What’s the what?!

Hey there to the readers that Dave has managed to attract.  My name is Brandon and I have been invited to take part in this blog about various subjects close to my heart.  Let me start with a brief introduction.

I grew up in Tulsa, OK.  I went to church with my family all the way through high school, though less and less as the years went on.  I have been skeptical all of my life, and I can’t recall a time when I believed in god and did not believe in Santa Claus.  At first I kept my unbelief to myself.  I think I first told my parents that I didn’t believe in god when I was ten or eleven.  I even went through a phase in my early teens where I tried to believe, studying the bible harder and having discussions with preachers and religious friends, but the more I studied it the less sense it made…to me.  The other people that I spoke with seemed to ignore the problems that we spoke about, always using the bible as a reference for their argument.  I studied history and science more as I got older and found it more and more exciting and interesting.  I still love learning about science and history, and the more I learn the more I realize how incredibly inaccurate the religious texts are.  That combined with their incessant self-contradictions make it perfectly clear that religion is man-made and bankrupt.  The fact that so many people choose not to think about the obvious facts, not to mention that so many people just take it for granted that the bible is historically accurate in any meaningful way without doing the tiny amount of research required to disprove that falsehood, often makes me feel like a sane man among crazy people.

I should mention here something that I will go into more later on.  I used to be disturbed by my lack of faith.  That is not to say that I had faith and was fighting it.  I had no faith and that seemed so uncommon to me at a young age that I felt there might be something wrong with me.  I rarely spoke of it, so I wasn’t actually able to learn what my friends thoughts were, and in the end that turned out to be somewhat self-fulfilling.  Oddly enough, all of my good friends from elementary school grew up to be atheists as well, which leads me to believe that we all shared a lot more in common than we knew at the time, and we all spread out and lost contact until Facebook came along and allowed us to reconnect and realize our mutual faithlessness.  The other things that we all have in common are that we are all very happy people, all successful in our jobs, nearly all have families with children and all ended up fairly well educated.  I know that many religious people feel that a full and happy life isn’t possible without faith, though I can’t say that their reasoning makes sense, and they frequently make a big deal out of coming to faith or being born again.  I recall the day that I fully gave up on trying to believe in god and let myself just believe what I intuitively believed all along.  That day a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and I felt like I was seeing the world as it really is for the first time.  I’d always doubted and there had never been an argument that was convincing to me in any way, but until I fully embraced my irreligion I was never able to see it for what it is; I only had inklings.  However, leaving all of that behind was the best thing I ever did, and any atheist worth their salt will likely agree with this statement.  Except the lucky ones that never had all that nonsense dumped on them in the first place.

My wife and I live in Texas now with our four-year-old son.  It literally creeps me out to see so many churches all over the place.  It’s disturbing to see people throw their crazy right out there for all the world to see.  We are not looking forward to sending our son to friends’ houses for the weekend and getting the “do you mind if he just goes to church with us on Sunday morning and then we can drop him off afterward?” questions that are bound to come up.  My son is incredibly smart and I look forward to having discussions with him about the cosmos and our place in it.  I love knowing that when he asks me difficult questions I actually have answers, and if I don’t know I find out and then explain it to him in a way that he can understand.  My best hope is to give him as much knowledge as I can and let him make his own decisions.  That’s what I did, albeit by myself, and it worked out just fine for me.

My purpose here is mostly just to vent and to share the thoughts and realizations that I occasionally have about religion.  It’s so present in society that it’s impossible to ignore, plus around these parts people are more than happy to start a religious discussion with a stranger, assuming that they also believe, so it’s not like I am given the option to actually opt out.  Instead I find myself forced, far too often, to discuss this nonsense with people who don’t seem able to actually hear the words coming out of their own mouths.  Thus, the truth behind the B.S. sometimes seems clearer, and this is as good a place as any to voice my thoughts on the matter and see what other people think.

Finally, fair warning: I am more than happy to have a calm and rational discussion with believers about religion and faith, but the moment they stop being rational I gotta quit.  Otherwise I start to get too irritated by the willful ignorance.  It’s always been my biggest pet-peeve, whether about religion or anything else that can easily be known and understood.

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