Is It Any Wonder?


Among the many comments generated by my post a few weeks back, More On Matters of Faith, in which I attempted to explain in an honest and forthright manner how I lost my faith and came to embrace a secular existence, is this exchange:

Deb says:

Lisa: I’d like to offer some non-Christian historical evidence that Jesus Christ is not a mythical person (as you refer to Him in your other blog); he really existed. There are several historical non-Biblical references by non-Christians verifying Jesus’ life and existence:
1. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVII, 3.3, XX 9.1
2. Publius Tacitus, Annals, XV,44
3. Lucian of Samosata, The Death of Pregrine, 11-13
4. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, “Life of Claudius” 25.4, “Life of Nero,” 16.2
5. Pliny the Younger, Letters to Trajan, X, 96, Epistles, X, 96
6. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 106a-106b
7. Thallus, Histories, III, and Phlegon, Chronicles quoted by Julius Africanus
These are a few of the more popular ones. You should also consider the fact that the entire world’s calendar is based on His life (BC and AD). You can argue you don’t believe that He is the Messiah and loves you (yes, you personally, Lisa), but to say he is mythical is unfounded. In your defense, however, perhaps you don’t have the benefit of these other historical fact points.

As for the existence of God, I too, like Addie, have a very close relationship with God, and yes, He talks to me and most people who will listen (no I’m not special or crazy, just open). In fact, He sent me here to you today to bring you this message; He put you in my heart and on my mind, so I Googled you and found your blog.

It saddens me to read about your beliefs. Why? Because you are missing out. You are missing out in your life now, and certainly for eternity. I understand that you are “fine with it.” Why do I care? Let me explain it this way. You are a mom (I am too) … you want the best for your kids … you care for them … you watch out for them … you nurture them … you love them. This is the way of God as well (before you jump in and ask “why is there so much suffering on earth, then?”, let me finish). He wants the best for you, yes you Lisa, and because we Christians understand this, we work with God to help deliver His message. God does not force Himself upon us; it’s up to us to accept His love and His gift of salvation through Jesus. This is why Christians care about people; it’s a reflection of God’s love. I agree with you that a lot of man-made religion and interpretation is messed up; God’s plan, however, is not messed up. We live in a fallen world, and for now, we must deal with suffering, death, pain, sorrow, and deceit (Satan’s greatest tool).

The authenticity of the Bible? Items taken out of context, like anything, can cause confusion and frustration. I’m not a Biblical scholar, but every time I learn something new in the Bible, I see more of the dots in the Bible connected … and more scientific evidence of its authenticity (the Star of Bethlehem, the Parting of the Red Sea, Sodom & Gomorra, Exodus guide, etc.). A closed mind and heart will not see or pursue these things – that is Satan’ will: to convince people God doesn’t exist, we don’t need Jesus, and we are all just fine.

Miracles? They happen every day. You’ve had a tough life, tougher than most. I’ve had a tough life; we all have challenges … some more than others. It’s up to us to decide how to respond to them and how to respond to God. Some people shut the door on God thinking He has forgotten them or thinking He doesn’t exist. Many times, it’s simply easier that way. Some people praise Him for providing the opportunity to learn, grow, and become strengthened. There was a time in my life when I had hit bottom, and I was truly tested. God sent me a miracle, and it was only recently that I have begun to see the miracle and how to use it for His glory. Let me explain: I have no musical training, but God began sending me beautiful music that I spontaneously compose (71 songs so far). This began years ago, but only a few months ago did I realize that this music aligns to Biblical Scripture – this is no random fluke. I have created 3 music videos so far … please check them out on my YouTube channel: wogdeb. God has gifted you, too. I read your interviews and blog posts; you are a very talented writer. Once you recognize and accept that this gift is from God (and not of your own doing as Satan would have you believe), you will begin to see so much more of God’s wonderful, giving, loving plans for you.

The bottom line is that God does love you, even if you reject Him. That is why He sent me to you today.

Love, Aunt Deb

~~

Lisa says:

Sigh. Posts like this just make me weary. Don’t you have better things to do with your time than Google people and try to push your beliefs on them? I’m sorry, but I’m just not interested in checking all the references you’ve listed that supposedly prove Jesus’s existence. References certainly are not proof. There are plenty of references to Santa Claus, to Big Foot, to the Loch Ness Monster, and to the Tooth Fairy, but we all know, of course, that none of those actually exist. Maybe Jesus Christ really did exist! I’m only saying that nobody is sure. Proof of his existence would still certainly not prove all the Christian assertions about him, that he was the son of god, that he rose from the dead, that god exists, etc., etc. If there were proof of any of that, it would be called “fact” and not “faith.”

I am happy with my life, I am fulfilled and grateful, and yet I do not believe in god. Why is it so hard for some of you to accept that? If you must believe that I am guided by Satan, then so be it.

Several things in your comment have me wondering if you actually are my “Aunt Deb.” If you are, I have to say that I find it even more disturbing and offensive than I might if you were a complete, random stranger, knowing that over the years I have made efforts to establish a relationship with my Aunt Deb, and it was never really reciprocated. So if that’s who you are, and you are now only pursuing me in order to convince me of your beliefs, I find that highly disrespectful to me as a person. I also see that you have signed up as a follower of my blog. While I am flattered that anyone would want to continue reading what I write, if you only want to follow in order to proselytize, please don’t.

~~

Deb says:

Dear Lisa:
Upon reflection, I realize my previous note to you was inappropriate, and I apologize for sending it. My goal was not to irritate you, and it was not intended to be disrespectful. We have no relationship, so it was not appropriate for me to engage in such a discussion; I was merely reacting to what I read in your blog. Albeit clumsy, I was sincerely trying to reach out to you.
Aunt Deb

~~

Lisa says:

How could it possibly be inappropriate if God called you to do it? Do you really not see how ridiculous it all is? Rhetorical questions; no need to answer. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes certain Christians look like a pushy, self-righteous, sanctimonious lot who think they have a monopoly on the truth and the way everyone’s lives should
be lived.

***

The last part of the exchange just took place this morning, and I am fuming.  First of all, this is a perfect example of Christian sanctimoniousness and – I’ll go ahead and say it – lunacy.  How many people in this world have made, and continue to make decisions because they are deluded into believing “God” called them to take such and such action?  How many of those decisions are potentially – or actually – life altering?  How many of those so-called divinely inspired decisions go south and ruin lives and relationships?  How many people quit their jobs and gave all their money away in anticipation of The Rapture recently, and historically many times over?  How many people sacrifice their savings to give to churches that promise them a direct line to God and salvation?  How many people take on circumstances they are not equipped to deal with because they believe “God” wants them to do it – only to have those circumstances turn tragic?

Of course, the exchange I’ve posted here isn’t that dramatic or carry the weight of life-altering decisions made in the name of God, but still, this person happens to be my aunt.  I would be bothered enough were it a random stranger or someone with whom I’ve had a casual internet relationship who came to my blog to preach their beliefs to me, but to know that someone I’m related to – my dad’s younger sister – and someone I’ve attempted a number of times over the years to establish a relationship with (we are geographically on opposite sides of the country, and have been for most of my life, which I’ve always assumed has stood in the way of our having any kind of close emotional relationship), only to be rebuffed (lack of interest? lack of time?  I have no idea), and then now to be pursued by her solely so she can attempt to impose her ideals on me – man, it pisses me off.  Is it any wonder?  Seriously, people.  And don’t give me any crap about her (or people like her) good intentions – it’s pushy and rude and self-righteous, and it harms me by violating MY right to live free from religion, religious dogma, and religious ideals.

Believe what you believe, and if it serves you well, then that is a wonderful thing.  But to think that the way YOU believe is the way everybody should believe, to impose your ideals on any other person – personally or by virtue of expecting public policy to reflect your religiously founded ideals – that is wrong.  And that is what makes me so goddamned angry about religion.

About these ads

11 Comments on “Is It Any Wonder?”

  1. starrlife
    May 26, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Let me start by clearly stating that I am in no way shape or form a religious person or have any formal belief in God (probably no informal one either but I leave the door open to all possibilities because the truth is no one owns the truth one way or the other and I prefer not having any Truth with a capital T).
    I have a sister who is religious though and it took forced, deliberate open mindedness and non-judgementalness on both of our parts to have a relationship (I guess that could be said for all relationships but more so in our case) because I’ve always had a hair trigger about being told how to think. Once I understood that she had the right to express her views and I had the right to mine without either disputing the others reality it got better and voila- it virtually never comes up anymore.
    Apparently a sensitive and reactive issue and I’m sure historically for good reason.
    Just saying that sometimes family does speak to each other unguardedly and illadvisedly without deep malice or agenda beyond missing the boat. Could this be a opportunity to connect in disguise? Can she accept you as you are and you as she is?
    You know your family dynamics better than I so stepping back now.

    • Lisa
      May 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      I appreciate your take on this, I do. But I think the dynamics are completely different from what you’re talking about, as you and your sister, I assume, had a pre-existing relationship since birth, whereas my aunt and I have had virtually no relationship at all, despite my attempts at establishing one because, yes, I’ve always had something of a void where extended family is concerned. She and I don’t have the typical familial relationship, though, as we really are very little more than strangers. So for her to pretty much ignore my earlier attempts to establish a relationship with her, and only now attempt to pursue me in order to impose her beliefs on me – I can’t stomach that, and I find it extremely hurtful and offensive.

  2. Rachael
    May 27, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Lisa,

    I’ve read so much here and I’ve asked questions to understand your way of thinking. It’s clear that you’re an Atheist to the core, which means that us Christians could tell you that Jesus really does exist as do heaven and hell, and you’ll argue with us all day long. Plain and simple, if you don’t want to hear about Him, if you want to shut yourself off from Him, that’s your decision. If you don’t want the comments, perhaps it would be a good idea to stop sharing about anything religious related. It seems to be a simple solution. Yes, I understand that this is your blog and you have the rights of free speech and religion and that you wouldn’t go to anyone else’s blog that would write about Christ and put your thoughts there. But I am going to challenge the notion of what if. What if you’re wrong, Lisa? I have to wonder if somewhere along the way, someone in a Church hurt you to the core or if you feel like He let you down. And I wonder what happens if one of your children end up finding Christ despite your attempts to keep this religious stuff away from them. How will you feel then?

    You see, this is the point where I stop reading your blog entirely because you’ve offended me. All of us Christians aren’t stupid or brainwashed. I started reading your blog because I loved reading about Finn and Michael and all your family, but when you go to extra lengths to bash My Jesus, I’m now angry. There is a God, and He does love you. And I will keep praying for you. You can’t stop those whether you like it or not.

    • Lisa
      May 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      What if you’re wrong, rachael?

    • Lisa
      May 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      No, Rachael, nobody in any church hurt me, and no, God didn’t let me down. The process of leaving religion and examining my beliefs and coming to the conclusions I’ve come to took place during a very peaceful, contented time in my life. I clung to the notion of God all through a lot of trauma and upheaval in my life. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people like you, who are so SURE of the existence of something for which there is absolutely no evidence, to accept that some of us don’t believe and have come to the conclusions we’ve come to not because we feel screwed over by God (or man), but simply because we went through a process of examination and searching and this is the conclusion we’ve come to, that no, there is no god.

      So, clearly, you missed the point of my last post – that it is highly offensive, and even hurtful, that a family member has never wanted to have any kind of meaningful relationship with me but only now wants to pursue me in order to push her beliefs on me? That’s okay? That’s acceptable? Because it’s all in line with YOUR beliefs, because it’s all in the name of god?

      So again, I should just be the nice atheist and shut up. You believers can be as loud and vocal as you want, you can take your beliefs where they are not invited, but I as a non-believer should be nice and be quiet, because it makes you angry. I am going to challenge you, Rachael: is it remotely possible that it makes you angry because you are afraid way down deep inside that maybe you’re wrong? That maybe there is no god? That maybe you’ve shaped your life around something that doesn’t exist?

      I have six kids. Odds are, at least a couple of them will “find Christ.” And gosh, you’re just so wrong – I do not make attempts to keep religious stuff away from them! My oldest son’s best friend is part of an evangelical Christian family. He’s gone to church with them (as well as other people) before. We’ve offered to take our other kids to church – different churches with different faiths, not just Christians! – so they can check it out. We talk about the different things different people believe in. Yes, my kids know what I believe and don’t believe, but I have NEVER sold my truth to them as what their truth should be. I’ve never told them what to believe as far as god goes. I only try to instill in them to look at everything from all sides and decide for themselves. Do you do that with your kids? If any of my kids “finds Christ” some day, I will respect that, so long as they don’t try to push their beliefs on me or anyone else.

      I’ve never made it a secret, Rachael, that I’m atheist – not even way back when I was writing on Finnian’s Journey. So I guess you took a risk in following me to this blog. I’m sorry the things I choose to write about – things I care about but, yes, obviously controversial things at times – upset you. It’s probably a wise choice on your part to move on then.

  3. Nancy Emerson
    May 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Lisa, I, like Rachel, have enjoyed following your blog for a few years. Your son’s Down Syndrome diagnosis hit home as I was faced with the possibility of one of my children having a similar diagnosis. I am going to agree with Rachel on this, you are very offensive in how you speak of Christians. Words such as “brainwashed and ridiculous” seem to be common words that you throw around when speaking of Christians. For someone who wants the world to be “word” and “attitude” catious (Non-offensive Language 101) you sure don’t seem to share the same etiquette for others. You are rude, condescending and judgemental. Bottom line, Lisa, you have a right to choose what you want to believe (and it is a choice). But, the Truth is that there is an order to this universe that did not happen by “chance”. You seem quick to use your “logic” as a reason to not believe but you also refuse/have no interest in seeking a truth (Jesus existence). So, why don’t you share with your readers exactly what you do believe. (as you have made it clear what you don’t believe) Who made you and this universe, why are you here and where are you going when your life here is done? Please share….

    • Lisa
      May 28, 2011 at 4:16 am #

      Nancy, I think it’s very different to expect people to be kind and compassionate with their words and attitudes concerning entire classes of people who have historically been abused, marginalized, segregated, and stripped of common rights. This is not the case at all with Christians. Christians as a whole have not been known to be marginalized, abused, segregated, or stripped of common rights based on their beliefs. In fact, historically, Christians – and various other religions – brandish their beliefs in order to abuse, segregate, and marginalize other people. I can respect you as a person and be kind to you on a personal level – and if I knew you, I’m sure I would wish to do nothing other than that – but as a whole, Christianity is ridiculous in my view. Your whole belief system is based on the supernatural and divine – why does that deserve respect and deference? The Religious Right is already a major force to be reckoned with in the USA – it influences government and public policy, and on a person level, it comes knocking on my door, it approaches me on the playground, it’s everywhere, trying to force itself down my throat, demanding a special cut of the public pie, all in the name of a god that I don’t even believe in. Why is it so difficult to look at it from MY perspective and try to understand why I’ve become so resentful of it? Rude, condescending, and judgmental? Rude is pushing your beliefs on someone uninvited. Condescending is behaving as if your belief system is The One True Belief System And The Only Path To Salvation, and expecting everyone else to accept it. Judgmental is telling someone who doesn’t share your beliefs that they are guided by Satan – or that they should not enjoy the same rights you enjoy because YOUR bible says they are sinners (as in the case with gay marriage). If you want to try to have a better understanding of how it feels from my perspective, you might read this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/3631819/Believers-are-away-with-the-fairies.html

      I wonder what your thoughts would be if you read the Quran or the Book of Mormon. I suspect you’d conclude that it’s bunk. But you can’t fathom the there are rational, good, decent people, who find the bible to be bunk? And all this stuff about Jesus. So if you don’t have Jesus, you’re basically screwed? So my Jewish husband I guess is going to hell because he wasn’t raised, and didn’t go with in adulthood, the right belief system. Is that correct? What’s worse, not believing Jesus was The One, or not believing he was anyone?

      I still would like someone who claims that belief is a choice to explain to me how that is so. Yes, I could stand here today and say “I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” and I would be making a choice to say those words. But the feelings behind it are not a switch that can be flipped – if I don’t feel it, then it’s just words. And if there were a god, don’t you think he/she/it would know the difference and call bullshit on me?

      I would be happy to answer your questions about what I DO believe, and I’ll do that in a separate post.

  4. Angie
    May 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    sorry but I agree with Lisa. I can’t fathom the ‘god’ stuff. I shutter at the thought of it being pushed onto me and left feeling like ‘believers’ are bigger and better than me.

    If it’s what you believe, fine… just stop trying to ‘save us’ all. JMO

  5. mike00000000001
    May 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    On the one hand, I have questioned what I believe. But on the other, I don’t like that atheists force atheism on others. I really don’t like the pushing that comes from either side.

    • Lisa
      May 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

      Hmmm. I find your statement curious “that atheists force atheism on others.” I wonder if you could clarify this, give examples. My experience is that while “atheist” is a label some choose to apply to themselves because it best describes their state of (non)belief, atheists are not an organized group with PR departments, television networks, political pull, and the like – unlike Christian and other religious organizations. Atheists don’t generally proselytize, try to recruit or convert anyone – unlike Christian and other religious folks. Atheists generally speak out about their beliefs in direct response to being intruded upon by religion. I know I wouldn’t have much to say about religion if I weren’t so inundated by it all the time. Despite what you might think, I really don’t care what other people believe unless their beliefs are intruding on me.

  6. Monica
    July 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    I lost my faith after my son was born with DS. And day by day, I feel stronger that God does not exist. It is hard to lose your faith.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 311 other followers

%d bloggers like this: