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Tag Archives: Religion

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

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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.

Excuses and a Christian Summer

Greetings blogging world!!

I have officially finished my first year of Uni! This means I will finally have time to do some blogging!!  Hurrah!!

My other excuse for not keeping up with my blog is that I’m now living in the big city, far away from home, with my wonderful liberal atheist friends: Religion has never been so far from my mind. It has been fabulous! But it doesn’t give me much to write about.

I am about to return home to my parents’ house for the summer holidays, so Christianity will yet again be an everyday part of my life. I’m feeling quite worried about this. Everyone changes when they move out of home, and I suspect my parents won’t be thrilled with the ways I’ve changed.

It’s going to be tricky for me to go from the drunken, debaucherous life of a philosophy undergrad back to the life of being the disappointing child. I am pleased that I have you clever internet people to talk to! Should be an interesting summer……

This basically sums up my feelings about my home town.

This basically sums up my feelings about my home town.

God’s Failure

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God's Failure

The Bloody Pursuit of Truth

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Rachael Slick is a non-Christian daughter of a Christian apologist. Her Christian upbringing was really full on, much more so than mine was. In her guest post on the Friendly Atheist she describes how it felt when her relationship with God ended:

“I still remember sitting there in my dorm room bunk bed, staring at the cheap plywood desk, and feeling something horrible shift inside me, a vast chasm opening up beneath my identity, and I could only sit there and watch it fall away into darkness. The Bible is not infallible, logic whispered from the depths, and I had no defense against it. If it’s not infallible, you’ve been basing your life’s beliefs on the oral traditions of a Middle Eastern tribe. The Bible lied to you.


Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left naked.



I was no longer a Christian. That thought was a punch to the gut, a wave of nausea and terror. Who was I, now, when all this had gone away? What did I know? What did I have to cling to? Where was my comfort? 

I didn’t know it, but I was free.”

This is how it feels to become a non-Christian. It’s not fun. It’s not that we’ve “lost our faith” or given up on God” or “taken the easy route” or “given in to temptation”. Becoming a non-Christian hurts like hell. It’s terrifying. My Christian friends thought I was giving into my selfish desires, that I became an atheist so I could get away with sin. In fact, becoming an atheist was about letting go of my desires. I desired to believe in a loving God. I wanted there to be someone ensuring that “all things to work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:23).” I wanted my sins to be atoned for. I wanted to praise Him in heaven for eternity. But no matter how badly I wanted to believe it, I had to stop lying to myself. God was not love. God did not love me. Jesus was not my best friend. None of it was not real. I had to accept that He was gone and learn to live without Him. At this time I did not know how wonderful living without him would turn out to be.

You talk about atheists being angry and arrogant, I think that’s because a lot of us are hurt. We’re trying to live by integrity, but you make us feel like we’re alone and like we’re failures. You say that this is a choice and that we’ll be punished accordingly. We have to stay strong when our families makes it clear that you are not one of them. We have to take responsibility for our actions, no forgiveness. I have to face everyday without knowing there’s someone ensuring I will be okay at the end. Don’t you dare tell me I’ve “taken the easy way out.” After living your life with God for so many years, it’s incredibly hard to let it go. It’s embedded in every part of you. Losing that rips you apart, but lying to yourself is worse. I may not have the comfort or the joy of being in love with Jesus. The life I live might be harder, but I am free and nothing can beat that.

To all the people in the same place as I was a few years ago, please read this before go clear your internet history incase your parents see that you’ve been on an atheist blog. One day you won’t have to wait for everyone to go to bed before you can read your Richard Dawkins. One day you’ll be able to change your Facebook religious views to “atheist”. One day you will come out and you’ll inspire others to do the same. Know that you are not alone, and that it gets better. Don’t give up on pursuing the truth. It’s messy and it hurts. But it is worth it.