Tag Archives: Christianity

Atheism Video Resources

Understandably, few people want to devote possibly hours to searching Google and sifting through/watching numerous video links on Atheism in order to eventually find the best ones unless they possess a healthy dose of obsessive curiosity. Even so, if you are unaware of the type of material available, for example, you may not know what search criteria is best. In the end, many will conclude the rewards are not worth the effort. Therefore, in the interest of promoting Atheism awareness, I have done the work for you.

After a while of searching and compiling, a centralized source is now available.

It is useful if:

  1. You are Religious and want to learn more on Atheism/Agnosticism. If you wish to discover what we believe on a given subject, chances are you will find the answer in one of my links because many believers have asked the questions before you. The reality, is that the same themes arise time and again. Curious? Follow my link at the end of this entry and see for yourself.
  2. You are Agnostic/Atheist and know little of the work available.
  3. You are Agnostic/Atheist and have already seen many videos on the subject.

The descriptions that come with the links are fairly self-explanatory. I have amassed many hours worth of video and arranged them first under General (which includes documentaries) and later under Individuals (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett and Ayaan Hirsi Ali).

If you have a link you believe is good enough to be added, include it in your comment.

Feed your mind.  Access my Atheism Video Resources page here.

Would you marry a Theist?

I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris.

“The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t. Either Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation (John 14:6), or he does not. We agree that to be a true Christian is to believe that all other faiths are mistaken, and profoundly so. If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell. Worse still, I have persuaded others, and many close to me, to reject the very idea of God. They too will languish in ‘eternal fire’ (Matthew 25:41). If the basic doctrine of Christianity is correct, I have misused my life in the worst conceivable way. I admit this without a single caveat. The fact that my continuous and public rejection of Christianity does not worry me in the least should suggest to you just how inadequate I think your reasons for being a Christian are.” -Sam Harris

Sam Harris succinctly states his position (and my own as well) right on the first page. I am sufficiently unconvinced of Christian doctrine to not lose any sleep with angst over eternal damnation. Moreover, my skepticism directly influenced my younger sister’s Christian deconversion years ago (she is now an Atheist) as well as that of a former significant other who is now a pantheist. My current offline friends whom also attended Catholic schools right up until their High School graduation, are now Atheists as well.

“If I were to turn into a deeply religious believer, my wife has threatened to leave me.” -Richard Dawkins

Hearing him say the above, gave me a chuckle.

He brings up an interesting point. How important is it for an Atheist that their romantic partner be Atheist/Agnostic?

My first significant other was a Mormon who had done missionary work in Africa. The missionary work had the opposite effect on their Faith. When we met, I was calling myself Agnostic and they confided that they had been having serious doubts about their Faith for several years since. We had many discussions about Religion and by the time our friendship turned to romance, they were defining themselves as Agnostic as well.

The sheer terror they felt at confessing their Agnosticism to their parents–much less that they were dating an Agnostic–greatly disturbed me. The fear was justified. I feared for their life as well. In the end, that former significant other died without the family knowing of their Agnosticism–or my existence for that matter. I could not even attend the funeral.

It is baffling that in many parts of the world, one can fear for one’s life for simply refusing to believe in absurdities. That people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali must live under armed guard for the crime of reason, is disgraceful.

In my case, I cannot respect and therefore accept an individual as a potential romantic partner if they see enough justification for belief in a personal God. That level of cognitive dissonance greatly diminishes their desirability. Even with the ex that was a Catholic, by the time we began dating, Christianity was out the window.

So, for Atheists, how important is lack of religious cognitive dissonance in a mate? Would you date a Theist? Would you marry a Theist? If the answers to the last two questions differ, why so? In the mate selection process, does extent of religiosity make a difference? Does the type of Religion make a difference? Let us exclude Buddhism from the list as it resembles a philosophy more than a Religion.

How many phobias can YOU get from reading the Bible?

I was thinking of phobias earlier today, and decided to compile a satirical list of phobias one could conceivably ‘catch’ from reading the Bible, believing in its contents, and partaking in its practices. I have separated them into the following six categories: Time, Environment/Animals, The Church, Unworthiness, Pleasures and the Body, and Punishment. They are self-explanatory. Within each category, the phobias are organized alphabetically.

Time
Apeirophobia– Fear of infinity.
Chronophobia– Fear of time.

Environment/Animals
Antlophobia-Fear of floods.Arsonphobia/Pyrophobia– Fear of fire.
Astraphobia/Brontophobia/Keraunophobia/Tonitrophobia
– Fear of thunder and lightning.
Astrophobia– Fear of stars or celestial space.
Aurophobia-Fear of gold.
Barophobia-Fear of gravity.
Cibophobia-Fear of food.
Ichthyophobia-Fear of fish
Ophidiophobia/Ophiophobia-Fear of snakes.
Ornithophobia-Fear of birds.
Ovisophobia-Fear of sheep.
Taurophobia– Fear of bulls.
Thalassophobia– Fear of the sea.
Xerophobia-Fear of dry things or places such as deserts.

The Church
Automatonophobia– Fear of fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being – dolls (think Jesus and Virgin Mary representations), ventriloquist’s dummies, mannequins, animatronic creatures, wax statues.
Bibliophobia
– Fear of books.
Chrematophobia-
Fear of wealth.
Demonophobia/Daemonophobia
– Fear of demons.
Ecclesiophobia
– Fear of church.
Eleutherophobia-
Fear of freedom.
Epistemophobia/Gnosiophobia
– Fear of knowledge.
Gamophobia
-Fear of marriage.
Hagiophobia
– Fear of saints or holy things.
Heresyphobia/Hereiophobia
– Fear of challenges to official doctrine or of radical deviation.
Hierophobia
– Fear of priests or sacred things.
Homilophobia
– Fear of sermons.
Hypengyophobia/Hypegiaphobia-
Fear of responsibility.
Judaeophobia-
Fear of Jews and of Jewish culture.
Kyphophobia
– Fear of stooping.
Lalophobia
-Fear of talking.
Lygophobia-
Fear of darkness.
Lyssophobia-
Fear of becoming insane.
Melanophobia
– Fear of the color black.
Mythophobia
– Fear of myths or stories or false statements.
Numerophobia
– Fear of numbers.
Ochlophobia-
Fear of crowds or mobs.
Onomatophobia
– Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.
Ouranophobia/Uranophobia-Fear of heaven.
Papaphobia
– Fear of the Pope of the papacy.
Pediophobia
– Fear of dolls.
Phasmophobia/Pneumatophobia/Spectrophobia
-Fear of spirits, specters, and incorporeal beings.
Phonophobia
– Fear of noises or voices or one’s own voice; of telephones.
Pogonophobia
– Fear of beards.
Potophobia-
Fear of alcohol or alcoholic beverages.
Psychophobia-
Fear of mind.
Satanophobia
– Fear of Satan.
Staurophobia
– Fear of crosses or the crucifix.
Symbolophobia
– Fear of symbolism.
Symmetrophobia
– Fear of symmetry.
Taphephobia/Taphophobia-
Fear of being buried alive or of cemeteries.
Teleophobia
– 1) Fear of definite plans. 2) Religious ceremony.
Theologicophobia
– Fear of theology.
Theophobia
– Fear of gods or religion.
Toxiphobia/Toxophobia/Toxicophobia-
Fear of poison or of being accidentally poisoned.
Tyrannophobia
– Fear of tyrants.
Verbophobia
– Fear of words.
Wiccaphobia:
Fear of witches and witchcraft.
Zeusophobia
– Fear of God or gods.

Unworthiness
Atelophobia-Fear of imperfection.
Athazagoraphobia-
Fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting.
Automysophobia-
Fear of being dirty.
Cacophobia-
Fear of ugliness.
Doxophobia-
Fear of expressing opinions or of receiving praise.
Eisoptrophobia-
Fear of mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.
Enosiophobia/Enissophobia-
Fear of having committed an unpardonable sin or of criticism.

Pleasures and the Body
Androphobia-Fear of men.
Bathophobia-
Fear of depth or bathing.
Erotophobia-
Fear of sexual love or sexual questions.
Eurotophobia-
Fear of female genitalia.
Genophobia-
Fear of sex.
Gymnophobia-
Fear of nudity.
Gynephobia/Gynophobia-
Fear of women.
Hedonophobia-
Fear of feeling pleasure.
Hemophobia-
Fear of blood.
Homophobia-
Fear of sameness, monotony or of homosexuality or of becoming homosexual.
Ithyphallophobia-
Fear of seeing, thinking about or having an erect penis.
Kolpophobia-
Fear of genitals, particularly female.
Menophobia-
Fear of menstruation.
Paraphobia-Fear of sexual perversion.
Proctophobia-
Fear of rectums.
Venustraphobia-Fear of beautiful women.

Punishment
Catagelophobia-Fear of being ridiculed.
Cleptophobia-
Fear of stealing.
Hadephobia/Stygiophobia-
Fear of hell.
Hamartophobia-
Fear of sinning.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia-
Fear of the number 666.
Ideophobia-
Fear of ideas.
Leprophobia-
Fear of leprosy.
Mastigophobia/Poinephobia-
Fear of punishment.
Odynophobia/Odynephobia/Algophobia-
Fear of pain.
Peccatophobia-Fear of sinning or imaginary crimes.
Phronemophobia-Fear of thinking.
Rhabdophobia-
Fear of being severely punished or beaten by a rod, or of being severely criticized. Also fear of magic.(wand)
Teratophobia-
Fear of monsters or giving birth to a monster.
Thanatophobia/Thantophobia-
Fear of death or dying.
Zelophobia-Fear of jealousy.

Agnosticism vs. Atheism Part 2

This discussion continues from my previous blog entry: “Agnosticism vs. Atheism Part 1.”

Children are not born believing in God.

As such, I did not believe in God in my early years. When I was eventually told of Jesus by my elders, I thought the claims fantastic. It is fair to say that at that point, I believed. However, that stage was short lived, for almost immediately after hearing the stories, my questions began.

As I have said before, religion cannot survive genuine scrutiny. To genuinely scrutinize religion is to make oneself open to the possibility of being convinced that God is not real. Yet, when many individuals are raised to fear eternal punishment, it follows that attempts at scrutiny be half-hearted at best.

Since Part 1, I have performed periodic tag searches on Atheism. Not all of those entries are made by Agnostics or Atheists. Some are clearly created by religious individuals.

I read a ridiculous claim not long ago, by a Christian attempting to justify the ‘validity’ and ‘truth’ of God through children. The argument was that children were more aware of the deeper truths in life than adults since the latter are more likely to allow the world, experience, and rationality to ‘blind’ them from the ‘truth.’

Tell any child why unbelievers deny God and ask them to tell you why they are being ‘silly’ and how it is impossible that God does not exist and they will tell you the simplest explanation, said the Christian blogger.

Their argument is that the simplest explanation the children provide is correct. This highlights the Christian penchant for valuing innocence–as seen in children–which is in most cases indistinguishable from ignorance. Ask a child to prove a fantastical claim such as that God exists and they will provide you with equally (if not more) fantastical explanations. The exercise illustrates precisely what happens when you approach the world based on the unrealistic and absurd–you must undeniably stretch your mind to its limits in order to justify your distortions.

Ignorance fuels Religion. Humans have active imaginations. Use fear to stimulate those imaginations, and the God Delusion survives. Obedience through fear. Imaginary rewards. An effective method it seems, at intellectual castration.

User Joadist from Richard Dawkins’ forum makes the following distinctions between Agnosticism and Atheism:

Weak agnosticism: I don’t have knowledge of Superman.
Strong agnosticism: It is not possible to have knowledge of Superman.
Weak (implicit) atheism: Absence of belief in Superman (no claims or denials made)
Strong (explicit) atheism: Denies the existence of Superman.

The change on my About blurb from Agnosticism to Atheism is recent, but the internal modifications go back years. Religion persists in many because of ignorance and not necessarily stupidity. This is very encouraging. One need only look at many of the Christian blogs on wordpress and take note of the reasons why they think Atheism/Agnosticism makes no sense, and a pattern emerges. The same fallacious arguments are recycled. Study their reasoning and you begin to see a fair amount of order–provided how little they know that is. If only they cared to research just a bit more, than they would inevitably discover that their arguments have been debunked for ages now.

It is precisely ignorance of these counter-arguments that kept me a Strong Agnostic. The belief in God does not have equal weight as lack of belief. In other words, it is not validity of Religion equals 50% and Atheism/Agnosticism equals 50%.

I knew this back then of course, but was unaware of the degree of absurdity in the God Delusion. What that delusion faces is the harshness of reality, and therefore, of extreme improbability. Given this, the label of Strong Agnosticism no longer describes my point of view as accurately as Strong Atheism.

Debate and Commentary, Perceptions and Misconceptions

I recently changed my About information by replacing the word ‘agnostic’ with ‘atheist’ and in the interest of Atheism awareness, included the scarlet A on the front page. I performed a tag search on Atheism and stumbled across a blog entry by a Christian. Of all the Christian entries that popped up, his appealed to me the most. His major claim was not only that an Atheist’s God was Science, but went as far as to say he believed Atheism to be a religion–which is plain ludicrous. I will not address the reasons here as I already stated many on his entry ‘Blinded me with science.’

I commented on Deacon Blue’s blog (is an actual Deacon by the way), because beneath the bad points, I perceived a genuine desire to understand Atheism and his logic skills were a bit better than the average person’s. I thought he was more misguided than anything else, and that had mostly been a byproduct of beginning with a faulty premise. Once you do that, your chances of arriving at truth are severely handicapped.

The debate began well. Yet, soon enough, it went to hell. Anyone who has read my previous posts here and/or comments on other blogs such as Nessa’s, quickly realizes I have a direct and unapologetic attitude. I detest hypocrisy. If I believe you to be deluded and/or misguided for example, I make no attempts to hide it. If I believe my arguments are superior to yours, I will not say, ‘your idea of truth is just as valid as my own.’

Logic has rules for a reason. Some arguments are better than others. I will not lie just to make you feel better about yourself. Conversely, I have no respect for someone who decides to lie to me to keep from offending my sensibilities. Growth comes from being challenged. How presumptuous to think they understand what truths I can or cannot handle. The choice is mine to make. How presumptuous to think I place my own emotional comfort above truth. To do so, is disgustingly weak.

I decided to stop posting on Deacon Blue’s blog. Below is a quote from his response to my final post.

The time I have spent responding to you is time I have NOT spent writing my next post. According to my own internal schedule, I am behind. In fact, I have now missed a day of posting. In that sense, Satan is using you quite nicely, because I have been moved, either through defensiveness or pride…or both…into engaging you even though it is clear that discussion with you has become a circular argument and a dance with no end in sight.

It was not a circular argument. I was pointing out contradictions in his claims, and when his counter arguments contained more contradictions, I pointed those out too. His logic was poor. He accused me of trying to poke holes and tear apart his arguments when that is precisely what the point of debate is. If you make a claim, it must survive rigorous testing or it is just a bad claim.

He then became defensive and emotional. He said that I was attacking him and trying to make him look like a fool. He mistook aggressive debate with aggression against him personally. I said I considered his view a delusion and proceeded to explain why. If my arguments are strong enough to mow down his, it does not necessarily make him a fool. If he felt like a fool, that is an entirely different matter.

He said one cannot help but feel wounded if one loses points. This is not true either. It sounds like low self-esteem. Perhaps he cannot help but feel wounded. But, even if he did, that does not excuse his emotional responses to me. Defensiveness has no place in a debate other than making you look bad. If you ‘lose points,’ then make better arguments to gain more. Do not turn around and say that I am out to get you, when in reality, I am far more interested in the debate itself than in you as a person.

That last claim of his is so baffling to me. I have no qualms about admitting I consider many people to be intellectually inferior. Even so, there is a difference between considering someone intellectually inferior to an extent that simply makes them average in regards to the general population, and then there is thinking someone a downright idiot. Really, if I think you an idiot, you are beneath me. It is not worthwhile for me to acknowledge your existence. I certainly would never post on your blog.

Furthermore, if my intent had been to offend, it would be reasonable to assume given my directness, that I would leave as little to interpretation as possible. I would use my eloquence to annihilate your character, your humanity, and all that you stand for. But, such an act would demand a great deal of emotional investment from me. For someone who is usually by considered by others logical to the point of robotic, such an investment seems . . . not worth the trouble and uncharacteristic at best.

If I may make an analogy, if this site is my dinner-table discussion with folks, you have started to veer into the realm of the guest who in an effort to show just how smart he or she is just forgets when to be quiet and let people talk about something different. That may not be your intention, but it sure seems like it at this point.

My dinner-table discussions must be very different from his. Heaven forbid I say enough to make me sound smart. If I see a multitude of holes in an argument, I must point out only one just to show that I am paying attention. I must not say any more or others will start to feel inferior and defensive. I must be quiet so that others get a chance to contribute and therefore feel we are all intellectual equals.

If they proceed to counter with an argument that has holes, I cannot say more because it its not my turn yet. When my turn comes again, I cannot propose a counter an argument against what anyone said whilst I sat quietly in waiting or it would be proclaimed a circular argument. Worse, if that counter argument is strong, I will unfortunately show just how smart I am. It may not be my intention, but I will make a nuisance of myself!

At any rate, Deacon Blue claims in his last response to me that I am welcome to post on his blog as along as I follow the rules from his particular version of dinner-table discussion–rules which by the way, he states only now and were supposed to be obvious before. I do not know what would possess him to say that. Political correctness? I stated several times that I enjoy debate and even went on to describe what type. It is entirely incompatible with his penchant for commentary only. My approach is disruptive to him. Satan is ‘using me quite nicely’ to prevent him from making new blog entries because he continues to respond to my comments ‘either through defensiveness or pride . . . or both.”

The above, are poor reasons to debate. Avoid ulcers by doing so because you like it. The main problems with Deacon Blue is that he is prone to overreacting, making arguments that contradict, and lacks specificity. At one point, he refers to our exchange as a never ending dance. If this were so, there would be no need for defensiveness and overreacting. Those responses make sense if you see yourself in a quarrel or at war, things which he keeps denying all the while acting in ways that undermine his objections.

He ends with the following:

*sigh* Now I probably look like someone who doesn’t want to hear any other opinions. And maybe I have overreacted. But I’m tired of hashing out a dead topic.

Actually, he does sound like he wants to hear other opinions–the latter being the operative word. Opinions do not have to be supported. Arguments on the other hand, demand it. It may not make you sound very open minded, but that is a price to pay for your desires. When you make any type of stand, you must be prepared to deal with the consequences. If you cannot handle people picking apart your statements, do not claim to be open minded to all types of discussions. He should make this clear, because evidently his blog is new and when more Atheists stumble upon it, what happened between us will occur once again.

To avoid it, he should make a note on his About Page that opinions are preferred over arguments. Of course, not only will he not be respected by most Atheists who read it, but also written off as another Christian that lives in a bubble. If he wants to appeal to Atheists, he will need to grow thicker skin and welcome rigorous arguments or else eliminate Atheists from his list of target audiences. This is no doubt a difficult decision to make for someone who sees himself as fighting a war against Satan.

As for my own blog, I will not say that I welcome all types of persons to comment. I definitely do not. I am not receptive to bullshit.

You need not be a genius. Your logic need not be equal or superior to mine. But, if you cling to bad arguments just because and fail to acknowledge a superior argument out of pride, this is not the place for you. If you are prone to overreacting and allow your responses to be influenced by that, this is not the place for you. If I attack your arguments aggressively, it does not mean I am attacking you as a person or that I am out to get you. If you have a genuine desire to learn and value self-improvement, I encourage you to post even if you do not consider yourself an accomplished debater.

I admire the desire to improve. Compared to what I am capable of, my skills are rusty. I have not had the opportunity to debate in a long while. In fact, the main purpose of this blog is to use it to improve. I have had the fortune of debating others in the past whose logic was equal or superior to my own, and those experiences were amongst the most rewarding I have had in my life.

Debate is a form of mental intimacy. My most intense friendships and romantic relationships were born through debate. Generally speaking, this is easy for INTPs, other Rationals, or Thinkers of other types to comprehend, and yet ever so bewildering for the rest. The human mind can be absolutely fascinating.

Agnosticism vs. Atheism Part 1

My About information in the column of this main page reads as follows:

Inquisitive, atheist, moral skeptic. Obsessive by nature and non-apologetic. Interested in science fiction with a particular appreciation for utopias, dystopias, dinosaurs, time travel, parallel universes, androgyny, and artificial intelligence.

The first sentence has been recently changed from ‘agnostic’ to ‘atheist.’ I will explain the reason for this change later and in the next post. But, first is a glimpse into my history.

As an INTP, I have always had very little in common with others. My thirst for knowledge and need to question everything I encounter, manifested very early in life. Until the age of 8, I lived in a community of what can only be described as fanatical Christians.

People in this community went to church several times a week. My grandmother could recite large parts of the Bible. The stories I heard of Jesus seemed incredible if true, but there were too many holes. The explanations of Sunday school teachers never satisfied. The less they satisfied, the more questions I asked.

I considered the possibility that it was just those particular Sunday school teachers that could not come up with a good way of explaining anything. They must be stupid, I thought. The plan was easy: I just needed to question people who would know more–such as the priest. The priest, however, did not satisfy my questions either. In fact, I was singled out, my parents were called in, and there was an exchange about how much shame I ought to feel for questioning God. By age 5, I had been ‘kicked out’ out of Sunday school several times for ‘disrupting the peace’ with my questions.

I was baffled that other children could sing Christian songs and talk about Jesus like they believed. Maybe it was all an elaborate joke and the priest followed by church goers would gather all of us kids one Sunday and say, “Aha! Got you!” We would all laugh and that would be the end of it. For several weeks, I looked at adults suspiciously and scrutinized their moves in attempts to predict the date of the Big Reveal. It was actually quite exciting–that is, until it became obvious there was not going to be a Big Reveal.

I wondered if there was some truth these children were being told that wonderfully and logically explained everything and I had somehow not been made privy to it. I eliminated that possibility soon enough. From my questions and my grandmother’s recitations, I knew far more about Christianity than they did.

I became convinced that there was something wrong with the Bible. Those who wrote it had supposedly been inspired by God. But, God could not possibly be that irrational! I thought, maybe they were not that ‘fine tuned’ to God and therefore misinterpreted the most important details! All those poor people I went to Church with were believing in lies. With so many believing these lies, the problem was out of control. Something had to be done right away. The situation was desperate!

I spoke to anyone who would listen and explained the ‘holes’ and how they were all believing lies. It did not go over well. At first, I thought the reason they did not believe me was because as a child I must not have been explaining it very well. I became obsessed with coming up with more detailed explanations to vanquish everyone’s delusions. None of them worked. It then occurred to me that if I could get the priest to see–someone whose word carried weight–then when he explained the truth, the delusion would automatically disappear.

This did not work either.

The priest would not be swayed. I was told I was embarrassing my family with my disbelief. How dare I a child think such things! I eventually concluded my explanations were not the problem. They just believed in the lies so thoroughly nothing anyone could say would change their minds. I resented being forced to attend Sunday school. I resented that everyone thought I needed to be made an example of.

I tried different ways to escape to no avail. Eventually, I realized since there was no way out and I did not want to be punished all the time, the only recourse was to say nothing. It worked. The elders because convinced that I was now convinced about God and the punishments did not come. In fact, they were extra nice, telling me that everyone loses their way at some point and what mattered was that I found my way back. That was when I became a different kind of example–an example of how God works on even the most deluded.

By the time I was 8, my family moved to a different country. The priest at this new Church was Anglican and they had women priests. Aha! I thought, these people are different. They must not be deluded. If I told them again what I had told everyone else in the last community . . .

This did not work either.

Worse, I had to study and go through the ritual of First Communion and pledge in front of everyone my allegiance to God. My parents were angry with me that day. They said I looked like I was going to my execution instead of to a wonderful ceremony. I told them they were executing my soul. They said I was being dramatic and disobedient. They warned that I better not embarrass them in front of everyone. I looked miserable but I went through with the ceremony. I decided in the end that pretense would avoid punishment.

I moved countries again a year and a half later. The new community was Anglican. My parents had decided that the Anglican denomination encouraged fairer treatment of women and was more open minded in general. However, there were no Anglican schools. I was sent to Catholic schools and remained there until graduating from High School.

Junior High was the worst. I stressed whenever the school had to walk to the church next door for mass. I thought this was another thing wrong with the Bible. Hell did not exist after death. Hell was right then and there, especially each time I set foot in that church. I bribed my friends into giving me their spot in line in order to be the the very last person to go to confession.

I refused to confess to anything.

The priest would sigh each time he saw me—‘saw’ being the operative word for in this Church one had to confess in a small room looking the priest directly in the eyes. I made a point of stating to the priest that this was not designed to benefit me but rather to humiliate. He learned to just give up and send me off with several dozen Hail Marys and Our Fathers. In my last year of Junior High, I was in and out of the confessional with such speed, it was like a confessional drive thru.

Unfortunately, that last year, I had no choice about getting Confirmed. I had put it off for so long, the people at Church were talking about an intervention. The last thing I wanted, was to sit through that and get preached upon even more.

Without Religion classes, one could not obtain a High School diploma. The High School courses purported to encourage debate unlike the no tolerance approach in Junior High. We were taught about world religions. I asked my religion teacher why we did not learn about Atheism considering we were learning to be ‘open minded’ by studying other religions. Evidently, Atheism was not part of the curriculum.

I have always had little tolerance for hypocrisy, but growing up with Religion, I now possess zero tolerance.

It was not surprising that Atheism was not part of the curriculum. I did not even know such a word existed because in order for that to happen, one has to be aware that there are others who do not believe in God. More importantly, that they actually have evidence to back up their disbelief instead of disbelieving because they are hateful, evil people. Therefore, not only were Atheists evil, misguided souls, but the mere word was to be fervently avoided. It was not until graduating from High School and purchasing a book on Atheism, that I learned the reasons. The arguments were so simple and the evidence so convincing that it was simply . . . beautiful.

The Internet is a wonderful invention. It is good to know there are others who think like me. That there are others who see religion as a delusion. I resent not being taught about Atheism as a child. Everyone acted like the existence of God was a given. All those years, I worked on ‘If God exists and God thinks this, then God must be angry with this or happy with that et cetera.’ It would have saved me a lot of frustration if I had known that the option of not believing in God existed. Moreover, that the option was supported by actual logical reasons and not a byproduct of a flawed character.

Instead, no one spoke of the reasons. Merely asking for them was thoroughly frowned upon. Instead of reasons, one was given ignorance. One’s character was abused, deemed weak for allowing Satan deep into one’s mind to question, reminded of Hell, and most of all, showered and drowned with Guilt.

I think of it as Intellectual Rape. It is abusive. Later on, I became interested in brainwashing practices and techniques. I superimposed them over Religion and with it came even greater clarity. I felt resentment and outrage over what was done to me. But worse than that, was that millions of people over the world looked on these practices and not only did nothing to stop the abuse, but encouraged it.

The reason I was not taught about Atheism is obvious. The God idea cannot survive scrutiny and any idea that cannot survive it is not worth believing, much less modeling one’s life after, or worse yet, dying for.

The God Delusion and its abusive implementation is actually quite beautiful in its perversion. As far as Christianity is concerned, you can look back 2,000 years and marvel at the level of bold, consistent, all encompassing manipulation required to convince so many people.

At its base, exists a relentless thirst for power. 2,000 years ago, humans were already mass brainwashing to such extremes that followers were absolutely convinced into giving up their lives as fuel to ensure and propagate a monstrous delusion! That it continues today is not a testament of its validity as believers would suggest, but rather a testament of a well designed brainwashing machine.

The techniques that machine uses are universal and still powerful and applicable today. This is a major problem. I questioned enough to seek information about Atheism to understand both sides well enough to make a conscious choice. Some people are simply less susceptible to brainwashing than others. These same people are more likely to jump the fence into Atheism or Agnosticism. Yet, even I, someone who considers themselves less susceptible to brainwashing than others, when I first opened the pages of that Atheism book years ago, whilst the arguments were convincing, emotionally I felt guilt for finding them so.

That guilt is now gone of course. However, it cannot be underestimated. For most, the brainwashing is so complete, that simply looking at a book with the word ‘Atheism’ somewhere in the title is enough to turn away in shame much less pick it up and read it. I do not believe most people have the willpower to keep that guilt in check long enough to read the arguments behind Atheism objectively. Looking at them objectively means you are inviting the possibility of being converted, which means you are being blasphemous, and most humans go out of their way to avoid discomfort.

This is why if you ask most Christians about Atheism and they are honest enough, and not ashamed of recognizing their limitations, will admit they do not really know the arguments behind Atheism. All they know is that Atheism is not for them. Having God in their lives enriches them, makes them feel good, gives them a reason to socialize with others, and anything that offers these things cannot be that bad. This just indicates that many care more about what feels good than what is true.

At any rate, most people are not that honest, and Christians being humans, will attack Atheism long before they admit to ignorance on the subject. Most religious leaders, of course, are ever so eager to support this ignorance and so the cycle continues. Whilst I believe a great deal of people are frustratingly dim regardless of religious orientation or lack of it, the major problem I see with believers is not stupidity. It is weakness–a susceptibility to brainwashing. It would be wonderful if advances in psychology, science, and technology could eventually lead to a cure for this.