Opposing Christianity

An Accidental Book

So I’m accidentally writing a book about Christianity. Here’s how it happened.

Back in 2015, I started to immerse myself in atheist culture and literature, mostly through audiobooks, which are fantastic to listen to when slogging through RPGs and grinding levels, which as it happens is one of my favorite activities. First I read God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, which quickly became my all time favorite book. Next I read the Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which quickly become ANOTHER of my all time favorite books. After that I began a marathon of atheist literature: I listened to audiobooks of Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Ancestor’s Tale, The Magic of Reality, An Appetite For Wonder, Brief Candle in The Dark, and then of course listened to the God Delusion several more times, realized that I actually had been listening to an ABRIDGED version, and then listened to the complete unabridged version. I’m currently on my second listen of the unabridged version right now.

I listened many times to Julia Sweeney’s brilliant one-woman show Letting Go Of God, then Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. Currently I’m working my way through David Silverman’s book Fighting God. I started to watch episode of an Austin-based public broadcast television show called The Atheist Experience, worked through almost their entire catalogue of podcast The Non-Prophets, then I listened to hundreds of episodes of the podcasts Cognitive Dissonance, The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, The Skepticrat, Ardent Atheist, Citation Needed, Be Reasonable, and Skeptics With A K. I watched dozens of debates, interviews, and lectures involving Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, and others.

Naturally, being steeped in all this atheism has given me a lot of time to think about my feelings on religion, on God, and most of all on my experiences with Christianity. When I’ve felt the need to go on a diatribe about religion, I’ve grabbed my phone, iPod, or whatever device is near me and started frantically taking notes. Without realizing it, a few years had passed, and I had amassed enough notes to realize that I wasn’t just writing disjointed blog posts, but writing a book, my own contribution to the work of the New Atheists and others.

The funny thing is, I still don’t know if I’m an atheist. What I do feel confident in is that I’m an anti-Christian. I think Christianity is an entirely corrupt and harmful enterprise that should be left in the past where it belongs. Listening over and over to books like The God Delusion and God Is Not Great has helped me to learn, and also to understand exactly what it is about Christianity that appalls and angers me so much.

There’s so much to write about. So much to say. So much of my own story to tell. I’ve written a few religiously-themed blog posts here, but most of what I’ve written has been in notepad documents, collated later in emails to myself for safekeeping or in documents of fractured ideas. Some of my notes are paragraphs of harsh criticism, some are single lines for me to expound upon later.

I want to share some of this with you, whoever you may be reading this. I’m not going to post everything I have, but I want to share some of what I’m working on. Remember that these are notes, not a final product, not even really a first draft, just thoughts that have been written down. Some of them need editing, many of them are repetitious or sometimes miss larger points, but I’m proud of what I’ve written so far, and I’m excited to share it with you.

I currently have the majority of what I’ve written collated together in a document, seperated by subheadings which can be later expounded upon, condensed, or cleaned up into proper chapters. There’s still a long way to go, and honestly I can’t say what the end result will be.

I don’t think any of the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris would approve, because I don’t think I’m really setting out to fight religion. I’m setting out to shine a ray of light on Christianity, to talk about the harm it’s done to me and to everyone else. As for myself, I still don’t know that I can say I’m an atheist. I still love aspects of Paganism, I enjoy tarot and some kinds of mysticism, I enjoy hearing Tori Amos wax philosophical about the goddess energy and celestial consciousness, I find those kinds of things to be beautiful poetry. I don’t know that I actually believe any of them, it would be difficult for me to condemn Christian belief on the one hand and then turn around and say I believe in Neo Paganism, which as religions go is a pretty spastic cobbling together of whatever an individual happens to agree with. I still take comfort in some spiritual practices, and for that reason, I can’t find myself denouncing belief in the same way that Dawkins does. I would be lying to myself if I tried to.

There may be atheism at the end of this journey, or there may be some other kind of spirituality I haven’t discovered yet. There may be an agnosticism with a leaning toward the mystical. All I really know is that I just HAVE to get my feelings about Christianity down on paper. I have to say what I feel. That’s what this blog has always been about. So, with that explanation out of the way, I’m going to begin sharing some of the raw material that I’ve been cobbling together. I hope that if nothing else, it makes you think about things in a different way.

 

The Most Harmful Enterprise

It is my belief that Christianity is the single most harmful Enterprise in all of human history. More deadly than the Huns, Alexander, the Nazis, or even nuclear bombs. Christianity is a system of subjugation and bigotry which spreads like a virus from parent to child, or if not then from adult to child (but make no mistake, it is always children who are targeted, because Christianity’s claims are not generally strong enough to hold up to the scrutiny of a full developed and educated adult), and either perverts or destroys everything it touches. Christianity warps our ideas of truth, goodness, compassion, and where to appropriately place our outrage. Christianity abuses and victimizes us, teaches us to abuse others, and then claim that we ate the one being abused. Christianity teaches us never to be satisfied with decency or morality or kindness or love, but to be ever self-flagellating sycophants, braying at the feet of God for the forgiveness of our petty thought crimes against the almighty. Christianity teaches us to harass and degrade other people, to control them as we were controlled ourselves, and to remain endlessly vigilant in the persecution of every race, Creed, belief, and orientation. Christianity is a disease of the mind spread memetically that erodes decency and compassion, and sows the desire for murder and destruction in every person it touches.

Christianity impedes the progress of medicine, health, mental stability, fulfillment, relationships, families, sexual wellness, and resorts constantly to underhanded dirty trucks, lying to the vulnerable and trying to substitute medicine for prayer, dedication to God, and incidentally money for the church. Christianity preys on the most vulnerable people. Children, the sick, the infirm, the starving. American missionaries travel to countries ravaged by poverty and hunger and they give the people food, but only at the cost of making them sit through lectures about their God, and giving them Bibles and telling them to believe in their God. Is it not obvious how utterly despicable this is? Missionaries prey on the most vulnerable people in the world. If I saw a child alone, huddled, shivering and dying of starvation, I would help them out of the kindness and compassion of my own heart, not because I saw  the opportunity to indoctrinate a potential Christian.

It is wicked enough to subjugate and persecute innocent people, to spread hatred and discord and encourage violence against people you dislike. But I takes a special kind of evil to perpetrate murder and abandonment and mutilation onto the whole world, and then claim you are the one who is being oppressed, claim that you have been the victim of the people you victimized. This is what Christianity does.

Name me one group who fought for their civil rights against prejudice and hatred, who was not oppressed by hated by Christians. Name me one group who has suffered violence in hate crimes for whom the perpetrators of at least some of those hate crimes were not Christians, or motivated by Christianity. Name me one societal injustice that has been overcome where Christianity did not stand on the wrong side of history.

Christianity would drag us kicking and screaming back into the dark ages if it could. Let us not forget how Christians acted when they thought they could get away with it. When Galileo postulated that the earth revolves around the sun, there was no scramble from Christians to teach the controversy, they sought to kill him for apostasy.

Today’s Christianity often speaks in softer terms than the one from antiquity, but that’s only because it’s been forced to soften up in order to stay relevant. As we make social progress, Christians pretend that God was progressive all along. Eventually there will come a day when there is no more widespread homophobia or bigotry against LGBT people, and if Christianity still exists, it’s believers will say that Jesus was the first real trans activist or the first proponent of gay rights, or some other nonsense, by picking and choosing from vagueries in the Bible and pretending that they had it right all along. Indeed, Christians are already doing this now in regards to slavery, saying that the Americans who fought against the Confederacy to end slavery were doing the proper Christian thing, while Confederates held up the Bible as their justification for slavery, because it very explicitly encourages slavery, not just throughout the old testament but in the new testament as well.

As our morals evolve, Christians pretend that God had it right all along, and that we’re just evolving to suit his moral standards, when really it’s the other way around, Christians are changing the character of God, or re-interpreting it as needed, to conform to our standards of morality, in order for Christianity to remain relevant. But man created God, and not the other way around, and Christianity betrays it’s man-made roots in the fact that though it claims to be unchanging, it is forced to change in order to keep it’s congregants pouring in, and to retain control over the minds, bodies, and presumably souls of it’s followers.

But even still, Christianity still relies the same old dogma of self destruction, self loathing and absolution are exactly the same. The words may change but the dogma doesn’t. After all, the Bible does say God is “the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow.”

 

The Bible

Christianity’s doctrines and edicts come from it’s holy book, the Bible. The Bible is a horrific tome, filled with examples of all the worst aspects of the human experience, as well as injunctions to commit all manner of evil against other creatures.

Try as hard as you can to imagine the most vile, despicable, horrific acts of which any human being is capable, and you’re very likely to find it in the Bible, most often being done by the supposed heroes of the stories. God himself is often the perpetrator of these evils, but his faithful servants and revered Biblical heroes are often the ones who commit these atrocities.

Think of every abominable action you can: rape, murder, molestation of children, the abuse of innocents, kidnapping, murder of babies, indiscriminate slaughter, genocide, incest, degradation, imprisonment, cannibalism, betrayal, burning alive, drowning, torturing humans, torturing animals, ritualistic blood sacrifices, eating entrails, drinking blood, the continued injunctions to (and proscriptions for) slavery, the treatment of slaves, the taking of slaves, the rape of slaves, the selling of slaves, taking advantage of the needy, the sick, and the insane, self-mutilation, castration, torture, the Bible is an orgiastic feast of all the most abominable actions to which human kind is capable of. And the vast majority of these atrocities are committed by God himself, when not being committed by his servants who are commanded directly to do it in his name.

 

God, The Abusive Husband

Christianity is a system of cyclical emotional abuse that inculcates and indoctrinates new members (almost always as emotionally vulnerable and mentally impressionable children) to believe that they fundamentally disordered in such a way that they are evil and worthy of eternal torment from the moment they are born. Not only this, but they are taught to believe that they CANNOT be anything other than evil and worthy of the most horrific kind of torture and punishment, because the only way to be truly good, moral, and decent, is to allow Christ to take on your own sin (whether you’ve committed any sin or not), and Christianity takes care to institute such rigorous regulations that most normal, healthy, biologically necessary actions are considered sinful, and thought crime is preached by the central deity, so that absolutely any moment of anything other than complete lobotomized silence is viewed as sinful and in need of correction or forgiveness.

To be naked is a sin, to experience physical arousal is a sin, to desire to be close and to express love is a sin, to even think about exercising a completely healthy biological function like masturbation is a sin, even unavoidable biological functions like menstruation are sinful and “unclean,” in short: everything that any normal human being might do is considered a sin, so that no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape God’s righteous indignation.

This tactic is sometimes employed by the military, during basic training, in which a drill Sergeant will emotionally abuse his pupils by setting such absurd regulations on behavior that it becomes literally impossible for the rules to be followed, and so the entire unit is punished when one pupil slips up. The drill Sergeant will also give conflicting orders and punish a cadet no matter their actions, regardless of if they obeyed or not, simply to torture them. The reason for this barbaric method of training is to purposely bring the unit together in their utter contempt of the drill Sergeant, and yet also to fear and obey him, regardless of his orders, because it is the only way to avoid punishment, even if avoiding it is futile. Soldiers are placed under such extreme mental and emotional stress in an attempt to completely break their spirit, and then rebuild their demolished psyche into that of a ruthless killing machine whose only goal and joy comes from following orders and serving the military.

This kind of barbaric treatment is contemptible, but when it’s done in the military, people recognize it for what it is. Even those who justify this cruelty say that it’s done for a purpose. No one pretends that this medieval method of training is done out of love and compassion. I personally don’t think there is an excuse for this kind of treatment, but at least the people who do it will admit that they are being cruel, as means to an end.

But when God does the same things, and worse, people will make any excuse to justify his contemptible behavior, and most sickeningly of all: that God abuses and tortures his creations because he LOVES us. God is the ultimate abusive boyfriend. Countless times throughout the Bible he presses into service those same excuses we know abusers use: “You brought this on yourself,” “Look what you made me do,” “I’m only doing this because I love you.” If any man were on trial for doing a fraction of the things god does to his children, he would most certainly be sentenced to prison or worse. Yet his actions are excused and justified by his victims, who trip over themselves to believe that two plus two equals five if God says it does.

God is the abusive husband who torments his way day and night, haranguing her with threats and blows, keeping her so frightened that she doesn’t know whether she’s done anything wrong, where she is tortured in the knowledge that regardless of what she does or does not do, the angry man will still come home and beat her, rape her, abuse her in every way. And when her friends see her black and swollen eyes, her bruised legs and arms, they will try and persuade her to leave him, but she will argue on his behalf, as the abused do of their abusers, that he is a good man, that he loves and cares for his family, that he is justified in his cruelty, that her friends don’t understand, that they must forgive what seems to them an injustice, because assuredly he has his reasons.

But we know the truth of this, don’t we? We know that the abusive husband is a sadist and a monster, who must be stopped and thrown into prison where he can at most change his ways and understand the suffering he caused, or at the very least ensure everyone’s safety by his removal from society. God is that man, the abusive husband, and Christians are the tired and manipulated wife, searching desperately for an answer amidst the torture and grief, trying to make excuses for God. Except that God is one step worse, because he doesn’t even exist. God is a thought process implanted into the vulnerable, most often children, teaching people to hate themselves and to subjugate and torture themselves, and to feel remorse and shame if they think for a moment to stop this self-induced torture. Christians are victims as much as the Witches who burned at the stakes or the Muslims who fell to the inquisitors sword.

Ironically, when people of good and decent moral character stand up to Christian prejudice, Christians love nothing more than to proclaim that they are being “persecuted.” Christianity has the largest following around the world, the vast majority of modern human history has been controlled and decided by Christianity and it’s countless armies, yet Christians see any attempt to usurp the blatant immorality of Christian doctrine as persecution, and love nothing more than to play the victim. Indeed, the entire philosophy of Christ is to play the victim, as he did in his crucifixion, in which God sacrificed himself to himself so that he could forgive a man he created for doing exactly what he created him for and knew he would do. The whole episode has more the air of a comical farce than an uplifting morality tale. But the point is that Christians confuse moral evolution for persecution. And why shouldn’t they? The God they worship is an immoral monster.

 

A Monopoly On Ideas

Remember that when Christians had their way and could do what they wanted, they just stomped all over everyone and their views weren’t nearly as seemingly nuanced as they are now. Before evolution was taught in schools, there were no Christians rushing into science classrooms and demanding that we “teach the controversy,” because they don’t actually care about that, they care about getting their way. As for abortion, Christians viewpoints have strangely reversed. It used to be that any time a young woman became pregnant out of wedlock she would be “sent to stay with an aunt,” which was their code for her getting an abortion, because they viewed babies born out of wedlock as sinful. There was never any attempt to “save the lives of innocent babies” then. All of Christianity’s viewpoints today are clearly contradicted by the way Christians behaved when they knew they could get away with it, when they knew no one would oppose them.

At the end of the day the reason Christians oppose things is because of plain old prejudice. They say they oppose gay marriage because it defiles the institution, but they’re doing nothing to fight against outlawing divorce. They claim that the constitution was shaped by Christians under Christian doctrine, and yet the vast majority of the founders (particularly the most important figures) were non-Christian deists who openly denounced Christianity. They want to stop abortions and claim to be pro life, but they give no thought to the autonomy or free will of the woman in question, and in a move the betrays the deep Christian misogyny, don’t seem to mind women being bodily raped by a child they didn’t ask for.

Remember that one of Christianity’s central figures, Mary the mother of Jesus, was a virgin girl who was bodily raped by God during sleep and forced to carry his child without her consent. This betrays the deep misogyny inherent in Christianity: Mary, the revered mother of Jesus, was a woman who was simply commanded by God to carry and give birth to his child, and on top of this, she had to have her sexuality completely excised from her, hence the radical obsession with her being a virgin upon Jesus’ conception. And even if you argue that God didn’t actually have sex with Mary to impregnate her (again, there is the obsession with sexual deprivation and masochism present throughout Christianity), she was still forced to carry a child without her consent. Of course it doesn’t really matter that these events never actually happened, and maybe the character of Mary did find herself overjoyed at her own bodily autonomy being stolen from her for the privilege of delivering God’s son, but that doesn’t change the fact that the entire religion is built on the rape of a virgin girl. Not a woman, by the way; the character of Mary was probably around twelve years old in the story.

The most obvious way in which Christianity is imbued with the prejudices of it’s creators and it’s leaders are in Christian attitudes about homosexuality. Christians treat homosexuality in a very obtuse way that borders on protesting too much. They seem to have this notion that people can be “turned gay,” whenever a young gay person comes out to their family the first thing they will hear is that they’ve been “influenced by gay people” and that they “became gay,” or even that they “made the choice.” Christians imply that being gay is a choice, when even gay people say it isn’t. This means that for gay people, they’re gay just because that’s who they are. But the Christians who say that being gay is a choice are openly admitting that they as Christians COULD make the choice to be gay, which is tacitly admitting to bisexuality. They’re saying that if they wanted, they could choose to be attracted to the same gender. Well since that isn’t possible, it shows that they already ate attracted.

 

They also act as though being around gay people can turn you gay, as though their own heterosexuality is so fragile that the mere presence of a gay person will cause THEM to want to be with another person of the same gender? It seems to be protesting too much: they’re essentially saying “If I’m around gay people I’ll be so tempted and allured by them that I’ll become gay myself!” Well that isn’t how sexuality works, so obviously you have homosexual tendencies that you aren’t dealing with, and you’re projecting your own fear and self loathing onto everyone else. Of course, it’s not surprise that most homophobes are secretly gay. Christopher Hitchens quoted Shakespeare when discussing the topic of Christian sexual abuses, and I’ll do it again here: “The policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.”

If God is indeed a celestial being so petty that in addition to creating nebulas, black holes, and galaxies, he can concern himself with the inconsequential minutia of who touches who else’s genitals, then he’s not worth worshiping in the first place.

But the problem isn’t just Christianity’s homophobia, or the fact that nearly all the homophobia in the entire world can be attributed to religion. It’s time we acknowledge the role Christianity plays hate crimes and murders, like the Pulse Massacre, or the murder of Matthew Shepherd. Because of preachers and faith leaders referring to us as “the homosexuals, the sodomites,” blaming hurricanes and natural disasters on us and talking about God’s judgement, Christians dehumanize us and normalize the idea of our deaths. We become less than people. We’re not humans who think and feel, we don’t watch television and read books and make dinner with our mothers on Thanksgiving, we’re just sodomites. We’re just a target, a threat to God’s people and his kingdom. Killing us isn’t the same as killing a real person.

And really, this is just scratching the surface on what makes Christianity so dangerous. And of course it’s not just Christianity that is the real problem, but religion itself. Religion has always been dangerous, but it was conceived in a time when it’s tools and weapons were significantly less powerful. In the days when religion dominated every aspect of culture and life, the most terrible possible attack from one group to another consisted of ransacking cities, murdering soldiers and civilians alike, raping innocent people, burning house and toppling castles with trebuchets. Even such horrors as these pale in the face of modern nuclear weapons, drones, bombs and machine guns.

Religion was conceived in a time when the worst of it’s followers could be convinced to take up a sword or a bow against an innocent, but the worst of today’s followers could be convinced to quite literally destroy the entire world with the right nuclear arsenal. This is why religion must not simply be abandoned, it must be combated, and future generations need to understand why that is, what makes it so dangerous, and why it should not be allowed to prosper, and to control the minds of otherwise decent people who fall prey to it.

 

Hiding In The Shadows

“What is impressive about Catholic mythology is partly it’s tasteless kitsch, but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along. It is just shamelessly invented.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

The simplest proof against Christianity, and religion in general, is the way it betrays itself, the way it shows it’s motives. When Christians were in charge, God was the all knowing creator of the universe. When we discovered evolution, God took a step back and became evolution’s guiding hand. When we discovered that the universe was created during the big bang, God became no more than the one giving the order for creation to begin. As we gain scientific understanding of the world and the cosmos that surrounds us, Christians have to try harder and harder to squeeze God into the gaps of our knowledge. Christians will claim that we don’t need evidence to believe in God, because God must be discovered through faith, but we all know that if there were any real evidence for God’s existence (apart from philosophical exercises of trying to define God into existance) Christians would be all over it. Christians say that science is incompatible with religion only because it’s convenient to say that, if science DID produce any evidence for God’s existence, Christians would be shouting it from the rooftops.

But there is no evidence. As time goes on, the role God plays in the universe is shrinking. God was once the almighty and omniscient creator, and now he is an imp who hides in the shadows cast by Darwin and Hawking, and as we shed more and more light onto our own existence, he has fewer and fewer places to hide. Surely if God were the omniscient father of all things, it would be no difficulty at all to stand up to scrutiny, there would be abundant evidence. And yet the universe behaves in exactly the way it would if there were no God at all, making God, at best, utterly useless.

Christians count the hits and ignore the misses when it comes to prayer and divine intervention. When something a Christian prays for comes true, they regard it as an answered prayer and divine intervention, when their prayer is not answered they decree that their prayer was still answered anyway, only God in his infinite wisdom said “no.” No matter whether he succeeds or fails, God is given the credit for his action or his inaction. And this is considered to be decent evidence by many people.

If God exists, he behaves in such a way that his action is indistinguishable  from his inaction. Many sudden recoveries and coincidences are attributed to him, but curiously, he only ever heals someone in such a way that it can’t be demonstrated to have been some other means. He seemingly spends a lot of time healing people of cancerous growths or relieving pain, but not once in history has he ever regrown a lost limb, or healed third degree burns, and surely there were devout Christians at the time who prayed as fervently for those injuries to be healed. God is supposedly so powerful that he can create universes and destroy millions with floods, but the only miracles he seems capable of performing now that we have reliable methods of recording such things are trivial miracles that can’t be distinguished from chance. He only seems capable of passively doing things that might otherwise have been done without his interference. If God’s existence is indistinguishable from his nonexistence, then he’s so useless he might as well not exist anyway.

 

If He Existed

If the God described in the Bible did exist, the megalomaniacal, tyrannical celestial dictator who is more concerned about a nonexistent man eating a magical fruit than he is about poverty or disease, a being so prideful and contentious that he shows moral character worse than that of a petulant child, a fascist dictator willing to commit genocide on a whim, then I would oppose him. If the day of judgement the Christians talk about come, and God descends from the heavens in the form of Christ on a white horse, and I must stand before the throne of judgement, and God asks me to prostrate myself, I would be under a moral obligation to oppose him, to call out his bigotry, his insolence, his indefensible abuse of his creations.

Any moral personal who believes that God is worth worshiping is deluding themselves. Replace the names “God” and “Jesus” with “Zeus” and “Heracles,” and then read the Bible and tell me if you believe that the deities in question have any moral character. God is a tyrant, a ruthless petulant fascist, and if he DID exist, I would be the first to stand up to him, even if I were powerless. I would rather burn in hell for eternity knowing that I did the right and just thing, than to live in Heaven for eternity because I was willing to bend my knee at the threat of violence. At the end of the day the character of God is a malevolent villain, and we should all be exceedingly happy that he doesn’t exist, because any universe created and governed by such a monster would be a hopeless universe indeed.

Luckily, we have the ability to break the chains of ignorance, to cast away the shackles of God and his Bible, to be set free from Christianity, and from it’s family of religions, it’s mother religion, Judaism, and it’s daughter religion, Islam. We live in a time and place where it is possible not only to oppose God’s tyrannical rule, but to understand that we have no God to fear, only one another to fear, and it is in this knowledge that we can work toward a world not ruled by fear, but by compassion and understanding.

Humans have gotten a lot of things wrong. But we’ve seen the power of human empathy, and we’ve seen what God can do to stifle it. It’s time to send this fictitious monster back where he belongs, in the darkness of human history, and keep shining the light of knowledge on the shadows of ignorance, so that he has nowhere left to hide.

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God Is An Abusive Boyfriend

god-by-perin-del-vaga

(After finishing the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for the third time in the span of about a year, and having also read Hitchens’ God is Not Great a few times as well, I found that my many opinions about Christianity finally started to take some coherent form. I could write an entire book [and I hope to at some point] about my feelings on Christianity, as well as religion in general. In an effort to work toward that, I’ve started taking notes. The following is more less copied and pasted from my notepad so it isn’t entirely fleshed out or well-organized, but it is a good place to start. I wanted to point out that these are notes for myself so that it’s clear that this isn’t the final product, just the early stages of something I’m working on.)

Christianity is a system of cyclical emotional abuse that inculcates and indoctrinates new members (almost always as emotionally vulnerable and mentally impressionable children) to believe that they fundamentally disordered in such a way that they are evil and worthy of eternal torment from the moment they are born. Not only this, but they are taught to believe that they CANNOT be anything other than evil and worthy of the most horrific kind of torture and punishment, because the only way to be truly good, moral, and decent, is to allow Christ to take on your own sin (whether you’ve committed any sin or not), and Christianity takes care to institute such rigorous regulations that most normal, healthy, biologically necessary actions are considered sinful, and thought crime is preached by the central deity, so that absolutely any moment of anything other than complete lobotomized silence is viewed as sinful and in need of correction or forgiveness. To be naked is a sin, to experience physical arousal is a sin, to desire to be close and to express love is a sin, to even think about exercising a completely healthy biological function like masturbation is a sin, even unavoidable biological functions like menstruation are sinful and “unclean,” in short: everything that any normal human being might do is considered a sin, so that no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape God’s righteous indignation.

This tactic is sometimes employed by the military, during basic training, in which a drill Sargeant will emotionally abuse his pupils by setting such absurd regulations on behavior that it becomes literally impossible for the rules to be followed, and so the entire unit is punished when one pupil slips up. Drill Sargeant will also give conflicting orders and punish a cadet no matter their actions, regardless of if they obeyed or not, simply to torture them. The reason for this barbaric method of training is to purposely bring the unit together in their utter contempt of the drill Sargeant, and yet also to fear and obey him, regardless of his orders, because it is the only way to avoid punishment, even if avoiding it is futile. Soldiers are placed under such extreme mental and emotional stress in an attempt to completely break their spirit, and then rebuild their demolished psyche into that of a ruthless killing machine whose only goal and joy comes from following orders and serving the military.

This kind of barbaric treatment is contemptible, but when it’s done in the military, people recognize it for what it is. Even those who justify this cruelty say that it’s done for a purpose. No one pretends that this medieval method of training is done out of love and compassion. But when God does the same things, and worse, people will make any excuse to justify his contemptible behavior, and most sickeningly of all: that God abuses and tortures his creations because he LOVES us. God is the ultimate abusive boyfriend. Countless times throughout the Bible he presses into service those same excuses we know abusers use: “You brought this on yourself,” “Look what you made me do,” “I’m only doing this because I love you.” If any man were on trial for doing a fraction of the things god does to his children, he would most certainly be sentenced to prison or worse. Yet his actions are excused and justified by his victims, who trip over themselves to believe that 2+2=5 if God says it does.

God

From Horus To Christ: An Examination of Christianity

or

Christianity: The World’s Most Prevalent Form of Terrorism

I wish I could write a substantial and scholarly review of all religions from Egypt or ancient Mesopotamia until now and compare every aspect, side by side with Christianity. I’m not an expert on any religion in any scholarly sense, but I know at least as much as common Christians in my part of the country do, and hopefully a bit more, if only because I’ve chosen to expose myself to influences outside of that faith. I am not Christian. I have never truly been Christian. I’ve tried several times in my life to be Christian, I’ve believed as hard as I could and prayed night and day, obsessively, giving up everything I loved or believed in to be a devout follower of Christ. I received nothing in return.

I have a religious family. My mother believes that I’m lost, she asks me to give Christ a chance to change me and change my life. But I don’t want to be changed. And therein lies the core of what I want to talk about: Christianity, like any other major organization, particularly a religious one, uses fear to control people. A lot of what I’m going to say here was taken from a conversation I had with a friend on the internet, and some more thoughts I’ve thrown in. I could talk about this for days, or maybe a lifetime, because my entire life has been a constant and prolonged exposure to Christianity. My intention here isn’t to hurt anyone who is a believer in Christ, but simply to share my opinions on this religion as a whole. Do I hate people? Not always. Sometimes I do, and you know what? I think a certain amount of hatred is healthy. All things in moderation. It’s okay to hate Fred Phelps, even though he’s dead. It’s okay to hate Adolf Hitler. But allowing that hatred to consume and control you is deadly.

All of this began because I learned something I hadn’t known about a musician I’ve always had a lot of respect for. Bryce Avary is the frontman of the band The Rocket Summer, and in fact, he IS the band. He’s a solo artist that uses a band name, and even though he tours with other musicians, all of the lyrics and music are composed by Bryce, and he plays every instrument on his albums. He’s incredibly talented, and his music is very uplifting. I’ve always loved that about his music. Today I discovered that he is a Christian, and I couldn’t help but allow it to skew my view of him and his art. Where once I believed that his lyrics and music were motivated by an indomitable will to survive amidst a chaotic and terrifying world, I can’t help but feel it’s really just motivated by the worship of a deity. It seems, for me, to destroy the validity of the work, even though there are several Christian artists (like Relient K, Flyleaf, Skillet and Paramore) whose music I greatly enjoy. But I guess it’s because I didn’t go in knowing that Bryce was a Christian that I find myself so surprised by this. I thought that his messages of hope were based on personal experience and the constant struggle against the beast that is life, and while it all may very well still be, there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it’s really all about putting off one’s own personal responsiblity to themselves and others onto Christ, and blindly following what they believe to be an ultimate power in the universe, rather than fighting for themselves and speaking with their own voice. Bryce won’t define The Rocket Summer as a “Christian band,” because he finds that limiting and narrow, and good for him, but as someone who has experienced so much suffering at the hands of Christians, I can’t help but feel a little betrayed, knowing that the messages of hope in Bryce’s songs may really just be blind messages of worship of a diety that isn’t there.

Now, as with all art, the listener is left to interpret things as they see. I hear very obvious religious messages in songs like Comatose by Skillet or Again by Flyleaf, but I still see those songs as what they are: messages of hope, of love, and of the will to survive among this turbulent life. There is absolutely no difference between those messages of hope and the messages found within Bryce’s work, and I’m not indicting him. He’s free to find solace and relief from the world any way he chooses, and his talent speaks for itself. I’m not angry at him for being Christian, and I’m not dissapointed at him personally. But I can’t help but find myself dissapointed in general, and find his music less moving, less touching to me personally, now that I know it’s at least partially motivated by a relationship with a deity.

This is not a Bryce Avary problem, this is a me problem. It’s not my intention to shame or hut anyone. I’m just talking about how I feel, and I feel a lot of mixed emotions upon finding out that Bryce is Christian. It seems silly, I know, but it affects me. Christians have hurt and abused me all throughout my life, and though there are plenty of people who say to me, “Not all Christians are like that, don’t judge the whole group by a few,” I can’t help but think, yes, maybe not all Christians are judgemental and biogted, and maybe there are nice Christians, but weren’t there also nice Nazis too? I’m sure there were plenty of Nazis who believed they were serving their country and their people and detached themselves emotionally from the atrocities they commited. The Nazis who slaughtered people in concentration camps had families, homes, lives, emotions. And by the same token, the Christians who slaughtered the witches of Salem or marched upon Jerusalem in the Crusades probably weren’t all bad. I’m sure plenty of them were nice people who felt compassion for others and love for the world. But that doesn’t negate the actions of the organization they’re allying themselves with, and make no mistake, a religious organization is still an organization.

It’s not that I think everything a Christian does is motivated by the need to please God, but I do believe that Christianity is an organization that derives it’s power from a cycle of self-harm that teaches people to be ashamed and to put off all of that shame onto Christ, perpetuating an endless cycle of suffering and self-loathing, indoctrinating future believes to be ashamed of themselves and seek Christ’s salvation so that the system itself becomes the monarch, the leader, the dictator, and no one person has to stay alive forever to command it.

I have a difficult time with this issue. I want to be accepting of Christians and not view them any differently once I know what they believe, but throughout my life I’ve seen what I believe to be the true face of Christianity, and it’s one of bigotry, hatred, intolerance, ignorance, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anger, greed, gluttony, murderous violence, suppression of thought and progress, self-deprivation, depression, guilt, and shame.

My best friend, who happens to be Christian, and who is very understanding about my thoughts here, told me that he sometimes wonders if religion itself is something people invented so that they wouldn’t have to fear death. I believe it’s that and so much more. I’m fascinated by gods and by mythology, I love them. I love the ancient lore and I even love many moments and stories in the Christian bible. Christ’s acceptance of duty in the face of torture and death, and his words to those he loved at his last supper, always bring me to tears. I appreciate that for what it is without believing in the deity, and I see a person in a beautiful story doing something noble for people that he loves. Do I think that story is fraught with misguided ideals, horrific violence perpetrated not just on Christ but others, and the senseless self-loathing of entire nations of people? Absolutely.

We create gods to represent aspects of ourselves: those we love, those we hate. We created Athena to represent our conquering spirit and prowess in battle, our determination in the face of war and chaos. We created Hades to be the bearer of our guilt, our darkness, and our shame. We drew upon the same concept overs and over again. Horus became Zeus, Jupiter, Buddha, Krishna, and Christ. Osiris became Mara, Rahu, Angra Mainyu, Lucifer. They morphed over and over again, always representing a part of ourselves, our goals, our ideals, the things we love, the things we hate.

Ultimately, though, I find belief in the Christian god to be essentially masochistic. The believer truly gains nothing. Not inner peace, because the believer is taught to be ashamed of their sins, constantly begging God’s forgiveness and accepting again and again the sacrifice of Christ so that they can be cleansed of their self-imposed shame, and fear of the so-called “end times,” fear of God’s judgement and wrath, and more than anything, fear of a fallen angel they call Satan. A supposed demon, or leader of demons, who they believe can read your thoughts, fill your heart with negativity and doubt, or possess your body and make you commit atrocities. They fear demons dwelling all over the Earth, entering into creatures and torturing them from the deepest part of themselves, overtaking their body and spirit.

They fear Hell, that place that more than anything keeps children caught up in the cycle of despair, that place that they fear they will be cast by a supposedly loving and wise God, to burn in fire for all eternity, because they broke some self-imposed cosmic rule. The believer in Christ gains no personal independence, no inner peace, no transcendence, no nirvana. No freedom from guilt and shame. They look only forward, to their afterlife, where they believe they will be rewarded in a glorious kingdom called Heaven, to be forever at peace and one with God, and so they abandon this world and this life as “of the devil,” they forget about what they call “worldly concerns,” and motivated as humans always are by greed, store up “treasure for themselves in the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’ve met so many human beings who believe that the streets of Heaven are lined with gold, that there are mansions filled with treasures in Heaven. Why would these things matter to someone who has transcended the Earth into a place where currency and status mean nothing? But there are people among my own family who have told me that in Heaven people are given crowns with many different jewels adorning them according to what deeds they’ve done in their lives. Ultimately, Heaven is an attempt to justify life, to give it meaning, and to alleviate the fear of oblivion that comes with death.

In Christianity, the vitcims are the believers, who suffer so that those who have power in the organization (the pastors, the priests, the Pope, the clergy) can line their robes and pockets with gold at the expense of the ignorant masses donating their guilt into the collection plate every week in the form of money, believing they are tithing to God and not realizing that the money in their hands is a real form of currency, going directly into the hands of corrupt leaders who use it to continue perpetuating the cycle of grief, doubt, sorrow, and inhuman acts of violence and hatred. Christians incite others to violence with their claims that God does or does not support one way of life or another, that one way to worship God is the only true way and all other ways are false and lead to damnation, that Christ is “the way, the truth and the life,” and that any who don’t believe in him, be they adults or children, those who foster peace and practice compassion, those who have heard of Christ or those who haven’t, will suffer for eternity, regardless of the life they chose to live, and even worse, that those who commit rape, murder, and thievery on a massive and unknowable scale can be easily absolved of their crimes and atrocities by simply claiming Christ as their savior and believing.

Nobody questions it, because the system teaches you not to question it.

But maybe you should. Maybe you should think for yourself. Maybe you should stop being afraid of the devil, that proverbial boogie-man hiding in your closet and under your bed, and even more so stop being afraid of God, who in his own supposed holy word commits far more atrocities than his adversary Satan ever does (genocide, mass murder of children and adults, cruelty to animals and living creatures, destruction of the Earth on several occasions).

And that’s why it’s hard for me to accept people’s decision to follow this religion, because I see only a self-perpetuating cycle of fear, anger, and death. It’s unhealthy, and it’s tearing the entire world apart. Not just Christianity, but all those organizations like it, who seek to divide people for the material gain of a few at the top, or seek to foster shame and unrest among people so that they stay loyal to an organization whose primary goal is to steal from the poor and feed the rich, be they the poor and rich of material possessions or of spiritual freedom.

Question it. Think for yourself.

Let’s All Loosen Up A Bit, Shall We?

So, I’ve decided that while it’s important to be focused… maybe it isn’t. The tone of this blog has been very stuctured and businesslike, and not much fun, but I’m proud of myself for keeping up with something for a good length of time. So, from now on, this blog is to be a lot more fun, I’m going to try and be myself more, happier, crazier, and more interesting to read. And there will be pictures, media, all of those fun things.

So, how are you today?

I got a new book at the bookstore! I was torn between four, but I settled on one book, two DVD’s, and a bookmark. The book is called The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, and it’s a more realistic, and decidedly darker, look at Wonderland. So far I’ve only read the prologue and a bit of the first chapter, but the illustrations are great and so far it seems very interesting. It’s also perfectly formatted, it’s the same size as the original publishing of Wicked, which is my favorite size book. Of course, any larger paperbacks are my favorite sized books. The paperback version of Memoirs of a Geisha with the original cover art is wonderfully formatted, and I almost bought it, but the current version I have is the smaller movie-art version, and I got it from the thrift store, so I have no quams about taking a highlighter to the words I like (and I may highlight the sections I like too, I hadn’t even thought of that. I’ve a friend who does that.), bending the pages, taking the book to the bathroom with me, (oh don’t get all pooey, you do it too! No pun intended), etc. etc.

So I’m feeling wonderful tonight, and feeling wonderful is a wonderful thing. I’m just very happy about my relationship, and I’m loving my new house so much, it’s really improved my life by about three million percent. I couldn’t have imagined moving to a new house would give me a completely new life! It’s so comfortable here and I just feel so new and better, and older. I’m just doing really good, and I’ve also began to understand faith again. I caught a moment of an infomertial last night, and someone was talking about how  they prayed for something they needed, and the next day an infomercial or commercial for whatever was being advertised came on. And it just gave me this wonderful image of God being right there and listening, and immediately getting to work on something you pray for. It’s really beautiful.

I’d also like to address something right now. I hope to one day be famous, be it as a writer or a musician or anything that I may be, and I want this blog to be honest for anyone who chooses to go back and read through these entries. But I don’t want to alienate anyone. My feelings on Christianity as an organized religion are mixed. I just don’t feel that as a Christian I’m ready for an environment like church, or that I ever will be. Believing in God, loving Jesus and trusting him, these are things that are personal. For me, they’re between me and him. And everyone in this world has the right to believe whatever they choose to believe, regardless of what politicians or especially extremist crazy people would have you think. So, if in the future someone who is fan of my album, or my novel, or what-have-you, who finds me to a personal help to them or an inspiration, comes through my blog entries and sees me talking about God, I don’t want them to feel alienated. I don’t want them to think, “Oh, I thought this was a person who understood my feelings, I thought this was a person who had things to say about the world and about life, but really they’re just another Bible-thumping robot.” I want that person to know that I’m not, and that I would never ever expect anyone to believe or do anything just because I do it or because anyone else does it. I’ve come to the realization that the religion of Christianity, well, it doesn’t really exist. Because your own personal feelings and beliefs, those are the only things that are real. Religion is an evil thing that should be done away with. Churches are corrupt because they are led by human beings, and human beings, when exposed to any amount of power, are corrupted by it. No, believing in someone who hears you when you cry, that’s real. That’s true. Life is much more complex than pastors would have you believe. Right and wrong are not so simple to determine when a soldier is in on a battlefield in the midst of a war, ordered to take the lives of people he’s never known. Right and wrong for that soldier change, and he sees that the struggle isn’t between right and wrong, but between idealism and humanity.

On a little aside, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I love and appreciate soldiers, I think they are perhaps the most honorable people in the world, deserving of our respect and love. No, it’s war I have quams with, but soldiers I respect and cherish.

What I’m trying to say is that I could keep details of my relationship with God out of my blog, in the interest of not alienating anyone who may read it, but I want to be honest, and God is a part of my life, and sometimes I forget how important he is. And I think that a lot of people who claim to be Christians forget that a relationship with God is an actual relationship, and not a series of robotic formulas and prayers that get people into Heaven. I know from experience that praying from the mind and praying from the heart are two seperate things with two completely different outcomes. My advice to anyone who follows any god, pray with all your heart, believe with all your heart, love with all your heart, and never be afraid of yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, or your desires. Wrestle with them, listen to them, contest them, undersand them, appreciate them, accept those that are worthy of you and try as hard as you can to fight those that drag you down and away from the people who love you.

🙂

I have good news! I have finally enrolled in college! Well, sort of. My mom and I stopped by and asked about enrollment, the person in the office said my transcripts were still on file, so all I had to do was go and fill out some information on an electronic form, and she set me up to take my Math placement test soon, and after that will be orientation, where I’ll find out about everything else I need to know. So, the ball is rolling, and life is progressing, after two years of important break from school. In the past two years, I’ve come to understand love, and to understand what it’s like to be in a real relationship. I feel like I messed up a lot last year, and I didn’t treat my boyfriend the way I should have, and even more importantly I didn’t treat myself the way I should have. I’ve learned from my experiences, and I intend to do an infinitely better job this year and in all the years to come. I’m trying to get over many of the things about myself that weigh me down, and I must say, really understanding all of my blessings has given me such an amzing outlook on life. I’m so glad for realizations of how good my life is. I really understand how important it is to be appreciative and to have faith.

Well, it’s 1:00 AM, and I’d like to play some of my new game (Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, it is almost exactly Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, only it involves Star Wars characters, plotlines, themes, etc.) before going to bed at what I hope will be a decent hour.

Love yourself, it’s the best thing you can ever do.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — Confucious