Revisiting old beliefs

Photo by shaycam

Photo by shaycam

I’ve been moving house for the past few weeks, and part of that enormously intensive project is dealing with my collection of books. As many of you must also feel, I am emotionally connected to my books because I have memories, experiences, and much of my past life wrapped up in their pages.

One of these volumes from my past is the only devotional I truly enjoyed as a Christian: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917). I wasn’t one for fill-in-the-blank Bible studies with banal questions and cookie-cutter insights. Chambers seemed challenging to me at the time because he wasn’t part of the current generation; his thoughts (though nebulous at times and without organization) weren’t bogged down by current culture and the trends of the most modern Christian movements.

So, in a nostalgic tribute to this former chaplain and my former life, I’d like to quote two passages I used to agree with and now critique.

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May 13, 2009  |  Jesus, my past, quotes, the bible  |  2 Comments

5 Questions for Atheists

YouTube is a fabulous resource for nontheists all around the world to learn, connect, debate, and exchange ideas. I’m not ashamed to admit that watching videos on youtube was pivotal in my journey out of Christianity. Without the wealth of information, challenging ideas, and myriad voices found there, I might still be a theist today.

Since I’m still anonymous, I don’t have my own videos to add to youtube (yet?), but I would still like to respond to a survey posted by Bossman103, a theist. He asks atheists 5 questions, and I would love to hear your own thoughts as well! Comment here or post a video response to him on youtube.

1. What in your opinion is the biggest misconception about atheism?, why is it? and what would you do to change it?
One that comes up the most for me lately is that atheists leave previous religions for invalid reasons: i.e. they were never true believers; or didn’t fully understand their religion; or left for personal, not intellectual reasons; or they’re just going through a rebellious, sinful phase. the list goes on and on. Basically, theists claim that atheists weren’t ____ enough, and if they were, they’d still believe in God.

2. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial or extra-universal intelligence?
I suppose it’s possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it. It’s arrogance to say that we’re the only beings that exist and matter in this vast universe. But I do not believe that E.T. life has any involvement in our current reality today, no.

3. What in your opinion is the poorest argument for religion and why?
I can never settle on just one. I dislike the arguments that “Billions of people can’t be wrong,” or “It’s really old, so it must be true,” or “It’s too much for me to understand, so it must be God.”

4. What would would be your perfect society? Secular? non religious? Anarchic? Why?
I’m trying to stay practical in this reality, so I choose secular in terms of government. I don’t think we could become a non-theistic humanity in the future, so I’m simply hoping for a secular existence in peace. Personally though, I think of all religions as capable of destruction and the degradation of society, so I’d prefer people choose reason and non-theism over theism, but I don’t think that’s realistic.

5. If when you die Jesus is there how would you justify yourself to him and what do you think his response would be?
I don’t think I would have to justify myself, since he would probably be aware of my actions and motivations and thoughts. But I would want to have a discourse with him if I could, since I’d be surprised to see him. I think his response to my life thus far might be “well, you really ran the middle of the line. You tried to do well many times, and you were selfish and harmed other people many other times.”

If he follows the fundamentalist view, I might still be saves since I accepted him and knew him when I was younger.
If he follows the Catholic view, I might go to hell or stay in purgatory forever since I would have died without confessing mortal and venial sins.

I’m going to stop there since I can’t know which version of himself I’d even meet 😉 And I’m babbling.

Check out Bossman103’s channel here and watch his original video below:
YouTube Preview Image

(via YouTube user eddygoombah‘s answer video.)

May 10, 2009  |  Jesus, religion  |  14 Comments

Baptism Removal

Last month, a man named John Hunt won his battle to have his record of baptism removed from the church history. This raised some questions, and I hope you’ll tell me what you think.

First, some history.
I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. My mother was Catholic and my father was Protestant, but they agreed to compromise; before you knew it, the stain of original sin was removed from my soul. Or so they believed.

Today, I’m a godless heathen who doesn’t care whether I was baptized, initiated, confirmed, or whatever else. I have left religion behind and I do not believe in a spiritual reality. That baptism was for my parents; in my eyes, it had no effect on me.

Now back to Mr. Hunt. Why do non-theists care whether they were baptized or not? If you don’t believe in a spiritual realm, afterlife, or sin, why is baptism anything more than a splash or dunk of water? It’s an empty religious tradition, isn’t it? Why the fuss about removing it? The only reason I can dream up is that it affects your social status and you don’t want to be identified with that group for legal, political, or safety reasons.

I’m sorry folks, but you can’t undo the impact religion has had on your life; you can’t change your past. I don’t mind if one feels a personal drive to be de-baptized, but all I ask is why?


I just discovered a new-to-me atheist blog by a well-spoken man named Kevin. Please read his thoughts over at Memoirs of an ex-Christian and enjoy!

One comment on this entry about Moses and the Torah stands out as a classic, priceless example of “spirit-filled” Christian rhetoric that you just have to see to believe (but if you believe it, you’ve got other issues). I’ve left it in all its caps lock glory, so please forgive me if you leave this blog with a migraine; but at least I’ve hidden it below the fold:

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May 6, 2009  |  funny, quotes, randomness  |  14 Comments