I don’t usually feel the need to explain myself. I do now though; particularly for the sake of those offended and confused by my rejection of Christianity. I don’t just reject this set of beliefs on a personal level; I actively stand against it in society. It is my strong belief that religion and spirituality should be entirely personal and should never negatively affect the lives of other people around. The term atheist sounds ugly. In society, particularly among the older generation, it is seen as linked or equivalent to Satanism. There isn’t logic in that, of course. If I don’t believe that a “God” exists why would I believe that his imaginary nemesis exists let alone devote myself to that. That would mean that I choose ‘satan’ as my ‘god’. I see no proof of a god; just a bunch of people expecting my automatic devotion to things I disagree with. Blasphemy isn’t a thing. It’s not. The definition is the action or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about sacred things. I can’t blaspheme something if I don’t believe it’s sacred. Regardless, I will actively take a stand against concepts that undermine basic human rights and dignity. I’ve experienced and seen what religion and faith-based belief does to innocents. I believe that the world is slowly discarding religions as new information which all too clearly negates it is discovered. But it’s not fast enough. Religion is still currently ripping away livelihoods, destroying families, perpetuating the inequality of races, the inequality of genders, justifications for sexual assault, justifications for the murders of those who disagree and so on. I see it everywhere. I feel compelled to speak out, help someone and change the future of even just one life. For that to happen I need to lay out my experiences and direct analysis as an open book. This post is actually to explain me.
To hold secular beliefs means to have non-religious values that reflect an emphasis on living in the here and now. It’s about using skepticism and rationalism to question traditional religious beliefs, especially those which go against basic human rights. Very few human beings see themselves as the ‘bad guy’ in any situation. Intention and deeply held beliefs distract many humans from understanding when their actions are, in fact, immoral and harmful. Human beings are, to a large extent, a product of their environment. Very few people ever break out of their environment because it doesn’t just set out the initial course of your life; it also becomes ingrained as part of the individual’s personality. I’ve always been fascinated at why most men genuinely believe that their gender makes them automatically superior to any female human. I’ve always been fascinated by why so many white people still hold beliefs that lower melanin levels in their skin make them automatically superior to any person of colour. I’ve always been fascinated by the obsession that religious humans have over what other humans do with their own bodies and lives. These immoral beliefs are sincerely held and the humans involved truly do not feel as if they are in the wrong when it’s so obvious to the rest of the world. How. How does this happen? How can we all hold sincere beliefs that plainly contradict each other when we live in the same world, often growing up alongside each other? The thing that all humans have in common is, ironically, that we are all immensely different. Not just genetically. The idea of alternate timelines largely revolves around the concept of choice. Every single decision we make, even the words that we use, have a backstory and create a future even when we aren’t conscious of it. There is no such thing as “I just do”. There is a reason even if you don’t realise it. Not many people know themselves at all. I, myself, am only beginning my journey of discovering how my life experiences shaped me as a person.
I was raised in a devoted Christian community. Everyone I knew was Christian. There was never any shortage of Bibles or religious study material. I was taught that nothing in the world was more important than God; not my education, not my family or even myself. I was taught to read my Bible and pray a minimum of twice a day. I went to church every Sunday. I spent years in Sunday school and at home byhearting scriptures of the bible and talking about god. We prayed out loud so that we couldn’t fake it to the adults. We had family prayer night more than we did our school homework. By the age of 15 I had read and studied the entire Bible twice, read hundreds of books and pamphlets about Christianity and been to Sunday morning service, Monday night service, Wednesday night service, Thursday night service and Saturday communions over and over and over again. I believed. I was devoted. It was all I knew. I was so grateful to have been born into the one true religion. I was simultaneously receiving mandated basic education at a public school. This was my only interaction with the world outside of Christianity. I pitied the other kids who were so clearly heading for everlasting hellfire. I cried a lot thinking about how people I knew were going to die torturously during the ‘end of days’. I desperately tried at certain points to push them towards finding god. I wanted to save them so badly. I felt severe guilt about anything that I did contrary to the Bible’s teachings so much so that I often willingly confessed my ‘sins’.
It was not until my second read of the Bible that I began noticing scriptures and ideas that made me feel uncomfortable. Something was off. A huge part of my religious influence to believe was the people around me whom I admired and regarded as role models. She’s smart and really believes; so it must have truth in it. The biggest deterrent for me was the concept of faith. The first thing that kids and new converts are taught is faith. Faith is the absolute foundation of Christianity. Without faith being valued, the bible has no power over the people. In any healthy learning environment, questions are the most valuable. However, in Christianity, it is the one thing you’re not allowed to do. You can murder, be forgiven and go to heaven. You can rape and maim other humans, be forgiven and go to heaven. Any crime is forgivable with a simple apology. However, ultimate sin in Christianity is disbelief and questions. You are NOT allowed to reason or think for yourself. You can be the best human being in the world; the most selfless, kind, loving person and still be damned to an eternity of fire for daring to even question and reject the Bible’s teachings. The most important aspect of religion is believing without question or complaint. It’s basically docile slavery. “Grow up a child in the ways of the lord, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It translates to “brainwash children until their minds won’t allow them to leave even when they are able to gain their own freedom”.
If I was never exposed to male children I might have believed for much longer. As abstract as that might sound it’s actually very true. My very first rejection of Christian beliefs began when I heard sermons revolving around “wives submit to your husbands”. I began to discover my intelligence when I started schooling. My path to education did not cross any male my age who I considered even slight competition for my academic career. At the same time every male I knew openly considered themselves humanly superior to me. There was no correlation. I’ve always been quick to pick up true intentions and feelings. I saw the jealousy and insecurity of males around me grow exponentially as I obliviously won awards and rose to the top of my studies. I’ve never had a male role model. I’ve never admired men in general. There was zero probability of me ever considering them as superior humans to me. I knew that males aren’t superior. I just knew. I scorned the idea of submission for as long as I can remember. By the time I reached 17 I was no longer silent about this matter. When men tried to approach with ideas of marriage and submission, I laughed in their faces. I had had a traumatising childhood at the hands of men around me. I did not trust. Male humans both repulsed and infuriated me. Yet socially speaking, I was at the mercy and control of males. I despised that. The world needs to make sense to me. The very definition of good is to never intentionally harm another living creature. Saying that the bible did not match my standard of morality is ridiculously euphemistic. I still stayed though. I was afraid. I was afraid that even though I no longer agreed with this bible being moral, I did not want to get on the wrong side of an all-powerful god who physically created me. Believe until you agree. That’s faith.
As I got older I began to care less about physical punishment. Being exposed to pain and discomfort on a regular basis raises pain tolerance and desensitises the person to the threat of physical punishment. I eventually crossed the threshold of my fear. This life was mental misery. Being Christian means you accept that you are born ‘wrong’ and automatically deserve torturous death. Many songs feature professing ‘unworthiness’ and ‘worthlessness’. The moral standings did not align. According to Christianity, God looks upon rape and murder as easily forgivable crimes (all you have to do is say sorry) but being gay, which is a personal sexual preference that a human is born with, is one of the worst crimes. Consensual sex outside of marriage is more shameful than a man raping someone. I’ve never felt safe or comfortable in church environments. How could I whilst knowing that all these men believe that it is their divine right to have all women submit to them under the pretense of superiority. During a sermon that scarred itself into my memories, I remember the old evangelist scream-preaching that girls in miniskirts are asking to be raped. I became aware of the excessive ‘confessions’ that men did amongst themselves and to the pastor of their crimes. Wrongs against women need no punishment or justice for the victims. Their crime is “between them and god”, even though it was against the women. Everything felt wrong. I felt constant indignation at their blatant audacity. Eventually, I stop caring about this hellfire story. Maybe I was predestined for it. I just could not accept my fate on earth. I did not want to live at the mercy of males. I grew to despise Sunday mornings. It was a constant reminder of social injustices. I began logically observing or forcefully daydreaming to escape the onslaught that reached my ears. My education had taught me that I was not crazy or unreasonable. I wasn’t overreacting. I had learned to trust and value my own mind.
I got into this mindset that I will not bow to evil no matter who and what I lose. “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” Teaching that consensual sex is the ultimate sin is toxic to human beings. Life is difficult as it is. Why should I box myself into miserable rules and make it so much worse? I did not want to pay my pastor 10% of my money. I saw his riches and the deep struggles of the poverty-stricken in the church. He didn’t work. But he had 4 kids and lived a marvelously comfortable life. He even had a sermon about whether the 10% is before or after tax. The tithing (10%) is mandatory and if you don’t pay it is a massive sin deserving of eternal punishment unless you confess and pay back your debt (accumulates if you haven’t been paying). Then there are offerings, defined as “the amount you think God deserves”. Vindictive and evil. Churches give out bibles to the poor. Bibles. Can they eat them? Can they use the pages for clothes? Can they send their kids to school with them? Can they build homes out of bible bricks? You’re feeding them poison by telling them they’re inherently deserving of punishment. Deceitful, pretentious and severely misguided. Yet there are good people who are stuck in this. Some are oblivious to the truth because they’ve never been exposed to it. Some just never read their bibles and follow their pastor’s manipulations. There are so many overwhelming reasons for my decision to leave and fight against it. I want to help people break free from the evils of religion. It was a difficult and desolate path for me. It need not be for others. I want the truth to be valued over tradition. The concept of faith is dangerous. Teaching a child to uncritically accept your religious lies is teaching them not to think. You are teaching them that belief, without evidence, is acceptable. This damages the child’s ability to reason. Add to that teaching the child that they’re born worthless and that normal behaviour is sinful and that the sinful are hell bound and you get a clear pattern of psychological abuse. Atheism is often heavily misrepresented. There are no meeting places of worship or songs or organised delusions. It’s entirely different individuals. It’s not a community. I am just a person who understands that the gods that exist today are entirely manmade. I have my own theories on life originating from my own personal analysis of life. I believe that there is nothing nobler than standing up for those who cannot do it themselves. I believe in humanity, in making the world better here and now.
My journey to freeing my mind is still ongoing. The brainwashing goes far deeper than I ever imagined. But I have never felt safer, happier or more content with who I am. ““Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha
My rejection of religion was, above all, the purest form of freedom I have ever experienced. The human brain is our most valuable yet most under-cared for part of our being. Simply because it is not constantly visible. Mental health is critical for overall health. Religious teachings significantly damage an individual’s ability to think rationally. I was once afraid of non-existent beings. Because I believed, they existed. My imagination has always been overactive. I believed in demons, angels, monsters and I was cripplingly afraid of the dark and the battles of the spiritual realm. They were real in my head and I felt tortured by my own mind when I chose to leave. I was in constant fear of the wrath of God for my disbelief. It took me years to figure out that fear of the supernatural is all in your head. Believing in such things alters one’s state of consciousness. To say that the human brain is complex is severely euphemistic. Often our fears are irrational and self-inflicted based on our life view. When I became sure of the existential impossibility of the supernatural beings I was taught of, my fear for them vanished also. Fear is natural and necessary. But it is being used to cripple people’s ability to see the truth and stand up for their own thoughts. Religion dips into core human fears to control and manipulate the public. I have no issue with personal spirituality and beliefs, however, organised religion and beliefs that attempt to restrict other human beings’ basic human rights – those are the things that I will continue to fight against. I believe in giving the power back to the people and absolute human rights for every person.