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Oct 10 2012

Why I am an atheist – otter3377

Its amazing how being “saved” can begin to change your attitude towards religion. My family did not regularly attend church, but as an young teen, my mother brokered a deal with my sister and I that if we attended church on Sundays, our chores would be waived for that period of time. Sounded like a great deal to an adolescent. After a couple of weeks of attendance, I was invited to an event featuring a religious speaker who everyone said I would really enjoy listening to. After receiving permission from my mother, the trip was set and we arrived there on a weeknight evening to listen to the individual.

I honestly remember very little of the specific lecture, probably what you would hear at any event of this nature. It was more so about the excitement in the air and the big smiles and glassy-eyed gazes. The next thing I know, I’m being SAVED! All I needed to do was accept jesus christ as my savior. Easy enough. Whoopee!

I arrived home to tell my mother of the exhilerating experience and when I had finished, there was a confused look on my mother’s face. I mean, it kind of didn’t matter what I did, if I asked for forgiveness, I could still get to heaven. Surprisingly, my mother stated that if I didn’t want to attend church anymore, I didn’t have to. Well, that was just fine as well because there was really no enjoyment in that anyways.

You would think that getting a free ticket to heaven would be a life-changing experience, and you would be right. Just not towards a life of religion and worship. I began to feel as if I had been tricked. How could you do things that might be considered immoral, or at least wrong in god’s eyes, and still get to the pearly gates by saying you were sorry? It didn’t work with my parents. It didn’t feel right and it actually made me feel kind of dirty, like I had been “mentally molested” or manipulated.

Well, that was the start of my journey into reality and clear thought. Within the next year, several close relatives died.One was my uncle, who was in a coma for four years from an accident before dying (asked myself, why did we keep him alive to be a vegetable?) and my grandfather, who I watched suffer and die a slow death from pneumonia and emphysema. Upon his death, I felt a great sense of relief that he was no longer suffering. Relatives questioned my lack of emotion and it was difficult to explain by telling them I was relieved that he was gone.

Those events sealed the deal for me and I have never looked back and never questioned my decision. I have spent time in the military and had to keep my views to myself to keep from being ostracized. My professional and adult life has been spent primarily if the Southeastern United States where faith is as important as cornbread and fried chicken. I even work for a Fortune 100 company and still have to keep my lack of faith thinly veiled to keep from missing out on opportunities or being socially ignored.

Its amazing to me that with all the emphasis we try to put on our freedom of thought and of speech in our country, those with the freest and clearest thinking are the ones who have the least amount of acceptance to excercise those rights without being shouted down or threatened.

otter3377

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Pyra

    Its amazing to me that with all the emphasis we try to put on our freedom of thought and of speech in our country, those with the freest and clearest thinking are the ones who have the least amount of acceptance to excercise those rights without being shouted down or threatened.

    It is indeed! Cheers to your story!

  2. 2
    kreativekaos

    Its amazing to me that with all the emphasis we try to put on our freedom of thought and of speech in our country, those with the freest and clearest thinking are the ones who have the least amount of acceptance to excercise those rights without being shouted down or threatened. –otter3377

    Man, I feel ya. I too have always found that to be one of the great hypocrisies of being American.

  3. 3
    Aratina Cage

    Its amazing how being “saved” can begin to change your attitude towards religion.

    It sure is. I remember the first time I went to a Baptist kids event and they pulled the whole “Are you saved?” nonsense on us. It probably did more to make me take a step back and look critically at all of religion than anything else because it was so morally unhinged.

  4. 4
    mnb0

    I recognize this one. When I was 13 or 14 two representants from Youth for Christ came proselityzing in class – it’s part of freedom of speech in The Netherlands; atheists were welcome too. As it was late 70′s a classmate asked: “What about Pinochet? If he repents just before he dies, will he go to heaven?” The answer was yes.
    No christendom for me since then.

  5. 5
    Dhorvath, OM

    Relatives questioned my lack of emotion and it was difficult to explain by telling them I was relieved that he was gone.

    I feel this one having been in the same boat more than once. I do get upset at funerals because of those around me who are exhibiting intense emotion, not out of grief, but empathy. Still, I just don’t get the dialogue attached to these events, there are worse things than dying.

  6. 6
    ericpa

    Thanks Otter for your honest post. One question for you though.

    You said that you don’t think it’s right that a person can continue to live an immoral life, just ask for forgiveness, and be ok. But doesn’t that just agree with what the Bible says in 1 John 3? http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%203:6&version=NIV

    Sorry to hear you feel ostracized, I often feel that way when I try to talk to friends and family member about Christ.

    Best Regards,
    Eric

  7. 7
    Aratina Cage

    Ericpa, when you say that you talk about Christ, do you mean when you proselytize? Or are you talking about your attempts to get friends and family to see that it is all BS?

  8. 8
    Sastra

    ericpa #6 wrote:

    “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

    I think this passage can’t be taken literally, because it implies that either nobody has ever seen, known, or lived “in Christ” — or that true Christians do not sin. They make no mistakes, do no wrong, at all.

    I suspect it has to be massaged then, to come out saying what the believer thinks it ought to say. Interpretations go all over the map.

    I doubt that you’ll disagree when we tell you that many Christians disagree with your position (whatever it is.) If you can agree that these mistaken Christians are mostly sincere, and doing what they think is right — then keep in mind that this group contains you.

    How do you think you can get an atheist to choose between which Christians are right — and which are wrong — once this involves who relates better to God and therefore interprets correctly?

  9. 9
    robster

    Hmmm…keen to save. What’s the interest on offer? If you look around, you can still get 5%.

  10. 10
    Jerry

    Eric,
    By your version of Christianity, a person can be an immoral depraved monster, a mass murderer, then undergo a sincere last minute repentance, be “saved” 30 seconds before entering the gas chamber, die without sinning any more, and go to heaven.

    Another person of a non-Christian faith or none at all can help fellow humans his or her whole life, be a good mother or father, save lives, but because of rejecting the chance to convert to your “true faith” (one among many “true faiths”), this person will go to hell.

    Do you still wonder why people make fun of the concepts of being “saved” or “born again”?

  11. 11
    ericpa

    Hmm, can’t seem to post my response. Maybe this will go through, but did I break the rules somehow?

  12. 12
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    The Christian terrorist who murdered Dr. George Tiller went ahead with his crime only after his pastor assured him that “once saved, always saved” and it didn’t matter if he committed sins–he could still go to paradise.

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