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What would it take for you to believe in God?

Firstly I would have to ask which god?  Yaweh? Allah? Zues? Vishnu? But getting past that and assuming they meant whichever god they believe in I suppose there are a lot of things.  Perhaps something written in our DNA that has their signature in it? Like “Yaweh was here”. But readable in every known language. This would have to be in the DNA of every living thing. 

I often thought that maybe magical sky writing they everyone could read in their own language but that could be alien in nature.  

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clark

The long and short of it though (borrowed from Matt Dillahunty) is that if there was a god, it would know exactly what evidence I would need. 

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Deeper Story Pt. 6

Twitter Post - Deeper Story

Continued from Part 5

Dating in high school was an interesting situation.  Being that I was so into Christianity that left a lot of  “normal” things off the table. However I had my father sending kind of mixed signals.  He wanted me to have a similar high school experience to him however was also teaching me the morality of Christianity.  He didn’t push abstinence only on me and told me that if I was going to have sex to use a condom.  But at the same time telling me to do what the bible said (don’t have sex until marriage).  This felt very conflicted.  Along the same lines dating wasn’t supposed to be all fun and games, it was supposed to be looking for a future wife.  How messed up is that?  I was 15 years old and was supposed to be looking at every girl I dated as the girl I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with?  I didn’t even know what that was supposed to look like!

I dated girls off and on, some serious, some not so serious.  But I always put my whole heart into it, so it hurt anytime I was broken up with.  I recently found my old livejournal account (everyone had one at the time…dating myself I know), and realized I was kind of an ass.  I dated girls and looked for a way out to date some other girl I may have liked.  Not realizing at the time that I was doing anything wrong.  It kinda makes me sick looking back at it now.

Stock photo…not me I assure you!

One thing that did come from that thought was I did meet the person I would spend the rest of my life with.  She was in one of my classes.  I won’t go too deep into it now as that’s for another post entirely but she was certainly the greatest thing that came from high school.  Being the “good” Christian that I was, I of course had to make sure she started going to my church.  I dragged her along with me to as many youth events as she’d agree to go to.  Long story short we got married at that church.

 

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Ask an Atheist

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What if you’re wrong?

I’ve heard this from a lot of Christians “What if you’re wrong, that means you’re going to hell. You don’t want that do you?”  Well there are a few things that come to mind when I see this.  First and foremost, what if you’re wrong?  There a lots of religions out there.  What if you picked and / or were born into the wrong one?  Do you actually thing that if you were born in another part of the world that you would come to the same belief about Christianity that you do today?  I’m willing to bet that if you were born and raised in the middle east that you’d be a follower of Islam.  Perhaps if you were born in India you’d be practicing Hinduism.  I find it interesting that depending on where you’re born and raised so heavily influences religious beliefs.  It’s almost as if man created god instead of the other way around. Seems unfair that you’d be sent to hell for a belief that you’re convinced of due to your culture.  I quote a great philosopher of our time, Homer Simpson “Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god? Every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder.”

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Secondly, from what I’ve read and been taught, when one ends up in heaven you just don’t want to “sin” anymore.  For a god that is so worried about free will that it won’t reveal him/her/itself to the world because it would mess with our “free will” they seem very ready to take it away once you get to heaven.  Free will is a subject for a whole other blog post but just one more thought on that.  If free will is what keeps god hidden because if we knew they existed then we would have no choice but to worship him, what about Satan?  He knew god existed and still chose not to.  He was his right hand angel for a while there and still went up against him.  Seems that knowing that god exists doesn’t really have a bearing on whether or not we worship him.

If I’m wrong, god has a lot of explaining to do…

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Deeper Story Pt. 5

Continued from Part 4

With my new career path I thought about how to get what I felt “called” to do.  I began going to as many church meetings as I could.  Not being able to drive yet I pretty much just tagged along with anything my parents went to.  I attended both my parents bible study as well as the high school bible study, being on the worship team I also attended both services on Sunday.  I soaked it all in.

As time went on I began to lead worship in those bible studies, which were groups of about 10 – 15 people.  I also began to lead some of the studies.  Anyone who has done any kind of teaching knows that it forces you to learn more.  Problem here, in hindsight, is that I was simply accepting what I was learning as truth with out question.  I guess you could say I had “blind faith”.  Why would all these adults lie to me?

During high school I had changing interests.  I was involved in the school musical freshman year, I was in the chess club (briefly), but the one thing that never wavered was church and the pursuit of the knowledge of god.

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I have to go back a little ways and talk about an interest that started back in middle school.  I was in eighth grade English when one of my passions came to realization.  I loved writing.  I wrote poems, stories, tales of my life pretty much all the time.  I always had a notebook with me and just wrote what came to mind.  I wish I could find some of those now.  As I began to do this whole god thing all of my creative juices flowed into that.  But the passion of it just didn’t seem to be there.  I became obsessed with making sure that the poems I wrote could be come a worship song.  I suppressed writing about topics that I found interesting because they didn’t go with what god would want.  Eventually I just let it go.  I gave up trying.  I gave up writing.  I wonder where I would be if I hadn’t.

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Junior year I took a class in drafting.  I would design things (like a model house or a bridge) and then build them.  I found this to be a pretty neat thing.  There was a course that followed this in Computer Aided Drafting.  Basically using the computer to do the designs.  I didn’t have much experience with computers at this point (we didn’t have one at home yet…yeah I’m old and my father is a late adopter of technology).   This sparked the interest that would eventually shape my career path.  I found using the computer easy and interesting.  People complain that computers never work the way they are supposed to, but they just do exactly as they are told (as I write this I’m realizing the parallel between my love for the computer and my investment in religion).  I tend to retort with “Computers are great at making highly accurate mistakes”.  Garbage in garbage out.  Much like my brain until recently…

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Ask an Atheist

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Why do you hate God?

I remember watching “God’s Not Dead” with my father.  The entire film Kevin Sorbo’s character acted like the stereotypical atheist I had brought up in my mind.  Complete jerk and dismissive of any information given to him.  The protagonist though was super hard to root for.  The arguments he put up for his stance that god was alive were uncompelling and weak at best.   The climax of the movie is when the student gets Kevin Sorbo to admit that he’s angry at god.  Even as a Christian I cringed very hard at this.

After my deconversion I’ve seen that this is something that some theologians believe.  They think that we all have an built in belief in god and we all believe it’s there all the time.  They think that atheists just deny that part of themselves, mainly because this god has failed to live of to their expectations.  The question I would have for them is which god are we born with an innate belief of?  There are literally thousands.

The point I’m trying to make by saying all of this is that, no I don’t hate god.  I don’t hate god in much the same way I don’t hate unicorns, or fairies, or Santa Clause.  I can’t hate something I don’t believe.  Sure I’ve had some messed up stuff happen in my life.  All that did was to help me see through the religion.  I don’t hold some kind of grudge.  I’ve found more peace in my lack of belief than I did in my belief.

Side Note: I’ve noticed a lot more readers lately (yay!) So I’m going to put it out there again that if you have any questions you’d like to see me answer on here please let me know!

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Deeper Story Pt. 4

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Continued from Part 3

As we were settling in our new home, my step-mother’s mother had been housing some of our belongings during the transition.  While mulling around the basement of her house one day I came across a guitar.  I had never held a guitar before nor did I have any idea of how to play it but I knew that I needed to learn it so I could join the worship team.  I asked my dad about it and he said that if I could save of up enough money to get it fixed it was mine and he would teach me.  I was so excited!  Mostly because it was the first time in my life that I had found something that I had an interest in that my father did too.

Over the next few months I saved every penny I could.  I did extra chores, hunted in couch cushions, collected bottles and cans.  And at last I had the money I needed!  We brought it down to the local music store and had them fix it up.  A week later I brought it home and then eagerly awaited instruction from my dad.  And waited. I had purchased a couple of song books along with the repair so I opened them seeing if I could read the music.  Not so much.  But on the tops of the music there were musical notes with little diagrams that looked like guitar strings.  I put my fingers on the appropriate dots and gave it a strum.

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Music!  It made a pretty noise!  I continued to follow along as it was a song I was very familiar with (Hotel California by The Eagles). Before I knew it I had “played” the song…Very slowly transitioning between the chords but it was there.  I was ecstatic, but it was short lived.  I brought my new marvel to my father and he was just disappointed.  He told me I was doing my fingering wrong and that I should have waited for him.  It was a crushing blow to my spirits but I pushed on.  This time waiting for his instruction.

I picked up the basics pretty quickly and soon I was to the point where I had learned everything my dad could teach.  I began taking private lessons from the worship leaders at church.  After much discussion with them I decide to sell my acoustic guitar and purchase an electric one.  I found it much easier to play, however I wasn’t much of a lead guitarist.  I could play the notes they wrote down for me but couldn’t improvise well. But I continued to work.

A few months went by and there was an announcement at the church that they would be holding open auditions for the worship team.  We had grown as a church and had purchased our own building in this time.  They were set to go to multiple services on Sunday morning and needed more musicians.  I eagerly submitted my application (which was about 5 pages long) and marked my calendar for the day of the instrumental audition.

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When the time came I was more than nervous.  I had practiced my songs for weeks and knew everything like the back of my hand but just the fact that I knew I was being judged was a scary proposition.  The band started and I played my heart out.  Well as best I could.  I felt every wrong note with a deep agony thinking that would be what cut me.  I pressed forward though, knowing the song wouldn’t stop for me.  We finished the two audition songs and all I got was a thank you, and was on my way.

The days that followed were pure agony.  I waited by the phone and was the first to the mailbox every day.  When the phone rang and someone else some how got to it before me I waited to hear my name called from across the house and was usually met with silence.  The call finally did come.  It was the guy in charge of the worship team asking if I’d like to join the main sanctuary team!  I was elated!  I thought that I might be added to the children’s wing team but never thought I’d be there!

This is where began to think, “Maybe I could do this for a job some day!”

Continued in Part 5

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Ask an Atheist

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Why do you care if other people believe in God?

I’ve heard this asked a few times around the internet and I’ve struggled with this question.  I don’t consider my self an anti-theist (someone who thinks religion everywhere should be abolished) but I do have some thoughts on the matter.

I honestly don’t care if you believe in a god.  The problem is what you do with that belief and how it forms your actions.  Sort of like the saying “Your right to swing your fist ends at my face.”  When your holy book tells you to go out an convert everyone, or you hear god telling you to bomb an abortion clinic, yeah that I have a problem with.

There is also the problem of trying to legislate the laws of your holy book.  Sure it has some good points in there, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t own slaves….wait that one’s not in there…also it doesn’t say anything about not raping.  Oh yes it does…you have have to marry the person you rape is all….yeah please don’t make that a law.  Also I’d like to keep my poly-cotton blends so if you could skip that one too.

Sorry this ended up being sort of a rant and I’m going to apologize for the crudeness of the last line of text here but “Religions are like dicks, it’s ok to have one. You can even be proud of it.  But don’t whip it out and public and don’t try to shove it down my throat.”

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Deeper Story Part 3

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Continued from Part 2

So I’d been hooked.  I was all in.  Let’s do this church thing.  It was relevant, I could understand the messages, it had good music.  We started going every week, and I looked forward to it.  During this time we moved to a new town much closer to the church.  This meant a new school, a loss of friends, social isolation.  I found adjusting to the new situation very difficult.  Up until this point had I had done very well in school but the new school didn’t have the advanced classes I was slated to be in.  I quickly became bored and my grades began to slip.  This is about the time my depression started creeping in.

Desperate for friends it came as a pleasant surprise when someone that went to my school happened to go to my church.  He invited me one Sunday to a mid-week kinship (the church’s word for a small group or bible study).  I eagerly accepted.  Finally a chance to make some friends and learn more about church stuff! Looking back a 14 year old seeking community….yeah I was a perfect mark for indoctrination.  Young enough to be impressionable but old enough to think I was making my own choices.

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I stayed a steady B student in school, doing the bare minimum worth of work.  Not because I wanted to but for fear of how my father would react otherwise.  I had a knack for not studying or doing homework but doing well enough on tests that would carry my grades.  It was good enough for me.  It kept me out of the wrath of my father, but at a cost.  I essentially gave up my love of learning, which in tow killed my critical thinking ability.

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Going back a little I had a huge love of science.  In 8th grade I had a science teacher that would tell us things and I would go home and test them.  She told us once about super-saturated solutions.  Essentially if you boil water and add salt and then allow the water to evaporate over time you’d end up with large salt crystals.  I went home and tried this and I didn’t get the salt crystals.  I reported back with my findings and she told me to try it with sugar.  This time it worked and had a pretty cool looking sugar formation (I happened to win the outstanding science student that year, not to toot my own horn).  The point of the story is to illustrate that at one time in my life I didn’t just take peoples word for things and actually tested and researched things.  This died in high school.  Looking back at all of this I realize this made me even more impressionable towards religious beliefs.  I just took people’s word for it and didn’t bother thinking about things for myself.  I believed because “well this guy is an authority and he wouldn’t lie to me.”  I now know this as a logical fallacy known as the argument form authority.

I feel that I would have picked back up on critical thinking had I not been so into the church.  If I didn’t have that feeling of having all the answers.  Hindsight is 20/20, I’d have a very different life right now had I not gone all in, if I had kept my questioning hat on.  I don’t know where that would have lead me but I’d have nearly a twenty year head start from where I am now.

 Continued in Part 4

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Ask an Atheist

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We’re back for week two of Ask and Atheist.  I pulled the list from this site.  Still not 100% sure if it’s a troll site or not but judging by some of the other posts…no.  Anyway on with the show!

1. If creationists can’t do science, then why do Kent Hovind and Duane T. Gish, who are creation scientists, have professional degrees in science? I’m unaware of any rule that says creationists can’t be scientists. 

2. If dinosaurs turned into birds, why are we not afraid of them? That’s not how evolution works…like at all.

3. If homosexuality is right, then how come two people of the same sex not produce a child? Homosexuality and hetirosexuality it are neither right nor wrong. They just are.  I’m assuming that you aren’t a big fan of just having fun. Everything has to have a reason? 

4. What purpose do we have if evolution is real? One has nothing to do with the other but putting that kind of lense on meaning my guess would be to propigate the species. 

5. You say Jesus never existed, but have you heard of the Shroud of Turin? 1) I never said that. An historical Jesus may very well have existed. 2) That claim has been debunked many times. 

6. Why do we not see humans being born in the zoos from monkeys if we came from monkeys? Again that’s not how evolution works. 

7. Why do we go to church if God is not real? I don’t. 

8. How did the Grand Canyon form?  Millions of years of water errosion. 

9. Do you know that Jesus loves you? But somehow his love for me is dependant on me loving him?  Wouldn’t call that unconditional. 

10. If Christianity is false, then why is it popular? The Roman empire. 

11. If you say Christianity is not true, then why do hundreds of people continue to become saved every day?  Indoctrination, finding people at their most vunerable, people at the end of their rope will cling to anything. 

12. Why do we not see half trees and half carrots, fronkeys, and crocoducks if evolution is real? You really don’t know how evolution works do you?

13. Why is Richard Dawkins afraid to debate Ray Comfort? Ask him

14. Did you know Christopher Hitchens was saved before death? Source please. 

15. Are you aware Ray Comfort disproved atheism with a banana? Yeah I saw that stunt… coconuts don’t seem to be built for the human hand and have much higher benefits to us so….

16. Why do people laugh at evolutionists? Not sure I’ve seen that happen. 

17. How did the planets form when the Big Bang explosion all of a sudden happen? After all, you don’t see round objects form when something blows up. Big bang wasn’t like a bomb going off. It was the rapid expension of both time and space. Gravity started pressing particles together until we had atoms.  This atoms we’re pressed together until we had stars. When those stars died out they created heavier elements that got together and formed…and so on and so on…I’m not a cosmologist. 

18. If evolution is real, how can it explain gravity, angular momentum, human emotions, and why we worship God?  Well it can’t. Evolution explains one process in biology.  You keep using that word…I don’t think it means what you think it means. 

19. How did pond scum make living things appear out of nowhere? What you’re referring to is abiogenesis. That is one of the thoeries of how life started on Earth. This process is something that’s been studied by much smarter people than me. While I understand the gyst of it in my head, I would have a hard time explaining. 

20. How can evolution be true if we don’t see pocket watches or airplanes form by themselves? Have you been to every planet? How do you know there isn’t a planet of sentiant pocket watches. 

21. Did you know that dinosaurs and man lived together? Yeah not so much. 

22. If evolution is real, then why do caring people like Rick Santorum argue that it must be challenged in the classroom? People get scared when you show evidence that what they believe is false. It’s called the backfire effect. 

23. Why are youtube atheists like AronRa and Thunderf00t afraid to debate Ray Comfort? Ask them. 

24. Why do we celebrate Christmas if Christianity is not real? Most of the traditions of Christmas are stolen from other pagan holidays. 

25. If creationists can’t do science, then why does the website Answersingenesis have proven science articles from creationists that do science? See answer one but as far as AIG there’s a great YouTube channel that debunks most of AIG. 

26. If evolution is true, then why can’t white people compete to be good in basketball like black people? After all, white people can’t jump! This a satirical right?

27. Where do you decide to fit God in your everyday life if you don’t believe in him? The same place I fit leaporcons and unicorns. 

28. Why is Christianity the fastest growing religion if it’s false? It’s actually not…that would be Islam…better convert there bud!

29. Do you feel free to commit murders, homosexuality, go to strip bars, steal, commit adultery, and do other sins since you believe there is no God?  I can tell you I’ve killed exactly the number of people I’ve wanted to! Zero.

30. Why do the fossils say no to evolution? Yeah but they actually say the opposite of that.

31. Why did Darwin admit that how the eye formed is impossible? I’m unfamiliar with that but Carl Sagan did a great job of explaining the evolution of the eye.

32. Where did everything come from if there is no God? Not sure but that’s a more honest answer than “god did it”

33. If there is no God, then why do we have laws that govern us, such as speed limits? Mainly to keep us safe from each other. I’m kind of a libritatan. Your rights end where mine begin. 

34. Do you know where you are going when you die? In the ground. 

35. Why do we not act like monkeys if it is true we came from monkeys? We actually act a lot like monkeys but we evolved differently so we just look better doing it. 

36. Why do we display The Ten Commandments in the courtrooms if you say the Bible is not real? We shouldn’t. There is the first amendment that is supposed to stop these things from happening and many organizations around to help as well. 

37. Why should be it wrong to rape if God is not real? Consent 

38. Why is The Passion of The Christ very high on the Box Office? People like torture porn. Same reason there are so many Saw movies. 

39. How can America not be a Christian nation if there are way more churches than mosques? So what happens when there are more mosques than churches, does that make us an Islamic nation?

40. How is the bible not real if it’s the most popular book read by man? By that logic there must be a wizard named Harry Potter somewhere in London right now…

41. How did the moon form? I haven’t looked into it. 

42. Did you know that famous scientists like Newton, Sir Richard Owen, Einstein, Galileo, and Copernicus were creationists? I’d like to see the sources on these. But if they were I’d be willing to bet it was more to cohesion than genuine belief. 

43. Why do we not see black people come from white people? What?

44. Why are fruitflies still fruitflies in the lab experiments if they are claimed to prove evolution? I think I know what your talking about here but I’m gonna have to guess as you didn’t leave much information as to what your talking about. I believe you’re talking about speciation which is essentially when different groups of the same animal can no longer mate and produce viable offspring. Well that’s was evolution is. It may still be a fruitfly but it’s a new species of fruitfly. 

45. Did you know that the Piltdown Man was a hoax used for Darwinist propaganda? Yup

46. Why do we not see frogs turn into birds? THATS NOW HOW EVOLUTION WORKS!!!!

47. Why is Fox News dishonest if it is a network run by truthful Christians? No Christian has ever lied… /sarcasm

48. Why did Hitler fail to make a superior race if evolution is true? Ah the good old Hitler troupe. Not even gonna aknowladge that one.