3/21/2008                                                                                       View Comments

The worst thing about religion is...

By Geoff

I am frequently told by a myriad of individuals that atheism is irrational, stupid, uncool and just plain negative, I am told that our worldview is asinine, that we are running from god and that we believe that we are descended from monkeys

Hard to believe that two years ago this was essentially the same belief I held about atheism! I already submitted my testimony, I believe "We are one with the cosmos" was its title. Since then I have told one of my parents about my newfound (lack of) beliefs, argued with my fundie father, tried in vain to get out of church, and still continue to suffer through a Christian school

BUT! That's just the bad. I can say with 100% certainty that despite my situation I have grown as a person in the past two years more then I could ever have imagined. The continual church services I'm forced to sit through has given me a myriad of ways to refute the various claims made by these people. The theology classes (I have been kicked out of three) serve to give me an insider's view of the religion. However, probably the biggest change in me is simply this:

I love life.

I'm no longer afraid to live. I'm no longer afraid to think and let my various hormone laden thoughts flow freely through me, I'm not afraid to say "thats fucking bullshit" when someone tries to tell me what to do with my penis, and most importantly I'm not afraid to let my uncorrupted sense of morality govern my thoughts and actions. I now believe in the absolute freedom of the individual to accomplish anything they feel like (provided it harms no one). Whereas before, I was constantly paranoid about conforming to Gods will.

CONFORM!

This is perhaps the biggest turn off about the Christian religion, It requires (and in most cases demands) unrealistic levels of conformity, Christian dress has to CONFORM to standards of Christian modesty. Christian music must CONFORM to standards of Christian decency. Christian women must CONFORM to the authority of their Christian husbands who must in turn CONFORM to the authority of the church who must in turn CONFORM to the authority of the bible

Well fuck! With all this conformity going on you wonder how Christians manage to do anything, be anything or live happy, comfortable lives. I have discovered that in most cases either they don't, or they do by ignoring most of the core teachings of Christianity, reaching for its god as a means of comfort (think a giant cosmic teddy bear) or as a way of proving to themselves that they are worth something. Is this really any way to live at all? What is "freedom in Christ" or whatever they are calling their particular brand of conformity now? In the end it all means the same. You CONFORM to the church's teachings, then spend eternity CONFORMing to God in heaven (We were created for the sole purpose of glorifying God, remember?)

When people say that Christianity has made their lives worth something, I can't imagine for the life of me how horrible they must have had it before. But it has ceased to be something that pisses me off and is now something that just makes me giggle.
So what is the point of this article? I honestly don't know. I suppose I can sum up the essence of everything I have learned, everything I am, and everything I believe in this way:

I am a small part of a large universe, I am just one living being on a planet of billions of living beings in a universe that quite possibly contains trillions of living beings. I consign "worship" to nothing, and that's because no supernatural being is in any way, shape or form more beautiful then nature -- not more complicated, more elegant, or more mysterious. Nature is my "god" and my mind is my own church. I believe I have one life to live and that I might as well have a blast and do my best to help others do the same. I believe that religion stemmed from the simple human need for understanding the world around them, and that like an old hypothesis it has been outmoded, and thus we are obligated to remove it and look at other options. I believe that the worst thing about religion is that it stifles human growth, morality and all around enjoyment of life, I believe in laughing, living, loving, sharing a joke with a good friend, enjoying the feeling of holding that special person in your arms, drinking a good cup of tea, having kinky sex, being spontaneous and obnoxious, listening to music that doesn't feature an invisible flying Jew as a central theme. I believe in science, skepticism and the thorough debunking of any and all malarkey that might lead someone away from experiencing reality. I believe there are no "bad" or "good" people, just people who need different kinds of love and recognition. I believe we are not dirty sinners in a constant battle with the evil one, but rather the human race, we have our flaws. We are capable of unspeakable evil, but also of selfless love, elegance and unshakable beauty. We can do great things, we just have to WANT to to do those great things.

9 comments:

billybee said...

..."So what is the point of this article? I honestly don't know."...

Geoff,
You want to scream from the rooftops about the things you now know are true. You wish you could grab people by the shoulders and cry "wake UP!".
Unfortunatly these methods don't get us very far, so, we have do do exactly what you are doing now; learning to be patient with the folks who are stuck in the mire that we (not so very long ago) were in.
You are lucky to have seen through the myth at the beginning of your adult like. This will make all the difference in your future. Use your knowledge wisely.
Good Luck and thanks for a great article.

Nina said...

I am a nature "worshiper" and always have been. It is a very stable, happy, clean place to start a relationship with yourself.
Imagine the essence of love. It is all around you.
If I listen to my inner self, I hear all the good things I need to inspire my life.
I am spiritual without religion, I think you are too, Geoff.
Continue the quest
Nina

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

Hi there! Great post. I myself have to deal with a fundie parent. So I feel your pain there friend. One thing about your post that jumped out at me was the part where you said that the religious minded said that the athiests are irrational - with this I must agree, but at the same time I must also agree that the religious minded are irrational as well, so where does this leave us? The reason why I ask is because neither side knows the truth of the matter, all of the evidence concieveable may be offered, but evidence is still not proof - one shred of proof overides 10,000 pieces of evidence. With that said, [and I expect quite a bit of fire from this statement] Atheists are just as irrational as theists concerning these matters. Just keep that in mind.

freethinker05 said...

Geoff, that was a great read, and honestly well written.

Hope to hear alot more from you, my friend, Roger...A/A

The AntiChristian said...

Geoff,
I can tell you from personal experience that this parental religious oppression does not stop. Like you, I was forced to go to church when I was young. I became an atheist after I went to college when I was 19. I am 47 now and live in a country different from my mother, yet she still tries to oppress me with preachy religious emails.

I used to take it lying down and fluff it off out of respect for my mother. However, the more she realized that I was impervious to her preaching, the more virulent the preaching got.

When it got to the point that she got her church mates involved in sending me preachy emails, sometime last year I guess, I simply decided that enough is enough. I started on the offensive with sending them preachy atheist emails of my own.

I was surprised to find the change in attitude with the emails that I received from these Christian cyber-ministers. Christians are not used to being put on the defensive. At the beginning, their emails were full of pious confidence, but when I started fighting back, they seemed at a loss for what to say and usually resorted to a desperate "Jesus loves you, and you're going to Hell."

Atheism is based on logic and reason and when religious people are faced with a logical argument, they often don't know how to come back and simply resort to their religious threats.

Now they rarely send me emails, but I have found that this atheist email ministry is quite fun, so I'm keeping up with it. I receive a great deal of pleasure from putting Christians on the defensive.

If you are still living with your parents, you probably have no choice but to grin and bear it until you become independent.

freedy said...

Geoff,that was a great read.Church was always a pain in the ass for me.Even as a lay minister for 20 years I suffered with unreal guilt and shame.

It's been 3 years since I've felt any shame or guilt over present things,....now that's freedom!

Steven Bently said...

Great testimony. There are (two) basic principles to everything we know.

Light-dark
male-female
up-down
good-bad
like-dislike
positive-negative
rational-unrational
vacuum-presure
hot-cold
wet-dry
pro/this-anti/that

None of the above signifys the presence of a god, but the Bible writers presumed those two basic qualities did signify a god and an anti-god.

Although I do personally believe Atheism is a rational held position, based upon reason, not from emotional fear nor guilt.

Telmi said...

Great post, Geoff, and congrats for your courage and recovery from ignorance.

AlienBaby said...

I'm going to start a rock band called the Invisible Flying Jews.