Posts Tagged 'Hell'

I’m Elated to Be an Atheist

There were a couple of threads on Reddit a little while back about how atheists should talk more about how great it is to become an atheist after being stuck in religious thought for so long. This is something that I think atheists should really advertise, because too often it seems that people who self-identify as atheists are perceived as always just living and thinking in opposition of something. Although it’s true that atheism is purely the rejection of theism, it also, at least in my experience, opens up a whole new world of discovery and possibilities.

As a theist I always had this sense that my thoughts were constantly being monitored, and that my actions were always being judged by big brother up there in the sky. It’s not fun to worry all the time about pissing god off. If I thought a bad thought about somebody I would immediately have this feeling of guilt and dread, and I would pray for forgiveness. I wasn’t actually sure if my religion taught that your thoughts are being policed, but at one point I scoured the Bible to try to find something that said that your bad thoughts don’t count against you, but just in case I made sure that I asked for forgiveness about anything that could count against me. I was scared of hell, y’all, you understand.

Aside from worrying about my own eternal damnation, I was also concerned about my friends and family going to hell. How could I guarantee that they all did the right things so that they could get into heaven with me? Did my grampa accept Jesus as his personal lord and saviour? Did my gay brother guarantee a ticket to hell just for being himself? In highschool a boy on my swim team died by suicide – I must have prayed every night for a year that he wouldn’t be punished for taking his life.

I also feel like I had less of a sense of wonder about the world as a theist. When I would see something like a photo of a beautiful nebula or a video of a coral reef, I would thing “wow, what an imagination that god has.” And the curiosity for how those things got there just didn’t exist. When I believed that god could just magic anything into existence, there just wasn’t that much mystery about the world.

For these reasons and more, the moment I realized that I no longer believed in my God or any other gods was one of the most freeing feelings I had ever experienced. Seriously! For that first few months I would get choked up reading about evolution or listening to podcasts about astronomy. There was this whole world of science out there that I had never allowed myself to absorb. The universe became a giant mystery and my mind was no longer being monitored so I had the freedom to explore questions like “what is the frickin big bang anyways?” and “how did single-celled organisms turn into that beautiful coral reef?” and “what is gravity anyways?” People, gravity is amazing!

I love being able to think whatever I want now. I don’t have to worry about offending sky-daddy with my thoughts, and I can entertain any ideas without worrying about consequences. I also no longer waste time with prayers. People often say that prayer is a nice way to look back on the day and get a nice fuzzy feeling even if it doesn’t work, and that was true for some of my praying, but truthfully I had a lot of anxieties about praying. At my Bible study they would pray so formally, but I tended to just pray as if I was talking to a friend – was I doing it wrong? Was I offending God? I also worried that I would forget to pray for somebody, so my blessings would go on and on until I would just say “and anyone else I may have forgotten” – what a silly exercise! I would also be really careful about what I prayed for, because I worried that if I prayed for something and it didn’t come true that it meant that I wasn’t faithful, or wasn’t a True Christian (TM). No joke – in order to counter this worry that my prayers wouldn’t come true, I would build an out into my prayers. For example, “dear God, please let so-and-so get better, and if he/she doesn’t please be with his/her family in this difficult time, in Jesus name, amen.” I’m so happy that prayer is no longer a part of my life.

There are so many fun things about being an atheist that I just couldn’t experience as a Christian. It’s not that I lost my moral code and I’m just going to run wild now and start trampling over people who get in the way of my fun. I still know what right and wrong is, that had nothing to do with my god-belief. But now I can break all those ridiculous little rules that religion imposes on you that have no reason behind them other than “because god wouldn’t like that.” For example, swearing! Swearing is a wonderful thing. When you stub your toe, screaming “ffuuucckkkkk” is the best pain relief I can think of. Religion gives so much power to these completely harmless groupings of letters, and it’s not just the four-letter-word kind of swearing that I can enjoy now. I can also say “I swear to god” or “oh my god” now. I used to think that those were the worst things I could say, and I’m pretty sure it’s an unforgiveable sin to take the lord’s name in vain. I used to be so careful about not doing that, so it’s so fun to me now to be able to use those words without those silly worries. To give an example of how silly it got with me, my favourite band (The Tragically Hip) has this awesome song called New Orleans is Sinking, and there’s one part that goes “She says Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean She said, she said I swear to God she said” but when I sang along I used to go “She says Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean She said, she said hmm hmm hmm hmmm she said.” Come on, how ridiculous is that? As an atheist I even get to enjoy my favourite songs more!

It’s fantastic being an atheist, and no amount of badgering from a religious person is going to convince me that I’m not a hundred times happier now than I was as a god-believer. That’s why I think all atheist logos should look like this one:

Something a Little Personal & Douchebag Campus Preachers

Hello readers, if you stop by here regularly enough you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately. This is because of stresses that are going on in my life right now. I have had plenty of time to blog, but I’m having difficulty concentrating so I have a zillion unfinished drafts of posts.

I just want to let you know that I’m going to try harder to focus. I have drafts that I intend on finishing, comments that I will respond to, and a hoax countdown that I will resume. I promise!

So this post isn’t a complete waste, there was an amusing picture posted on Friendly Atheist today:

What an ass, I’m glad those men are making him feel uncomfortable. He should feel uncomfortable. If he thinks that love (or even simply lust) between two consenting adults should be eternally punished he should be ashamed of himself. Do preachers really think they’ll win converts by displaying their bigotry like this? Especially at Yale, which is where this picture was taken.

And serious, WTF, Democrats? Feminists? And these are lumped in with Thieves? What a random assortment of words. I wonder how he narrowed it down. I wonder why gangster rappers, but not gangsters? I wonder why potheads, but not drug dealers?

Thankfully there’s no such place as Hell, because I’m at least 8 of those things.

Well to Hell – #96

I’m strapped for time so I’m going to phone it in a bit with today’s hoax and just quote the entire thing from the awesome snopes.com. I did take the time to make an amusing accompanying picture though!

The Hoax:

Geologists working somewhere in remote Siberia had drilled a hole some 14.4 kilometers deep (about 9 miles) when the drill bit suddenly began to rotate wildly. A Mr. Azzacov (identified as the project’s manager) was quoted as saying they decided that the center of the Earth was hollow.

Supposedly, geologists measured temperatures of over 2,000 degrees in the deep hole. They lowered super sensitive microphones to the bottom of the well, and to their astonishment they heard the sounds of thousands, perhaps millions, of suffering souls screaming.

It seems that an innocent article in Scientific American got completely embellished to turn a well with some interesting geologic activities into a pit of dead souls. According to snopes, some Christian groups use this as proof that there’s a hell. Pfft!

(Again, I apologize for my poor job at this one!)

See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Well to Hell – #96’

5 Bits of Woo I Wish Were True and 5 I’m Glad Aren’t True

The Top 5 Bits of Woo I Wish Were True:

5. Santa Claus – When I was a kid my parents told me that on Christmas Eve a jolly old man in a red suit would come down our chimney and leave me toys that his magical elves made me at the North Pole. How cool would that be?! And now as an adult, I’m thinking that Christmas could be a whole lot more fun if Santa did my shopping for me.

4. Free Energy – There’s always somebody pimping their perpetual motion machine, telling you they’ve got the solution to the energy crisis, but unfortunately they’re either con artists, deluded, or breaking the laws of thermodynamics. Alas! I guess I’ll just have to keep paying the heating bill and filling up that pesky gas tank.

3. The Afterlife – It would be so comforting to know that my loved ones are living on after they’ve passed away, and to know that I would be meeting them again soon. Also, since I became an atheist, I’ve started getting really bad anxiety every time I get in a car. I desperately don’t want to die, because I know this is the only life I get. If I knew that there was an afterlife I would be a lot more relaxed about taking risks, and I certainly wouldn’t be such an annoying back seat driver!

2. UFOs – Imagine if aliens actually visited Earth? Hopefully they wouldn’t be of the anal-probing variety…but it would surely be the highlight of my life to encounter a being from another solar system. I highly doubt the possibility of humans achieving inter-stellar travel in my lifetime, so to have a creature that’s seen the universe from a completely different perspective come to us would be…just…wow.

1. The Power of Prayer – If I thought I could relieve someone’s pain or bring world peace or solve complicated problems by appealing to a higher power, you’d better believe I would be down on my knees every second of every day.

The Top 5 Bits of Woo I’m Glad Aren’t True:

5. Psychic Powers – It creeps me out to imagine a world where certain people could read your thoughts and see your future. My thoughts are private, and I choose what I share with people. To not have the ability to own my most personal feelings would suck. And I have no desire to see my future. That would take the adventure out of life! Althought I wouldn’t mind winning the occasional lottery…

4. 9/11 and Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories – These ideas sicken me because they assume that the government is able to dupe people on a massive scale, and that they are in no way accountable to the people they represent. Politicians have their problems and often do crooked things, but they don’t have nearly the amount of control over the population as these two theories would require if they were true. Plus, humans have been on another freaking world! How jaded do you have to be to deny that???

3. Ghosts – I like the idea of an afterlife, but if I had to spend it walking up and down stairs, making howling noises, and causing loopy psychics to feel cold, I’d rather just be dead.

2. The Dangers of Vaccines – Vaccines save lives, and have helped nearly eliminate certain painful childhood illnesses. Yet there are certain people who, for whatever reason, have decided to ignore the evidence and blame vaccines for everything that’s wrong in the world. I think they should take a stroll through an old graveyard and count the number of babies burried there.

1. Hell – Eternal torment…what a brilliant idea thought up by authority figures to keep their people in line. Nobody should be punished eternally for any mistake they made on Earth. It’s a horrible thing to threaten someone with. Thankfully it doesn’t exist…unfortunately some people genuinely live in fear of fire and brimstone. Sad.


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