How I stopped believing in religion–Part One (the foundation of my disbelief)

This morning as I dove Aishah to school after dropping Josh off and before driving to work, I sat behind an annoying man who drove everywhere at 40kmph – the recommended speed for speed bumps, and slowed down further for speed bumps. I sat frustrated, unable to overtake the moron thanks to oncoming traffic… sat there mesmerized by the twirling Rosary dangling from the idiot’s rear view mirror. And I wondered to myself… Why do believers believe? And I don’t only mean idiots like Mr. Slowpoke from this morning – I mean people in general.

I know how belief works, and indoctrination, but when I think about it, it’s no excuse really. I’ve always said that I stopped believing in god at sixteen years old, but the truth is, despite my Roman Catholic upbringing and Sunday School followed by Mass every week, I was never much of a Christian except on the surface. So before I can relate how I stopped all belief in god, I must lay down the foundation, explain my thoughts and beliefs up until then. So here goes, here is who I was as a child and teenager, or at least, here are a few tricky concepts that I already disbelieved in as a child:

The Holy Trinity

To be honest, I struggled to get my head around praying to Jesus on day one of Sunday school at six years old. If god created the world, why did he need to send down his son? Why is his son also him? Why do they need a third person, the holy spirit? Why not just one?

None of this stuff makes any sense and smacks of made up stories just passed along without thinking.

Confession

I had to do my first confession at eight years old. However, this was one thing I immediately rejected. Why should I go confess my sins to some creepy old guy and then say a few prayers to have them be forgiven? Just so I can eat the magic unleavened bread? (See next point.) But why is all that necessary? If Jesus died for my sins, why do all this stuff?

I was the only kid in class to bunk First Confession by pretending to be sick, so I didn’t get mine with Fr Tom, but had to go to mean old Fr Roche the following week all by myself. To boot, I had to make up some sins.

Communion

The magic unleavened bread transforms into the body of Christ. Literally. And we eat it. Need I say more?

Needless to say, eight year old me didn’t believe that either. I saw no reason to ask questions about it or discuss it with anybody. Hello, magic isn’t real.

Original sin

So my understanding as a child was… emphasized Eve did not eat an apple, but they were punished for something else. What? And does this mean the talking snake and creation from a rib didn’t happen either? I knew children’s stories that made more sense.

So we are all guilty of Cain killing Abel, because Original Sin. And being baptized forgives us for that; otherwise if we die as babies we go to Limbo. This doesn’t seem fair. How come some sins are inherited but not others? If my great grandfather stole a packet of cigarettes and I don’t get baptized, will I go to Hell?

Jesus died for our sins

Thanks, buddy! Also, so what? How does that work? Can I borrow some chocolates from my brother, and instead of repaying him, take on some of his sins?

To be fair, that last line is just me being a smartass now. I didn’t think that far as a child. Whenever anybody spoke about Jesus dying for us I just zoned out and thought about something else because… obvious nonsense is obvious.


So there you have it. I didn’t believe in all those things, but did believe in god, and did believe in Heaven. That was me as a child and teenager. Next time I’ll write about rejecting the rest of the bullshit as well as all other religions. Or maybe I won’t, depending on my mood. This subject is no longer as interesting as it was when I started writing. No, really… I’m sitting here and remembering Sunday school and Mass and starting to nod off.

Are you waiting for Jesus to return? Don’t hold your breath because there is no situation that would satisfy your wait.

This is one of those things I think about every so often and have a good laugh.

Earlier I saw this question posed on an atheist group:

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately into the Bible. On a level that I never did before. And even assuming that the Abrahamic God exists I could not accept Jesus. All the false prophecies and misquotations and so on to “prove” Jesus as the Messiah.

I feel almost sorry for the Jews. It makes complete sense from a theological standpoint that Christianity is false. Does anyone else feel this way too?

This was my reply:

12-10-2017 10-31-34 AM

Maybe it needs elaboration?

Let’s play a little game… Assume all three Abrahamic religions are true. In reality, they can’t all be true at once, but don’t worry about that.

We start out assuming the Jews are right. Then, the Christians claim that Jesus is the messiah that they were waiting for. Let’s assume they were correct. To make that claim, they had to impose their own meaning on prophecies from the Torah, meaning that would never be accepted by Jews. Then, we are left waiting for Jesus to return. As a Christian, that is your purpose: To wait.

The Muslims go off on another tangent completely. While claiming to “accept” Jesus, they redefine who he was. So we have another Abrahamic religion, one that similarly can never be accepted by Christians. Just like the Christians claim they follow the god of the Jews and yet their doctrine contradicts its source material in such a way that their theology is obviously false and does not follow from the prophecies it claims to fulfill, so does Islam contradict Christianity. However, in both cases, someone indoctrinated into the respective religion will not realize the truth, since their indoctrination includes being taught their own holy text, which has already altered its own source.

But let’s take a step back. The Christians are waiting for Jesus to return. Under what conditions can that wait be satisfied? The answer, ironically, is none. The world has moved on in the last two thousand years. Most people, and let’s ignore the crackpots, do not credulously accept anyone who claims to be god. No matter how sincerely Christians might believe that their saviour is coming back, even if it were true (and it is not), if he actually came back, they would never accept him. And if anyone succeeds in making a strong enough case for being the returned saviour, in reality nothing will change. They’ll just be another charismatic human making claims while the world continues to move on. The best they can achieve is to start yet another Abrahamic religion. (Hey, at least this time maybe we can have a daughter of god?)

What this means is that as long as Christianity exists, there will be Christians waiting for Jesus to return. They will all die waiting, because there is no conceivable situation that would meet the criteria for Jesus being back. The Christians (and I don’t know enough about those other two religions to know if it applies to them too) are thus left perpetually waiting.

So what’s really likely to happen while Christianity still exists and believers carry on waiting for a man who will never come, is that the absurdity of the perpetual wait will become obvious to more people. The more years pass since the supposed life and crucifixion, the more absurd it becomes to continue waiting for Jesus to return. It might take a while, but obvious superstitious nonsense like Christianity is going to die a long and uninteresting death. Right now we have loads of Christians who try to persuade everyone that tolerance of other religions is an attack on Christianity, because on some level they might see what is coming. Theirs are the death throes of their religion. In reality, and apart from a few extremists and some crazy people, that’s all the death throes of Christianity will entail – some words from believers trying to prevent their doomed religion from fading away. But fade it will… into obscurity just like all the other religions that we call mythology today. And good riddance.


Interestingly, I don’t think Islam suffers from this same problem as Christianity. They’re not waiting for anyone to come back (as far as I know). Perhaps that makes Islam in a sense a more “pure” religion. A nonsense one of course, as it is all based on the ramblings of a madman who believed his creator dictated his holy texts in a cave, a religion that includes tales of a man riding a magic flying donkey and splitting the moon, but nevertheless, a religion that does not leave its followers waiting for a saviour who will never come. Thus if one looks past the obvious crazy stuff (that those indoctrinated into the religion will not be able to see anyway), it can be seen as a religion that gives greater meaning to its believers. Maybe that’s why Islam is the fastest growing religion, and is projected to remain that way for years to come? Maybe on some level Christians realize this? A religion that includes misogyny even worse than that practised by Christians… No wonder so many Christians hate them so. It is disturbing to think that this variant of the disease of religion is spreading, isn’t it?