Archive for atheist

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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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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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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Does God Love Everybody?

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2008 by carriedthecross

Perhaps the greatest appeal of the Christian faith, at least in our time, is the notion of unfettered love. The idea of a God who loves unconditionally, and seeks to empower mankind to do the same is desirable in a seemingly disinterested world. I will admit that still yet I find the idea of an omni-benevolent God to be psychologically alluring. But I am not certain that the Biblical God fits that criteria.Everyone who has ever attended a Sunday School class knows John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” 1 Timothy 2 states that God wills for “everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” That is a nice thought, but does God’s track record as recorded by his own followers in the Bible match up to that idea?
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Religious Unaffiliation on the Rise

Posted in Atheism, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2008 by carriedthecross

The New York Times front page has an article Americans Change Faith at Rising Rate, Report Finds. The article is based on a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It mostly centers around the idea that denomination loyalty is eroding and that many Americans have switched from the faith group in which they were raised.

What I find interesting–and encouraging–is the number of Americans who are unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular) is rising substantially.

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I cannot help but become excited by the idea that religiously unaffiliated Americans are the fourth largest religious group. I look forward to the day that American atheists and agnostics have the same amount of weight as American Christians or American Jews. It is saddening, and in fact infuriating, that to be a viable candidate for public office (especially for the presidency) an individual must bend over backwards to affirm their belief in some transcendent father figure who wants to impose his morality on America via the nations Commander-in-Chief. The idea that a presidential candidate must pass a religious litmus test is just pathetic.

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Atheism ≠ Misanthropy

Posted in Atheism with tags , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by carriedthecross

I discussed a while back several reasons why I was hesitant to abandon my Christian faith, but somehow I managed to leave out one of the key issues that hindered my eventual de-conversion.  Growing up I knew many non-religious people.  No one in my immediate family is a Christian and few of my friends were more than culturally Christian.  But although many of the people I was raised around where non-religious, I can’t think of a single adamant atheist—there is a very real distinction.  Naturally, since I entered college at a conservative evangelical university, I have known few atheists.

But there is a recurring theme in some of the few atheists I have known that is rather disheartening: a severe sense of misanthropy.  It seemed to me that there was some kind of natural progression from rejecting the existence of God to rejecting the value of humanity.  This is troubling at best, and frightening at worst.  My de-conversion from Christianity brought with it an entirely new and fresh perspective on the human race.  Thoughts of the original sin of the past were replaced by a focus on the progress of the future.  Distress at a seemingly inborn nature of aggressiveness and egoism are mediated by an appreciation for displays of restraint and altruism.

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Am I Ashamed of Atheism?

Posted in Atheism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2008 by carriedthecross

Over the weekend I had a most unusual encounter.  My grandparents were having their 60th Anniversary party in our hometown, so I made the journey home to make an appearance (I was informed in no uncertain terms this was not an optional event, mind you).  Clad in my ‘Sunday Best,’ I arrived and endured many grueling introductions as my grandmother showed me off to her friends.  It really was an awkward event.  I come from a rural family dominated by farmers.  Still, my grandmother is like a chapter out of a 1950s movie: prim, proper, mildly racist, and obsessed with perceptions.  So this party of two hundred or so people included a mix of country bumpkins and suburban snobs.

The exchanges between members of these diverse groups was not the source of my discomfort.  In fact, it was quite entertaining.  The incredibly awkward encounter came when I ran across a woman from my old church.  A German immigrant, she retired a few years ago as the general manager of the local bank.  During the course of our smalltalk she caught me off guard.  In her thick German accent she asked, “Still going to church?”

I didn’t skip a beat, “Yeah.” What!?  No, no, no.  I couldn’t believe the word came out of my mouth, but at the same time I had no inclination to take it back.  I found reprieve from further probing when I noticed my nephew in the corner of the room pestering his sister. “Excuse me,” I politely asked, pointing to the bullying going on. 
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