I recently got a question via email from someone who was starting to question her religion, related to my story about How (and Why) I Went From Christian to Atheist, and wanted to know how to overcome her fear of going to hell. [caption id="attachment_2896" align="alignright" width="300"] Are you afraid of going to hell?[/caption] One of the most frightening aspects for me in deciding to abandon my childhood religion was the potential eternal consequences. After a lengthy examination of what I really believed and what I actually thought was true in the Bible, I concluded that the resurrection accounts weren't as compelling as they had been portrayed to me in church. Most likely Jesus didn't rise from the dead. A lot of Christian teaching is predicated on the idea that this miracle is proof that Jesus was the son of God, so that belief promptly went out the window. Modern science has reasonable explanations for the origin of the universe and the emergence of life without the need for a creator God. Although there are holes in our scientific knowledge I could see that being more comfortable with not knowing all the answers to life, the universe and everything could actually be more liberating than religiously answering “God did it” to every question I couldn't answer. While there are many modern-day Christians who believe that Darwinian evolution isn't incompatible with Christian teaching, for me the sheer barbarism of the natural selection process rules out an omnipotent compassionate God from coming up with it. (more…)
I've been thinking lately about how much my self-confidence was undermined by what I was taught as a child in the church where I grew up. Even long after I had abandoned the belief system on a conscious level as an adult, I still felt the emotional effects of having my sense of self eroded and my self-belief undermined. There are some positive aspects of Christian teaching, but these didn't sink in for me as deeply as the negatives. Even if you still believe in the basis of Christianity, I suggest you start questioning some of these Christian teachings which can undermine your self-confidence:
Blessed Are The Meek
Yeah right. Try telling that to Genghis Khan. Now I'm not suggesting that you should go and invade half of China, but if ever there was a teaching designed to simply appease the masses, this is it. It would be more accurate to say “Blessed is the man who believes in himself and valiantly goes after what he wants in life without attachment to getting it”.
You Were Born Into Sin
The basic notion that we are born into original sin is flawed. The truth is that you were born exactly as nature intended.… Continue reading…
I grew up in a conservative Christian church-going family. During years of Sunday school, church services and various fellowship groups, I was fed a diet of deception which helped undermine my fragile self-esteem. My sensitivity and having emotionally disconnected parents who were in constant conflict didn't help, and it's difficult to judge exactly how much of the damage was due to religious indoctrination, and how much was simply due to the environment I grew up in. My parents could return from a church service where the minister preached on the theme of “Love”, and have a blazingly abusive argument. Throw in this level of hypocrisy, and you get a boy who grows up into one seriously confused adult.
Childhood religious teaching has a pervasive effect. For many years into adulthood I continued attending church before I wised up, and even became involved in the church leadership. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing; but looking back I can see how appallingly narrow-minded and naïve I was.
Realising that I had been misled was painful, and didn't suddenly undo overnight the damage that had been done to my psyche over many years.… Continue reading…