Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Why Do I Care?
The short answer to her question is that I count my twenty-five years as a Christian as my biggest mistake. DISCLAIMER: Yes, I met my best friend/wife/mother of my daughters during that time; NO, I repeat, NO! I do not consider meeting her and marrying her to be part of that mistake, and haven't regretted it a day in my life. The comments below are to be understood in the context of the preceding disclaimer.
Since I fully regret every moment I devoted to promoting Christianity, I feel a sense of obligation toward the many people out there in the world who were influenced to remain Christians because of me. That may be a fairly large number, since I gave more than a few sermons during that time, taught many lessons in Sabbath School, and I spent nineteen of those years employed as a Seventh-day Adventist teacher. It was all a big mistake, each and every one of those influences. I cannot take them back, reverse the influence, or undo the damage; most of those I encountered ignore me as fully as I ignore them, including in that silly mall of social media, Facebook. But the sense of obligation remains heavy on my heart.
I could put a sunny spin on my time in the church, and at times, given the right company, I do. Sometimes it's just the appropriate way to participate in light conversation with other people. No one wants to be branded the militant atheist. At least no one who hopes to have friends. But if pressed to confess my true feelings on the matter (a rare thing), I offer them up. I truly feel I made a mistake, giving a group of deluded people the best years of my health. I almost said 'best years of my life,' but I can't say that, since life has gotten so much better since I left the delusion of Christianity. So I hit the delete key and put health there instead, since that's likely true; age 20 to 45 are typically the most healthy years of anyone's adult life.
I gave lots of money to those deluded people, too; I'm still paying back (or at least I'm co-signed the responsibility for) two massive student loans on behalf of one of my daughters. This, to the same university I graduated from. I just learned today that my alma mater doesn't have to report its non-profit financials to the IRS, since it is allowed to consider itself a 'church.' Somehow, it still gets to call itself Southern Adventist University. Tithe money (yes, some of which paid my meager salary as a religion teacher; but most of that went back in tuition for my daughters), and tuition money, offerings, and every other way I charitably supported that deluded group, I regret every cent, every calorie I burned on their behalf.
Why such regret? Read the rest of this blog for the longer answer. To summarize it, though, I'll offer this as a brief explanation: Every person locked into the delusion of Christianity and other mind-numbing religions is potentially the next Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or Christopher Hitchens. The next Walt Disney. The next Edwin Hubble. The next brilliant scientist, or artist, or journalist who will raise our consciousness to the next level. The potential in every human being, I believe, is limitless. We need more Elon Musks, more Bill Gates, more Steve Jobs. But some of these potentially great leaders will never have the chance to question everything, think rationally, and fully explore our world, because they are today being indoctrinated in how to deny that fully human curiosity and creative expression waiting to burst forth from their DNA.
To remain a faithful believer in the lying mythologies such as Christianity, especially in this era of free access to much of the species' knowledgebase, the deluded person has to expend a great deal of effort, closing off their questions, staying firmly wrapped in the straightjacket of reverence and piety, denying their doubts and skepticism.
I share a tiny bit of the highest quality images, memes, and quotations I find as I browse the atheist social media, in the full awareness that I may offend a few of my believing family members or friends, also fully aware that Facebook provided an easy way to mute my musings in their newsfeed with a feature called following. For any of your friends who blow up your newsfeed with objectionable material or simply just too much information, you can hover over their names (thus you have to be on a PC; it won't work on smartphones yet), and uncheck the checkmark next to the word following. You'll never see anything else they like or statuses they post. Only if they personally tag your name will you see it.
I share my atheism on my Facebook (and Twitter, and here on Blogger) because I'm trying to right a wrong. Christianity wronged me by lying to me; through me it wronged many others. I dedicate everything I share to those tiny few whose doubts may flourish into open questioning, irreverent skepticism, and free, independent, rational thinking.