Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

Dear Christians:

Well,  you’ve lost another one here. After years of believing in God, going to church, taking communion, and all the other things that revolve around Christianity, I’m giving up. I’m done.

I was raised a Catholic, but am now in recovery. I’m not willing to declare myself 100% atheist, but I am certainly leaning that way. And yes, I’m sure many of you Christians out there might respond: “Well, I hate Catholics too, so don’t give up ALL Christian religions just because you hate the Catholics. That’s not fair to God and Jesus, right?”

That right there is the crux of the issue: the absolute refusal to accept the possibility that “God” may actually NOT exist. You seem to insist on it, and use the bible as your back up proof/evidence. But this is my response: the bible is NOT proof of the existence of God. Just because it is written down does not make it so. If that were the case, I’d write a short story that says I’m rich. Then I’ll show it to people when I go to purchase that really expensive car I’ve always dreamed of but could never afford: “Hey, it’s written down, so it must be true, right?”

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I have a challenge for all Christians who read the bible regularly (I have never read beyond the Old Testament – something I’ll get to in a second). Are you ready for the challenge? Here goes:

Find a verse (or two, if you want) in the bible you do not agree with and/or support. Draw a line through it as though you wish it were removed from the bible permanently. Women, is it something you read about how you’re supposed to be subservient to your man? Colossians 3:18 How he should be allowed to beat you if you misbehave? Beat your children? Proverbs 23: 13-14 (Because, it’s in there, you know). Men, are you a Christian with a tattoo? You might want to read Leviticus 19:28 then – because that’s what the bible recommends. No marking of the skin, no tattoos.

doubtful scriptureHave you found the words or sentences you don’t agree with? Good! Now ask yourself:

If the bible has imperfect wording, how can it be the word of God, who is – according to you, perfect? Perfect people don’t write imperfect words.

If you fail to see the logic here, then perhaps I can offer another challenge:

If you really do want to live your life according to the bible, then you must also do what it tells you to do in the Old Testament too, right? Let me list a few of the immoral acts mentioned in the Old Testament:

Incest

Raping of slave women

Polygamy

War

Slaughtering of innocents

It appears as though the God of the Old Testament was pretty revengeful, and a complete megalomaniac. Sure you want that for a leader?

Ah, but it’s really only the NEW Testament you read and learn from, right? If I remember, Jesus took the general stories of the Old Testament and used them as teaching tools for his followers. Since I never read the New Testament, this is where it gets cloudy for me, and I can’t speak to it, to be fair.

And nor do I want a bunch of bible scripture thrown out at me – remember, if you scratched out at least a line of text or two, that renders the bible “imperfect”. If you believe the entire thing to be true, word by word by word, then you better start living the biblical life, and not get upset when you start getting beaten (women) or your husband comes home with numerous wives because “the bible said I could and it is THE word of God”. Right?

But, I have read the Old Testament, I even taught the Old Testament to children. And, believe it or not, they were more curious and critical of the content. They wanted to know how people could live hundreds of years. They asked me how brothers and sisters could legally marry, and  how can a man marry his wife AND get a slave girl pregnant at the same time? How could someone be so willing to chop his child in half? They were all very good questions, in my opinion. And, to be honest, I wasn’t able to explain away the behavior. All I was allowed to say was, “that’s just how it is stated in the bible – go ask your parents if you have further questions about morality”.

And this is why I no longer care for religion or care about what the bible says. It doesn’t teach people to think, to wonder, to use logic and question the how, what, where, when, and why of the world. All it does is tell them WHAT to think, and HOW to act. That’s not education, that’s indoctrination. If I wanted that, I’d move to North Korea.

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Platitudes“God has a plan for you…”

“When God closes a door, he opens a window”

“It was God’s will…”

“Don’t be sad, he (she) is with God now…”

I have always cringed when someone spoke any of the above phrases to me. I haven’t been able to figure out why until recently when I had to grit my teeth and, with clenched jaws, hear them spoken again and again coming from people who were too happy to witness my world start to crumble down around me. They just didn’t sound authentic to  me. And honestly, all these smarmy phrases did was just make me angrier and more depressed.

The above phrases are known as platitudes. According to Merriam, one of the definitions of platitude is “a banal, stale remark.” And this definition fits perfectly here. Every one of the smarmy, schmaltzy, syrupy sweet sayings about God and his particular role in my life feels like an ice pick to the brain. While I understand and accept that people tend not to know what to say in uncomfortable situations, I also feel that remarks such as those only add fuel to the fire. God has a plan for me? So then I should just sit back and wait until that plan reveals itself? I don’t call that God’s plan, I call that being lazy.

I’ve learned a lot about myself lately, too. And the one thing that I keep coming back to is: it was believing in God and his “plans” that have made me feel like absolute shit about myself. Being brought up in an organized religion didn’t improve the quality of my life – here I am at 50, unemployed and certainly not ready to retire to a life of luxury and leisure. And the biblical scripture that discusses suffering on earth: “For your rewards will be great in Heaven” certainly doesn’t help to pay off my student loans now, does it?

childabuseReligious doctrine also ruined my ability to think for myself and make my own conscious decisions. I wasn’t taught to question the existence of God, I was taught that there is no question – He exists, and if “you don’t do what he says, you’re going to end up in Hell, where you belong, because he doesn’t want you with him in paradise.”  The use of God’s existence to invoke proper behavior out of children is just another form of emotional invalidation and abuse.

If one were to consider the thousands of orphaned and poor Irish Catholic children who were sent to the industrial (read: church run) schools in Ireland who were repeatedly sexually, physically and emotionally abused, one would quickly figure out that the abuse was meted out by religious people who would spew outdated biblical scripture and warped religious doctrine at them in an effort to get little Johnny or Janey to understand that “I must abuse you, repeatedly, because God wants you to know you are always to be under the control of adults who are bigger, scarier and holier than you are.”  What a sick, perverted line of thinking to use on a young, developing mind. All in the name of religion.

I believe it is a safe bet to say that all religions come with their own set of smarmy sayings and platitudes created to help the speaker feel less uncomfortable around the person who is suffering from whatever trauma has occurred in their lives. I know talking about job loss, divorce, and death can be awkward. But, for those of us who choose not to believe that there is a magical sky fairy looking over us, and manipulating us like puppets on a string, those platitudes come across as empty, hollow and, at times, highly offensive.

Perhaps the best thing to say when put into an uncomfortable position is, “I’m sorry to hear this. I hope things get better for you soon,” then just let the person talk, if they need to talk. That’s all I wanted from those around me. That was really all I needed to hear.

Platitudes, schmatitudes.

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