You know, I guess you can say that I came to my self-belief, and my opinion about religion later in life.  Like many things.  Though I reason that kind of thing would be like a discussion of spilled milk.  Truly the only thing one can affect is now, this very moment.  Not the last moment, nor the next moment.  This moment.

 

My belief in self, as well as my assessment about Christian mythology has been an evolutionary process.  This section is my testimony.

 

Religion and Christianity especially never had a primary presence in my life growing up.  This is perhaps due to my father’s reaction to his upbringing.  He was compelled to attend church in his youth.  The pastor’s son was also his bully.  When he became a pastor, he was in the position to baptize my father’s first born son.  Namely me.  However, before the pastor would baptize me, my father had to sign a contract.  This contract would compel his son to go to church until majority.  My father declined to sign the documents.  Another pastor baptized me.  I will always be grateful to my father for not signing the contract.  My father believed that going to church should be my choice.

 

During my childhood, the family went to church very occasionally.  It was more or less tradition, without a deep seated belief, nor passion for it.  Indeed, my sister went to church and believed much more strongly that I and the rest of the family did.

 

While I was in San Diego {1980-2006}, Christian belief was somewhat neutral to me.  I wasn’t really exposed to it, nor did I seek it out.  Like a Universalist would[1], I believed that there was one God, and people throughout the world saw God as a different face.  The Asians saw him as Buddha.  The Arabs saw him as Allah.  And the western world saw him as Jesus Christ, the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  I’ve always rejected the idea of Christian exclusivism, the belief that one can only get to Heaven and salvation through belief in Jesus Christ.  I always wondered: what happens if you pick the wrong God?  It seems that the Christian tells you… {John 14:6[2]}

 

Meanwhile, after my grandmother’s passing in 1988, my parents started attending church in Prescott, Arizona.  My father gradually became involved in the church, serving as Head Elder and President of the congregation.  As my father has gotten older, his beliefs have seemed to reflect the tradition and beliefs of his parents.

 

During the period I was in San Diego, I would go home for the holidays.  One of the things that I would do is attend church with my parents.  It was family time, an opportunity to meet and keep in touch with their friends.  Though as the years passed, I found myself going through the motions.  I was there for my parents, not for me.

 

When I moved to Prescott in November 2006, the dynamic changed.  Going to church was less of an “event,” and more of what it would seem to be a personal choice.  And I didn’t wish to make that choice.  In addition, the environment was far less neutral.  The tone seemed much more religious.  Prescott is more of a Christian society, than San Diego is.   As a senior community, the population seemed more concerned with afterlife issues.  All of my parents’ friends were from the church.  I felt a bit forcefed by this environment. 

 

After moving to Prescott, I was told that the pastor of the church wanted to have lunch with me.  By this time, my real doubts about a religious belief were evolving.  I wrote out a three page outline, entitled “Points for the Pastor.”  However, before the lunch --- my father waved it off.  He proclaimed that I was “a lost cause.”  “Points for the Pastor” would form the foundation for the thesis that you are reading now…  Myth and Hypocrisy.

 

My watershed moment was reached for both my opinion of Christian mythology and my self-belief in September 2007.  My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The initial period was quite difficult indeed.

 

In the midst of great emotion, and everyone “praying” for my mother; a good friend reminded me that my mother needed me in so many other ways.  I needed to get the medical records, so I would be able to talk intelligently to the doctors.  I needed to study and be objective.  All of this so I could be the best advocate for my mother that I could be.  And I was. 

 

My mother’s illness was the ultimate wake up call for me.  I understood that there was no one there for me, but me.  My mother had to defend me for far too long.  At once, I realized that I needed to believe in myself.  No miracles were going to come to us, and to my mother.  All the success that we had, was due to study, modern medicine and highly skilled doctors who knew how to apply that medicine.  No mirrors, or smoke, or imaginary gods to count on.

 

Over those first few weeks, I saw my mother suffers.  Hearing your mother stream in pain due to an arterial test is something you never forget.  Was this God’s will?  My parents were good, church goin’, God fearin’ folks.  And their beloved God tortures them??  One of my parents’ church friends said that God was good.  How is this good?  I saw this again during my mother’s last days.  Those horrific times only strengthened and reaffirmed my beliefs.

 

But in those first days in September 2007, I crystallized a conclusion.  Either God was cruel and extremely arbitrary, and one that doesn’t merit praise nor worship.  Or God simply doesn’t exist, and therefore cannot be blamed for the bad, nor praised for the good.  I choose to believe in the latter.  A God certainly couldn’t be that cruel to his creations.

 

So finally why do I write all of this?  I find that there is little opportunity to discuss issues like this, without being silenced in some fashion.  Society tells you that one shouldn’t talk about politics or religion.  They have the potential to upset people, and ruin friendships.   But, just perhaps these are the discussions that we should be having.  I imagine this thesis is my method to have this discussion, without interruption.  I want my beliefs to have an airing, much like the opposite opinion does.

 

And what are my beliefs.  If you read the entire manuscript, you will have no doubt.  I’ve also enclosed research and documentation that helped me arrive at these views.

 

But in a nutshell…  The belief in yourself is the most powerful belief in earth.  Truly you have the ability to do anything you set your mind to.  Any philosophy or entity that runs counter to that belief must be rejected and denied.  I believe that Christianity, with the philosophy “without Me, you are nothing[3];” must be rejected and denied --- even if you can prove the existence of God…  Which you cannot. 



[1] Billy Graham seems to agree with the concept of Universalism. When managing editor Jon Meacham asks the 87-year-old evangelist whether those who belong to religions that reject Christ as savior (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) and secularists will be saved. "Those are decisions only the Lord will make. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have." Meacham, Jon. Newsweek Magazine . 14 August 2006. 

[2] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

[3] John 15:5

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Tags: Belief, Christian, Mythology, Self

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