Monday, September 22, 2014

Top 5 Things People Think Atheists Do

Top 5 things people think atheists do

1. I worship the devil. (FALSE)
Not believing in gods or the supernatural does not equal devil worship.

2. I hate god.(FALSE)
Just like I hate fairies, Santa Claus, the chupacabra, werewolves, and vampires; I do not hate something that I don't believe exists.

3. I was hurt in the church, that's why I left.(TRUE FOR ME ONLY, BUT MORE THAN JUST THAT)
Only a sadist would stay in something that caused them pain. I used to shy away from admitting that past hurts played a role in where I am. I was indeed hurt over and over for many years due to my religious affiliation but that is NOT the experience of all non believers.

4. My life has no meaning.(FALSE)
My life has meaning because I give it meaning with every breath I take. When I die, those who come after me can determine how much meaning my life had in the aggregate.

5. I am angry and need to experience god's love.
I am not angry and how can I experience something that I do not believe exists. I experience love from other people and I give love to others.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stuff I did as a Christian

When I was a Christian, I did some and believed pretty outlandish things in the name of faith. I thought that by doing these things, I would be obedient to "the will and the word of god."

These scriptures played a major role in how I exercised my faith. (All scriptures from King James Version unless otherwise noted)

Luke 6:38
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice(emphasis added), and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

2 Chronicles 20:15,17, 20
15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.(emphasis added)
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you(emphasis added), O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.(emphasis added)

Mark 11:22-23

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart(emphasis added), but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.(emphasis added)

By using these scriptures as models, I would give money, time and resources to the church I belonged to at the expense of my finances and family. I did not want to be rebellious since this act was equated to witchcraft. I simply wanted to be in God's will and obey. If being in God's will meant giving up things and listening to his mouthpiece, then I was willing to do that.

I wanted to have the kind of power where what I spoke would come to pass. I thought by following this prescription, this would happen for me and my family.

One time in church after a sermon, my former pastor asked the congregation to reach into their wallets or purses and pull out money. He said that the people who had enough faith should take out their money, wave it in the air and walk around the church eight times. By doing this the walls that are blocking your finances would fall like the walls of Jericho. I only had 20.00 in my bank account and wrote out a check for that amount because I believed that God would do something miraculous.

My pastor would tell me that "sacrificial giving hurts because it's a sacrifice. By giving in this way, you honor God and he will not forget your obedience." My former pastor was correct because it hurt not only my bank account but it hurt my family because it made providing for them even more difficult.

I am happy that I "walk by sight and not by faith." I live a live based on reason and rationality, no longer depending on useless faith to guide me into rash decisions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Arguments that Christians use

Arguments that Christians often use to combat criticism against their faith:
(I know all of these very well because I used them in my former Christian life.)

1. It's a Christian Thing, You wouldn't understand.
Example:"The natural man cannot perceive the things of God because God is a spirit and those who worship Him must do it in spirit and truth."

2. The Bible wasn't written for unbelievers. 
Example: "The Bible was written by God through human hands for the saved. Without divine understanding the Bible would appear to contradict itself and not make sense."

3. You are being deceived by the enemy(Satan). 
Example: "Satan is confusing your mind so that you will never see the truth about God's love toward humanity."

4. You are taking the scripture out of context. 
Example: "This verse may say this, but it really means this. When you breakdown the Hebrew and the Greek, you can see the underline meaning."

5.  You don't want to acknowledge the truth. 
Example: "God is showing you mercy, but you are refusing to accept it."

6. You just want to live in sin. 
Example: "You don't want to submit to God because you don't want to give up your sinful lifestyle."

7. You need to let the love of God turn your stony heart to flesh.
Example: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That's you and me. God wants to save you and shower his love upon you."

8. In hell, you will lift your eyes.
Example: "You don't to take my word for it, when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, it will be too late."

9.  I know getting saved can work for you, since it worked for me.
Example: "Look at my life, see how blessed I am, it's the God in me that makes this possible. If you give your life to Christ, this can happen for you too!"

10. You need to be saved for real.
Example: "You think that God is playing with you, but you will find yourself dead, if you don't get serious about living for him. Don't find yourself being counted among the goats."

These approaches take the onus of criticism away from them by challenging you to look at your lifestyle and see how it squares with Christianity. When confronted with these approaches, simply say: "My lifestyle has nothing to do with my criticism of Christianity or the Bible."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Post Christianity Transformation Pt. 2 Mental

I would like to think of myself as a pretty positive person. I like to surround myself generally around positive people. Ergo, I tend to stay away from negative people. However, here's what interesting: I wasn't always this way. I was a melancholy, self-deprecating, person. I was always one of the most intelligent children in all of my schools but I didn't like the responsibility and attention that came with  that exposure.

Even as a child I had issues with my self image. Although I got messages from church, like "god don't make no junk", and positive messages from my family, my experiences exercised a greater influence on my self perception.

During my preteen years at a predominately Black middle school in Detroit, I got picked on every day because I was one of the smart kids in school. They used to call me "white boy" because they erroneously equated intelligence with skin color. The girls used to call me ugly because I was a little overweight and I wore thick glasses. It didn't help my case that the teacher would point me out and tell the students in my class that they should be more like me.

I internalized all of these negative messages and made them my reality. I was always sad and I kept to myself and I didn't have any friends. No one wanted to be friends with the smart kid, not even other smart kids. Folks kept their distance from me. I felt really alienated and alone.

During this time, I started to spend lots of time at my local library, reading all kinds of books. The books that really got my attention dealt with Greek mythology. I started learning about the Titans, sea monsters, Poseidon, Pandora, Prometheus, and of course, the Pantheon of other Greek gods. Reading this ancient literature took me to a time where gods intervened on behalf of heroes. Foolish humans suffered the wrath of the gods, by stepping out of their ordained place in the cosmos. I absorbed and memorized these stories with the accuracy of an ancient Greek bard reciting the tales over a campfire.

I also attended church regularly and I started to distinguish myself from the other youth in the church by studying and memorizing the scripture with the same degree of attention that I gave to the classic Greek stories. By studying the scripture more and being able to explain it with precision allowed me opportunities to teach others.

This new attention in church made me feel good about god however I still did not feel good about myself. I devoted more time to studying the Word, yet I still felt alone because none of my peers in church cared about the Bible and god like I did.

By the time I got to high school, I still felt really alone and the self loathing became part of my personality. However a light shone on the horizon that gave me a glimmer of hope. That blinding light called puberty, changed my physical appearance, but it did nothing for my mindset. I got a little taller, thinned out, and changed the way I dressed. Before high school, I cared nothing about fashion, all of a sudden, I inundated my parents with requests for name-brand clothing.

By having this self loathing mentality, I could never see how people treated me. I kept believing that everyone in the world would treat me like those kids did in middle school. I lacked confidence in myself in every area except when it came to christianity. That was one area where no one could touch me. However a new struggle would await me.

Before puberty, I really didn't care much about girls or sex. I enjoyed reading, playing outside, and church. Now I had to deal with mixed messages: Messages from my body and messages from the Bible.

I started to become really attracted to girls, but my low self image and lack of confidence kept me from talking to them. This self deprecating became part of my personality. Even when I did successfully approach girl and get them interested, my negative mindset caused me to self sabotage any potential relationship. I justified the self sabotage, by saying that "I have to remain pure for jesus and save myself for marriage."

However I ended up having sex as a teen. Even with my negative self image, I was confident enough to meet someone who liked me and I liked her. After we had sex, I felt great, but super guilty.

I started to think of my natural sex drive as a curse from the devil. I started to pray that god would take it away from me, so I could be a vessel. I continued to excel with the bible teaching and started to feel like I had a special calling on my life. Yet, I totally disliked the fact that I was a sexual creature.

This low image of myself affected me for 21 years or a large portion of my life. This negative outlook  played a role in my career choices, my relationships with people, and unfortunately my former marriage. I was sad most of the time, yet people would come to me for words of encouragement.

I was known in the body of christ as one who always had a "word". I would help and encourage people; their lives would make significant strides but my life would get continually worse. Physician, heal thyself! I would pray to god to take away these negative feelings, yet he never answered those prayers and I was left feeling more sad, more empty.

It wasn't until I started to question my faith that I started to see the dawn of a new day in my life. I am grateful for the professional counseling I received during my divorce that helped me see who I really was. I am also grateful for the countless hours in self-reflection that enabled me to reboot my life.

When I let go of god, I started to feel better and I started to see my sexuality as a natural part of who I am.

As I write these essays, they tell a particular part of what happened as I evolved past christianity and god concepts.  There were so many processes that were occurring, I may never pinpoint everything that took place. What I do know is that I am a positive person today who lives to make the world a better place for those who will come after me.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Things you can do with your money instead of tithing

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
-Malachi 3:8-9

I used to hear this scripture every Sunday before the congregation would erupt into cheering that god allowed them to keep 90% of the money they earned.

Although I don't understand why god needs money if:
The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
-Psalm 24:1

Maybe he has to pay the light bill...nevertheless I have another list.

Things you can do with your money instead of tithing:

1. Get that gym membership you've been wanting
2. Hire a personal trainer
3. Keep it in your pocket
4. Spa day
5. Have an extra beauty shop appointment
6. Purchase tickets to an event you've been wanting to go to
7. Invest in the stock market
8. Go shopping
9. Put it in a high interest bearing savings account
10. Retirement fund
11. Kids college fund
12. Pay off debt
13. Take a vacation

Bonus example: If a person earns $4000 a month, their monthly tithe would equal $400. The extra $400 dollars a month would equal $4800 by the end of the year. Imagine what you could do with an 4800 extra dollars a year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Post Christianity Transformation Pt.1 Physical

Upon evolving beyond Christianity, god concepts, eventually into atheism, I also underwent a physical transformation. I was 35, overweight, and not motivated to workout. As I started to challenge all the various sacred ideas in my mind, I also decided to commit to working out regularly.

Some people speak of glory days, when they were in the peak shape of their lives, wishing they could go back. I had no such glory days to reminisce about. I wanted to totally transform my life, and no longer be conformed to the world of christianity and mediocrity. I knew I belonged in the world of excellence. Since I believe I have a excellent mind, I should also have an excellent body to match.

It's amazing how the looming eventuality of permanent expiration pushed me to challenge myself in every way. There were a lot of things I wanted to do, but my time here is running out.

The first I did was change my diet. Evolving past Christianity changed the way I related to everything. I discovered that I was really bothered by the way food is processed in the United States. I started to feel really bad about the treatment of animals that would eventually make it to my dinner table. I obtained a moral conscience with regards to domestic animals. These animals were born to die and the quality of life they had wasn't the best. This lead me to look into becoming a vegan.

I maintained the vegan lifestyle for six months, sometimes "backsliding"by eating cheese or butter. At this point I was regularly hitting the gym, but I had to eat so much food to sustain me. There is only so much veggies, grains, and protein powers a person can consume. I was getting in shape, working out(strength training and cardio), but I could not get my weight to come down. I was getting healthier, but I wanted to look healthier.

So after six months, I reintroduced meat to my diet, however, I opted for locally sourced grain fed beef and free range chickens, whenever possible. At minimum, I started fazing processed foods out of my diet. I also began to intensify my workout. This combination, along with getting enough sleep, helped me to get my weight down to my high school size, except this time, I was in great physical shape.

Back in May, I took a stab at running outside. I would use the arc trainer at the gym or reluctantly use the treadmill when the arc trainer was occupied.  My indoor cardio workout got stale and that's what lead me to running.

I run about 12 miles a week and I love it. I continue to do strength training and I have gotten considerably stronger.

As my body began to change, I also started to change how I dress because I don't have to hide my body behind baggy and oversized clothing. I began to purchase clothing that flatters my body type. I also began to experiment with different colognes and discovered what fragrances suit my body chemistry I used to dress somewhat frumpy, but now I am known as the man who just stepped out of a GQ magazine.

The moral of this essay is I evolved past god and started to truly live. I have found that there is truly life before death.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Things that have a better track record than the gods

People assume that I live my life completely devoid of faith due to my atheist identification. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I stated in another post found here:
I believe in many things. I only lack faith in the supernatural including gods.
Here are things to put your faith in that have a better track record than the gods:

1. that your job will pay you on pay day
2. that your car will start in the morning(if you own a car)
3. that things in your home will be where you left them
4. that the sun will come up in the morning
5. that people are born and die every day
6. that chain restaurant food will taste the same wherever you go
7. that the NFL will play games Sunday
8. that politicians will approve their messages during the campaign season
9. that someone is having sex right now
10. have faith in yourself

The beautiful thing about being an atheist is that I only speak for myself. If another atheist behaves badly, I don't have to speak about it or explain anything.

For example: We are all Americans(or insert your nation here); If a person commits a crime in Omaha, NE(Nebraska), I have no responsibility in explaining or addressing it.
The only thing I and the person who committed the crime have in common is that we are both Americans. Atheists cannot be lumped together because the only thing we share is a lack of belief in gods.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Christian by Chance

As many before have stated, a person's religious beliefs are partly based on location. In other words, where a person lives plays a significant role in what they believe.  For example, if a person grows up in Saudi Arabia, chances are they will practice Islam. If another person grows up in Tibet, chances are they will practice Buddhism.

These two general examples deal with people living in relatively homogenous cultures. Even if you consider a heterogenous country like the United States, the dominant religious culture affects all area of life in this country. People from different backgrounds have to assimilate into the cultural norms of America.

My life began in Detroit, MI, a very religious area with churches all over the city. My parents were Christian and thus "trained me up in the way that I should go." That means my goal was to accept
christ as my personal savior, join the christian band and fight on the battlefield for my lord.

Christianity is a belief system that prides itself on giving people a choice. "Choose ye this day, whom you will serve." When I begin to think about choice, what choice did my ancestors have with regards to Christianity?

I am descended from people who were brought to the future United States against their will. My ancestors probably worshiped the West African gods of the Yoruba. I will never know for sure because that history no longer exists due to the brutality of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and the total disregard of the humanity of my African forebears. These people, stripped of their language, culture, and identity, no longer had a place to call home.

Growing up I really didn't have a choice with regards to Christianity. As a man, I now have the choice to walk away from a belief that no longer fits my outlook on life.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Phoenix Saga

September 1st 2009:

I recently returned to MI after living a year in the South. I just got a gig teaching social studies, returning me to the classroom after a long hiatus. I was still dealing with the pain of my marriage ending in divorce a year earlier.  I believed that my life, quite ragged and messy, needed to undergo a radical change. I looked in the mirror and did not like the reflection. I knew what had to be done.

I put my entire life under the proverbial microscope and realized that I carried around lots of things, ideas, that did not belong to me. I had various levels of programming that I finally began to see within myself. I did not want to keep that programming intact, ergo I decided to destroy myself and start over again. In other words, I started the process of recreating myself.

Like the story of the phoenix bird that crashed into its nest, completely engulfed in flames, only to be reborn anew, that became my ultimate goal: A total rebirth.

In order to do this I had to bring all of my beliefs into question. I began to reanalyze the hidden motivation behind ideas and thoughts that I held dear. I questioned my ideas about politics, religion, family, career, relationships, finances, fitness, and many other things.

This process, albeit quite difficult and draining, allowed me to see the truth about myself. I severely underachieved in my life because I wanted to conform to what others perceived about me. I was a yes man, doing things to make others happy, but sacrificing my internal voice in the process. The "me" that I dreamed about possessed great strength of character, integrity, and charisma. At times, I would show flashes of that in my life, but I would not have the psychological strength to maintain it. I would go back to my status quo.

In order to live as the man who had great strength of character, integrity, and charisma, I had to clean out my psyche of old ideas and motivations. By doing this, I made room for new goals and dreams to pursue.

A few major things happened, my political philosophies changed because I found ideas that truly fit me. Also my ideas about family, career, relationships, finances and fitness changed. The biggest change came with regards to my faith.

As I have stated before, my whole identity was tied into my Christian faith. People knew me as the scholarly and passionate believer in Jesus. I recognized that I did not get much return on investment for all those years I gave to Christianity. As a result of this process, I abandoned my Christian identity, leaving it on the bookshelf of my past. I discovered that the path of non belief worked better for me.

Five years and a whole lot of growth later, I find myself finally speaking out for reason and skepticism. I also find myself using the time I have on earth to make a positive difference in society.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Christian fallacies: Pt.1 Original Sin

All humans born into the world have a fleshly, lower, demonic, sin nature. Only through the accepting Jesus into one's heart as Lord and savior does a person have the ability to overcome this tragic nature.
The sin of the first man Adam brought this curse upon humanity, due to disobeying the command of God.  At least that's how Christians see it.

Islam and Judaism have different takes on this story. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on the Christian interpretation.

Before I can get to this original sin chicanery, I need to explain Christian Cosmology:

Here are some verses you can look up and read to help frame the story below
All verses from King James Version:
Genesis 1:1-4, 16
Isaiah 14:12-15
Ezekiel 28:12-16
Revelation 12:3-4a, 7-9

1. There was God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the triple god existing beyond space and time. God always was: The almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being
2. At some point, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created space and time.
3. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created the angels and heavenly hosts. Out of all of these countless beings he created, he gave names to only three, Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer(another triplicate).
4. Unlike the other infinite nameless angels created, these three have their own identity, role, and personality.(Michael-warrior, Gabriel-messenger, Lucifer-musician)
5. At some point Lucifer got jealous of the angels and heavenly hosts praising God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Lucifer though he should be getting praise, too!
6. So Lucifer got 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to side wide him, and overthrow God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
7. There was a war in heaven, Lucifer and the 1/3 of angels that sided with him lost. They were cast down to the earth, or was it that they were put into Hell. I suppose at some point, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit made Hell.
8. After this, Genesis begins: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...

Note: If you read the first chapter of Genesis, it says nothing about the creation of angels or heavenly hosts. Neither does any of the bible discuss when angels and heavenly hosts got created. Nor does it say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were present. The Spirit of the Lord is equated to be the Holy Spirit in later Christian theology and Jesus is nowhere to be found.
Now the original sin beginnings:

9. Eventually God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created man and woman.
10. He placed them in a garden and told Adam that they could eat anything in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
11. Adam vanishes and a talking serpent(retrofitted to be Lucifer, now called Satan) convinced the woman(Eve, she didn't have a name yet) to eat a piece of fruit off of the tree of knowledge of god and evil.
12. She ate a piece and gave some to Adam. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit got upset. They cursed Adam, the woman, the serpent, and kicked them out of the garden.
13. After cursing everyone in the garden, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit put two angels with flaming swords at the entrance of the garden to make sure that Adam and the woman could not go back in and eat of the tree of life and live forever.

Here are a few more key verses to help frame the story above:

Genesis 1:11-12, 26-29
Genesis 2:9,15-18, 21-24
Genesis 3:1-6,12-16, 22-24

Note: Genesis 1:29

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.(emphasis added)
If God gave Adam every tree to eat from in this verse above, why did he lie about it in the following chapter?

Note: Genesis 2:16-17
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:(emphasis added)
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.(emphasis added)
So where did good and evil originate? They originated together on a tree in a garden that God created. 
Bonus: Isaiah 45:7
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.(emphasis added)

Note: Genesis 3:1-5
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
God created the serpent, thought to be Satan in disguise. He left Adam in a bind with a contradictory command that would lead to punishment for his creation. Plus, the serpent could talk! How about that!

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (emphasis added)
If God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the triplicate god, where did these other gods that the serpent apparently knew about come from?  In many cultures around the world, the serpent represents divine knowledge and a serpent eating its tail, the ouroboros, represents infinite knowledge.

Note Genesis 3:22
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Again, where did evil come from, please see Isaiah 45:7 above.
I guess God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit needed to eat from the tree of life to maintain their immortality. Wow !

This is just a story, but this false and dangerous concept has damaged countless numbers of people throughout history. People are not born evil or in sin, folk are just born. It is up to a person to make good on the life that they were given. My responsibility is to combat these wicked theological concepts and help people think for themselves. If I could get out of the fundamentalist christian matrix, anyone can, if they want to.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can a person be good without god?

Can a person be good/righteous/altruistic/caring/kind without god? I answer with an emphatic"Yes!"

Theists, especially Christians espouse that people need god in order to be good/righteous/altruistic/caring/kind because humanity exists in a fallen state and only god can lift humanity out of its low place. They take goodness out of the natural world and place it in the spiritual world, thereby making goodness something that only god can measure. They believe that the human heart, full of wickedness and deceit, corrupts any innate goodness a person may have. Only through Jesus can a person overcome this wretched state of being.

This idea of the darkness of the human heart ties into the philosophy of original sin, first made popular by the 5th Century Christian theologian, Augustine. I will cover original sin in another post.

Even when Christians secede that one can be good without god, they retreat to this defense: "But good people, who are unsaved go to Hell everyday. It's not enough to be good, you need Jesus!" If a person needs Jesus to be kind, loving, and good, then their goodness should be questioned.

Christians also hide behind this defense: What is a person's motivation for doing good? If they are doing good for any other reason than glorifying god, their good deed is empty, vain. They also say it this way, Only what you do for Christ will last, everything else you do will fade away. As if the actions of a Christian will last eternally, what arrogance! Once again, Christians purport to know the motivation behind someones actions.

For those who don't know, altruism exists within the animal and humanity evolved to practice being good to each other. Of course, the sphere of who people exhibit goodness to expanded over the millennium. Originally it probably started with family, then tribal, then national, now internationally. Naturally, many other variables exist when it comes to how a person determine when to use their goodness.

However the question focuses on if goodness is possible without a need for a god to facilitate this process. Again I say,"Yes!"

Here are 10 ways a person can be good without god:

1. Volunteering for a cause that one is passionate about
2. Mentoring
3. Living with integrity
4. Speaking out against injustice
5. Not being wasteful with money, objects, actions, or time
6. Doing the best at whatever opportunities present themselves
7. Being true to the values that one holds
8. Practicing kindness every day
9. Looking at situations from another perspective in order to foster open dialogue
10. Live and love with passion and purpose

I live to be a benefit to others and I work each day to make the part of the world I live in a better place. If I can help one person through my life or my writing to be a better individual, then my living is not in vain.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pt.5 Walking away From My Community

I left behind a culture, an identity, a community, and a way of life when I walked away from Christianity.  I thought I was part of a progressive movement designed to help people grow and mature through the power of the good news of Jesus. I spent all of my life defending an institution and religion full of cliques, cliches, and contradictions.

I thought that our version of Christianity would be the one to win the world for Jesus because we were not steeped in any traditions. We were the Joshua generation who had the real and authentic. No longer did people have to settle for the counterfeit demonic secular culture of the world(diabolic mimicry 2.0)We had non-tradtional pastors, celebrities who were not ashamed to speak for the Lord,modern versions of scripture, we had holy hip-hoppers(that's who I was), we were tech savvy, and took the gospel outside of the four walls of the church. We were radicals for Christ.

I became all things to all people that I might save some. For those that used profanity, I would use profanity to reach them. I wanted them to see that the religion of the cross had modern day swag. People would say, "I hate church, and I would say, so do I." I would tell people that we have had enough church and religion, now it's time for Christ and relationship. I would tell them that God doesn't care about you going to church; the church is only a building. Jesus spent his time in the community, not in church. God cares about you getting into real fellowship with him. I truly wanted people to be free and I thought that this freedom only came though Christ Jesus.

Unfortunately, 21st Century Christianity uses the language of freedom without truly allow folks to exercise and practice it. It is still the same repressive religion that it has always been. It has new gloss on it, but the traditional ideas about family, sex, marriage, and lifestyle are the same. This religion also twists the meaning of freedom by telling individuals that being a slave to Christ gives one freedom.

The church that I went to had a saying: "Come as you are to the Lord, but don't stay as you are." The leadership wanted to see people conform to the fundamentalist dogma that the church taught. When folks begin to act free, the powers that be use shame to browbeat the people back into submission. 

Life is indeed more difficult without the support of the church community I came from.  However, to live freely means, to be accountable to yourself for making the most out of your life. No longer do I have to depend on the machinations of a benign or malevolent deity playing chess with my life.

Bonus: Why is it when a person leaves the church, the person is at fault? When will the church assume accountability for leading folks astray and destroying lives?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pt.4 Theodicy, or the Problem of Evil

Theodicy, or the problem of evil seeks to explain why a perfect, loving and just God would allow various tragedies to occur on the face of the earth. I will be using the word tragedy as opposed to evil in some places to discuss this idea. Christianity uses three primary ways to handle these challenges:

1. Divine punishment
2. Divine mystery
3. Demonic activity

1. Divine Punishment is exactly how it sounds: God is punishing a person, place, or thing because of human actions and or disobedience. This what some Christian leaders used to explain the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina back in 2004.

2. Divine Mystery works kind of like this, we don't know why god allowed this tragedy to occur, but we know that all things work together for the good of them who love god, to them who are the called according to his purpose(Romans 8:28). Christian leaders told this to give me comfort when I was dealing with the deaths of my infant sons.

3. Demonic Activity is also exactly like it sounds: Satan and his army of demons have free course to cause tragedy until the end of days. Christian leaders use this approach to explain senseless crimes and loss of life, due to criminal activity.

As I thought more and more about this problem, I began to rethink what I thought about good and evil. I started to see good and evil as relative concepts based on perspective. So I began to look at this idea from the vantage point of animals.

For example: From the perspective of the lion, it's good and necessary to hunt and eat the gazelle. From the perspective of the gazelle, the lion is an evil creature trying to kill and eat me. From a Christian standpoint, folks don't go around talking about how the gazelles being caught was divine punishment from god, due to their disobedience. Neither do they say that demonic activity caused the lions to hunt those speedy African animals. Nor do they say that when a gazelle escapes that god moves in mysterious ways by allowing this one gazelle to survive the massacre of their herd.

When viewing this from the point of the animal kingdom, I began to understand the randomness of nature, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Surviving in this world requires good judgment and lots of luck. I thought about how many ants I stepped on in the course of walking outside in the summer. Due to my feet, countless ants perished, but countless others survived by happenstance. God didn't spare the lives of those ants, or the life of a squirrel that got run over by a car. To the ants and the squirrels that survived, surely those events would be looked at as evil. There was no divine plan for the ants or the squirrels, so why would there be a divine plan for people, since we are also part of the animal kingdom?

The worst part about how Christians deal with tragedy comes when an accident kills nearly every one, but one person survives. They begin to praise god for the one survivor, but what about the fact that he allowed every one else to perish. He could have saved them all, or better yet prevented the accident from happening in the first place.

When I bring up this point, Christians usually run back to the divine mystery defense to explain the tragedy.

The tragedy behind Hurricane Katrina happened because the levees were not maintained and a once in a lifetime storm hit the Gulf Coast during hurricane season.

The tragedy behind my sons deaths occurred because they were premature and their bodies were just not strong enough to survive.

The tragedy behind accidents happen because someone was negligent.

I can no longer accept the idea that god allows tragedies because he has some sort of invisible divine plan. Tragedies happen for various reasons, but god has nothing to do with any of them. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pt.3 Karma and god concepts

As I began to distance myself from Christianity, I continued to study ideas and concepts from the major world religions. I didn't desire to replace one religion with another, but I was interested in different concepts of the divine that other cultures possessed. I will be giving very basic concepts about different faiths, please forgive me in advance for any errors, as my specialty is protestant Christianity.

In general, I noticed that Hinduism and Buddhism search internally for god, the ultimate reality. The Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam search externally for god, the ultimate reality. However certain sects of the Abrahamic faiths, Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and Sufi search for god  internally as well.

These faiths all agree that sin comes from inside of a person. They agree that sin can take you off of the path of god. They also agree that desire is the root of sin. On the other hand, they have wildly different remedies for sin, and what sin will ultimately cost. For Hinduism and Buddhism, sin ties into the ideas of karma and reincarnation. For Islam and Christianity, sin will send a person to a fiery hellish damnation for eternity. However for Judaism, sin will simply cause you to die.

The connected ideas of karma and reincarnation piqued my interest and made more sense to me than the idea of a devil, hell, and original sin.

Karma, the concept that positive and negative actions have consequences with regards to how close you are to reaching enlightenment, made me feel more accountable for my deeds. Accumulating good karma gets a person closer to enlightenment, eliminating the need for further reincarnation. A person will continue to reincarnate until they reach enlightenment. They can reach enlightenment by destroying all desire. I pondered the idea of an ultimate reality, but I like having desire.

As I read and thought more about karma, I realized that the idea of karma was a way for the ancients to make people behave properly because it spoke of existential consequences for temporal actions. In other words, what you do now will affect your internal spirit. Karma, which initially seemed quite different, upon further review sounded very familiar to ideas that I already knew. The consequences, although not the same, dealt with how your actions today can affect your eternity.

Karma, and other concepts like it speak to notions of justice and how "good" things happen to "bad" people, and how "bad" things happen to "good" people. Humanity has a hard time accepting inequity and inequality, ergo they created "spiritual" ways to deal with the harsh reality of living. Ultimately these thought lead to theodicy, or the problem of evil in the world.

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus deals with the difficultly of evil with this saying:
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
Note: When Epicurus spoke about God, he was referring to Zeus, the God of Greeks in the ancient Greek religion.

This quote, along with a better understanding of nature, took me further away from the beliefs of my youth into previously forbidden, new exciting intellectual territory.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pt. 2 The Exodus of My Deconversion

As I began to question my faith in Christ, I started to learn more about the world's major religions without any Christian bias clouding what I discovered.

Here are some of the highlights of what I discovered:

1. I learned that the oldest religion in the world is Hinduism.
2. I learned that the religions in the Mesopotamia region and Persia gave us a blueprint for many of the stories that would end up in the Bible.(flood story, Adam and Eve story, Garden of Eden)
3. I learned that the God of the Old Testament was a composite of many of the ancient Canaanite gods(mainly El Shaddai, El Elyon, Adonai, and Yahweh)
4. The OT did not have a concept of hell as eternal damnation or heaven as eternal bliss
5. The Adam and Eve story had a talking snake, but not a Satan
6. Hinduism has many gods which are all a manifestation of Brahma, the ultimate reality
7. Buddhism had its roots in Hinduism, like Christianity did in Judaism
8. Buddhist ideas spread from India into the Hellenic world through interaction with the troops from Alexander the Great
9. Platonic as well as other Greek philosophical ideas influenced Jewish thinkers during this period
10.The oldest vegetation-rising and dying savior god is Asaru(Osiris). His story influenced other stories about vegetation gods and goddesses throughout the Near East, including Jesus
11. The oldest religious cults were based on the divine feminine principle
12. There are only seven Pauline letters that are accepted as genuine, The other letters are thought to be forgeries
13. Generally eastern religions seek god internally and western religions seek god externally
14. There have been people throughout history who have been skeptical of gods and religion
15. I learned that Jesus is a mythical figure based off of various Greek, Egyptian, and Near East gods and goddess

After taking all of this and even more information in, I knew that at best Christianity was a remix of other religions.  I also learned that various concepts about god would change to meet the latest scientific discoveries of the day.  This lasted until scientists and philosophers had the courage to suggest that god wasn't needed to explain natural phenomenon.

I knew that my freedom and deliverance from Christianity came as a result of me actually thinking, challenging my beliefs and not just blindly following what I had been taught. The deprogramming, dismantling and destruction of my old belief system was in full swing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Genesis of My Deconversion Pt.1

My journey away from Christianity toward free thought came in phases as theological concepts that I once held as true began to collapse.

It started off simply with questioning the principle of tithing. I remember the scripture in the book of Malachi in the 3rd chapter..."Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings." I took that concept without any questions. I was taught that tithing in the modern era deals with giving 10% of your income. I was never sure if it was gross or net income. As I began going through my process, I decided to investigate tithing for my self. I discovered that the word tithes only appears 21 times in the Bible and in no case does it has to do with money. Tithing deals with produce and farm animals.  I felt a great sense of anger, guilt and dread because I was mislead and mislead others. I began to wonder if there were other errors or misinterpretations that I never questioned.

As I continued this journey,I saw a documentary on the History Channel about the Banned Books of the Bible. I wondered why I had never heard of these books before in church. These banned books had different ideas about the nature of God and the divinity of Jesus. This piqued my curiosity to investigate these texts for myself.

Most of these books were written before the Bible had it's final canonization. There were different gospels like the gospel of Judas, Peter, Philip, and Thomas. This revelation got me to wondering about an odd passage in the book of Jude:

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

I never remembered Enoch saying this in the book of Genesis. Where did this scripture quote come from? It came from the book of Enoch, a book that did not make into the final 66 books of the Bible.

I started to investigate further and discovered that the canonical gospels were not the oldest books in the New Testament, the writings of Paul were. Paul's first letter to the church at Thessalonica is the oldest book in the New Testament, written about 30-50 years after supposed crucifixion of Jesus(about 60-80 CE). The dates for the gospels come much later even well into the second century
(80-150 CE). Even the most conservative date estimates put the gospels at least 30 years after the supposed events occurred. The other books in the New Testament fall within the years of 80 CE-150 CE.

How can accuracy be maintained when most of the Roman world was illiterate? This began to bother me. Stories I heard before about God protecting the sanctity of his book throughout history began to ring hallow. I could no longer believe that.

In addition, I started reading books that discussed errors and contradictions in the Bible. I learned that entire passages like Mark 16:9-20 were not included in the oldest manuscripts. Plus there were no original manuscripts of the gospels written in the language that was spoken:Aramaic. There were only copies of copies of copies. The oldest of these copies only dates back to the second century; 100 years after the supposed death of Jesus.

During that same time period, all those countless gospels existed side by side with the ones that would make the final cut. This period of having multiple gospels would go on for another 200 years!

Then I found out that church leaders convened a meeting(4th Century Council of Nicea, in present day Turkey) to decide, among other things, which books would serve as the basis for a codified volume of scripture that would unify the various factions of the churches. So once again, I am supposed to believe that God gave wisdom to the church leaders to pick the books that were divinely inspired. I don't have enough faith for that.

The Gospel of Mark, reported to be the earliest written, did not have a virgin birth narrative. Neither did the Gospel of John the last gospel written among the canonical gospels. Also, Matthew and Luke, which both contained very different virgin birth narratives, borrowed heavily from Mark's Gospel. In addition, the supposed authors of these gospels would have already been dead when these gospels surfaced and they were written in Greek.

I started to ask many questions:How did Matthew know the intimate details of the messiah's birth? Who told him, if only Mary and Joseph were present? Why don't the details of the birth of Jesus match? And why are there four different resurrection account?

For the first time I started reading the Bible through the lens of reason versus the lens of faith. What I saw was a book that were full of stories and accounts that did not always make sense. I learned that the Bible was compiled over many centuries by many different authors, writing to diverse audiences, with various agendas in mind. It was not a cohesive book that came from heaven completed from Genesis to Revelation by the hand of God. It was a very flawed human book, full of errors, fables, and contradictions.

I used to be an avid apologist, defending the word of God and the faith. I knew that I could no longer defend either. My eyes became opened.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Atheism 101 Pt.3 What I Believe

When I started to embrace the word atheist, I began to notice how describing myself with that controversial label stopped dialogue with others. People easily became silent. I thought that folks would engage me in conversation, but they did not. I guess they thought the worst of me and my stance. Who knows?

What I gleaned from those awkward exchanges taught me how important a god concept remains to a large number of people in society. I used those situations to think about what I actually do believe in. My lack of belief in god does not make me an empty person, contrary to popular ideas. I believe in lots of things, just not god or the supernatural.

Here is a list of things I believe in:

1. I believe in the potential of all human beings.
2. I believe in freedom.
3. I believe in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet for good health.
4. I believe in now and living in the moment.
5. I believe in democracy.
6. Even after all of the atrocities committed by this country against its citizens and others, I still believe in the ideals of the United States of America.
7. I believe in my family.
8. I believe in having healthy relationships: familial, platonic, romantic.
9. I believe in mutual monogamy.
10. I believe in the Detroit Lions. It may take more faith to believe in them than in jesus.
11. I believe in the resurgence of my hometown, Detroit.
12. I believe that education can open doors for people.
13. I believe that power, authority, wealth, and influence should be used to help improve the lives of others.
14. I believe the arts can touch the psyche of people in a way that allows us to experience the sublime.
15. I believe that my life will have meaning.
16. I believe that when I die, I will simply cease to exist.

These three ideas describe me:
Atheist describes my lack of belief in the supernatural.

Agnostic describes my lack of knowledge in objectively measuring the supernatural.

Humanist describes my faith in humanity solving its problems without the need for perceived supernatural intervention. If we wait on god to fix the problems in the world, they will never get fixed. It is up to us to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Atheism 101 Pt.2 What is Atheism?

Here are my simple definitions for atheism and agnosticism:

Atheism is a lack of belief in all things supernatural including gods and goddesses.
This definition answers the questions of belief and faith not of knowledge.
Example: Do you believe in god or a higher power?

Agnosticism is a lack of knowledge on whether the supernatural, including gods and goddesses, can be objectively known.
This definition answers the question of if god or other supernatural beings can actually be objectively known.
Example: Do you know if there is a god?

Faith communities who believe that their religion holds the absolute truth are atheistic toward other faith communities. They lack belief in a competing communities religious ideas.

Example: Christians lack belief in the teachings of Islam because their doctrine denies the divinity of Jesus. Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus.

Example two: Muslims lack belief in the teaching of Christianity because their doctrine teaches God as a triune being. Muslims believe in the singleness of God.

However, Christianity and Islam both lack belief in the many gods and goddess of the Hindu religion, personified as Brahma.

Ergo, when folks ask the question, "Do you believe in god? My answer is, I don't know what god you are talking about. People have believed in countless numbers of gods since time immemorial. Which one created the universe?

I believe in now and making the most out of this opportunity in front of me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Atheism 101 Pt.1 Definitions

I would like to inform you of what atheism is and what it is not along with other useful definitions. Please pay attention the bolded words.

Let's start with some basic definitions:(All definitions from the New American Oxford Dictionary unless otherwise noted)

Belief: an acceptance(emphasis added) that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion(emphasis added) or conviction

Faith: complete trust(emphasis added) or confidence in someone or something; strong belief(emphasis addedin God or in the doctrines of a religion(emphasis added), based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof

Trust: firm belief(emphasis added) in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something; acceptance(emphasis added) of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation(emphasis added)

Religion: belief in and worship(emphasis added) of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion

Theism: belief(emphasis added) in the existence of a God or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it(emphasis added) and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures

Monotheism: the doctrine or belief(emphasis added) that there is only one God

Polytheism: the belief(emphasis addedin or worship of more than one god

Deism: belief(emphasis added) in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene(emphasis addedin the universe

Pantheism: a doctrine that identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God

Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable(emphasis added), or that human knowledge is limited to experience(

Skeptic: a person who questions(emphasis added) the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual(

Unbelief: the state or quality of not believing(emphasis added); incredulity or skepticism, especially in matters of doctrine or religious faith(

Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief(emphasis added) in the existence of God or gods

Humanism: an outlook or system of thought(emphasis added) attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters

Theists make a claim of ultimate supernatural authority based on belief without evidence or investigation, atheists deny the claim of supernatural authority based on belief. Atheists require investigation and evidence of supernatural claims because belief is not enough.

Thanks for bearing with me through all of these definitions! I will refer to them in future Atheism 101 posts. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Problems with prayer

I used to pray "without ceasing" hoping and a-wishing for god to show up in my situation. Most of those prayers ended up unanswered. After my deconversion, I started to think about what drives people to pray. A classic christian definition for prayer states: Prayer is communion and communication with god. People speak, then god speaks. When ministers teach about prayer, they often tell the congregants that prayers are not valid unless you say "in Jesus name" before you end.

A 2006 study in the American Heart Journal determined that there was no difference in outcomes for people who were prayed for and those who weren't. My goal today focuses on what folks really hope to accomplish with prayer.

Let's start with a simple prayer and dissect it. "Lord, thank you for the food I am about to receive. Bless the hands that prepared it and let it be nourishment for my body in Jesus name, amen."

The first part of the prayer: Lord, thank you for the food I am about to receive, translates to
"Without you God, I would not be able to eat this food." This first line totally discounts the role of the grocery store, restaurant, or the one who prepared the food. Unless the food dropped out of the sky like manna from heaven, then why not at least thank god for the restaurant, supermarket, or the person who prepared the food.

The next part get really interesting: Bless the hands that prepared it, translates to, "God please make sure that the person handling my food before I got it did not have a communicable disease. If they did, please take it away. Also God please keep me safe, since I am paranoid that the devil will infect the food supply."

Here's the final part: "And let it be nourishment and strength for my body in Jesus name, amen." This translates into, "God, I can fill my body with fast food, carbonated high calorie drinks, and a dessert. I know that you will mystically bless that mess that I just put in my body. You will protect me from the consequences of my poor eating habits because I said the magic jesus name, amen."

Here's my takeaway regarding prayer. People pray because they want god to violate the laws of nature for their own benefit. Folks want god to stack the deck in their favor in order for them to supposedly gain an advantage in a situation that they would not have. Even when individuals pray for someone else, the prayor still wants their prayers for the other person answered. 

In my opinion, this make prayer the most selfish thing a person can do. Life is tough and everything a person does involves a level of risk. People must determine what level of risk is acceptable based on the situation. Also, instead of praying for someone, I find a real tangible way to help them.

Nothing is wrong with gratitude. Instead of thanking an invisible, imaginary god for stuff, I thank real, breathing human beings for their assistance.

Source for 2006 intercessory prayer study:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Damn, I compromised my integrity!

Back in 2012, I began to realize the difficulties of swimming against the current. Although in this case, the current represented christianity. For most of my life, I identified as a believer in jesus christ and all of my social, professional, and familial relationships had connections through the church. To walk away from that significant network took courage, but down this new road of freedom, I found myself looking back.

As I stated in another post, I experienced great difficulty in the dating scene as a non-believing atheist. During the fall of 2012, I started to come up with reasons why I should go back to church. In the African-American community, the church has social, political, economic, as well as spiritual significance. I felt like I was missing a part of my cultural heritage, not to mention that the odds of finding a non-believing African-American woman in Metro Detroit were slim to none.

Maybe I could go back to church, for the cultural connectivity that it could provide and reject the spiritual parts.  I also felt like I would be more marketable to the ladies, if I could proudly say that I belonged to a church. I thought this through and decided to give it a chance. This gave me access to date some of the best and brightest Black women in Metro Detroit. Access that an educated Black Atheist Man would never have. In addition, I missed playing the organ, being a worship leader as well as being part of that community that I had great familiarity with.

Having grown up in church and been a worship leader for many years, I went back into my metaphorical christian closet and pulled out my jesus gear.(note:just because I no longer believe doesn't mean I forgot everything I knew about church and christianity) Although my dating prospects increased substantially from late 2012 through early 2014, I felt my integrity being compromised and I did nothing about it. I was glad to be accepted again because rejection sucks.

I started to fall back into my former christian ways, I began to read the bible again and even started back tithing. I knew that I could not return to my former fundamentalist christian ways, but I thought I could follow a more liberal view of christianity. I began to read books from Bishop John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, Bishop Carlton Pearson, and other liberal theologians. The irony is most of the women who I dated during this time were hardcore fundamentalist christians, so things still didn't really mesh. I would keep my views about sin, the devil, and hell to myself. Even though I went back, I still didn't believe in sin, satan, and eternal torment.

During the insanely brutal winter of 2014, I began to ask myself, "Is this really worth it to you? What have you gained by going back?"

I felt like I had lost touch with the freethinker that I had become back in 2010. Something needed to happen to shake me up. Thank goodness for the combination of a bad sermon and a grand display of christian ignorance about the scripture at church. These actions along with re-reading entries from this blog, reminded me why christianity is BS.

I wasted 18 months of my life and compromised my integrity dabbling again with christianity. I allowed the loneliness and difficulty of the path of freedom to muck with my emotions. However I am glad that I went back to church and christianity again. Now I realize that I have truly outgrown that infantile belief system and I am ready to truly see the world as it is.

Recently,I have met others on the path of freedom, ergo my journey doesn't feel like it felt before. It feels much, much better. In addition, I have the resolve to live my life to the fullest. I have added outdoor running to my exercise routine, and that clears my head each morning before leaving for work. I am committed to see this freethinking path through to the end of my life and educate folks along the way. Plus, I will expand my dating pool beyond where it is now,focus more on open-mindedness, common interests, and good old-fashioned chemistry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My top 10 reasons for living god-free

I usually do not like doing top ten lists but I am feeling one today. So here goes...

My top ten reasons for living god-free(in no particular order)

1. No more fear of going to hell because hell does not exist(and neither does heaven)
2. Instead of wasting time praying, I can put my energy into action
3. Extra money since I don't have to worry about being cursed for not tithing
4. I can help someone because it is the right thing to do, instead of doing it for spiritual browning points.
5. My steps are ordered by me and not by some imaginary otherworldly being
6. I walk by sight and have very little use for faith(except when it comes to my favorite football teams)
7. I am free to explore the world without an inherent christian bias
8. Sex without guilt
9. Peace of mind, knowing that my mind is not a battlefield between the holy spirit, satan, and the flesh
10. Making the most of my time on earth because once I die that's it.

Bonus: I can be in awe of the miracle of life that is me, understanding that I have descended from countless people, animals, and microorganisms until I get to compounds, elements, stardust, then perhaps...nothingness.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reflections of my former self

Recently, I reflected on my christian days and thought about how if my former self could see me now, he would be in total shock! I was a blood washed, tongue talking, prophesying, tithing, church attending christian. I had a strong bias against any belief that would "exalt itself against the knowledge of god." I thought I was being compassionate when I told people that "god has a plan for your life, accept jesus into your heart or face an eternity in hell!" Now that I have left my former life behind, I realize how nasty of a person I was for saying those things. I thought I was showing people the unconditional love of christ, but what I really did was alienate others from me.

Eventually, even as I became seemingly more tolerant as a christian, I still harbored those thoughts in my heart. I would tell people that all faiths are good to live with, but christianity is the only one that you could die with. I thought that my belief was superior to all others, even though I would smile and listen to others of a different religious tradition. I am remorseful for what I thought,said and did. I know that I was cruel to people by only pretending to understand where they were coming from because I thought I had the answers.

Now I work to embrace the differences that people have. The proverbial shoe now rests on the other foot because now I am the person whose non belief gets rejected by christians. I cannot change the fact that I damaged people with my stinking thinking, now I desire to give people the tools to discovering their personal freedom.

I used to think that living by faith in christ was freedom, but it was slavery to a doctrine that had no room for individuality. Now, I want to live in a world where the character of a person holds more weight than their beliefs about god.

Through this blog and my Facebook page, I desire to educate people about how to take steps away from religion. I want to assist people in discovering their freedom. Of course, freedom means different things to different people and I want to assist them on their journey through the words I write on this blog.

One thing that has remained constant within me throughout my life is the desire to help people. Deconversion did not destroy my passion to help others, if anything, I am more determined because my time on this earth will end. I need to make the best of the time I have left because there is no afterlife; this moment is all I have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tales of a Black Male Atheist: Finding love after your faith is gone Pt. 2

Tales of a Black Male Atheist: Finding love after your faith is gone Pt. 2: Once I walked away from the faith that I once loved with all of my might, I quickly discovered that the world no longer made sense in the wa...

Finding love after your faith is gone Pt. 2

Once I walked away from the faith that I once loved with all of my might, I quickly discovered that the world no longer made sense in the way that it once did. The universe seemed to turn on its head. It felt like learning how to ride a bike again for the first time. The old rules that I lived by no longer applied to my current state of affairs. This feeling of awe mixed with slight trepidation made for an interesting learning process in every area of my life. 

As a Christian I knew exactly what kind of woman I wanted to have a romantic relationship with: A Proverbs 31 woman. In modern Christianity, this chapter epitomizes what kind of woman every Christian man would want to have. However now that I am no longer a Christian, I was left with a quandary of sorts: What kind of woman would I want to have a relationship with now? I felt a bit disoriented, but in a good way because I was breaking free from more diabolical Christian programming.

Having a strong, virtuous, Christian woman used to take precedence when I looked for a potential love interest. Even after my deconversion, I still tried to date strong Christian woman, but my atheist label would send them heading for the proverbial hills. I continued to try and date Christian women because I naively believed that I would be judged on the content of my character and not the basis of my non belief.

According to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 83 percent of African-Americans identify as Christian. Ergo, I figured that it would be easier to find an open-minded Black Christian woman. My experiences speak to the contrary, and I was most definitely judged by the basis of my non belief. Part of the reason that I tried to date these women was because I was looking for validation and acceptance due to the fact that the larger society has major issues with the non belief community. I desired to see the agape love in action, but alas, so-called agape love doesn't apply to a christian-non christian romantic relationship. After getting dissed, time and time again, I decided to take a stand.

I have finally given up on dating Christians. I also no longer feel for validation with regards to my secular humanist view of the world. Folks will accept me for who I am and folks will reject me for who I am. My focus remains on living in the present moment. If someone significant comes during that moment, wonderful! Most importantly, I accept and love myself. Indeed, loving yourself is the greatest love of all. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tales of a Black Male Atheist: Wasting your life away waiting...

Tales of a Black Male Atheist: Wasting your life away waiting...: One of the biggest issues I have with 21st Century Christianity deals with how it focuses on living for the future as opposed to living in ...

Wasting your life away waiting...

One of the biggest issues I have with 21st Century Christianity deals with how it focuses on living for the future as opposed to living in the present moment. The doctrine teaches things such as god has a special plan for your life, god will exalt you in due time, if you don't lose heart, your blessing is on the way, keep holding on until your your change comes, god is faithful to his promises.

While a person waits on these supposed promises, they believe that god will come through for them. When he doesn't, they have a built in excuse for god's failure to grant them their request. Christians usually say that god has something better for them or it is not time for them to have this particular blessing yet. These unfortunate souls waste their lives away waiting for future glory as opposed to living in the present. Instead of being passive about their lives, these folks need to be active in living.

For example, if someone desires better employment, they should put themselves in situations which can allow them to network(get help with a revamp of their resume,volunteer, join a professional group, etc.) instead of sitting on the sidelines of life waiting on a god who does not exist to give them something that they can get on their own.

Also, I must mention how some Christians will use the classic scripture about faith without works is dead when it comes to something that they want to do in the present. For things that they know they probably won't get, they go back to the pseudo-promises listed in the first paragraph.

We only have limited time to live before we expire. This time should be used to enjoy life and use our abilities to make it the best that we can. Putting our mental, physical, and emotional resources in a "god who never shows up or shows out", takes away the autonomy to live as we deem best.

Also, I have been gone for awhile, it's good to be back! I will let you know what I have been up to in future posts.