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Being Raised Baptist

During my upbringing, I was raised in 3 separate Baptist churches. Theists would argue that my atheism is a result of not being exposed to "the word", but I actively sought out Christian knowledge, listened to Christian reasoning for arguments posed by the scientific community, and, despite my disbelief, tried to blindly accept trans-rational thinking in order to "accept Jesus as my lord and savior". So, to say that I never gave it a shot is simply not true. My problem with religion has nothing to do with not understanding it. My problem with it is the very opposite. My over exposure to the Baptist faith, the Pentecostal faith, and Catholicism, from essentially birth to the age of 15 is what did it for me.

During my last 5 or so years of attendance, I realized that not believing was not my problem, but rather the problem was my family's for believing in something that isn't there and can't be proven. I witnessed the teaching of circular reasoning to our congregation being passed off as "logic". I witnessed the dismissal of scientific evidence and history. I witnessed the abuse of children and the abuse of adults.

When you go to a place like Planned Parenthood or anywhere else they may offer resources for battered women, you'll see signs of phrases indicative of psychological and emotional abuse. These phrases are generally things along the lines of "you're not good enough for me", "you're nothing without me", "you will always fall short of my expectations", and "you can't do anything right". These phrases were not considered abusive to the congregation because god is supposed to be infallible and by definition (god is good), he can do no wrong. In this manner, terms that would generally be considered abusive coming from another human being were considered acceptable coming from god. It wasn't that god was insulting who you are and minimizing your value, it was that he's right and you just can't *see* how he's right because you have a limited scope of logic. Conveniently, as the creator of the universe, god gets to decide that this is not abusive, but rather, loving.

We were taught circular reasoning and all of our examples of errors within atheism (which they considered to be "a faith"), the Pentecostal faith, and the Catholic faith, were pointed out using straw man arguments. In this way, the preacher taught the congregation that these were acceptable argument points to make in an intelligent debate. They didn't tell you that a straw man argument is the kind of thing that will get you laughed off the stage. Rather than demonstrating how their faith (or even the existence of god in general) could be reached with the use of critical thinking skills, the preacher taught the congregation to use circular reasoning to dismiss all counter arguments to the faith. How do you know that god is real? Because it says so in the bible. How do you know the bible is true? Because it says in the bible that the bible is the true word of god. The bible talks about god, therefore god is real. This sleazy reasoning was peddled as acceptable, deeply philosophical, moral, and intelligent ( of all ******* things). Those atheists claim we came from monkeys, but my momma was a human being just like god made us! It didn't matter to the preacher or the congregation that they were both completely misunderstanding and misinterpreting scientific theory; they taught us that this straw man argument was valid and witty. The atheists must be the dumb ones, they think we came from monkeys! At no point was an attempt made to understand modern science and to use the knowledge we have of it to frame the argument in reality. Belief in god exists outside of reality.

Perhaps the most insulting part was that basic history and science was being denied and branded as conspiracy. It was not historically accurate that dinosaurs existed and roamed the earth before we humans were here. Dinosaurs at worst did not exist, and evidence of them was created by the devil/Satan to tempt us into accepting an alternate history of humanity and the earth. At best, the dinosaurs existed alongside man and went extinct while we did not. The science we were taught in public schools (especially relating to evolution) was considered to be liberal propaganda created to fill us with hate and question our faith. The contradictions between what we know about the history of the Earth and the creation mentioned in Genesis were all the result of a conspiracy. In this way, the members of the congregation were actually separating their children from the rest of the world. We didn't live in a world where science helps us explain what we previously didn't have the tools and methods to understand, but rather the true history of the world was being twisted up by those who were denying the bible.

Pretty ****** up when you really sit down and think about it. When I speak to theists, they have this assumption that my distaste for their belief system is out of jealousy or ignorance, but really it's out of pity. I don't want for kids to have to grow up believing that the scientific community is conspiring against god. I don't want for kids to have to believe that there's this invisible war going on that they're caught in the middle of. I want for humans as a whole to be free of these antiquated belief systems so that we can move on to the next great thing. If we're wasting our time arguing about if tongues are kosher or not when really the entire bible is worthless, we're not getting anywhere. There are bigger, more real problems out there. Here are a few: world hunger, child hunger (even in the U.S.), the growing gap between the rich and the poor, uneven education opportunities among humanity, HIV( and improper contraception techniques being taught in impoverished countries), the fact that malaria and polio are still around in some places despite the fact that we've had cures for years. The list goes on and on.
deleted deleted 26-30 3 Responses Jul 7, 2012

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Religion is based on the needs of the church, very hard to work out fact from fiction... I read the ' holy blood holy grail" took me a long time to do it... not sure I could recommend it, but it was interesting

Yes I agree with you "Religion" is based on the presupposition of the "needs" , and it is hard to sort all this out. I am so glad that I finally was able to differentiate the difference between "religion" and a relationship. At it is all right there in the Letter to the Romans by the Apostle Paul. Read it through, several times, it will change your outlook. It did mine and has others whom I have shared it with.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Will

Thank you sharing, you less that optimistic expression. We know "memes and mind viruses" are not science. They are not even a cohesive philosophy. But the idea does "tickle the ears" (2 Timothy 4:3 NASB). At best it is an ill-formed model of the way religion and belief in God works.

For those who don't want to believe in God, it provides justification and support to do what they want to do. It also, in their minds, explains that the origin of religion was to comfort scared, ignorant people, and that religion is the cause of much of the evil in the world.

But the idea of the God virus offers no proof, logical or scientific, for its point of view. If people needed comfort, they wouldn't have invented the malicious, psychopathic, abusive god that adamant atheists believe inhabits the Bible. And the supposed benignity of atheism has yet to explain how Stalin and Pol Pot were able to infuse fear and terror over thousands without the use of religion. Atheists do have a point, however, about the potential harm of manmade religion. Whether believers are speaking to a child or an adult, we should preach "Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2)—the true theology of the Bible—and de-emphasize man-made rites that have nothing to do with "true religion" (Matthew 23:4; James 1:27).
As always, thank you for sharing your opinion.
Grace and Peace to you,
Will

gloomycakes, I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions The remainder of the atheist's faith tradition argument dissolves into contradiction. There is no manmade worldview—political, social, religious, scientific, or other—that is able to completely and accurately describe the truth of the universe. None of us thinks that clearly, you do not nor do I. And, yes, theists do begin with the assumption that God exists and interpret their daily experiences–scientific and personal—through that filter. But starting with the assumption that God doesn't exist is just as influential on one's worldview and actually less qualified to fit the evidence.
Calling religion and belief in God a "virus" is a convenient way to emotionally discredit spiritual beliefs and marginalize believers. It is a justification for rejecting God, but it's also a comfort for those who have walked away from faith because of abuse experienced by the hand of those who claimed to be religious. To cause another to stumble because of disobedience is one of the worst transgressions a "believer" can commit. I am well aware that I cannot convince the adamant atheist regarding their faith tradition . Too I can only have limited effect on how an atheist sees the manifestation of Christianity as a culture. But we can influence how others see Christ in me. One of the defining characteristics of the mythical meme is that it is most likely believed if it is easy to be believed. I can choose what I believe about Christianity—is it filled with grace and love, or legalism and shame? When we live out grace and love, others may find it easier to perhaps believe, as well. I is not within my ability or job to make a non-believer or believer come to faith in God. That is HIS work. I live by a didactic that informs my ministry,
to keep the Lord Christ holy in my heart. Always being ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope I have. But answer them in a gentle way with respect. Keeping my conscience clear. Then people will see the good way you live as a follower of the Christ, and those who say bad things about I will not be ashamed of what I have said.

Be well and be safe.

Will

Well said. I think the demonizing of science and lack of critical thinking when it comes to the bible is because reality demonstrates that the bible is not inerrant. And when one claims that something is the inerrant word of god, then if one little bit of it is false, then it all is false.<br />
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You see that in creationist thinking - they believe that if only one aspect of science is shown to be in error, then all of it must be false. Sad - such ignorance about the enterprise of science - and, that ignorance is deliberate, too.

I agree that is sad :-( Bt I do not think comparing science and the bible is like the same things. I thought science was really trial and error anyway, theory's until proven. The Bible is not a science text book. However whenever it does speak about something in the area of science then it concurs with what we know now compared to when it was written. None of it is all "black and white" lot's of gray in both.

You make the same error as many do, thinking that science is trial and error and that theory is the same as speculation.

Science is not trial and error, it is empirical (factually observable) and deliberative. Scientists formulate a hypothesis and test it with empirical observation. The model that develops when observation supports the hypothesis is the theory. A theory is about as close to reality as science provides. Like the theory of gravitation. It is not speculation.

Unlike the enterprise of science, the bible is a bronze age text of superstitious ramblings. And, in fact, much of the new testament was written several hundred years after the fact.

There are different definitions of science, but basically science is the branch of study which seeks to observe, discover, and understand how the universe and everything in it works. Science is based on the scientific method, which is a systematized attempt to learn through observations, hypothesis, testing to validate or invalidate the hypothesis, and developing a theory (a principle generally accepted to be a true) that sufficiently explains the phenomena.

The word “science” comes from the Latin scientia which means “knowledge." There are different fields of science. There are physical sciences (physics, space, chemistry, etc.), earth sciences (atmospheric, paleontology, geology, oceanography, etc.), life sciences (evolution, ecology, neuroscience, etc.), medical sciences (pharmacology, clinical research, aging, etc.), social sciences (anthropology, archaeology, psychology, etc.).

Science has been successfully used to increase the quality of human life, as well as our understanding of nature. The science of medicine, for example, researches human anatomy, how to repair it, and how to prolong life. Science has increased our knowledge of weather, planets, stars, and galaxies. It has helped us understand human behavior and aided us in increasing food production. It has helped us vanquish superstitions and foolish speculations, and has given us radio, TV, cell phones, planes, and computers. It has served mankind well.

But science is insatiable. It is never satisfied with just knowing how or why something works. Science, or I should say scientists, seek to expand their area of knowledge sometimes even beyond accepted theories. To this end, science is always progressing and increasing our knowledge.

In brief, science is discovering and explaining the unexpected.

I myself have no problem with Christians if they are moderate or liberal. I do have a problem with the conservatives saying that dinosaurs never existed. I also have a problem with conservatives who bash minorities. I was raised catholic, but I come from a very liberal family.