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Supernatural

January 23rd, 2010

I stepped out into the black winter morning.

No stars, no moon, just black.

My boots made the only noise

Crossing the icy patch to the barn.

I  love the dark.

The cold dark

The cold still dark.

My chest would  rise in a prayer every time.

Thank you god for this beautiful dark.

But then one morning I opened my eyes.

Or perhaps the scales fell off?

god disappeared

And behold

The cold still dark was still beautiful.

Even more so.

As some of my readers may have noted, there has been an um….  philosophical shift in this blog.  To put it simply, I once was blind, but now I see.  Or to put it even more simply – god is imaginary.  Or to put it even more simply – I was a practicing christian in various shades, degrees and forms for the past 41 years and then within a span of a few weeks – I became an atheist.  

I can’t really point to one particular event that caused the last brick to fall out of the crumbling building that was my faith.  Over the past five years, it has been slowly falling apart. How about if I use a parable to explain?

 

The Parable of the Hole in the Curtains

By (not Jesus) Rechelle

Once there was a woman who had a house that had a large window.  The woman kept the window covered because she had heard that if you looked out the window, you would die and go to hell.  She covered the window with thick curtains and kept them closed at all times.  One day, the woman noticed a small tear in one of the curtains.  Afraid of accidentally seeing what was on the other side of the window and condemning herself to hell, she decided to completely ignore the tear so that her eyes might not stray and she would not be condemned.  But the tear got bigger.  Soon it was a hole.  She tried to stitch the hole together without looking at it, but she was so afraid that she might glance at what was on the other side of the window, that she did a terrible job of patching the curtain and only made the situation worse.  The hole grew larger and soon other holes appeared.  

The holes in the curtain appeared whenever the woman read the bible.  Whenever she read about god asking someone to kill their child to prove their faith.  Whenever she read about god condoning slavery or misogyny or the murder of women (and not men) for having sex before marriage or for being a homosexual or for working on the sabbath or for disobeying your parents or for having sex with an animal (the animal has to be murdered too of course).  She tried to ignore these old laws that were written by the same god who is also Jesus and instead focus on the new laws.  Because those old laws were clearly written by an insane person and not an eternal god of love and mercy who longs for a relationship with human beings.  The new laws were a little better, but they still condoned slavery and misogyny and quite often they didn’t make any sense either.  

The woman began avoiding that room with the window altogether.  She didn’t want to watch the shredding curtain fall apart. She stayed in other rooms.  Dark rooms.  She threw herself into working for her church.  She became an elder.  She taught Sunday school.  She served on committees and directed choirs and organized plays for her church.  

But it was impossible. There was a room in her house with a light filled window.  And a curtain that was full of holes.  She couldn’t forget it was there.

Then she got a letter from her church.

The letter was a list of things that she had to promise to believe and do if she wanted to serve as an elder in her church for a second term. 

The woman absolutely did not want to serve as an elder in her church for a second term.  The woman did not like being an elder.   Being an elder was mostly about money.  How to get it and how to spend it.  She came to understand just how much money it took to maintain the large brick church building that stood empty six days a week.  The amount of money it took made her sick.  It was thousands and thousands of dollars every month.  She thought about how all that money could be used to alleviate human suffering and misery and instead it went to heat and cool and pay a mortgage on a huge brick church building that stood empty six days a week.  She thought about the hundreds of dollars that she gave every month to maintain the huge brick church building that stood empty six days a week.  She thought about how if she gave that money to a starving family or a hospital in Africa or a school in the slums of Brazil, she would be doing a much better thing than when she gave that money to heat and cool and staff a huge brick church building that stood empty six days a week.  But the bible commanded that the woman give ten percent of her money to the church and not to starving people in Africa.  The bible was more interested in the empty building and not the miserable people who were suffering and so was god.  The woman did not want to be an elder anymore because she wanted to forget about that money that went to heat and cool the huge brick empty church building, but the woman felt like she had to be an elder. Because that is what christians do.  They serve the church… or the the expensive brick building that stands empty six days a week.

So when she got that letter from her church…

And she read through that list of promises she had to make to be an elder a second time…

(They were the same promises that she had made the first time she served as an elder.  The promises hadn’t changed, but the woman had.)

She knew that she couldn’t make the promises again.

Because she didn’t believe in them anymore.

She especially knew that she did not believe in the bible.

So she walked away from her church.

And she went back to her dark house.

And she tore the curtain off the window.

And light streamed into the room.

And she danced in the golden beams.

And warmed her hands in the silvery streams.

And the glorious light bathed her mind and filled her heart.

With the truth.  The truth.  The truth.  

There is no god.

And it was good.

It was VERY GOOD.

And yeah…

She was going to die.

But she was not going to hell.

Because there was no hell.

When she died… she died.  It was over.  That’s all.

And it made every second of her life much more precious.

Because now, every minute needed to be spent well, spent carefully, spent honestly and spent joyously.

And that is how I (the woman in this story in case you couldn’t tell) became an atheist.

The end.

 

P.S.

Tomorrow!

I apologize for all the terrible things I believed while I was a christian shit-head for 41 years.  

You won’t want to miss that!

P.P.S.S.

You may have noted the rise in the usage of the word ‘shit’ on this blog.  Since I am no longer a christian I am giving myself permission to occasionally indulge in a well-placed curse word on this blog.  It has always been my desire as a writer to use language appropriately and well and to not be offensive just for the sake of being offensive.  Therefore, I promise to only use foul language when the situation absolutely demands it. Such as when referring to the bible, to god, and to homeschoolers.

1.  I apologize to all the homosexuals.  I am sorry that I believed in a religion that condemns you.  I am sorry that for many years I thought that the bible was right in it’s condemnation of homosexuality.  I am sorry that when I no longer thought the bible was right about homosexuality being a sin, I did not raise a gigantic stink about it every Sunday right in the middle of the sermon… week after week after week…  until the church issued a restraining order against me and I could no longer come within a hundred feet of the sanctuary.  

 

2.  I apologize to everyone on the face of the earth that has not accepted Jesus christ as their personal savior because I believed that you were all going to hell.  This includes Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Environmentalists, Democrats, Movie Stars (especially Tom Cruise), Scientologists, University Professors, Physicists, Geneticists, Europeans, Women’s Studies Majors, Feminists, Millionaires, Billionaires, Hippies, Atheists, Agnostics, Astrologers, People who read their horoscopes, People who watch Bay Watch, Vegetarians, J.K Rowling, Bill Gates, All High-School Biology Teachers who teach evolution and P.E .Teachers who teach a yearly unit on sex-ed..

 

3.  I apologize to all my former Sunday school students because I taught you that the bible was the word of god.  I perpetuated a myth that the bible is a special book that should be regarded ‘much more highly than it ought’.  I encouraged you to trust this book, to think this book contained sacred ideas about life and god.  I made you think that the stories in the bible were intrinsically valuable and could teach you about how god works and who god is.  I apologize for always referring to god as a ‘he’, thereby further anthropomorphizing a pretend deity and making you think ‘he’ was real and decidedly masculine.  I apologize for teaching you to think that you were a sinner and that Jesus had to die for you when you are really just a beautiful child, perfect in every way from the minute you were born (except for when you aren’t).  I apologize for telling you that Jesus conquered death and that you should put your trust in him when there is not a shred of evidence of the resurrection except for what is in the bible.  I apologize for not respecting your intelligence and glazing over thorny issues and rationalizing all the bullshit that is so present at all times in ‘god’s word’.  (I apologize for saying bullshit in this apology).  I apologize for ever calling the bible ‘god’s word’.  It isn’t ‘god’s word’.  It’s just a book.  There are a lot of other much better books.  There are books that helped humanity move beyond misogyny and slavery and tyranny.  There are books that led to scientific discoveries which led to medicine and helpful machines and made the world a better place.  None of those books are in the bible.  In fact, the bible helps people to justify misogyny and tyranny and slavery and the bible made church leaders fear science and so they burned scientists and doctors and smart people because what those smart people were learning was often in direct conflict with what the bible and the church taught.   I apologize for not telling you that the bible and christianity are two of the main reasons that it took people so long to move from tyranny into democracy, from slavery to human rights, from cruel religious mandates to civil law.  I hope someday you will figure that out for yourselves in spite of what I taught you.

 

4.  I apologize for giving money to the church.  I apologize for helping to support and pay for a building that stands empty six days a week.  I apologize for giving my hard earned cash to pay an enormous utility bill on a mostly empty church building.  I wish I would have given all that money to alleviate real human suffering.  To purify drinking water, to build a third world hospital, to educate a child living in a slum, to improve an orphanage, to further research on diseases, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the sick, reform the prisoners, but instead so much of my available funds have up until now, been sucked into a huge building that gets used once a week by wealthy over -fed Americans who get upset if the sanctuary is not adequately cooled in July.

 

5.  I apologize for believing all sorts of mad things that are seriously messed up and incredibly hurtful to my fellow humans.  Things like god causes the sins of the parents to punish the children and the grandchildren (which some christians use to explain birth defects).  Things like excusing the extra creepy stuff in the bible (slavery, misogyny, genocide) based on ‘historical context’ instead  of just insisting that it was wrong back then and it’s wrong now.  I apologize for things like teaching the stories of big bible heroes like Abraham and Jacob and not insisting that taking a slave for a wife was a hideous violation of human rights because having a slave and then raping a slave and then fathering children with a slave is no way for anyone to EVER behave even if you are a BIBLE BIGWIG.  I apologize for thinking it is okay for god to ask a person (Abraham) to murder their child to prove their faith and even thinking that if I really loved god, I too must be willing to murder my child if god asked me.  I apologize for things like thinking that I had ever done anything so terrible… so horrible.. so AWFUL  to warrant someone else to have to die on a cross for me.  (Hey!  I am far from perfect, but no one should have to be tortured and slowly murdered for my eternal salvation). 

 

6.  I apologize to my kids for being a passive aggressive christian mom.  For saying things to them like ‘”if you are lying to me, god knows.  He knows you are lying so you better not be lying because he knows.  God knows everything. Are you lying? Because if you are lying god can tell.  You can lie to your mom but you can’t lie to god.  God sees everything.  Are you lying?  You better not be lying to me because even if I don’t know – god knows” … etc etc etc…  

 

7.  Finally, I apologize for allowing my faith to numb my response to the problems of the world.  So when there was injustice, or crime, or pain, or hunger, or illness, or ignorance, or war, or greed, or tyranny, or slavery or abuse, or addiction, or pollution, or natural disasters –  I believed that god was taking care of it and I didn’t really have to do anything… (except pray).  Because it was god’s will… and god was using these bad things to teach me compassion… or patience… or that satan was ‘the ruler of this world’… or that we should forgive… or god was ‘perfecting’ us… or ‘disciplining’ us.  (Boy!  god sure disciplines the hell out of Africa doesn’t he?)  I was taught that all you have to do to get into ‘heaven’ is accept Jesus as your savior.  You can do good things if you want, but good deeds are not getting your ass into heaven.  So why would I bother helping out?  My ass was already saved!

 

For all these things I am truly sorry and I most humbly repent…

AND plan to make changes, repair damages and do the hokey pokey and turn myself around.  

So Be It,

Rechelle