My Anti-theist Friend, Marchal: “God is just Ego, Misspelled….My Ego has Better Credentials than your Ego.”
One of my favorite people to converse with about religion is my good buddy, Marchal. I met Marchal in college, and like me, he was getting a bachelors degree in psychology. We lost touch after Heidelberg, but we recently rekindled our friendship. He contacted me after he read a couple blog posts, he was excited to share with me that he too, is an atheist. Marchal has an interesting story as well, and I would like to share with others, some of the conversation that we recently had.
After Heidelberg, Marchal went to Ohio State University, where he received a PHD in psychology. Marchal did not spend any time in the field though, because after he graduated he co-founded a start up company and has been traveling the world ever since. He has spent more time in other countries, than he has in his own, over the last couple of years.
“What is the most frustrating thing when it comes to dealing with religious people?” Marchal asked me.
“Their ego. They are extremely ignorant, yet so arrogant. They believe they are entitled to whatever they want,” I replied.
Continue reading ““God is just Ego, Misspelled….My Ego has Better Credentials than your Ego.””
It’s that time of year when the sun approaches its southernmost track across the northern hemisphere’s sky and people of various religious persuasions celebrate the winter solstice without actually knowing that that’s what they’re doing. Predictably, some of the Christian commentators who make their living defiling the airwaves and manipulating public opinion are doing their damnedest to ramp up paranoia about a wholly hallucinated “war on Xmas.” Crèches on public property and holiday greetings at retail outlets are being shoved to the forefront of national attention in the midst of an existential crisis that’s never even mentioned because that’s something only “liberals” talk about. It’s comic and tiresome simultaneously. If the promises of the Enlightenment held any water, you’d think that by now western civilization would have grown beyond that kind of thing.
By the time this post goes public I’ll have undergone cataract surgery and will probably have a great deal of vision restored to me. I thank science for that. For all the early 21st century’s horrors, I’m glad to be living in a time when the healing arts reflect the scientific understanding of the human body, not the shamanistic one. A surgeon armed with lasers and an artificial lens is going to do for me what Jesus of Nazareth is reputed to have done with a little clay on which he spat.
The prospect of that restored vision has me in an expansive mood, and I guess it’s for that reason that I want to couch this post as a kind of seasonal greeting to Christians – not that I think any of them will read it here. (But if anyone who does read it finds merit in the thought experiment I propose, please feel free to appropriate it and use it as you like. Who knows: in some rare cases, it might have an effect.)
I probably should say that as I write the following, I very much have certain members of my family in mind. This is the letter that I will not write to them because I know what kind of reception it would get and how much rancor would ensue. I’ve tried something like it before and learned my lesson. For whatever it’s worth, and for the benefit of whomever, here’s my letter:
Continue reading “Season’s Greetings!”
When one really thinks about it, a lot of Christianity acts as mind control. While I may tackle different aspects of this in other posts, I want to start with the basics here and focus on the story of salvation, especially as taught to children in more fundamentalist sects of Christianity. As we know, children are particularly vulnerable to being taught nonsense, and are biologically predisposed to accept authority figures like their parents and teachers without much protest. At such a young age, their very conception of life is determined by parental guidance and other similar authority figures, potentially creating long lasting consequences in their lives. As the Bible itself teaches, “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). While this is obviously not a foolproof method, it is effective overall, and it can be difficult to extricate itself from such a mindset at a later age. Even more alarming details about the indoctrination of children, as we will see in this post, are some eerie parallels to literal brainwashing.
So, what are children often taught thoughout Christianity? Well, it can vary from one family to another, depending on the denomination and intensity of belief, but the salvation story among fundamentalists basically goes like this. First, children are taught about how everyone is a sinner. The most common Bible verse used to point out that we are all sinners is Romans 3:23, which states: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Moreover, people are taught, due to the concept of original sin from the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2-3, that people are born sinful, even though they did nothing wrong; “it makes us objects in a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well”. They are then taught that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Continue reading “Mind Control: Comparing the Salvation Story to Brainwashing”