One of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through was hearing my 11-year-old daughter Claire tell me she was worried about me going to Hell when I die. The worst part about it was knowing that I was the one who’d taught her about Hell in the first place. All through Claire’s life up to that point, my wife and I did our best to raise her the way we thought God desired. We took her to church, we prayed, we even led her to salvation by accepting Jesus as her lord and savior. By the time our second daughter Mae was born, the seeds of doubt had slowly planted themselves somewhere deep inside of me. By the time Helen came along a couple of years later, I was already on an irreversible course toward leaving my faith behind altogether. I eventually found myself in the unenviable position of telling my family I no longer believed in God, and in a series of difficult and uncomfortable conversations, that talk with Claire was the worst. (more…)
I want you to meet someone. This is Jessica Whelan.
(I actually wrote this post some time ago and simply forgot about it. Better late than never I suppose!)
Although I enjoy discussing topics on religion and secularism, I think it’s important every once in a while to dive into the really important topics, the things that truly matter in all of our day to day lives. Therefore, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about video games.
More specifically, I’d like to talk about DOOM.
I know, I said I wasn’t going to make every post about Atheism. What can I say, I’m a dirty stinking liar. I’ll hit the brakes on it one day… but not this day. NOT THIS DAY.
The Age of Accountability (hereafter known as AoA for brevity’s sake) is something I’ve brought up a few times, at least once here and more often elsewhere. It’s a concept that has always bothered me, but it took me a long time – and my eventual deconversion – to understand exactly why. For those who aren’t familiar with it, AoA is a concept many Christians* adhere to, which essentially says that children will not be held accountable for their sins until they reach an age where they fully understand what sin actually is (and that they are committing it).
In other words, a 5-year-old might lie to her mother, but since she isn’t old enough to fully understand why it’s a sin for her to do so, God doesn’t hold her accountable for it. Only when she reaches an age where she fully recognizes that she’s doing something wrong will she be held accountable.
Sounds reasonable, right? Most Christians would say so. But there are some problems when one goes beyond a surface-level examination, both for those who believe in the AoA, and for those who don’t. It is a concept that has forced Christians to paint themselves into a corner, and they have no way to get out without making a huge mess.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Let’s just get the point. Paul had it completely backwards. Anyone can look at the world around them and see immediately that God has not been perceived in any way whatsoever. Everyone looks at the natural world and either sees it for what it is, or for what they want it to be. It can mean very different things to the Christian than it does to the Hindu than it does to the Atheist (though I would argue that the atheist is closest, despite knowing there is still much to learn). Nothing about it is plain or consistent at all… if it were, why all the confusion?
But the crux of the matter is the fact that Christians enjoy using this verse as an argument that even atheists don’t really deny the existence of God. We may claim that we do, but deep down, we all know the truth is that God (not just any God, but the Christian God) exists. This is my counter-argument. I would say that not only is this view entirely wrong, but that the exact opposite is in fact true. It isn’t atheists who actually believe in Christianity. It’s Christians who don’t believe in it.
Here are 10 reasons why this is the case. (more…)
Ever since “going public” with my atheism, I must admit that I’ve had to work extremely hard to avoid what I see as common mistakes that new deconverts often seem to make. I can’t help but be excited about this new perspective that I’ve discovered, and my first instinct is to want to “spread the good news,” so to speak. And truly, it is good news. We aren’t being eternally judged by our finite actions in this relatively tiny slice of time we’ve been given. No one is going to burn in hell for all eternity. How very precious does this life become when it is our only focus? This is all very good news indeed!
But not everyone will see it that way. In fact, most of the people closest to me will see it in the complete opposite light. And just as I don’t enjoy being preached at, it’s important for me to understand that proselytism is a two way street.
The slow erosion of my belief in God was something I never intended, and frankly, was something I never saw coming.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when this erosion began. I’ve always had questions about my faith, as I believe most people have, from a young age. Even the most devout believer will admit there is a lot about Christianity that just doesn’t make a lick of sense. How is it possible to be both three gods and one god at the same time? Where did God come from? How could he have always existed? If the world was only created less than 10,000 years ago, where do dinosaurs fit in? How do we even know that the Bible is true?
These questions (and many, many more) remain generally unanswered, to the point that even adults who are rock solid in their understanding of Christianity must simply accept them as truth on faith, confident that the answers are impossible for mere humans to comprehend. How do we know that the Bible is the true, inerrant word of God? Obviously because we have faith that it is so. Why then must we hold to this unwavering faith? Because the Bible tells us to.
And round and round it goes. (more…)
Hey there. It’s been a while.
Updating this blog is like trying to get together with someone you haven’t seen for years. At first, you mean well, you say, “Yeah, let’s get together for lunch or something!” And you really intend to, but for whatever reason life gets in the way and it never happens. Time goes by, and you keep thinking, Hey, I need to follow up and call them again. But then you realize that’s become so long that it’s awkward now, and you deliberately make a point to remain distant because you feel like too much time has passed. And then you get old and die.
Wow, that got dark really fast.
What I’m trying to say is, here I am. I’m making the attempt, for whatever it’s worth. (more…)
So there’s this guy, Chuck Wendig, who posts a prompt every Friday for readers of his blog to write a piece of flash fiction (less than 1000 words). I’ve participated in these a couple of times, but never actually posted anything here. This week, I’m changing that. So, this week’s challenge?
Pick three words from a list of ten, and write a story around them.
I did a random roll, and to make this slightly more fun, I’ll post the three words I ended up with after the story. That way you can try to figure them out before hand. Though I’m pretty sure you’ll figure them out.
Hope you enjoy it! (more…)
Want to read some of the best short horror fiction on the market today? Want to read it for FREE? Then you’re in luck! This week only, Shock Totem is offering up their first five issues in e-book format from the Amazon Kindle store for the low low cost of nothing! Time is limited however, so hurry up and get in on this.
Head on over to Shock Totem’s website to find out more. (more…)