Tag Archives: agnostic

Things I miss.

Hey Everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I hope everyone in the  blog world has been doing well. 

I’ve had some stuff weighing on my mind lately. I currently live in one of the larger cities in the south. As with any city, we have a fairly large population of homeless people. A few years ago, I helped a local faith based organization feed the homeless people breakfast in one of the larger city parks downtown every week. I would wake up on Thursday  mornings at 4:30am, get ready, and drive 45 minutes into downtown. Once there, I would help make up lunch bags for the people to take with them once they had their breakfast. These bags always contained a handwritten Bible verse written on an index card. There was always a time of devotion, prayer, and then time to circulate amongst the people for about an hour while they ate their breakfast. We were there every Thursday, no matter the holiday, rain, or cold weather. There was no less than 50 homeless people that came each week. Sometimes there were over 100. One of the volunteers went around to the people and took individual prayer requests. Most of the people that came (come, I still get the prayer list every week in my email) are regulars. They have been coming for years and still have the same requests. These requests range from needing shelter, transportation, a job, healing of health problems, to overcoming addiction.

It was while I was volunteering with this group that I began to have questions about God. I eventually couldn’t keep telling them that God heard their requests and would make it better because I didn’t believe it. I quit going to the park on Thursdays. Of all of the things that I have given up in the name of atheism, this is what I miss the most. I miss the people and their stories. Every once in a while, there were happy endings and stories of triumph. I miss sharing this. There was a man that came every week that was 88 years old. He had 13 children, lung cancer, and was homeless. He was always thoughtful and had the most amazing stories to tell. The other homeless people helped to watch over him as he was elderly and frail. I will never forget the last time I spoke to him. It was December and was pretty darn cold outside. He had a thermos that he got the volunteers to fill with coffee. He handed it to me and told me to hold it to keep my hands warm while we talked. That particular morning, he was bothered and very emotional. He kept saying “I can’t figure out what God wants with me? What am I supposed to be doing?”. I had no answer. That was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. In hindsight, I would have loved to have put him in  my car and taken him to the nearest shelter and told him to call family to take him in. Knowing this man, he never would have allowed this to happen. He passed away about 10 months ago. I miss seeing his name on the prayer list each week. He never had a selfish request.


This is what bothers me. The same people come every week and have the same prayer requests, yet nothing ever changes. I wish I could tell them that they are the master of their fate, not some invisible man in the sky. They are the reason behind their circumstance and ultimately have the power to change it. So, I have decided to make up my own snack bags with my own positive message. Who knows, I may even put together my own group and set out to make a difference. I would love to be able to show that religious organizations are not the only ones that can make a positive difference in the lives of others. They do not hold the monopoly on goodness and compassion.Image

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Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers sing the Atheist Hymn

I don’t know about you guys, but I love Steve Martin. And bluegrass. And funny songs about topics that interest me. Enjoy!

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Attention all non-religious parents: The Good News Club wants our kids.

I was recently reading a post over at Critic of Christianity’s blog regarding being a child proselytizer in the past. It struck a nerve with me as I have recently been dealing with the local chapter of The Good News Club at my son’s school. He began coming home and saying some bizarre things and jumping to irrational conclusions. For example, last week he said a dog pooped in the pavilion on the playground at school. I made a comment to the effect of “Who would let their dog make a mess and not clean it up?”. His calm and immediate response was “Maybe the devil did it.” My response to this of course was bewilderment. I asked him where he learned this stuff and was alarmed that he said school. More specifically, on Thursday’s when he meets with The Good News Club at after school care. I told him immediately that there was no such things as monsters or devils. He is having a hard time coming to terms with this thought because he believes in God. He even said Jesus lives in his heart. We used to be regular church attenders but haven’t been in over a year. He remembers all of this and TGNC only reinforced it. His dad and I contacted the school the next day and had him removed effective immediately. The teacher actually asked for me to explain why we were removing him. I tried to be respectful and told her that his dad and I did not agree with some of the things that he was learning. She asked me to elaborate, so I did. I told her that we were not religious and furthermore I did not agree with teaching children to proselytize. She let it go after that.

The night before we spoke to the school, we did a little research on The Good News Club. If you have a few minutes to spare, watch the video that is posted. If you have school aged children and TGNC in your area, beware. They state point-blank that their target age group is ages 4-14. I am ashamed that I did not realize that my child was learning things that are potentially confusing him. We had an age appropriate conversation and talked about the fact that some people do not believe in God and also that different people believe in different things. He knows that this is okay and there is nothing wrong in it. I’m not sure at his age how much he understands, but we are really trying. It is amazing how concrete and non-negotiable a child’s mind can be at his age. He literally will believe almost anything that you say. That is why they target such a young age group.

Here is the part that REALLY upsets me: The after school care teacher told me that she is active in teaching this class and that my son is going to be one of two children not participating. She said that they were made to sit outside of the library and be quiet for an hour while the other kids participate. I went to a Learning Express in order to buy him educational games to play while he waits. My child is being isolated because he will not be participating in a Christian activity. We are currently composing a letter to the Board of Education regarding this issue. I am not happy with the thought that no one is watching my child because they are busy indoctrinating other children. I do not know a lot about the law regarding issues that involve the Separation of Church and State in public schools. I know that TGNC has been able to get around it in the past and won a lawsuit and can stay on the premises of public schools. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, please send them my way. Thank you for reading!

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How does being an atheist affect your politics?

I have been thinking about this for a while now. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be hanging out with my local atheist meetup group. I was new to the group, so I mostly sat back and listened, throwing in the occasional comment. Then the conversation turned to politics and the upcoming executive decision on gun rights. It was clear that they were on the side of banning firearms and imposing as many restrictions as possible. I sat back quietly and listened to what they were saying. Oh goodness, if they only knew my dirty little secret.

I’m a Libertarian. GASP!

Or Libertarian-ish. I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I want the government small and out of my personal space. I want to earn and keep as much of my money as possible while giving a reasonable amount of financial assistance to my fellow man (NOT government) in need. I want to keep my right to safely bear arms and protect my family if the need were to arise. I want a true separation of Church and State for the sake of my children and their children. Everyone is different, but these are my personal convictions. It had not occurred to me how much of minority conservative or middle of the road folks would be in the atheist community.

Last week I asked how everyone felt about proselytizing. Sword of Apollo made a bold statement in regards to people’s belief system and how it influences their vote:

“I wouldn’t care much about other people’s beliefs, if they didn’t vote to coerce people like me based on them. Various groups want to ban abortion, ban “vices,” impose forced charity such as welfare and Medicaid, impose subsidies, force employers to abide by labor union rules, impose minimum wages, etc.

When people use the government to coerce me like this, then I have a serious problem with the beliefs that cause them to do it.”

I agree with him wholeheartedly. What are your thoughts? I’m not asking for anyone to come out and tell me their own personal political choice, as that is none of my business. I am curious to see if you feel pulled more-so in one definite direction due to your non-belief?

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Let’s talk about proselytizing.

“Have you heard about the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” You might be asked this very question while standing in line at Wal-Mart or the grocery store if you are lucky enough to live where I do. This happens often enough, yet I still can’t grapple with why it is socially acceptable. Despite living in a rural area, we still get our doorbell rang by the Witnesses, Mormon’s, and Christian’s. The last Witnesses that came to the house luckily didn’t make it past the front steps, but they did threaten to come back and show me” the truth about Jesus that is hiding in the Bible that you read”. I guess she assumed I was a Christian. Luckily I haven’t seen or heard from them since. This was bothersome even before I was atheist, but even more so now. I have never been the type to shout my convictions from the rooftop. I have always been of the opinion that whatever I believe was no one else’s business or concern. So why do strangers feel the need to come to my private residence and ask to come inside my house uninvited and share what they are happy about? I know the logical answer to this question is that they are compelled by their beliefs to save my soul and share the good news. But what if non-believers did the same? What if the atheists of the world decided to jump in a van and drive around neighborhoods with a copy of a science book and Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” and showed people what we were so happy about? How well would we be received?

On the other hand, how do you feel about atheists proselytizing? Do any of you have an opinion? Do you feel the need to attempt to change the minds of religious people? Personally, I don’t feel comfortable engaging someone in a discussion for the sole purpose of telling them they are silly for believing in fairy tales and they should really rethink their stance on life. I am fine with expressing or even debating my beliefs when asked, but I am not about to go out of my way to broach the subject of my beliefs. I hope to always be respectful of others and give atheism a positive name. What are your thoughts?

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Separation of Church and State? I think not.

It’s a great notion, really. To be completely honest and fair, I have never had a problem with the First Amendment as it applies to education in public schools until the past year. I never had a problem with prayer at football games or during school assemblies. This was, of course, because I was a Bible toting Christian at the time. I always thought that if this bothered an atheist or someone with another religious background…well, they would just have to ignore us and deal with it. I realize now how rude and dismissive I was for thinking this way.

I have kids. They attend a state run daycare and public schools here in the Bible belt. I was under the impression that religion was not allowed in the classrooms of state funded schools. Last week as I was driving one of my kids home from school, he starts to tell me about Moses and the burning bush. This was something that he had learned that day in school. He isn’t old enough to have history class, so that is not the context that it was taught. My other child comes home from daycare with coloring pages of manger and resurrection scenes. How confusing is it going to be to tell them that Jesus isn’t the only way and that there are other options including non-belief? I want my kids to be open minded to all that this life has to offer. I don’t want them to be closed minded like I was for most of my life. How difficult is it going to be when there are others in their path that are telling them otherwise, including the public education system and my Christian family?

I would love to get the opinions of others in the free-thinking community. And GO!

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