Monday, August 28, 2017

The Evolution of An Atheist

This is just one story of me and my evolution as an atheist. But I feel the themes might be typical in the paths of other atheists, particularly those that were indoctrinated into a faith early on in their lives.

The first step is fear. Most religions rely on fear as some sort of a control tactic. If you aren't afraid, you won't obey. So they create rules (commandments), and they create sins to make us constantly feel guilty, needing retribution or forgiveness of a higher power. If you believe in that higher power, there's always salvation. Along with it comes a life of servitude, tithing, and coercion, but hey it's there. When we stop believing, it's harder to stop the fear. The doubt. "What if" we will tell ourselves. What if we are wrong, and that Ultimate Being is really watching us and tsk-tsk-tsking us for what we are doing/thinking/saying. It permeates our relationships and poisons our brains.

The next step is anger. Once you can get past the fear stage, or IF you get past the fear stage. Yeah, let's back up for a sec. During your fear stage, if you talk to anyone in your religion/cult, what are they going to say to you? "Talk to your pastor" or "pray with me for advice" or "just turn to Jesus, he will guide you". That is insanely frustrating. When you feel that fear, it's LOGIC trying to escape. It's your logical brain saying, "Hey you, silly human. I've got some cognitive dissonance going on here. Help me resolve it!" The way to help resolve cognitive dissonance is not by ignoring it and further masking your doubts by pushing them further down. It's by researching for yourself. EVIDENCE. Humans crave it. From birth, we are little scientists; testing gravity, testing elasticity, testing viscosity, performing tests to see what happens, and then repeating to ensure we get the same result. So......... IF you get past that fear stage and you enter atheism, you often will start to get angry. You can't believe the things you used to say and do. You can't believe that you used to believe in a literal talking snake, a literal virgin birth, a literal man in the sky watching you to make sure you don't masturbate, and that the crackers are literally trans-substantiated into Jesus's body, and the wine into His blood. You think of all the relationships you messed up because of religion. You think of all the times you self-sabotaged because you thought your god wouldn't approve. It could be as simple as that food dish that smelled amazing, but it had shellfish/pork in it. Or that guy/girl who made your heart flutter, but he was a different denomination and your parents wouldn't approve. Even the comments you made on others' videos about how they are going to Hell, or they are a bad person or bad parent. All the HARM you caused simply because you were born in America/Canada/Saudi Arabia, and bred to believe in certain things. This stage can last a very long time. It can be quite annoying to your friends and family as you eviscerate religion on your Facebook feed or make Thanksgivings and Christmases awkward because you can't keep your mouth shut.

The next stage is serenity. You experience an intense calmness and oneness with the world. Death doesn't really scare you anymore because you realize it's just non-existence and you were non-existent for billions of years before you existed, and you'll be non-existent for billions more. You really value your life and understand that if all you have is 100 years, you best not waste them. You start to accept yourself for who you are, and start to wonder about what more you could become.

The next stage is doubt/regret. You will have doubts and regrets. These creep in from time to time as you see other atheists do or say things that you think are shitty. You wonder "did I pick the wrong team?" You wonder if you would just be happier living in your happy little delusion with your parents and original friends. But mostly you miss that comforting feeling that you could say a few words and "know" that all was right. You were forgiven. Anything bad you did, was wiped clean and you had a fresh slate. As an atheist, you don't have that comfort. You have to own everything that you do. When you do shitty things and hurt people, that's on you. For the world/humanity, that's a great thing. It means humans would be more accountable for their action. For yourself, that sucks. Especially if you still can't shake the "sinful" feeling when you express your sexuality, drink, do drugs, etc.

The next stage is connectivism. Google spell check said I made that word up. Fuck you Google. That means that you realize that once you have totally given up your old "tribe", you need to find a new one. If you are reading this, feeling lost and feeling like you could never give up religion completely because it is also your social circle... please know that you aren't alone. I bet that if you google ""Atheist" + "your_city_name"" you will find something there. A meetup group, a book club, an online forum, anything. If not, start one. What's the worst that can happen? Wait, do you live in Saudi Arabia? scratch that. It's not worth death. Please escape that country as quickly as you can and pretend you believe in whatever archaic nonsense will keep you alive. Don't be a hero. You don't deserve beheading for blogging. It is a wonderful feeling when you find your tribe.

The last stage is activism. Once you're in your happy little atheist clique, you really start to wonder... Is THIS all there is? Is this all we do? Do we just sit around and talk about how we all don't believe in God? WTF? No, that's not it my dear reader. Those who reach this stage do wondrous things. Sometimes it's all online. They are social justice warriors fighting in comment sections to protect the disenfranchised and marginalized. They use their white privilege (yes, most atheists are white men it seems) to help better the situations of others less privileged. They march in Pride Parades. The listen to every TED Talk that there is on atheism/religion and they firmly solidify their beliefs. They study counter-Christian apologetics so that when someone uses faulty logic (Pascal's Wager, morality comes from god, et. al.) you can tear it apart so quickly that it will make their head spin. And you know what? You probably won't change their mind. And due to the backfire effect, you may actually solidify THEIR position. However... for people listening, reading, observing.... you are planting a seed of doubt. They think "hmmm that other argument actually made a bit more logical sense". And once that happens, that person is firmly on a track for step 1... fear.

What happens from fear is up to that person, their support circle, and how vibrant, accepting, loving, and compassionate the atheist community is in that person's area. As atheists, we have to "give people parachutes" to jump away from religion. In some religions (LDS, Islam, esp), you would be completely ostracized from family and friends. As hard as that is, you have to get to the anger stage. Once you get there, you will realize your life is much better without those people. You will feel like you are being more true to yourself and the friends you gain by being true to yourself are also more likely to solidify your decision.

There is one complication. Family.

When I "came out" to my mother, it was no big deal. She was a weak Catholic at best. My father was an alcoholic, so his response was incoherent at best. In short, by the time I came out (age 19), I had already been "agnostic" for 2 years and had a few relationships ruined by religion. But I realized that being true to myself was more important than faking a religion to get some pussy. It's important not to reward religious people with the chance at procreation if you are a "6+" on Dawkins' atheism scale lol.

My grandma and her sister who is an actual Sister (like a Catholic nun!!) both constantly remind me "you were baptized! come back to the church Danny". And anytime something good happens they say "oh that is providence Danny, God provides for you". So as I sit here by myself blogging for the first time in 4 years.... I can calmly say fuuuuuuuuuuuck thaaaaaaat. Haha. I'm not angry, but I will not let the beliefs of my grandparents and parents dictate my future.

I'm torn because my children will never have to go through this... that has good and bad implications. Might they not end up apathetic to anything/everything? They will be raised in a secular household that favours politics over religion, current events over prayers, and reading science texts over memorizing scripture. I can't see it being bad, but as a young parent, I'm always worried I'm doing it wrong. Perhaps my next stage in my activism would be to start a secular parenting group to help atheists with children improve their moral education skills. But my guess is that secular parents will already have the step up. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Well it's been almost a year. Time for a new blog.

So recently I found a family member semi-talking behind my back about how my "points and logic" sent another family member into a faith-based nervous breakdown.

He went on to say that religion is actually a net positive thing for our world because of how it brought morality to naturally immoral humans. I had to lol at this, but I also had a break it down further. I am responding here to my brother, but you all get the drift. ------------------------------

Okay first, 1) If "points and logic" send you into a nervous breakdown, then your system of beliefs is extremely fragile. That's your OWN logic trying to escape the grasp of your useless petty faith. Once you let your own logic and reason escape, your life, and everyone around you is better.

2) I'm saddened that he thinks that of me. But it shows his ignorance - because he's never brought up religion around me ever. He obviously sees/hears how I treat certain people on Facebook. The only people that I treat like that on Facebook are people that don't matter to me at all. I use them as practice for when I get confronted on my own beliefs. Debating and insulting them gives me insight into their defenses, and affords me better preparation when I run into people like Len, or when Albert tries to tell me that there's nothing wrong with religion.

3) You've done a really great job so far. Your rebuttals are spot on. Okay, my response to his religion/morality statement would be:



C) I would chastise him for not reading a bit more before he illogically assumes that religion gave us morals. I would also show him this and hope it pisses him off: It may not necessarily be 100% true, but it should still piss him off nonetheless.

D) I would then reason to him that while he is correct that religious people started or managed many things like schools, hospitals, charities, and governments, they also murdered thsoe who didn't believe what they believed, so who would have been LEFT to start all of those things??

And if you presume for a moment that those things would have eventually started regardless as we grew, aged, matured, and were educated, I think if they were done without God, they would be way more valuable and wasted a lot less time on faith-based topics, and a lot more time on science and space exploration, among other things.

Religious people will always say that. Throw in your face that they started most hospitals, schools, etc. But if you were living 1000 years ago, and some guys with torches came to you (as an atheist) and said "HEY! Do you believe that Jesus is God? If you say no, we're going to stab and burn you." You'd probably be like, "Oh yeah, for sure. Jesus rules man." They'd reply, "Well you have to come to this building every Sunday and talk to him. And give us a bit of your income to support our quest to spread the word of his name." You'd be like "Sure, I'll do anything, just don't kill me."

Then, when you later became a great scientist of your time, making discoveries related to whatever field, and you published your work, do you not think people would say, "The Catholic scientist Benesh was a leader in his field, and his church. He blah blah blah... " of course they would! And it's infuriating. When you go around killing and excommunicating people, and then 1500 years later look around the world and find yourself in the majority and you did a lot of good stuff along the way, you can't be proud.

You did it on the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, or ruined the lives of those who told the truth against you. So don't tell me I should be grateful that you started schools and hospitals when "nobody else would". If religion was never created by humans, non-religious good people would be stepping up to do good works just like they are now.

Don't believe me? Read this: "Regarding “group efforts”—, the micro-financing organization that has distributed $261 million to people in 61 nations, has “lending teams” that post their generous efforts online. The leading team on Jan 4, 2013, is “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and the Non-Religious.” These 23,691 benevolent blasphemers have lent $9,587,000 in 326,318 loans. Their simple motto is: “We loan because we care about the suffering of human beings.”

Trailing behind in the #2 slot are the “Kiva Christians” who have loaned $6,012,000. Their supernatural rallying cry is, “We loan because: Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)”"

I can imagine some criticism will be "Well Christians already donate 10% of their money to the church, so they wouldn't have much left to donate to recipients." Bullshit. We all know that very very few will actually give 10% of their income. Is that gross or net anyway? I have been meaning to find out.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Who says Facebook interactions are superficial?

Every so often, I will come across something that someone says, and it will literally feel like I am reading something that I wrote myself. Like I know every word of it before it has been said. Like it opened up the book of my life and looked back 15 years. Rec, some dude named Paul Jackson from LA, California posted this in a group that we're both in called Cult of Dusty. He said,

Yes, I recently attended a funeral and It felt awkward to me because I hadn't seen many of my family since before I "came out" as atheist (on facebook). I know they need their belief that their loved-one is not gone, but just waiting for them in heaven.

When My Dad died, I was 13 years old. And I remember one of my young nieces sitting on my lap and asking me to explain where her grampy was. I told here the usual about him being in heaven, but in the back of my head, I felt like I was lying, because I was already atheist inside, even if I hadn't thought it through completely.

That was 30 years ago now, and I must say that to this day my views on the subject are still slowly evolving. I am in a good place now, where I understand death in a whole different way. I am not afraid of death. It is simply the absence of all awareness, the complete dissolution of the self. The end of all pain, though unfortunately also the end of all pleasure. I have no problem with that. In fact, it's incredibly liberating and makes me want to make the most of my life.

But the journey out of the delusional matrix of religion is a long and hard one. When I realized I was atheist, that was only the start of the journey. Next came figuring out a whole new set of answers to life's big questions.

I am sensitive to this when talking to religious people. They feel so threatened by my beliefs because it is much more than the loss of god, it is the loss of their entire world-view, the loss of their immortal infinite life that they think they have, etc. It's a big shock and the mind reacts to it by regressing back into belief even if there is no evidence.

Monday, May 30, 2011

"I don't know how an atheist thinks."

Anyone recall my blog about Pat Tillman's covered up death? Google the story or videos if you want to read about it. From that movie (The Tillman Story), I probably heard one of the most disgusting quotes I have ever heard. The Tillmans were trying desperately to figure out what happened to their son, how he died, and eventually, it led them to finding out this was a massive cover-up, from all the way up at the top. When the Tillmans began finding out the truth, the lead investigator publicly suggested that they should "move on". In a taped conversation, he said:

"I don't know, these people, they have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs. I don't know how an atheist things, but I can only imagine that'd be pretty tough. If you're an atheist, and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? nothing, you're warm dirt. That's pretty hard to get your head around that."

"So you suspect that's probably a reason why this [investigation] is dragging on?"

"I think so. There's not a whole lot of trust, or faith, in the system."

What the hell? So religious people are smarter or better because they believe what they're told, and don't try to investigate how and why their son was killed? I'm just fucking speechless.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jesus Take the Wheel

I listen to country music sometimes, and the large religious content typically makes me turn the station. However, this time, I really began laughing. I understand that this song is figurative for someone's life, but here are some REAL tips for when you hit black ice:

Here are some winter driving safety tips on how to drive on black ice:

1) As soon as your car begins to slide on black ice, take your foot off the gas pedal. In fact, the last thing you want to do is give your car more gas. It is very important to slow down when you are driving on black ice or in any other winter road conditions.

2) Don't slam the brakes. While it may be a natural instinct to slam on your brakes, this will only cause your car to lose control and slide even more. Tap the brake pedal lightly instead of pushing down hard on it.

3) Look for trouble spots ahead. If you have an idea that there may be black ice ahead (if you see cars ahead of you sliding, for example), downshift to a lower gear before you come onto the black ice. The lower gear will force you to drive more slowly and it will give you better control of your car.

4) If your car does begin to skid on the ice, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. This should help to steer your car back on the right track.

Okay, sounds good. It's good to be prepared in your mind in case this happens so you can help guide your car out of an extremely dangerous situation. Here's what the song says to do:

She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning
On a thin black sheet of glass

She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn't even have time to cry
She was soo-o-o-o-o scared
She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own

I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel

Well, irregardless of her idiocy, she survives somehow, and thanks Jesus for taking control of her car and guiding her to a gentle stop by the side of the road, thus saving her and her baby's life.

While doing so, the song completely undermines actual safe driving techniques. Can anyone think of other examples where belief in God/Jesus stops people from thinking critically or preparing properly for situations?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Facebook comments

How can someone ACTUALLY post this on Facebook, and not understand the fallacy of his/her own words???

It's ridiculous that these religions don't get along. No matter what our faith, be it religious, spiritual or atheist, we are all from the same God. Every religion is semi correct and some what wrong, but every religion boils down to one message. Love God, Love yourself, and Love eachother.

Do you even KNOW what "atheist" means?????

Or how about this person? I surely want some of what they're smoking. Unless they're smoking just "love of God"... in that case, I want none of it.

It's really not what you believe or what's your position in's all about who you're with.....i was taught to belive in one God.....The Father of Jesus and to become one with them....It has been confirmed and revealed to me miraclou...sly....there is a God in my presence through prayer and's all about the sacrifice of the thing and the wrath of God in order to recognize that there is a God in i stand in power with"God the Father and annointed with the Spirit of Jesus"....where everything is alright and if goes wrong it turns out more than right.......Amen!...Behold...." God the Father of Jesus.....since i've become one with them i live life amazingly!! whereby we cry....Amen!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sam Harris quote

Hey anyone,

I just heard an amazing quote from Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith". He was discussing the afterlife and stated:

"I think, therefore, that this concept of the afterlife, really functions as a substitute for wisdom. For really absorbing our predicament. Which is that - everyone is going to die, there are circumstances that are catastrophically unfair, evil sometimes wins, and injustice sometimes wins. The only justice we're going to find in this world is the justice we make, and I think we have an ethical responsibility to absorb this really down to the soles of our feet. This notion of afterlife and the "happy talk" about how it's all going to work out and how it's all part of God's plan is a way of shirking that [responsibility]."

Such a great quote! It is the reason why, when I saw a person on Facebook engaging in MEANINGFUL and INTELLIGENT debate on someone's erroneous Facebook post regarding birth control increases and abortion increases over the past 60 years, I immediately could tell he was a skeptic/scientific mind, so I invited him to join our Regina CFI group. He accepted.

Please, anyone/everyone, be on the lookout for other such people. We can use them in our group. They can help us all usher in a new era of reason and rationality in our world.

Thank you.