Answers from an Atheist Part 3

Q:  Are most atheists really contemptuous of believers?

 

A: I think that the answer is there are, per-capita, as many assholes on the Atheist side of the fence as there are on the Christian side of the fence.

So no, most atheists are not contemptuous of believers.  Most just want to be left alone to not believe what they want to not believe much like Christians just want to be allowed to believe what they want to believe.  I think we all are fine with that (by all I mean both Atheists and Christians.)

When atheists get contemptuous is when Christians try to force us to abide by your rules.  Things like gay marriage and abortion come to mind as the biggest hot topics. Nationwide laws shouldn’t be passed that are based on any religion because not everyone in this country is the same religion.  Heck even Christians do not all practice their faith the same or believe the same things.  Case in point – Mormonism.  Mormon’s are Christians.  They just have additional scriptures they follow than other Christians.  Most people would be very upset if we were passing laws that banned Coffee because the Mormon’s don’t believe you should drink hot caffeinated beverages (and FYI that belief is because caffeine is a drug and the high amounts you get from coffee are addictive, and drugs are abusing your body which should be treated as a temple – so not a ridiculous belief).

Another reason why it might seem that Atheists are contemptuous to Christians is media portrayal.  Since the majority of the country are Christians it makes sense that when Atheists file suits against having another’s beliefs forced on them it makes headlines.  There are rarely headlines that focus on the amount of money Bill Gates donates to pretty much everyone despite being an Atheist. The media likes to portray things in a way that will get them ratings.  Compare the coverage of any news story on both Fox and CNN and you will get a different spin.  It also gets blown out of proportion as if it is the Atheist plan to have a fully secular planet.  Though some may feel that way most don’t.

Personally, I had been sucked into the internet vortex of Christians.  The internet is a place where it is easy to become a jerk to others because you feel like you are just talking to a computer screen.  So the worst of what people think and feel can come out on the internet.  It is easy to decide that all Christians (or Atheists) are this or that and feel a deep sense of dislike for them as a group when all you have are stereotypes and the hate-filled ramblings of some.

Once you start putting names and faces to internet profiles its harder to dislike people who really are pretty much just like you.

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Answers from an Atheist Part 2

Q:  What do you think is the “final straw” that causes most atheists to become atheists?

 

A:  I always like this assumption – that there was a “final straw.”  I think for most atheists there was no defining moment where they were like “Oh hey this god stuff is bullshit.  I am done with it.”

Sure I do think there are some people who have things happen in their life that are so drastic and life altering that they literally do lose their religion.  This is especially true when they would have been considered good christians and who prayed and asked for god to help them and nothing happened.  When you are told that your prayers will be answered and they aren’t you tend to think its a bunch of lies especially if it happens over and over.  So you either have to believe you aren’t good enough for god to answer your prayers, you didn’t pray enough or that there is no god listening.

I didn’t have a “final straw” moment.  I did have a moment where  logical things I had seen that drew me towards Mormonism became the logic that pushed me out the door.  Sometimes I think I should have the missionaries over to discuss this and see what they have to say about it.  Even so that moment didn’t make me have a sudden disbelief in god though it did provide a loophole in which to take a look deep inside myself.  It still took a few years before I was able to actually define the feelings I had been having about god.

Its incredibly hard to be raised to believe in this god  in a country where everyone seems to believe in it too and have doubts.  I truly believe there are many people out there who say they believe in god simply because everyone else does.  Peer pressure is incredibly hard to overcome.
I think that more likely Atheists’ “final straw” is more a coming out – when they are finally fed up with hearing things like “it was in god’s plan” or “god is good” or just any of the other things that are thrown out on a daily basis by well meaning Christians.  So then they post it on facebook , or tell their family and there is a relief to be able to be who you are and openly (maybe) not believe in what everyone else seems to believe in.

Becoming Atheist is a process of introspection and logical and reasonable thinking over time but coming out as an atheist is the “final straw”

Answers from an Atheist part 1

I guess either no one really reads this anymore – and can I blame anyone when I have barely been posting? Or every one who is Christian isn’t actually interested in getting to understand the other view. Or you feel like you have heard it all already.  Whatever the reason – it’s ok.  So there were not many questions but I am going to spread them out over a few posts because no one wants to read a novel here.

Q: If I’m recalling correctly, you said earlier that you *wanted* to believe. What percentage of atheists do you think feel this way? Do you still feel that way yourself (again, if I am remembering correctly)?

A:  When I say that I “want” to believe it is because it would be infinitely easier to feel that I wasn’t in control of my life sometimes.  Oh that bad thing that happened? It’s god’s plan, not my fault.  For example when Jack fell off the bench at the soccer game last year and I watched his eyes roll into his head as he passed out and I wasn’t sure he was breathing.  I watched his entire future life pass in front of me and all I could think was it was all my fault.  If he died, or had brain damage, or was paralyzed then it was all my fault because I wasn’t paying enough attention. People who believe in god seem to feel that way at first about things but then they say that it is god’s plan.  That  god doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  All those lovely phrases that to most atheists (and many christians) are insulting at the worst and insensitive in the least.

Its not that I want to believe because I think it would be better but it is more that often I don’t want to take responsibility for everything that I don’t like or to think that there is a higher power out there that knows better than I do and will make everything right.

The analogy of god as a parent really is accurate – someone who will let you fall but then pick you up, kiss your boo-boos and make it all better.  Who doesn’t “want” to believe in that?  So yeah I want to believe but I just can’t.

I still feel this way but again only when I am feeling like I just don’t want to take responsibility for what is happening in my life or when I really wish there could be a big giant daddy that comes in and makes everything all better.

As for other Atheists I know some have said they do think this too, but again only sometimes.  The problem with having this deity who is always in control is the inverse of having them take responsibility – its when god is given all the credit.

Right now I have the best single semester GPA I have ever had in my life.  I have worked hard for this and my family has  sacrificed – especially my oldest who babysits a lot so that I can go to the library and study or even just lock myself in my room to get my homework done.  This is my hard work and my success.  Not god’s.

So even if sometimes I say I want to believe – its only because I want someone else to blame when things are going down the toilet.

Ask an Atheist Day

I imagine if you do not know a lot of atheists then you would have no idea it is “Ask an Atheist Day.”  Well it is and here is a little blurb about it

atheist“National Ask An Atheist Day is an opportunity for secular groups across the country to work together to defeat stereotypes about atheism and encourage courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike. The event is intended to be an opportunity for the general public – particularly people of faith – to approach us and ask questions about secular life.”

Since this blog should be as much about me learning about Christianity as it should be you learning about secular life.  Both groups have extremists and it and it a shame when anyone is pigeonholed into those beliefs as if they speak for everyone.

So ask me a question.  I will answer what I believe and what I think most atheists think in regards to your question.

I will answer every single question (as long as they are appropriate) in a subsequent blog post.  I figure since people tend to come back to my blog over a week after posting I will give everyone a week to get their questions posted in the comments.

If you don’t want to post publicly you can always email me – victoriousolive [ at ] me [dot] com

(also I am sorry for my lack of posting as of late but trying to keep straight A’s in 16 units at school with half being science classes is pretty much taking up my whole life)

Like it or Leave it?

I read all the time about how Christians think they are persecuted in this country but no one talks about how telling people to leave if they don’t believe in their god isn’t ok.

This photo is from a Facebook acquaintance and he took it while going to get fuel.  How can this be considered acceptable?  I know a lot of people who would actually agree with this too.  They think it is patriotic and they don’t think it is discriminatory at all.
If this said something about blacks it would be on the news and whomever did this would lose their job.

On the other hand there is Freedom of Speech.

So this business, though maybe not the smartest move, can put what they want on the displays.  I support their right to do that even if i disagree.  I also support their right to believe in whatever god they do or do not want to believe in.

Too bad they can’t return the favor.

 

 

Crazy Busy!

Why did I decide to do this the same time I was starting back to school?  I must have been crazy.

So of course I was doing good til yesterday.  I only had 2 little snafus (aka 8 ounces cokes) but then for some reason yesterday it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  All the sleep I have been missing trying to get my new life in school rearranged finally came back to haunt me and it did it in the middle of biology class.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I kept dozing off and the worst part about it was that I was sitting in the front row.  There is NO WAY my professor didn’t notice me dozing off.
I felt so bad.  I even got like 5 hours of sleep the night before which was like a record compared to the previous week.  So yesterday I broke down on my no caffeine, no soda and  hightailed it to the nearest Starbucks for a Java Chip Frappacino with an extra shot.

Go big or go home right?

The thing is I don’t feel guilty.  That is the benefit of actually not believing in a god.  Sure I was giving up something but more often than not it wasn’t really a big deal and I was only letting myself down.  I don’t have to be worried about not being good enough.  I don’t even have to be humbled by the experience.  I just start over.  Or not.  It really is whatever I want.
It was 21 days and I made it 14.  I think that is pretty good with or without a god to back me up.

I mean this is the original reason I started this blog in the first place.  I was giving up atheism.  Well obviously that wasn’t for good because I don’t think you can truly change an atheist’s mind about any god just like you can’t change a theist’s mind about their god.  I think the only place there is room for change is with agnostics.  They think there is something out there but they aren’t sure what so they are one step closer than I am.

I am still ok with that because I still don’t see how any god would fit into my life.

He Wants You To Fit In

There are 2 Christian Radio stations that I have found locally that I have been listening to.  I prefer the talk show based one since it has more talk radio and more religious music versus the “trying to be mainstream” Christian music station.  I was listening to one of the local religious radio stations last Friday  and the host said something that really moved me.

“He doesn’t want you to get in, He wants you to fit in.”

The host went on to talk about how at the Second Coming when Jesus comes you will get a new body, all your ailments will disappear, your body will be perfect, but your character is yours.  Character is something that one needs to be growing right now because the character you have at the second coming will be your character for eternity.  You get a new perfect body and hopefully your character is worthy of it, but I am not worried about my Character.  I am concerned with not being an outsider.

I don’t fit in.  I won’t fit in.  I have been trying to figure out how to address this for a month and every time I start to write it just doesn’t come out right but now I think I finally have the right words.

I don’t see how, even if I decided there was a God, would I ever fit in?

I do not believe that life begins at conception.  I support the right to have a abortion if a woman wants for whatever reason she wants only because I support the rights of all people, young and old to make their own decisions for their own body.  I support gays; I support them in getting married or civil unions or whatever the government wants to call it.  I don’t think they are bad people and I don’t think they are doing anything wrong just because they love another with the same sex chromosomes as them.  I believe in evolution.  I do not believe that the earth is just 6000 years old or that dinosaurs were just made up by atheist scientists to fool the masses into disbelieving in God.  (OK I’m not sure how many christians believe the 6000 year old Earth and Dino thing but really they come out in droves on the internet).

I know that America is not a Christian Nation built on Christian beliefs and even if we were? We were also a nation of people that at that time believed we could own other people.  Money didn’t have “In God We Trust” on it til the 50’s same with the Pledge of Allegiance; it did not say “One nation under God until then either.  Those changes were brought on by the fear of communism and Cold War.  (I am still not sure what one had to do with the other though- I should probably research that.)  I don’t believe that there should be prayer in school, not for Muslims, not for Mormons, not for Hindus, not for Catholics and not for Christians.  I think that sex education, though primarily the responsibility of the parents, should be taught in schools and that includes teaching about prevention not just abstinence.

It seems that my beliefs on social issues do not align with the bible or with the majority of the Christian populous.  I think that is must be ridiculously hard to be a Scientist, a Gay or Pro-Choice and still believe in a God that apparently doesn’t think you fit in.  I wouldn’t fit in and I don’t see myself changing my beliefs on social issues and from a few of the responses I can tell that though a few other Atheists that have become Christians haven’t changed their core social beliefs.

So even though I enjoy the learning aspect of church and I will still keep going because I do enjoy what I am learning; I still do not agree with most of it; I don’t fit in and I don’t see that changing.

What are You Trying to Gain?

I have been asked multiple times in many different ways what I am trying to do here.  I have never really answered because I am not 100% sure.  This isn’t a formal experiment so there is no hypothesis.  This was not even my idea.  I did not wake up one morning and decide that I was going to try to be a Christian for awhile.  I am not trying to prove or disprove the existence of a god.  Honestly I don’t think it can be proven or disproven (I will write more about proof later.)

I still do not really know what I am trying to do right now.  I was just challenged to step outside my norm and do something different.  I doubt many others would step outside their beliefs and try it a different way.  I mean how many Christians would decide to spend 45 days of their life as a Muslim? Granted “being” a Christian, especially one at a non-denominaital church, is fairly easy in the US so maybe the example of a Muslim isn’t fair but hopefully you understand my point.

One thing this has done was give me the necessary kick in the pants to read the bible and try to analyze it.  I have never read Twilight because I am not interested in vampires and I have never read the bible as an adult because I was not interested in it.  Of course no one has ever tried to convert me to being a sparkling blood sucker so I never really needed to debate the existence of vampires either.

I am not going to try to convince people to not believe in God either.  I have tried to tell my 8 year old daughter recently that there is no Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy and that didn’t go ever very well; I know the same would be true with trying to convince Christians to change their belief.  If someone is going to change their beliefs it will come in its own time and own way.  Hopefully with my 8 year old it is sooner than later cause I am tired of hearing about the horrible job the tooth fairy has done in the past year.

What I would like is for the Christians who read this blog and who are interacting with me in church to realize that Atheists are normal everyday people and you probably already interact with a few on a regular basis you just don’t realize it.  I would love for some American Christians (obviously not all do this) to stop complaining about being persecuted.  You are the majority in this country; until that changes complaining to Atheists about being persecuted is like Caucasians complaining about Affirmative Action being unfair.

I think if something is going to come from this, for me, it is a better understanding of why Christians think they way they do.  I have already become more tolerant of the proselytizing; the constantly trying to convert Atheists in the best case or in the worst proclaiming our obvious descent into hell after death.  I have been able to step away and see the other side and I have also seen how nasty and mean some Atheists can be when it comes to Christians and vice versa.

I already understand why Christians care so much.  They truly believe they are trying to help you for eternity.  Hopefully this will help other Atheists realize this while at the same time help Christians realize that unless we ask for your help in finding god you just look pushy.  So for now I guess the ultimate goal is maybe just a higher level of tolerance for everyone involved in this blog, either through readership or through their personal interactions with me.

Atheists are as good without God as Christians are with Him.

Turning to God for Help

I figure that the best question to answer first is the one that is the most pertinent to recent events.  This question was posed by Abandoned Barns regarding Jack’s concussion.

“Any point during this ordeal you thought about turning to God for help?”

Simple answer.  No.

I did not turn to god for help.  I did not even think about praying or putting it out there that I needed his help.  When I prayed about the little boy who was verbally abused by the teacher I had time to think and to mull over the situation.  There was time to reflect and time to for the idea to get in my head.

This was my child, my emergency, my right now.  Even after my husband ran with my unconscious child up the stairs at the stadium I didn’t have time to think about asking god for anything?  Why? Because I am not a Christian.  God is not where I go to for help.  I don’t ask magical forces to fix my issues or my child.  I can say things like “I hope that x, y or z does or does not happen” but I am not asking a mythical figure to change the things in my life.  I am really just talking to myself knowing full well that what will happen will happen.  Somethings are just out of my control.  That does not mean they have to be in the control of someone else.  I suppose that is the big difference.  I know that some things are out of my control, and some things I can control if I would just do something.  Christians want to have God in control.

One of the comments I have received has been about the difference of living “like” a Christian versus “as” a Christian.   I cannot live as a Christian because I am not one. I do not believe.  I have been trying to live like a Christian but it does seem that “fake it til you make it” doesn’t work with belief.   I can pretend and I can do all the things that Christians do like go to church and pray and red the bible but overall that has not changed what I believe.  So when it came to a moment in my life where I was not in control of the situation at all I did not turn to God because he’s not there.

Off the Wagon – day 7

On the seventh day she rested.  Fell off the Christian wagon.  Or got tired of it.  Or plainly was just done.

Like I said in the previous post, I have been listening to Christian Radio.  I don’t know why but today it really was bothering me.  It was just grating on my nerves.  I wanted to listen to something that wasn’t going on and on about their love for Jesus and God.  It caught me off guard because in most cases the radio is just background noise even when I am driving, so to actually be hearing it enough to be annoyed by it was odd.

Then when I was trying to read the Christian non-fiction I have; I couldn’t even get past the first page.  I tried a different book and it was the same thing.  I tried to further my reading in the bible.  I am on Matthew 13 so I haven’t made it very far from yesterday and the idea of reading any further made my head spin.

Instead I spent the day in places I assume a Christian wouldn’t hang out.  Virtually of course.  Atheist Facebook groups, not ignoring my Atheist friends’ posts, reading some humanist and secular blogs and mostly just not caring.

I am not quitting.  I think I just needed a reset today.  Everyone has set backs.  Maybe I can blame it on the  fact that today was  Leap Day  and that obviously means there is some sort of rip in the space time continuum (or something like that).

I’ll climb back up on the proverbial wagon tomorrow.  It will be a new day.