Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Your Words

Today while cruising through my YouTube subscriptions I watched a short video by The Thinking Atheist where he was asking for video responses to some questions for a 2nd
'In Your Words' production. I'm not sure if I will do one or not, but I did find it interesting to answer the questions
he posed.

Why don't you believe in gods?

In 2004 I found myself scrambling to secure the front gate
of FOB Danger in
Tikrit, Iraq. A VBIED (vehicle born
improvised explosive device) had ignited in a mushroom
cloud of fire and smoke with a concussion that sent my
head to ringing. Pieces of debris rained down like hail
during a Midwest storm, with the whirlwind of frantic people
running for cover against the supreme act of faith that was
forced on them. Even now I can still smell the burning of flesh
mixed with ash and twisted metal, and remember the task of
searching for the pieces of the devout agent of god that fell
from the sky. It was then, as I was placing a hand without a
body into a Ziploc bag, I knew I didn't believe in god.

What frustrates you the most about religion?

There isn't just one answer to this question. One is, it
frustrates me that they can't see it's a business, and is
used as such. The
lobbyists from religious organizations
play the same exact games in Washington DC. It frustrates
me when they deny the existence of facts because they don't
like it. It frustrates me, that they can't and won't stay
out of my business because they feel I'm doing it wrong.

What Questions would you challenge the
religious to answer honestly?

I would like them to watch AronRa's YouTube series on
Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism and then answer
their own questions about evolution. I would like them to
answer the questions on GreatBigBore's
On the Box Questions.
I think that would be awesome video response, there are some
really good questions.

Why is life worth living at all?

My wife and son answer that question. Because I no longer have
a reward and punishment future to look forward to, it forces me
to acknowledge that everything is my fault, and not the
will of god, then it is my responsibility to mean what I mean,
and say what I say, right now, in the present. That means I have
to live a good, honest, and productive life now, for my wife
and son, not to mention myself because it is all I have. It's
worth living because I'm alive, and the odds of that need not be
wasted on myth.

One thing that I hate?

I hate that my family and friends, who have left me due to my
disbelief, have chosen the illusion. I hate that my touch, my hugs,
my kisses, my conversations, my laughter, my tears, my life and my
love have been passed over for an imaginary, intangible roll of the
dice, where every roll comes up snake eyes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who does it hurt?

In a conversation I was having with a good friend of mine and he posed a question, “what does it matter if people want to believe in religious doctrine or faith and who does it hurt?” Now I understand the nature and context of the question, which was a particular mutual friend of ours who is very deep in the Christianity cult, and we discussed personal views of reality, truth, etc. The question is still lingering, who does it hurt? In the context of belief, it doesn’t hurt anyone that is within that circle. But outside that circle, well, that is a much different story, it can devastate.

In the context of my life it hurt lots of people. #1) the first person it hurt was me. I felt betrayed, lied to and manipulated. I went through the pain of releasing my past loved ones to the oblivion of uncertainty instead of the promise of heaven. I am still going through guilt that I've done the same to young people I ministered to. #2) the second person I hurt was my wife, she stood crying not understanding how I went from the statement of faith that guided my life, to one of doubt and regret because of it. (She is still a believer, though her ideas of what that is has change, at least she isn’t religious anymore. ) #3) another is, I hurt my family. I have very religious people in my family and the tradition runs deep so they take it as a failing on their part, a rebelling on me towards their personal savior.

Those are the top three, but there are more, much, much more. But what hit me the hardest was when I was uploading a video of my son’s first haircut; I realized who it hurts the most. It hurts the kids. Innocents are lost in early indoctrination. The churches of the world teach from a very early age who god is, and what man did to hurt god. They learn about Jesus and his death, by their hands. Ever seen ‘Jesus Camp’ ? This is how I grew up, I remember camp being awesome, it wasn’t this extreme, but looking back this is child abuse if it was in any other venue. Do a YouTube search of ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ and see what they are all about. The fact is, they have biblical reasons for doing what they do. See this two part video of ‘Nate Phelps’. There are other examples, and they are all on YouTube if you want to find out more.

Who does it hurt? Who doesn’t it hurt may be an easier question.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Too much wine...

Last night I had a conversation with one of my wife’s bff's husband. He is a good guy, smart and well educated. When we get together we usually talk about father things, grilling, sports, fishing, supporting our kids to explore their environment, if they should play sports or not, education, how to use different ways of positive and negative reinforcement of behavior, etc. He is devoted in going to church and he and his family never miss a Sunday. I usually don’t engage in religious conversations with people who aren’t close friends of mine so that my wife’s relationships aren’t hampered for my atheistic views. But because of too much wine, mixed with a lack of sleep I allowed his religious introjections to be challenged.

Now I could talk about my awesome zingers and attacks on his fallacies of logic. Or I could tell you how I commented on the parts where he contradicted himself, and how there are the same contradictions in the bible. But something hit me, like a ton of bricks, an idea so profound it left me sipping on my wine until my glass was once again an empty container. What was the idea you might be asking yourself? Well it was so simple it is embarrassing, I thought, why, what’s the point of this conversation? Clearly, it wasn’t to gain knowledge, it wasn’t to explore different thoughts and ideas; it wasn’t to engage in different philosophies or gain a deeper path to friendship. So what is the point? Why was I talking about this at all? Why did I give a shit at that moment that my conversational partner was in need of a deity, or a sociological group to hang out with on Sundays, a need to rationalize clear contradictions and/or searching for approval, maybe from me? The short answer is I’m not sure…

I realized I am holding to the resentment of organized religious dogma that consumed my life for so long. My lashing out at him was me lashing out at myself. I gave the same arguments, believed the same things and rationalized a god who had a prosperous plan for my life but was absent from the suffering of millions of fellow humans. I saw myself in him, and it pissed me off.

I’m going to have to work on that…