Why I am an atheist – Melody Wainscott

I could waste time being disappointed in myself that it took 50 plus years for me to realize I am an Atheist; a much better use of my time is to realize that I now know the full extent of work required to rewire the hardwiring of a thorough brainwashing. I know the value of this knowledge in helping me to understand the tactics of my enemy who did this to me when I was a small child.

My enemy is religion, specifically Christianity.

As the daughter of a S. Baptist minister, I took the full assault on my female person, not being worthy of anything but marriage and motherhood, lived that lie, found it to be a lie, so left and took my offspring with me into a new world called higher education. I studied biology and chemistry in my 30s, did undergraduate research, learned how to think and how to ask questions, asked questions, and found a huge elephant in the room instead of logic at the very foundation of the Christian religion that negated the whole need for salvation and the Christian religion. The elephant: Original Sin that none can escape is presented as the reason we all need to be “saved” and the reason for Christianity; however, when I read Genesis, I find that Original sin could not have been a sin according to the definition of sin. And, if Original sin is not a sin, then there is absolutely no need whatsoever for Christianity. This seems entirely reasonable.

In order to commit a “sin”, we have to know the difference between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, etc., and then we must be able to choose to do wrong or “sin.” When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, something happened to them, according to scripture: they realized they were naked (Hey, this is wrong!) so they did something they had never done before. They made some sustainable clothing from nearby fibers. That’s the evidence that a change occurred in their perspective. Now they knew what was “good” and “evil”, “right” and “wrong”, when before eating that apple, they didn’t know the difference between good and evil or right and wrong. Got that?

Before they ate that apple, Adam and Eve had no idea that it was right or wrong to be naked. They had no idea that there was “right and wrong”, which includes the subset of knowledge of “obedience and disobedience”. So, how is it, exactly, that they could have chosen to disobey god (sin) before they knew the difference between good and evil? They couldn’t have chosen to disobey or obey anything or anyone before they ate that apple because they wouldn’t have had the cognitive means to have that internal dialogue that precludes sin: “Wow that looks really delicious. Yeah, but god said not to eat it. But I’m hungry so if he didn’t want me to eat it, why put it there? Yeah, but god said not to eat it and if you do, you’ll be disobeying god and disobedience is evil and wrong and you’ll be punished. Yeah, that’s right, god said not to do it and so it would be evil and wrong for me to eat it.” There was no angel/devil sitting on their shoulders, yet, weighing the pros and cons of disobedience to god.

No sin could have been committed until AFTER Adam and Eve ate the apple and gained the concepts of right and wrong. Jesus, if you are going to tell a story, keep the facts straight! Remember, it was the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so they couldn’t have known the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, until AFTER they ate the apple. That means eating that apple was not a sin. And that conclusion is based on the fact that the scriptures show a radical change in the perceptions of Adam and Eve AFTER they ate the apple when they chose to make some clothing.

DUH to the infinite power (I mean it both ways).

Bottom line: the Christian god is unjust, just any other human-like tyrant and dictator, setting a dish of candy within reach of the equivalent of a 2 year old, yet telling the child they will go to hell for eternity if they eat a piece of that candy and expecting the child will understand THAT when they don’t yet know the difference between right and wrong. According to scripture, if god was a human (Jesus?), he should have to go to hell for causing his offspring to sin by putting that tree there to begin with, or at least he should have to pluck his eye out or maybe chop off his hands for planting that tree. (Or maybe be crucified? Now that’s sick if that’s his scheme.) What exactly is the difference between tempting and testing, anyway?

By the time I got to this stage of thinking, I was about 38 years old. I left the church and I took my offspring with me, happy to be in my “I don’t know” period, and relating to Richard Feynman and his eloquent I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things; in fact I find it much more interesting. It took another 13 years to reach my current identity of Atheist, where I can say out loud that I don’t believe in any god. With this realization came the memory that I never for one minute believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, either. I never told anyone, though, because I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to be liked…like everyone else.

With age, I find I would rather be honest and say I don’t believe in god, any god, and I think that if a human does believe in a god, then that human is a victim of brainwashing, denial, ignorance, and the need to continue to believe in Santa Claus and the continuing hideous, illiterate lie that human sacrifice is actually going to do something good for someone, that it is anything besides murder, which, by the way, is against god’s law. That’s a solution? Human sacrifice? Of your own kid? That’s the best god can come up with to fix a problem god caused when god pretended to create humans with free will? Let’s see, I’ll have to break my own law “Thou shalt not kill” to offer them salvation.

Shades of Melak, don’t Christians know where this need to kill first born sons comes from? Wow, godly “duct tape” is just plain STUPID, just like we people who created IT and our stupid god, in our image. This is the behavior of people who just can’t deal, period.

See, Nature is red in tooth and claw, and we have to get over it. We don’t get to escape life without going through some of it, so put the stinky stockings back on your feet and quit cluttering up the mantle with them waiting for Santa. There is real work to be done and it doesn’t include imaginary friends like Jesus, his father or his mother (commonly referred to as a ghost), Casper, Wendy, Scooby Doo, or Archangels with fluffy wings.

So, anyone want to know what became of my Christian family? They like to say things like how are you going to feel when you hear your kids screaming in agony from hell because you taught them to be Atheists? Wow, can you feel the Christian “God is love” thing? Feels exactly like coercion through fear tactics to me, and brothers and sisters, that’s not love, and not worthy of loving, by you or by me.

I suggest we all love ourselves, take responsibility for ourselves, and make amends where needed; emancipate ourselves, educate ourselves, pop our Disneyland Jesus cherries, get off our knees and actually do something good and helpful for anyone, including ourselves by getting off our knees. If all we’ve got to offer people is “I’ll pray for you”, then we’ve got nothing to offer at all.

Melody Wainscott


  1. says

    Fantastic. I too am disappointed in myself that I didn’t see the problems with Christianity sooner, but I think you’ve made up for it with that brilliantly reasoned destruction of it. The thought control in fundamental Christianity is huge. You’ve done a brave thing.

    Someone described the story of Eve eating the fruit as an “anti-technology myth” and that makes sense. It’s about promoting ignorance. God didn’t want them to know stuff. That’s what religion is: pro-ignorance.

  2. raven says

    The Genesis story of the Garden of Eden is a fascinating one that, as Melody points out, doesn’t say what the religionists claim.

    1. How were the first two people to know that they should not eat the apple. They had no idea of right or wrong,…until they ate the apple!!!

    2. What is the Tree of Knowledge doing in the Garden anyway with two naive kids wandering around? Why isn’t it on Jupiter or on XYZPRATZ, a planet 5 million light years away? This was just asking for trouble. God is an idiot.

    3. Supposedly the xian god is omniscient. Shouldn’t he have known at the beginning that putting two naive humans and a magic tree in the same garden wasn’t going to come out well. The average human parent can figure that out.

    The conclusion is inescapable. Either the xian god is an idiot or Adam and Eve were set up to fail.

    4. What the xians never mention is that god kicked the first humans out of Eden because he was afraid of them. There was another tree, the Tree of Life, immortality. If you eat from the Trees of Knowledge and Life, you become gods yourself. “Like us”. Incidently, who is this “us” here. The early bible is polytheistic.

    One tree down (Knowledge), one tree to go, Life. The gods are right to fear humans.

  3. raven says

    The idea of original sin isn’t found in Genesis.

    It was invented IIRC, by Saint Augustine of Hippo during the early xian era.

    IIRC, the Jews, whose story it was and is, don’t believe in it.

    Why should the sins of the first two people fall on their descendants forever. This isn’t justice. Even we humans don’t punish children for what their parents did. According to the bible this isn’t justice either

    (Of course, other parts of the bible punish children for variable nunbers of generations for what their parents did, one of the many contradictions). But even here, it is finite.

    It’s not even clear that eating the apple was really a sin and bad. Without that event, the entire human race would consist of two fruit eating, brainless, immortal humans forever.

    While the Genesis story if fascinating and doesn’t say what the xians claim, there is a larger problem too. It’s just a myth, it never happened.

  4. raven says

    Ezekiel 18:20
    The Soul Who Sins Shall Die
    20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

    It says in several places in the magic book that we are all responsible for our own actions and not those of our parents or children.

    Of course, it says the opposite in several other places.

  5. hotshoe says

    Melody, I’m so sorry you have those revolting family members who cheerfully spout stories about your children screaming in agony. Those people are terrorists. Okay, they may not (probably not) have ever acted out their terrorist fantasies, so they’re not as bad as suicide bombers and members of the Inquisition. But terrorists nonetheless.

    And yet they seem so normal, and they’re so well-accepted in American society. Because their cult of hatred is the dominant one, only a few people question their “right” to terrorize children. I’m so glad you were able to get away, and especially glad you got away before you accidentally infected your own kids with their hatred.

    Best wishes for many more happy years!

  6. otrame says

    Now that, friends, is an atheist sermon. Beautifully written and full of passion. The truth really does set you free.

    Thank you for that Melody.

  7. generallerong says

    “If all we’ve got to offer people is ‘I’ll pray for you’, then we’ve got nothing to offer at all.”

    Thanks for that! [tattooing it onto brain so it will be handy for future use]

  8. shaggymaniac says

    I don’t often comment here, but this piece really resonated with me, so first, thank you for writing and sharing it. Here’s why it moved me to reply…

    Even after I had long abandoned belief in pretty much anything literal in the bible, esp. the garden of eden narrative, I was still clinging to my (Lutheran) heritage and trying to make something worthwhile out of continuing my church membership and participation. Even though none of the evidence supported the existence of any god, there was something still compelling me to try to make the whole thing work in some metaphorical sense. Eventually, I came to the realization that it was the myth of “sin” that had been burned into my brain that kept me hanging around. And, it wasn’t even “original sin”, it was just the whole notion of sin in general. Waking up and accepting that there simply exists a range of human behavior and that, as a human, of course my own behaviors will fall variously along that range, I could finally jettison the false belief that there is some cosmic evaluation of my behavior that I needed to be concerned about.

    Though I think the people of the (liberal/humanistic) congregation that I left were actually well-intentioned and doing their best to act from a posture of love rather than fear, I could no longer deny that the whole notion of divine forgiveness/grace in response to sin was anything other than cosmic mental and emotional abuse. The christianity that had once meant so much to me, turned out to be an institution whose self-perpetuating MOA was a set up for failure. Learning to accept that “I am human and that is quite enough” has been emotionally/spiritually/cognitively liberating in a way that “God’s grace” never was nor, I realize now, ever could have been.

    Last thing, I can’t really claim in my own experience with christianity to have suffered the overtly abusive treatment that you described – I’m sorry that was the case for you and congratulate you for leaving/escaping it. However, I’m now painfully aware of how insidious the underlying abusive belief system is even within congregations that otherwise treat each other well. The sad thing is that I think a lot of people just don’t know, as can be the case with abuse victims in general, that it doesn’t have to be that way.

  9. nonny says

    I admire you for having the courage to leave your marriage, get educated and look at your faith honestly. It’s inspiring.

    I agree the story of Adam and Eve makes no sense, not just for your reason but also because it contadicts evolution and it seems unfair that God would allow the snake to tempt Eve and Adam, just for kicks. And it seems a huge overreaction to damn all humans just because the first two didn’t do exactly as they were told.

    The doctrine of original sin is vile. To say that a baby, who hasn’t done anything yet, deserves to burn forever because their ancestor ate a piece of fruit is just ridiculous and monsterous.

    Thanks for sharing your story; I enjoyed reading it.

  10. flapjack says

    What I got from that myth was
    #1 God doesn’t like anyone smarter than him on his turf, he seems to be obsessed with his status as the smartest guy in the room [or garden in this case]. I could see God running Enron.
    #2 God is preventing someone getting at least one of their five a day.
    #3 It’s all the fault of teh wimmins, cause they show initiative and aren’t unquestioning sheeple. Bad wimmins.
    #4. Healthy nutrition and knowledge are the first sins in the bible. Adam and Eve should have eaten of the fruit of the chocolate dumbass tree.

  11. pamsmigh says

    Thanks, Melody. Have been saying this for years. In addition….

    Religionist – “well, God had to let us sin because he wanted to give us free will instead of us being automatons.”

    Me – “so, is there free will in heaven?”

    Religionist – “yes”

    Me – “so, why don’t people sin in heaven?”

    Religionist – “they no longer want to. they’ve ‘passed the test'”

    Me – “then why didn’t God put is in the ‘no longer want to’ mindset here on earth? why is ‘passing the test’ so important to an all knowing, all-loving God? why is it so important for him to test puny, non-powerful, non-omniscient us? and he knew we would fail (as others have pointed out too)? why not put us into the same state here as exists in heaven = free will AND no desire for sin?”

    Religionist – “ummmmm…..”