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Switch to Forum Live View Atheist but not by Choice
4 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2010 - 11:28PM #1
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,200

I'm an atheist, though I'm not sure I want to be.  I like the freedom from religion.  I hate religion.  It's not the scriptures I detest.  I love the mythology.  I love the arguments.  I love the decoding of this ancient puzzle.  What I hate is the mind control, the mental bullying, the hypocrisy and pretense.  I hate not being myself, feeling that tug, that invisible hand on my shoulder (or maybe it's the hand on my mouth) telling me to watch what I say because the people I'm talking to will get bent out of shape if I don't humor them.  It's like, "Empower me or I'll tag you as my enemy."  


I also hate the leaps of faith.  I'm sure "leap of faith" was a cool line when uttered as a philosophical statement designed to describe one's willingness to remain open to possibilities not provable by experience or reason.  Unfortunately, people quickly forget they're leaping.  They get used to their assumptions, repeating them over and over, singing them, praying them, limiting their circle of friends and family to those who agree with them - until it's no longer a "leap of faith"; it's an ignorant, arrogant, petulant insistence, like that of a child demanding a toy, or a piece of candy hanging from the impulse aisle.


I don't want to die.  What's more, I don't want the people I love to die.  I want there to be a catch, a loophole, something worthwhile at the end of it all - if not for me, then for all those people who deserved a better life.  I don't want to hear some sermon about how a finite life is all the more precious, or how owning up to reality is so much nobler.  I would really like it if all those people killed in the Holocaust, especially the children, had something better right on the other side of death.  I'd love to know that there are angels guiding the innocent to a better place.


Who wouldn't?


But then again, I live in the real world, which is not innocent or easy or merciful or as orderly as William Paley's watch.  The world I live in doesn't look like a Rolex, unless you're talking about a fake Rolex, tossed into the street, then run over by a garbage truck, then hit by a bolt of lightning, then doused in battery acid.  Yeah, the world I live in looks like THAT watch.


I'm thinking of the little girl who died from falling into a mine shaft while riding on her ATV.


I'm thinking of her sister who fell into the same mine shaft and woke up next to her.


I'm thinking of the Kentucky pothead who put a five-week-old baby in the oven.


I'm thinking of the teacher who turned his class into Fight Club.


I'm thinking of the woman who failed to pick her kids up from school but who had the perfect excuse.  She was dead.  Someone stuffed her under the bed in the motel room she was renting.  When she failed to pick up her kids, she was listed missing.  When she failed to pay her rent, motel staff locked up her personal effects.  They had no idea they were holding her.  They rented out the room at least five times before anyone noticed she was becoming a dust bunny, and that was because of the smell.  It doesn't blow my mind that the cops missed her when they went by the motel.  What I want to know is how the first four renters managed to not notice the smell of a rotting corpse underneath their turn-in service.  I mean, how bad do things have to stink before you say, "What's that funk?"


If everything is going as planned, God has to be one sick bastard.  If he's sitting this one out, I'm not sure I feel much better.  God must be a man because he's such a f*&^ up.  God must be a woman because she's so freaking hormonal.  God must be Windows 7.  God must be the iPad.  God must be the studio execs who released Pooty Tang.  God must be the speechwriter who told Clinton to say, "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski," in front of a group of children, or the same speechwriter who told him to say, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is."


Maybe God is the Joker but with deeper pockets - and a lot more razor blades.


What I don't believe is that God is Yahweh, Jesus or Allah, all of which strike me as mental.  Yahweh has a thing for plagues.  He honors birthrights sold for pottage or uttered by blind prophets with kids who dress up in carpet.  Yahweh's the guy if you want a God who will knock up your wife after she's become the crypt keeper, or ask you to knife the boy on a father-son camping trip.  Yahweh likes to appear in burning bushes in the middle of the Arabian desert.  Wouldn't it have been more fun if he had built a water slide?  I mean, did Sinai need another grill?  And just to show what a bastard he was, he told Moses to take his shoes off.  Yeah, right.  Burn the bush, then make me walk on the hot sand near ground zero.  That's a guy worth worshiping.  I don't know what to think of a guy who kicks his naked kids out of the back yard because they had some fruit, especially when talked into it by a talking snake.  Do you think God could have slipped in a little disclaimer, when he was saying, "Don't eat the smart fruit?"  Could he not have added one more word, something like, "Especially if you come across a talking snake"?  


I wonder what it's like to build a religion, as the center of one's family, when you know you're building everything on a foundation of lies?  God parts the Red Sea.  Neat trick, I suppose, but have you ever thought about what that would mean for people crossing through on dry ground?  The amount of wind it would take to split a mud puddle would make Hurricane Katrina look like a library.  It would take a wind tunnel.  Can you imagine sending little Hebrews through that thing?  They'd be blown past the promised land.  It would take 40 years to find them.


And then there's Jesus.  Here's a guy whose mother told his father, "God knocked me up," and Dad said, "Oh."  Does any part of this story ring even remotely true?  Wise men went looking for a star.  How wise could they be?  And how far were they willing to walk before somebody said, "It ain't here!"  Jesus was a carpenter's son and ended up getting nailed to wood.  What are the odds?  At the age of 12, they found him in the temple asking questions.  That's supposed to impress me.  I've got a five year old who does that.  Maybe SHE'S the son of God.  And what kind of name is Jesus?  Maybe Mary thought of it when God knocked her up.  After all, she was a virgin and he was God, so maybe one night she suddenly woke up and yelled, "Jesus!"  On the other hand, maybe his father came up with the name.  You know, he was a carpenter, so maybe he was nailing a board one day, hit his thumb and cried out, "Jesus!"  Can you imagine what this poor kid's childhood must have been like?  Every time somebody stubbed a toe or dropped a plate or had to clean up behind the goat, they'd be saying, "Jesus Christ!" and he'd come running!  I'll bet it made him feel very lonely.


When Jesus was 30, he got baptized, which would have made him a Promise Keeper.  The guy who did it was probably dressed like a used car salesman.  After all, he was John the Baptist.  He must have done a good job because Jesus ended up with super powers.  He could walk on water, surfboard or not.  He could heal the sick. He could even heal people who were just faking it so they wouldn't have to go to work.  I wonder what happened when he healed the lame.  I can see it now.  Somebody says, "There goes Lazarus.  He's so lame."  The guy next to him says, "Not anymore.  Jesus CURED him."  I liked it when Jesus turned the water into wine.  Here's a guy you want to keep around, just in case the liquor runs out.  The only thing that gets me is his choice of water.  He was using the water bowls where people had been washing their hands.  I wonder what that wine tasted like?  I'll bet it was dark and earthy.  I wonder if 30 was a good year.


You've got to like King Herod.  The New Testament had two or three of them - and they were all Grade-A @$$holes.  There was Herod, the Baby Killer.  He was a nice guy.  Not too good with kids, though.  Then there was Herod, the guy who chopped off John the Baptist's head.  Apparently, there was a woman Herod was dating.  She had a daughter named Salome.  Herod had some kind of Lolita thing going with Salome, who gave him a lap dance that moved Herod so much he asked her what she wanted, even to the half of his kingdom!  He's telling her this right in front of her mother!  The girl says, "Bring me head of John the Baptist," which must have sucked because there were no take-backs.  John gets beheaded and Jesus heads (pardon the pun) straight for the desert (not the dessert) where he doesn't eat or drink for 40 days and 40 nights.  People assume he fasted to become more spiritual, but I've got a theory about why Jesus didn't eat anything for all that time: He was in the motherf!@#ing desert!  He could have had a plate full of sand with a chaser of blue sky.  After 30 days and nights, I'd have probably had some of that sand and called it Grape Nuts.  Whatever the case, Jesus came out of the desert on Day 41 and let me tell you, the man had no problems squeezin' into those jeans.  He looked tight!  He was all bronze and lean.  But that's why his next set of miracles involve catering.  He fed 5,000 people with seven loaves and two fishes.  Some say the trick was getting everyone to share what they had.  You see, Jesus had some sea bass and a cart full of Roman Meal, but who knows what everybody else had?  Maybe there was a guy in the back, having his own tailgate party.  They say 5,000 people showed up.  I'm sure somebody brought a little extra, concealing it just under their robe.  And when Jesus got to preaching, there's no telling what got passed from Christian to Christian.  No wonder they all "felt the spirit."  With that much smoke, who needed a mirror?


They say Jesus gave sight to the blind, usually by spitting in their eye.  They say people felt better just by touching the hem of his garment.  I love the scene where Jesus yells out, "Who touched me?" and all his disciples say, "Master, there are people hanging on us in every direction and you ask, 'Who touched me?'"  Jesus's words are classic: "Somebody must have touched me because I just felt virtue go out of me!"  Jesus, it would appear, had a virtue drip.  Clinton had one, too.  In this case, there was a woman who had some really bad periods and all it took was a touch to dry things up.  Jesus, it would appear, was more absorbent than Brawny.


Jesus told a lot of parables, though I never heard him speak of a man from Nantucket.  Jesus declined to throw rocks at a woman caught doing the nasty, maybe because nobody bothered to bring the guy who was doing it with her.  Jesus was probably the first guy to say, "Eat me" and mean it.  Jesus liked to hang out with publicans and sinners.  He liked the company of men.  He liked to dip his bread and talk shop.  He liked to have his feet washed with tears and perfume.  He had a thing about moneychangers.  He liked to watch pigs squeal.  


Jesus told people who was the Son of God.  Sometimes, he said he was the Son of Man.  Other times, he was the Living Water, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd and even the Vine.  Jesus said, "I and the Father are one," but then prayed that his disciples "might be one, even as we are one."  Some people think he was God, but if he was, I'm still wondering why he said, "Not my will but thine be done."  Was Jesus arguing with himself?  


I find it interesting that Jesus not only came back from the dead, but couldn't just hurry up and die.  Depending on whom you ask, he said something different right before giving up the ghost.  One guy said his last words were, "Father, forgive them.  They know not what they do."  Another said it was, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."  Yet another said, "It is finished."  I'm curious about the one who heard him cry, "Oh God, Oh God, why have you forsaken me?"  Call me a cynic, but if I were nailed to a cross and forced to hang from it, those would be my words, too.


I'm glad Jesus rose the third day.  My back hurts if I recline for more than eight hours.  I'll bet Jesus needed to get out of that tomb.  I'll bet it was blinding when he first came out.  I'll bet his first words were, "Jesus!"  They say he appeared to something like 500 people.  Ironically, only four wrote Gospels.  Even more ironic is that half the New Testament is written by Paul, a guy who never met Jesus, except in a vision.  On that basis, what's to stop anybody from writing a New and Improved Testament of their own?  If the Bible were written today, would it have a lot of "my bad's?"  Maybe this time there could be some token gay characters, not counting Lazarus whose name just sounds like something suitable for gay porn.  I can see the title now, "Lazarus Rises Again" or maybe "Jesus Brings Lazarus Back to Life."


Allah is just too uptight.  He needs to go out more, preferably with Buddha.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2010 - 6:44AM #2
Myownpath
Posts: 947

I want there to be a catch, a loophole, something worthwhile at the end of it all -   It's not about the end. Life is a gift all the time, so we need to make the best of it all the time.


if not for me, then for all those people who deserved a better life. Maye as a society we can make things better for the next generation. We learn and hopefully progress. It's unfortunate; life is not fair.


They rented out the room at least five times before anyone noticed she  was becoming a dust bunny, and that was because of the smell. Hell, Anthony Sowell had a whole bunch of bodies buried under the floor boards...


On that basis, what's to stop anybody from writing a New and Improved Testament of their own? Done, It's called the Course in Miracles. It's huge, look into it.


If the Bible were written today, would it have a lot of "my bad's?" Nah, supposedly it is channeled by Jesus and he "sets things right." :)


He fed 5,000 people with seven loaves and two fishes. I'm sure somebody brought a little extra, concealing it just under their robe. Maybe, ever been to a party hosted by a bunch of guys - chips and beer. You better BYOF. If you want food it needs to be hosted by women or gay men. I know someone who works with a bunch of men. Every party they expect her to bring the food while they show up with the pop, napkins, and paper plates. Finally, she got ticked off not only at the laziness but the expense. So the next party she did not cook and there was no food.  My guess is that Jesus never noticed the people were hungry and the people just didn't expect much in the first place so they didn't complain to the host. How can you keep tabs on that many people, shout out anybody hungry? They misread the waving hands in the back as I'm good when they were really saying "me me me."


Regarding your females being hormonal references. Keep in mind that men's hormones actually shift more frequently in less impactful ways. Women are more likely to express their emotions and you can hear the nails on the chalkboard. Men just get violent and angry.  Some will rape, murder, control entire societies and groups of people, fire tens of thousands of workers and then pad their bonus...  Nah, ever been to a party hosted by a bunch of guys - chips and beer. If you want food it needs to be hosted by women or gay men. My guess is that Jesus never noticed the people were hungry and the people just didn't expect much in the first place so they didn't complain to the host.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2010 - 7:19PM #3
Wolfhoundgrowl
Posts: 82

I kinda liked your post Bill. I'm not an atheist by choice either. I'm an ATHEIST BY DEFAULT due to my choice of logic over faith. Didn't know what result I'd get, but hey....there it was. 

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2010 - 8:37PM #4
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,200

Mar 18, 2010 -- 7:19PM, Wolfhoundgrowl wrote:


I kinda liked your post Bill. I'm not an atheist by choice either. I'm an ATHEIST BY DEFAULT due to my choice of logic over faith. Didn't know what result I'd get, but hey....there it was. 



Great phrase!  ATHEIST BY DEFAULT!  That would make a great t-shirt or bumper sticker.  If there were a religion that wasn't total crap, it would be practically compelling, but who can stand to live life pretending?  I feel as if I'd need a lobotomy before I could get the toothpaste back in the tube.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2010 - 11:26PM #5
Wiscidea
Posts: 2,319

Just want to say ... thank you for the post. Yes. I don't know what more to say.

"Some people claim that there's a woman to blame. But I know it's my own damn fault."

Jimmy Buffet (Margaritaville)
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4 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2010 - 3:06PM #6
Grubmeister General
Posts: 17

Bill,


A very interesting post. I too sometimes let my mind wander, contemplating the bible. As I try to comprehend this "popular" document I imagine a multitude of"what if's".


What if it were written by people, with absolutely no input from god. Just what kind of person would do that? Is it possible there might have been a noble motive? Maybe the whole thing got out of hand and an entire industry sprung up as a result.


What if the truth had been hijacked, history rewritten by people with such lust for power that they were willing to manipulate and prostitute even god's word for their own purposes.


So many what if's. So many inconsistencies. So many opportunites for hucksters to distort, manipulate function as apologist for bad behavior.


Like you, at times I wish it were true. Maybe not all true but those parts that speak of an empathetic, responsible god. Without personal experience to say otherwise, that's when I hear my own words and recognize it as nothing more than a "wish". A wish puts no food on the table. It might distract my 5 year old long enough to stop crying but one day he'll live in our world. As I see it, my responsibility is to help him recognize this world for what it is and navigate it better than I.


As an agnostic, I too identify with the "Atheist by default" t-shirt. I am not so strong or bullheaded to deny I sometimes suffer from what I secretly refer to as an "athieist malancholy". That's not a cry for help or an invitation for conversion though, just frustration with an unresolvable issue. If necessary, I would throw myself in front of a bus for my wife or kids. I cook food for my recently widowed neighbor. I volunteer as a T-ball coach. I can do that and much more but it still does not erase the feeling that something is missing. Maybe my ego is bruised by the realization that I am truly insignificant compared to the totality of Mass and time. I recognize society as a whole functions better if we treat each other just and well. One "what if" questions why I should care though. I don't have even a beat up Rolex but my sense of empathy prevents me from trying to be the Lord of the Flies.
In any case, I'll deal with my dog days without the leap of faith. My brain works better than some, not so well as others, but it works and I can't turn it off.


I tend to believe if there is a god, he would denounce the bible, the koran and any other book which insists it speaks in his name. Assuming there is an all powerful god, his existence will probably not be proven at a time and place of my choosing. Should that time occur however, I will make the decision as to whether the experience is real or not.


Much of the problem is our impatience. We want an answer "RIGHT NOW". We're told it does not matter if you have proof, you must make a decision immediately. I've never worked a carnival but I imagine that's why the barker works so hard. As brilliant as he was, I've come to the conclusion Pascal threw a good portion of his life away. I also think it is foolish to believe a potentially all powerful god does not exist unless I can coax him under a microscope.


Result:Intellectual Gridlock. However, cutting to the chase, in the event of even the perception of a Tie, the match goes to the Atheist. Not a satisfying result at all.


In the meantime, I'll live the same way I will encourage my kids. As they grow, I will ask them "what kind of world do you want to live in?". Hopefully, with age, experience and wisdon, this will make more sense to them.


T-ball goes a long way to bolster my spirits. I encourage anyone who might be having a bad day to watch kids play ball, even if they're not your own. Maybe that's what it's all about.


Grub 

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2010 - 5:27AM #7
Sierra Rain
Posts: 566

Allah is just too uptight.  He needs to go out more, preferably with Buddha.


God thinks you are funny Laughing.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2010 - 6:59AM #8
Sierra Rain
Posts: 566

One more thing.  "Men are that they might have joy."  I would run with that one.  God can take it.  If there is a God--he/she/it would want you to find your happy place--of course that's my opinion.  If you have to leave religion to find peace--so be it.  You of course know that I, from my Mormon/Christian perspective, see no visions of hell fire and dancing with devils in your future for making such a choice.  Aren't you relieved =).  Of course if that is what you are after--I think you probably have a lot more work to do.


I think Mormonism and Athiesm are close cousins.  I may be unique Laughing .  I was raised to try to clear through the clutter of culture and myth to find the gold--the real value of life.  I think that is what athiests/agnostics are doing--so I feel a kinship.  Not that I think we are the only ones trying to do that, but I think that is why I like hanging around here when I get the chance.  Good company.


Oops and yet one more something =) it is really late--so I am being self indulgent.


Even science (that I know of--that admittedly doesn't say much) doesn't suggest that you cease to exist completely upon death.  You have energy in you--giving you that "spark" of life.  When you die where does it go?  It goes somewhere.  This will always cause us to question.  Will your consciousness go with it.  Or is that enerygy completely independent of you?  Who knows?  No one is certain.  You will never be free from wondering or hoping that it goes somewhere and does something because you are human, and aren't we infinitely curious?


For those of you who may have decided that it goes no where and does nothing--wow--I have no idea how to even comprehend that.  I mean no disrespect with that statement.  I really can't comprehend that.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2010 - 7:14AM #9
Eudaimonist
Posts: 2,036

Mar 24, 2010 -- 6:59AM, Sierra Rain wrote:

Even science (that I know of--that admittedly doesn't say much) doesn't suggest that you cease to exist completely upon death.  You have energy in you--giving you that "spark" of life.



Actually, science doesn't say anything about the existence of a "spark of life".  That would be vitalism, a view discredited long ago by science.


Sure, chemical energy is involved in life, but it is not a structured entity that can "go" anywhere.


For those of you who may have decided that it goes no where and does nothing--wow--I have no idea how to even comprehend that.  I mean no disrespect with that statement.  I really can't comprehend that.



I believe you.  Death is not an easy thing to comprehend from an "I" perspective, since every perspective has an "I", and yet death-as-extinction does not have an "I".  Death can only be understood abstractly, "from the side".


 


eudaimonia,


Mark

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2010 - 11:32AM #10
Sierra Rain
Posts: 566

 I should have said that science--as I understand it--my understanding being limited at best--doesn't suggest to me that life ends at death.  I am not a scientist.   I am not saying that I am correct--it was just a thought.  I probably should not have stayed up until 4 am.  I am sure what I said is littlered with holes and full of flaws.  Hopefully Bill is able to gather that my intention was to encourage and sympathise--perhaps he'll crack a smile.  I hope so.  I am not here to convert anyone to my opinions or feelings at all.


Always a good visit here.


 

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