Why do atheists speak out? My teeny little video

(This isn’t the “Without a Doubt” video project I posted on before. That will be a long time from now.)

 

Yesterday on Twitter I was part of a long, pointless debate with an Evangelical dude who was 100% convinced that atheists speak out on social media because we “hate God,” etc.

Kind of as a joke, I created a little Twitter poll, and this morning I was touched by some of the responses.

I decided to make a little movie (only my third one, and in my phone. Not perfect, but I’m just getting started!)

It’s only 1.20 minutes.

https://vimeo.com/370187931

I tweeted it, and I was sorta surprised the Evangelical dude responded, “I think I really needed to see this video. Thank you.”

 

 

nice job

It took me over a decade after leaving my church to even realize there had been something wrong with my head the whole time because of the church. I went through years of depression. To the Christians in my old church, it was confirmation. “Yep! Atheists are unhappy!”. But the depression started months before I even left the church. It was the church that caused it.

Essentially, fundamentalist religions teach you that you’re a worthless piece of shit. You are a sinner, dirty, tainted, flawed, evil, vile, unclean. The ONLY thing that can make you better is God. But it doesn’t last long because sooner or later you’re going to think a thought and you’re going to be as filthy as Hitler when you do. Then you need God to fix you again. EVERY good thing in my life, I had to thank God for, INCLUDING the good things I personally sacrificed to do! And every bad thing, including my depression, was my own fault. I LET myself become “devil oppressed”. I was depressed because I, like the piece of shit I was, let the devil in. THAT was the source of my depression for over a decade. I had been taught that the ONLY thing which gave me value was God, so when I rejected the faith, only the filth that was me was left.

Once I finally did realize that I was screwed up, that I still feared Hell, even though I didn’t actually believe in God, and that I still saw myself as a filthy, worthless scumbag with no intrinsic worth of my own, then I could start to heal. Then I started to see my destructive behavioral patterns. I was a bit of an ass, angry all the time. I’m surprised my wife put up with me for all those years, to be honest. Now THERE is real, loving forgiveness. She forgave me when I didn’t even deserve it. I didn’t have to beg her. I didn’t have to sacrifice a sheep to her. She just forgave me, over and over, until I figured it out and started worshiping her like I should have been the whole time.

Now, I’m sad now and then, but I’m never depressed. And I realize that I was depressed ALL THE TIME in the church. I told myself that I was happy because I had God, so how could I NOT be happy? But I wasn’t. I was scared ALL THE TIME. Terrified. I’m not going to lie, I like boobies. I really do. I think about them now and then still. But back then, I was a teenager. Those thoughts weren’t “now and then” in those days. And EVERY SINGLE TIME I was damned to Hell for all eternity, for a faction of a second of a random thought I didn’t intentionally think. If Jesus had come back right then, and he was coming back ANY second now, I would burn for eternity because I was a filthy sinner, not worth saving. This happened multiple times a week. I was ALWAYS on the verge of going to Hell, even though I tried harder and had a stronger moral compass than literally any and all the other people in the church with, maybe, 1 or 2 exceptions (in my mind, based on the standing of each person in the church, which was all important). So several times a week, sometimes several times in a day, I was reminded how worthless I was, how precipitous my grasp on salvation was, how close I was to Hell literally all the time. On at least one occasion I literally prayed for death so that I could die righteous because I was so afraid I wouldn’t make it otherwise. I was so terrified of what I thought was coming for me that I was literally not afraid of death at all. Death was salvation. I was terrified at the thought of continuing to live.

That’s some messed up shit right there. Oh, and this was in my mid teens, BEFORE the depression started. I got MORE messed up from there. So yeah, I get where you’re coming from.

Praise the spirits of Halloween! Tee is back! I was starting to fear you were MIA.

Damn! Widdershins, that IS some messed up stuff. And yet here you are today. A survivor and a thriver. I am glad you made it through.

I don’t tweet, but the vid is nicely done Tee.

... therefore don’t assume that your negative experiences tell us anything about the legitimacy of theological beliefs, you fell in with a bunch of goons and that’s not the fault of others.
How do you figure that grand judgement?

What makes your apparently individual opinion, born out of isolation, any more superior to group discussions and opinions of about religion/God?

 

I’ve been on a private journey too, and that’s led me to an appreciation of religion as things we create in our minds - for very good reasons - still they are our creations. They are not capable of informing us about the ultimate reality of any God. Something (God) that upon serious reflection reveals itself impossibly beyond the human mind’s ability to see, let alone understand.

Nicely done Tee

@holmes

I have never been a member of any organized religious group...

You’re disdain for these is clear and justified but don’t assume that everyone is subjected to these religious organizations and therefore don’t assume that your negative experiences tell us anything about the legitimacy of theological beliefs, you fell in with a bunch of goons and that’s not the fault of others.


So basically, you’ve lived your life in social isolation … which is a really good way to avoid being hurt.

Your assumption about former Christians, while very common, is false, though. A lot of people have suffered abuse or trauma in religious organizations, and those people are fairly vocal. However, that’s only one reason people lose faith.

Many, if not most, ex-Christians didn’t suffer in the church. Some of them continued to love it. But the beliefs, themselves, stopped making sense. You cannot un-realize something you’ve come to realize.

 

The Freedom from Religion Foundation is about 2 miles from my home. The President, Dan Barker, was a Pentecostal preacher & musician for 19 years before he became an atheist. He loved his experiences and the people in the church, and he’s been very clear that it wasn’t a bad personal experience that changed his mind. But when he became atheist he recognized harm to others.

Bart D. Ehrman, M.Div. and Ph.D., was a Fundamentalist Christian. He attended Princeton Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude.

He is one of the country’s top experts on the New Testament and the history of Early Christianity. At the Department of Religious Studies at UNC, he served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department. He’s published 30 books on Christian history, 5 on the New York Times Bestseller list: Misquoting Jesus; God’s Problem; Jesus Interrupted; Forged; and How Jesus Became God. His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages.

Long story short, the more he discovered about the development of the Christian religion, the less he believed in it. Over the years he went from Fundamentalist to Episcopalian to Liberal Christian to atheist. It was intellectual growth, not personal trauma.

I was in a discussion just yesterday about how Christians have zero curiosity about why people lose faith. They have all made up their minds: We had a bad experience with bad people in a bad church; or we just wanted to sin with impunity.

They literally never ask or listen.

 

 

 

Religions are perpetrators of widespread societal fraud, hooking their members into believing a set of false dogma, while providing group acceptance, and expecting money from those members (aka tithes). A difference from a typical scam is that all of the participants tend to be complete believers in the dogma which typically includes influencing the members to spread the dogma, and bring in more members.

That is sort of sick, it seems to me.

If that sort of fraud is part of the natural fabric of society (which it is), then more secular kinds of fraud (things like lying about the addictiveness of cigarettes, or opiates, in order to exploit customers, scams of all kinds, against the vulnerable in society, political lies to gain and keep power) must seem more acceptable, in comparison, than they might otherwise.

Our society is conditioned by the mass lies of religion, to be more prone to believe other mass lies.

Recognizing this, is a pretty good reason, I think, to speak out. I don’t want my fellow humans to be controlled by liars.

I think by religions you mean except Buddhism. Christianity for sure though.

@Widdershins

My journey was very similar to yours, just longer and more complicated.

 

The fear of hell got stuck in my head and I couldn’t shake it for years, even though I’d not been raised with it, and even though my later denominations didn’t accept it. I’m actually not alone in this.

I think by religions you mean except Buddhism. Christianity for sure though.
@snowcity can we PLEASE stop with the rhetoric that Buddhism is so different from other beliefs it cannot even be criticized?

Buddhism has its fair share of baggage!! And it DOES NOT MATTER if these people are “Doing Buddhism Wrong” or "Acting Against Buddhist Teachings.’ When large groups ascribe bad actions to religious beliefs, YES it has to do with those beliefs!!!

https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/responses/buddhist-inspired-genocide

 

https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/4021/the-dark-side-of-buddhism

 

https://time.com/3800431/when-buddhists-go-bad-photographs-by-adam-dean/

 

https://aeon.co/amp/essays/buddhism-can-be-as-violent-as-any-other-religion

 

http://drpilarjennings.com/trauma-in-buddhist-community/

 

https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/tag/religious-trauma-syndrom/

 

https://www.change.org/p/help-survivors-support-the-dalai-lama-s-effort-to-remedy-sexual-abuse

 

What kind of Dewey decimal system are you using to be able to pull up links like that? I use the “google it and hope I find what I’m looking for method”.

@holmes

I have no idea what you define as social isolation, I socialize very well and always have, I do have a small circle of associates but that’s my right
I define "not needing and never needing other people to share one's beliefs or fellowship with" as some level of social isolation.
I do have a small circle of associates but that’s my right.
Did I tell you you have no right to live this way?

You comment on something I did not say, but as usual you simply ignore what I did say.

They literally never ask or listen. (Tee)
True again.

@lausten

What kind of Dewey decimal system are you using to be able to pull up links like that? I use the “google it and hope I find what I’m looking for method”.
LOL me? I use the same method!

I think there is a skill to finding what you want in a websearch, and sometimes in avoiding getting sidetracked along the way.

 

@timb @lausten

I think there is a skill to finding what you want in a websearch, and sometimes in avoiding getting sidetracked along the way.
Oh, there absolutely is skill involved in a websearch. I just meant I do use Google, as opposed to any other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Ask, etc.)

I tell people I’m the Google Queen, and I really am. I have lots of little tricks to find stuff, and I’m often surprised when people ask me to find something they’ve searched for, that I can locate in 10 seconds! ?

 

 

A friend of mine who is ADD showed me a website that had some good google tips, it was something like “life hacks”, but now I can’t find it!! Hopefully I can still find that friend.

Okay, Tee, here’s one. I had a book on bicycling southern Indiana 20 years ago. There was one route that I didn’t do and I tossed the book without taking notes on it. It’s somewhere south, maybe southwest of Indianapolis where the furthest extent of the glaciers came to an end. The book described a dramatic formation, kind of like a cliff, that formed from the land being pushed forward by the glacier. There are a lot more bike trails now and they all have websites. At this point, I’m thinking I’ll get a map of the line where the glacier stopped and just start driving around.

@lausten

LOL! Challenge accepted. I’m not familiar with Indiana… I haven’t been on a bike since 1986 … My time’s limited this morning… and, it turns out there are hundreds of possibilities!

 

But here are a few options:

These, particularly the top two, look like Devils Lake or the Dells, about an hour from where I live.

@lausten

#2

 

If it was a Lifehacker thing, there are lots, including

If it was Lifehacker:

https://lifehacker.com/top-10-clever-google-search-tricks-1450186165

https://lifehacker.com/the-tiny-essential-google-tricks-for-way-better-search-1826791031

https://lifehacker.com/top-10-obscure-google-search-tricks-339474

Let’s see if this will work:

 

 

It seems to be visible…but it’s huge, so we’ll see.

I have no idea what this graphic & these articles say. But I was a journalist when Google came along, and I’ve used it every day since then to research. I’ve just noticed certain patterns that I can’t even articulate. It’s subconscious.

(I’m much better at finding obscure religious, political & historical facts than I am at bike trails & rock formations!)