A sad dinner

After several weeks of thinking on it and discussions, my wife and I have decided to put our dogs down. It’s sad but for the best.

Last night at dinner we decided to let the kids know and discuss it. It was quite emotional. Everyone was crying by the end of it as we talked about how the process is done and how we will miss them. We also talked about times that we had over the past ten years with them.

On into the evening, the kids wanted to share their beds, pillows and blankets with the dogs. It was very cute. They pet the dogs a little extra. And they talked about getting a hamster or a fish tank as replacement pets. I think in attempts to move past the saddness. We’ve decided against any more dogs in the future.

At bed time, my 5 year old daughter wanted to talk more about the dogs with my wife. She wished they didn’t have to get a shot and that they could live forever. We have believers in the family that still tell our kids about christianity and living eternally with god after we die. We aren’t the type of parents that tell our kids what they must believe or not. We allow them to discover things on their own, though we do let them know that we don’t believe and why.

My daughter asked my wife if they could pray for the dogs to live forever. And so she did that with her. She didn’t preach to our daughter in that moment that their probably is not a god there to listen. Didn’t tell her there was no point in praying. She let our daughter have her moment of coping how she wanted to and to have “the faith of a child.”

Its amazing being able to be open and honest with our kids about this stuff. We don’t have to pretend that the stories in the bible are true with them. We don’t have to worship a god that there is no evidence for. Yet, we can still let them make those determinations and decisions for themselves. I love talking to my kids about it.

Needless to say, our childs prayer for our dogs will be another one gone up in the air. We will still have a very sad day coming next month. This experience with my family is unique for us and one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

We finally made it through dinner all teary eyed. However we left the washing up for later and chose to go spend time with the dogs instead.

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The understanding of Atheism

As I scour the internet on Twitter and various blogs on the subject of faith, religion and atheism, it seems I learn something new practically every day. Either some new fact about science, evolution, the bible, family issues.  Also from time to time I see tweets, articles and blogs from people who clearly have a misunderstanding about things like atheism and evolution.

Almost daily I see a re-tweet of some one that either doesn’t understand the evolution theory or just wants to reject evolution based on their religious beliefs. I see the same thing, “If we evolved from monkeys, whey are there still monkeys?” Granted, some of these people may not really understand what evolution says or are just making condescending remarks just to be annoying. I don’t pretend to understand evolution fully by any stretch, but I understand the basic premises of the theory. (I’ve included a link to the definition of theory. It shows the rigorous process that takes place in science for an idea to become a theory.)

Another misunderstanding that I frequently see from believers is what an atheist is. An atheist is nothing more than a person who is without a belief in a god or gods. That’s it. We say that there is no evidence proving the existence of any claimed god.  Atheism does not make the claim that no god could exist. We don’t know, and neither does the believer. There is not any evidence whatsoever that can prove the existence of god. Atheist do not declare that they can prove that god does not exist as this blog post goes on about. And no atheist claims to be all knowing or a god. The first argument in this blog comes from ignorance in the understanding of what an atheist is.

Yes there are a few rough edges in the atheist movement. But from what I’ve witnessed it is a small portion out of the rest of the reasonable people.

Their second argument for intelligent design is easily thrown out, as it has been time and time again with science. But the most damning fact is that 99.9% of the worlds species to ever live has gone extinct. This is the Folly of any idea of an intelligent designer that is absolutely not required for natures natural selection.

Of course christians and people from other religions will ignore the facts and insist on believing anyway. To them it is more important to just believe that to pay attention to real scientific facts.

Thanks to @perth_atheist on Twitter for bringing the Candid Apologetics site to our attention. Its still fun stuff to read and see what science REALLY says about the claims of those believing on faith.

Another Easter season

So another Easter Sunday has come and gone. Millions of believers in their thousands of denominations congregated to worship the mythical risen savior. Now I see what a prison that world really is. I am thankful to not have to live that way any longer.

As I woke on Sunday morning, I began to think about my journey towards Atheism thus far. I remember as a believer I avoided conversations with non-believers and sometimes even believers about my faith. I knew that I had no good reason for believing. I couldn’t tell you why I believed. I just had faith. Faith that the bible was true, that my pastor was speaking truth, faith that those around me couldn’t be wrong, therefore I would just continue to believe myself.

Then there finally came the day that I couldn’t live like that anymore. I couldn’t live under the umbrella of other peoples beliefs. I had to know what I believed and why! So I started doing my own research. My first step was just reading the bible from cover to cover. But I read it a lot more critically than I ever had before. As I did, I began to see things that I’d never noticed.

The first thing quite frankly being how tyrannical the god in the bible is. He directs and orders killings far beyond the scale of Hitler or Stalin. Even doing some of the killing himself. But I guess because he is god, he always gets a pass.

In further reading the gospel writings, other things didn’t seem to add up. I began to find multiple contradictions. One being the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke. Matthews version is during Herod’s reign when Herod orders all infants 2 and under to be killed. (Which can not be found in any other history writing.) Luke’s version is during the time of Ceasar Augustus where he decrees a census over the entire Roman world. (Another piece of history that can’t be confirmed outside of the bible.) Both of these accounts couldn’t have happened at the same time. Harods reign ended no less than 10 years before Ceasar Augustus took power. The problem here is obvious.

In addition to reading the bible, I began reading other books and listening to podcasts that were on both sides of the fence. The Atheist material started to make more and more sense.  The theist position seemed more like it was having to bend and stretch the truth to fit into their stories. All of this added up, led me to no longer believe in the christian god. My mind was opened to new possibilities.

I feel so much more free now not living under the oppression of religion. Not many of my friends and family know yet. It is tough to come out and for them to understand my point of view. Those that do know think I’m confused and Satan is deceiving me. Knowledge, questions and skepticism is the enemy of religion it seems. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the years to come. One friend thinks this is a temporary thing for me. But it is not.

I still love taking my kids on egg hunts. Even if it is church sponsored. We took the kids to a church down the road from our house and they had some fun. Of course the church members invited us for Easter services at the end and we respectfully declined.

Anyway, Hoppy Easter.

Doggie Prayers

If you used to be or are currently a believer, then you’ve probably been in one of those prayer circles. You know where every one holds hands and takes turns praying. These happen at churches, in bible study groups or most anywhere that believers gather. I remember when my wife and I used to attend a weekly small home group. They were friends from a church we attended.

It was at the time when my wife first started having serious doubts about god, faith and christianity. It was very difficult for her to admit it to the group. It was difficult for me to hear as I still wanted to believe. I just knew god was going to show her what she needed to continue to believe. The group prayed for my wife. We prayed for the “holy spirit” to come down on her and touch her. To give her the evidence she needed to believe and have faith. Of course…nothing happened.

I’ve never seen anyone more honest and open about god and finding what is really true than my wife during that time. She really wanted it to be true. She really wanted to hear from and feel god somehow. But now we know the prayers were just going to the air.

I remember comments from our study/prayer group. They would say things like, “just keep praying, god works in his timing not ours.” But I say if he truly comes after the one sheep that strays, then several years ago when all this took place would of been a good time to show up.

My mind was boggled again over the past weekend. Our family (my wife, myself and our three kids) have a couple of small dogs. We’ve had these dogs for about 12 years. We had the dogs before we had any kids.

Well, the dogs are getting on in years and are beginning to have health problems.  Their quality of life has started to be affected and quite frankly so has our pocket book due to the vet bills. So my wife and I have been contemplating “putting them down”. We have been weighing the pros and cons. Its not an easy decision as they have been part of the family for so long. But we have to face the facts that the time is coming soon to let the dogs go.

My wife called a relative to get their advice about it. They basically told her they didn’t want to tell her what to do, but that she should pray about it. (This family member knows that we both are not believers anymore) My wife was told that she might be surprised about the results of prayer and to keep an open mind about god. She politely said, “ok, I might do that.”

It boggles my mind that anyone that knows us doesn’t think we’ve gone through this process with an open mind. We’ve spent the better part of ten to twenty years as christians. Believing solely on faith. I’d say that a person who believes in a god only on faith and not evidence for that long and continues their journey as honestly as they can, no matter where the journey takes them, has an open mind.

After being a christian for around 20 years, I know now that it is the believer who needs to keep an open mind for what is true. But I also know that christians can’t allow themselves to have open minds. It is forbidden. Because any REAL truth would challenge their faith to much as to come to the conclusion of unbelief. I know most believers would never admit it however. Some may admit that at times, they have had doubts, but that is far as most take it.

They will just continue to believe on faith. Any little coincidence that could be explained by natural causes is enough for them to hold on to their beliefs and think something supernatural has happened instead.

I  guess we should thank him for his advice, but don’t think we will be praying about the dog situation. I guess we will just know in very natural terms when it is time to say goodbye to our furry friends.