CTC is back! 1.5 years of faithlessness and still going strong.

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by carriedthecross

It was with much surprise that when I checked this blog for the first time in many months, I found that it still receives a lot of traffic.  Who would have guessed.  A while back I had taken a job which restricted my abilities to take part in any online communities.   Recently, I’ve decided to make a return, if for no other reason than to have a reason for the swarm of often incoherent thoughts that crowd my mind.

It’s been more than a year and a half since I made public my departure from the Christian faith.  The difference in not only my relationship to Christianity, but also my perception of Christianity, has changed so much that it is hard to describe.  The fact that I spent seven years as a Christian is almost surreal to me.  My interaction with religion is now more of a moviegoer with a passing interest than a participant with a vested interest.
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My God could beat up your God, Mr. Youth Pastor

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, Islam with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by carriedthecross

I’ve been pondering my conversion to Christianity recently. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so I wasn’t indoctrinated with Christian ideas at an early age. When I was very young, I actually thought ‘God’ was a four letter word. The only time I heard the word employed was when my father was cursing about something. It was the influence of the Christians that I knew that brought me into the fold, particularly some very dedicated youth workers. Specifically, the mother (Kathy) of one of my good friends (Joe) happened to be the youth leader at a local United Methodist Church. Kathy was probably the first example of what a Christian should be, to this day I have a great deal of respect for Kathy. She was kind, humble, committed. Though Kathy was not perfect, she was good to me during one of the darker times of my life.

It was really through the compassion and faith of this devoted youth worker that I began considering the claims of Christianity. Kathy was just so nice, and she believed so much, how could Christianity not be true? And so, over time, I came to believe more and more of the Christian message. Understand I was an adolescent and didn’t comprehend everything, nor did I embrace it all at once. But over time through my interactions with Kathy and other Christians, I decided that I too was a Christian.

Granted, my conversion was a bit more complex than that. It wasn’t just my interactions with Christians. But that was a key component. So then is religious conversion really justified by the committed relationship of another to their religion? I’ve been reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s autobiography Infidel about her journey through Islam. One of the parts I found fascinating was her interaction with a Muslim Girl’s School teacher named Sister Aziza. The influence of Sister Aziza upon Ayaan was very similar to the influence of Kathy upon me.

The first thing Sister Aziza asked was, “How many of you are Muslims?” The whole class put up their hands up, of course. We were clearly Muslims, had been since birth. But Sister Aziza shook her head sadly, and said, “I don’t think you are Muslims.”
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Sorry, Mr. Dawkins, atheism is not the answer.

Posted in Christianity, Ethics with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2008 by carriedthecross

One of the things that often frustrates me is that people, even incredibly intelligent people, often pose simple answers as solutions to very complex problems. Anyone who has read any bit about this blog knows that I am an unabashed agnostic-atheist. Over at d-C, Karen wrote an interesting article that I think adequately sums up where I stand as well. I recognize that I will never be in a position to be a prominent spokesman for atheism, nor would I really want to be. I am often frustrated, however, by those who are prominent spokespersons for atheism.

In 2007, Richard Dawkins gave a speech at TED in which he received a roar of laughter when he kiddingly announced he is suggesting “militant atheism.” Dawkins’ speech has a two-fold message: (1) Darwinism is corrosive to religion, (2) atheists should ‘come out’ and be confident about attacking religion as a whole. One of the fascinatingly naive underpinning philosophies of the major voices for atheism today (Dawkins, Hitchens, the fine folks at the “Rational Response Squad”) is that if humanity eliminates religion from the world, everything will simply ‘work itself out.’
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Can Christians Really Care About People?

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2008 by carriedthecross

There is a nagging question I struggled with during my last year at my Christian university. When I made public that I had turned away from the Christian faith, the responses were much more varied than I had anticipated. A few were blatantly negative: “I’m disappointed in you,” one girl told me. Most were simply curious. But the strangest thing happened, people who I had never spoken to before began suddenly popping up in my life. Most of these individuals are part of what I came to affectionately-not pejoratively-call the “God Squad.” It became obvious though that these people were concerned with one thing: getting me saved. Most of them were tactful enough to not go right for ‘the conversation,’ but it was fairly apparent that their only concern was that I was a lost soul who needed redeeming. And they were there to kill me with kindness for Jesus.

I didn’t mind, really. If a bit misled, and more than a bit patronizing, the gesture was at least well intentioned. In their defense, they had my eternal soul at heart. You have to appreciate the effort. But it does call into question the extent to which these people actually care about their non-Christian friends as people rather than projects. I am fairly certain that under normal circumstances I would never engage in any kind of friendship with the people I’m referring to, we simply don’t share much in common. Yet they were willing to transcend our differences with an alternative motive.
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Some Quick Reflections on My Life Among Evangelicals

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , , on May 20, 2008 by carriedthecross

I did it. I survived my experience at a right-wing, evangelical Christian university. As of this past Saturday, I am no longer an undergrad student. I find my mind full of swirling thoughts about the whole experience, and I’m not sure if I can coherently put those thoughts to words. Regardless, I shall try.

#1: I chuckle to myself when I ponder the irony involved in my heading off to a Christian school in order to better understand my faith only to reject faith altogether. I can’t help but speculate that had I attended a state school I would most likely still be a person of faith. Living among Christians really pushed me to challenge the claims made by people of faith in ways that I doubt I would have elsewhere. I am glad for the experience, really. Had I gone to school elsewhere or nowhere at all, I would likely have indulged in a complacent faith for much of my life. Attending that particular school sparked a desire to learn about the truth-claims of my faith that allowed me to see the internal inconsistencies of religious belief. Beyond that, it was really a formative experience. I was forced to learn how to maneuver through a sub-culture in which I was part of a staunch minority. The intellectual and emotional lessons I learned as a result will certainly help me later in life.
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I’m back

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2008 by carriedthecross

I’m not sure that anyone really reads this anymore, though the wordpress dashboard stats tell me otherwise. I’ve been on hiatus for quite a while now, but I haven’t forgotten about this, my humble little platform from which to spew my wisdoms and non-wisdoms about the world. The last semester I had an unusually strenuous course load in addition to three jobs, and so I found myself with less and less free time. Luckily, I graduated Saturday! In the coming days and weeks I hope to continue to spout my opinions and thoughts for any brave enough to attempt to reason through them.
What you can expect:

* some replies to my diametrically opposed friend Derek about Enlightenment thinkers, Alasdair MacIntyre, and ethics.

* thoughts on what it would take for me re-consider faith.

* some rambling about living in an evangelical Christian community, both while I identified with them and after my rejection of faith.

* my views on a variety of political issues. The only two things I’ve ever really loved are politics and religion–I’ve commented on one thus far, I’d like to take a stab at the other.

4,173 hours wasted.

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2008 by carriedthecross

I’ve never been good at arithmetic, but I enjoy numbers.  There is something about quantitative analysis that I find fascinating.  Statistics, charts, graphs, numbers… they’re great. So the other day I was sitting in class and the idea struck me, just how much time did I spend exclusively on Christianity? Naturally, it is next to impossible to come up with a solid number.  As a Christian, my faith was pervasive through most all aspects of my life.  I’ve avoided the temptation to ‘double dip’ (ex. Inner monologue-type prayer while at work or school is not included; conversations about God are not included, etc.).  I counted up the average number of hours I spent in church, bible studies, doing devotions, etc. during my high school and college years. Of course they are only averages, I did not go to church every Sunday nor did I spend the same amount praying each day, but I’ve come up with what I think is a good approximation:  4,173 hours over a period of seven years spent exclusively on religious activities. That’s roughly 14.7% of my time devoted exclusively to religious activity.
               

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