Monday, December 30, 2013

Facebook Faith # 36 Grinch Obama

"Guess what Obama didn’t do for Christmas? Go to church. That’s right, Obama did a lot of things on the 24th and 25th, including playing golf on Christmas Eve, but he did not have time for church."

The text above accompanied this meme on my newsfeed today.  I literally sat and stared in wonder at this one for a few minutes.  I have seen a lot of bizarre religious things proclaimed this year, but this one slips in - with just 24 hours to go - as perhaps being the most idiotic statement of 2013 in the religion mixed with politics category.... and given Michelle Bachman, Ted Cruz, and  Louie Gohmert.... that is saying a lot.

In fact, it was so absurd, I thought that even the usual suspects of Pavlov conservatives would reject this. Unfortunately, when I went to the source page on Facebook - ForAmerica - I found that in 10 hours, nearly 60,000 people had liked this so far.  Combine religion with Obama-hate and the salivating will commence.

Beyond that.... the comments... oh, the comments!
  • Muslims don't go to church
  • Don't think Jesus is especially pleased, (we're not supposed to be anything but Christian..)
  • Narcissist, sinners with messiah-complex don't feel a need for God. He'll try to lie his way out at his appointment before the judgment seat! He'll of course forget that God sees all, knows all, and has it all recorded. Poor soul.
  • Prolly brought either his prayer rug, or a hammer and cicle golfing...
  • he hates America and is an illegal muslim how is that news?
  • if the dems get the house because idiots re-elect or the left fixes the votes again, this country is done for
  • Don't get upset with him because Christmas is not a Muslim holiday.
  • At least he's no longer pretending to be a Christian.
  • he is a very mean person & only has one thing in mind.....To ruin our wonderful country

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Facebook Faith #35 The Lady Doth Protest Too Much
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." ~ Hamlet Act 3

A few days ago I wrote a post about my observations during the whole Phil Robertson Duck hub-bub. Just on the duck-tails of that event, Utah, by order of a federal judge, became the 18th state to allow gay marriage.

Utah, as a whole, did not take to kindly to a Federal judge stepping in and declaring our voting away the rights of our fellow citizens unconstitutional. Our governor, like Governor Orval Faubus, has vowed to fight the federal government on this.

Throughout both of these events, I kept hearing things like:
  • I am not a homophobe, but...
  • I am not a racist, but...
  • I don't hate anyone, but...
  • Yes, everyone is equal, but...
A midst those phrases, various folks were expressing frustration about not being to express themselves.  They are tired of the "political correctness" in society today.  I saw this meme posted by one who is frustrated with PC:

Followed by this one:

Now, this same friend (and others of like mind) will jump on my page with guns blazing if I say anything about Christianity.... yes, then THEY will enter the 'magical place'.

But a similar reaction is not to be found when people with a different pigment, or sexual orientation are slighted.  Then these folks long for the days when anything could be said about homosexuals or people of color... with no worry of push back.

Those were the daaaaaayssssss!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Facebook Faith #34 If It Walks Like A Duck

And I support A&E's right to let go of
employees who say dumb things
If you were on Facebook today, your newsfeed probably blew up with posts about Mr. Duck. I had many lengthy conversations.  Here are a couple things I noticed:
  • There are a hell of a lot of people who do not understand what the Constitution has to say about free speech
  • Many people believe all opinions have equal validity
  • Folks LOVE when someone speaks their mind (on a subject they agree with)
  • Sarcasm and condescension only work in the mind of the person using the tactic
  • Those who dish it out can rarely take it
  • Blaming the victim is really popular
  • Some of my Facebook friends are adept at "Palining" (ignore the question and just keep repeating your talking point)
  • Defending homosexuals makes you anti-Christian
  • Christianity is all over the map on the issue of Homosexuality
  • If you don't cherry pick scripture the way I cherry pick scripture, then you are not a real Christian
  • You are a bigot if you don't tolerate bigotry
  • Homophobes HATE being called Homophobes

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Facebook Faith #33 - Deconverting From The Demonic

When this drifted through my newsfeed last night I sighed and smiled. It is so true. As a believer, I could never have imagined or dreamed how freeing it would feel to be released from a world infested with angels and demons.

It takes a while to be free from this world. Even when I realised I was no longer a Christian, no longer a believer, I was not yet free.

Deconversion is not merely an intellectual exercise. I had made the mental shift, but disconnecting the emotions and untangling the superstitions from my thoughts was a longer process. Though the heavy work seems to be now finished, I still occasionally find tokens of my former thinking hidden away in drawers.

I spent most of my 45 years in a Christian culture where angels, demons, and deities were hidden behind every corner and influencing every event. People were always telling stories about how they were "under attack by the evil one" or "going through a trial orchestrated by God". If you got the job you wanted, it was a gift of God; if you didn't, He simply has something better in mind. Every good fortune and every tragic circumstance, had its origins in the hand of some unseen force. If you are an intuitive person with a gift for words, you can become quite popular by assigning spiritual meanings to these life events.

Looking in life's rearview mirror, I can see now the toll that all of this superstitious tea leaf reading has on the psyche. It is a heavy juggling act of performance and appearance. The believer is involved in a wide array of emotional and mental gymnastics to give these events divine meaning, while interpreting them in a way that is acceptable to the community.

The release from that pressure is freedom. Things are what they are. The same amount of good and bad circumstances befall me as ever have.... there were never any unseen forces at work. Now that I know that, life is better because I now deal with reality... as reality.

I occasionally have believers tell me that they are praying for me. They are sure my rejection of religion is the result of my being angry with god, or being disappointed with other believers. Once I "get over that", they are confident I will be back into the faith better than ever.
"I know Jehovah God is real. I feel him and his presence in my life daily. ...I see him moving everywhere I look. ... I am going to pray that God will reveal himself to you. You won't be able to escape it. I can't wait to hear your testimony one day. "
No. There is no one moving. There is no one to reveal. There is nothing to escape. I am simply being invited to put on, once more, the mental chains I have cast aside. Though perhaps offered with kindness and good intent, there simply could not be anything less appealing. To quote CS Lewis from his book The Great Divorce:
"If a corpse already liquid with decay had arisen from the coffin, smeared its gums with lipstick, and attempted a flirtation, the result could not be more appalling. "
I am in a world of freedom and (again to quote Lewis from the same book) "out of it I will not go!"

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Heart of God

We are probably all familiar with the scene from the Matrix where Neo is waiting for the Oracle. He meets a mystic boy  who is bending spoons with his mind. The boy offers a spoon to Neo.
Boy:  Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo:  What truth?
Boy:  There is no spoon.
Neo:  There is no spoon?
Boy:  Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
I was a Christian for about 30 years.  During that time, my Christianity moved from Hell-fire certainty to Universal brotherhood.  In all those years I heard countless people telling me what the heart of God is... words upon words.  Then one day, I had a conversation with that mystic boy.
Boy:  Do not try to find the heart of God. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Me:  What truth?
Boy:  There is no God.
Me:  There is no God?
Boy:  Then you’ll see, that it is not the heart of God that you are discovering, it is only yourself.
I came to realize that my shift from believing in a God who could send his children to Hell, to no longer believing that was even remotely possible, had nothing to do with a change in God. It was a change in me.  With that insight, came the realization that everyone's view of God is merely a reflection of their own heart. That pastor, or rabbi, or priest, or believer who is telling you about God is really only telling you about their own heart. They know nothing of any deity.

None of us do.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Facebook Faith # 32 - Why I Speak Out

There are plenty of kind, well meaning religious people. They do lots of great things and have angst toward no one. These people come to mind when I consider going easier on the religious critiques.

But then another bunch of religious garbage plugs my reader feed and I remember that those folks are the religious outliers and not the religious norm.  The following is an example of why Atheists need to speak out - even if it at times creates some tension.

Recently a young man named Ronnie Smith was murdered in Libya. He was there as a teacher with an international school. He leaves behind a wife and son.

He was also a Christian. I don't know to what extent he was using his position as a wedge to proselytize in the culture. To be honest, I don't care to know. It does not change the tragedy.

However, conservative evangelical pastor John Piper seems to think his reason for being there was to bring people to the Christian faith.  As such, Piper views Smith's death as a small price to pay when weighed against the souls Smith saved from "something worse than death".  Piper goes on:
"I call thousands of you to take Ronnie’s place. They will not kill us fast enough. Let the replacements flood the world."
Piper is not calling on people to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or teach the uneducated. To Piper, and much of Christendom, the call to harm's way is about the after-life. This life is nothing but a preparation for the next. Choose wrongly, and you will be assigned to a never-ending horror show - by a god who loves you.  Piper wants to get you on the right team before you die.

Religious people like Piper set culture against culture. They create soldiers to fight an imagined and contrived war.  They encourage people to waste time and resources in battles that do nothing for humanity. Worse, in cases like this, they celebrate tragedy; confident it is another score for their team.

Beyond that, they go on to encourage others to sacrifice their precious lives for these mythical errands.

The power of these horrible, life-draining myths are becoming weaker with each passing day. Let us speed their end.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Franklin Graham: Name Dropper

Franklin Graham is a tool.

Just needed to clear the air of any biases up front.

I have written about his shenanigans, both when I was a believer and as an Atheist.

To be honest, I do not know enough about his father to offer any real commentary - except to say this: When I was a conservative republican Christian, I never thought Billy was on my side. Later, when I was a liberal universalist Christian, I never thought Billy was on my side. Billy was an Evangelist; and as such, had a motivation that transcended mere team play.

Franklin has no such ecumenicism. He has chosen a side, and fights vigorously for that side. If he needs to partake in hyperbole, slander, misrepresentation - or dragging his dad out for photo ops to buttress against his lack of recognition - he will do it.

Really, I can't adequately describe how low I think Franklin is without the use of some choice cuss words.
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