrote about it in your blog. And now you are back attacking PW. What’s up with that???? Jealous much?

    On the atheism. That’s your choice. I hope it brings you the peace you seem to lack. You seem to be spinning out of control since your trip. I hope you find the help you need.

    • Darling Jean – I absolutely DID NOT steal her sheets! What are you going to accuse me of next? Being an atheist or something?

  • Nelly:

    Yay Rachelle!

    that’s all I have for the moment………

    but I’ll be back. You da bomb lady

  • Andrea:

    To repeat..it is your life, live it as you choose. But I have to agree with Jean on the PW thing, not sure what got you so upset with her…and yes it’s none of anyone’s business…except that YOU wrote the unflattering post!

  • ron:

    I am curious, with your husband being a doctor in a small community, has the turn in your blog had an effect on his practice? What does he think? How are your kids responding to your atheism?
    Living in California, New york and Boston has made it easy for me to believe whatever I want, but I have read many stories similar to yours and I continue to find it remarkable to see how hard it is to challenge the religious beliefs of ones community. The internet though is making it much easier for people to realize that they are not alone in their beliefs. It sounds like this awareness is helping you and this is also why it is important for you to help others by continuing your story. So keep on writing!

  • Phillip Moon:

    Welcome. There are lots of stories like yours, but it is always nice to hear them and see someone put their old gods on the shelf with Santa, unicorns, and the Easter Bunny. Here’s hoping that your continued journey is a good one, and you make lots of friends along the way.

    BTW…Some of your Christian responders seem able to deal with your new found loss of faith gracefully, so hears hoping they hang around and join the conversation. The others, not so much.

  • Patty Norton:

    I hope you find peace.

  • For me, it was when I realized that the Pagan loonies I had been hanging with were just the same as the Florida Crackers who told me I was going to hell for being Jewish. Religion breeds intolerance, arrogance, and fear.

    So happy you are free. For those of you who are praying for our brave Rechelle, stick it where the sun don’t shine. This fine lady has grown away from your depraved superstitions.

  • Jill:

    So according to many of the posts above, Christians are “depraved, superstitious, fantasy-living, ignorant, and intellectually deficient,” and have lied to and oppressed those who have always been or became atheists.

    Hostility, arrogance, namecalling, anger & intolerance are evidently not the exclusive domain of the Christians – or any other “religious” group.

    It’s obviously not a God thing. It’s an intolerance thing. Most of us are exposed to the beliefs and values of our parents and communities – so what – when you become an adult, make up your own mind move on.

    ALL people want to believe they are the only ones who see the light & know the “truth.” Nothing will change as long as there is no common ground regarding respect & tolerance. I don’t think it’s religion that breeds intolerance, arrogance & fear – it’s not respecting one another, whether as individuals or groups. Religion or the lack thereof is one of the MANY triggers of intolerance.

  • Lynn:

    I’ve kept you on my blog reading list because I was mildly amused at your hostile take on your family, travel and life in general. I found myself clicking on your blog when I felt slightly interested in what new wrong-headed, unhappy, self-defeating tangent you had gone on lately. But you really are just a boring eye-gouger, with no real intellect or humor.

    You obviously dislike your husband, have no real empathy with your children, and now, having found they don’t offer enough scope for your unending termagant nature, have decided to take on Christians. Listen, we have more interesting and mature, more considered and smarter opponents to read. Good luck with your bad nature. I’ll check back once in awhile to see when your husband finally wakes up and sends you down the road. Good luck when that day comes. Hope your atheist friends are indeed good friends. But perhaps hubby is still a believer and will stick with you; for your sake, I hope so.

  • Deborah:

    Wow! I’m loving your blog now… it was very muddy and difficult till you got to this realization. I stopped coming for a time, just checking in now and then till I saw some chatter on one of the ‘christian’ sites. I think there really are some prayer chains started! Good thing though, it sent me back to catch up! Hooray for you!

    I’m sorry the Religiosos can’t seem to practice what they preach on the surface. It always amazes me the intolerance that is practiced by some (not all) while the preaching is all about “love and forgiveness”. Yeah, right!

    You better keep an eye on the lawn, they’ll be either gathering with stones in their hands or burning things out there pretty soon.

  • Lynn- I’m presuming that you consider yourself a ‘Christian’, yet the words you write are some of the most hateful, decidedly un-Christian things I’ve read in these comments yet. You hope Rechelle’s husband ‘wakes up and sends her down the road’? Let me ask you, what would your Jesus say to Rechelle? Would he say those things to her? Would he spread a message of hate, simply because someone has chosen to believe differently? The Jesus I have read about wouldn’t. Instead of tearing her down as you seem to delight in doing, why don’t you live the life your god tells you to? Why are you condeming and passing judgement, and not offering love to a fellow human being? Are you so superior that you can make the kind of judgements that you have about someone? Doesn’t the bible say something about (s)he who is without sin cast the first stone? It must be difficult leading such a perfect life, that you can hope that Rechelle’s husband leaves her. Wow. To paraphrase Gandhi- you Christians are so unlike your Christ.

  • Im sorry for your pain. I hope you can find some peace. Fight the good fight.

  • Glad you turned comments back on! I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of welcoming atheists.

    Glancing over the previous comments, the Christian audience seems to fall pretty neatly into two camps: 1) I believe X, but if you believe Y that’s okay with me. 2) You don’t believe X so I hope all kinds of horrible misfortune befalls you because that’s totally what my loving god would want.

    Big hint guys: It’s group #2 that most of us have a problem with. If you want us to view your beliefs with tolerance, maybe you should start exhibiting some of your own.

  • km:

    Lynn, unchristian and antifeminist there a little bit… ” husband send you down the road”.
    I also am intrigued by the double meaning in your use of “termagant”
    I thought Christians were peace-loving, non-judging, turn the other cheek types?? I thought your post was dripping in venom. Are you merely a stirring troll??

  • steph:

    i hope you can sleep at night.

    • Sleeping just fine – like the dead actually – 7 hours of aerobics will do that to ya.

  • Nathan:

    I read about you about a week ago and I wanted to say something then, but you had comments turned off. Just wanted to show some support on the internet, whatever that means.

  • Jesus:

    Dear Lynn -

    I noticed your blog comment and was quite surprised.

    As My follower, you know I command Christians to love one another, bear with one another in love, and to pray for one another.

    Your blog comment was mean and embarrassing.

    Through My Holy Spirit, I draw everyone to Myself. That is My job and my job alone.
    The work of My followers is to love the world just as I did and to obey My commands.

    I will forgive you, but you must first pray and ask forgiveness, then go and seek forgiveness from the one you wronged.

    Live in peace,
    Jesus

  • km:

    so sayeth the Lord:)

  • Just glad you looked at the bible, saw what was in it, and made a decision about whether or not you could believe what it said.

    In that regard you are ahead of the vast majority of so-called “Christians” in America.

    But I do wish that now you would start from scratch evaluating true Christianity, without the tarnish of so much pseudo-Christian moralistic fake-ness you seem to have been burned by.

    Thanks for the blog.

  • Jill:

    Wow, the comments just keep getting uglier and uglier. The friendly atheists sure are venting against the moralistic Christians – and vice versa. There are very few measured, calm & tolerant voices coming through!

    So we’re only warm and supportive of those in our own “group.” Jeez. I don’t care if anyone believes in God or not. I do care about how we treat each other – are our values so way off from one another? What is the big deal with just respecting another’s point of view? Like I said earlier, intolerance and disrespect is the root of the hostility, not God.

    To each of you here – go in peace – respect one another and honor the differences. If someone puts you down for your personal convictions (whichever camp you align yourself with) don’t let it get you down – they’re not worth it. We only have so much energy and focus to go around – share it with those around you who are worthy of your attention.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Jesus

    Oh please.

    You are not Jesus, and pretending to be so only insults the intelligence of those reading your post.

    Quit it with the sockpuppetry – we are not kids. If you don’t agree with the blogger’s post, do so in person. We still won’t agree with you or that “praying over” nonsense, but at least we’ll be more respectful of your opinion.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Lynn

    Wow, are you a mind reader? How did you come upon such intricate details of Rechelle’s personal life? Did God tell you, or are you making baseless accusations out of spite and shock?

  • Lynn:

    No, Twin-skies, just payin’ attention to what she’s been writing! I’m laughing my head off at the atheists who seem shocked, shocked, that those stupid Christians won’t shut up when they’re insulted. Sounds to me like they’re wantin’ it both ways: shut up and let me insult you, and if you don’t, “I told you so!” Haven’t had so much fun since Laurabelle brought her Goth cousin to the hayride!

  • I feel sorry for you, Lynn. It’s always easier to hate than it is to love and accept, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why your Jesus preached that people should love and accept each other, because he knew how difficult it is for so many.

  • Lynn:

    Well I guess if you quote him so much, maybe he’s your Jesus, too, huh? And I thought the whole point of atheism was…duh…that he DIDN’T preach, because he never existed. Can’t have it both ways, sweetie; why don’t you quote some atheist for your moral authority? I’m listening, with interest!

  • Chip:

    Lynn, although there isn’t much historical evidence outside of the bible (which doesn’t count as historical, really) that Jesus existed, it doesn’t much matter to atheists if he did or not. We just don’t believe that he was a deity. There may well have been some guy named Jesus, and he might have preached the idea that it would be great to be nice to each other for a change. But that doesn’t mean he was the son of god. Cult leaders routinely claim to be prophets or deities or somesuch; that doesn’t make their claims true.

  • Katherine:

    Hello lovely lady…stopping by on my weekly rounds and saw that you answered some questions I had …

    The bible is full of horror stories…should be rated X or at least R..don’t you think?

    You crack me up…you ought to be on stage…

    Hugs
    Katherine

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Lynn

    For one, I’m not an atheist. I am a deist.

    And while it’s debatable that Jesus actually existed, the fact that so many people are literally willing to die for his teachings is what matters for me. But since you did ask for quote, I’ll be more than happy to oblige ;)

    This is from Thomas Paine:

    “I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. ”

    I see Jesus much like the same way that I see Aesop’s Fables or Atticus Finch – they’re simply a vehicle for imparting values to society in a creative way that the audience can reacg on a personal, human level.

  • Here you go, Lynn Sweetie (love the dripping sarcasm you’ve added to your posts, did you learn that in VBS?)

    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. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. – George Bernard Shaw – Irish playwright

    In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. – Friedrich Nietzsche- German philosopher

    Standing in a church on Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a Cadillac.- my grandma- Southern Belle and all around bad-ass

    I agree with Twin Skies interpretation of Jesus. He is simply a vehicle for delivering some feel-good morality tales. I spent much of my youth in the Church and much later decided that the bible was nothing more than a bunch of fairy tales passed down from a bunch of hookah-toking nomads in the desert. The fairy tales were then heavily edited by the Council at Nicaea in AD 325 and again in AD 787. The various priests who attended these two councils hammered out what books would be in the bible, what god and Jesus should mean to the church, etc. To me, much like scientology, christianity is a fully man-made religion and nothing more. But, if it’s working for you, rock on with your bad self.

  • Awesome. Fantastic blog you’ve got here. Stumbled across it by total fluke and I’ve read through a number of your posts. Sent links to a couple to my mom. ;)

  • I was sent a link to your site and I am profoundly moved by your courage. I know what it took for you to break free. THANK YOU.

  • home-schooling horrifies me. It is not done in the best interests of children. It is done in the best interests of adults who wish children to think as they think and ONLY as they think. It is child abuse of the cruellest kind. It cripples them and causes a life of pain for themselves and others as this evil is passed from generation to generation. To corrupt a child’s ability to think in this manner is truly wicked and no sane loving person would think to do it. To spend the majority of a life seeking to undo the damage done to one’s psyche by these twisted thinkers often makes death seem far more appealing. Tragically, those who so do, had it done to them, and they have not found the courage that people like Rechelle have. this type of mental cruelty and abuse is often lasting and irreversible, as evidenced by many of the responses and by the actions of these people in the World (such as the ‘missionaries’ in Haiti who tried to kidnap children.) Fortunately, some of us to survive and do manage to get out of our prison of the mind and have our minds healed and refreshed and restored to us.

  • Janet:

    Collin, every human being has beliefs and agenda’s and we always teach them to our children whether you think you do or not.

    All of you atheists are rejoicing in your freedom when in fact you are as bound by your beliefs as any Christian is “bound” to theirs.

    Rechelle, I am sincerely worried for you. You sound bitter, angry, hateful and miserable. You do not sound free and enlightened.

    Let the attacks begin.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Janet

    “All of you atheists are rejoicing in your freedom when in fact you are as bound by your beliefs as any Christian is “bound” to theirs.”

    So when was the last time unbelief caused somebody to fly a plane into a building, or shoot an abortion doctor dead in front of his family, inside his community’s church?

  • Janet:

    @Twin-Skies

    I believe in God and I also believe that both of those acts (mentioned above) were horrific and wrong.

    ______

    Are those with “unbelief” perfect?

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Janet

    The people who perpetrated these acts also believed in God. In fact, enough to want to intentionally hurt and maim their fellow human beings.

    Of course, imho, it would be unfair to judge all Christians and believers based on the stupidity of a fanatical few.

    So I ask you, don’t resort to blanket statements on what atheists and other nonbelievers “believe” or not. They all have their reasons for losing their faith, and it would be disrespectful and outright unfair to paint them all with the same broad brush.

  • Janet-you made assumptions: I don’t have children and I haven’t said I am an atheist. Moral people teach their children HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Fundamentalists of ALL persuasions damage their children by teaching WHAT to think and teaching they will suffer for thinking differently. Although there are fundy atheists, they don’t at least threaten the child with damnation.
    It is clear from your writing that your belief is in your own self and your own judgement, not in Jesus. The only authority you have is the that which you have given yourself. Your faith is in your ability to think not in any God. You and only you have decided what is TRUTH. No one alive knows what TRUTH is, and some of us are capable of living with that fact and do not have to damage others in our fear and insistence we know the TRUTH. ‘The woman doth protest too much.’ It is your fear and doubt that makes you write so and attack Rechelle when she has not done likewise. Attacking ideas is not the same at all as attacking people. Rechelle has done the first, as have I and others. You stick to the latter, because that is what your fear leads you to do. Loving people shine, they don’t have to advertise. Fundies just don’t see that and miss the whole point. Nothing about what you have written would lead any sane people to think you have love on offer, rather the opposite. Not just you of course, but the hate mongers here.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Janet

    I never mentioned that atheists are perfect, so why did you bring it up?

  • Janet:

    Collin, you don’t know me and you couldn’t be more wrong about what I believe.

    I did not attack Rechelle. I told her I was worried about her well being.

  • Dear Janet, Please accept my apologies. I appear to have confused you with another commentator. I don’t think Rechelle needs our concern. She is strong and appears to be doing very well although if I allowed myself to, I might fear for her living in that community now that she has ‘come out’.

    My only excuse is that I found Rechelle last night and this is a very moving subject for me and with so many comments to read, I got your names mixed up. Once again, I apologize to you as my words were not meant for you.

  • David:

    Rechelle,

    REFRESHING!!!!

    All I have to tell you is life on the outside gets better and better! Like you I entered into a period of doubt, actually a long period, heard some god speak that I absolutely could no longer convince myself was true, read three or four books and decided to open the door to freedom! It’s been a couple years now and when people ask me if I go to church I just tell them it got too expensive! Whatever. Welcome to reality!

  • Pam:

    You are entitled to your opinions- but I agree-with others as far as PW goes. Any class you might have had went down the toilet-when you start making negative/ uncalled for comments about someone just because she doesn’t ‘fall into your ‘self-appointed’ realm of what is/is not acceptable. Don’t bother replying to my comment-because I will never see it-since your blog is being ‘DELETED’ from my list of ‘blogs I’ll read’ as soon as I submit this. I don’t ‘Read tasteless, blogs with no class’. Enjoy HELL.

  • AllieBaba:

    Sorry for the poster who states there is no evidence of Jesus..kindly research Josephus.

  • AllieBaba:

    I would also like to state for the record, that the Inquisition was the result of the government using religion. Not religion using government. When government dictates religion, bloodshed results. The Inquisition is a perfect example of government using religion to exert power it would not otherwise have.

    Hence the US’ determination that government shall NOT interfere with, or use, religion. People think that “separation of state and religion” (which is not a consititutional mandate) means that those in government should never dare to refer to religion or use it as a touchestone. Just the opposite. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech is meant to PROTECT religious individuals from zealots who would silence, kill, or otherwise suppress them based upon their faith.

  • saved:

    I am speechless…..I am praying for you

  • I’m glad you wrote about your deconversion… It was extremely compelling and it was interesting to see the role the church and the ‘christian support network’ or whatever played in your life and your journey away from faith. I’m glad that someone as eloquent as yourself has come to see things in what I think is a more rational light.

    I was reading through your the comments and something I’ve noticed here and elsewhere struck me with some force…

    Christians are always telling people they don’t know how much they love them. And it’s a mean love, too, it’s “I don’t care that you’re the evil spawn of Satan, rebelling against the will of the only perfect being in the whole universe… I LOVE YOU, because Jesus said so!” … Am I the only one who finds it a bit odd? Love is a BIG thing. It’s trivializing to pretend that people you’ve never met are as important to you as your family, your friends, your significant other or yourself. It makes the whole concept of love meaningless.

    But whatever, that’s just my tiny little gripe.

  • As far as the talk on here about how “angry” you sound… Check out Greta Christina’s “Atheists and Anger” (Christians should read it, too)… It’s and important piece of writing. http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

  • Twin-Skies:

    After reading Rechelle’s post top to bottom, I am left wondering where exactly is this “mean-spiritedness” some of the commenters are talking about.

    All I saw was an energetic, snarky, monologue that was just being frank with her opinions. If it offends anybody, I think that just means those who took offense are onion-skinned to begin with. There is a fine line between being blunt, and being rude.

    Bravo Rechelle – your post was a bit long in the tooth, but it was fun to read!

  • Becky:

    @Twin-Skies

    No, onion-skinned is Rechelle writing about something that she knows is contriversial to begin with and knowing there are loonies on the internet and knowing she will get “hate mail” for it and then turning off her comments. THAT is onion skinned. You can’t write about such hot topics and not expect hot comments. Sorry, but that is just how I see it. You can’t expect to be taken seriously if you can’t handle the heat.

  • Becky:

    And by loonies, I mean those that have left her the really ugly hate mail that she is referring to.

  • Twin-Skies:

    What’s so onion-skinned about stating a personal opinion?

  • Feud:

    Beautifully written. Honest, witty, and full of warmth and humanity. The supposed qualities religions and brainwashed, jelly-brained sheep trot out in theory but seldom in practice. Your journey from faith to non-belief parallels my own.

    When religions use words like “peace” or “love” it is usually conditional, and means: “we’ll have peace after we’ve slaughtered those who don’t believe EXACTLY what I believe”.

    I’m glad that like me, you’ve shrugged off the cruel, ignorant hypocrisy of religion.

  • PAM-I love you……..

  • AllieBaba:

    Those who insist Christians don’t practice their religion in reality are admittedly non-believers, and generally have a limited understanding of what it means to be Chrsitian.

    I’m astounded by the ignorance I see on here. No evidence of Christ? Are you serious? No evidence of the occurences and people in the Bible? There is more and more evidence found every day, INCLUDING evidence that there was an exodus of Jews into the desert, and that there WAS a population of Jews living in Egypt at the time of Moses.

    Part of being Christian is testifying, but part of being Christian is also recognizing that we are imperfect and need the grace of God to ascend heaven. Non-believers someone project that as judgment on OUR part, as if the fact that we believes that means WE pass judgment on non-believers. Do you have the same hatred for Hindus, who believe that people are condemned to live as lesser creatures in their next life if they do not behave according to the strictures of their religion in this one? Do you have the same hatred for Muslims who are told that non-Muslims do not have souls and therefore it’s okay to butcher them? Why no, you reserve your hatred for Christians, who believe salvation is possible, who strive to help their fellow man.

    Perhaps before spouting hatred against Christians, and perpetuating ignorant misconceptions about things you obviously know nothing about, you should actually reserarch the Bible just a little, and look into the histories of the religious bodies you despise. Start with the Baptist church. Intrumental in developing the Consistution and some of the first men to die during the Revolutionary War. Also one of the most adamantly outspoken against slavery, and very involved in the underground railfoad.

    How unchristian of them.

    Today Christians go into areas that nobody else dares to go because of the unrest, the violence…and they are killed in droves. They are slaughtered in India, in Egypt, in various and assorted other countries. But they go to help the poorest of the poor. It is not a condition of missionary work that only those who are converted are afforded assistance. It is rather the hope of those who feel that calling that through example they can bring people to know and love God and his son Jesus Christ.

    But I guess people are doomed to hate and fear that which they don’t understand, which explains a lot of the posts on this site.

  • Becky:

    Interesting that two of my posts haven’t shown up…

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Allie

    Look around other blogs. Plenty of atheists have already criticized Muslims, Hindus, and the fundamentalists and self-righteous hypocrites of other beliefs. And I wouldn’t call it hate – since when was being upfront about how absurd inhumane traditions are ever being “hateful”?

    But my question is, why would we talk about other religions here? Rechelle was a former Christian, hence Christianity will be the focus of the comments. Now if she were a former Muslim or Hindu, then we’ll also reply with relevant comments.

    And please do not assume we know nothing about religion. Most of the atheists and non-religious folks I have met were led into unbelief exactly BECAUSE they studied their religion’s history, its theology, and realized it did not make sense.

    I personally went through four years of mandatory Catholic theology classes in a Jesuit-run school for example, and have served in multiple Christian organizations since high school up until my college days.

    Furthermore, most of the atheists around here have read the bible from start to finish. Do not assume that we nonbelievers did not render the due diligence necessary for the faith, before they eventually left – it is insulting.

    And please stop it with with claiming that Christians are the only people capable of doing good. I do not deny that there are charitable Christians, but do keep in mind that there are just as many nonbelievers and members of other faiths who will and have risked life and limb in serving their fellow human beings.

    Pretending that they don’t exist is a slap to the face of their efforts.

  • Boz:

    AllieBaba, what is the evidence that leads us to conclude that there was a exodus of Jews from egypt into the desert?

  • AllieBaba:

    I’m not looking at other blogs, I’m looking at this one. And what I see here is ignorance. I was aghast at the ridiculous comment that there’s no evidence of events of the bible, or of Christ’s life & death.

    Likewise, the disciples were spreading the word during the period of time after Jesus’ death…when people who were ALIVE AT THE TIME OF CHRIST AND HIS MIRACLES AND CRUCIFIXION were alive….and not one person contradicted them.

    There’s evidence of a great flood, Sodom & Gomorrah have been located, I could go on and on.

    But the most disturbing is the inability of those who hate Christians to differentiate between what it is to believe that those who don’t accept Christ into their hearts will be thrown into hell, and actually DESIRING that people be thrown in. Or better yet, that we think it’s OUR judgment that will put them there. This is why Christians risk their lives to spread the word…to PREVENT people from going to hell. Not to condemn them.

  • Twin-Skies:

    Missionaries – you mean like the ones in Haiti who have been charged with kidnapping?

    And rightly charged I might add – some of those “orphans” who were being driven out of the country had parents who were very much alive, and they were crying for them.

    “There’s evidence of a great flood, Sodom & Gomorrah have been located, I could go on and on.”

    The “Great Flood” myth has already been debunked. That tale was lifted from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Ironically, I learned this fact from theology class, as taught by a Jesuit priest :)

    “But the most disturbing is the inability of those who hate Christians to differentiate between what it is to believe that those who don’t accept Christ into their hearts will be thrown into hell, and actually DESIRING that people be thrown in. Or better yet, that we think it’s OUR judgment that will put them there. This is why Christians risk their lives to spread the word…to PREVENT people from going to hell. Not to condemn them.”

    So what makes you any different from the religious zealots of other faiths? All of you claim to be “saving” us from damnation.

  • AllieBaba:

    I mean missionaries like the ones in China and Egypt who are slaughtered for helping the poor people of those lands.

    And remember, those alleged missionaries haven’t been convicted of anything yet. And child trafficking is not a new thing in Haiti.

  • Becky:

    No one can save you but Jesus.

  • AllieBaba:

    The difference, Twin Skies, is that we don’t butcher people because they aren’t Christian, or deny that those of other faiths are lacking souls and therefore it’s not murder to kill them.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @AllieBaba

    “And remember, those alleged missionaries haven’t been convicted of anything yet.”

    Indeed not yet, but they were caught red-handed trying to drive several children out of Haiti without proper papers, or following proper procedure.

    That they have not been convicted yet does not eliminate these facts.

    And what’s with the word “alleged?” These detainees have been recognized as members of the Idaho-based Baptist charity New Life Children’s Refuge. They’re not “alleged” missionaries, they ARE missionaries.

    “And child trafficking is not a new thing in Haiti.”

    So that excuses their actions? Just because child slavery is so prevalent in a region, it’s suddenly okay for morally upright Christians to flaunt the rules as well?

    Two wrongs do not make a right.

    “I mean missionaries like the ones in China and Egypt who are slaughtered for helping the poor people of those lands.”

    Stop pretending that you’re the only religion that

    We can go on all day about the good and evil committed by

  • Twin-Skies:

    @AllieBaba

    Timothy McVeigh, Scott Roeder, the Klu Klux Klan, Adolf Hitler.

    Do the names ring a bell?

  • Chip:

    >>
    Likewise, the disciples were spreading the word during the period of time after Jesus’ death…when people who were ALIVE AT THE TIME OF CHRIST AND HIS MIRACLES AND CRUCIFIXION were alive….and not one person contradicted them.

    There’s evidence of a great flood, Sodom & Gomorrah have been located, I could go on and on.
    <<

    Allie, it'd be nice if you actually had any idea what the hell you were talking about. The earliest of the gospels was apparently written down about 65 years after the events it purportedly describes, and the others were collected much later. None of them were concurrent with Jesus.

    There's evidence of the occasional local flood, but zero evidence of a worldwide one. Sodom and Gomorrah have not been located. If you're going to go on and on, check your facts before you make a fool of yourself in front of people who actually know something about history and archaeology.

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Allie

    You know what? I won’t even bother trying to argue with you anymore. I think we’ve both deviated from this blog post’s point far enough.

  • Keith Allison:

    @Lynn:

    Feeling persecuted again? You know you love it. I find your desperate attempts to feel righteous very, very sad. I suspect you’re trying to avoid that nagging doubt in the back of your mind that you are basing your whole view of life on a ridiculous fantasy which doesn’t actually stand up to much rational examination.

    One can only hope.

  • Nice to see “Welcome Atheists!” in print like that.

    Welcome to the ways of Freethought or anything like it… :)
    As a teenager in an Accelerated Christian Education-run school, your blog serves as a comfort.

    Perhaps it gives me hope… That everyone can open up their minds just a little bit more. :D

  • I think that what the Christians here are failing to realize is that they’re atheists too. I bet that not one single Christian who’s commented here believes that thunder is caused by Thor’s hammer. None of them believe that after they die, Charon will ferry them across the Styx to Hades. They don’t believe that Huitzilopochtli requires human sacrifices to keep the sun in the sky, that Atum created the world, or that Morrigan helps soldiers in battle.

    They’re atheists about almost every god that anybody ever believed in. The people they call atheists just happen to believe in one less god than they do.

    If I were religious, it might give me pause to reflect that millions of people believed these “untrue” religions every bit as fervently as I believed mine, and with exactly as much hard evidence to back them up.

  • Bucky:

    Allie, it’s becoming apparent that you have some serious blinders on. You are good at spouting the party line without a shred of evidence to back it up. As Chip has already pointed out the gospels were written decades after the events they describe supposedly happened. None of the authors could have had any personal knowledge of what might or might not have occurred. They were probably interested in one thing. The advancement of the status of their new cult. Hence the fact that almost all of what was written was borrowed from other previous religions in an attempt to compete with established religions. You really should investigate a little more into what you believe.

  • Cobweb is so right. I grew up with 3 different Fundamentalist religions and each were convinced they were the only TRUE one and everyone else was going to Hell. Fundy Islamists think the same way and the reason they are so hated by Xtian fundies is that they are the same a them in mentality. Sharia law? Well the Xtian fundies want Biblical law. No different. It will still end in cruel deaths to those they disapprove of, even their own believers. They are so blinded by fear, they cannot see the evil under their noses. On the surface they may not all be as upfront as the Westboro Baptist Church but ultimately they have the same belief and want the same society. Once they have it, they will start on each other, form breakaway groups and whoops, here we go again….

  • judith:

    I’ve read your blog for a while, and really enjoyed it. I really became concerned about your mental health after your horrible trip to Europe, and was so happy when you recovered from your breakdown, now it seems that you’ve had another trauma in your life by “deconverting” from Christianity to aethism. I’m sure it has been a long and painful process for you. On the surface, it may seem like “being free at last”, but this type of epiphany can have some consequences you may not see for a while. So just want to say, take care of yourself because there may be a train wreck down the road. Monitor your state of mind and your writing and double check that you’re not venting in anger or distress over your present and past life changes. And I agree with whoever said that when you accept someone’s hospitality, and then write positively about it in your blog, you don’t turn around and trash them afterward in a public forum…

  • [...] research a for a project I’m working on, I ran across the blog of a woman who had recently become an atheist. Her joy at this recent “conversion” illustrates [...]

  • What is man? -a wonderful example of cowardice and good old Xtian dishonesty. This ‘article’ if you can understand it, is written by a Xtian and is critical of Rechelle’s new found freedom. He gives the old cowardly defence of ‘if it’s true were stuffed’ so you might a swell believe. Oh Brother!

  • Danii:

    I am not an atheist. I’m a pagan.

    But I’m one of the new ones and one of the people that are so very happy for you. Any religion that inhibits you, makes you less, makes you unhappy, is one that you can cast aside as much as any other abusive influence.

    Be well and the best of luck.

  • efrique:

    Hi Rechelle,

    Sorry to be so late to the party – my subscription to your RSS feed isn’t working properly (likely a problem my end, not yours).

    I’m one of those selfish, nihilistic atheists (or so I’m told by people that have never met me) that sought out your email and sent you a note to say hi and that I enjoyed your posts.

    This is a great post; I’m enjoying your writing very much.