Tag Archives: God

Confession of an Atheist: God exists.

There has, over the last few years, been a slow boiling discussion among some of the people I admire, here in the land of the internet, about God.

When I have time and energy I intend to examine this in more detail, and give credit to everyone- they all spoke persuasively and with critical intelligence.

But right now I am very tired. There is just a little time to get to shelter before the storm hits, and I find myself wondering if I have enough energy even just for that.

So here it is.

God exists.

God is an idea.

God is not only an idea- he is an ideal.

God exists- not as a spiritual or mystical being- but as a pattern of approved behavior coded into the minds of the people who are socialized into His religions- true believer or unthoughtful backslider or holiday attendee.

God is a character in a story. Unlike most stories, the story God occurs in is called religion.

So instead of the readers reading the story and deciding what to think about that character, readers are told, from every direction and on as many levels as possible,

-that THIS character decides what THEY think.  That Wrong is disagreeing with this character and Right is agreeing with Him.

If Zie does somehow exist as a spiritual or mystical being, somewhere out in the universe, it does not change the fact that this pattern of approved behavior exists. It does not change the fact that it gets coded into the minds of those who have been socialized this way- that this Thing is called god- the One and Only.

I will also kick Zier in Zeir goddamn shin if we ever meet- for  leaving us to wallow in this slop that passes  for divinity.

Because God- as described in the book that so many take as literal fact- and so many other take as useful metaphor-

-is a shallow, blustering, gaslighting, rageful, moronic rapist of a homicidal narcissist.

God is the personality (even if as an atheist you don’t believe he is also an actual person) who forms people’s ideas of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

God is the Father.

Because God isn’t an Abusive Boyfriend. God is an Abusive Parent.

Because America has Daddy issues.

And America went out and got a Boyfriend just like Daddy.

 

 

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Evidence that Demands a Verdict- Part II

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Mom, you’re straight.  It’s like- you can live in the world of swollen lymph nodes.  You can keep your friends, and agree with your mentors and feel loved by your god and repeat whatever shite they say about gay people- without it ever effecting you personally- even if it’s horribly and terribly wrong.

And that’s fun and relaxing and comforting. And who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want that story to be true? I get it.
But do you understand that I don’t get that luxury? Do you understand that I have to live in the world of tumors?
Do you understand what it’s like to be a tumor?
***

Well – I might understand what it’s like to be a tumor…. I don’t know. I have taken some positions that are very unpopular, and have been despised for it. We all make our own choices. I stand by mine no matter what anyone else thinks, because I believe my positions are right. You just have to figure out what you truly believe is right (not other peoples’ opinions) and then live it.  And also you have to try not to feel sorry for yourself if others don’t agree. That’s pretty universal.

I see no “victims” here. Only choices, and the courage to stand by the choices you make. Who is treating you like a tumor?

Hey – do you still feel like coming out and doing your craft with [minor sister] tonight? If you do, you have first priority.

But if you don’t, we might go over and help [adult brother] with some things at his house tonight. (The sellers left a huge pile of garbage on his curb for the big garbage pick -up day Saturday, but now the city is telling [adult brother] they don’t want to take it unless it’s “organized”.) Either way is good – let me know how you’re feeling.  Love you!

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No!  The problem is people are treating me like a lymph node! Like this can’t be true!

I am thinking of [adult sister] in particular here- saying that this was a lie of Satan- but I’ve gotten the distinct feeling that its being talked about behind my back this way- Grandma sent me a note with the same reference to the ‘lies of Satan’  without coming out (har har) and saying what she was talking about.

Unfortunately it’s not a lie. Nor am I just saying this for attention.  Instead, unfortunately, I am the abominable thing that our people think is out to get them.

I been dealing with this actually for a long time now- when I was still gung ho about Christianity and everything.  When I believed that that version of the religion was true, when it wouldn’t go away, I was perfectly content to just be single forever- its not like I’m any good at dealing with PEOPLE anyway.  I prefer hiding in a pile of books.

I didn’t set out to be this way.  If I had had a choice I would have chosen something else.

Do you believe me?

***

(one week without reply)

So there we go.

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[name], I responded to your email. I wrote it in a letter, which is sitting on my desk. But all week, I have not put it in the mail because I believe you will despise what I have to say and just turn and rip into me. It has just been so nice having you stop by.  I am so sorry. Would you like me to drop it in the mail, or wait until you come by the next time?  Love you.

***

It should be a pretty simple answer, Mom. Do you believe that I’m giving an honest account of my own physical sensations or not?

If your answer is no, just say it.  No amount of rationalization or long winded explanation is going to make that answer easier.

***

Yes, I believe you have same sex attractions.  I stuck the long winded explanation in the mail yesterday.

Love you!

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Hi mom!

I finally worked up the nerve to empty my mail box and read your letter.  I have to tell you that I disagree and object to almost everything you said.

However, I am thankful that you were willing to tell me.  The visits home were getting increasingly tense for me- knowing there were things you weren’t saying and trying to guess what they were.

I appreciate it!

***

Fair enough, [name]. I love you!

***

Hey!  Could you email me the text?  I think probably neither of us wants to get into a debate, but I journal on my computer as a way of processing. It would be helpful for that.

***

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Some problem?

I mean, I could scan it in but that would mean checking to see if the library had one or using Grandma [name]’s scanner, and both of those would be kind of a hassle.

Make my poor sad life easier here?

***

WELL OKAY THEN

 

 

Evidence that Demands a Verdict- Part I

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One time in CO you sent me a keith green song.  I wanted to send you this one- I thought that you might treat it as me arguing with you instead of trying to communicate how I was feeling.

But it was how I was feeling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQCAo5tKFyc

These days, I think it would be a different song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Hx4NJw0nU

One day a kid who came in for a massage had a tattoo that said,

“A second chance means nothing, if nothing has been learned”

I stared at that tattoo for an hour while I was giving the massage.

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Hi [—]!  I listened to both your songs.  I love you so much, but I just can’t relate to what you’re thinking and experiencing. To me, you seem full of darkness and despair, and it seems that you have chosen it.  I can’t comprehend how anyone could say that God is a monster and that they would be proud to go to His hell, when He has done everything to set us free from the curse, but I will continue to stand back and respect your right to reject Him.   Like I’ve said before, it’s your life, and you have every right to do with it what you choose, and to believe what you want to believe.

That’s why I sent you the song, The Solid Rock – because if you ever decide you don’t want to live in darkness and despair, you can also choose to leave it behind.  I personally believe arguing with a depraved mind that rejects Truth is fruitless, but it makes me sad to think that you might interpret that as me not caring.    Until my last breath, I will be here in the background of your life, praying for you.

Father God, please protect Tegan while she struggles this out. Your word says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. You’re a big God, and Your compassion is huge enough to stand by and wait for Tegan to come to the end of her raging self, and to still be there with open arms, offering her Your grace. Thank You Lord, for creating this precious young woman, with all her adorable, delightful ways, and her cute, quirky personality.  Father God, I ask You to grant her repentance leading to a knowledge of the Truth, so she can come to her senses and escape the snare of satan who has taken her captive to his will, hurting and discouraging people, deceiving and being deceived, when You created her to be a comforter and an encourager. This is no life for Tegan and I ask You to draw her back into the light with Your kindness.    In Jesus name, I ask this of You.

I hope you can dome see Schultz soon. He has doubled in size since we got him, but he is still a fuzzy baby. You will like him!  Love, mom

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I’m not, Mom.  Any new skill takes a while to learn and requires practice to become proficient.

But I no longer have to suck up to a being who ordered multiple genocides by calling it the source of moral perfection.

And I no longer have to publicly accuse myself of being an abomination for having biological impulses that I certainly would have done away with if I could.

And I’m becoming happier and happier.

I could get married, Mom.  Do you have any idea what this means to me?  I don’t have to sit at a window, holed up with my books, forever, weeping because of my secrets, staring at a life going past me that I can never have.

But as things stand, I could never invite you to the wedding, do you understand?

That I had to leave you behind in order to save my own life is my despair. It’s my only despair.

And don’t fear, oh you of little faith.  You are worth many puppies.  When I get up the courage to come, it’s to see you.

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Tegan, I really am very, very sorry you feel that way about God, and although I disagree with you, I won’t argue with you. It will take His own Spirit to convince you that you have believed a lie about Him, so I will leave it to Him.

I’ve tried to put myself in your shoes, to see things from your point of view, and I simply can’t.  To me, knowing God is “the pearl of great price”;  the treasure that’s worth giving up everything else for, even including giving ones’ life. Especially now, after what Dad and I went through, I see that nothing we give up in this life is worthy to be compared with living in His presence. Even lust – just not worth it. I can’t comprehend your hatred of Him or your desire to see Him as malevolent. But that you would have to leave me behind in order to pursue lust, now THAT I understand. But it’s your choice.

I wish you all the happiness your life has to offer, while realizing very sadly that when you reject your Creator’s provision for atonement, this life is the closest thing to heaven you will ever experience.  Without a doubt, you’ve made a bad trade, but God Himself gives you that choice, so who am I to selfishly demand that you fake it to make me comfortable?   I love you dearly, my beautiful daughter,   Mom

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“but God Himself gives you that choice”

Nope. Actually not.

There is no possible amount of argument that make genocide not a crime- of ultimate proportion.

If there was- you would be able to argue. And you can’t.

The demand for truth and righteousness require that God (or possibly the Bible) be discarded.

“..to convince you that you have believed a lie about Him”

Magical feelings don’t turn faulty logic and the lack of ethics into sound logic and the presence of ethics.

“But that you would have to leave me behind in order to pursue lust, now THAT I understand”

Yeah you do. It’s in the Bible.

Genesis 2:24New International Version (NIV)

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Matthew 19:5New International Version (NIV)

and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[a]?

Mark 10:7New International Version (NIV)

‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[a]

Ephesians 5:31New International Version (NIV)

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a]

If that DOESN’T involve lust, they’re doing it wrong. Because they’re sure as heck not becoming one flesh with out that.

Finally; re: heaven.

Given the hideous lack of morality displayed by the deity described in the Bible, how do you know that Christianity isn’t a trap of the devil allowed by God to sift the wheat from the tares- and that the only people who ARE going to heaven are the ones who reject it?

 

TO BE CONTINUED

End of the Endless

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My father died on Monday. He was buried on Friday. He had an aggressive cancer that he left untreated because “God told him” that he could heal it himself by taking extra Vitamin C and by giving himself enemas with coffee.

His dad had a similar cancer a few years ago.  He had a doctor advise him on treatment, instead of God. Grandpa is alive and cancer free to this day.

One time, before he got so bad, I argued with dad about his decision. The books and articles “God was using” to direct his treatment sounded distinctly like conspiracy theories to me. The conversation ended when he told me I was making him think he was crazy and roared at me to GET OUT.

Which I did.

I was very angry.

I was in the process of moving out already. Not because I had enough money.  I just couldn’t stand being home anymore. It was too crazy making.

Towards the end, when it was clear that he was going to die, he wept pretty frequently. About even little things. It’s possible the tumor was growing into his brain. It had started in his throat, after all. One day he wept and told me he was so sorry he had yelled at me- that day when we argued.

I was sad too. I didn’t give a flying fuck that he had yelled.

The evening after his death I went to see my family. The front room, where he had been all day every day for the past week, hallucinating and begging to be allowed to get up, had been cleaned.

The furniture had been brought back in. The hospital bed had disappeared.

The spring peeper frogs were singing in the ditches. A night wind was flowing through the fields around the house. Someone had set a jar of lilacs on the dresser. Words and phrases from a poem were eddying in the back of my head, but I couldn’t recall them all or fit them together.

The dresser is an antique. I believe it came from his mother. I never knew her. She died in a car wreck when my dad was- 19? Hit by a drunk driver.

He was angry at his dad about something then and moved out.

Dad was born in March- like me. His mother died in May.

The drunk died in the wreck.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers…
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Burial of the Dead

The Garden and the Creature: Clay

He took a lump of clay, once

He rolled it in his hands

poked and twisted

He showed you.

this was called ‘a shape’

He pointed out on you

it has a leg, you have a leg

it has a leg, you have a leg

it has a joint, you have a joint

it has a head, you have a head

 

It’s like me!

 

Yes. Just exactly like you!

 

You made it!

 

Yes. Just like I made you.

 

You looked around, suspicious.

 

What else did you make?

 

Everything.

 

(He surely knows everything. He’s answered every question. The Serpent asks you questions, but he never tells you. Not like He does.)

(He’s kneeling to talk to you- like grownups do when you’re a baby and it’s so important)

 

His eyes are shining.

 

That’s right. Only I know everything. That’s why you have to do what I tell you. Only I can keep you safe. Hidden from… monsters. And lions!

If you disobey me, little one, it will make me sad. Very sad. Because you’ll die.

 

What’s ‘die’?

 

This.

 

The clay crumpled.

Spurted through His fingers as He closed His hand.

The Great Whale

We haven’t been talking much. Something keeps us.

The religion of perfect peace in this house, perhaps. It creates an atmosphere too heavy to disturb.

I admit I’m gone a lot. Mostly I’m at work. When I’m home I’m on the internet often, swimming in the blessed invention of the laptop private pool of otherness. Or playing with the little kids. In games you don’t have to say the what is and isn’t.

She’s gone, she’s at home canning bushels of pears, she’s at church in the woods with the four or five families that still come. The only people who are her people. All others are untrustworthy- the sea in which The Remnant must stay afloat- preferably without wetting the hems of their robe. She chooses the Remnant. She has no one else.

My sister.

What would happen if we talked? What would we say?

The headlines. A boy, twelve years old, was out playing in a park. Imaginary monsters swimming through his eyes, he brandished his defense against them- an imaginary weapon. Whatever fear crawled closer to him- in the air of a world where death drives the streets slowly and buys coffee while it sizes up the passersby- he would defeat. And the air would pull back and happy and proud he could breath. He had won. He can beat the monsters. His teeth flash like black Peter Pan; the Child Whom Pirates Cannot Kill.

In the air of a world where fear takes the shapes of those it consumes and uses them to its own ends, a shape not quite gone picked up a phone. In the twilight of security, what was left of a voice cautioned, “It’s probably a fake.”

Fear wants to know what’s real but fear can’t ask a child. Can’t be led by a child. Can’t lead even a child to safety. Fear is too unsafe.

Fear asks the Authorities. Can you check? Can you tell me?

Death set down its coffee.

When Death arrived on the scene, two seconds went by. Then Death’s shape was revealed.

Without justice, said the long dead father, what is a nation but a great robber band?

The Child lay dying and Death stood over him, watching him die.

The Pirate whom Time Forgot.

Or was it us?

If one of these little ones causes you to sin, tie a millstone around their neck and drop them into the heart of the sea. Then stand and watch them drown. Jesus didn’t actually say that last part, but we can infer from our knowledge of biblical principles.

One of the last times we talked about anything more other than pears or changing clouds her voice was lacing itself with anger.

“I think pointing out race IS racism! You are making the problem by talking about it!”

When she had still just learned to walk and talk they poured cold water over her head. She had been sitting under the table crying at the top of her lungs. Her wail had cut off as she gasped, unable to breath.

In God there are no shifting shadows. If you see such things, your eyes are wrong. If your eye is wrong, put it out. The only tears allowed are blood.

As I float in my pool of hurt and strange, escaping from the perfect light and peace in which, for other reasons, I do not exist, my brother plays on the floor.

A Child of the Remnant. A child in what we are sure, this time, finally, are the Last Days. They must be. Everyone is against us. Already, he is afraid. His body has begun to grow, stretching him past the legs of his jeans. He weeps and clings to his too small clothing when they throw his holey safety away. He pulls back from new things as if burned, running to people who once hit him daily and call him an idiot, begging to know what’s allowed. His Authorities.

Tell him, tell him, what’s Good and what’s Evil. The Innocent can’t know these things for themselves. Only the Guilty.

He daydreams on the rug as he goes through his arsenal of toys. Orange capped, black, glossy and realistic as possible to protect him from the air he breathes. Imaginary weapons.

They never let him out to play with other children. Though funny and clever and lonely he has no friends.

You know what? Death will probably never stand over him in the streets. He may never feel safe enough to play there. And one day he will stand. Where will it be?

He’s twelve years old.

How could she possibly talk with me?

Who did this?

When I grow up I’m not going to be a pirate. I have no human enemy. Nor will I pursue such creatures. I’m going to be a whaler.

I imagine a harpoon, feel its weight and the grain of its haft made of nothing in my hand.

God, the imaginary monster, no real weapon can kill.

We are the only ones here.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/26/tamir-rice-video-shows-boy-shot-police-cleveland

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/12/02/cleveland-cop-said-he-had-no-choice-but-to-shoot-12-year-old-tamir-rice-father-says/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2854617/Cops-shot-12-year-old-Tamir-Rice-dead-holding-BB-gun-did-not-aid-watched-lie-agony-died-just-hours-later.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/24/tamir-rice-boy-shot-cleveland-police_n_6211064.html

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/12/police_procedure_experts_quest.html

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/03/officer-who-fatally-shot-tamir-rice-had-been-judged-unfit

 

 

leaves

Who told you you were naked?

 

No one told you.

In a single strange moment,

the colored moving world welled up

into the colored moving world

And was.

 

trees and clouds

stones and water

creatures flashing

the chatter and songs

and behemoth curiously lifts his head

and you are

and you’re here

and it’s now.

Your eyes turn to the other eyes

and they’re shining too.

It’s both of you, now, here, together,

trembling with this greatness.

In the heat of the day, a little wind runs through.

Only the leaves shiver

and the two of you.

Your eyes meet and

you both laugh again.

It’s so much- all at once.

 

Who told you?

The voice is colder.

The words you would have to invent to say

sink back down your throat

falling back into the heart they almost came from.

The leaves you wove tear and fall and

you have to stand there-

this is naked-

both of you naked

and him waiting.

From deep in the darkening sky

a little wind runs around you all.

It’s cold- so cold.

To be this way.

 

the fall

Do you delight in our weakness, Father?

Does it make you perfect?

Is it what draws your attention

Down, out of the vast and infinite

sorrow where your heart lives-

clouded like a newborn star?

Does it assuage you, for a moment,

to trip us with nothing and trigger

shocked eyes

muddy knees and hands?

Air to Ask

The name God gave you

was the name they told you

when you were born.

But it never fit.

 

Year after year swept past you-

bringing rain and leaving

rust and cracks in the pavement.

They grew-  like frost or wild fires- in petals.

The fibers of the name shrank

under waves of fog and sun.

Or perhaps you grew.

But as the lacy flowers

bloomed and crumbled

the yarn pulled tighter

clawing your arms

creaking

when you tried to breathe.

 

Air was too much to ask

of God

who bid you be still and quiet, cursing,

As he ate his own stolen soul-

in secret-

As the wind walked on the waves-

As the bread and fishes multiplied themselves-

 

lost in the murmur and swell of all names

rolling through their mouths

the powers rejoiced in an unknown name.

Unknowing , a heart pronounced the word.