The Gatekeepers

Something I’ve been told a lot as a Christian-turned-atheist is that “If you’re an atheist now you were never truly a Christian.” This never fails to piss me off. Here’s why.

To begin, I’ve already told my story, so I won’t repeat it in detail, but to sum up, I got saved (or whatever phrase you want to use; that’s the one I will) at 5 years old. I have at least one picture of my baptism the first week in October of 2000 for anyone who doesn’t believe I was. I was faithful and I feel I knew quite a lot about the Bible and Christianity in general. Then at 21 I became an atheist because I felt that Christianity just didn’t add up anymore. For anyone playing along, that’s 16 years of being a Christian.

Sitting there saying that I was never a Christian because I’m not now invalidates 16 years of my life. You’re literally telling me ‘Your entire childhood was a lie’. You’re also saying you know more about me than my own parents. The people who raised me. You’re claiming you know me better than the people who literally gave me life.

You can say all you want to that all atheists are the same. We aren’t. You can say you know my story but you don’t. So don’t pretend to.


Things to Never Say to an Atheist

I just recently let my atheistic worldview become public. I’ve gotten quite a few interesting responses to the idea of me deconverting. Here are a few that I absolutely hated with my explanation on why you should never ever say them.

  1. You can be a Christian and be mad at God. I’m not mad at God. I don’t believe in God.
  2. You’ve clearly been hurt by something or someone. This one really gets under my skin. The idea that you only de-convert because you went through something traumatic makes me really angry.
  3. If you’re an atheist, why do you have morals? Really? Really??? You really think that you can only have morals if you see them in some holy book? If that’s the only reason you aren’t going out killing people and robbing stores, you need to have a serious examination of your own priorities.
  4. You just don’t want to listen to and obey God. You realize what atheism is, right? Lack of belief in God. Listening to and obeying God is, in my opinion, the same as listening to and obeying Zeus or Ra.
  5. I’ll pray you see the truth. Okay? Saying you’ll pray for me isn’t comforting to me because I don’t believe in the power of prayer.
  6. Have you really thought about it? Have you? I was raised in a Christian household where all I ever learned at home was a Christian worldview. That was my childhood. Do you really think I would have decided to completely turn away from that without putting thought into it?

    There are 6. If I come up with more I will add and reshare.

    Loopholes and Gun Control

    The year is 1999. The setting? Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. At 11:20AM on April 20th, two seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire outside of the school. Their rampage ended around 50 minutes later, leaving 15 dead, including themselves.

    The year is 2007. The setting? Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. At 7:15AM on April 16th, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the university, begins shooting at West Ambler Johnston Hall, leaving one of the resident advisors dead. By the time the mass shooting was over around 2 1/2 hours later, there were 33 deaths, including that of the shooter.

    The year is 2012. The setting? Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. At around 9:30AM on December 14th, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, then began shooting in the elementary school, killing 28 people, including himself. Nobody knows why he targeted the school. Nobody ever will.

    These three tragedies could have been prevented. Harris and Klebold got their guns because at the time, Colorado didn’t require background checks on private gun sales. Cho got his because of another loophole–because he willingly checked himself into a mental hospital and wasn’t forced into it, he was allowed to purchase a gun. Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s (now called autism spectrum disorder) and it’s speculated that he had schizophrenia that went undiagnosed. He also had OCD. I’m a firm believer that anyone with any sort of mental illness (barring eating disorders and learning disabilities) should NOT be allowed to own a firearm under ANY circumstances.

    However, there’s more to it. A lot of shootings happen in gun-free zones. The reason for this should be obvious–nobody can stop a shooter if there’s no law-abiding citizen who carries a gun to defend themselves and everyone around them. You only are made aware of problems like this when it happens. And if it’s prevented, it’s not mentioned at all most of the time.

    So, here’s what I believe could be different:

    1. Every gun dealer, private or not, runs an extensive background check.
    2. Anyone diagnosed with any sort of mental disorder should be barred from owning a gun.
    3. Gun-free zones shouldn’t exist, even in schools. Because think about how many shootings have happened in schools.

    Stay safe everyone. Put your thoughts in the comments.

    Fifty Shades of Grey–my thoughts

    Let me just say before I start this that I’m not a feminist and I’m not a misogynist. I’m an egalitarian, meaning I think everyone was created equal and we should be treated as such.

    At church this morning, we talked about purity and how sex was made for marriage. Well, these days, if you’re talking about sex, Fifty Shades will almost inevitably come up. And come up it did. With it, something that saddens(but doesn’t surprise) me. According to my pastor, the movie has grossed over half a billion dollars. It made almost $100M opening weekend alone. This is just ticket sales–it doesn’t include all the merchandise or the books. The BOOKS are the fastest selling paperback books of all time. They beat out all the Harry Potter books combined. Does that tell you anything? It should.

    I never read the books. I know what they’re about, I’ve heard most of the plot (which, taking out the sex, isn’t much), but I never read them myself. It sounds like I’m not missing much, though. I’m just going to go by what I’ve heard and read.

    Now let’s get into what I think of the overall theme–sex. Now, I think once you’re married to someone, just about anything done in the covenant of marriage goes. However, Christian and Ana aren’t married and barely know each other before they begin their ‘relationship’. They’re two very different people and only in a book would things work the way they did for the two. It’s horrifying that there are young women out there who may hold this as their standard of love. This isn’t love. It’s abuse, bordering on Stockholm Syndrome.

    If you strip away the ‘fantasy’ part of it (Christian being a billionaire who buys Ana anything she wants), you’re left with an abusive, damaged man leading a chain of abusive, damaged relationships. If he didn’t have money and attractiveness, he’d have nothing. He’d be considered a huge creep if he were some redneck living in a trailer. Just because you’re rich should NOT mean you can get away with the sort of things he gets away with. And by giving Ana all these expensive things, isn’t he paying her for sex? And isn’t that the definition of prostitution?

    Even the fantasy isn’t very fantastic–he buys her things so she’ll feel indebted to him and control her as much as he could. The gifts he gave her had methods to track her and keep tabs on her as much as possible. Christian is a cruel, narcissistic deviant who takes pleasure in corrupting and controlling inexperienced women. There’s a parallel to be drawn here between Christian and Ana and the serpent and Eve in the Garden of Eden. If you treat women the way he treats Ana, you can’t be a savior to anyone, let alone the god many women seem to make him into. Christian Grey should be an example to people everywhere–to women, an example of what NOT to tolerate in a man and to men an example of what NOT to be.

    Even the fact that, in the end, she changes him for the better and they live happily ever after isn’t good–it’ll lead many women to believe they can change the abusive man in their life just by loving him, and that doesn’t work. There’s this exercise I did in school a couple of times. In it, two people stood and held hands. One was on a chair, the other was on the floor. The one on the chair would try and pull the one on the floor up with them. It never worked. Then the one on the floor would pull down on the other person’s hand and the other person would stumble. It’s 50x easier to pull someone down as compared to pulling them up instead.

    And if you’re thinking “Oh, but it’s only a book/movie. I can distinguish between fantasy and reality. I’m okay.”, you’re not. You’re part of the problem. You’re throwing money and attention at it. Even if you borrowed it from someone and didn’t actually spend any money on it, you’re still giving it attention. And what about those who see you read it? By reading it, you’re encouraging the movement. Someone may see you reading it and think “Huh. A lot of people are reading that. Maybe it’s not a bad book to read after all.”, then go and buy it. Don’t allow yourself to be associated with the lies contained in this story. Ask yourself this: What will reading that book or watching that movie say about you as a person? Do you want to know? Why? Why not? If you feel that you can’t read or watch something in public, don’t you think there might be something wrong with it? If you’re ashamed or embarrassed of what you’re reading, you might want to think about why, because there’s probably a reason.

    14 More Annoying Things my Friends do on Facebook

    Read Part 1 here: 14 Annoying Things My Friends Do On Facebook

    I decided to write a followup entry to my last Facebook post. The writing style was pitiful–I titled it to be about the annoying things, but ended up writing about the annoying people. It’d be too much work to fix it, so let’s just move on.

    Oh, one more thing: it should be noted that I’m using random names in this post. It’d be too confusing to refer to ‘him’ or ‘her’ all the time, especially when there’s more than one male or female. I don’t want my Facebook friend’s lives out in the open when they didn’t give me permission to use their names.

    1. Tagging someone in their own status, or tagging anyone else who’s already commented. I’m guilty of it, I’ll admit. I should get into the habit of just stating their names withOUT tagging them–for example, if someone named Karen asks me a question on a thread we’re in, starting my comment with ‘Karen:’ before offering my response is plenty sufficient and there’s no need to tag her.

    2. Speaking of which, let’s not forget how annoying it is (to me at least) when someone tags you with your full name. You can backspace and remove everything but the first name from the tag.

    3. Tagging someone for the sole purpose of telling the world how bad of a person they are. I don’t care if Suzie’s boyfriend Mike cheated on her with Allison–tagging one/both of them in a status about how much of a jerk Mike is, or how much of a man-stealing slut Allison is is immature.

    4. Giving updates on EVERY SINGLE FREAKING SECOND of their life. Usually this happens on Twitter, but I’ve got at least one Facebook friend who will say what she’s doing every five minutes–including when she’s getting off for the night (and if she decides she can’t sleep).

    5. Posting constantly. Last week, I was trying to show my mom a status one of my Facebook friends posted from a few days before. It took me at least a minute or two just to get down to that day–if you’re looking through my statuses (and I’m usually pretty active), you might be able to get through a week or two in that amount of time. Maybe further, if Facebook doesn’t stop you by skipping to only highlights.

    6. Making vague statuses. Look, I get that there are some things you can’t talk about for whatever reason. But I get really sick of posts that say ‘I wish you’d come back to me…’ or ‘If only you knew…’. Then there’s the unspoken prayer requests. I have one friend in particular who does this and it’s getting boring.

    7. Being overly paranoid. I don’t think the Illuminati is going to attack me because I don’t believe in them. I think at this point the only reason nobody’s put that to rest is that it’s funny to some people to see how freaked out people get over it.

    8. Not using punctuation. I hate, hate, HATE it when people write their questions without a question mark at the end. This applies to everything-commas, periods, exclamation marks, etc. Which brings me to…

    9. Writing badly in general. It makes you look ignorant when you can barely form a sentence and when you do it’s either in text speak or all caps. I feel like I’m being yelled at when someone writes to me in all caps, intentionally or not. And I don’t care how smart you are in real life, if you can’t make sense online, I can’t take you seriously.

    10. Being a know-it-all. I’ve done this before. I don’t mean to, but it happens. I get that. But when it’s constant–and you know it annoys people–just stop. I did.

    11. Advertising that they’re doing something they shouldn’t. Posting photos of your (underage) self at a bar, or statuses asking where you can buy some weed is a bad idea. Being online doesn’t mean you’re untouchable by the law.

    12. Causing drama, no matter how. Yes, I get that sometimes you need to vent a little. But going out of your way to start something is another issue altogether. If you have a constant need to vent about everything, you might wanna consider therapy. Posting a status about a person (even if you don’t mention their name) is also annoying. If you’re going to do that, at least don’t make it obvious.

    13. Advertising. These are the people who make almost every status about something they’re selling and trying to get customers. I’ve got at least one person in particular that is really bad about this. It’s so annoying.

    14. Cyberstalking. OK, OK, I know. Everyone does it. I do it. Mostly to new friends and someone who wrote something I’m trying to find again. However, when I do it, I don’t like and/or comment on photos from several years back. It makes you look kinda creepy.

    ***RANT*** My obligatory tirade about Black Friday

    It’s upon us again. The most wonderful time of the year…if you’re a CEO bigwig running a retail store chain. For almost everyone else it’s the time to willingly wake up earlier than you would for any non-graveyard-shift job ever, go out in the cold (which will actually probably help you wake up) and walk around or stand in line for HOURS to get the perfect present…and nothing else. You guessed it–it’s Black Friday.

    First off, that’s a stupid name. ‘Black Friday’ sounds a bit ominous (in the wrong way), like black magic or something. I get that it’s because the stores’ profit is in the black (as opposed to the red), but really? Real original. Of course, honesty isn’t the best policy, because I don’t think as many people would go if it were called Greedy Friday. I know people still would, because that’s the kind of country we live in, but maybe some people would stop and reconsider before camping out in front of GameStop all night.

    Secondly, this has to be the most hypocritical event of the year. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize that Thursday is spent being thankful for all that you have, but Friday is about forgetting all of that and wasting an entire day looking for the best deal on a $500 iPhone you’re only going to use for a year or two anyway. That’s like someone getting drunk, high, stoned, and laid on a Saturday night, then going to church the next day and acting like nothing even happened.

    And that brings me to my next point–it’s bad enough to have that the day AFTER Thanksgiving…it’s even worse to have it ON Thanksgiving. And a lot of stores are starting their Black Friday deals on Thursday. Some of them are kind enough to wait until after dinner, but some are starting earlier, some as early as 6AM. Seriously? That’s like going to church on Sunday morning, then getting high, drunk, stoned, and laid on Sunday night. I get some of the stores–places like Meijer and Walgreens are open all day on Thursday starting at 6AM and 8AM, respectively, and that’s okay–sickness doesn’t rest, and we’ve gotta buy our food somewhere. But stores like K-mart and RadioShack open early on Thursday morning. I don’t frequent either of them, but I can’t think of anything that they sell that could possibly save your life if you were injured or sick. The local K-mart here has a pizza parlor and nothing even remotely related to a pharmacy. RadioShack doesn’t even have that much! All they sell is electronics. And the worst part? People still do it. They still go to the stores on Thursday and they shop and they give the stores business. If it wasn’t turning a profit the stores wouldn’t be open.

    Do you see anything wrong with that? If not, you’re part of the problem. I know that I can’t stop Black Thursday/Friday and I don’t expect to. But if more people just understand what it really means, maybe I can change some minds. Something needs to change, and change can start with one person. If you end up going out shopping, just think about this for awhile. Think of what it really means. If you don’t, good for you. But don’t assume that since you’re not going out that’s all you can do. It’s not. Don’t just keep quiet about it. Change starts when we speak up and do something about it.

    {{RANT}} The internet is turning us into idiots.

    I should put a little disclaimer up before I start this post. I’m not saying the internet is bad. I think it’s a great thing and has led us to amazing discoveries that has made the world a better place. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
    I was born in the mid-90s and I had a computer from the age of 7 on, but I didn’t use it much and it didn’t have internet. My parents’ computer had internet though, but they didn’t let me play on theirs very much. However, my mom did sign me up for an email address around the time I turned ten, and it ended up being really useful when we found out a couple months later that we were moving 120 miles away from our family. Even then, I didn’t use the internet all the time, and I actually didn’t use it all that much anyway. I used it to type stories and listen to music, but it wasn’t really a big part of my life. I had an extremely active imagination as a kid and had been writing stories since I could write. I got a laptop in 6th grade (which I bought with my own money), but we didn’t have wireless internet and I didn’t really care because I didn’t really know what it was like, so I wasn’t really missing anything.
    I started to really use the internet in middle school. I had to take a computer class in 7th grade and we used the internet quite a bit for various projects we had to do. Even then, I was using it at school and a lot of things were blocked–I remember going to a movie review website and getting blocked because the movie ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ was on the front page and ‘porn’ was a blocked word. So I didn’t have a lot of exposure even then.
    In 8th grade, right after I turned 14, my mom did allow me to create a Facebook profile, probably because we were moving back to where we’re from and I wouldn’t be seeing my friends anymore. I couldn’t add people I didn’t know in real life. It was restricting to the point that I was PMing a girl on YouTube, not exchanging ANY personal info, and when she found out, she changed the password so I couldn’t respond.
    I feel that not exposing kids under the age of 12 or 13 to the internet and allowing them minimal time on a computer itself (such as to work on school assignments and if they want to type up stories or something that they wrote–which I did all the time) is a great idea. It lets them form more of an imagination than they’d have if everything they wanted to know was on the internet for them to just go find. Nobody will ever form a mind of their own if the internet is telling them how to think. Your parents can tell you whatever they want, but once you leave the nest and go out on your own, you can think differently. You can NEVER escape the internet. It’s EVERYWHERE. And is it doing more harm than good?
    This was the video that inspired this post.