The Grand Ellipses

I listen patiently when I am waiting for reality to respond. I act impulsively when I have no idea what's going on . . .

"The Grand Ellipses … “? I love that moment when i’m thinking about something, or listening to something and i have that … moment. It’s that pause before you have your realization of clarity. So, i thought that would be a good name for this, to refer to that grand moment when we let our mind settle, let the questions and turbulence stir a bit and allow free thought to reign.

Why I do not believe . . .

When i think about why i do not believe, it’s hard to really pinpoint one thing. It wasn’t a traumatic experience, or unanswered prayers, or spite, or rebellion, etc. There are many reasons why i do not believe; it was not one event that set it off, it was many events and much reading and thinking. For me in particular, as far as religion goes, my disbelief comes from Christianity. However, i also do not believe in any other religion. From a theological view point, i do not believe in the existence of any deity or supreme being otherwise. Eschatologically, i do not believe in any other plain of existence beyond our own. I do not believe that anything exists beyond this life. I do not believe in the supernatural or non-corporeal beings. 
I believe in reality. I believe in science. I believe in truth. I believe in us.

The thing that made me start questioning my faith when i was younger was, in all seriousness, the bible. I would even claim that that is the biggest reason for my atheism. When i was young and had made my way through the book, i had a lot of questions. Some of the questions were pretty standard, like:

Why is there suffering of good people if god is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent and omniscient?
Was everything really created in six days?
Why wouldn’t jesus just prove that he was the messiah and have god show the world?
How do we know that what the bible says is always true?

As i grew older, i became increasingly pissed off at my christian teachers for their lack of understanding and closed mindedness. I began to study other religions and their history. I began to step out of my safe bubble of belief and really allow myself to question what i thought was truth. As i learned more and more, the questions became much more difficult:

Why was Christianity not the first recorded religion?
Why are there other creation, flood, tree of knowledge, god/demon myths before the Old Testament was written?
Why does god ask Abraham to sacrifice his son if he is omniscient?
If we have to look at the Old Testament in a historical perspective, then why has the book of Leviticus not been removed? Or, for that matter, Deuteronomy? Or, much of the Old Testament?
If god is all of the omni-, then why should we look at the bible in a historical perspective as far as rape, genocide, murder, slavery, incest, etc.?
Why are there so many discrepancies in not only the synoptic gospels, but in all of the canonical gospels?
If we are granted with free will, then how could god possibly be omniscient?
If jesus actually existed, why are there no real historical accounts for his life, or his miracles, by people who actually lived at that time?
Why do christians claim that Old Testament law was washed away by Christs blood when he said that he did not come to abolish the laws, but to fulfill the prophecy? 
Why is god to be unquestioned and unchecked?
Why are religious figures seen as community leaders, even when they are known to be enemies to the common people?
Why does jesus condone slavery?
Why does the bible ask us to financially support a structure created by the all powerful?
How is god so loving if he is the creator of ALL?
Why is judas portrayed as the ultimate sinner if he was preordained to act on gods will?
What is the “third heaven”?
If you beat a slave within an inch of their life and they stand before two days time … . are you excused?
Why does god hate gay people?
Why does god hate slaves and love the owner?

If you can read the bible and say that god is an AWESOME god…. READ IT AGAIN!!!!! The bible is an evil piece of literature that teaches poor ethics and a poorly covered history. The Old Testament is a dated piece of absurd mythologies and excuses for them. The New Testament is a dated piece excusing the elder with some lesser evils and then destroying the world. The bible is not a credible source for history or a good source for basic morality. I know that in most services and classes, the pastor or teacher does not discuss the things in the bible that are too much for them to discuss. If you don’t want to read the bible from beginning to end, or really try hard to find things on your own, this is a great site to find topics grouped together. I would also like to point out that the argument of “god is too great for us to comprehend why he would do such things” … i do not accept this argument, it makes no sense. If “god” came to you today and asks that you sacrifice your child to prove how much you love him, and your answer is “yes”, then i invite you to reexamine your life and really try to find reality and morality.

One of the other big reasons i do not believe is almost any philosophical argument for the existence of god. I was having a discussion the other week with a great friend of mine. He had gone to school to study the philosophy of religion. He is much more informed than i am, in that focus, but i know a fair amount. However, the issue that i kept coming around to is that any philosophical argument begins with the notion that god exists and then forms its answers around that. It never starts with a theory and then moves to prove it. So, when someone approaches me with the cosmological argument, or the kalam cosmological argument, or any ontological argument, or an argument from fine-tuning, or any teleological argument … i say bullshit. There is no evidence to prove the existence of god and to just say that god exists without proof is an argument from ignorance. If this is something you believe, then move to believe it and not to argue it. As far as i’m concerned, christian apologetics are full of it. I could continue for this portion of my disbelief, but it would go on forever if i got in to details. If you don’t know what types of arguments these are, i encourage you to look them up. In the end, i am not persuaded in the slightest.

Religious people also make it really difficult for me to believe in their god. People who are heavily religious are, typically, the most hateful and judgmental people that i have ever crossed paths with. Here’s the deal, even if god existed and all that in the bible is true and “righteous”, then i will FOREVER be an unrighteous man. These are the people that spend their lives trying to be right in the eyes of god and along the way, they are using their “truth” to judge anyone who does not abide to those same laws; not only that … . they cherry pick these “truths” to their own content. I cannot begin to count the amount of conversations i’ve had with religious people who hype one part of doctrine and avoid the other. It’s a tactic that does not go unnoticed. You hate gay people, then tell me why you’re ok with eating shellfish? If “thou shalt not kill”, then why pray to god before going in to battle? Why the fuck is god so concerned with praising himself in the “ten commandments”? It blows my mind that there are biblical scholars who know this shit better than i do, and argue for its case!! It blows my mind that there are PHD types that are biblical literalists. I just don’t understand how science, history and common-fucking-sense escape these types of people. Here’s an idea … love EVERYONE. Leave it at that. People are fucked up and there is no internal or external demon making them in to something that they were not already, or on their way to becoming. We do it to ourselves. Satan does not exist. Lucifer does not exist. There was never a talking serpent. Stop pretending that anything but ourselves is the driver of our fucking actions. 

There are so many things that make me not believe, and i’m ok with it. Not believing in an afterlife makes me really excited to live! I was talking with a friend when i first started using the term “atheist” for myself, and he said that he felt sorry for me. I was almost shocked that this was coming from the mouth of an insanely intelligent person who has also been struggling with his belief. However, i really wasn’t shocked … at all. I have been accustomed to peoples emotional connection to religion for a long time. It is not uncommon for people to become more attached to these emotional ties. One of my favorite conversations with my own mother got heavy when she started crying and said, “i’m just sad that i won’t see you in heaven.” She had no idea what to say when i asked her what if she didn’t see herself there. Getting through to someone when they are that emotionally attached to their belief is a very difficult thing to deal with. 
I do not need saving. My disbelief is something that i came to understood and intellectually deal with and love. I take pride in my disbelief because i feel as though i have overcome a rather strong struggle in my life … . that of indoctrination. It’s hard to explain it unless you have actually believed to that level. I once believed that jesus was my lord and savior and that i could speak directly to him and his father (my father). I used to believe in angels and spirits and even ghosts. I believed that i had achieved the afterlife and was going where others would be denied. 

READ THE BIBLE. “Gods” word is not peaceful and full of the love they try to teach you about. The word is hateful, dogmatic, murderous, judgmental, 
false, mythological, etc. We must allow ourselves to question everything; to do anything else is a denial of our basic curiosities and thirst for knowledge. We are better than we think and we can think better than we have been. 

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. (Acts 2:41-45 NAB)

I am not in awe nor shall I ever be by this type of belief. If we are to believe in something, then we must have very seriously studied it! If god exists, then I should be able to demand that it show itself and not just be the torment of the emotional.