Tibetan endless knot

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I recently made a few rational conclusions after spending time closely evaluating my beliefs.  Keep in mind, in this blog I am referring mostly to organized religion.  I believe in freedom of religion, just disagree with religion.  For most of my life I have been a religious person, just not always the same one.  It’s been such an part of my life for so long that I’d say I never really imagined my life without it.  Until now that is.  But while this shift is new, I had questioned religious thinking for a while.  I’d say I grew up in a loosely Christian home, meaning I went to church a few times, but really little outside of that was mentioned about God.  Throughout my life I have had many religious experiences on a volume that I’d say was rather irregular.  Out of body experiences, God experiences, angelic and demonic experiences, astral projection, past life memories, and many, many others.  More than enough weird experiences to make me a religious fanatic nut-bag.  My life is even strange to me, and I am okay with being considered to be eccentric.  It’s not a statement of my mental stability, but more of a statement of the fact that my experiences of life differ more greatly from I guess what I consider to be the average.  Growing up partly on a farm, serving in a trusted position for the US Air Force where I lived away from sunlight 60% of the time, and being transgender all come to mind.

The pentacle, a symbol of Wicca, like one I used to wear. While Wicca, Shamanism, and others are much more moderate to me they still reflect a common flaw.

I have practiced Wicca, Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism (which I still like because its not really a religion), Spiritualism, Christianity (non-denominational and Baptist), and a few I can’t think of off the top of my head that I didn’t practice but studied.  To be honest, as a Christian (the last religion I practiced) I was perfectly positioned for apologetic work being that I had such a diverse religious past.  Knowing something about another religion in Christianity allows you fodder to downgrade the validity of another religion.  So as a Christian I did just that, I used the position that I was right and used what I know about other religion to point out why it’s wrong.  I mostly used the idea that in some religions they give too much freedom to the individual to decide morality, as a comparative to a Lucifer who wanted to be God.  I have always had a fascination with spirituality through out my life, and with the occult.  Given my experiences in life it would be no wonder why I was so fascinated with such things, so this has played a very strong point in my wish and searches as far as religion are concerned.  So all in all, what is this really all about?  If I last practiced Christianity well what am I now, and how did I get there?

Well for a long time in my life I always questioned and asked, but I seldom got anywhere being I was missing an underlying fallacy of logic.  I refer to this fallacy as magical thinking.  I had foregone critical thinking in key areas of my experience, and had taken many things that weren’t explainable and filled them with this magical thinking.  Everything from reincarnation, to heaven and hell, to God.  To be honest though, I don’t know if I could ever really say I was a Christian, though I practiced it.  Mostly because I never believed a benevolent, powerful enlightened God would do what Judeo-Christian religions said he did.  I was always against those things being logically sound ways of thinking for the properties of God, which are quite often contradictory.  My deconversion started with this line of thought.  I found the Abrahamic God to be a stream of logical contradictions, and while the teachings of Jesus have some good merits the process seemed somehow self-defeating.  Additionally, I am transgender, which brought about a lot of scrutiny and prejudice from Christians.  Their scrutiny began to point out a very interesting thought to me, and that was a seemingly prominent hypocritical feature of religiously driven scrutiny.  People would attack me with behaviors and attitudes that the bible was specific condemning, and it was only later that I learn the bible actually condemn and endorsed this proselytizing attitude.

This image is an example of "magical thinking". It is a ritual called "laying hands on" a Christian healing ritual, for both spiritual and physical healing. While I won't deny the positive effects of human contact and interaction, this kind of thinking is dangerous. Putting hands on someone isn't going to cure cancer, and believing so may cost people their lives.

As time progressed I found it increasingly difficult to defend the bible as I peeled away the years of conditioning that led up to my reconversion to Christianity from other religions.  I started realizing the logical fallacies of apologists who would attempt to say, well you can’t reason with it.  And I started to see the seeds of how conversion worked, and the ways in which it uses word plays to get around your logical processes.  Your taught not to question it, and often given the hellfire and damnation argument to scare you into submission.  People often argue that “it’s about submission to Christ”, but it really isn’t, and it’s so many other layers of reinforcement that it is actually an ultimatum, disguised as a really good deal.  Worship Christ, or else you’ll suffer eternal torment.  Suddenly when you realize the true nature of the “deal” your being given, the Good News doesn’t sound so good.  So you’re somehow expected to believe in this deity that cares about you, who wants the best for you, but will torment you endlessly for disbelief while providing no proof other than by others “word of mouth”, a really old book, and hearsay which is flimsy and logically contradictory?  How are you supposed to respond to that?

I'd be leery of anything that sounded too good to be true, especially if the house looked like this.

Imagine your buying a house, and the guy begins to tell you about this house.  It’s got the best security ever, it cleans itself, it’s spacious and beautiful, pre-furnished, it makes enough food to support you through an indoor garden,  and food delivery, it’s 1% of what the market value, practically a steal.  Your face is a glow, but it seems like it’s just too good to be real, so you turn to the salesman and say, “Can I get some time to think about buying this house?”  The salesman smiles politely and pulls handcuffs from his pocket and begins to reach for your hands, “If you don’t accept this house, then you’ll suffer endless torture, eternal damnation, hellfire and torment the likes of which you can’t imagine”.  He then adds, “Oh and if you ever doubt that this house is the best house ever, or if you ever leave or think of buying a new house you will be kidnapped and tortured forever in a hellish place.  For I am a jealous, all-powerful, omnibenevolent, omnipresent landlord and I will be watching you every second of every day, and I know what you are thinking.”  Most sane people would begin running at this point, with no second thoughts about ever excepting such a deal.  Christians generally trying to paint a happy-go-lucky image of accepting Christ as your savior on the premise of such logical fallacies.  The good deal disguising an insidious motive and ultimatum.  If God really is who many Christians and The Bible asserts him to be (logical contradictions aside), then why would he need ultimatums?  Sounds more like a cult to me.

What brought about the change in me was realizing the ultimatum’s disguises, and the real idea they are trying to push on me, as well as the character flaws of this idea.  Essentially, organized religion was asking me to get around my critical thought in a way, (to not think), in the same way that my survival depends on and applies to all other things in my life.  In this I was eventually driven to reassess my religious ideology with a more critical lens seeing the logical folly of those representing that idea.  I then took a comparative view where I looked at what effects if any uncritically challenged assumptions would have if I did the same in other areas.  I essentially realized the dangers and fallacies of that kind of thinking by applying them to other situations.  (I.E. I believe in an afterlife, therefore if I die it’s not the end.  At a bank robbery, I could be slightly more inclined to engage in risk taking behavior causal to my beliefs that I could stop the robber, and that if I failed there was an afterlife.)  I have no evidence there is an afterlife, so I would be risking my existence on a premise for which there is no proof, that could be wrong.  My beliefs in reincarnation, the afterlife, God, and all such beliefs had leaps in conclusions that weren’t supported under the scrutiny of critical thought and are supported by no evidence other than my personal experience.  These personal experiences could potentially be cause by another phenomenon outside of my ability to test or prove, therefore I had put too much trust into my beliefs and that could cause me to be out of touch with reality, thereby endangering my life.

I also was now able to see the seeds of indoctrination, in my life and others, used by Christians and other religions to insure the next generation of Apologist.  If the good news was really that good, would they really need to “Start Young” or censor the content of the Bible to get children to believe in it?  Children don’t have the capacity for informed consent, and in my opinion that is what is truly abominable.  So I have come to a point in my life where I see the bible and religious dogma for what it is.  Malicious logic designed with the intent and purpose of converting you through logical fallacies, contradictions, ultimatums, fear tactics and other means by which you can circumvent and sabotage your ability for critical thinking.  Religion primarily in the case of Abrahamic religions, is a computer virus for your brain that reduces your intelligence to the level of a parrot.  I am not against the existence of a God.  If you prove to me that God exists, or moreover a specific God, Gods, Goddess, then I’d like to see that.  But there is no evidence, and no matter how much I’d like there to be a loving God, afterlife, et cetera along the lines of my other previously unchallenged beliefs doesn’t in and of itself mean I can declare them to be true.  Furthermore, accepting them as true, evidence free, poses a potential hazard to my life, my existence should I accept them as true when they are actually false.  Simply because something is a personal, unexplainable, awe-inspiring experience doesn’t mean I can take artistic license to give it meaning for my comfort that isn’t supported by sound evidence.

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