In response to “Is Satan Real?”…

satanA post, over at “suddenly christian” caught my attention…  called “Is Satan Real?”.  It had quite the varied opinions – mostly all coming from very Christian people.  My initial response was posted there and was this:

“I found this whole thread pretty interesting. Amazing really… All the different things people chose to believe in, or not to believe in. ??

I personally don’t believe in Satan… but, then again, I also don’t believe in God – so, this makes perfect sense to me. Sure, I believe in there is “good” and “evil”… but, I don’t think it’s because of God or Satan.

What I don’t understand Read the rest of this entry »

Atheists in foxholes…

I’ve always heard that “there are no atheists in foxholes”…  According to Wikipedia this means:

“The statement “There are no atheists in foxholes” is used to imply that atheists really do believe in God deep down, and that in times of extreme stress or fear, such as when participating in warfare, the belief will surface, overwhelming the less substantial affectation of atheism.”

Is this true?  Do all atheists eventually call out to God – like when they are on their deathbeds?

I have to say no.  And, I say this because of the one atheist that I knew very well… and whom I watched die slowly… and all that went with that.  My father.  And, did I ever see him wobble on this?  Suddenly admit he was wrong and ask for God’s help?  No.  I didn’t.

Matter of fact, Read the rest of this entry »

Oooh… why do I bother?

I somehow (tag surfing) accidentally ended up on a blog the other night called “The Ultimate Goal”,  specifically a post entitled “Why Atheism Does Not Exist”.

Some young man there, Adam Smith, was basically preaching the old “let no man be without an excuse” (for going to hell, that is) argument – because he claims that ALL people, miraculously, really DO believe in God.

Yeah.. okay…
Tell that not only to all the atheists, agnostics, but also to all the people of other religions who don’t believe in the same god as his bible.  Not to mention all the third world people who don’t have the energy or time of day to learn about God because they are too busy starving to death. Apparently, they ALL KNOW they are wrong… and are either living in denial, or because they are just plain defying God on purpose and don’t WANT to follow his rules.  I guess, that latter bunch must relish the idea of a permanent retirement home in a a fiery eternal pit of torment.

Anyway – I don’t know why I Read the rest of this entry »

Greatest Love Story of All Time??

My very good Christian friend that I was debating all kinds of things with had the following to say to me at one point in our conversations… She said:

I think that H(God) totally understands the warped church that you were raised in (good intentions on the part of your Mom I’m sure, but still …), why you think what you think, and no matter what you think about him right now, or where you are with him right now, he loves you. Period. He knows what you’re going to do tomorrow, and even 10 years from now. He’s not frowning down on you because you aren’t reading your Bible every day. Does he miss you? Yes. But is he some unforgiving, mean, judgmental God who only loves you if you do everything “right” (by who’s standards?). No, he loves us “as is”. And forgiveness is what he is all about. How else do you explain Jesus. That is the greatest love story of all time if you ask me.

I know she means well… and she is trying to make me feel the “love” of God… but, is it just me… or Read the rest of this entry »

All is fair in love and conversion…

Another post at “de-conversion” got me thinking.  The post is called “My life of proselytization“, this time from HeisSailing…   

In his post, he said:

 “I witnessed the Gospel of Jesus Christ for most of my adult life”. 

Now, I was much younger  than he was when I was a full force believer.  But, I believe I felt just as strongly.  I believed it all.  I went around trying to “save” all the kids in my neighborhood… but, my main mission was to save my own father.   

HeisSailing made a comment about getting his mom to come to church:

“I would try to convince my mother, once a committed Christian and now a practical atheist, the error of her backsliding ways. I even got her to go to church with me a few times, but not before informing the pastor that I was bringing her and if he would not mind directing a word or two of his message her way.”

This really reminded me of how when I was a young girl, I would be pressured into singing or doing “specials” in front of the church.  Then, I would be asked to put the pressure on my father to come to church to see me.  After all, I was “Daddy’s little girl”, didn’t he want to see me perform?  So, he did come… for at least the first few years of “specials”. 

Each time he said “yes honey, I’ll come see you sing” –  I would report back to my mother.  Then my mother, her friends, the pastor, and my brother and I would rejoice.  He’ s coming!  Hallelujah!  And we’d all pray hard every day until the day of the “special”, that when he came… THIS would be the time the lord would come down and bonk him on the head and turn him into the perfect Christian father and husband.  When it didn’t happen… we’d go back to plan A.  Try, try again.  Repeatedly I was put in this position of trying to save my own father.  For years. 

Eventually, my father stopped coming to every “special” of mine.  He knew the deal… and he didn’t like being approached by the pastor and pressured each time he came either.  It was like the whole church was looking at him when he’d come.  “Here comes that atheist husband and father!”.  They could’ve sold tickets to see the freak atheist!  LOL  So, I can’t blame him for not wanting to come – even at the time.  He probably also sensed the pressure being put on me, and didn’t want to be a part of that either. 

I know it was very hard for him to eventually start telling me, “no honey, I won’t come see you sing”.  I would then have to report back to my mother that I had failed.. he won’t come… I’m sorry.  She would then freak out and get very upset.  She made me feel terrible when he didn’t come.  She’d make me ask him again and again.  And, then they’d argue and she’d try to make him feel guilty for not coming,  and make ME feel guilty and like he didn’t care about me in the process.

Eventually, I didn’t WANT to keep singing either.  (surprise surprise!).  Mostly because I didn’t want to keep pressuring my dad and going thru this.. and because I was starting to have my own doubts about all of it.  Not only about my beliefs, but I started wondering if I even had a good voice or not!  (loletinf!;)  When I finally stood up for myself and said that I didn’t want to do a “special”, I suddenly didn’t feel so special anymore.  Not just my mother, but the church leaders also made me feel really bad.  Like I was a quitter… giving up… back-sliding… and, they then put pressure and guilt trips on ME asking me over and over when I would sing again.  My mother even said something like, “how is your father ever going to be saved now??! “. 

Looking back, I can’t believe how much plotting and scheming it all was.  The pressure, fear, and guilt used! Unfortunately, since I was in it, I understand their thinking and putting the pressure on my Dad.  They really felt it was their duty and apparently rudeness, politeness, respect, and common courtesy fly out the window when you are trying to save someone’s soul (and do your Christian duty ).  This is bad enough. 

However, what really gets me (and I don’t want to sound whiney here, but) is how could they do that to me?  I was a little girl.  A little CHRISTIAN girl who wanted to believe all they were teaching.  They played me.  They used me.  How could they put that kind of pressure, guilt and fear on me?!?

 And, when I say “they”, it was NOT just by my mother.  It was also her friends, the pastor, the choir director, the church leaders.  What kind of people scare the crap out of a little girl telling her that her father, (who she loved wholeheartedly and was a GREAT Dad) was going to burn in hell?  Tell her that over and over?? Which is bad enough… but, then tack on the, “unless YOU can save him” part.  ??  And we prayed.. and prayed…  And I cried… and cried…

I just don’t get it. I don’t get how adults, in their right minds, could think this was an okay thing to do.  ??  The “RIGHT” thing to do??  It makes me mad still when I think about it, and leads me to the only logical conclusion I can think of, and that is that they ALL were not in their right minds! 

HeisSailing wrote:

” I then became exhausted from witnessing. I was exhausted and drained from believing that I and my small sect of Christian brethren have the exclusivity on truth and everyone else, no matter what their beliefs, are going to eternal torment. I was sick of believing that I was on the narrow path of righteousness, and my loved ones are on the wide path leading to destruction when in many cases, they are just simply much better people than I am.”

This is a huge part of why I eventually didn’t believe and don’t believe in any one religion, or in religion or God at all really.  Not only because I can’t fathom the idea of my own father going to hell (which is a biggie, I admit), but, also ALLLLLL the other people.  It can’t be.  It makes no sense. 

HeisSailing then wrapped up his post by saying:

“Then I became sick of that guilt, I became sick of that arrogance of exclusivity, I became sick of looking at our life as a trial from God to see if we believed the correct doctrines, and I refused to accept it anymore.”

Like him, I also “became sick” of these same things…  The eternal dangling carrot, and the constant fear of hell. I am glad to be rid of them.    

PS – If you haven’t already – I suggest you go read HeisSailing’s post in full, as he writes much better than me and makes his points with much better reasoning…

Take care,

~smj

Threats of Hell…

After reading a post on “Parenting Beyone Belief”, called “god’s burning love for me”, I found this “The Reality of Hell” video from here: http://www.rapturealert.com/video/realityofhell.asp:

I couldn’t help myself…  I had to watch it.  Nice, huh?  Lovely. 

Utterly ridiculous, is what it is.  To threaten people… scare them… into believing something.  No thanks.

 When I was a kid… probably about 8, I remember our church one Sunday night had a “special”… and it was a whole movie like that clip.  It showed people meeting Jesus, having flashbacks on their lives and all the wrong things they had done…. even things like chances they had to “witness” but didn’t.  And, then it showed them going to hell… burning…  I especially remember one scneene where they showed what looke like live worms crawling in and out of some poor guys burning flesh as he screamed. 

 I was horrified.  Shocked.  Scared shitless.  And, petrified for my father and brother, and all those other lost souls.  Somewhere, in the back of my brain, I feared for myself as well, even though I thought I was “saved” at the time.  Was I really saved?  What had I done wrong?  I knew there had to be something.  Why would my father deserve to go to Hell, but not my Mom or myself?  What made us so much better?? 

There was no real peace at all in the knowledge that I was “saved”.  How could I know for sure I was?  And, how could I be peaceful, or live “happily ever after” knowing that my father and millions like him were burning in eternal hell?  How is that peace?

But, I believed back then…  and, I remember my mother telling me (and everyone) that my Dad WAS going to hell constantly.  She constantly hoped for a miracle of his salvation.  We prayed and prayed.  I confronted him.. and begged him to come to church.  I sang in front of the church, just to get him to come, for years.  Way past the time I wanted to sing.  They made me feel like I HAD to… it was my duty.. since that was the only time Dad came to church (to see me sing).   When I started not wanting to do it anymore… they really put the pressure and guilt on me.  Not just my Mom, but other adults of the church too. 

Looking back… it makes me so mad.  I know now that my mom was sick.  Other adults, the pastor, must have known she was too.  Yet – nobody told me she was.  I believed everything she told me for a long time.  I can forgive and excuse her actions… BECAUSE I now know she was sick. 

What I can’t get my brain around, is how all these other adults… elders of the church.. the pastor(s)… how they all encouraged her behavior and the things they told me too!?  What in the world were they thinking?  That is was GOOD to worry a little girl sick about thoughts of hell and fire and brimstone?  That God would want them to tell a child over and over that her own father was going to hell unless SHE could MAKE him come to church so maybe the church congregation could win him over to God’s side? 

I liked my Dad….  and loved him even more.  But, I had to believe he was doomed to what I saw in that movie unless I could save him.  And, I didn’t dare ask WHY he was such a bad guy?  WHY did he deserve eternal hell and fire?  I knew he didn’t go to church…  or believe in God.  But, he was a great Dad.  He was a loving, caring, and wonderful man.  It just never made sense to me.  And, it still doesn’t.

I like this video from George Carlin on religion much better…   now, HE makes sense… (and makes me laugh LOL)

🙂

~smj

Could Mom be wrong?

I grew up very religious – baptist for starters… then more of a full-gospel/pentecostal… and then my current religion of choice – nothing.

When I was just a kid… I went to church 3-5 times a week with my mom and my brother. My other brother, and my dad stayed home.

You see, my father made no bones about the fact that he was an atheist. He then went on to tell us kids that it was our choice… we could go to church with our mother if we wanted to… or we could stay home with him and do chores.

My oldest brother went to church for a while.  Then, he was the first one to take my dad up on this option. He opted to stay home. My mom was not happy, to say the least. But, my dad was a man of his word, and would not make my brother go if he didn’t want to. This led to the major divide in our family.  My parents had always fought like crazy… but, this divided us 3 kids too.  From them on out, it was my Dad and my oldest brother, against my mom, my other brother, and myself.

I watched my mother tell anyone that would listen all about how awful my father was. And, how he was going to hell… and now he was trying to drag her son with him. We prayed for them. A lot. My mother would cry and cry… and we would all pray… the three of us, and anyone else my mother could drag into it.

Then, I would go home.. and my dad would say – “you don’t have to go to church if you don’t want to”. What? And wind up like HIM, I thought? Going to hell in a hand basket? No thank you. Besides, if my mom tweaked out that much over my one brother not going, what in the world would happen to her if I didn’t go too? Did I want my mom telling everyone that would listen about how I was going to hell and praying for me? And, besides.. I believed her.

I believed it all. I was scared to death for my dad and my brother. I belived they were going to hell. I prayed my heart out along with them. I cried and cried too.

Yes, I was a good little christian girl. When I was about 5 or 6 I tried to “save” every kid on my block. Needless to say, I wasn’t very popular that summer. LOL But, I did whatever my Mom told me to do… and I did it because I thought she knew what she was talking about. Along with the pastor and all the other good people at church.

I played the organ and sang in church regularly. I was shy and scared to death… my knees would shake and I felt like I was going to throw up each time… but, I was convinced this was something I should do. You see, this was the only time my dad would go to church. To see me preform. Each time, my mother would gather the pastor and church leaders to pray before each “special” I preformed. We would pray that when my dad came to see me that THIS would be the time that God would speak to him… sort of bonk him on the head with christian fairy juice or something and he would suddenly become the perfect christian father that he should be.

It took me years to stop believing that would happen. And, as I became a pre-teen, my dad had it all figured out too. He stopped coming when I sang. My mom and pastor would tell me to ask him to come… put the pressure on him… make him feel guilty. So, I did. Only, I really felt bad that he wouldn’t come. I wasn’t pretending to want him there. My mom told me to tell him that if he loved me he’d come… and, so, when he wouldn’t come… I actually wondered if he really did love me or not.

It took me a while before I realized that of course he loved me… he was just sick of the plotting and scheming… and, after a few more failed attempts to make him come and see me… I realized I was tired of it all too. I was relieved… I didn’t really want to sign in front of the whole church. So, I stopped “preforming” like a trained seal. I still remember how guilty my mom made me feel for “giving up”. Mot only my mom, but also the pastor and other adults. Looking back, it makes me very angry. Angry with my mom, but also with the church leaders for putting that kind of pressure on me. A little naive girl. How dare they????

Singing wasn’t the only time or way I was “used” by my mom. My mom knew how close I was with my dad. How close all of us kids were with him. She was jealous. He was the one we turned to… and I was without a doubt – “Daddy’s little girl”. He may have been an atheist… and going to hell or not… he was never anything but wonderful to me and my brothers. If anyone taught us positive life lessons – it was him. And, yet, I’d hear my mother trash him every singe day. She acted like he was the devil himself. She and my Dad fought a lot… and, she would use me as a pawn against him.

After my mother’s prompting, I vividly remember apporaching my father… teary eyed and upset… asking him why he didn’t believe in God? why didn’t he believe in the bible? and sobbing that I didn’t want him to go to hell. His answer, I remember explicitly…

He sat me down on his knee.. wiped my tears… told me not to worry and that he wasn’t going to hell… I hopefully listened on. He explained that he didn’t think there was a hell… and he said, “You know your little Thumbelina book that you like so much? You know how it’s a great fairytale and story, but it’s not real? Well, that is how I think of the bible. I think it’s a great book… with lots of great stories… and some good messages… but, I don’t think it’s real”. This answer made me feel better, even though my mother promptly shot it down and told me he was going to hell again soon after. Still.. it planted a seed of a thought… maybe…just maaaaaaaaaaybe Mom was wrong???

TBC…

~ smj