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The Christ-Centered Marriage

As I cruised the atheosphere this morning, I came across Possummomma’s 400th post (congratulations, Pmomma!). It includes a segment in which she discusses the effects of her acceptance of atheism on her marriage:

I know your husband is an agnostic-Catholic. How is that working in your home? Was he unhappy about your change in beliefs? If my girl friend came home and said she’d stopped believing in God, I don’t know if I would be happy with it.

Pdaddy took it well. We’d both voiced criticisms and doubts…I was just the first of the two of us to put time into researching those doubts. And, it didn’t change the basis for our relationship. I know some theist couples base their relationship on serving god or putting God first, but we were never like that. And, our children and friendship (between p-daddy and I) has always been the foundation of our marriage so atheism wasn’t a deal breaker.

That passage took me back nearly 30 years, to the time when the deacon and I were engaged and envisioning a lifetime together as faithful servants of God. In our conversations, we always affirmed that God/Jesus had to be our first love. He would be the hub of our marriage…

Continue Reading May 3, 2008 at 11:23 am 46 comments

Would You Please Reschedule Your Crisis?

choirFour months ago, just a few weeks before I came out to my husband about my atheism, I decided to quit the church choir. I did not mind the weekly rehearsals. In fact, I like the choir members and enjoyed getting together with them every week. I also didn’t mind playing the piano for them on Sunday mornings. I quit for two other reasons.

First, while I was willing to commit to attending weekly rehearsals and Sunday services, I was not willing to add any extra religious gigs to my agenda. For example, several church leaders spent several weeks in the fall playing with the idea of getting the church musicians involved in some sort of evangelistic outreach in the church’s neighborhood. Sorry guys, count me out of that one. I was not disappointed when it didn’t happen. Another one was an invitation to travel to a church in Maryland – on a Saturday night – to sing two songs at a “Concert of Prayer.” Right. You want me to drive an hour there, hang around in a prayer meeting (those really get the juices flowing) for one or two hours, then spend another hour driving home – because you need me to play the piano for about eight minutes. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to that one…

Continue Reading March 13, 2008 at 4:14 pm 52 comments

What’s So Bad About Religion?

baby jesus 1I’ve been debating with myself for several days about whether I should write this post. Since some others bloggers have dealt with this question quite effectively recently, I haven’t felt that I would have anything useful to add to the conversation. I changed my mind when I read Brian’s recent heart wrenching post. For the religious folks who wonder why nonbelievers care at all about religion and why we can’t we just respect believers’ beliefs and leave them alone, I offer the following thoughts.

The first problem that I have with religious beliefs is that, as Greta Christina pointed out recently, acting on the basis of false beliefs can lead to ill-conceived, even harmful, behavior and decisions. Take, for example, cases of snake handlers who die from snakebites, or Jehovah’s Witnesses who die for want of blood transfusions – both of which have occurred in the USA within the past several months. One may argue that such beliefs are misunderstandings of scriptural injunctions, but to so argue merely cedes my point. Yes, I agree, such beliefs are misunderstandings, but those misunderstandings are founded upon what believers have read in scriptures and they are founded upon traditions that have been passed down to successive generations for millennia. Quite simply, the misunderstood scriptures would not be taken so seriously, and the errant teachings that have been transmitted through the ages would not exist, were it not for the religious contexts that gave birth to them and continue to nourish them…

Continue Reading February 17, 2008 at 10:07 pm 68 comments

Christian Education or Indoctrination?

Teaching ChildrenThe focus of my last post, I weep for the children who are victimized by their spiritual leaders, was about various ways that churches manipulate, and sometimes even abuse, children. The second of my two examples, the Nigerian Witch Hunts, was a clearcut case in which thousands of children are being horrifically abused by not only their pastors, but also their parents, who themselves have been browbeaten into believing that their children are witches.

The first example I cited, the one to which I devoted the bulk of that post, was the story of the confirmation service of a seven-year old girl into an evangelical Christian church. As I observed the ceremony, a comment by the officiating pastor made me ponder the moral implications of what the girl may have been taught in preparation for the ceremony, which includes the following “promise”:

Having asked God for forgiveness, I will trust him to keep me good. Because Jesus is my Savior from sin, I will be his loving and obedient child and will try to help others to follow him. I promise not to use intoxicating drink, harmful drugs or tobacco. I promise to pray, to read my Bible and, by His help, to lead a life that is clean in thought, word and deed…

Continue Reading January 2, 2008 at 10:52 am 24 comments

I weep for the children who are victimized by their spiritual leaders

Jesus and the childrenEarlier this month, one of the elements of the church service I attended was the confirmation of Chloe, a seven-year-old girl, as a junior member of the congregation. This is the first of two confirmations that my denomination typically holds: the first for youngsters, the second for adolescents no younger than fourteen.

The guest pastor who was conducting the ceremony noted that, prior to the service, the girl’s mother had asked, several times, “Are you sure that you’ve repented of your sins and asked Jesus to forgive you?” The child answered affirmatively, and her mother and the pastor were satisfied that she was indeed ready to be confirmed.

As the pastor recounted that story, I had to suppress a shudder. I could not help thinking, “The child is seven years old! What sins could she possibly have committed that would require repentance and divine forgiveness?” I also realized, to my horror, that in order to have learned something about the doctrines of repentance, forgiveness and salvation, Chloe may also have learned something about the corollary doctrines of human depravity and hell…

Continue Reading December 27, 2007 at 11:59 pm 41 comments

Atheism vs. Theism 2: Independence from Persons

In my previous post on this subject, Independence in Thought, I discussed a point made by Phillychief in his post entitled Insularity?, where he stated that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers.

Captain MiracleAnother point that Phillychief made, with which I agree, is that atheists are not as prone to hero worship and personality cults as theists appear to be. He cites the examples of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, et al, and notes that their positions are scrutinized incessantly. What he implied but didn’t say outright, which I will say, is that much of this scrutiny comes from people who generally accept these writers’ ideas. The critics criticize because they want to sharpen their own thinking skills and also because they want to challenge these writers, and others like them, to put forward the strongest possible arguments for their positions and to articulate those arguments clearly, succinctly and coherently.

I, for example, like Richard Dawkins, and I enjoyed reading The God Delusion. That doesn’t blind me to the fact that the book has some substantive flaws. My atheism does not depend on Dawkins being infallible. Ditto for all the recent flap about Antony Flew – the fact that he shifted from atheism to a deist position doesn’t undermine my atheist position at all. My atheistic view does not depend upon the Gospels according to St. Antony and St. Richard…

Continue Reading December 11, 2007 at 12:28 am 39 comments

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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