Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

The De-convert’s 4 big ifs.

It’s 5:57 AM here.  This is when I will be getting off work in another 24 hours, and I am up now.  I have no idea how much I have slept in the last 24, as I slept in 1 and 2 hour cat naps so that I could spend the day with my family.  12 hour night shifts are pretty good at killing any time you might have to hang with them, and I cooked my normal schedule the last 2 days to make it happen.

When will I sleep again?  Is it time for breakfast, lunch, supper, or a midnight snack? I don’t know.  But I am up now, drinking some water and writting this.  Many of my friends and all of my family are still Christians.  I talked to one of my closest friends last night/yesterday/today.  We talked about me being an atheist.

Sometimes, I am a good atheist.  I believe that there is nothing supernatural at.  Sometimes I am pragmatic atheist.  I don’t think it matters if there is any supernatural, and what I don’t believe in is “meant to be”.  Remember having someone break up with you and say “It wasn’t meant to be.”  That’s what I am talking about: this cowards’ way of relating to the world where one can’t admit that it (whatever it is) is not working, and instead, invokes an unknown deity who has a plan, somehow.  And sometimes, I think, you know, they’re right.  It’s all true, and I don’t see it because I am damned, not because I am atheist.

Key 50’s soap opera music, and clutch pearls to chest. But, doctor, I don’t feel danmed. I really don’t.  I keep waiting for the pull on my heartstrings, the moment of understanding when I see the super natural, but it keeps not happening.   I keep not seeing it.  Even when I am my most Christiany, I don’t see God, I just think I don’t God because he has a sick sense of humor instead of because he’s not there.  I just can’t work up any feelings of “Oh no, my doom is impending.”

I’ve never been able to.  I don’t think it really matters what we say we believe, I think it matters how we act.  I never really believed in a personal relationship with God.  God says to do a lot of things and says not to do a lot of things which I never gave a damn about doing and not doing.  I mean, I could always work up guilt for failing to meet the standard, but I could never find any real motivation to do it.

I always liked tithing because I liked to imagine my money was helping people, so I did tithe.  But rarely told people about Jesus and positively hated evangelism.  I liked movies about people getting laid and getting even.  A personal relationship should touch ever part of your life, but  my belief in Jesus didn’t change the relationships I wanted to have (I still want to sleep with Catherine Zeta Jones.) the feelings I had (I still hate assholes) or the things I want (lots of money.)  Yet, if I was Christlike, I wouldn’t want to sleep with a woman who wasn’t my wife, I would want to turn the other cheek, and I would want Jesus more than money.  It’s not enough to do right, because works can’t get you into heaven.  You have to also want to do right.

I ran my mouth a lot about having a personal relationship, but personal relationships change their members, and I was never changed.  I didn’t care then.  I don’t care now.  The only that is different is that I am honest about it.  I wish other people could admit that, but so many believers I talk to can’t.   They think they believe because their belief gives them warm fuzzies, but it does nothing to change their behavior.

If God is real, and if he wants a personal relationship, and if their is a religion that gives a framework for that, and if Christianity is that religion…four very big “ifs”, then I am exactly as damned today as I was 10 years ago when it bothered me that I wasn’t feeling or doing what Christianity told me too. My actions haven’t changed.  My beliefs haven’t changed.  Just my feelings about them.

The only thing that’s changed is that I’ve accepted my failure to expereince massive personal changed.  I meet very people who are actaully changed, but I do meet a lot who are better at lying to themselves than I am and was.

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January 28, 2009 - Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized

15 Comments »

  1. The essence of disbelief seems to lie with a couple things. “I tried surrendering to God and I didn’t feel anything”. “I tried surrendering to God and He didn’t change me.” “I wanted a personal relationship with God like I had with other people but it wasn’t like having a relationship.”

    I might add a few from my childhood to that. Like I asked God for miracles and He didn’t do them even though He promised if I had faith the size of a mustard seed I/He could/would. And the mountain wouldn’t move. He let my friend die horribly in a car accident. He allows so much suffering in the world. And on and on.

    Most of all I kept asking him to take away my desire for all the things you mentioned, plus ones you did not. Booze, drugs, overeating, rage, etc. etc. etc.

    I wanted spirtual experiences and I actually got those, but discovered I could duplicate them all quite easily with drugs, self hypnosis, etc. So I started looking in to big words and concepts like Theology. And there I found that I was wanting instant gratification with little effort on my part. Wait, that sounded familiar… instant gratification… why that was what I go from all my vices! As I studied Theology more and more I found that I was missing some really, really, big concepts, like the difference between Positional Sanctification and Progressive Sanctification.

    I was wanting Positional (ie:instant) and God was wanting me to have Positional, gradual working toward what I wanted instantly so I would always have to be in a state of reliance on Him as He helps me grow. If my desire for all the vices were instantly taken away I wouldn’t need Him anymore… I would be like a god, myself, knowing good from evil… wait, that’s a quote from somebody… who was that? Some creature who said “I will be as the Most Hight?”

    I remember a time of deciding… “why what was I thinking? It IS all imagination! There is no god! I am the captain of my my life, I’m the Master of my soul. It’s me! I only need to do what seems right to me and I have every right! It was intoxicating! No more rules! I felt free, powerful, joyous! Why had I ever wasted my time believing in God? THIS was what was real!

    And the day came that by a misunderstanding I was standing alone on a dirt road between rice paddies and two convoys had left me and headed in opposite directions. And I was carrying a 25lb. radio and 20 lbs. of other gear and weapons and I was surrounded by the enemey. (it was walking distance from My Lai). And I began to run and I began to pray and all the sudden sex, drugs, and rock and roll didn’t seem so important. I had a code key insert from a secret piece of radio equipment in my shirt pocket that I was supposed to destroy if captured and if I was smart destroy me too… where would I be after that .45 slug went in my mouth and out the back of my head? And I prayed and ran and prayed and ran. And at the exact same time my mother woke up on the other side of the planet with a dream that I was surrounded by fire and hit her knees and prayed and prayed while I ran.

    Was it a miracle? I won’t claim it… maybe it’s just a coincidence. But Son… if I hadn’t made it… you wouldn’t be here. All I know for sure these days is that God can run the world a heck of a lot better than I did when I ran it. It was all I could do to run my soft pink body out of harms way. A wise man once said to me… “when you’ve hurt enough dirtball, you’ll be ready to go to ANY lengths.” And one Day I’d hurt enough. Part of it was because I was losing you and your brother and sisters. And I hit MY knees and said, Chieu Hoi, God. It means I surrender in Vietnamese… literally “open arms”.

    You will too, when YOU’VE hurt enough Son. I just pray you recognize before I did. I waited till I was 38.

    Love, Dad

    Comment by Dad | January 28, 2009 | Reply

    • I respectfully disagree with the comparison. I spent years researching my conclusion, and a year living it, then out of respect for my loved ones told them what I’d decided. You doubted God because religion got in the way of your being drunk and stoned all the time, and never took your conclusion seriously enough to sit down and say “I have decided I am an atheist.” It’s not even the same thing.

      Comment by truthwalker | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Well… at least you respectively decline, that’s better than saying its a bunch of BS. The above was a very strange experience. I had just watched the BBC special, The Boy With The Wonderful Mind and I was feeling somewhat weird and fuzzy and spacey like I think you wrote what YOU did, and it was about 0530 here also… and the words I wrote above were feelings pouring out of me into the keyboard so fast I had to keep going back to see what I’d said. I’ve heard New Ager’s call such an experience a paradigm shift. I said nothing I didn’t believe, it just came out oddly. I’m not sure you’re right about religion getting in the way of my self indulgance because I have the feeling maybe that is what’s at the root of all disbelief.

    Comment by Dad | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. “I’m not sure you’re right about religion getting in the way of my self indulgence because I have the feeling maybe that is what’s at the root of all disbelief.”

    Disbelief would include those who chose to disbelieve any of the other religions. It would seem unlikely that someone would grow up in an extremist Muslim country and chose to believe something else, which would result in their death purely for self indulgence.

    Comment by truthwalker | January 29, 2009 | Reply

  4. Used the wrong word by saying “disbelief”. I didn’t mean particular religions, I mean that the attitude that there is no God seems to me to come from our human resentment of the fact He expects certain behaviors from us. And the easiest way getting to do what we want is to simply deny that God and His demands exist.

    Comment by Dad | January 29, 2009 | Reply

  5. So do you reject Zeus because you want to do whatever you want and thats easier if you pretend He doesn’t exist? Or because there is no evidence of Him?

    Comment by truthwalker | January 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. I reject Zeus because The One True God demands I worship only Him.

    Comment by Dad | January 31, 2009 | Reply

  7. Interesting how after all you have written, you still capitalized “Him”…

    Comment by Tim Sparks | January 31, 2009 | Reply

  8. I also continue to write capitalize Dad and Mom when it refers to title and dad and mom when it doesn’t. Disbelief in God is no excuse for bad writing. Proper English capitalization demands ‘G’od when I refer to a major monotheistic religion, and ‘g’od when I refer to the deity of minor or unpopular or dead religion.

    Dad, that’s what they all say.

    Comment by truthwalker | January 31, 2009 | Reply

  9. You’re right and “they” all say two plus two is four also. The fact “they” all say it does not make it wrong. Let me expound… to say God demands I worship only Him implies that He made that demand in some revelation to humanity. Which of course, He did. The Bible. So the real question isn’t,”who’s right Zeus or Jehovah”?, it’s “is the Bible true?”. If the Bible is true there is simply no place for atheism except the Pit. If atheism is right then the Bible is a collection of myths and lies.

    So how do I know there is The One True God and that the Bible is true?

    I thought you’d never ask.
    1. Because “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.
    2. Because “The skies declare His handiwork and the firmament His Glory.”
    In other words, because there was a Creation and Creation demands a Creator. Most religous systems and traditions have some form of creation story but only one, the Bible is scientific, logical, and believable. And remember I’m describing ALL of creation… Intial, at the Fall, at the Flood, and at Babel.
    The only other explanation is atheism and for atheism to be correct, this planet would have to be billions of years old. If you could prove that it was only 500 million, the atheistic house of cards would come tumbling down. But even that is too long, it might be possible under simple “Intelligent Design” but if the Bible is true, time must have began much, much sooner.
    If it could be proven the earth was, at most 15,000 and at least 6,000 years old. Atheism is dead in the water. Period. And the Bible has to be true.
    Assuming for a minute uniformitarianism… then we know exactly how much dust should be on the surface of the moon, but the first Apollo landing, instead of sinking out of sight in a billion years worth touched down on less than 10,000 years depth. Or that we should be up to our armpits in meteorite dust on earth, at least the crust should be saturated. There’s less than 10,000 years worth. Same same the Giant Redwoods in California… no precursing species, no fossil remains under.
    Read Darwin’s Black Box. Check up on the research on layered formations and canyon cutting after Mt. St. Helen’s. Read The Genesis Flood. Etc. Explain how fossilized fish in limestone quarries smell like dead fish for a few days after they’re exhumed or how dinosaur “fossils” have been found with intact bone marrow! Or petrified trees can pass easily through layers of strata supposedly millions of years apart.

    The funny thing is, of course, that “science” will try and keep coming up with something, anything rather than accept that the design was intelligent and that requires an Intelligent Designer and it all had to be made of something and that requires a Creator.. THAT is why God instead of Zeus or Thor or Manitou or Moloc or Charles Darwin.

    Love, Dad

    Comment by Dad | January 31, 2009 | Reply

    • Dad, you reject whatever science disagrees with scripture, so what would be the point in having argument about it? Arguments are based on reason, and you believe that when reason is in disagreement with the Bible, it is automatically wrong. It’s not possible for us to argue when you think Bible trumps reason.

      I have responses for all your arguments because I used to believe all of them, and I dismantled my faith piece by piece. The thing is, I wanted answers and you don’t. You don’t believe those things because they are true, a few hours on google reading evolutionists responses would show you how flimsy those arguments are. Yet, you don’t take the time, because you believe what you want to be true rather than what reality shows you is true. You don’t want to find evolutions answers to those questions or you would already know them.

      Comment by truthwalker | February 1, 2009 | Reply

  10. ” you reject whatever science disagrees with scripture, so what would be the point in having argument about it? Arguments are based on reason, and you believe that when reason is in disagreement with the Bible, it is automatically wrong. It’s not possible for us to argue when you think Bible trumps reason.” you said above… to quote you again….. “that’s what they all say”.

    Comment by Dad | February 3, 2009 | Reply

  11. Truthwalker,

    I just want to say how much I respect what you’re doing here. It takes real “cajones”, you know. Unfortunately, some people will never see it that way because it doesn’t line up with their beliefs. You are right in pointing out that you cannot reason with those who believe the Bible trumps rationality.

    To your Dad: I had written a reply to you under one of the other entries, but out of respect for your son, I decided against posting it.

    I will say, however, that your son is one of the most honest people I have ever encountered on the internet. He is more willing than just about anyone else I know to admit his own errors in thinking and judgment, and to allow for change in light of new information and/or understanding. If that level of intellectual honesty and integrity isn’t noble, I don’t know what is.

    Keep up the good work, Truthwalker. You’re an inspiration.

    Sincerely,
    Lottie

    Comment by Lottie | February 7, 2009 | Reply

  12. Awwww, thanks lottie. I’d noticed you hadn’t been around, but I’ve been crazy busy too. Hows homeschooling going?

    Comment by truthwalker | February 8, 2009 | Reply

  13. It’s going well and we enjoy it a lot. Unfortunately, due to my lay off, I’ll have to put the kiddo back in public school beginning next month. I was only able to manage the homeschooling because I worked from home and was able to make my own schedule. That kind of job is very hard to come by, though. But we’re moving to Minnesota and into a very nice school district. I think it will be a much better than situation than we had here.

    What’s the weather like up there? Are you still freezing?

    Comment by Lottie | February 8, 2009 | Reply


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