Are You Better Than Your God?

April 15th, 2011

If I was God, the first thing I would do would be to prevent horrible things from happening to innocent people.  For instance, I wouldn’t let tsunamis and earthquakes kill anyone except for pedophiles, child abusers, rapists and blood thirsty tyrants who rule their people with violence and fear.

If I was God I wouldn’t ever allow a tornado to hit a trailer park.  Instead I would send tornadoes to exclusively hit the homes of rich CEO’s who exploit workers in developing countries and make millions off their backs in profits.

If I was God, I would flatten all the big box stores with a hail storm and bring back the mom and pop businesses.

If I was God – I would make all women naturally skinny (especially after giving birth).

If I was God – I would make every baby born healthy

If I was God – There would be a magic fertility switch that would only turn on when a person demonstrated complete competence in love, support, maturity, anger management, creativity, and intelligence over years and years of testing.

If I was God – I would regularly hurl bolts of lightning at male chauvinists so that they became debilitated by fear and dribbling urine.

If I was God – the first people to get uncreated would be fanatics who use their belief in me to diminish and harm other people.

If I was God – I’d make sure that nobody went hungry.

If I was God – All people would start out with the same amount of resources.

If I was God – I would love the people who didn’t believe in me the most – because they wouldn’t be brown nosing suck-ups.

If I was God – I would create people with an inborn sense of responsibility towards the planet and all it’s creatures.

If I was God – I wouldn’t give the tiniest shit who was sleeping with whom as long as they were consenting adults who were making their decisions freely (see my magic fertility clause).

But I am not God.  And what is interesting to me is how religion – especially Christianity gives God an ‘out’ for all of the crimes above.  Natural disasters are attributed to a fallen world.  Birth defects are attributed to the sins of one’s ancestors.  Male dominance is attributed to women being the weaker sex.  The bible can even be used to back up slavery and white supremacy.

So Christians who still read this blog… aren’t you a little weary of excusing your God for all the poor management He/She does of His/Her creation?  Isn’t it just a little too convenient how well trained you have become in giving your God an out?  You believe in an all powerful/ all knowing/all seeing deity that doesn’t appear to give a shit about His/Her creation nor it’s creatures (including people).

So then why do you keep letting him get away with it?  Do you really believe that suffering is that necessary?  Do you really believe that agony and pain makes people better?

Put it this way… would you sit back and allow your child to get AIDS from a rapist because it would teach your child to trust or love or be more humble?

NO!  Of course you wouldn’t!  Unless you are a sociopath!  The truth is that you would do everything you could – including sacrificing your own life to PREVENT any harm from coming to your child.  So then why does your God get off so easily?

The real question is this…

Are you a better person than your God?

Would you allow a natural disaster to strike a poverty stricken country?

Would you allow babies to be born with birth defects?

Would you allow tyrants to rule people with an iron fist and strip them of basic human rights?

Would you allow one of your priests to sexually abuse a child?

Would you allow one of your ministers to scream from the pulpit that the President is the Anti-Christ and that women are worthless?

The answer is – unless you are a sociopath – you would not.

So then why do you excuse your God for the exact same behaviors?

Admit it.

If you were God – you would do a far better job.

And if you would be a better God than the God you currently believe in…

isn’t it time to stop believing?

Comments

  • Absolutely not. My baby was born with one dozy of a birth defect!

    She needed a liver transplant when she was 17 month old. And since there aren’t a whole lot of spare parts around, she got part of my liver. My faith is the only thing that got me through the literal hell we lived. She got every freaking complication – rejection, cancer, hemolytic anemia. She needed 24 blood transfusions that summer. Did I blame my God?

    Nope. I gave Him my struggles and He carried me through them.

    I love your site.
    I love your openness.
    But I love my God more.

    I’m not here to make excuses for the bad in the world; I will tell you that I would not have gotten through what I have gotten through without my faith. I write about all of that on my site.

    Take a look, I’d love for you to.

    • Desdemona:

      Becca, I’m thankful that your little girl is better. Truly, I am. But I hope you thanked the doctors and nurses for healing her – people who studied for years to become experts in their fields, people who believe in the SCIENCE that helped heal her – and not some imaginary guy in the sky. God didn’t make her well, people did.

      Take care.

      • Never said I had not thanked them. I send them cards and letters and pictures and treats and cookies.

        However, “God didn’t make her well, people did” is only partially true. See we had an incident on 2/14/2005 where my daughter began to bleed out. As fast as they (those people you want me to thank) were pumping blood into her it was coming out. And on that date, she stopped bleeding. Her surgeon could not explain it and said as much. He could not find the source of the bleed.

        And he’s no novice to transplants. Nor am I.

        It stopped on it’s own.

        I have lived the science you speak of. I have lived in fear over the last 2 years knowing that my daughter is a walking talking time-bomb. She now has a vein that is 100% blocked. And yet, here she is.

        Believe what you want, but I think that not “believing” takes faith too.

        • Debbie:

          But what about how she was born like this in the first place? Or was that strictly coincidence?

          If he could stop the bleeding, which I assume is what you’re alluding to, why not let her come into this world healthy to begin with?

          The logic does not make sense to me. So the not letting her bleed out was God throwing you a bone after he messed up in the first place?

          • Dan:

            The logic doesn’t make sense to you (or me or Becca, I imagine) because we all have very limited knowledge. Who knows why God would allow Becca’s daughter to have a birth defect?

            Maybe it’s because through seeing the bleeding stop on its own, a doctor or nurse or family member had their faith positively impacted. Maybe it’s because the doctor who did the transplant surgery will in the future be doing a similar but more difficult surgery on someone else and he/she learned something through operating on Becca’s daughter will save this other patient’s life. Maybe it’s so that someone who none of know will hear Becca’s story, even by reading this thread, and be encouraged in some important way. Maybe it’s so that Becca’s faith will be strengthened for a challenge that she will face in the future. Maybe it’s because of some seemingly insignificant and incomprehensible chain of events that bring about a good sometime soon or sometime in the distant future. Or maybe it’s to facilitate any other one of a virtually unlimited number of possible good outcomes or combinations of such outcomes.

            So now you’re probably asking: So you think that someone’s faith is more important that Becca and her daughter? You think that using Becca’s daughter for “practice” is just?

            The point is that we simply can’t know. To think that we can judge rightly with limited information is simply arrogant.

        • Jay:

          Becca:
          I feel the need to respectfully disagree with your last statement about not “believing” takes faith.

          Im reminded of the quote, “If atheism is a religion… then bald is a hair color.”

          I’m assuming you do not believe in Scientology, or Thor, or the gods of Hinduism. If you want to argue that your faith in your god tells you these other beliefs are wrong, I can see a compelling argument for saying it takes faith for you to ‘not believe’ in them.

          But it doesn’t take faith to ‘not believe’ in the tooth fairy, or elves, or, if you happen to be atheist, gods.

        • Rechelle:

          Becca – I am so glad that your daughter is okay. And if you faith gives you comfort that is wonderful. However – bleeding almost always stops ‘on it’s own’. It’s called clotting. I have a feeling that if you forced the surgeon to give you a scientific reason for the blood stopping, he could do it. When people are in difficult medical situations they tend to dramatize what is happening. They love to invoke miracle type situations and doctors are happy to let them because it is easier than explaining what is really going on. Also doctors are kind of used to people insisting that ‘god’ is the reason someone was saved instead of giving the credit where it actually belongs. It’s just the way our culture works.

        • If God heals people why don’t we see anyone with new limbs? Why does god always heal those people that can’t prove it one way or another. Sometimes our bodies just take over and heal themselves? How come no one has been healed of Parkinsons or Lou Gerhig’s disease or spinal breaks that paralyze a person? I had a child on life support that we ended up taking off and donating organs for other children. I understand the need, the desperation for a miracle but I didn’t put faith in god for those things to happen.
          If God saved your child and believe me I’m glad she’s doing better, why doesn’t he save all those children in Africa that are dying or are raped repeatedly by soldiers. Could it just be an accident of birth because I would hate to believe that a god would be that cruel.

    • Jay:

      Wait, so let me get this straight.

      Your ‘LOVING’ and ‘ALL POWERFUL’ god made your baby born with a horrible birth defect, gave her a multitude of complications, made your families life a “literal hell”, and now you love him more because of it? You say “I gave Him my struggles” but the point of Rechelle’s post is that he gave you those struggles in the first place!

      Instead of carrying you through your struggles, it sounds to me like he drug you through the mud. People who can say ‘God did something wonderful and saved my child!’ but can’t say ‘God did this to my child in the first place!’, boggle my mind.

      Don’t get me wrong, Im extremely sympathetic and can’t fully imagine living with a situation like that. I sincerely hope the best for you and your child.

      That said though, I dont understand how people can go through this kind of thing and say their faith is strengthened. Your child survived and you give god the credit, but what about the people whose children didnt survive these kinds of birth defects? Are they less loved by your god? Did they not pray enough? Were they not pious enough?

      And for that matter, what about people of other faiths who go through the same thing? Not to belittle your personal tragedies, but the fact is, you could find similar experiences from other people around the entire world in ALL religions. If you simply copy/paste the names of other religions/god(s), it would be the exact same ‘test of faith’ with the same ‘conclusion’. THEIR god is the real one, and is responsible for saving their child.

      The only common denominator to these events is that sometimes horrible things happen and people do what they can to fix it. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t.

      • It is what it is.

        I don’t think if you read every post on my blog that I have written since March 2004, that I could change your mind.

        Just as you won’t change mine.

        Thanks for the comments.

        • Jay:

          Becca,

          Not trying to change your mind, sorry if it came off that way. I was just trying to articulate why it doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Debbie:

      I’m also really glad that your little girl is all better. But what baffles is me is the whole faith thing. Faith in what exactly? Faith in doctor who are treating your child I can understand. But God?

      God was already a wee bit too late if that is the way your little girl was born. If he loves his people so much, why inflict so much pain on a innocent little baby? Why not have them all born in perfect health? And if he didn’t inflict it or have the power to prevent it from happening, then he probably never had the power to heal her either.

      God is a state of mind. Might as well be the Easter bunny, as long as you have faith in it.

    • Keith:

      “I gave Him my struggles and He carried me through them.”

      I find this incredibly sad.

      I’m not making light of the things you have had to deal with, truly, but YOU – and other people – got yourself through it. To give the credit to some sad fantasy figure is to do yourself a disservice. Have some faith in *yourself*.

      “not “believing” takes faith too.!

      Sorry, but this is nonsense. Lack of belief and faith are opposing positions.

  • Debbie:

    I still believe God is nothing more than an invention in the mind of people not strong enough or willing to carry the responsibility for their own lives and actions. It’s an easy way to shift that responsibility and place it outside yourself. Probably a hell of a lot easier than dealing with reality.

  • Wendy:

    God is either helpless to change a person’s life or is an uncaring prick. Either way I’m not worshiping that

    • I agree with you Wendy. If there is a god, then he’s doing a crappy job and I wouldn’t want to worship him, believe in him or follow him.

  • CR in KS:

    I love this post. All of the ills you mentioned are exactly why I quit believing and now believe god was invented by some clever/evil person(s) to keep the masses in line.

  • JJ:

    People use it as a way to cope and it can help people find the strength – use it i say. I don’t really think it is them giving God a pass, but allowing them to abdicate responsibility . Religion gives people a pass – a way to dump all of their past mistakes, a reason to play helpless, or to keep from making decisions or take action; it allows them not to accept responsibility or to be reckless – with themselves, with their choices, with others, with their planet. It allows them to pass judgment, take offense, or abuse others. It is used as a way to be “right”. I will accept the “the God give me the strength” rather than the “Why me God…” pleas any day. I am more along the deist lines – - we have brains, we are capable, we have a conscience – overall we know how to behave and act – it is whether we choose to do so. In order to be good we must believe, in order to be accepted we must accept “God’s plan” which has been decoded by a few? Bah. I don’t want to disallow anyone their faith, but do me the courtesy of allowing me mine.

  • RJ:

    I think it is interesting to note that it appears you spend more time thinking about the absence of a God than most people think about God. You appear extremely consumed with his lack of existence. If God doesn’t exist, than why do you constantly think about Him?

    • Debbie:

      I also think about Santa Claus, doesn’t mean he exists.

      I can’t speak for Rechelle but I for one am intrigued by the whole God scam and organized religion in general. From a practical standpoint religion is very useful. It’s a fantastic way of keeping millions of people docile and in line. Not to mention it’s pure marketing. God sells way better than sex. It’s booming business.

      Too bad the whole religion thing backfired and caused death, greed, fear, hate, pain, killing and lying more than it brought peace or even a little good.

    • Rechelle:

      R.J. Because it is interesting to me. But saying that I am consumed with the lack of his existence is a bit of an exaggeration. I also spend a lot of time ridiculing Ree Drummond. These two things – in equal proportion. Amen.

    • Jay:

      I like the Santa analogy, Debbie.

      RJ, I dont think Im assuming too much by saying you spend some time thinking about Santa every December, at least in passing.

      Now imagine if Christmas wasnt just in December.

      For Valentines Day, we remember that it all started when St. Valentine married Donner and Dasher against a kings wishes.
      On Ash Wednesday people walk around with snow smudged on their foreheads.
      Then for weeks every Friday, McDonalds tries to push its fish sandwiches on us because people gave up their ‘Christmas Honey-HAM’-burgers for lent.
      Then on St. Rudolph’s day, everyone wears red and drinks red beer and has Candy Cane shakes (again at McDonalds).
      Then we have pastel eggs shoved in our face for a month for Sant-Easter, where we celebrate Santa returning after 3 days circling the world on his sled.
      Then we get Memorial Day off to see a parade and listen to “Santa Bless America” played by the high school marching band. We stand quietly in remembrance for those that fell for our freedom… after the ceremony starts with a prayer to Santa.
      We hear the same prayers and Santa songs with fireworks too, on the 4th of July. We are told that the founding fathers based this nation on the good word from the North Pole. (even though the Treaty to Tripoli states that the Santa at Macy’s is just a guy in a suit)
      For Thanksgiving we are told how we need to make sure to give thanks to Santa because of how blessed we are.
      At Halloween, we got a break from Santa (except for those churches that pretend to be haunted houses and try to scare you into behaving so you stay on the Nice List), but by now the stores are selling Christmas goods already, so we see it every day until Dec. 25th.

      We see our friends married in church decorated with tinsel and garland by a man dressed like an elf.
      We bury our loved ones, mourning our loss, but being told they are in a better toy factory now, and we will see them again some day at the North Pole.
      Our streets fill up with parked cars once a week when our neighbor has a “Good Books Study Group” and grown men meet to discuss the meaning and lessons gleaned from ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘The Grinch That Stole Christmas’.
      We see signs at sporting events that read Rudolph 3:16

      Oh, and don’t forget!
      Regularly on the news we hear about far off lands that believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or the Great Pumpkin and how their beliefs are so alien to our own.
      Regularly we hear politicians demanding that we teach that humans were created by elves along side Evolution, and saying that ‘at conception’ the zygotes name goes on the Naughty/Nice List!
      Every Sunday, its hard to make plans and even harder to get into a restaurant for lunch.
      Every school day, your kids have to say “One nation, under Santa”.
      Every day, you drive past churches with signs out front saying “Santa Saves!”
      Every day you see bumper stickers that say “WWSD?” and “Darwin is on the Naughty List!”.
      Every day, strangers say to you “Santa Bless You!” when you sneeze.
      Every day, you end up talking to at least one person with a large gold piece of candy cane jewelry hanging around their neck.
      Every day, [in our own pockets!] our money says “In Santa We Trust.”

      Now imagine that the majority of the voting population ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN SANTA.

      How could it NOT weigh heavily on our minds? Even when it’s not being crammed down our throats, its constantly being flashed in our faces. Because we don’t believe in it, we notice it more than people who do. It sticks out in our minds more because its not something we see as normal.

      I spend a lot of time thinking about things that bother me. Doesn’t everyone? To see something that troubles you and just ignore it, seems like the wrong thing to do.

      • Jay:

        whoa, sorry for the wall of text. :P

        • Debbie:

          I couldn’t have said it better myself.

          In Santa’s defense I must say he did exist at some point in time. His name was Saint Nicholas. Unfortunately there’s no such evidence to proof that God exists.

          Truth lies in the middle, I guess. Religious people have no proof God exists and the atheists have no proof of his nonexistence.

          In the mean time I have no desire whatsoever to worship anyone who allows babies to come into this world with serious birth defects and then thank him for supposedly stopping a bleeding after a couple years of hell for an innocent little child.

    • Spinny:

      Perhaps ex-Christians spend so much time contemplating the lack of god’s existence because they are trying to wrap their heads around the amount of time, energy, money, and effort they used to put into believing in him.

      Speaking only from my personal experience, when I’m somehow reminded of my former belief and I start remembering what those beliefs were, how they impacted my daily life, goals, the people who mean the most to me, etc. it many times makes me sad and/or angry. Then I feel the need to talk to someone about what I’m pondering.

      Also, your argument is based on what I believe is a false premise: that Rechelle spends more time thinking about the absence of god than most people (presumably christians?) spend thinking about god at all.

      Speaking as a former born-again believer, I can attest to the inordinate amount of time I spent contemplating god, my salvation, the salvation of unbelieving family and friends, god’s will for my life, whether I was fulfilling god’s plan for me, etc., etc.

      YMMV.

    • Lisa:

      I agree with some of the comments above that say that atheists hate Christians because they are “so stupid to believe in God.” I do believe in God, and partly because it just makes sense. Did some bacteria just magically develop into intelligent humans? That seems highly unlikely, and I think that there must be a God behind it all. Also, God wants what is good, and sometimes does things that we do not understand as mere humans to achieve good. For example, someone dying of cancer might also help someone understand life better. I think that when you look at it, there has to be a God.

      • Rechelle:

        Lisa – bacteria did not magically develop into anything. But bacteria evolves into slightly different bacteria all the time. The same way that evolution occurred throughout the animal kingdom over millions of years. No magic is required although it is somewhat awe inspiring to contemplate.

        The death of a loved one often causes people to re-evaluate their own lives and live more fully. There need not be a god or a religion involved.

      • I’m guessing than that the family that has lost their member to cancer, not to mention the person themselves are less important than the person who needs to learn a lesson? Would I kill my oldest daughter so that my youngest would learn a lesson about life? Not to mention the suffering. That reasoning follows the Aztecs, sacrifice the virgin for the good of others but what about the virgins life, her family, the people that loved her and what if the person never learns the lesson than does god pick another person to die? How far would god go to teach that lesson? How about killing thousands of Japanese? Surely that was meant for someone’s understanding of life.

  • Marie:

    Very interesting comments. I certainly don’t agree with all Rechelle says, but this kind of give and take an expressing of opinions is why I read this blog.

  • These are pretty much the same questions I’ve been asking myself for the past few years. I doubted for a long time, because I felt like I was *supposed* to believe in God. But I always felt like a fraud.

    One day I realized that I had a serious problem with the concepts of heaven and hell. Basically, I thought, these were just tactics set up to keep people in line; if you’re ‘good’ and believe in God and live your life according to the rules of the church, you get to go to heaven. But if you’re ‘bad’, you are sentenced to eternal damnation in the firey pit. It’s pretty powerful stuff if you think about it, and I think most people are afraid of dying, so of course you want to go to heaven, becuase religion markets the hell out of that place (no pun intended), and makes it sound like a sweet all inclusive.

    I get frustrated when my religious friends post things on facebook like ‘give your problems over to god, if he brought you to them, he’ll get you through them’. Seems like if there was a god, he wouldn’t be taking you to the problems to begin with.

  • *sigh* I love you guys.

  • One thing to note: Rechelle works hard on these postings. (Imagining, as I chuckle, her in that Kansas backyard, shaping and forming these little dolls for the next Pie Near blog). And, agree or not, it gives one some food for thought. This one did not disappoint. If it happens to cause a shit storm here, so be it. That’s one of the many benefits of visiting here, no? EFH

  • amy:

    My being “better” than god is, in large part, why I started disbelieving. I had thought god would be so BIG! So awesome! So beyond anything I could imagine. What I discovered, as I dove headfirst into serving god with all my heart, was that the evangelical god is a tiny, jealous, pathetic and predictable monster. Was I disappointed.

  • LucyJoy:

    Rechelle, you’ve spelled out what has been floating around in my head for a long time. Thank you for articulating your feelings so clearly. I’m sharing this post on FB. You’re a peach!

  • JJ:

    Today I heard an interview on NPR of the author of THE GOOD BOOK – a Humanist Bible
    http://www.amazon.com/Good-Book-Humanist-Bible/dp/0802717373
    He is a world reknown athiest ?( I have not heard of him)- was a very interesting interview – putting it on my Reading list.

  • AlysonRR:

    I had been an atheist for several years when my daughter was prenatally diagnosed with heart defects. If *anything* could bring me back to faith, it would be the birth of my child, with fatal (though potentially surgically correctable) heart defects.

    Every time I see her I thank the doctors who studied and continued to learn so they could diagnose and surgically repair my daughters heart defect. Without their diligence, she would have died.

    A child a few days older than my daughter, and with the same fatal heart defect, was brought into the Children’s Hospital while we were there. They were demonstrably religious, but their doctors in their hometown were not as diligent. They didn’t recognize the symptoms, and they missed the diagnosis during pregnancy. Their child died at 9 days of age. Their memorial page was filled with tributes from their friends and family members, praising God’s wisdom and compassion in taking the suffering infant “home”, comforting the family with the thought that he was “too good to live here on earth”.

    My child’s heart defect was detected early, diagnosed and followed diligently, and surgically repaired in a timely manner. She was home with us, for real, within 2 weeks, and she has every hope of a long and healthy life, here on earth, where I believe the only life we have is that which we are living. For that I thank the medical professionals we consulted, not any God.

    • km:

      Another heart mom here (TGA) and I think our surgeon IS actually God:)

  • RJ:

    Jay,
    Thanks for the Santa sermon – you proselytize very well.

  • I think that it really sucks when bad things happen(illness, natural disasters, crime, etc…). Especially when they happen to innocent people. And it was really hard to be raised Catholic and be someone who never thought that stuff was my or someone else’s fault, not even God’s. I still feel that way, it’s no one’s fault. Things happen and that’s how it goes, such is life. Now I’m not a Catholic anymore and the whole God thing really plays no importance in my life. I am who I am and I do the things I do because they are important to me and mine. I guess, for me, I’ve figured out that as long as I’m doing things for the right reasons and I can sleep at night about choices I’ve made, than I’m living my best life. And isn’t that what really matters?

    • Mo:

      Amen sister.

  • bPer:

    Coincidentally, a post this morning at the great blog Daylight Atheism, revolved around what I expect will be an inevitable response from the god-bots to this post: Another World Creeps In. The old canard “God moves in mysterious ways”. Bleh. Way to switch off your brain and be a good little sheep. As Ebon explains, that kind of thinking leads you directly to justifying atrocities.

    βPer

  • Mo:

    I love this discussion. In my opinion there is a huge problem with the anthropomorphism of God by both believers and non believers. He is not a flowy robe wearing bearded man in the clouds making decisions and having though processes the way mere mortals would, and I think that this humanized image people have in their minds plays a big part in the ability of the worshipers to believe and have faith (“Heavenly Father!”), in the ability of the wafflers to be angry over what’s allowed and not allowed (“but I prayed! what a prick!”), and in the ability of the atheists to not believe (“who would let babies die?”). And I don’t say this as a personal attack on anyone, and I know intellectually everyone is aware he’s not supposed to be a guy, but there are degrees of that humanization in almost everything that’s been said here. (For the record, I am not a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a polytheist or an anything.) Religion is a total mindfuck no matter what side you’re on.

    • Debbie:

      The biggest issue I have with a lot of believers is the fact that he is in fact a “flowy robe wearing bearded man in the clouds making decisions and having though processes the way mere mortals would” whenever it is convenient for them.

      It makes religion almost seem like a convenience item for those times you need to abdicate responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

    • Diane Tulsa:

      I think that imagining God as a man in the sky like an old Biblical painting is the kindergarten version of the concept that some people never outgrow. More mature thinkers strip away most of the anthropomorphizing (did I say that right?) and see it as a combination physical and spiritual force, or even pure idea/ideals. I think Judaism has a very mature take on God. It all comes back to how we humans see ourselves.

  • Always amazed:

    Love this post. If only everyone would approach these things with an open mind. I am much more willing to hear why my friends believe in God than they are to hear why I don’t.

    Funny this should be posted today. My seven year old came home and proclaimed that she did not believe in God. (I have never shared my feelings with her. I sent her to a church pre-school, and have always wanted her to come to whatever conclusion she has on her own.)
    She then said that her friends told her she was going to hell for not believing in God. This was her response, “if I don’t believe in God, I couldn’t possible believe in hell, so they weren’t scaring me.”
    Did I mention she’s seven!

    • Rechelle:

      That is a GREAT story! Love it. You are raising a bright, brave, independent thinker there!

      • Alison:

        I homeschool my 7 year old and take him to church several times a week. He can tell you about a dozen Bible stories from memory. He tells me he doesn’t believe in God. How am I doing? LOL. And yes, he’s very independent and bright. And I love, love, love him :)

  • Skattebol:

    Rechelle,
    Again, you write a provocative essay that makes me think about religion, the concept of God, and the world in which we live. I appreciate that you think, articulate your thoughts, and welcome dissenting opinions on your blog.

    Thank you for being real and putting yourself out there. I can imagine that it is difficult at times, but you allow a thoughtful discourse on your blog and to me that is one of the most important aspects of writing a blog – the interchange of ideas and a forum for debate of such ideas. You blog is making me me think about the use of a blog for controversial or interesting topics for students in the baccalaureate nursing courses that I facilitate.

  • Mindy:

    If I were all-powerful, I would certainly do a better job than any god in existence today. Of course, there isn’t one so it wouldn’t be too hard.

    I suppose there must be cold comfort to some people in the thought that all the bad things in the world happen “for a reason.” I personally find it much more comforting that there isn’t a grand reason. Nothing is out there trying to get us, it’s just the natural world doing what it does. This will all probably be moot in a few hundred years when humans have caused their own extinction.

  • Paula:

    When I was starting my journey away from Christianity due to the increasing cognitive dissonance I was experiencing, one of the first books I read was “God’s Problem” by Bart Ehrman. It was as if he was verbalizing everything I had been stewing about.

    I grew to realize that I cannot respect the concept of a god that treats his creation with such disdain.

    http://www.bartdehrman.com/books/gods_problem.htm

  • GAH! For some reason the ONE comment I wanted to respond to doesn’t have a reply button. I don’t get it. Anyway, this is for Dan, above who says that we cannot know WHY God chose Becca’s child to go through such a hardship, but maybe it’s because this event saved someone’s faith, or the procedure will help save others’ lives. But if you truly believe in God and that he is all-powerful, he could solve all THOSE problems too! If someone’s faith is lacking, I bet God could do a million other things better than hurt a child to prove a point. What about like, beaming an ice cream cone into your hand on a hot day? THAT would make me believe in God way faster. And if Becca’s kid’s procedure is a new discover that could save someone else’s life too, couldn’t God have invented it a long time ago? I mean he’s omniscient so it’s not like he’s learning new things all the time, right?!

    My mom and I always like to say, “If God made me, then he made me a non-believer too, so I can’t be held responsible for that.” It goes both ways, guys!

  • Alison:

    These kinds of posts are frustrating because it’s impossible to answer these questions in a blog post answer. Christianity has been around for 2000 years and Judiasm for 6 to 8000 years. There are thousands of books and scholars that focus on these questions and others; including the historical aspects of the Torah, New Testament, Jesus, and other Biblical figures. I’ve read dozens of books and read or listened to hundreds of scholars talk about different aspects of the Bible. The book I’m currently reading is ‘The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism’ Read that. He covers many of these questions plus some that have been put forth by other commentors. If you have more questions then read the 50+ books and articles he footnotes in the back of the book. And keep going and going until you can at least understand a Christian or Jewish perspective. You don’t have to BELIEVE it but at least understand it. It works wonders compared to calling people names like feeble minded, dense, deluded, etc. etc.

    I believe your questions pose real ethical problems for young earth creationist Christians. There answer is always: Adam and Eve (literal) sinned and we live in a fallen world, so that’s why bad things happen. Amen. As a Christian who believes in evolution I have a different perception. Believing in evolution helps me understand that none of the things you describe are abnormal. Arguing that a despot who kills people and runs them off their lands so he can prosper is wrong is like arguing that a male monkey who kills another male monkey, kills all his offspring, and forcibly impregnates all the females (I believe Dawkins talked about these monkeys in the God Delusion) is wrong. It’s not wrong–it just IS. I grew up with a father who was a forest ranger and we constantly had some sort of wild animal in our basement. Watching an owl chase down rats helps you realize that nature isn’t a Bambi movie. I believe when God ‘breathed life into Adam’ (whom he made from DIRT–get it? DIRT.Evolution?) it was God breathing in the sense of other worldliness that we all feel. And we do feel it. Why else would we think there’s a better way? If anything, atheism made me resigned to the fact that the world was the way it was and I really couldn’t change anything. I may not have endorsed killing people but I certainly endorsed abortion on a grand scale. You know your notion about ‘God’s reproduction switch’? The answer was ABORTION. If you weren’t fit, had too many children, or didn’t make enough money you needed to abort. Period. End of story. Amen. The plagues in the middle ages where bad right? Lots of people died—horrible? Not so much. It’s theorized that because so much of the population was decimated, Europeans who survived had more land available to them and started growing more wine vineyards. Hence, the famed wines from France, Italy, and Spain. WINE! Ain’t evolution and natural order grand! I swear to you, this was my mind set as an atheist. So I very well may be a sociopath LOL. I’m open to that suggestion. But the teachings in Christianity—taking the focus of SELF and instead focusing on OTHERS is really a direct challenge to evolutionary biology and the natural world. I always felt that notion of right and wrong. It certainly could have been cultural learning but I was a science major. My days were filled with discussing evolution, running experiments with fruit flies, learning the vast intricacies of genetics, reading the philisophical works of the ages, and occassional, unpleasant run ins with Christians. Reading Christian teachings made me understand. Why would I sense that something is wrong with the world? Where does the notion of a ‘perfect world of peace’ come from? Why in blazes should we think such a thing could ever be?
    My take on the baby? Genetics created a baby with a genetic disease. God supernaturally intervened in the bleeding. Very smart doctors who worked very hard to learn their trade did all the rest. God gave Mom and Dad peace when they had no control over the situation. Now ALL of that plus 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee. Please note: These are my beliefs that are most certainly not endorsed by fundamentalist Christians. Also remember I don’t claim to have all the answers—hence the recommendation to read the books put forth by Christian scholars.

    • Alison:

      OMG that is so ridiculously long. Sorry. Too much coffee LOL.

    • Renee:

      1. Many, many people who have no business parenting don’t have abortions. In many parts of the world abortions aren’t available to women in spite of the fact that having another child makes a desperate situation worse. [I don't that abortions should be a substitute for safe, effective birth control, but that's not available either.]

      2. Where did god come from/Where did the world come from? Do you think that god created the crappy genetics. If you’ve studied genetics, you know that the replication error rate is rather high. We can actually buy modified higher fidelity polymerases for laboratory applications – made by humans. God must be really dumb. Or maybe god came after the humans and didn’t invent the genetics, in which case the humans probably invented god.

      3. In all of your science studies, did you ever come across the concepts of kin selection or altruism? A focus on others is NOT a direct challenge to evolutionary biology.

      • Alison:

        I don’t disagree with your first statement. And, before I was a Christian, I would have insisted that more abortions were the answer. Now, I would disagree with that but it took me a few years to come to that conslusion. I don’t want to get into a discussion about abortion. I just used that as an example of my thinking before I became a Christian. It was an example of my personal beliefs and I am not trying to change anyone’s mind on that subject. That’s a whole different discussion.
        You pose interesting questions in #2. I would agree that genetics is not a perfect system but it is an amazing system. But, again, genetic variation is not ‘bad’. It’s the driving force in evolution. Some of the variations are beneficial while others are not. Animals having the beneficial mutations survive and thrive. So did God create that system of creating variation? I think so but you do not. Where did the world come from? How was the universe created? Did someone figure that out? Did I miss it? LOL. Please let me know if I did. I’ve spent years changing diapers and wiping butts–rough work–so it’s a distinct possiblility :)
        And I think you’re right about #3. I should not have said it’s incompatible with evolution. Although, I would note that altruism in many cases occurs because it will possibly benefit the other party in some way. An I scratch your back, you scratch mine kind of way. I did say that the feeling of right and wrong I had may have been culturally induced. My parents taught me to ‘be good’ because it was the ‘right’ thing to do. An animal will help out another sick or injured animal because eventually, that animal may need help and rely on others. In Christianity we are told that we are to never expect anything in return. Jesus says to have a banquet and invite the poor and sick because we know we will get nothing in return from them. If we invite the rich we will expect an invite from them. Good deeds should be performed not to make us feel better about ourselves or get brownie points from God. Once again, there are many books written about this aspect of Christianity.

    • Marie:

      Enjoyed reading your comment.

  • farmgirl:

    We actually HAD a tornado totally flatten our brand new home–we had lived there 8 days. We spent a year planning and working and spending and had just moved in. I don’t waste time wondering why God would allow that to happen. It happened and in the aftermath of total devastation with every precious detail gone I saw God in a way I have never seen Him before– in every human kindness spent upon us. Just like we didn’t deserve the tornado we also didn’t deserve the love from people we didn’t even know. So I suppose an atheist would blame god for the devastation and give humans all the credit. I can’t look at it that way.

    • Always amazed:

      An atheist wouldn’t blame god, because we don’t believe god exists.

    • Marie:

      Great thoughts.

    • Sally:

      When my 17 year old grandson was killed by another motocross rider, I didn’t blame God. I thanked him that HE didn’t allow him to suffer. The end.

    • What?:

      That is a n awesome statement only one comment, you do deserve the love you got from the people you didn’t know. Stuff that happens around/to us are always opportunities to grow. We can be challenged and choose fear and doubt or we can choose love and trust. Love and trust as you know gives peace and joy. Who wouldn’t want that? Pay it forward!

  • farmgirl:

    hmmmmm seemed to me like someone was being blamed in the posting…..guess its all too deep for me. :)

    • Diane Tulsa:

      As was already said, an atheist by definition does not think any gods exist, so “blaming God”, to an atheist, would be like you blaming Ganesha, the elephant headed god of Hinduism, for something going badly.
      What the atheists are saying is that the CONCEPT of God, as expressed by some Christians, is not coherent to the atheist, that the idea of God, taken to its logical conclusions, is contradictory and the atheists are attempting to point that out to the Christians and ask how they reconcile this apparent lack of cohesion in the concept.
      I personally think this is a waste of time, as the Christians will find a justification/explanation for any apparent disparity between the declared concept and reality, even if it is a hand-waving, i.e. God’s mysterious ways.
      And of course Christians see what they believe to be holes in the atheist worldview as well.

    • What?:

      Sorry that was not the intention. I was just saying sounds like you are a healthy individual.

  • One thing I don’t understand about atheists is how they seem to hate the rest of us “doughheads” so much. I don’t hate you. Why do you hate me? I’m intelligent, been through a heck of a lot, and I still profess a love for an eternal entity who in spite of all the bad “press” He gets on this blog, STILL maintains order in the universe–even though His order in no way resembles what you think all of us need. As for those trailer parks caught in tornadoes–isn’t that just a simple matter of their weight??? Tornadoes capriciously blow through mansion neighborhoods too–they’re just heaviier and withstand it better. I don’t think a tornado is making any sort of judgment–it just happens. Mother Nature–ya gotta love her. This big old beautiful planet is bound by laws of the nature. It occasionally shifts and stretches and belches. That’s the nature of a planet. Can God control that?? Not sure.

    • Diane Tulsa:

      I don’t hate anyone, I just have a different worldview than those who believe in one or many gods. That we view things differently doesn’t make either of us stupid or evil or any of the labels that are thrown around. Everyone thinks their view makes the most sense because it does to THEM. Unless you have actually changed your worldview (as I did from believer to non believer in God) it is very difficult to imagine how it happens.
      I urge all to respect others, even if you don’t respect the belief.
      We’re all climbing different sides of the same mountain.

      • Alison:

        Well, you have to admit, when you read the comments here Christians don’t come out too good. We either use religion to control people’s behavior or use it as a way to get away with injustice. The other problem is that people’s assumptions are just plain wrong. They are putting forth arguments that are not in line with Christian doctrine. Take the commenter who talked about heaven and hell. She said that is a way to keep people in line. If you’re a good Christian who behaves you’ll go to heaven. That is totally false—but easy. Heaven and hell are hotly disputed in the Christian world. Take the whole Rob Bell controversy. Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis have great explanations of heaven and hell, how we get there, and what it would be like. Like I said before—read a book, understand the position, you don’t have to believe it but understand it. I do the same with Dawkins and Hutchins. Although, I have to admit, when Dawkins stated in The God Delusion that he did not include Buddhism in his critique I put the book down. That pissed me off.

        • bPer:

          So, you “put [The God Delusion] down” after reading less than a tenth of the book – on page 37 of 374 in the hardcover edition, Dawkins said “And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism.” How can you claim that you read the book and understood Dawkins’ position when you didn’t even get to the parts of the book where he laid out his position?

          βPer

          • Alison:

            I’ve read other articles and seen him speak. I just found it totally disengenuous. Either it’s all bunk–’energy’, reincarnation, higher powers and planes—or it’s not. If you want to talk about the pros and cons of world religions that’s fine but you shouldn’t put forth a book on atheism and leave out two major world religions. As for how much I read: how much Christian apologetics have you read? Not critiques from atheist but actually delving into the books? I also wrote A LOT of stuff in this comment thread and the only thing you can point out is that I didn’t read all of Dawkin’s book? I’ll make you a deal–I’ll read God Delusion if you’ll read The Reason for God by Timothy Keller.

          • bPer:

            I don’t make deals with liars, Alison.

            βPer

          • Alison:

            That’s awesome. Sorry I couldn’t reply to your last comment. Too funny. You made me laugh out loud. I love people with a good sense of humor. You were joking, right? ;-)

        • Jay:

          Ill admit my knowledge on Buddhism is limited to Wikipedia :P but I didnt read anywhere that Buddists had a god.

          In a book called The GOD Delusion, why would you EXPECT him to critique beliefs that dont have one?

          • Alison:

            Buddhism does not adhere to the God of Abraham like Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Some sects are more open to a god like concept than others but most would not deny a belief in God to be detrimental to a person.

          • Diane Tulsa:

            Alison, it is not accurate that Buddhism views god belief as detrimental.
            The Buddhist view does not include a creator-God. It does include god beings who represent qualities or ideals. There is no worship of gods. The deities of Buddhism do not determine whether or not a practitioner achieves enlightenment, or the recognition of one’s own true nature which is Buddha nature, the essence of which is love and compassion.
            The path to enlightenment is a personal undertaking. Through the Three Jewels: The Buddha (the example ), the Dharma ( the teachings)and the
            Sangha (community) a person can achieve his or her own liberation.

            Buddhists do not believe enlightenment is limited to Buddhists. They believe all people have Buddha-nature and anyone who experiences it and rests in the view is a Buddha. We are all Buddhas, we just don’t know it. Jesus was a Buddha, in the eyes of many Buddhists.

            A person can be believe in a creator-God and it would not be detrimental to their achieving Buddha-hood. In the Buddhist view, though, it might be more difficult or take longer than if they worked directly on themselves through practice and reflection on the dharma, and the guidance of a guru.

        • Diane Tulsa:

          Alison,
          It sounds as though you were resentful of Dawkins for letting Buddhism “off the hook” when it came to his criticism of religions. As someone who urges others to do their homework before making comments about a belief system, you should study more about Buddhism before throwing down Dawkins’ book in a fit of pique.

          Have you read any books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama? Have you attempted to find out even the name of a book about Buddhism, the equivalent of the books you want atheists to read about Christianity?

          When you understand Buddhism (which might take some effort on your part) you might better understand Dawkins’ position.

          • Alison:

            Years ago, before I was a Christian, I explored other religions including Buddhism. I can not remember all the books I read but I do remember reading Sidhartha (sp?) by Herman Hesse. This was probably 15 years ago. I messed up the last sentence of my last comment. I meant to say that certain sects do not deny their adherents a belief in God. And you yourself say that there are dieties representing various ideals. I’m not knocking Buddhism AT ALL. But it’s a religion. And Dawkins skimmed right over it because…..he can. It’s his book. And I have a right to say that pisses me off and I’m not reading it.
            Let’s get back to the main point here. I’m not bashing Buddhism, atheism, or any other belief/nonbelief system…I was simply answering Rechelle’s questions. I feel if you ARE going to bash Christianity you need to know what you’re talking about. I think you may be the commenter I had an exchange with before who is a Buddhist. If I came on here and bashed Buddhism and did it with false arguments you’d probably reply back, right? That’s what I was doing–talking about my belief in Christianity because Rechelle ASKED us to. And, once again, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is that I put down Dawkins’ book. I haven’t once tried to argue against atheism. I simply stated my personal journey from atheism to a Christian belief.

          • Alison, the book is called the *god* delusion. Dawkins gives his reason for skipping over Buddhism and Confucianism very plainly:
            “And I shall not be concerned with other religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism. Indeed, there is something to be said for treating these not as religions at all but as ethical systems or philosophies of life.” Yes, perhaps Buddhism leaves room for deities amongst some believers, but the whole point of “God Delusion” was to address the idea of a personal, active god – which is specifically the Abrahamic God. Dawkins says exactly that in the next paragraph – but I guess you had already put the book down by then.

          • Alison:

            Nadine–that’s a great reason for him but not for me. It’s like a Christian saying “It’s a relationship–not a religion!” Um….No. Christianity is definately a religion. And we can continue to go round and round about it or just disagree. I, for one, am over arguing about one sentence in one book. I am not writing a treatise on the perils of atheism and Buddhism. I am writing about my personal experiences and my Christian beliefs. Which is what Rechelle asked us to do. God forbid I mention I don’t like Dawkins. You’d think it was the atheist Bible or something. I’m allowed to not like a book or author. He’s not the end all be all of atheism. He’s not GOD! LOL. And it’s a joke–laugh. Seriously. This conversation is taking a turn for the bad which is unfortunate.

          • I think you might be reading me as sassier than my comments are intended. Let’s look at it this way. You ask us to read some Christian apologetics. What if I got 40 pages into “Mere Christianity” and something bothered or offended me – would it be ok to then put it down and say “well, he won’t address ___, so this clearly isn’t worth my time”? I thought the point you were trying to make was that people should read views that oppose theirs in order to broaden their understanding of other positions.
            And yet you reached a point in a book on a topic you don’t personally understand (I’m not saying you’re dumb, just that you, personally, don’t understand the rationale for atheism) that made you unhappy or uncomfortable, and just quit.
            This is not about us glorifying Dawkins as The One Atheist Writer You Must Read – it is just an example.

        • Joel Wheeler:

          For what it’s worth, Dawkins has a good reason for dis-including Buddhism and Confucianism in his critique of religion; they are much closer to being philosophical systems than religions. They have very little in common with the Abrahamic faiths that dominate western culture, and I think he was wise to narrow his critique.

    • km:

      Whatever gave you the idea that we hate you?

    • Hm. Disagreeing, critiquing and satirizing don’t add up to hatred. That’s something you’re reading into peoples’ responses here.
      Also, it sounds like you are describing deism. Rechelle’s examples are about the personal, omniscient and omni-capable God that most Americans believe in.

    • What?:

      GOOD POST!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

    • Spinny:

      So, wait. God maintains the order in the universe but Mother Nature is responsible for tornadoes?

      Who is this bitchy Mother Nature and why is she outside the realm of a god capable of maintaining order in the entire universe?

  • tony:

    atheist: here are a multitude of well thought out reasons why there is no god.
    christian: why do you hate us so much!

    • Alison:

      Strawman.

      • tony:

        no, ad hominem

  • What?:

    It goes God created the universe the stars the earth, man and the rest. God gave man FREE WILL. God only asked that we love one another and to not be afraid. God did not demand that we love HIM or worship him (free will.. A gift that is demanded is no gift at all). Again God said Love one another and do not be afraid. So by the choice of man we pollute our planet, build communities in tsunami prone areas eat poorly, smoke, hate, fill our minds and hearts with hate and fear via the news media. We consume massive amounts of fossil fuel leaving voids in earth that contribute to eat quakes, I could go on and on. We pollute our bodies and minds and expect God to give us perfect babies. NO MAN WANTS TO CLAIM ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS. ALL choices made by man are the result of free will. WE created this mess, not God. God is not an enabler . To blame God for the choices we have made rather then take responsibility for them, learn from them and TOGETHER make a change is shameful! From my thought it seems those who argue the point do so from the fear that we create from doing things we in our hearts know is not good for us. What parent has the courage to admit they could have any thing to do with how their child is born? NONE that even seems cruel to think. I have been touched by cancer, I know illness and death, it taught me more about love than anything and about ultimate responsibility. the lessons that we learn from tragedy should help to get you into action not throw you into a state of accusation and complaining. Ignorance gives way to poor choices, we all make mistakes, forgiveness is necessary, but forgiveness cannot heal without change because we do the same things the same ways over and over excepting a new result. Then we blame the one thing that is easiest to blame, because we know deep inside that he will never leave us, but keep on loving us and knowing one day we will all wake up and take responsibility for our actions, do the right things, like any parent devoted to their child. In the mean time those who believe now find it easier to survive the hell we have collectively created here on earth. For those who adamantly refuse, God loves you too for he created you as well. So take your free will, do what you want, but me I want a better world and I am going to keep trying to get everyone to return to love and reject fear. I am not saying I am gonna force you to believe, only to love. I really do not care if you believe. Only that you love from the depths of your being.Only to be kinder to our home and one another.To pull up our panties and take responsibility for our share and change it.

    • ” God did not demand that we love HIM or worship him (free will.. A gift that is demanded is no gift at all).”

      Wait – do you believe in the ten commandments? Because the first five are just God demanding that people love him. (The Sabbath bit is for worshiping him.)

      I am the Lord your God
      You shall have no other gods before me
      You shall not make for yourself an idol
      Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
      Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

      If you’re more into the whole “vaguely spiritual” than “Bible believing” religion, then please disregard. But even in that case I think Rechelle’s points stand.

      • What?:

        Read a course in miracles.

      • What?:

        I am so sorry for posting here. I was never intending to hurt or offend any one. I am a believer. I believe and trust 100% in my creator. I endeavor every day to have a better understanding of the word. EVERYDAY. To worship is to love fully. I will not post here any more, it is too painful, kind of like watching the news!
        Peace out
        I will pray for you all

        • I’m not hurt or offended…!

    • Diane Tulsa:

      “We consume massive amounts of fossil fuel leaving voids in earth that contribute to eat quakes(sic),”

      I know this is off topic, but this really cracks me up. Alison. No.
      Extracting oil from the ground does not contribute to earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates and faults. The massive amounts of energy released by an earthquake is not affected by the relatively miniscule “voids” left by drilling for oil and gas.

      I wish my father was still alive to hear that theory! He made his living in the exploration and production department of a large oil company.

      • Alison:

        I didn’t make that comment.

  • What?:

    Do you know the story The Three Little Pigs? If so you know the moral of the story is NOT that only one in three pigs is a decent contractor. Right.
    The Bible is written for the understanding to take place at a deeper level. And as with any learning will seem abstract at times. And if taken literally can cause confusion at best. To blindly believe anything without the understanding of it’s true message and intent is insane. None of us have enough knowledge in any spiritual area to give us authority to say what any one should believe or what is TRUE.To not read or research as many “religions” as possible really leaves a person without the balance of information necessary to form a decent opinion of any ones beliefs. When you do research in ernest and with an open mind you will find that they all are saying the same thing. I am referring to the real “religions” and their basis, not the distorted out cropping that are the ravings of men with a God complex or the lost souls who follow them. They cannot be our measuring sticks. We were all given brains and the capacity for love, again it is our responsibility to educate ourselves fully, and never take any one persons opinion for “gospel”. The human condition seems to be that we are too busy or to lazy to find out, it is much easier to let someone else fill our heads! Hitler did that. (Because we allowed it). pay attention, scientists are rapidly changing their views. I suggest reading A return to love by Marianne Williamson. AlsoThe Bible and A Course In Miracles. A Course In Miracles , not to convert any one, but rather to take the judgment, hate and fear away. It will be an undertaking at worst and incredibly enlightening at best!~

    • Rechelle:

      Then why not write a bible that speaks plainly? Why make it so obscure and confusing. Why pin ‘meaning’ under miles of stories about violence, misogyny, war, rape, incest, human sacrifice, and brutality. That simply doesn’t make any sense.

  • “I am referring to the real “religions” and their basis, not the distorted out cropping that are the ravings of men with a God complex or the lost souls who follow them.”
    How do you know which is which?
    Also, Godwin’s law ftw!

  • theresa:

    I am a Catholic mother of 6. We send our kids to Catholic school. My oldest child recently told us he doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t want to join the church. He was surprised when we told him we still love him. We listen to him. He is still our son and we love him. When *air quote* Christians click their tongues and make offhand comments about April 1st being Atheist Day, I defend my son’s choice. I shudder at all of the Karmic crow eating they are setting themselves up for. (specifically, judgmental folks whose kids are not yet grown). I am not posting this because I think I am better or smarter than anyone else. I am saying it because I believe that Christians can be the most judgmental people out there. It makes me angry to see some of these posts. There is room enough for all kinds of people and beliefs in the world….even in our own homes.

    • JJ:

      nice comment theresa

  • LucyJoy:

    After “Liking” this post, my 90+ YO MIL posted this on my FB wall. Sorry, it’s long:

    “Does God cause or allow natural disasters to occur such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, mudslides or tornadoes?

    “Every time there is a major disaster such as the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the earthquake in Japan in 2011, Hurr…icane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005, the earthquake and following tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand in 2004, we invariably ask the question – where is God? Does God cause natural disasters? Is Satan responsible for causing natural disasters? Does God permit natural disasters? Is God sending the disaster as a form of judgment?

    “The way in which God created the universe has been affected by sin. At the close of the week of creation we read that the creation was “very good”. Like a work of fine art, God was satisfied that what he created was beautiful and perfect.

    “Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

    “Shortly after finishing the creation, Adam and Eve sinned, bringing a curse onto the earth. Romans 5:12 tells us that death came into the world through sin.

    “Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–

    “The curse extended to the earth. God caused the earth not to yield its full potential in growing food.

    “Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; (18) thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. (19) By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

    “Later in the Bible, the “whole creation groans” under the curse of sin. The world still suffers under the influence of the curse from the first sin. It can be concluded that the “groaning” of creation can be seen in the suffering that randomly visits us as well as the beings of the world.”

    Soooo….if god does exist, we have to pay for the sins of our ancestors? What happened to gpd being all loving? Why didn’t god just destroy the earth after Adam & Eve’s indescretion if he was so upset? I thought Jesus died for our sins…? Sheesh. I’m with you, Rechelle…It doesn’t add up for me.

    • JJ:

      And hence again a scapegoat – Christians can blame Eve and Adam. People just NEED something to blame – it helps ease their anxieties – right or wrong. My daughter said the other day – “sometimes I wish I could just take the easy way out and believe without question – but I CAN’T do that! And it would be so uninteresting without differences and debate. If people can’t think for themselves how can anything ever get accomplished?” She is 15 and her biology class is now discussing evolution – of course there are people who are trying to take the discussion into religious realms and one even questioning the authority the teacher has to teach it (personally, I believe the student’s motivation is more to interrupt class and shine a spotlight on himself rather than strong religious conviction!). I am so glad she questions things! Even though she frequently tries to turn the tables on me ;)!

      • LucyJoy:

        JJ:

        Yes, scapegoats AND a lame excuse!

        Good for your daughter! It sounds like she’s had some well grounded upbringing.

        I was taught to question as well, & probably started to question religion when I was about your daughter’s age (the first time I stopped going to church). Although my mother (Dad wasn’t a church-goer) encouraged exploration & questioning of religion, I don’t think she’d be really happy with where I am today; but I am…

    • Rechelle:

      She’s got it down. This is the same thing I was taught and believed as a Christian. Looking back, I am amazed at how much contortion one has to go thru in Christianity to have a loving God and eat him too. It’s completely crazy.

  • nancy:

    I read about your decision to become an athiest. My best friend from college was raised in a home of non-believers who still went to church every Sunday for the moral structure and sense of community.

    As a mom now myself, I applaud her parents for giving their children that opportunity, even though they were not believers themselves.

    So, all of that to say that I feel sorry for your children that after finding your true self, you probably rocked their world. How much better would it have been for you to maturely take your journey of faith/non-faith, without disrupting their lives.

    I believe that once you have children, you have to put off “finding yourself” until they are grown. Your job is to help them have a stable childhood. Sure, you can explore and grow, but to one day just wake up and pull the rug out from them, because you had an epiphany, is sad.

    • Mo:

      Put your seatbelt on nancy.

      • JJ:

        you’re right – this should be VEEERRRYY Interesting…pass the popcorn!

    • km:

      Nancy,
      Maybe the kids are a bit sceptical themselves. Maybe it didn’t rock their world. Maybe they are enjoying the discourse. Maybe it’s making them stronger in their faith. Maybe it’s not.
      Your job as a parent is to feed them, clothe them and stop them from injuring themselves. Who defines stable????? Stable to me is safety, clothing and shelter. It doesn’t say that I have to mouth along with beliefs I don’t share. What sort of stability is that???
      So bizarre.
      We were forcefed our religion. I keep it very loose with my boys. My husband is Buddhist, I am lapsed Catholic. We discuss religion and beliefs a lot. The kids were baptized, but the eldest chose no confirmation. He is still exploring. The youngest is too young to have his own belief , he is more along the lines of believing in everything, Jesus, Tooth Fairy, Santa, Jack Frost, zombies :) I don’t know which way he’ll go. I’d prefer them to decide. I grew up in a country with one dominant Christian religion that bled into school, government, women’s rights, and I could never be part of that again. So I stay back. Is this not stable to you???

    • JJ:

      mmmmm – I wonder how some of those members would have reacted if they knew there were unbelievers among them? If they found a church that accepted their beliefs as they were – fantastic – if not did they have to not be true to themselves? What are they teaching their children then? If they used it for open dialogue great; if not were they teaching their kids to not know themselves? As far as moral values go – infidelity and soap operas galore were some of the reasons we left our church – some believed it was ok to be unfaithful when it was with someone more “spiritual”. Moral values can be found in many other places. Children need to see their parents cope and deal with life changes -they will have them themselves. We can’t create a “perfect” world or bubble for our kids to grow up in – we can only do our best. Rechelle is going through this process herself – not dragging her kids through it – for all I can witness here. She seems to be letting them find their own way – she is allowing them to think. They may not agree with everything their mom believes in – what kid does? She seems to be there for them and that is what matters.

    • Rechelle:

      nancy – that is an unfortunate philospphy. What if I was a slave owner and discovered that owning slaves was wrong. Am I permittted as a mother (according to your ideals) to let my slaves go – or would that ‘rock my children’s world too much? Life is a journey girlfriend. And it keeps right on a changin’. To teach my kids to be open to change is one of the best things I could ever do for them. I just recently read a Jane Austen quote that said basically – One should chance their mind about everything about every seven years. Long Live Jane!

    • We, my husband and I, pulled the rug out from beneath our children and we were evangelical, charismatic, slain in the spirit christians who home schooled. They will tell you it was difficult but no more difficult then when we changed to vegetarians because my youngest decided that eating meat was, for her, unethical. We encouraged any questioning that they had. We encouraged research and reading. We joined the Unitarian Church where they had access to other adults with different beliefs but were supportive of everyone else’s choices. We supported their decisions. Today they are both atheists and proud of it. Surprisingly, one of the reasons they didn’t go back to the church was the response of all our “christian” friends. They were no longer allowed to play with their friends. Half our family stopped talking to us. Family friends we had known for over 10 years stopped communicating with us and even told our children we were all going to hell. My children, at the time, were 7 and 10.
      My daughter and I were hit by a car crossing a street and almost died and not one “good christian” showed up at the hospital, called my husband and other daughter or even sent a card. And, yes, they knew about the accident. Our agnostic/atheist friends went above and beyond the call of duty to take care of my family.
      I think the church did a better job of freaking my children out than my husband and I ever did. At least we were honest with them. Isn’t the truth the light and the way?

  • Betsy:

    I believe you were raised as a Baptist right? Which means you believe that even through all this unbelief talk you’ll still go to heaven – because Calvinism is once saved always saved….ironic right?

    • Rechelle:

      I was raised in evangelical independent Christian churches. None of them were baptist. Sometimes they are called ‘First Christian Church’, but they are not linked with the Disciples of Christ. I remember discussing ‘once saved, always saved’, but I don’t remember what the church’s stand on it was.

  • Joel Wheeler:

    “I would regularly hurl bolts of lightning at male chauvinists so that they became debilitated by fear and dribbling urine.”

    This is good. Better would be hurling urine so that they dribble lightning.

    xo

  • AmeliaJake:

    My husband’s niece died today – at 26. We have known she was going to die for 24 years. She had a form of Krabbe’s and was not expected to live past three. Her father sacrificed his career to care for her.

    We don’t believe in a god who would do such a thing; we probably don’t believe at all. But, like Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, “You cant stand the truth.”

    For some humans, sometimes we can’t. And we get through those times by just – I don’t know – pretending? – about going to people who have gone before and will wait for us as well.

    I got the message of her death in a text on my phone . . . and later her dad texted, “She is with her Grand Dad.”

    We pretend and I think we hope that maybe there is such a place. Why? Because we need to.

    • Rechelle:

      Sorry to hear about your husband’s niece Amelia. Peace to you.