Why I ditched Christianity
I was born three times. The first time, it was a physical birth. The second, I became a born-again believer and accepted Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior. The third time, I gave up Jesus and was reborn into The World of Rational and Critical Thinking People.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became a man, I gave up childish things.” - 1 Corinthians 13:11.
(And believe it or not, I’ve misused scripture in worse ways. During my college years I justified drinking with Mathew 4:4, “Man cannot live on bread alone!” And in keeping with the wisdom of King Solomon, I abstained from all labor under the sun because “vanity of vanities, all is vanity! What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?” I knew my catechisms.)
Nowadays I wouldn’t call myself a skeptic, atheist or anything like that. I still believe in a lot of things. A lot of crazy, far-out things too. I’ve also seen some crazy, far-out things (as if that counts for anything). But I have learned to be distrustful of the things I believe and even the things I have seen. Because I have been wrong before (read: because I have been Christian before), I will always be suspicious of my beliefs. I am distrustful of them. I am wary of my own personal biases. I would not die for them. I would not kill for them. I do not look down on others who do not believe the same things I do. Okay that one, maybe, a little, but I do not accuse others of committing a crime, worthy of eternal punishment, for not drawing the same conclusions I have about God (or lack thereof), our origin, destination, etc..
Because genuine belief or disbelief does not equate to sinfulness or wrongdoing. “Credulity is not a crime.” Your willingness to believe something says nothing of your virtues as a person or the quality of your soul. It is just that simple.
Sure I could choose to believe that the Bible was the inspired word of God. It would be easy. I could also choose to believe in countless other books written by countless other people, all pouting the same thing, that theirs is The One True Religion, that, when you die, you go one place really great if you followed all the rules and procedures correctly, or one place really bad if you didn’t. Too bad if you were born in a Muslim country or, from the perspective of the Muslims, too bad if you were born in a Christian country. Too bad if you made the mistake of believing in the wrong thing during your lifetime. It’s off to the eternal soup with you… And that soup is hot.
Well, that could be true – any number of religious dogmas could be true. Theologians use a lot of smart-sounding words and arguments after all, there’s the Ontological Argument, the Cosmological Argument and I hear they’ve even got a teleological one. But there is one argument which defeats them all, and it is not taught at seminaries, or any religious institution for that matter. I’m speaking of the argument of Common Sense.
The Common Sense Argument says that God didn’t give us free will so he could command us to use it the way he wants us to. That God didn’t do the most honorable, glorious act ever by sending his only son to die for us to save us from … himself. That voice inside your head which Christians believe is The Holy Spirit? That’s actually your conscience speaking. Your conscience, not to be confused with certain members of THE ALMIGHTY GODHEAD.
And regular, plain ol’ heathen folk have consciences too. We’ve all got magical voices in our heads. Alright, none of us are perfect. The very word human implies flawed, hence why we say things like I’m only human. We’re only human but we are at least better than the evil, worthless hellbound pukes popularly depicted by The Bible and other great works of fiction. Everyone struggles to do the right thing, just as much as they struggle to do the wrong thing. We’re not good or evil. We’re both. Isn’t that fairly obvious?
I also despise the Christian tenant that this life is a meaningless speck of dust in comparison to eternity, so we might as well just give it all up to Jesus. And that a temporary existence without God would be tragic and meaningless so … heck! Might as well just give it all up to Jesus!
Could it be that one day I will die and everything I did and all memory of my life will eventually be forgotten? That might be true. But nothing can change the fact that I was once alive, that I was here, that I lived and did things, that I happened. Whether I can or cannot be remembered has no bearing on the fact that I happened. I actually happened dammit and that’s enough for me. It has significance. So I am not intimidated by the thought that there might not be a God or an afterlife. At least not intimidated enough to break my ass on an old wooden pew for an hour every week. I can find more worthwhile things to do with my time on Sunday morning like sleeping or reading or making waffles.
Besides, I am not convinced death is the end. We are all born with that same intuition which refuses to comprehend non-existence, which tells us there is more. I believe there is something hiding behind the curtain. I could be wrong.
And if it turns out the Christians got it right, I doubt I’ll be eligible to pluck on harps in the clouds with the flying naked babies for the rest of eternity. I would be a hypocrite to not admit that I might be wrong. Erroneous is a more fitting word because wrong implies wrongdoing, but if the Christians got it right, I’m going to hell for sure. God will boil my ass. Forever! Along with pretty much everyone. Though, honestly, I wouldn’t see the point in any of that (Christians cite something something er uh FOR THE GLORY OF GOD! something something something). Still, I am not afraid. I’m okay with that. That’s a risk I’m willing to take (which, coincidentally, is the same thing I’ve told myself before making my best life choices). I’ll take my chances with pretty much everyone.
Same goes if, on the off chance, the Qur’an isn’t a load of horseshit. If the Muslims win the come one, come all Dice Roll for Eternal Destiny, I doubt Allah will be rewarding me 72 virgins, especially since I just called his holy book a load of horseshit (I wouldn’t go so far as to call the prophet Muhammad a NINNY, because I value the area of flesh and bone that connects my head to my shoulders). If the Hindus got it right then I guess I don’t have too much to worry about. Unless I’m reborn as a malformed Aardvark or something. Maybe I’ll be reborn as a cow? I think I’m moo material. I’d also settle for a moose (Cool!) Nirvana? (Awesome!) But no matter what happens, I’m sticking with my guns.
I’ll pull a Marcus Aurelius (or whoever it was) and take comfort in the fact that If there really is a God and he’s a double-o God, a good God, then he will understand why I have chosen the path that I have chosen.