Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coming Out Atheist

I've written about how I live my life as an atheist, but I've never talked about why I live my life as an atheist and what brought me to that decision. 

I've never considered my self burdened by or chained to religion, as I grew up in a household pretty much devoid of one, but I always did think I was supposed to have one throughout my early life or, at the very least, believe in the idea that there truly did exist someone known as god.

Who am I am now and what my views are on religion now are nowhere near where I came from. Let me explain how I became free from the shackles of thinking that I needed to 'believe' in anything.

When I was younger the thoughts always revolved around a feeling that there had to be a creator of what I was experiencing around me. I tried for many, many years to find that so called creator. Many churches of many different faiths saw my attendance as a possibility that I would somehow 'stick' with them when I enrolled in their churches. Alas, that didn't happen as each one let me down in one way or another.

One day, I just stopped going towards any church to answer the question of "Is there a creator?" I began a somewhat isolated approach to the question of spirituality. I asked myself and others many questions about god, but still never really received any answers that fully satisfied me.

The day that really cemented the fact that there couldn't be a god for me was when I watched the movie called "The Rapture" with Mimi Rogers. At the end, I could not help but to identify with the main character and say to myself 'how could a loving god be anything but an ass for what he has asked of her?' In the movie, god implored her to kill her own child and await instructions. She did as instructed, but then realized how vile this request was. She would sacrifice her own child and was supposed to be happy for making such a decision, then look lovingly in the eyes of her lord! How utterly disgusting.

From that moment on, it finally made sense to me. THIS is the god that everyone has wanted me to believe was real. There, unfortunately, was no way that I could EVER want to follow someone as egomaniacal as this guy. Finally, it resonated that if there truly was a god, he was a dick. So, from that time on, having no evidence for a god and coming to that conclusion, I've decided that atheist is the best label for me. If there was a god, why in the world would I align myself with or especially follow someone who has been depicted as someone who is completely and utterly morally bankrupt?

It has made my life simple and straight-forward. Today I enjoy my life and I look forward to experiencing it to the fullest, restrained from the guilt and shame of being judged for every single move I make. Freedom! How I live my life now is one that is rich with experience with the love of my husband and children, my friends - not met, old and new. It doesn't require the belief in a supernatural to live a satisfying and full life, it just requires being engaged in my life fully in order to experience one!

The picture above is the tattoo I got when I understood how important it was to be loud and proud about who I was. The atheist solidarity ribbon is to show everyone, atheists and believers, that we as atheists are here to stay and the saying "We will never be, never be anything but loud", is to proclaim that we cannot be silenced any longer!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Indoctrination is a Friend of Power and Greed

I've never understood why the mega-organizations and some leaders of the faithful would be allowed to be in a position where they are sitting on literally billions of dollars or even have a net worth in those numbers.Those that would claim to be followers of god or jesus or whatever the name of their god in other faiths is, should really be 'power-less' and more concerned with their flock; not to mention, living a life that would reflect what most of their followers have. But it seems money or the fact that so many good little followers continue to pad their churches' wallets entitles the leaders to become less like who they preach they want to emulate. I've always firmly thought that any money collected on behalf of charitable organizations should come in and go out to those who the funds are being raised for, not the organizers; ensuring that any expenses are kept to zero or very little.

Billions - yes, billions is what they are taking (actually, raking) in and it doesn't seem to stop. The other part is that it really doesn't go anywhere either. It simply resides with those that command it be given to them to use in whichever way they choose. The current laws have been structured in their favor so we won't know how corrupt their actions really are. It would seem it is just about power and greed, not about what is best for the people they serve. The people giving simply 'believe' that tithing is the right thing as they've been instructed to do. This is where not questioning gets you into trouble and why the moniker 'sheep' is a good description, as that is what sheep do - they follow rather than lead themselves.

Ironically, I searched for a picture under Preacher and this came up. It was titled 'Businessman with arms raised'. Isn't that what they really are when all their actions are intended to increase the bottom line?

People of faith who would blindly do as their pastor tells them, set themselves up to approach life and how they lead it from that same perspective. With a little over 83% of the people in this country having aligned with some form of religion, we can see how the indoctrination of 'following' rather than thinking for oneself, has contributed to this high of a percentage choosing a religious affiliation.

There is a mindset that goes along with being a person of faith and it doesn't just happen all by itself. Faithful people in leadership positions within their religious organizations know that children will be the most willing to absorb the indoctrination. That is why they tell their congregations to school their children in the ways of the lord. Young minds are being molded to believe in fairy tales, to be submissive to, scared of, fearful of and generally abdicate thinking to someone in the church hierarchy who is doing the thinking for them. Well, them and the almighty god who knows better about everything than the lowly humans do. They grow up in an atmosphere that continually reinforces that mindset; no wonder they don't deal any differently when they become adults.

Interestingly, as with anything in life, one of two things will happen in the indoctrination process. Those choosing to remain in the religious fold will either remain faithful to their upbringing and continue that cycle of indoctrination or they will think for themselves. When they do think for themselves they will understand being under the thumb of someone else is inappropriate for their life and will shed their religious upbringing. Those that remain in it - fully, wholeheartedly and aspiring to great notoriety - those will use it to their own advantage; having grasped the power and the financial gain that could come to them when they do. The first person who understood this concept of gaining power over others by creating followers is how religion became to be used by self-serving people. These people will continue to perpetuate this cycle of power and greed by becoming leaders in organized religion to control the followers. All under the guise of being a 'believer'; all the while profiting and benefiting off those who would not think for themselves.

Luckily, we are seeing a shift in the hold that powerful and greedy people in organized religion have over the faithful; people have been leaving religion in droves and continue to even now. Those that are still faithful are revolting against the oppression that was built into the religious dynamic by speaking out against those who would want a status quo, as evidenced by all the scandals surrounding the Catholic Church and we are seeing this in the political arena as well with the Occupy Movement. The indoctrination of oppression is seeing the shackles falling off of those people who were held captive by them previously as they realize that those who would oppress them have only desired to maintain their own interests, not those of their followers. I look forward to a world where indoctrination is a dirty word.

Change can sometimes be a slow process, realizing only minimal gains for the better. But it is progress, never-the-less, when you witness people taking back their rights, their dignity, their intelligence, their humanity and, most importantly, their freedom.

*Also published at