Visit from a Pastor

Last Thursday my wife and I were in the midst of an argument. Nothing major of course, she was stressed out and when she is stressed she screams at me for a while until she feels better and then usually everything is all good. During our argument we saw a little head bobbing around through the window on our door…there was the pastor that performed our wedding ceremony standing there.

I’m not sure who sent him or if he had even been sent at all, this was the first time I had seen him in the three years since we were wed so the visit was quite peculiar. When my wife and I were in the process of getting married we both still believed though we had our doubts about Christianity, nonetheless the pastor found himself easily impressed by us and our resolve to remain virgins until our wedding night, so as far as he knew all was well with our faith at that time. I can only assume that he had gotten some wind of my fall from grace, this is a small town and I am very much an Out atheist, but regardless this is how our conversation went:

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False Piety and Prayer

“I’ll pray for you!”

We atheists hear that a lot. Whether it be in public or on the Internet, Christians often feel an overwhelming desire to declare there intention to pray for someone at any given opportunity. More often than not I believe that this is simply a display of piety and an attempt at letting those around know that they are “good god-fearing Christians”.

Let’s look at something the Bible has to say about prayer:

Matthew 6:6  KJV:  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Now, I know that in Acts 20:36 Paul knelt down with the body of believers and prayed quite openly,  but this is in the presence of other like minded believing people – when you are out in a public place I truly believe that the Bible commands you not to make a public show of your prayers – either by announcing your intention to do so or by making flagrant displays of prayer.


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My Gripe with the TEA Party: The Pastor Responds

This is a continuation of the last post: My Gripe with the TEA Party: My Town Responds please read it after you have read my original post: My Gripe with the TEA Party

The final letter that was addressed to me was from none other than the pastor that I focused much of my attention on in my original submission. Understandably he too thought that I was the heckler that shouted and interrupted his speech at the rally. I have attempted to call Rev. Hicks to inform him that this is not the case and left him a voice mail to that effect. I hope to hear from him soon, perhaps he would be willing to go grab a cup of coffee with me sometime. Due to the length of this letter I will only post it in portions, then deal with it a paragraph or two at a time. His letter can be read in it’s entirety Here without any of my comments inlaid.

Dear Editor, In the last edition of this newspaper, I was the main target of a lengthy letter to the editor. Inasmuch as the writer identified me by naming the church where I pastor, I feel compelled to respond. It is the right and privilege of the writer of that letter to express his “gripe” as he sees fit. I am thankful for the right to respond.

First, thank you very much for your relatively gracious response. We are both mutually thankful to have our right to respond and have gripes and I am even more glad that we can do so in a civil way. My intention was not to bring any negative attention onto you or your church and I am very sorry if that has been the case – I will try to better explain my intentions and failures as we progress here.

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My Gripe with the T.E.A. Party

The following is a letter I recently wrote to the editor of my local newspaper, the Dodge County News. I am not sure if it will be published in the edition that should be coming off the presses right now, but I do expect it should be included in next weeks edition. I have included in my salutation that I am a fiscal conservative Atheist and included my website, hoping to get some feedback from the local folks but I am actually quite nervous about it. See, I am out about my lack of belief…I don’t do anything to hide it and if someone asks me anything about religion I am more than glad to let it be known that I am indeed an Atheist. I have not, however, made an uninvited public statement as of yet which is why I know that members of my family and the family of my wife may be surprised to know of this and it may be a shock to them. Therefore, before I post this letter, let me just explain a few things:

Disclaimer

  1. I did not choose to be an Atheist, I simply chose to think critically about my religious beliefs and it led me to this place, I am not making an effort not to believe, I simply find it impossible to continue belief in any god especially the god of Christianity.
  2. This is not the fault of anyone, it has nothing to do with a less than perfect (though it had it’s high points, don’t get me wrong) family life or any sort of trauma over the problems that my family has had.
  3. I do not hate the religious, I respect those that wish to continue believing. I have no intention of fighting the religious establishment in this town publicly. I just want to see common sense used when political rallies are held and false pretenses are used to attract participants. I still believe in the freedom to believe in whatever god or gods you please so long as your belief does not drive you to harm other people, I would fight to keep that freedom for everyone if there was ever an attempt to take it away.
  4. My morals have not changed, there are no black robed satanic rituals occurring at my home nor any wild orgies. I still love my wife and am wholly dedicated to my marriage.
  5. None of my opinions, views, beliefs, or lack of beliefs are necessarily shared by my wife. She believes whatever she wants to believe and I have not made any effort to stop her from believing in god. Please don’t apply any words that you read here to my wife because they simply are not her statements. If you want to know about her beliefs or disbelief you will have to ask her though she doesn’t seem too very inclined to discuss those things with a whole lot of people.

If you came here after reading my letter please feel free to comment in the comments section, I will not censor any views so long as there are no threats made against myself or my family. Sometimes people do irrational things in the name of god and I know that %99.9999 of you would never do anything to harm another person, but for that individual that cannot tolerate questioning his/her beliefs people like me on occasion fear the repercussions of not participating in the status quo. I love my fellow man, I care about this country, and I worry about it’s future – this is why I wrote this and why I continue my blog in the way that I do.

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The Ethics of Doubt

I have had various people approach me, generally Christians, whom think the idea of doubting god or god’s existence is unethical. Obviously I think the idea is ridiculous, but I would like to give my take on it. We aren’t really talking about morality here, that has been handled in depth more times than I care to count on this blog…what I am referring to is the actual ethical nature of the individual whom doubts. My contention is that a person skeptical of the existence of god is ethical in a more altruistic sense than the individual whom accepts god and dogma without question.

Before I go into my reasoning I would like to point out that this isn’t intended at an accusation against the believer…I contest that believers (those that believe in god) can just as well be skeptics and doubters not exposed to the same information or unable to get past the religious programming they may have endured. I for one know very well that overcoming all that fear, nervousness, and denying my devotion to god is incredibly difficult. I suggest that the more devoted to your god you are the more likely you are to challenge him, at least that was my own experience. This most certainly qualifies one as a doubter in my book and therefore somewhat more ethical than ones sheepish counterparts.

My standard of ethics is that an ethical person will fight and seek truth no matter what he finds to be true. Despite what I may find to be true I will still attempt to validate that truth and fight for it’s survival, hence you have this  blog in front of your face. In my view, both the pursuit of reality (truth) and  the propagation of it meet the very definition of ethical behavior. Proliferating one’s faith is altruistic as it generally tends to attempt to save wayward souls, but it is only pure when an individual is willing to endure the struggles of his faith….some Atheists lack the experience of faith and therefore an understanding of the difficulty that a person of faith can face in daily life. The doubter loves his non-existent god, his god is real to him, he fights everything natural to him to keep that god happy – my own faith kept me teetering on the border of sanity and insanity almost constantly and it was incredibly difficult- far more than the scapegoat that some Atheists may believe it to be.

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Job: An Assault on Logic and the Character of God

jobs-dreamsI’ve said it before and now I’ll say it again, “The Bible is it’s own worst enemy”. I think this rings true for any former Christian that decided to read it as if it were not a perfect book, thats one of the steps I took  before I got to where I am today.

In my recent plea for someone to ask questions of me for better inspiration one OscarGecko asked me the following:

In your post, “Ex-Timony,” you said, “…alot of the stories, the book of Job in particular, really make g-d look like a huge asshole if you think about it more critically…” can you explain this further? ~OscarGecko

First let me just say thanks to Oscar for being my muse for this round of Ask the Atheist…I appreciate your cooperation very much sir!

Next, I want to clarify my position a little bit and then we will go through the specific example of Job, as the picture it paints of God to the unfaithful. My position is that the Bible and Job in particular are testaments to the character of YHVH, that they exemplify who he is at his very core rather than who he is  when you look at the prettier picture painted by the story of Christian “salvation”. This, not the sacrificial god found in Jesus, is who YHWH truly is, everything else is just what he needs to be to be more acceptable to the masses. I say that the intent of the new testament is like a huge Public Relations campaign to make YWHW more palatable to those that may not be “God’s Chosen People”. Of course this is a rather rudimentary simplification of my view, but it should serve my purpose here.

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Ask The Atheist: Part 1

Hello everyone. Once again I have come to a point my my blogging where I have a difficult time thinking up new things to blog about, so, I need your help!

I want to do a series of Q & A style posts, where someone—anyone really, simply asks a question in as much detail as possible and I attempt to answer that question to the best of my ability. So, all i need you to do is comment below and ask the question you want to ask, if it is chosen it will be featured in a blog post shortly with a link to your own blog or website of your choice if you so choose to have that done…don’t worry though, anonymous questions are fine and i will be honest.

Questions should be at least generally related to religious topics or Atheism, but questions about my personal life that have not been adequately answered on this blog are just fine too.

Tweet this or email it to anyone that you know may want to ask an Atheist Ex-Christian a question!

Gay Marriage: A Cause for All!

GayMarriageflagThe Iowa Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on same sex or gay marriage. I personally could not be happier for the homosexual constituents of Iowa and am glad to see that many are now getting married to their loved ones. Some, however, cannot leave well enough alone… There were already people lined up ready to protest this decision just hours after it was made. Some Christians are currently in outrage, and I really want to know why…What will it harm the “family” to expand it’s definition to same sex couples? Will it in any way affect the way you guide and lead your own family?

I may have been really liberal as a Christian (I wasn’t on any other issue), but this is one of those issues I just couldn’t

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Psalms 14 redux: April fools = Atheists?

No GodAs I was making my daily rounds the other day on Facebook the status of one of my friends caught my eye. Because Facebook and especially statuses are incredibly bad places to hold sensible debates I have decided to post the comments that occured after that. If it is hard to follow I am sorry, but I truly hope that the participants might join in and begin commenting here in order to continue hashing this out…now that we have Intense Debate installed at RagingRev these sorts of things should be MUCH easier to facilitate. 

note!: I am changing the names of anyone that may not want to be identified…Just stuff I am making up

as you can see, it’s long, but I hope it will be worth it and I truly hope those involved will join in on the comments. Note also that I did remove a small side conversation and one other part but they were not important…we are at over 5000 words here.

 

Here is what it said:

Erich’s Status:  It’s Atheist Day! (The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”)

Bill says:

I am an atheist, but I am not a fool. Your statement is exactly backwards, because who is the bigger fool? One who uses logic and reason to define their way, or one who blindly believes in superstition, (faith)? Now, I don’t go around calling all of my religious friends “fools,” but you seem to have no problem dishing out such an insult.

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Fun Friday: Bear attax!

bear-attackToday’s Fun Friday post is inspired by none other that God’s Holy Word (The Bible,  so it claims)

Elisha was Gods Prophet…one day Elisha was walking on his way to Bethel when a group of 42 little children started making fun of him for having a bald head. How did Elisha respond? Read it for yourself:

2 Kings 2:23-24:

And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

That’s right kids, God’s holy and chosen prophet decided to curse them, causing two female bears to maul them to death…sweet Jesus, no wonder I miss God so much!

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