Gentiles = “Dogs” To Jesus

An excellent article I found I think every Christian should read.

https://www.facebook.com/diane.fadden?ref=tn_tnmn#!/notes/the-thinking-atheist/lies-damned-lies-and-the-claim-jesus-would-have-loved-you/470499726313342

Page admin and guest blogger Meg put together a perspective on the beloved Christian “savior” that many haven’t yet heard.  This is her article, entitled:

 

Lies, Damned Lies, And The Claim Jesus Would Have Loved You

Jesus did not want you in his club. Unless you were a Jew, Jesus thought you were a filthy animal. Yes, even if you are Christian. It is all in the Bible.

Unless you spend much time on The Thinking Atheist Facebook page where you might have already seen me discuss this topic, the above statement regarding Jesus is likely surprising even to you as a nonbeliever. To put the issues aside, we will first clarify a couple of the obvious questions before examining what the Bible says on the subject, questions such as:  How could Christianity become the dominate faith of the world if Jesus would have detested nearly every one of his followers? And how could it not be common knowledge that Jesus held such views? And why is an atheist interested in what the Bible says, much less making the effort to tell others about it?

Prior to the Reformation when Protestants began translating Bibles and thus undermined the efforts of the Church, for the first 1,550 years or so of the Christian faith, the Church went to extreme lengths to ensure the average person could not read the texts of the Bible themselves and were forced to rely on Church clergy.

It was not only a crime to translate the Bible from Latin into common languages, it was a crime to even possess a translation of the Bible or to print a Bible in Latin without a license granted by Church authorities, and the Church took the matter seriously.

Not satisfied by his death, the Church had the body of a man who dared to translate the Bible into English, John Wycliffe, dug out of his grave 74 years after his initial burial. Church officials then burned what was left of Wycliffe’s body, dumped his ashes in a river, and decreed the same fate for any of his remaining followers. While that sounds petty to us, the Church had Christians convinced they required their physical bodies for the Second Coming, so no body meant no eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven for you, a fate far worse than death to their minds.

The few people with the means to obtain an education and become functionally literate generally did not speak Latin, but rather their native tongue, so even the educated were prevented from reading the Bible. With the exception of a few members of the French nobility who had partial texts in their own language, those who could both read Latin and had access to the Biblical texts were typically members of the clergy. Obviously, telling followers what the Bible actually said would have put early Christian leaders and their predecessors out of a job — a job that gave the clergy enormous privilege and power over the illiterate masses.

Contemporary Christians, at least those who actually bother to read their Bible, are aware of the verses we are going to review. What they lack is knowledge on Judaism, the traditional views and culture of the Middle East, and the history behind the writing of the New Testament, knowledge that the Biblical authors and early Church leaders would have taken for granted. Reading the Bible through the filter of a modern mind gives a skewed impression of what the texts intend to communicate.

To read the Bible and truly understand it, you have to keep in mind that Jesus was a Jew of the ancient world, not a modern Christian. And you must read the Bible in context. Not only the verses of the Bible, which must be read in their entire chapter to grasp the actual meaning, but also read in the context of the culture and time in which a particular text was written.

Due to the rise of Christianity, in which, as we have just explored, lack of public education played a tremendous role, humanity has suffered through nearly 2,000 years of innocent lives being destroyed and there is still no end in sight.

2,000 years of witch burnings, Crusades, the subjugation of women, the persecution of homosexuals, genocide, families and societies being torn apart, superstition being taught as truth, and hard-won factual knowledge being sacrificed on the altar of the God of tiny minds.

What people believe informs their actions, such as how they vote and how they treat others. Those who long for the end of the world so they can live on a cloud in the sky, who believe women are lesser beings, who believe being homosexual is unnatural, who believe “The Flintstones” was a documentary series, and people who are willing to throw their fellow human beings, even their own family members, under the bus to score points with a nonexistent deity tend to vote differently than those of us who do not believe those things. It matters what others believe; it affects each and every one of us who lives in a democratic society.  

Education is key to the future well-being of humanity. And we know for a fact that education works, because like the overwhelming majority of those in the TTA community including its driving force, TTA Founder Seth Andrews, I am a former Christian.

So, for those of you plagued by friends and family who insist Jesus loves you, we are going to provide information useful in educating those around you, in this case to explain to them how Jesus felt about non-Jews.   The following is written to address Christian believers.

In the culture in which Jesus lived, the ultimate insult was to call someone a dog. One of dozens of disparaging verses in the Bible which mentions dogs is Job 30:1, which says, “But now those younger than I mock me, whose fathers I disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.”

That verse is described as the following in “Barnes’ Notes on the Bible”:  “To have set with the dogs of my flock – To have associated with my dogs in guarding my flock. That is, they were held in less esteem than his dogs. This was the lowest conceivable point of debasement. The Orientals (a European term for those from the Middle East) had no language that would express greater contempt of anyone than to call him a dog.”  

In Matthew 7:6 Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs; do not cast your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Jesus is not talking about dogs in the sense of the animal; he is using the term to refer to human beings. In that verse, Jesus is saying to not give what is holy to contemptible, repugnant people.

Of course, that is only one example of Jesus using a particular word or phrase to represent other people or himself. In the Bible, Jesus refers to himself as bread, for example by saying he is the bread of life (John 6:25-59) and to eat bread as his body (Matthew 26:26). And Jesus also used a number of phrases, which he took from the Tanakh (also called the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament) to refer to his fellow Jews, such as the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24), the children of Israel, etc.

You’re not a Jew? Then you are not a child of Israel.

For the Jesus fans reading this, Gentiles means “white people” and all other non-Jews.  You’re not a Jew? Then you are a Gentile.  So what did Jesus have to say about a Gentile like you?

  • Matthew 10:5 “Go not into the way of the Gentiles”
  • Matthew 15:24 “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
  • John 4:22 “Salvation is of the Jews.”

In Matthew 15:21-28 (and in Mark 7:25-30) Jesus is in Gentile territory when a distraught mother approaches Jesus and begs him to help her daughter.  Jesus ignores the mother, and his disciples (also all Jews, naturally) complain, “Jesus, that woman is getting on our nerves. Get rid of her.”  

The Gentile woman persists, begging Jesus to heal her sick child. Jesus eventually responds by insulting the woman for being a Gentile. But rather than getting angry, the Gentile woman uses his slur to talk Jesus into healing her daughter.

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

 Jesus turned his back on this mother’s child while his disciples complained the woman was being a pain in the ass. It is not until the mother begs and grovels at his feet after being called the most rotten term of contempt possible is his language that Jesus finally caves in and helps the woman’s poor daughter.

In neither version of the story, which appears in both the gospels of Mark and of Matthew, does Jesus even touch the daughter. Perhaps the daughter was menstruating and was “dirty” according to the religion of Jesus, Judaism? Or perhaps the fact she was a filthy dog was bad enough?

And amazingly, after all that, Jesus making it clear he and his disciples had nothing to do with the Gentiles and Jesus slinging the most degrading, hateful insult of his culture at us non-Jews, Christians will read that and say, “yeah, but he did heal the child.”

That’s nice. Is that how you would react if you came across a wounded little kitten that needed your help? Refuse to do anything until someone managed to beg and grovel at your feet until you relented? How would you honestly feel if you saw a doctor refuse to render help because a child was outside his ethnic or religious group until the child’s mother fed the doctor’s bigoted superiority complex?

The only reason you’re a Christian as a non-Jew is that Paul and Luke, who were close friends with each other and not part of the disciple gang, took it upon them to spread their own altered version of the message of Jesus. Paul and Luke never even met Jesus. It was Paul and Luke, along with forged letters attributed to Peter [1][2][3], who changed the message of Jesus to include Gentiles for their own benefit.

Writings attributed to Peter contributed to Gentiles being allowed to join the Jesus club as well, though according to the Bible Peter was illiterate (Acts 4:13 describes both Peter and John as agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means “unlettered” that is “illiterate”) and even Christian Biblical Historians acknowledge Peter didn’t author the books attributed to him.

It was Paul, Luke, and an unknown individual pretending to be Peter who created Christianity, not Jesus. And Jesus clearly did not intend to change his mind either.

In Revelation 3:9 Jesus says, “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

Jesus makes no mention of Christians or anyone else. According to his own words (see Matthew chapter 5, along with other comments such as those above), Jesus never intended to begin a new faith; he came to further his own religion, Judaism.

If you’re not a Jew, you’re not a member of his club. In the words of Jesus, you’re the lowest, most contemptible sort of person on the planet.

The reason you think you can speak to Jesus and feel his love is the same reason you can have a conversation in your head with President Obama. We build models of other individuals in our brains to predict their behavior. [4]

That’s what happens when you neglect to read the book by which you supposedly live your life, when you fail to learn its history and objectively investigate what you think you believe — you end up having a fantasy relationship with a bigoted, dead Jew.

[1] Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Oxford University Press, 2000.

[2] Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. Doubleday, 1997

[3] Harris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. Mayfield, 1985

[4] Thomson, J. Anderson; Clare Aukofer. Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith. Pitchstone Publishing, 2011.

 

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Questions I’d Ask Christians

Ultimatum.  The only way to heaven & eternal life is by the blood/sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Question:  What about small children, infants or (heaven forbid) fetuses yet to be conceived because mom and dad haven’t met?

Answer:  God is a fair and loving God.  I’m sure innocent children and babies (fetuses!) go to heaven.

Question:  what about all the people (Jews) who worshipped/followed God before Jesus came to earth?  (or for that matter what about all the people who worshiped the other godmen like Krishna or Mithras who claimed to be the only son of god, were born of a virgin, were crucified and rose three days later?  Was it their fault they were born before the REAL only son of god came?  Seems to me their hearts were in the right place–they worshipped the same thing, for doing the same thing.  How were those millions of followers to know it wasn’t the right only son of god?

Answer:  God works in mysterious ways.  Before Jesus came god let people into heaven if they said they were sorry enough times and sacrificed enough crops, animals, or in some cases, daughters or sons.

Question:  what about people in modern times who were born in other parts of the world where the majority of the population is Muslim or Hindu and that’s what they were taught since birth is the only right religion?  Are they to be sent to hell for believing their parents and their teachers and their culture or their religious leaders in their country?  Should they go to hell for not being born where the majority of Christians live–America?

Answer:  We have missionaries that preach to the uneducated third world peoples.  If they hear the word of god and Satan hardens their hearts to it, yes, they will go to hell.  The truth is out there.   They have to forsake these false religions they have been raised all their lives (just as we have been) to think is true, and follow what we believe instead, in order to make it into heaven.

Question:  If you were told by a Muslim or Hindu or anyone else of any other religion that the Christianity you have embraced all your life–that you were raised to believe all your life is true, is actually false, would YOU be able to forsake all you’ve been taught and become one of these other faiths?

Answer:  Absolutely not because Christianity is the only truth.

Question:  And you know this how?

Answer:   The bible tells me so.  And I know because I have a personal relationship with Jesus in my heart.

Question:  Do you think Muslims might feel sure because the Koran tells them so, or because they have a personal relationship with Muhammad in their heart?

Answer:  If Jesus isn’t in their hearts, then what they think is Muhammad is actually satan.

Question:  If Christianity is the only truth, why are there so many variations of Christianity?   Why do Four Square churches teach you d0n’t have the holy spirit in your heart until you can speak in tongues, and why do the Baptists teach that you must be baptized as an adult before the holy spirit will enter you and how come born again Christians say you must ask Jesus into your heart to be your lord and savior before you can really be saved–going to church or doing good works is not enough?     How is a person to know which Christianity is the right way?

Answer:  All who truly seek after God and truly believe Jesus is the only son of god and died for their sins, will be welcome in the kingdom of heaven.

Question:  But all these other people who seek god too, only the god they’ve been taught to believe in has a different name…they aren’t saved because it’s not the right god?

Answer:  Correct

Question:  What about atheists or agnostics who don’t follow or believe in any god?  Isn’t free will a gift your god gives all of us?   So then, if people accept the gift and exercise their free will…they are punished if they don’t make the right decision?

Answer:  Anyone who shuns god will go to hell, yes.

Question:  By that you mean your god?

Answer:  mine is the only god.

Question: Well, what about mentally ill people, or people incapable of comprehending things like god, salvation, Jesus, Satan, sin, heaven and hell?  Do they go to hell for not understanding?

Answer:  Who can know the mind of god?   Our god is loving: I doubt he’d send someone to hell like that.

Question:  Oh, ok, so he does make exceptions.  Interesting.  So um…if he creates someone mentally ill or otherwise unable to make the right choice–he won’t punish them for not believing, but if he makes someone flawed deliberately so they can’t make the right choice and instead don’t believe, that’s different.  Hmm.  So, how can you call it “free will” if there’s only one right choice a mentally capable person can make and…damnation forever if they make the wrong choice?

Answer:  God doesn’t force them to follow him.   He asks.  If they say no, that’s fine.  But then they don’t go to heaven.

Question:  They go to hell instead, and burn in torment forever.

Answer:  yes, exactly.

Question:  Even though god made them the way they are to be destined not to choose him?  He’d punish them for that?  Wow.  Tell me, could you love a god who sent your mother and father to hell for not believing the right thing?  Who sent your best friend to hell because he couldn’t believe something not supported by facts?  Imagine you’re in heaven and you can hear their cries and see their suffering every moment of the eternity in paradise you get to spend?  Would it still feel like paradise to you?   You could love a god who could do this?

Question–or even if god hardens your heart so it doesn’t bother you knowing that mortal human beings are being tortured forever and ever for making the wrong choice in their brief, flawed, mortal life–you could still love a god knowing he can do this?  To creations he made flawed enough to sin in the first place?

Because,Christian, I could not, and I would rather go to hell than worship a god like that.

Becoming Atheist

It seems to me people think it’s a choice, being atheist.  Like, I wake up one day and think, “today I’m going to become atheist.”  That’s not what happens!

For many it’s not about “becoming” atheist at all.  They simply are atheist.  They’ve heard all the bible verses before–all the arguments, always the same cherry picked verses people quote.   They’ve perhaps tried various faiths or religions, or at least looked into them, but none are backed up by fact or evidence, and so they can’t believe.  Not everyone can have magical thinking, and that’s what it takes to be a believer–any kind of believer.  The same quality children have to be able to believe in a Santa Claus.  Magical thinking.  The ability to suspend disbelief or put aside the questions and just have FAITH, trust that what a million or more people say is real–if so many people believe, it must be real.

But for others like myself, we did believe once.  We were able to set aside the doubts and nagging questions.  Like, having a little pebble in your shoe; rather than stop and shake it out, you keep walking, hoping it will slide to the side where it can’t be felt and you can walk normally for awhile, without limping, forgetting the pebble is there…up until it finds its way back under your foot again where it hurts.

No Christian wants to lose their faith.  That’s the thing.  Every Christian really loves the idea of seeing Jesus when they die, and not having to cross the valley of the shadow of death alone.  To see loved ones you miss.  To be young again if you’re old, or strong and whole again if you’ve been hurt, blinded, or crippled by some disease.   We all like to think we’re special, too special for us to deserve to just…cease to exist after we die.   There must be a reason we were made.  Certainly this isn’t all there is!

Belief is like a teddy bear.  Once you have it, it comforts you.  You don’t want to let it go.  In the storm, in the dark, it’s what you reach for to clutch tight against you.  The idea of having that taken away…what a scary thing!   So you block your ears whenever anyone says anything that stirs up that doubt again, brings the pebble back under your foot inside your shoe.   You don’t want to hear.  You don’t want to risk losing something you treasure, something so much a part of you for so long.

No born again Christian (or any kind of Christian) asked to become an atheist.  We were all Christians once, desperate to keep the faith alive, the hope of seeing our loved ones again, of living forever in some paradise.  But then something happened.

Does it make us evil that this something…happened?  Do we deserve contempt and to be branded as demonic or worse…because this something happened?   I have been an atheist now for three years.  I was a Christian for over 30.  Has anything changed for me?  I don’t think so.  I still FEEL all the things I did before.  I still feel in tune with that little voice inside, that I now realize is really myself, my rational self that comes and comforts my animal, frightened, instinctive self.   I love the same, care the same, still possess what I once called “the fruits of the spirit.”  I feel guilty when I make someone feel sad.  I feel the same strong desire to not cause hurt or harm.

Nothing has changed.  And because nothing has changed in me, this has reinforced for me that what I had before was just a different explanation for what I’ve had all along.  I haven’t lost it.  What it is simply isn’t what I thought.  It’s not a supernatural being or a eye in the sky or imaginary friend.  It’s not a teddy bear.  It’s my strength I have within me, that I didn’t believe in–thought I needed this crutch instead, to be strong.  But I don’t because…it’s all still there inside me, making me strong.

All on my own.

I didn’t ask to become an atheist.  But I’m really glad I did.  I like living with the perspective I will cease to exist when I die.  Perhaps it will make me try a little harder to make a difference in this life, while I live.  Then if I’m wrong and I do find something after death, it will be a happy surprise.  And if I don’t, I won’t be here anymore to feel regret–but I also will not have wasted my life on something false, either.

Silent No More!

And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I deem the essential principles of our government. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation.  But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”      -John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.  Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.” -John Adams

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.”
                        -Spoken by Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis

“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.  Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated.  I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
                            -George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, 1792

“. . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”  Benjamin Franklin
.

Tolerance.  For three years now I have been an atheist, after over 35 years of being a born again Christian.  What have I had to learn like I never had to learn before?  Tolerance.

When I was a Christian I thought nothing of not only proclaiming what I believed, but arguing about it, vehemently, sometimes even rudely.  Everyone else’s beliefs were wrong and mine were right.  And often I had other people back me up on it too, because mine was the acceptable, popular opinion.  I was indignant if anyone disagreed.  I couldn’t remotely entertain the thought that I might be wrong, or that my mother could be wrong, or her mother, or the church leaders I had grown up listening to and believing every word.  And the BIBLE!  The unblemished Word of God.   His might–at my fingertips if only I believed hard enough.  The “good book” that Christians arm themselves with in defense against Satan. 

I remember as a child I had cards in a box and each card had a bible verse on it.  I would memorize the card, and once I did, I’d put it aside and then memorize the next.  Until I could say one verse after the next correctly, and in order.   I did this because the church I went to preached that Satan is repelled by bible verses.  So I learned them.    And they sounded right to my young ears.

And of course they did.  They were cherry picked for the impressionable young.  There was none of the darker verses found throughout the bible. Nothing about burning witches or about women being forbidden to speak or ask questions in church, etc. 

At bible camp we sang our songs over and over, both morning and night, celebrating, among other things, having been “washed in the blood” or being “under the blood”–(a hold-over from the blood baptisms of pagan Mithraism Christianity replaced–where followers stood under a grate while above them a bull was sacrificed.).  To this day I can sing every song we sang then–I remember every single word.  Because that is part of belief.  It starts out as an idea.  It is repeated in verse and in song.  It is memorized.  It takes root inside your head –becomes a way of thinking and habit…until you forget when it started or where it came from.  That’s when you accept it’s always been, and it is true, absolutely true, so true that everyone should know!   Or so I thought.  Someone at some time must have done their research to prove it’s all true–so I didn’t have to–again, or so I presumed.  I just…accepted that the bible was history, and the tales in it–about real people.  But really, were they?   Did people like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… actually exist?  Jesus too?   No one seemed to question it in my little bible-camp world.  I never heard anyone at my church or at that camp question if these characters in this book ever lived at all?  No one asks this.  No one asks WHO exactly wrote the bible, or why, or who hired them to write it?  For what purpose?  What was the agenda?

As a Christian the religious holidays were wonderful. Filled with fellowship and wonder and reverence and even hope of the promise the birth represents, and the sacrifice on the cross represents.  I walked around with a cross around my neck.  I was never a bible thumper but I was a Christian and I loved getting the warm and fuzzy Christian spam emails I got, and if anyone asked me oh sure, then I’d talk about my faith because then I knew it was safe.  Here was someone who would agree with everything or most everything I did.  I could talk and they’d nod their head and then they’d talk and further feed my belief, strengthen my delusion that this whole thing really is true.

If i ever came across a Jewish person, or atheist or anyone who was obviously not a believer, like someone wearing a turban or veil, oooh, I’d feel indignant inside.  I wouldn’t want to start up a conversation with them because…well, two reasons.  One, what did they know?  They were the lost.  The unsaved.  The ignorant.   And two…they might know more about their religion or beliefs than I knew about mine and I didn’t want my precious beliefs I hadn’t bothered to research, threatened in any way!  I didn’t want to look foolish, or have to be put on the defensive or hear the painful words said that MY beliefs are not true!  I didn’t want to be insulted by hearing someone say my Heavenly Father doesn’t exist or his Son who DIED for my sins…doesn’t exist!  That kind of thing offended me, angered me, deeply upset me.  So I avoided talking religion to these people–and in fact avoided people like this completely. I even avoided reading any books or articles by non-Christians which might challenge or put into doubt for me, my “faith.” I didn’t want to doubt, or question. I wanted to be like a little child as the bible commands, and blindly BELIEVE without question as good Christians do.

That was then.   Fast forward to now and I am an atheist.  Suddenly I notice how often people talk about their beliefs as if they think everyone agrees with them.  Suddenly people are making a big deal about whether our current President is a Christian or not–while I’m thinking, what difference does THAT make when most of our founding fathers were not!

Learning to not defend my new non-beliefs has been difficult, because I grew up quick to get indignant and angry and upset any time anyone attacked my Christian beliefs.  But to defend my new beliefs as a secular person who doesn’t believe…that’s wrong.  That’s offensive to the majority–to all those Christians who, just like it once offended me, get angry and upset and take it personally when they hear anything contradictory or like an outright challenge to their beliefs.   So really, it’s ok for Christians to broadcast what they think and believe and why.  That’s called witnessing.  It’s trying to spread the good news.  It’s a wholesome, happy message of hope.  A positive message. So it’s okay because since it’s so positive, how can it possibly offend anyone?  Right?

Well, it does!  I didn’t realize it’s a two way street, not just a one way street, until I found myself at an intersection and changing directions.  It IS a two way street and believe it or not, people who don’t believe in Christianity or the Christian god do still feel all the same burning passions inside them for whatever it is they do believe, be it belief in another religion, or belief in science, in evolution, in preserving the balance of nature, of being humane to each other and to animals.  Whatever the belief, it is close to the believer’s heart.

So when we have Conservative Republicans fighting to be nominated, and they’re busy vocalizing about how America is a Christian nation…which it isn’t and never has been…it basically says to all the rest of us who are not Christian, get the hell out, you aren’t wanted here.

There’s a Reason Rally on March 24th, 2012–a coming out celebration for Secularism.   Why?   Really, why?  What do people who don’t believe in God have to defend?  To cry foul over?   To get indignant about?

How about the fact this is our country too?  And we love our country too?  And we aren’t deceived by the bullshit they’re feeding the mainstream  that this country was founded by Christians–when we know perfectly well it was not.   This is our country too, and yet can a secular person, someone who does not believe in god or gods, have any hope of running for President?  No.  And how come that is?  Since when has the word “Christian” become the replacement word for words like wholesome, kind, compassionate, honest, ethical, caring, fair, gentle, forgiving, merciful, loving or good?

For a very long time people with no beliefs have felt no need to speak out.  For a very long time atheists and agnostics and pagans and heathens or whatever else you want to call us–infidels–whatever, have held our tongues and allowed the religious to walk all over those of us who don’t believe.  To silently smile and meekly try to change the subject rather than disagree and risk hurting someone’s feelings or upsetting someone.   But now we have the Religious Right trying to tell all of us that we are all of us Christians, and their puritan ideas of what is right and wrong, should be accepted by us all!   We’re back to that old song and dance again about how women should have babies if they get pregnant, whether or not they want to, and women should not have insurance coverage for birth control–which of course will mean so many more unwanted babies coming into the world with parents who can’t afford them.

I think it’s time to speak out.  I think it’s time that the secular population join together and protest our right to not believe, our right to not have to be silent just because our opinion is the less accepted, minority one, our right to not be governed by doctrine that seeks to keep our society in the dark ages, women under the dominion of men, and further allow our planet’s overpopulation crisis to multiply.

In my view such religious doctrine that abortion is murder (which the bible does not say, by the way), and the people or organizations like the Religious Right who seek to make war against women and take away their rights over their own futures–their own bodies, are one of the main reasons why  why our planet’s environment is so out of whack now–why we have too many people and not enough food–and why we have killer storms in parts of the world where they have never been before.

So it’s not just for the sake of our pride, and our desire to be counted as patriotic Americans too.  Nor is it just for the purpose of defending/preserving our human rights.  It’s for the sake of our planet, and for the sake of the advancement of science and understanding–the only weapons we have to defend ourselves, against ourselves.

Would This Feel Like Heaven?

This is something I often wondered growing up as I did, raised by a very devout Christian widow who…well…let’s just say it was very important to her that her children would go to heaven.   Which is why to this day I have never told my mom I no longer believe, and haven’t believed in what is now three years or more.

If I were to imagine heaven, it would be a place where there are no tears, no sadness, no heartache, no despair, no disappointment, no discouragement, no worry, no regrets, no hunger, no thirst, no loneliness, no yearning for things to be different.  Heaven would be all the best things I could ever imagine, like all the most breathtaking natural beauty the earth could offer, only so much more, the colors so much brighter, the sounds so much sweeter.  The air would be like standing in a grove of lilac trees, or in the center of a greenhouse filled with roses.  All would be so glorious you’d want to stand there forever, drinking it in, content to stay still in that moment forever.

As a Christian I had friends who were not, family who were not.  And it bothered me.  Really really bothered me.  My dad’s cousin Evelyn died, and she was an atheist who told me once to my face she had never sinned.  Because she did not believe in sin–which in her view was a man-made invention that made religion necessary.  So when Evie died, I was very sad.  I didn’t want to think of Evie in hell.  It upset me to think of such a wonderful loving lady in such a horrible place.

I have heard it said that hell is not what the bible describes in a literal sense.  Hell is to be eternally separate from God.  Hell is to be able to gaze across a divide at all the joys of heaven, and not be able to go there, not be able to be among all those happy people, but to be stuck forever and ever in a place apart from God.   That’s what hell is.

Now if I were one of those lucky people who managed to make it into heaven, and I looked across and I could see–or even if I couldn’t see, but I just knew, I had friends or family like Evie, in some other place, and they were suffering.  If I knew that because of choices they made in their life as puny and ignorant mortals they were doomed to be punished forever, unforgiven, to a place of despair, of sadness, of pain, of separation, of never knowing the utter bliss I was getting to enjoy…  Would that be very nice for me?  Would I be in heaven?  Would heaven be a happy paradise for me, if I knew across the divide there were people I knew and cared for, suffering–and doomed by my God to suffer forever?  Would that be a happy thing for me?

The only way I would find Heaven a happy place for me under those circumstances, would be if God made my heart very hard so I wouldn’t care anymore.   So I would regard those friends I once cared for and family I cared for as deserving to languish in agony and despair forever.   They would be like my enemy and I would feel how right it was for them to suffer for eternity while I enjoyed happiness beyond my wildest dreams.

If I had to have my heart hardened for Heaven to be a happy place for me–for me to no longer care about people I once cared for now having to suffer, how much more brittle and hardened would God’s heart have to be, considering he supposedly is merciful and “love” is one of his names?   For him to be merciful and loving by nature, and yet able to condemn billions of souls to eternal torment and still go on his merry way being happy in his paradise despite all that suffering going on….wouldn’t he have to shut his ears and harden his heart and cease to be merciful and loving?

He would no longer be a loving God.  He would no longer be a merciful God.  He’d be a cruel and unforgiving God–by so enforcing an eternal horrible punishment upon mortal beings who did for whatever reason, not jump through the right hoops while they were living, and so now they must suffer forever.

It would be different if the rule book were crystal clear and not subject to this interpretation or that interpretation.  But the rule book is not clear.  There are verses in the bible that contradict other verses.  The bible says Thou Shalt not Kill and yet time and time again God kills, or orders his followers to kill.   There is a verse that says not by works are you saved, but it is a gift from god, and there’s another verse that says good works are just a part of what you must do to have eternal life.  There’s a verse that says you should make it known what good works you do, and another verse that says you should keep it secret, and not boast.

Which verses are the correct ones, and which are not?  Why are there cities placed in the wrong countries in the bible?  Why was there a census mentioned in the bible shortly after Jesus’ birth, but the year is off–there was no census at that time per actual history?

If God’s good news is so important, so critical that the punishment is so horrible indeed for those of us who don’t hear or hear but don’t believe…then why isn’t God’s word perfectly clear?  Wouldn’t God insist on it being absolutely clear?  Without flaw?  Without human tampering?    And if our salvation is so important to God, why does he not simply make his existence fact, rather than keep us all guessing?   In all the world there is not one scrap of non-biblical proof of the existence of God, or Jesus for that matter.   Now if God is real, and if his good news is real, and if our salvation is so important to him, so we don’t end up in hell suffering forever while he, God, is forced to shut his ears and turn his back and never forgive–why isn’t evidence of his existence or Jesus’ existence, as plentiful to find as the bones of dinosaurs are?  Why doesn’t God appear and end the doubting that will ultimately cost so many eternal life?  Or for that matter, why did God make Lucifer in the first place, or human beings so fallable as to be capable of sin and then place them right where he knew his imperfect angel was lying in wait?

Or if God doesn’t want to appear?  If our salvation isn’t worth him revealing himself, why not perform the impossible to prove miracles really do happen?  Like, allowing the amputee who has been praying really hard, to have his lost arm or leg grow back?  Or give the woman who had her eyes gouged out by the chimpanzee, new eyes–regrow them in her head?   If God can do anything, these things would not surpass his power–and would leave very little doubt that the supernatural exists.  And yet he doesn’t.

Anyway, I have digressed and I’m sorry.  My point is, even if I were still a Christian, and even if I did make it into this paradise Christians look forward to.  It wouldn’t be heaven to me because I would know my Aunt Evie was being punished in hell–and she was a really neat lady who does not deserve torment and pain for all eternity.  So heaven would become hell for me,  knowing Evie isn’t there and knowing there’s nothing I can do to appeal to this merciless deaf God to hear her cries of torment and forgive.

That wouldn’t be heaven for me, and that would not be a god I would even want to follow.

Questioning the Truth of It

It might seem odd to someone who doesn’t know me as a person, why my blog seems to be this odd mix of my celebrating my new-found atheism and….personal issues like depression, aging, stuff like that.   I’m sure there will be more than just these two themes as I go, but these two are currently very much what I’m juggling in my life.

First I learned some really hard things about what had been my reality.   When you start to mistrust the very ground you used to always take for granted would be solid, you start mistrusting everything, and searching for new solid ground.  That’s where I am now.

I didn’t learn until about 6 years ago that the one parent who raised me had done so mentally ill.   She was the one i was always scrambling to win points with.  My brother was her golden boy .  He could do no wrong.  I, on the other hand, from the day I stood at the cemetery at my first and last visit to my daddy’s grave and as a six-year-old asked my mom if my daddy was really under ground and got slapped for it, until this very day, my mom has viewed me with suspicion.  At that point or shortly after she suffered her first break, though I didn’t know it, and neither did my brother.  Our house became haunted.  I believed it because my mother did, and she took us kids away for a week fleeing these dark entities that chased us from hotel to hotel.

Anyway, it’s a very long story.  She’s always known about the voices in her head, but never told anyone until six years ago when she really started unraveling after chemotherapy.   I always wondered why she didn’t like me telling other kids about our haunted house.  I think we moved out here from Wisconsin because my mom was afraid of losing us kids.  My Uncle had the police out looking for us that week we were fleeing those demons my mother saw.   I believe she feared he questioned her ability to raise two little kids.

So fast forwarding…   I married the first guy who said he loved me back.   There were lots of signs during my marriage that I chose to ignore, but in the end I was made to realize my husband didn’t love me and according to him he possibly never did.  That was after 16 years of marriage and the last six of them with me trying to save my marriage because I still loved him very much, but he didn’t love me, nor did I feel any love from him those six years we didn’t touch, and he couldn’t even tell me if he loved me, he just said “I don’t know.”

The only way I could get away from that marriage was switch my focus, and I did.  I found another person who was in pain as much as me, and I focused on cheering him up and along the way I fell in love with him.   He found out and then proceeded to stay at my apartment and then my condo with me letting me care for him because he developed a life-threatening illness and none of his other friends were stepping up to the plate.

Long story short again, three years later after he got better he said “thanks, but I don’t need you anymore” and then proceeded to convince his friends whom I also had grown to like very much, that I had smothered him, when in fact his illness had prevented him from leaving a situation that apparently had grown wearisome to him–and yet it was nice for him not having to pay rent or contribute very little and have everything pretty much paid for him, including transportation.

So I turned to other friends for solace, and one of them was a head bartender at a popular restaurant all my theatre cohorts loved to go, and that bartender let me believe we were friends like he was friends with these other guys I had gotten to know.  Long story short again, he too was pretending all so he could win my trust.  And in the meantime he learned how lonely I was, how unloved and unlovable I felt–he took advantage of me.  Then after that there were several years of head games from him–with me trying to believe he was my friend when in fact I guess or at least I have been told by another friend, I was just a big joke to him all along.

You have three men pretend with you, three men seem like they’re one thing and then they turn out to be something else altogether, you start having doubts about everything you thought was real about the world.  Between that and the fact I learned my mother was a schizophrenic–suddenly I had to reevaluate everything I grew up to believe about myself, and all the things I just assumed were true.

I became very earnest about protecting myself from further hurt.  I had always questioned the parts about my faith that I questioned and tried to ignore or shrug off.  If I asked any pastor about them, I was given pat answers too, that never satisfied me.  I’m sorry but “God works in mysterious ways” is not an answer.

Religion had taught me that I was a bad person.  It reinforced everything my mother drummed into me.   I could never be good enough.  Oh, I was a Christian, yes.  But I was always a very bad Christian because I didn’t go to church, or read my bible enough, or walk the walk enough, or whatever.   It was never enough. I was never enough.   A few times I would try to get back into going to church…

One time I started regularly attending the Westgate Chapel in Edmonds WA.  They had a fabulous  music program and I loved to sing, so it was enjoyable there for me.  But I was also an amateur paleontologist volunteering for the Burke Museum in the U-District.  Every year we had our little Dino-Days at the Burke, and I and my husband (I was still married then) would volunteer).   I loved digging for fossils, cracking open rocks and seeing evidence of live no human eyes had ever seen.  It fascinated me.  It awed me.  It put things into perspective re. how very OLD the planet is and how fleeting our little moment on this world is.

Then one Sunday service at Westgate the head minister stood up and told about taking his children to Dino-Days at the Burke.  He ridiculed us, those of us who ran the event, as acting so sure about our belief that the planet was old, and the age of the fossils, and evolution itself.  He made it sound like paleontology itself was the devil’s work.

After the service I approached this pastor because his words had me rather upset.   I was in disbelief because the man had implied my favorite thing was against God.  So I asked him, straight out, if it was wrong of me to dig for fossils.  I told him I worked at the Burke and contributed like the rest of my group, NW Paleontologists, to the Burke.  He looked at me and said “Do you think it glorifies God?”   I looked him straight in the eye and said “yes, I do.”   He gave me a look, and turned to talk to someone else and I felt completely snubbed.

So.  I am put on this earth to glorify God.  Writing this note, if it doesn’t glorify God, I guess I shouldn’t do it.  Raising Canaries–if it doesn’t glorify God, I shouldn’t do it.   This was the beginning of the end of my faith for me.  That one day even before the ending of my marriage I walked away with a very sour taste in my mouth, and I was angry.   I was angry that this man would judge me the way he did.  Yes, I think science would glorify God, if a god existed.  But I don’t believe one does because as far back as recorded history, religion has feared science, or has discouraged against it, or even called it a sin.   Once upon a time people were afraid to look at the stars because “star-gazing” was banned by the church–it was devil’s work.   We once knew as a species the world was round–our ancient forbears had compasses and knew how to navigate on the sea.   Then along came religion to warn about there being an edge where boats just fall off and horrible monsters beneath the waves, inciting fear in people’s hearts.  Fear to explore.  Fear to discover.  Fear to learn and fear to question.   We were dumbed down as a species, and it was all so we could believe in fantastical explanations and live and exist the way the church wanted us to.

If there really is a God, science would not be a threat to any true religion that followed him.  Science would be uncovering more and proofs for his existence, and would be welcomed, rather than feared.

I have always just wanted my life to be true, and what I am led to believe about the world, to be true.  Most of my life has been one false belief after another.  First belief in my mother.  Then my husband.  Then this man I thought was my friend who let me care for him thinking he was.  Then the bartender who I confided all my insecurities to, who then used that knowledge to exploit and then slander me.  And religion–that was one of the last dominos to fall, and the biggest.   But have I regretted for a moment the loss of the delusion?  No.  No more than I regretted not getting to believe in Santa anymore.   Do I want to live thinking everything I do has to glorify god?  Like growing up, everything I did had to be about pleasing my mother, and during my marriage everything I did had to be about getting my husband to love me again, and then that friendship where I cared for that man who I thought was my friend and I thought if I did enough good and supportive things for him he’d appreciate me as the good friend I was…

No.  This is the pattern in my life that has only caused me harm.  I am living to glorify myself  and I am living for myself and to find myself, who I am, and to live for me.

Age Happens!

I saw an article this morning about Demi Moore.  I tend to take such things with a grain of salt because…well, it goes against my grain that I should be made privvy to another person’s personal life and problems.  What I think about struggles someone else is having…I guess I have a problem with the fact that I’m allowed to know–that in the name of free speech the media thinks it can broadcast to the world every detail of someone’s life.  I don’t think being a celebrity or a famous person should deprive someone of their basic human rights, and privacy is one of those rights.  So I try to not read these kind of stories.  Unfortunately now-a-days you can’t avoid them so easily.  Once upon a time you had to buy a tabloid to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.  Now if I log on to AOL or Comcast, there the story is and they’re calling it “news.”  Even on TV I’m hearing about Demi’s dieting habits, her breakdown, stuff I wouldn’t feel comfortable myself, having the world know if it was ME.

So I will assume the story is bullshit, or greatly exaggerated.  Usually such stories are one or the other.   But Demi is my age–49, and the story itself got my wheels spinning.  People resisting the natural process called aging.  Yes, thanks to our society’s obsession with youth and beauty it really does rather suck seeing what used to be up over your cheek bones begin to drop into the start of jowls, or that neck that once was smooth and firm and beautiful in form start getting droopy and saggy and…OLD.

It truly does suck when it’s happening to you.  I am not happy about it happening to me, but it is.  I see my skin changing.  It rather depresses me because I’m clearly beyond my prime.  I have seen my best years physically and now comes the downward slump into decrepitude.

This is when state of mind is everything.   I honestly think for some of us, myself included, it helps to be blessed with average looks from birth.  I am very average.  If I frown I can be downright ugly.  Actually it depends on what I’m doing with my face.  I have that kind of face  If I smile a certain way, I can be almost cute.    But mostly I’m something in between.  Average.  

Imagine two people winning a prize.  One person wins a gorgeous, flawless, sporty Mercedes Benz.  The other person wins a go-cart with a few dings along its side.    Now which of those people are going to enjoy themselves more?  If I had the Mercedes, I’d be parking far away from other cars.  I’d be nervous about keeping my car in sight.  I’d be constantly pampering it.  I’d want to keep it in the garage and out of the sun.  I’d worry about anyone touching my car–worry about other cars and grocery carts and sap from trees and dings on the window.  And when that first ding happened, I’d be so unhappy!   My beautiful car!  I’d run to get it fixed if I could–do all I can to keep that car as beautiful and new looking as I can for as long as I can.

Now if I won that go-cart, I ‘d take it to an indoor go-cart ring.  I’d drive it every day and crash into the walls, and other go-carts and…oh, wearing a helmet of course!  I’d reef on the wheel, try to go airborn if I could on sharp hills.  I’d drive that little go-cart whenever I felt frustrated and stressed and just wanted to let go, cut loose, PLAY. I’d laugh when kids hit me from behind, I’d crash into them to get even, then gun the engine and be on my way.  Around and around, until either I or the go-cart finally broke down.

Sometimes I think I’m lucky to be blessed with plainness.  I see my “looks” (what I had of them) starting to fade, and yes it rather saddens me.  But I was never a beauty to start with, so…nobody else really notices but me.  Whereas that beauty people admire, they see the outward appearance start to go and it’s sad.  It’s sad seeing beauty fade.  But…whatever.  There will always be new cars and new beautiful people coming along, and new plainer people to envy them–or at least until aging starts to happen and then they learn like I have learned about which beauty endures and counts the most. 

In the meantime I can still play hard in my co-cart and in fact, now that there are quite a few good dings, I can do so and not CARE anymore about all that perfection stuff.  I can go outside without make-up if I want to and hey, if i scare some small children, how funny is that?   In fact the whole freedom that comes from not caring so much anymore is really wonderful, and that’s where I am.  I used to be so anal about make up.  Ok sure, i’m plain, but with the right sweep of mascara and color combination on my eye lids and the right kind of contrast with my foundation and blush…I could look pretty.  I could clean up pretty nice.  Never a beauty but…nice.  Pleasant.  Attractive.   But I would do this all the time, you see, because like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, all the time because hey, that’s what’s important, right?  I didn’t want to BE that go-cart!  I wanted to be the pretty Mercedes every guy wants.   Well!

The pretty Mercedes is worried about its perfection still and limiting itself to the garage.  It might be prettier, but it has a lot more to lose as wear and tear sets in, as it inevitably does.   Unlike myself with my dings and not minding so much if I get dingier….the Mercedes owner is frantically trying to cover the dings, buff them out, keep that car like new as long as she possibly can.

When I was young I envied beautiful women.  I envied what I could never have.   Rather like a Clydesdale can never be a prancing Arabian, I could never no matter how hard i try, be the eye candy on someone’s arm, and it hurt.  Because everyone would like to have someone.  But now that I, like Demi, am facing the harsh reality of time and the fact it does happen to everyone, I’m starting to understand that we plainer people are the fortunate ones.  We can laugh at our imperfections, more and more of them all the time.  We can roll our eyes and hop in the old beater and off we go to live fully every single moment.   But those with that flawless beautiful car….   They still get the dings, same as we  do.   But I truly think for beautiful people, it’s a lot harder to deal with, the not getting to be so physically perfect anymore.

Physical perfection doesn’t exist anyway, does it?  Even as much as we try to meet what our narrow minded social programming tells us is the “ideal.”  Show me the prettiest girl and I will show you someone who has something about her face or body she doesn’t like.  We all have those somethings.   It’s learning to love what we have in our hearts that helps us endure aging.    That Mercedes with its few dings…hell, take it out and drive it like you would any car.  It’s beautiful, dings and all!  Take it to the beach, the mountains, the zoo.   Live a little in it.   Make with it some happy memories for yourself.   Really, they’ll help you get those laugh lines then, which are sooo much more attractive than those other lines, believe me!

Not So Logical Testament…

Ever wonder why, in Christian bookstores, you can find so many versions of the New Testament by itself without the old?  Considering the importance of the story of Adam and Eve and the garden, which makes belief on Jesus Christ necessary, I find this odd.  Without this one event, the concept of original sin committed by childlike newly made humans of picking a piece of fruit that was forbidden, the entire structure of the Christian religion would fall.

I am no scientist or researcher.  I’m just someone with an average IQ trying to grasp the workings of this god.  But even I with my limited intellect can see something questionable in this creation story…a major contradiction… that the religion is founded upon.

God is all-knowing.  He can see the entire future and what is going to happen before it happens.   God is perfect.  This is what Christianity maintains.  He made humans  in his image.  That means the original humans would have been perfect too.  Or should have been.  Had God in his perfection set about to make a perfect creation.  But then he didn’t obviously.  Because a creation made in his image would be perfect.  Unless, that is, he failed?  Can God fail?   Or is everything he does, part of a master plan?

If God made humans in his image but didn’t do it right and they ended up flawed, corruptable, wouldn’t God have known it ahead of time that his creation was flawed and taken steps to correct the problem? If you are a sculptor making a figure out of clay and the arm falls off, wouldn’t you take the time to reattach the arm?  Or better yet start the sculpture over again so this time it has no defect, no weak point?

Clearly if God is all-knowing, he knew when he made humans that his creation had a weakness.  Not only did he know this, but he also knew ahead of time that humans would be tempted in the garden.  He would have to, because he is all-knowing and can see future events, yes?  So he would have known even before he made the earth or scattered stars across the sky that his creation mankind would fail him.  And since God cannot fail or make imperfection and/or mistakes we were made perfectly as he intended us to be–imperfect!   Human beings.  Perfectly (and purposely) made imperfect.

In the same way, God would have known when he made the angel Lucifer, that this angel was going to betray him, cause an uprising against him in heaven, and force God to cast him to the earth, thus creating his worst enemy and the cause of never-ending suffering on the earth.  And yet…God made Lucifer anyway, and, knowing ahead of time this angel would be flawed in his character, God could certainly have chosen to not make the angel at all, or perhaps remade Lucifer so he was as perfect as his other angels.  Because angels aren’t supposed to have free will like humans.   Therefore obviously it would be a flaw in that angel if it were capable of acting in defiance.   So twice now at least, God has made flawed creations.  Deliberately, because he’s all knowing.  First, by making Lucifer, who did have free will, (and then apparently other flawed angels who were capable of being turned to follow Lucifer).   And then of course with the creation of humankind, which God would have known ahead of time all the events that were about to happen.

He’d have known it when he made Lucifer, that this angel would fall, known it that Lucifer would become Satan and thus forcing God to make hell as a place separate from God for Satan and his followers to live.  God would have known ahead of time that Satan was lurking in Eden in the form of a serpent, would have known ahead of time that he put his flawed creation man in close proximity to this fallen angel and known ahead of time that the creation he had knowingly made flawed, would ultimately fail him.

If you were a ship-wright, and you made a little boat, and you decided to put a hole in its hull before placing it on a lake…would you be angry and surprised to return to the lake a few hours later and find the boat had sunk?   Would you become enraged at the boat, curse it, haul it out from the water and break it into pieces and burn it, blaming the boat for having the hole?

Essentially this is what God does in the Adam and Eve story.  He throws a tantrum when he “discovers” man and woman hiding their nakedness from him.  Yes, like he didn’t know ahead of time that man and woman would succumb to the temptation of Satan or didn’t know ahead of time that Satan whom he bungled the job of making correctly, would foil what I guess was his original plan (does God change his mind?) of having perfect immortal creations made in his image, in a garden to keep him company for all eternity?

Does any of this make sense?   So ok, another thing God knew ahead of time.  He knew because he had created human beings flawed, deliberately it seems, and Lucifer flawed, again, AWARE, and yet doing this anyway, that a gulf would be created between humans and himself.  And in fact from that moment forward humans would have to grovel and offer sacrifice and do everything in their power to make amends for the flaw that God had made in them, the flaw that God had made in Lucifer and in the angels who could defy God and follow Lucifer.  That’s alot of flaws for a perfect flawless being to create.  Which of course means they aren’t really flaws but part of God’s making that he did deliberately and knowingly.

So great.  Now he has outcasted flawed angels in this horrible place called hell because they did just as he had made them to do.  And we have a race of sentient beings who must forever give of their food, prosperity, time, energy, love…whatever…to appease this God’s wrath over the fact they too, did what he had designed them to do.

If you make a fire to burn and so it burns, would you then have a tantrum and punish it for burning?   Yet, isn’t that what God does with his creations he made flawed deliberately and so they acted as he made them to?  If you make a car with its steering wheel stuck all the way to the right so all it can do is drive in tight little circles…would you punish the car for having this flaw?   Why then does it make sense that this creator can make flawed creations, and being all-knowing as he is, being aware of the flaws as he makes these flawed creations, only to punish the flawed creation for doing just as he made them to?

A race of slaves, running to do God’s will for fear of being smited if they do not.   Giving to him in fire portions of their best crops and livestock, and all the humans after those first flawed creations inheriting that flaw, and having to do likewise…

All so God could send down his only son to be flogged, abused, and ultimately die for the fact we humans (and some of God’s own angels) were  made flawed by God, all to provide us a way to reconnect with God again and not have to make sacrifices anymore.  Christians call this a loving father.  What a role model for father’s everywhere, a superbeing who for generations planned and then oversees that it’s carried out– the murder of his own son.  All because…oh yes, that’s right, God knowingly made us flawed and therefore deserving of punishment, needing someone to die horribly so we are all washed clean in his blood.

Lovely image, that.  Isn’t it?   How odd it is that for this peaceful, loving God so often blood and pain and death are sang about and celebrated by Christians.

Did Jesus supposed sacrifice really free us of God’s judgement–God’s tyranny because certainly Satan never dreamed it up.  Free us of the horrible penalty we inherited from flawed primitives who made a mistake with a talking snake?  Christianity teaches we are born into sin.  We inherited original sin, Eve’s sin, and Adam’s, and our parent’s sin, and their parent’s sin, and their parent’s parent’s sin.  We are born corrupted and in need of fixing.  We are born flawed–more flawed creations God made deliberately, and the only way for us to avoid eternal torment in a horrible place called hell, is give over our lives to this God.   Oh, but we are given free will to choose!  And the choices?  Take a bullet in the head, or love me.  Jump into a vat of acid or love me.   Burn and suffer forever in endless torment, or love me.  How, may I ask, can this be called free will???

Why would i want to love or follow a God that deliberately and knowingly, made humans flawed and then blamed us, punished us ever since, for it?   Unlike every other living thing born on this earth, I am born broken until I beg God to make me whole again.

This is not in my view, the actions of a good and loving God.  I think if I were a very sadistic scientist in a lab and I wanted to, just for kicks, torment some rats, I’d do about the same things to them.  I’d genetically create rats with only three legs, not four.  I’d expect those rats to perform as well as or better than four-legged rats, and when they did not, I would punish them–throw them live, into a fire.  Then I’d make the offspring of those genetically engineered to be flawed rats, also born with three legs, to perish the same way, just for inheriting the desired flaw I made them to have.

These are just a few of the flaws I see in what really is the foundation of the Christian religion, a story that without it, there would be no need for Jesus Christ and belief in saviors, or for that matter a need to support churches, or spend our precious little time worshipping a bully who forced all this on us–put us in this position of dependency on him and his mercy, all on purpose apparently if he truly is all-knowing.  If God had made us correctly in the first place (and being perfect he should have been able to) and Lucifer, and those angels who followed him–we’d still be in the garden right now.  All this is according to his divine plan, Christians say.  Well then.  His divine plan was to make a flawed race of slaves and force us to surrender up our lives to him to keep from being damned forever for  having a flaw he gave us in the first place.

Depression Isolates Us

I sometimes think, now that I’m becoming aware just how many people out there feel like I do, feel all the same feelings…that we’re more like a subgroup of society.  We start out, probably many of us, outcasts as children.  Either outcast by our families, or outcast by our peers, or both.  We grow up lacking confidence other kids take for granted.  We are always trying. But there’s always some reason we don’t fit in.  We’re not good looking enough, so people of the opposite gender look at us and think “I can do better,” like having outward beauty or our programmed notions of what beauty is–makes some people “better” than others?

Regardless, we grow up, those of us who didn’t quite fit in, or came from homes that didn’t really want us, and as adults we still try.  But the long nights of crying ourselves to sleep, losing sleep, or just huddling in fear of some real or imagined terror…now there’s something stuck in our heads.  Something wrong.  We are either mentally ill, or our brains are wired wrong or we have a chemical imbalance or a combination of the above.   Because we grew up trying harder than other kids, the popular “better” kids.  And now what are we?  We’re that sub-group of society that end up alone.  Our friends aren’t there, despite how we try to be there for them.  Our families…sometimes it’s not good being around the people that caused the harm in the first place or trigger memories of the harm that was done.

So we’re alone.  And here we still are, trying.  Trying to fit in to that other part of society we too have been programmed to believe is normal.  Thinking if we do this or this or THIS we might be accepted and loved and wanted like other people.

And when we can’t fight our illness hard enough, we are forced to endure more loneliness.  When we do have our little triumphs, there’s nobody around anymore to see.

I hate depression.  I hate this illness nobody understands or wants to make any effort to understand.  I have been locked in closets all my life and I still am.   All because of this belief we carry around, that we grew up with, that to be like one of the crowd is better, our ultimate goal that’s always just out of reach…to fit in…that’s what gives us worth–that’s the key to being wanted, being successful, being SOMETHING.   And until we have it, until we get over this illness we’re being punished for having, we must be shunned.  We must be outsiders.  We must be looked right through like we’re not even there.

This is what I say to that.  Bullshit.  What kind of society does this?  Banishes its ill from the mainstream?  They did that to lepers once; you would think in 2000 years our society would be a little more aware, a little more educated, a little more understanding.   But no.  We have not evolved very much at all, have we?

So how do we break from this box they’ve put us in?  We say bullshit.  We are not less than anyone.   People look at us and say they can do better?  Excuse me–we might be ill but we’re still whole people, and worth it.   If you know us you’ll get to know the beauty we still carry around  inside.  All of us, like any other people.  Like you we are unique, full of dreams and hopes and love and caring.   Shame on anyone who dares to look down their nose and outcast us for having too many bad days when here we’ve put up with other people having many bad days too.  Why is the playing field so one-sided?

Who decides worth of a person?  How is it measured?  Is it measured by looks?  Popularity?  Is it measured by how much money someone has or what kind of car they drive or what neighborhood they live in?  Or is it measured by the kindness and caring a person has in their heart?

I see a lot of value in us.   This little sub-group that finds ourselves struggling with our depression or anxiety all alone…punished for being ill, rejected by friends for being ill, despite how tired we are from always trying, despite how lost and despairing and scared and hurt we sometimes feel. 

You know who I think has worth in our society?  You know who I think are really great people–the kind of people I wish I could be?  People who can still give of themselves when they themselves have nothing, and care and encourage, when they themselves feel their world is crashing down.

I am most thankful for the kind of people who can still care for others, even despite the hurts they feel themselves.   If we have to be separated and made some kind of subgroup, I’d rather be counted as someone like this.