RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Giving up my faith in Santa

Lying to kids about Santa is something I’ve been thinking about in light of my realisation that my parents also lied to me about Jesus and God. I’m angry with them for the things they said about Jesus, but not about Santa. I guess that’s because belief in Santa never hurt me or anyone else, but I like to think of myself as a pursuant of truth, even when lies might be nicer.

I was probably about 10 years old when I stopped believing in Santa. My brothers and I were watching home videos of Christmases from when we were younger. After laughing at our three year old selves enjoying Christmas, we were shocked when a video came up that showed grandma taking our stockings filled with toys into our bedrooms. After watching this, my brother went straight to Grandma, very proud of himself for uncovering the mystery and revealing the truth.

I, on the other hand, was in denial. Surely Santa still brought the toys and Grandma was just helping him out. I felt the magic slipping away and I was very upset about it.  Next Christmas, rather than trying to stay awake for Santa, I tried super hard to fall asleep quickly so that I would not see if someone other than Santa brought the presents. I did not want to know the truth. I held on to my belief in him, trying to rationalise his existence and figure out ways that the counter evidence could be wrong. It wasn’t until my parents dropped the charade that I finally accepted that Santa wasn’t real.

I feel like Christians do the same thing to try and preserve their belief in God. They shut their eyes and refuse to listen. They twist the counter-evidence. They dismiss challenges to their faith as mysteries. They give up on finding answers as God is beyond understanding. They value “faith” over intellect. They willingly blind themselves to the truth, just like a frightened child does.

santa claus for grownups

Advertisements

Agnostic Atheism

When talking to people about atheism I often find them confused about what atheism actually is. All the people I know that call themselves atheists do not claim to know for certain that there is no God, but some seem to argue that due to this uncertainty these people are not atheists but rather agnostics. This diagram should help to clear up the confusion:

agnostic-diagram2

I originally found this diagram here: http://www.noforbiddenquestions.com/2010/10/defining-agnosticism/

Let me know what you guys think and where you might fall on the diagram!

This is why independent thinking is important.

“To think for oneself is essential to the good life because what flows from doing so is one’s own. If others do the thinking for one, or if orthodoxies or traditions do it, one’s life is not one’s own. The good and well-lived life is not a servitude, but a service to one’s own chosen values.”

— A. C. Grayling. 2013.”The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism.”

Freedom From Sin

At church this week (I go to keep the parents happy) I felt extremely uncomfortable with the message. It was another perfect example of how churches emotionally manipulate people.

The speaker began by asking the congregation some questions:

“Who has back pain?”
“Who has a bad memory?”
“Who is tired?”
“Who feels stressed?”
“Who has relationship problems?”

By the end of it, everyone had recognised the imperfections in their lives. He brought our problems to the forefront of our minds and reminded us that life isn’t “how it was meant to be” because of these woes.

Then, he explained why life is imperfect: it’s our fault. It’s because we sin. We turned our backs on God and decided to live our own way and that is why there is suffering and wrongs in the world. It’s not God’s fault, it’s something we freely chose.

By this point, everyone was feeling very guilty and hopeless. We were primed for the Good News. Then comes Jesus Christ. He’s born, he dies for our sins, he rises again, we are forgiven and restored. Cured of the disease of our sins.

This is a pretty standard format for a sermon, and I really do despise it. It makes you feel unnecessarily shit about yourself and your life, because if you feel shit then you will be more responsive to the message of Jesus. They pile on the guilt and the hopelessness until you turn to him in desperation.

sin-is-an-imaginary-disease-600x557

Being freed from the guilt and shame that I felt as a Christian has been one of the most life changing aspects of becoming a nonbeliever. Before, I would think about sexual things or accidentally say a swear word and I would be so upset because I had let down the Maker of the Universe. He died for me, and I couldn’t even stop sinning for him. The emotions I felt daily because of my faith were completely exhausting. Now, I no longer have to feel guilty simply for being human. Instead of focusing on the imperfections of my life, I try to be happy about all of the things that are good. I am a truly lucky person to have the life that I do. I am not a dirty, sinful, inherently bad and selfish failure. Rather, to quote Ehrmann:

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees or the stars; you have a right to be here.”

I still make mistakes, commit “sins.” But I am free from the impossible expectations of a sadistic god. Sure, my life isn’t perfect, but in many ways I feel like that is what makes it so beautiful. Don’t let Christianity take that away from you.

God does not understand love.

God does not understand love.