When I was an agnostic and didn’t identity as either a theist or an atheist, it was because I found it overwhelmingly arrogant of people, comparatively infinitesimal specks in this universe, to say that we know where the universe came from or where it is going. How could anyone know how old the earth is? How could anyone know what happens to us after we die? How can anyone be certain of whether or not there is a god? While I do have the humility to say that we can’t be completely sure on topics like this, I have gained the curiosity to understand that it is worth our time to try to find out and determine what it is that we believe given the information that we have.
Last week, I wrote about an insane bible study lead by my church’s new pastor. As it turns out, this guy is a pot of gold when it comes to blog content. Having moved home for the summer yesterday, I’m in for quite a few more bible studies from him, and in terms of ridiculousness, today’s did not disappoint.
For a few years, I’ve been in the habit of taking notes during sermons and bible studies at church, simply out of sheer amazement of the unbelievable things that are often said. Continue reading “Bible Study Notes: The Fall”
It is a common argument against Christian thought that scripture calls for us to not question God when he does something we do not understand. This can apply to times that God does not save those who are suffering, times in the bible in which Jesus performs miracles that are impossible in the natural physical world, or times when God does not answer prayers. Admitting that there is no way to comprehend God’s means or reasons for doing what he does is an easy way for Christians to come to terms with this cognitive dissonance, but I like to give them the benefit of the doubt. The majority of Christians that I’ve met are not stupid people. Some questionable logic is generally necessary for reconciling various fantastical claims in scripture that can clash with our reasonable, observable conclusions, but it doesn’t stop believers from doing their best to apply logic to these situations.
This week, I did something really insane. I’m in a class about culture, and we had a project which was to give a presentation about our cultural identity. In an attempt to be honest, I stood up in front of the really big classroom and announced that I’m a closet atheist. It was terrifying, but fine because I took into consideration that no one in the class is a very close friend of mine in a relationship that could be potentially jeopardized by this information. I’ve talked before, though, about whether or not I’m ready to come out more at school (actually, if you haven’t read that post yet, I advise that you read it before continuing here, as it will put my situation into much greater perspective). Continue reading “How to Tell Your Friends That You’re an Atheist”
Last semester, I took a very terrible (but mandatory) class called Science and Religion. A lot of the class involved bashing atheism and the worldview of naturalism as well as taking Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sagan quotes out of context and pinning the men as proponents of scientism. One big thing that this class got wrong was that it assumed that all atheists are believers in the theory of multiple universes. While this certainly is one hypothesis to explain the complicated naturalist stumbling block of fine tuning and the anthropic principle of the universe, it is just that: a hypothesis, and definitely not one that all atheists believe is true.
You can do no good.
You are not worthy of love.
You should feel guilty for your constant sin.
Everything in your life has been laid out for you and you have no control over it.
Nothing you can say or do can get you into heaven.
There is a lot about Christianity that I don’t understand, from giving up your life in exchange for being spared eternal punishment, to LGBTQ+ discrimination, to not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, to Noah’s Ark. But one of the greatest mysteries to me is prayer. As people grow older, their prayers typically evolve from asking God for what you want to thanking God for what you have and asking him to guide you in the right direction. While the latter appears to be more selfless and appropriate, I can’t help but see it all as just silly.
A few months ago, some of my classmates got into a discussion about whether my college is really all that Christian. I’ve talked before about how I go to an oppressively Christian school that teaches Christian values, has mandatory chapel services, requires a letter of recommendation from a pastor for the undergrad application, and looks down on atheists and those of other beliefs. During this conversation, my Christian friends mentioned that it really wouldn’t be a big deal for a non-Christian student to attend. After all, other than attending chapel, we aren’t required to fast, read the bible, or go to bible study or church. “How bad can it be?” says the Christian student attending the Christian college.
Most of the time, when I hear the word “autonomy”, it’s being referred to as a negative thing. Almost everyone I know has a pretty steadfast “Jesus take the wheel” mindset. They let go of their worries, send up some prayers, and let God take care of the rest. It’s not their problem anymore, nor should it be. If something doesn’t work out, they simply say that it wasn’t in God’s plan for them and that when he closes one door, he opens another.
The idea of autonomy gives many Christians the impression that if they don’t give control to God, then they are playing god in their own lives. They have taken over the god-role and are assuming that they have that omnipotent amount of control and the freedom to do whatever they want. And putting yourself in God’s place is a way of idolizing yourself and your power, which of course goes against God’s very own ten commandments.
This, however, is not how I see autonomy. Continue reading “The Freedom of Autonomy”
We’ve all had those “talks” with our parents where they tell us to have a good attitude and be kind to others even when we don’t want to. Whenever I would have that talk with my mother, she would tell me to “act Christian.” I know that a large part of her reason for saying this is because, frankly, she believes that Christians are morally superior to non-Christians, but I like to think that there is another, better meaning behind this piece of advice. If the people I interact with know (or think they know) that I’m a Christian, then the way that I act will influence their perceptions of Christians and how Christians treat others.