Gideon Didn’t Have True Faith

This baby is so cute, anything she prays for will happen

This baby is so cute, anything she prays for will happen

My current situation reminded me a lot of Gideon’s story, from Judges 6. To sum it up, here is what happened:

Gideon: (beating wheat in the winepress)

Angel of the Lord: Hi, Gideon, God is with you.

Gideon: Really? If God is with us, why have all these bad things happened? God has forsaken us.

Angel of the Lord: Go save Israel; I’m sending you.

Gideon: How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest, and I’m the least of them.

Angel of the Lord: I will be with you.

Gideon: Show me a sign, so I know you really are God.

Angel of the Lord: (shows Gideon a sign)

Gideon: Wow okay, you really are God.

Later…

Gideon: Hey, God? If you really meant what you said, look at this fleece I’m laying on the ground. If there’s only dew on the fleece, and none on the ground, then I’ll know you are telling the truth.

God: (does the thing)

Gideon: Okay…please don’t be angry, but let me have one more test. This time, if the fleece is dry and there’s dew on the ground, I will know.

God: (does the thing)

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Now I’m a Selfish Heathen

thomas-paineI am autistic, and I was once told that autistic people only care about their own needs and desires, and struggle to think about other people. And today I’ve just been told that throughout my life, I’ve always had a focus on getting what I want and used a great deal of manipulation to get it. In a way, this isn’t surprising; when I was young, I was kind of selfish and definitely intelligent enough to bend people’s will. But what is surprising is that the accusation comes out suddenly after I say I’m a deist.

When I was young, I didn’t understand a lot of interpersonal issues. It wasn’t until my teens that I really wanted friends, and it wasn’t until then that I realized there’s a thing called empathy, and mine didn’t work very well in many situations. I grew up mostly absorbed with my own thoughts, my own desire for knowledge, and no idea how different I was.

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I Was a Christian, and I Was Truly Saved

I'm still fascinated with the story of Jesus

I’m still fascinated with the story of Jesus

There’s an interesting thing about people who think they know the absolute truth…they often claim to know me better than I know myself. But since I’m the only one, aside from possibly god, who knows what happens inside my head, it stands to reason that I’m the only one qualified to say what I think, what I feel, and what my reasons are for doing or saying certain things. Claiming so firmly to know what’s going on in my head, and being so wrong about it, only makes you lose a lot of credibility. This is why I try to refrain from making statements about the motivation of another individual, something I probably need to be more careful about considering how much I dislike it being done to me.

I got a response to my previous article about deism, in which the statement was made that I can’t tell the difference between being “truly saved” or not, because it hasn’t happened to me yet, and that is why I can’t properly understand the bible. It’s a common Christian response to anyone who has a different opinion on anything to do with their religion. They won’t accept that the reason other people can’t properly understand the bible might be that there is no proper way to understand it. If someone disagrees, it isn’t because they studied from a different perspective and came to a reasonable conclusion…no, it’s because they weren’t “truly saved”, and thus weren’t “given the gift of faith” that will open their eyes and magically make them understand some hidden meaning in the very same words they’ve been reading all along.

Except…I was saved. According to many versions of Protestant doctrine, including the one I was raised in, I am a saved Christian and always will be and nothing I do or believe can change that. The “never was saved” argument is a blatant fallacy, but I think it’s the only way they have to reconcile the existence of people like me with the belief that no true Christian can lose their salvation. So I must be a liar, of course. Data that conflicts with the core belief system must be rejected.

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Claiming Deism

albert-einsteinIt’s taken me quite a while, but I think I can finally say this: I’m not a Christian. If I had to identify with a religion, it would be deism. Of course, my Christian friends and family will likely be angry, sad, or otherwise upset about this. But let me explain.

Deism is, simply put, a belief in the existence of a god who created the universe and now remains uninvolved, letting the universe follow a natural course according to the structure built into it. In addition, deism involves a rejection of the claims of religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, that their holy scripture is a revelation from god.

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Christianity and Sexual Crimes

6244e8ca9f2025d54ad8ba98367dd37dWhen I first heard about the child molesting committed by Josh Duggar when he was a teenager, I wasn’t surprised. It’s a sadly familiar story, especially to me. Josh’s story is almost exactly the same as the story of one of my cousins. The difference, though, is that my cousin is in prison right now. Not because his crimes were handled correctly by his family; when he returned to America years later, he didn’t expect there to be an arrest warrant and police officers waiting for him because he didn’t know that charges were filed in his absence.

It isn’t a surprising story because we’ve heard it so many times already; I wrote generally about child abuse among Christians several months ago. It isn’t even surprising that the police officer to whom the Duggars “reported” the incidents is now serving a lengthy prison sentence for a repeat offence of child pornography. After all, the former leader of the Duggar’s cult, Bill Gothard, was finally forced to resign recently after dozens of accusations of sexual abuse piled up and prompted an investigation. Sexual crime is no stranger to fundamentalist Christianity, on both the Catholic and the Protestant sides.

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The Path to a Free Mind

I have a fear of heights...so naturally I climb mountains.

I have a fear of heights…so naturally I climb mountains.

People say that the truth will set you free. And not just people; it originates in the Christian bible as something spoken by Jesus. These days it’s a popular saying that is tossed around with little regard for the depth of meaning it holds.

When you start telling lies, you not only have to keep track of what’s true, but also what lies you’ve told so that you can keep your story consistent. The more you lie, the more you need to lie in order to keep your previous lies hidden. You end up living a fictional life dictated by the lies you’ve established.

A similar trap can happen when you are lied to, or simply believe a lie. After long enough, even if you learn the truth, you may feel obligated to keep following the lies, especially if forsaking them would damage your reputation or otherwise cause you distress. As Carl Sagan said it, “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: if we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.”

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Fuel Injected Freedom: A Cautionary Tale of Vehicular Repairs Gone Awry

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This article was formerly published on my old blog in March 2014.

When I started the process to replace all of the carpet in my Porsche, I hoped for an uneventful project even though, deep down, I knew that no project involving a vehicle goes smoothly. Originally all the carpet and seats were tan, but over time it had become more of a blotchy brownish color. I replaced the front seats with black leather ones, and then acquired a full set of burgundy carpet and black rear seats to finish the job.

At first it did go well. I stripped out everything from the front seats back, and the new carpet fit almost perfectly. After a long and exhausting three hours spent hunched inside a tiny car, kneeling in gravel, and bending over for extended periods of time, the sun went down and I closed it up to be finished the next day. When I shut the driver’s door, there was an unusual snap and a clatter. I tried the handle and it wouldn’t open. Tried the inside handle, and still no luck. Of course, I knew exactly what had happened, but I was really hoping that I was wrong. I left it to be dealt with later.

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