Tag Archives: atheist
As many of you may already know, I am an Atheist. This doesn’t mean I dislike people who are religious, the same as I don’t dislike Conservatives (Republicans), just disagree with some of their opinions. I have many friends and family members who believe in religion and although I think it’s harmful to society, I would never disrespect them for coming to a different conclusion than I have come to on my own. But, seeing as I am a passionate person, I like to share what I believe with others, urge them to think differently and open their minds. I encourage myself to do the same, which just so happens to be the reason I have come to this conclusion.
A friend of mine, Anastasia, wrote something the other day that I found to be pretty great. I asked her if I could share it here and would like to know what some of you think, as well as express my support for everything that was said. I have shared it exactly as it was written below:
“I’ll tell you what else is on my mind. I recently watched the episode of “Louie” where, as a child, he attends a Catholic school and the teacher brings in a doctor to explain, from a medical stand point, the process of Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s brutal and horrific, and the best piece of mind-fuckery out there. How in the world does the idea that one man being physically tortured cancels out the “sins” of the world? (more on “sins” later. okay right now- not raping people is not one of the ten commandments. not using the lord’s name in vain is. uhm. what.?) Really think about that. More importantly, think about how many people have been physically/mentally/
I know that many people are getting tired of the political and religious posts that are on Twitter, FaceBook, etc; But personally, I think it’s great that our generation is becoming so involved and choosing to think for ourselves as opposed to just take what was told to us, as truth. Granted, there are definitely many people who still do this, it’s great to know that thanks to the advancement in social media, our generation is able to meet people who share the same views, values, morals, etc. and are open to discussing how they could be right and/or wrong.
Thank you Anastasia for allowing me to share your message and I hope others can see the humanity in your words as opposed to the “religious attack” you made “against” them.
Today I read a wonderful article on NPR (National Public Radio) which focused on Teresa MacBain, 44-year-old minister at Lake Jackson United Methodist Church who recently decided to ‘come out’ as an atheist. For me, someone who has had their own personal journey that led to not believing in God, this was a wonderful story of freedom of thought and willingness to question what we’ve come to know as true. Obviously, some of you reading this may not agree, but regardless, it’s still a great story and sheds some light on how a lack of faith can lead one to be discriminated against and judged, ironically, by those who preach compassion and understanding.
“I’m currently an active pastor and I’m also an atheist,” she says. “I live a double life. I feel pretty good on Monday, but by Thursday — when Sunday’s right around the corner — I start having stomachaches, headaches, just knowing that I got to stand up and say things that I no longer believe in and portray myself in a way that’s totally false.”
MacBain was well-known and well-respected in her community, and certainly, at her church in Tallahassee, FL. But now that she has started to question and concluded that she is an Atheist, she has no one to share her emotions with. The congregation doesn’t want to hear that the person leading them in sermons each week doesn’t believe in the God she speaks of and is praying for things she feels will never be answered.
Fortunately, this minister who sought truth has others out there who know exactly what she’s going though, and that is people who have come together for the American Atheists‘ convention in Bethesda, MD. Sitting in this building, on Sunday, with other atheists, isn’t much different from sitting in her church; For her though, this is what feels right because she no longer feels she’s living a lie or being dishonest (both things that are a human morality issue, not only privy to the religious zealots). It is my personal opinion that if one needs rules and consequences to not lie as an adult than they really aren’t all that moral (and usually don’t live up to their own standards); I try my hardest to be honest, loyal, kind, generous, forging, understand, etc. because it’s the right thing to do. Simple. I have no God who will condemn me. I have no God who fill forgive me. I am the only one who will judge my character and attempt to achieve my personal best. Now, back to MacBain, the ‘condemned’ minister.
“On my way to church again. Another Sunday. Man, this is getting worse,” she tells her phone in one recording. “How did I get myself in this mess? Sometimes, I think to myself, if I could just go back a few years and not ask the questions and just be one of those sheep and blindly follow and not know the truth, it would be so much easier. I’d just keep my job. But I can’t do that. I know it’s a lie. I know it’s false.”
The former minister was raised all her life to know of God and live life for God. Her family held values that are typical for a conservative Southern Baptist. In fact, her dad was a pastor and she was already feeling ‘the call of God’ at the age of 6. And while she did have concerns as far as some of the contradictions with the Bible and the role of women, she managed to suppress those, until she, herself, became a minister. Hoping that her faith would grow stronger, she started to ask difficult questions which led her down this path.
“In reality,” she says, “as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn’t believe it.”
“I just kind of realized — I mean just a eureka moment, not an epiphany, a eureka moment — I’m an atheist,” she says. “I don’t believe. And in the moment that I uttered that word, I stumbled and choked on that word — atheist.”
The Clergy Project, an online community of clergy members who have lost faith is something that MacBain had come across a year ago and looked to for support. She knew she’d have to get another job, but people wanted to know who she was leaving her current job, which led to insecurity with giving them her answer, honestly. And unfortunately, those at The Clergy Project could only be there for her emotionally. And seeing as discrimination is illegal, you would think this was an irrational fear, but as far too many people on this Earth know, discrimination can be illegal, but laws aren’t always enforced. (Or someone could always explain the she wasn’t qualified for various other reasons. You know, a roundabout way allowing one to discriminate)
“So what the hell am I supposed to do?” she asks in one recording, her voice sounding desperate. “Really, the options are work at something like Starbucks or McDonald’s — and even there they’re going to ask those questions. I could even clean houses and not make a great amount of money — but at least nobody would be asking me questions.”
March 26th, 2012 was the day of the convention and former minister, MacBain, was excited to go and share her story with around 1,500 people who also believed in seeking truth and answers. Her welcoming brought her to tears and allowed her to give a miraculous speech. She spoken open and honest, which is something she had been unable to do for some time. Here, with people she had hated and thought were being misled, was where she was able to share her story. No one ridiculed her for past wrongs she had made, no one was insulted by her misguided judgements; She was embraced and applauded for ultimately doing what she felt was right and apologizing for her ignorance towards the community of non believers.
“I am nervous,” she says, “but at the same time I am so excited. I slept like a baby last night because I knew I wasn’t going to have to live a lie anymore. Such freedom.”
Many people were overwhelmed by her speech and wanted to share with her how happy they were that she came to Bethesda, MD. After she returned home, the video had even gone viral. Unfortunately, people from her hometown were not as excited by her speech as those back in Bethesda. Quite honestly, they were cruel, judgmental, awful to her, which is something no congregation (or any person(s)) should ever be.
WCTV, the local news station had done many reports about MacBain and her journey. Oddly enough, they only interviewed her boos, not her directly. Hundreds of people wrote their opinions on the matter, which were hard for this respectable woman to read.
“The majority of them, to begin with, were pretty hateful,” she says, although some nonbelievers soon came to her defense. “For somebody who’s been a good guy their whole life and been a people pleaser, it’s really hard to imagine that overnight you’re the bad guy.”
This poor woman who had an internal conflict tried to speak with the church district’s Superintendent so she could explain everything, but the meeting was canceled. Out of the many amounts of friends that she previously had, only two called to take her to lunch and stay a friend despite her decision. It seemed that with one decision all of those who were suppose to be around to support her for years, had suddenly disappeared. Along with the emotional stress she was now enduring, job interviews were suddenly canceled as well, due to the revelation of why she left the ministry. Finances were now going to be another stress she’d have to endure. Luckily, the Humanists of Florida Association had offered to give her a full years pay, but it is not a guarantee. Her family, fortunately, was a refuge for her, despite their conflicting beliefs.
“I believe in God,” says her husband, Ray. “And to be honest, I pray for her every night, I got friends praying for her.”
And even without his prayers answered, he loves and adores his wife and plans to stay with her.
“That’s why I spent 23 years in the Army. That’s why I’m still a police officer. We have freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And God never forced anybody to believe, so who am I to step up?”
Through all of this, MacBain shares that although she no longer misses God in her life, she does miss the music. She sang in choirs and loves the melodies and can still be heard singing some of those beautiful songs, only this time, she no longer believes in the words she is signing. She was searching for truth and understanding, and I guess you could say, her prayers have been answered.
- Why do Americans still dislike atheists, still? (examiner.com)
- Richard Dawkins’ Speech at the American Atheists Convention (patheos.com)
- Islamic fun at the Global Atheist Convention – Video (constitutionclub.org)
- The Week of Reason, Part Two – The 2012 American Atheists Convention (wilmingtonfavs.com)
- Atheist solidarity: Jason Rosenhouse rallys for reason (oup.com)
- Locked Out: How the Church Responded to their Pastor’s Coming Out – Teresa MacBain – RichardDawkins.net (richarddawkins.net)
- A Catholic Ponders the Global Atheist Convention (ncregister.com)
- Does God Really Prefer ‘Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians’? (patheos.com)
- ‘Angry Atheist’ Podcast Features Interview with Atheist Pastor (patheos.com)
- Atheist Billboards Set to Delight Atheists, Piss Off Religious People [Religion] (gawker.com)
- Jack Black: ‘I’m Kind of an Atheist’ (patheos.com)
To not know that Richard Dawkins is an atheist, but to book him for a speaking arrangement, is absolutely hilarious. You clearly show that your intelligence is lacking. And if it has nothing to do with intellect than it’s just a lack of doing your job properly. If you would like to INVITE someone to come to your place of business and speak, then you should have at least the slightest idea of what exactly it is they do. This man is a notorious Atheist who has been prominent in getting the message of Atheism out into the public’s eye.
In fact, I want to credit Mr. Dawkins, as well as one of my professors at Los Angeles Valley College, with introducing me to Atheism as well as encouraging me (through Dawkins books) to continue on educating myself so that I could make an educated decision about my religious beliefs.
After Mr. Dawkins appearance on The O’Reily Factor (video below), one of the top members of the club learned of Dawkins harsh critiques of religion and decided he would not be a good speaker and no longer wanted him to attend. Mr. Dawkins has said, ‘If the country club had said, “I’m not having Dawkins speak because he’s a Jew, or because he’s black, or because he’s gay,” they would never get away with it.’
Here is the video of Bill O’Reily being extremely ignorant and making points that are well, invalid. I’ll further explain my disgust with his claims after the video:
My frustration with this video comes from the point that Mr. Bill O’Reily tries to make with religion giving humanity morality. Yes, religion does have the ten commandments and teach moral values, but it shouldn’t be the reason that you act morally. If you are willing to act immoral without religion being present, than you are a bad person, period. I am an atheist that thinks ‘thou shall not kill’, not because it’s in the bible, but because I have respect for my fellow-man. I CHOOSE to not lie to those around me because I know the hurt that it will cause and the damage it is capable of doing. Religion is not what taught me that, my love for my friends and family is what has taught me this.
You as an individual person, void of religion, should want to be the very best you. If it takes religion to keep you from doing things that society would look down on, you need to do some serious self-evaluation. I would much rather hang around a bunch of atheists who have their own moral code than a group of religious people who are using the bible and God to stay on the straight and narrow. Do not misunderstand me and think because I have just said this that I do not like religious people, because I do, I love some. My family as well as my girlfriend, who I plant to spend my life with, are religious and I completely respect them for their beliefs. Just because I don’t choose to be religious does not mean that I dislike anybody who is. I just dislike some of what it has done to our society.
Religion has been behind the hatred of homosexuals for quite some time. Although some religions have become more accepting and even aiding in fighting for equal rights for homosexuals, there are still those extremists who refuse to believe that I am just as human and deserving of life as they are because of their interpretation of the bible. This, is not good moral judgment, in my opinion. Everyone, of every religion or non-religion, should have respect for fellow mankind.
- Reblog: Richard Dawkins and Atheist Discrimination (theskepticalmagician.wordpress.com)
- Richard Dawkins Banned by Billo-Lovin’ Country Club, Tide Goes Out, Never a Miscommunication (crooksandliars.com)
- AN OUTRAGE: the ritzy Wyndgate Country Club Discriminates Against Atheists. (randi.org)
Today the decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to remove all barriers to the ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as ministers and lay leaders, which was voted on and passed in May, goes into effect. It is a historic day in the Church. Discrimination will no longer stand in the way of those who have received the calling to ministry.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is another denomination that has seen a new day in the intersection of faith and sexual orientation and gender identity. This is not only good for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but it is good for the soul of the church. LGBT Presbyterians have been some of the most prophetic and faithful leaders within the Presbyterian Church and now they can bring their faith and their humanity fully into the work of building loving, God-affirming communities. We thank More Light Presbyterians, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve, Presbyterian Welcome, and Presbyterian Voices for Justice for their hard work and dedication in removing discrimination from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
I think this is a great accomplishment for gays that have had the motivation to do so, and have previously been unable. I also think this is a smart move by the Church because of the potential to gain more worshipers. Opening up your Church to a new community and giving them rights that they haven’t had previously, does great for your image. It especially helps your image with the people who are in that community. I am an Atheist so I can’t be overly joyed by this outcome, but in society today, religion plays a big role and I am happy to see the changes that are being made…for the better.
An Atheist group in San Antonio, Texas has decided to go ahead and offer people porn in exchange for their bibles. The motive behind this demonstration is they’re trading “Smut for Smut”. And in all honesty, porn is rather expensive these days, and bibles seem to be given to anyone who wants one; I believe this is a fair trade.
For a more in depth article on this event, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/02/porn-for-bibles-at-texas_n_482206.html