Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pet peeve: "you know deep down you still believe..."

"You know deep down you still believe in God."

"You still know that God exists."

These statements get on my nerves. Mostly because one just got thrown at me. If you keep up with my posts, you may remember a while back that I mentioned one of my friends removed me from her Facebook and decided we were no longer allowed to be friends, etc, etc. Well I woke up this morning, checked my email, and found a Facebook message from her. It was a little apologetic, but not very much. She said we could be friends again if I wanted to keep in touch with her (gee, thanks).

She said "you know deep down you can't deny the fact that God exists," and she also said that since I know the truth, I'll be responsible before the Lord.

Okay, why can't people just let me make my own damn decisions? I'm so sick of people assuming that I'm an atheist because of my boyfriend, or because I'm "a follower," or because I just wanted to rock the boat.

If I still believed in God, I would still be a Christian. I thought this would be obvious, but apparently it's not.

But I think the thing that most annoyed me about this message is that she claimed to know exactly what I was thinking. You do not know what's going on up in my mind. That's why it's MY mind, and not yours.

Assuming makes an ass of you and I!

I'm trying to save my relationship with this girl because we were friends for such a long time, but... I really don't think that's gonna be an option.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More podcast recs!

Okay, so I've gotten hooked on 2 more podcasts, along with the three that I mentioned in my post a couple days ago. Those two are...

1. Irreligiosophy. One word: ex-Mormons. I listened to their two-part "Crazy Book of Mormon Stories" series and was instantly hooked, hanging on their every word like my life depended on it. From the damn advertisements all over the internet, you'd think the Book of Mormon made at least some sense... and you'd be hella wrong.

2. Reasonable Doubts. I learned an awful lot just through listening to a few episodes of this podcast. For instance... who knew that the Hebrews were actually polytheists, and that Yahweh supposedly had a wife, Asherah, who was edited out of the Bible? Really interesting stuff!

These intrepid podcasters are really making me want to start a podcast. I absolutely loathe the sound of my voice, but I do have a bunch of unintelligible rants thoughtful things to say. It would be called... The Southern Belle Podcast (because I am so creative)... I do feel like I have a good vantage point, as both a female and a resident of one of the most overwhelmingly religious states in the country. I'll look into it a little bit, and then go from there. :]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 8.

What's your political alignment? Does your atheism affect how you vote and how you feel on issues?

Okay, politics are really not my strong point. When I was a Christian, I was a typical pro-war, pro-life, anti-gay nutjob (although the anti-gay thing got to me a lot; major source of cognitive dissonance, there). Now that I'm an atheist, I'm kind of... feeling my way around. I'm crawling in the world of politics; I haven't learned to stand on my own or walk yet.

I've made the jump from pro-life to pro-choice. Reading Freakonomics was big for me; the link between increased abortions and a drop in the crime rate made a staggering amount of sense. In my ideal world, abortions wouldn't be necessary because people would be educated and have sex responsibly, and they'd have enough money to take care of their kids, and there would be no rape, no incest, and no ectopic pregnancies or any other kinds of birth-related medical problems and so on and so forth... but this is not my ideal world, so abortion is--in my humble opinion--a necessary thing.

And of course I'm all for gay marriage and gay rights. I shed the anti-gay nonsense just as fast as I could... I went along with it in the first place because I thought it was what God wanted, but there was this constant disconnect. The rational part of my brain was saying Hey, a few of your closest friends are gay and they're awesome people, and they deserve the right to marry because that's a love thing, not a god thing. And the religious part of my mind was saying Well the BIBLE says that gay people are BAD. Nanner nanner boo boo!!

And education. There are some seriously glaring issues that need to be taken care of, like, um... why the hell is the teaching of evolution in public schools up for debate??? And yeah, I'm talking to you, Louisiana. You know how I learned about evolution? I had to teach myself!

And that, my friends, is bullshit. Because not every student in Louisiana cares as much about science as my fellow skeptics and I do. In fact, most of the people here are vehemently opposed to the very idea of evolution (even though they know NOTHING about it), because "evolution is evil and untrue" has been drilled into their brains by the church!

Example: there is this kid at my school. I do not know this kid, or anything about this kid, except for the fact that he or she has a bumper sticker on their vehicle that says "King Kong is NOT my grandpa!"

And that is a fail. And I really have to question if that kid was actually taught evolution, or if they were just repeatedly told that it is an evil theory.

Anyways. Rant over.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Radio and podcasts and such.

I have a morbid fascination with Christian talk radio. My mom listens to it on our morning commute, so it doesn't particularly bother me... until they start talking. The singing I can deal with, the talking makes me want to swallow a brick.

These Christians... they're fucking nuts. When I was a Christian, these are the type of guys I'd brush off and try not to associate myself with. They just... assume that everyone who is NOT a right-wing evangelical is out to get them. Like, everything a non-evangelical does is for the sole purpose of bringing down the Christians and intruding upon the First Amendment rights of Christians and so on and so forth, and it's all nonsense.

And the worst part is that they ice their little act with these sickly sweet, fake-ass personalities. Okay, example, these two guys were talking about how Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor are atheists and That's A Shame. Clown Number 1 is like "Apparently Dan Barker is an ex-evangelical turned atheist, which is really quite awful. I don't understand how that possibly could have ever happened. It makes no sense at all, hyuck."

Clown Number 2 then adds, "And Annie Laurie Gaylor is apparently his wife... it's strange; they're husband and wife, but their last names are different." And of course that last sentence is just dripping with condescension, because a wife is supposed to take her husband's last name no matter what, and that's Just How It Is. And they top it all off with this gem:

"Please, take a few minutes out of your day to pray for these atheists and blah blah blah insert regurgitated Christian love phrase here."

I really need to stop listening to this stuff... but I'm attracted to things that make me angry, I guess.

Anyways, the main point of this post is to plug some podcasts that I've gotten into recently. I've never really been a big podcast person, but my summer job of filing paperwork at a health clinic is unbearable if I don't have something engaging to listen to. So here we go, the podcasts that keep me from gouging my eyes out at work:

1. Atheist Experience. Of course, who doesn't listen to the Atheist Experience? I started listening when I found that music was not enough to entertain me on the 5-hour drive to my boyfriend's place. Definitely some good stuff. I've found, though, that I'm mostly interested in listening to the hosts' conversations, and not so much the viewer calls. The theist callers to the show tend to bring up the same points over and over and over again, and the atheist callers tend to, um, overstay their welcome and get really wordy. And errbody be off-topic. But anyways, love these folks.

2. The Good Atheist. Okay, this one is probably my personal favorite. I pretty much love everything about this podcast. It's funny, and I learn a lot, and the host (Jacob Fortin) is a bit of dick but a lovable dick, because he says what we're all thinking but are too scared to say. I've listened to about 10 or 15 of these podcasts so far, and they're good listening for the office. Really funny, but not SO wildly, insanely funny/goofy/irreverent that I start laughing to myself in the corner of my shared office and giving the gossipy nurses something to talk about.

3. The Grapes of Rad. This is one of those wildly, insanely funny/goofy/irreverent ones. I can barely listen to this one at work anymore because I laugh far too much. It's not specifically about atheism, but they did do this one really great podcast on religion with the creator of I'm still not too sure about the religious beliefs of the two hosts. I've gathered that they were both heavily involved with church in the past, but not so much anymore? I dunno. Anyways. None of that matters because this shit is hilarious.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm starting to think this is all a sick joke.

After the recently enacted Louisiana Science Education Act and the Damon Fowler incident at the Bastrop High School graduation (which was especially exciting for me as Bastrop is my hometown), I really thought that I wouldn't hear any more religious controversy in my home state for at least a little bit... but alas! One hour west of my university, a Shreveport, LA weatherman posted a Facebook status about how he hopes Casey Anthony finds Jesus.

But here's the cincher: he was using the news channel's Facebook page to post the status.

Once again, the state of Louisiana is up in arms about Christianity. I'm keeping an eye on the KTBS 3 News page to see if anything else exciting happens.

The Friendly Atheist has all the juicy details.

... This is actually a really exciting state to live in if you're an atheist. Not that I want to stick around or anything. ;]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 7.

Except for God, do you believe in anything supernatural or pseudoscientific? (Ghosts, alien abductions, spirits, souls, demons, psychics, magic, Harry Potter, etc.)

In short, no. All of my supernatural and superstitious beliefs dissipated just as soon as my belief in God did. I really used to struggle, though, with a crippling fear of the supernatural. I even missed my sister's birthday party one year, because she had it at The Myrtles--a famous "haunted" antebellum home near Baton Rouge, LA. I was never comfortable being alone at the house, especially at night. I couldn't handle listening to ghost stories, or watching scary movies, or sleeping with the closet door open, or sleeping in a silent room (I always had to have a fan or TV on--I still sleep with the fan and TV on, because I'm so used to the noise)... the list goes on and on. I was scared to look in mirrors when I was alone or it was dark, scared to look down long dark hallways or into open windows at night-time. I think the more religious I got, the more serious my problem became.

At one point I became really interested in "spiritual warfare"--the Christian term for the invisible wars between demons and angels that were supposedly happening all around us, and how to defend yourself... intercessory prayer to expel spirits... looking back now, I realize how silly I was. It's all such bullshit... so stupid.

So, so, so stupid.

I do wish bigfoot was real though. My dad would be delighted.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 6.

How do you feel about so-called “militant atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris?

I think they're pretty swell guys. When I was first beginning to have doubts about Christianity, I gobbled up Sam Harris's books like it was going out of style. I think "Letter to a Christian Nation" was able to very eloquently put into words a lot of the doubts that were creeping around in the back of my mind. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for Christopher Hitchens... one of the first debates I watched when I began thinking about atheism was he and Tony Blair, and I remember thinking that Hitchens kicked epic ass and was funny as hell. I read his books, listen to his lectures and debates, and will probably weep bitterly for days if he is unable to shake the esophageal cancer. 

And what can I say about Richard Dawkins? He's the face of atheism, that's for sure. I love his books and speeches; I'm not loving his involvement in this whole Skepchick scandal right now. Then again, I'm really just plain sick of hearing about the Skepchick scandal. I'm not loving it in general, but anyways...

How do I feel about militant atheism itself? It's not nearly as bad as it sounds. ;] Militant atheism is going to get shit done. Sometimes I'll cringe a little at a public display of atheism (teehee, PDA) that some people may deem "overboard," but then I remember: atheists in the United States are getting stomped on right now. Like, literally trampled underfoot. Those few people who are willing to dedicate their lives/careers/time/money to atheism, skepticism, and humanism are the very same who are slowly but surely making the world a more rational place. :] And I think that is worth applauding.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A brief rant and apology.

So sorry for the lack of updates, guys. I'm not blog material, I guess. I have faith, though, that none of you were on the edge of your seats in anticipation of my next post, so... :] I think we're all good.

Anyways... a few observations about being "out" around my family and friends:

1. As far as I'm aware, I've only lost 2 friends. One of them I was very close to. She's on the road to becoming a foreign missionary, and--after a brief period of awkwardly dancing around each other and really really badly-faked friendliness, she has removed me from her friends list on Facebook (main line of communication right there) and made it clear she wants nothing to do with me. I understand I guess... she's just doing what the Bible (more specifically: John Piper) tells her to. She's always been intensely serious about Christianity, and even when I was a Christian we clashed... a lot. I hate to assume the worst... but I'm guessing she's written me off because I'm a damn dirty atheist and she's a golden glorious missionary. (Let's not even get into talking about what a missionary's "job" is...) The other is a guy I used to be fairly close to, now an acquaintance barely worth mentioning. Definitely no biggie there.

I spent one sleepless night worrying my little head off about it, but then I realized... screw those guys! I will sleep well tonight knowing that I'm being 100% true to myself, instead of being a pussy for a little bit of validation from some so-called friends.

2. My mom and I agreed to disagree in matters concerning her religion and my atheism... she subsequently dug through my things and found a couple trial issues of Freethought Today (what I like to call "aggressively atheist"), and flipped out, banning all atheist materials from the house.... I've found that her idea of respect is rather one-sided. We listen to appalling amounts Christian radio when we are in the car together, and she recently made a kind of rude comment about atheists in front of my fanatically Christian aunt (who we were staying with at that time). I seethed silently, rather than defend myself and get kicked out of the house.

She also brings up demons and ghosts a lot. Fear of the supernatural is something I really struggled with when I was a believer, and I feel like she's trying to use that against me in an attempt to get me to return to the faith. She told me that she saw a "big black shadow" walk into my bedroom at about the time I became an atheist, but that I shouldn't be scared because she thinks it was God's way of telling her to watch out for me.

It's all so... manipulative and passive-aggressive, and when I try to defend myself then I become the villain. I am more than willing to drop the subject and never ever ever talk religion with my mom ever again... I guess the ball's in her court.

Anyways, over the next few days I'll be cleaning up the blog a bit... deleting and revising some of my cringe-worthy posts, maybe making the layout a little nicer, stuff like that. I'm also going to try to start posting a little more regularly... no promises, though. ;]

Friday, May 20, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 5.

Did you lose any friends because you decided to be an atheist? Did your family flip out?  

I can happily say that I didn't outright lose any friends... a few acquaintances from the church I was attending before I became an atheist simply reverted to ignoring me or giving me dirty looks, but none of my true friends totally dissed me... I feel like it's because a lot of them understand what it's like to "come out" in a Christian community--be they LGBT or non-Christian or both. Those of us with "alternative lifestyles" here in Louisiana gotta stick together, after all. :] There are many friends I simply didn't bother telling... I don't feel like the whole world needs to be all up in my grill.   

When I was a Christian I had an accountability partner, and he was absolutely, unequivocally my best friend. We shared absolutely everything with each other. Our relationship has suffered since I became an atheist, and that's really sad... but it happens. He's moving off for grad school next year, and I seriously regret not trying to connect with him these past few months. He's a dedicated, hardcore Christian, and I no longer ascribe to or support those beliefs--but I will always love the crap out of that boy.

I was outed to my family about a week ago, when my mom read through all of my private messages on Facebook... I was super mad at the time, as were my parents... but we've talked through everything. They, of course, are blaming my atheism on my boyfriend and swear up and down that it's "just a phase" and that deep down I still believe in the Christian god. They can believe whatever they want about my atheism, honestly... we've agreed to disagree, we don't bring it up anymore, and my boyfriend was able to be a part of the conversation. My grandmother and my uncle also know... and they've been nothing if not accepting and accomodating.

I've started being more open about my nonbelief, and my grandmother and I have gotten into a few heated debates on Facebook (haha), but it's all respectful. It's really nice to be able to express my opinions as an atheist without fear of being "found out."

I was pleasantly surprised by my family's reactions... and I'm so relieved that I'm finally out! :]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The atheists are coming...

So, just yesterday a senior at the public high school in my hometown declared that he did not want prayer at graduation... and that he would contact the ACLU if there were prayer. Well, the school has removed the prayer from the program and replaced it with a "moment of silence"... which, I think, is a great substitution that is respectful of the beliefs and non-beliefs of everyone who may be in attendance...

But it's not good enough for the folks of North Louisiana! This student has received multiple threats (some of them death threats). He's also had a terribly biased newspaper article written about him (that made the FRONT PAGE)... The town is in shambles, and many Christians are planning to rally and recite The Lord's Prayer during the moment of silence.

Let me repeat: the student is receiving DEATH THREATS. Christians showing off their "Christian love" once again!

I hate Louisiana. I'm surrounded by people who don't understand (or care about) the Constitution. Also, I've never seen so much hate in all my life. It seriously makes me ill.

Some linkage for you guys:
'Student challenges prayer at Bastrop graduation' - article from our local newspaper (the finest example of nonbiased journalism I ever did see)
Rock Beyond Belief's blog entry about this issue

In other news, my boyfriend has been here for the past few days to shield me from being completely alone with my parents now that I'm out... I'm pleased to report that things are going a lot better than I thought they would. :]

I'll be alone with my parents tonight but my mother's already decided that as long as we treat each other with respect there's no reason to keep talking about it... and I agree!

Monday, May 16, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 4.

Do you think religion is obsolete and should be wiped completely off the face of the Earth, or does some good come out of it?

IMHO, religion is bad to its very core. If there is one good that comes from religion it is consolation for people who are paralyzed with fear of dying... but then again I really don't think it's healthy or conducive to society for billions of people to be deluded either. If religion must exist, I think it should be an entirely private, individual matter. Yeah, go to church and read your Bible and pray if you want but don't try to spread it around (and I understand that this goes against everything the Christian Bible says, so... call it wishful thinking).

After I became an atheist, I felt like I had been played/controlled/manipulated/brainwashed/et cetera by religion. It exists to propagate itself, in order to control people. (I suggest reading "The God Virus" by Darrel Ray for more on this).
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I'm out. I accidentally left my Facebook logged in at my house and my mother pounced on the opportunity to read ALL of my private messages.

She's already told my dad, my grandmother, and my uncle--and this just happened last night. I'm sure she let the entire church know this morning.

So... I'm a little stressed, but at the same time a little relieved. Mostly infuriated that my mother has no respect for my privacy, but... whatever.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 3.

Are you a more outspoken or more apathetic atheist? Why?

Well for me it really depends on the situation. I'm not completely out of the closet yet so when I'm around my family, my lips are sealed tight. However, when I'm blogging or at a freethought society meeting I tend to be pretty outspoken about my lack of belief. I really don't feel that atheism is something to be ashamed of, but I do know when to keep quiet. Because I live in the Bible Belt, I don't bring it up (or try to argue with theists) in class or at work. Many of my professors are Bible-believing Christians and while they don't proselytize in the classroom, they do bring up their faith occasionally.

It's really a bit of a balancing act, I guess. I'm sure if I lived in a more metropolitan area or further north then it wouldn't really be a big deal... but this is Louisiana and my family is very religious.

I would like to point out that I am in no way apathetic about my atheism. I keep quiet because I have to, but I definitely care. :]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 2.

What religion did you grow up with? Did you have positive or negative experiences with religion?

I guess the easiest way to explain my religious background is to say that I attended a wide array of protestant Christian churches. My family moved a lot, and it seems like each time we moved we'd adopt a new denomination. When I really small (too young to remember) we attended a Methodist church, then we moved to an Assembly of God church (when I was at peak "playing pretend under the pews during church" age), and then to a Southern Baptist, then to a nondenominational, then back to a Southern Baptist... where we finally settled. My first two years in college I attended a massive, Southern Baptist megachurch (and dabbled in Pentecostalism, because I had a crush on a holy roller... bad idea).

Oddly enough, most of my experiences with religion were positive ones. Once I got into high school I was very active in church (mostly because my mom made me). I sang during service every Sunday, kicked ass at Bible drill, traveled on youth group trips, went to camps, etc. Once I started college I stopped going to church because it just never held my interest. I believed in god but I wasn't a very religious person, and church was boring.

Then, the unthinkable happened. My boyfriend (whom I was totes in lub with, btw) finally became such a massively insufferable prick that I dumped him and I finally realized that... hey, it's my freshman year in college, I've been completely and utterly dependent on my boyfriend and now I'm all alone in a strange place and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I was in the middle of an existential crisis, and in a state of emotional trauma that left me wide open to get bitten by the Jesus bug. All it took was for one of my friends to invite me to church and I was hooked. I latched on to my Bible, and to Bible study, and to Wednesday night worship, and to all of the friends who were cheering that I'd finally started getting involved in church. I rededicated my life to Christ. Of course I was tortured over the fact that I wasn't a virgin and that I went through a "bicurious" phase in high school and that I love sex, which led to me repressing my sexuality so much that I turned into a prude ("I'm not going to even kiss until I get married!")... but at the time I sincerely thought that I was doing the right thing, and I was happy to do it because it was what God wanted me to do.

I got baptized in the Gulf of Mexico the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and went to Hong Kong for a mission trip during Christmas break of my sophomore year... then I decided I want to be a full-time missionary to East Asia once I graduate college... and then the doubt started seeping in. And a year and a handful of months later, here I am posting on my atheism-centric blog about how awesome it is to be an atheist. :] Aaaah freedom.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

15-day atheist challenge, day 1.

So you may have noticed a couple of weeks back that my blog completely disappeared for a few days... that's because, dear friends, for those of us on the quarter system it was finals week and I really couldn't afford any distractions (except Facebook, for reals). It was a crazy stressful week and I was spending a lot of time on my blog, so I decided to deactivate it to avoid the temptation until finals were over. And now that that hellacious quarter is over and done, I can start putting some serious work into the blog again. Yay! :]

Of course, now that I'm back I have no clue what to write about... so instead of going off on some useless tangent while watching a marathon of "Undateable" (guilty pleasure), I'm going to start this nifty little meme I found on Tumblr. It's called the 15-day Atheist Challenge, and basically it's 15 thoughtful questions to get your writing going... I think it'll be interesting to share these answers with you guys, and hear your answers too. Leave me a comment with the answer to the day's question and your thoughts, or if you decide to do the challenge yourself then point me in the direction of your blog and we can do this together! :]

Day 1: At what point did you know you were an atheist? Why did you become one? What were the factors leading up to the decision, if you weren't always one?

I realized I was an atheist in November of 2010, so I haven't really identified as atheist for very long. For about two years (starting in November 2008), I considered myself a "hardcore" Christian. I was crazy into mission work, an avid reader of C.S. Lewis and John Piper (and the like), and I spent an average of 10 hours a week in church or church-related activities. I was always a bit of a doubter, but after I got home from a mission trip to East Asia in January 2010 is when I really started having serious doubts about my religion. I could never justify the actions of Christians with the doctrine of "agape" love.

Around October 2010 is when I stumbled across an atheist blog that kind of slapped me in the face (it hasn't been updated in a while, but that didn't stop me from reading all of the posts). Weeks of feverish research followed... documentaries, books, articles, debates, every bit of information I could get my hands on. I joined a few atheist communities online and found that they were populated by kind, intelligent, open-minded people who encouraged me to make my own decision, something that a Christian would never do. Through my research I was able to find answers to questions that I didn't even realize I had. I realized that the reason I couldn't justify my faith was because my faith was unjustifiable.

I know I made the right decision in leaving my religion behind. In the past few months I've become a much more confident person and I definitely don't take bullshit like I used to. When I was a Christian, we were told that we should never be too happy or satisfied with our lives, lest we begin to pull away from God. Now that I'm an atheist, I've come to realize that you know what?? It's okay to be happy. Happiness, satisfaction, intelligence, rationality... these are not things to be ashamed of.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Day sentiment.

"I'm so lucky... that God the Flying Spaghetti Monster blessed me with a special friend like you. R'amen."
I love my boyfriend haha. Happy Valentine's Day folks!

Also, I'm now listed on the Atheist Blogroll! Check it out via the nifty link in the sidebar, and add your blog or browse all the fabulous blogs listed. :D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Best of the Bible Belt: T-Shirt Edition

There is a certain t-shirt company with a prolific following here in north Louisiana... they make shirts using the timeless combination of jarringly bright colors (lime green, hot pink, gouge-my-eyes-out-with-a-spoon orange, etc) and ridiculous, "country girl" catchphrases... Here are just a few:

I'm a 4-wheeler ridin', mud-slingin', camo-wearin' kinda girl!

If I can't wear my flip-flops I ain't goin'!

Pink ain't just a color, it's an attitude!

I'm a Bible totin', Devil stompin', faith walkin' kinda girl!

I'm a cell phone talkin', text messagin', Facebook chattin', southern sassin' kinda girl!

CINDERELLA IS PROOF THAT A PAIR OF SHOES AND A REALLY CUTE GUY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE OMG LOLZ. (Ok, so the caps-lock and the "OMG LOLZ" is mine--but you get the picture, right?)

Every time I see one of these t-shirts (which is at least a few times a day), I imagine Paula Deen reading the ridiculous sayings plastered on them and then I get all pissy because these shirts are one of the few things that can really set my blood boiling. I know it's totally irrational, but it's just one of my pet peeves. I've never seen less thought put into designing clothing. Their typical formula: I'm a blank blankin', blank blankin', blank blankin' (repeated ad nauseum) kinda girl!

And the worst part is that everyone loves these shirts. Everywhere you go,  these shirts are clinging to girls in ratty flip-flops and Daisy Dukes. Them down-home, corn-fed, Jesus lovin' country girls eat this shit up!

I want to special order one just for me in radioactive cyan blue that proudly proclaims: I'm an evolution lovin', knowledge seekin', deity disbelievin' rational kinda girl (complete with a bedazzled picture of Charles Darwin that looks like a pixie threw up on it)... But somehow that sounds even more ridiculous than the shirts they actually do offer for sale (but just barely).

Okay, rant over. I just needed to get that out of my system haha. :] Console me, and tell me that Louisiana isn't the only state with an overabundance of these terrible t-shirts?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Through Jesus-tinted glasses.

When I was a Christian, one of my major gripes about atheists was that "they spend more time talking about God than we do." And I've come to realize that... it's 100% true, but it's not because of our "god-shaped holes." It's because you really don't see all of the problems of religion until you're on the outside looking in... then you see people suffering, being lied to, killed, abused, etc, etc... an entire spectrum of immorality, dressed in sheep's clothing.

So the purpose of this post is just to give you guys a rundown of some of the foundations of my Christian beliefs, followed by what I now believe (which will be bolded). You tell me which set of statements is more ethical, kind, and rational.

1. We were created in God's image. We are animals, with complex brains that evolved over billions of years.
2. Satan tempts me to do evil things. I make my own choices... there is no supernatural being trying to influence me to do "evil."
3. Humans are inherently bad and we all deserve to burn in hell. Humans are born as blank slates--our genetics and our environment determine whether or not we will become "bad" people. We are born innocent.
4. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins and rose after three days to take his rightful place at the right hand of the throne of God. If Jesus existed, he was most likely a charismatic man with delusions of grandeur, who very well may have died by being crucified... but his story ends there.
5. Isaiah 64:6 -- "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." (In the original Hebrew text, "filthy rags" were used menstrual rags.) I am a flawed human, and I make mistakes, but I am capable of doing good things and being kind. I am appalled that Christians are proud of Isaiah 64:6, and what it says about their "righteous" God.
6. Everything happens for a reason... even the most insignificant details of my life are part of God's divine plan. Even if god existed, he would not give a damn about the frivolous details of my life like my shoe size and my favorite foods.
7. True love waits. My body is my own, and if I choose to have safe, responsible, premarital sex with someone I care about then so be it.
8. Homosexuality is an abomination against God. Safe, responsible sex between consenting adults is harming absolutely no one.
9. Atheists are bitter, hateful people with god-shaped holes in their hearts. Atheists are people who do not believe in god. There are millions of us, and we're all very very different. Some of us very well might be bitter and hateful... but many of us see life as a beautiful, precious thing and we aim to make the most of our short time on Earth.
10. I'm going to heaven when I die, where I will worship God for all eternity. When I die, I'll be buried.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tough Decisions

Today marks three beautiful months that I've been dating my best friend. :] I know that's not very long, but he and I have been an inseparable force since middle school so I'm allowed to be a big sappy sap over this.

Since I finally came to the conclusion that I'm an atheist, I've had to do some tough things. As many of you who've deconverted from theism know... it's about the farthest thing from easy, especially if most of the people you know--most of the people you love--are theists. But you know what? I've done the hard things anyway because I've recently developed an extremely low tolerance for bullshit, especially the bullshit that spews out of my own mouth. I believe I can thank my atheism for that, haha.

So I sucked it up, and I told my hardcore Christian best friend that I didn't believe in god anymore. And yeah, sending him a Facebook message to let him know was probably a bit of a cop-out on my part, but hitting that send button was freakin' tough. And I did the same thing to the college minister to let him know that I was utterly incapable of continuing my involvement with the college ministry's leadership team. And it sucks, because I feel like I'm burning bridges... but that's definitely better than lying to myself and to everyone else.

I straight up tattled on my sorority for hazing. The new girls were being physically, mentally, and psychologically tortured by the old girls. And there it is again: that BS that I'm not gonna put up with any longer.  NO ONE deserves to be treated like that and no one should have to prove anything to some snooty witch with a god-complex.

I'll say this for myself: since I've embraced my atheism I've grown a pair. >:] And I like it!

Last night when all of this went down, I felt so alone. I laid down in my bed and thought about how easy it would be to believe in god, that me ratting out my sisters was part of god's "divine plan for my life," and that his hand was on me in my time of need. I fell asleep kind of upset.

When I woke up this morning I felt amazing, because you know what? I made the right choice, on my own. I didn't have to lean on god for support, I didn't use the "divine plan" cop-out as my reasoning to make a hard choice. I made a hard choice because I thought critically about what was going on (hazing), who was being hurt (innocent girls who are stressed enough already), and the best way to fix the problem (report it to someone with more power in the organization than myself).

So, you know what?! BAM.

Sorry if this post seemed a tad... angry, I'm just so full of feelings! :]

Monday, January 10, 2011

Encouraging Doubt

A little bit of great news: I have a job interview on Friday at Subway. :] There's just something about having a job that makes me feel like my life isn't a total waste haha... and, well, I need the money cause I have to pay a speeding ticket. Yeaaah, anyways...

I've found that in the mere two months that I've been an atheist, my worldview has been seriously altered (surprise!). Back when I was a Christian I used to think that atheists lived in this Alice in Wonderland-esque state of mind, seeing the world upside-down and backwards and generally ignoring all of the signs that blatantly pointed to god.

Well, now that I'm an atheist firmly grounded in reality, I've come to realize that Christians are the ones with skewed perception... especially when it comes to doubt.

I've struggled with doubt all my life. In my Christian days, I swore up and down that doubt was Satan's way of digging his claws into my otherwise pious and faithful mind. People say that the voice of god is a small, still voice... well, in my case, God was loud and raucous and a bit of an attention hog, and reason was the small, still voice.

"There's no way God is real." The voice would say quietly in the middle of worship or prayer, and I'd brush it off almost immediately. This went on for a year and half into my "serious Christian phase," until finally I could ignore the voice of reason no longer. I finally realized that my doubts weren't Satan, they were... natural human curiosity.

I wrestled with the church's ignorance of the "tough" questions. Does God exist? Did he create the universe? These are questions the church should be dying to address! What else is going to bring atheists to our side?

I realized soon enough that the church ignored these questions because the answers are remarkably in favor of atheism. Then I started doing the research that eventually led me to become an atheist.

Doubt is a great thing. Galileo doubted that the earth was the center of the universe. Darwin doubted the earth was "intelligently designed." These are just two of the most obvious examples, but they make my point: doubt leads to discovery. Question everything. Don't be satisfied by half-answers or avoidance of the question (which the church is notorious for).

"Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it." -- John Adams

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Secret to Christianity

The first post of my new blog! :] I've decided to share a story with you guys, from a simpler time. I was a starry-eyed kindergartner, finally old enough to sit with the grown-ups at "big church," when I discovered the secret to being a good Christian. Read on, my friends!

When I was a little kid we went to an Assembly of God church. Now you might be familiar with the Assembly of God folks as "the ones who are crazy but not Pentecostal crazy," and I'd say that sums it up pretty accurately. The Assembly of God churches are part of the charismatic movement, so there was a lot of jumping up and running around and full-on praisin' the Lawd during Sunday morning services at my childhood church.

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was five, right before naptime one day, so technically I was a Christian. But one morning when I was sitting in church and watching all the people get their praise on, I realized that I wasn't a very good Christian.

I was missing something.

I tried for a long time to figure out what it was. Maybe I should jump up and down? But the old ladies in the front don't jump up and down, they just cry. Maybe I should cry? But the jolly jumping beans over there weren't crying... what was I overlooking?

Then the preacher said something that a whole lot of people liked. Well, he screamed it actually. That preacher was a type I like to call the "screamer." About halfway through his sermons he'd get so worked up and flustered that he just started shouting his key points (which were usually of the hellfire and brimstone persuasion) and making emphatic gestures with his arms. So, red-faced, the preacher screamed something that a whole lot of people liked. I'm sure it was something along the lines of "Yarbaflargh Jesus blah sinners yadda BURRRN IN HELLLLLLLL."

The old ladies lifted their hands and shouted "Amen!" The jumping beans did a synchronized "YAY Holy Spirit leap" and yelled "Amen!" Even some of those lukewarm fence-straddling blasphemers who always came in late and sat in the back murmured it. "Amen."

... Aha!

The secret to being a good Christian... was saying "amen."

From that point on, I was like the best Christian ever. The typical Sunday morning following my discovery went something like this:

Preacher: "Welcome to church everyone!"
Me: "Amen!"
Preacher: "Let's pray!"
Me: "Amen!"
Preacher: (Prays).
Congregation: "Amen!"
Me: (a little bit late) "Amen!"
Preacher: "Do we have any announcements?"
Me: "Amen!"

And so on and so on. My skill at Christianity amazed even myself. Even now that I'm an atheist I've probably still got some Jesus points racked up from the sheer number of times I said "amen" back in the day.

Now that I'm older I understand that I was being indoctrinated... I mean, if something is repeated to you enough times, drilled incessantly into your head, then you're going to believe it even if it's not true. Indoctrination is a terrible thing to do to a child. But... I was lucky. The most I got out of my childhood indoctrination was a handful of funny stories. Definitely no lasting negative effects, except for a lingering fear of Hell that has long since disappeared. :]

What about you guys? Were you indoctrinated as a child? How did you process religion when you were so young?