Tag Archives: god

Why traditional Christian roles have no place in modern marriages

I grew up attending church on a semi-regular basis. Although my mom wanted us all to believe in Jesus and be active members in the church, there was never a whole lot of pressure on us to live a “Godly” life. My parents were, and are, a pretty progressive couple when you look at the households they grew up in: both my parents had stay-at-home mothers who adored their husbands and took a traditional motherly role.

Although for a large part of my childhood my mom was a stay-at-home mom, she had several jobs that I can recall. My parents were never the same as their parents were. Although my dad was in the Air Force and my mom spent her time with me and my two siblings, my parents were always a team. When one of us kids got in trouble while my dad was at work, my mom would of course fill my dad in when he arrived home, but they always made decisions on how to punish us together.

Even in 2016, however, there are families who choose to raise their kids in traditional, Christian households. Recently, I saw a diagram showing three umbrellas over top of one another, each one getting progressively smaller than the one above it. The first and biggest umbrella said, “Jesus” on it. The middle umbrella says, “husband” and the things he covers include “spiritually leading the household,” “provide for the family,” and “love wife like Christ loves the church.”

Meanwhile, under the smallest umbrella entitled, “wife” her duties are listed as being “a helper to her husband,” “raise Godly children,” and “submit to husband’s authority.” The bottom of the photo entitles the entire diagram as, “natural order of the family.”

jesusbull

To begin with what I find so troubling with this diagram, I’ll start with the title of the diagram, “natural order of the family.” For one, I view religion in itself as unnatural. Sure, we as humans may have had a natural need to explain things around us with stories of a supernatural being, but that was before science.

Science, as a natural law, tells us that the earth wasn’t molded from clay by an all-powerful being. We weren’t put on this earth 6,000 years ago as many evangelicals like to think. It’s also not natural to view one being as more or less than another simple because of sex and societal expectations of what a woman and a man’s roles are.

The next and probably most personally troubling issue I find with this diagram is the fact the woman is to be “submissive” to her husband. This may have made sense in biblical times, but in 2016 there is no reason to adhere to this traditional societal expectation. Women are now taking on the role of being the head of the household and being the breadwinners, while more husbands are taking on the role of stay-at-home dads. The wife, according to this diagram, is supposed to “raise godly children.” This is putting pressure on the wife to bear her husband’s children, which therefore puts pressure on the husband to create little god-soldiers.

Again, in 2016 there is no need to reproduce. Expectations and pressures towards couples to have children are unnecessary and the idea of not having children is becoming less taboo. As a matter of fact, in my experiences, pressuring one to have children is more taboo than not having children at all.

The expectation of the father to be a provider and leader of the family is simply primitive. As I said before, women are taking on the role of the “head of the household” more often than ever. To expect the husband to take on the role of leader of the household is just as anti-feminist as telling the wife she must be submissive.

What if all a man ever wanted to do was be a stay-at-home dad? According to this diagram, he would be considered a failure if he wasn’t the main “breadwinner.”

wedding
“Once she’s married, she becomes the “property” of her husband.”

Overall, as someone who identifies as agnostic, I feel that running a household based on scripture can be a very toxic thing. While some may find comfort in it and feel that they’re doing the right thing, I believe that the idea that one person in the marriage holds more power than the other can attribute to domestic violence and emotional abuse.

The bible pushes this family structure because overall, women aren’t very valued in Christianity. One can trace back to Genesis where it’s believed that man was made by God, and women were simply made of mans rib. In other areas of the bible, women are often outcast and disrespected to the point of violence.

Deuteronomy 22:28 states that if an unmarried virgin woman is raped and the rapist is caught, it’s not the rape victim’s loss, it’s the father’s. The bible, specifically the Old Testament, view women as property: before the woman is married, she’s the property of her father. Once she’s married, she becomes the property of her husband. In the case of rape, the rapist is, in a sense, defiling the property of another man and therefore “pays” by remaining married to the woman, giving her a “purpose.”

This information from the bible is the basic roots for the toxic ideology that a woman is somehow beneath her husband, and that by being “above him” it would be the same as the man being “owned” by his own property.

Being a Christian is by no means “wrong,” however, I believe it’s important we look at the consequences, side-effects, and root causes of the basic beliefs of Christianity in regards to the “order” of marriage. Many times what seems to be an innocent practice of belief has a sinister heritage when examined closely and from a progressive standpoint.

God bless the child that had to deal with crazy churches

I didn’t grow up in the church, and for that I’m thankful. My girlfriend grew up going to the Pentecostal church– the fire and brimstone church. She woke up every sunday, put on her best church clothes and sat through Sunday school. She was forced to listen to a man who told her she was going to Hell for being herself or for making the same mistakes that everyone did.

After Sunday school, she absorbed all of the Christian extremist crap from the zealots who made her believe their interpretation of the Bible was the correct one, and anyone who believes differently is anti-Christian and will go to Hell.

She started getting panic attacks around age 12, whether or not it was just from the Church we don’t really know, but I know that the Church definitely had a part in it. When you grow up in an environment that tells you you’re going to Hell for being true to yourself, what do you do? You hide who you really are. You live with secrets and you let them eat you alive until there’s nothing left. You live in fear everyday and hope that sometime in the future you can fall in love with yourself again. You’re lucky if that time ever comes.

Now, when my girlfriend and I go to church (one that accepts everyone, no matter any differences we might have, no matter what the Bible can be interpreted as) she can’t sit through a sermon without having a panic attack and having to leave.

All those memories of her old church come back to her. She thinks of all the times she’s felt claustrophobic and suffocated even in a big church building. She remembers the preacher telling her she’s a pervert and a sinner and that all the feelings she has are wrong in the eyes of God. What do you do when someone tells you that God hates you, the man who is suppose to love you unconditionally and who decided your fate, for loving someone else?

These words are all she ever knew, all she was ever taught; they were ingrained in her brain for years and she’s worked so hard to forget them, to not believe them anymore. Even though the church we go to now doesn’t believe that love is a sin, she still can’t help be feel scared and unprotected in a church and that is the saddest part of all.

The snow was really deep so.  Photo from twentytwowords
The snow was really deep so.
Photo from twentytwowords

From what I understand, God is about love. That is the main message He strives to send out to all of his children. So why would a preacher speak hate and uncompromising rules that one must follow in order to be granted into Heaven? I will never understand that point of view on God’s words. Christianity and religion should be about respect, love, compassion, and generosity, as far as I’m concerned, and not about hate, exclusion, or isolation.

God the serial killer

For us agnostics and atheists, the Bible has a lot-and I mean a lot- of fallacies that make us shake our heads. I used to be a Christian — so yes, I’ve read the Bible. I never had the desire to read it cover-to-cover, but I’ve read a majority of it. Since I left the church, I often find myself reflecting back on those readings and thinking, “Wow, God’s a psychopath.”

Before you assume I’m a God-hater, remember that atheists don’t hate God; we simply don’t think he exists. However, assuming the God described in the Bible were real, by today’s standards, he’d be a complete psychopath. Think about it. How many times in the Bible does it mention that people were made in “His image?” Often one of the biggest confidence-boosters for Christians suffering from self-esteem issues is to be reminded that they were made in God’s image, and to accept their flaws and imperfections.

Are people just dummies to a great ventriloquist? Graphic by Danika Padin
Are people just dummies to a great ventriloquist? Graphic by Danika Padin

This is where the Bible begins to contradict itself. Of all the evil-doers and wicked human beings in the Bible, God personally executes way more people than any mortal. God repeatedly commits mass genocide for crimes such as disobeying Him, worshiping other deities, and doing things that are considered evil in His sight. According to the Bible, God also killed innocent children as a way of punishing their parents for not obeying him. Remember the Holocaust, when Nazis killed children in front of their parents to  punish them for being Jewish? That sounds strangely similar to what God does in the Bible- killing innocent babies because their parents weren’t followers of the Lord, or even for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Lord also sicced two bears on 42 children simply for mocking an old man’s bald head (2 Kings 2:24)

So if God created man in his image, why does he create them to be bad enough that he feels the need to kill them? Many argue that God gave man free will, but those are usually the same people that accept horrible diseases killing innocent children as”God’s will.” I can’t help but think of the episode of “Criminal Minds” where a serial killer captured, tortured, then released his victims–only to hunt them down. I feel that God and this guy would get along really well. God creates these people “in his image” just to put them on Earth and smite them if they do anything he deems punishable.

As a woman, it’s hard for me to understand how so many women can be so devoted to a deity that created them imperfectly, then punishes them for being imperfect. Many times women are regarded as property in the Bible. Women are considered property of their fathers until they get married.Once they’re married, they’re the property of their husband. If a woman is raped before marriage, the rapist, whom I’m assuming God created, is supposed to be stoned to death. Although this may seem fair, the logic behind it is a little strange. The rapist isn’t stoned to death for violence against a woman. Instead, he’s punished for “stealing” the father’s property. If a woman is raped when she’s married, the rapist is put to death for stealing the husband’s property. Not only is the rapist punished, but the woman is also punished for adultery against her husband.

I find it amusing when any religion argues that their deity is a loving, peaceful god. If those deities really did exist, I would have a lot of questions and would likely not worship them anyways. I see no logical reason to worship a god that punishes his people for being who he created them to be. When people do good, they praise God or Allah for helping them . They may even be revered by their friends and family as good men or women of God. In the eyes of the religious, doing good means you’ve been blessed by God. However, when they do bad, friends and family blame the person. How is that if God is this good, all-knowing, all powerful deity that he still couldn’t override the bad thoughts and feelings people have? Why didn’t he just make that person good? Or does God actually create bad people?

Even for those rooted tightly in their faith, these are important questions to consider. It’s important that we question our beliefs and the way we think. Even as agnostic, I find myself thinking, “maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there could be a God, but I need solid evidence.”

 

Religion and science can’t be friends

Most people think of religion and science as two very different entities that often conflict. Religion is based mostly on faith. The Bible, for example, constantly preaches to “walk by faith, not by sight.” No one has ever seen God, and the Bible does little to try to argue against this. However, it encourages followers to rely on faith and not be discouraged by the lack of physical evidence for the God detailed in the Bible. Although religion and science tend to disagree, many in the religious community try to marry these two entities.

Can religion and science mix? Graphic by Katie Gibson
Can religion and science mix? Graphic by Katie Gibson

The Bible, or other religious texts for that matter, provide a vague explanation for questions that science has more reliably answered. A family friend of mine recently shared a video of a woman angrily reading a vocabulary assignment for a class, wherein the teachings of Islam were obscurely placed throughout the assignment. The woman argued that the teachings of Jesus Christ would never be allowed in the schools. Ironically, the woman didn’t even have a child in the school or school district. She claimed her husband was outraged by the teachings of Islam being placed in these assignments, but only because passages or teachings from the Bible would never be allowed in schools.

Although I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam (or any other religion) being placed throughout a school assignment, I found it absurd that this woman would take the time out of her day to voice a completely inane theory that Muslims are trying to convert children. I voiced my opinion to this particular family friend that children shouldn’t be taught any religion in school unless, of course, they’re taking a course on religion. Children should be taught how to think, and not what to think. In my personal opinion, I believe teaching science and logical thinking should take precedence over spiritual teachings in a child’s life.

I’m not an anti-theist by any means. I have no issue with people raising their children in a religious environment, so long as the child is raised to be accepting of those who don’t share the same beliefs. If a child is brought up to persecute and demean those who don’t share the same beliefs, there’s a huge issue. However, I find it hard to find a happy middle ground for a child to be a free-thinker and a theist at the same time. Science and religion have no place together. Period.

This family friend that I’ve mentioned earlier argued that she loved science and had somehow found a happy middle ground where she could both be a hardcore Christian and a scientific, logical thinker. This semester, I finally got the chance to take an astronomy course, which I’ve been wanting to take since I first came to Radford. In just the second day of class, my professor took the time to define the requirements for a thoughtful, legitimate scientific theory. He defined science as an, “exploration guided by natural law, is explanatory by reference to natural law, testable against the empirical world, has conclusions which are tentative, and is falsifiable.”

In Dover, Pennsylvania, teachers were barred from teaching intelligent design as an alternative to natural selection. Judge Jones defended the ruling by saying, quite eloquently, that “the breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.” In other words, the judge found that there was no true scientific backing behind the teachings of intelligent design. The defense showed, again and again, that their intentions behind wanting to teach intelligent design were religiously motivated, and not used as a legitimate alternative to Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

There’s no plausible way that religion and science can be found hand in hand. The religious tend to reject science and use God as an explanation for many natural occurrences such as evolution, natural disasters, life and death. Science and scientific theories are typically based on observable occurrences. In the last few hundred years,  many scientists and free-thinkers have stepped out to publicly reject God. Many religious folk cry persecution as atheists speak out against religious indoctrination. In reality, their empire of thought-suppression is slowly crumbling, brick by brick. I find it hard to accept their cries of persecution when for many years, atheists has been persecuted for speaking out against extremist religious leaders. Even now, I find admitting to being agnostic much more terrifying than when I once admitted to being Christian.

Science is just as fulfilling as religion

Growing up, I was never forced to be religious, but I chose to be for a long time. It wasn’t until I started to really get into science that I realized that science was filling a void in my life that I never knew existed.

I often hear people say that those who don’t have Christ in their lives have a hole in their heart; that’s simply not the case. Science, to me, explores the miracle of life. After the countless documentaries exploring theories of how the Earth came to be, and the scientific proof that backs it up, I can’t help but be content with the idea that we, as humans, are miracles of nature, not miracles of God.

For instance, when you think about the sheer enormity of the universe, it’s amazing! It’s so huge, and we’re so tiny and insignificant. We’re just riding around on a dust particle. We’re not even dust particles, we’re on one. When we think of things that are big, we think of houses, cars, mountains, bridges- but when you really want to be amazed by the size of something, just look at earth and imagine that it’s a dust particle in the sunlight. That’s us.

Science and it's natural beauty. Graphic from Universe Today
The Universe has natural beauty. Graphic from Universe Today

I remember being amazed in elementary school at how teeny tiny earth is compared to the sun. Now, I’m amazed at the fact that our galaxy isn’t even significant. When I think of Earth on a time scale, it helps me to truly appreciate the life I have. We moan about how Mondays are long and how tired we are of being at school or work. When you imagine how short our lives are in the grand scheme of things, you realize that we have practically no time here.

That little moment that we are here is why I’ve turned away from religion. I realized that in the time I’m here, I was spending so much of it worrying about a god that I thought was going to take his thumb and just crush me if I did one thing that displeased him. But I’m here for a brief moment, and I want to learn as much as I can without interruption. I want to try my best to explore what we know about the universe and the last thing I want is someone telling me I’m displeasing a god that we have no proof of.

I can truly appreciate those who turn to god for answers and comfort, because I was once that person. But one day I decided that the voice in my head that was telling me right from wrong was my conscience. I find that way more beautiful than living a life for god, and doing good things because god wants me to. I think the fact that I have so much faith in myself and my own decision-making abilities should be enough.

I’m so incredibly content with myself now, whereas before I was worried that I wasn’t doing things the “right” way. I know now that I can make mistakes and learn from them and I don’t feel the need to beg for forgiveness. I’m no longer living my life afraid that the “Almighty Lord” is going to come down and smite me. Some may find comfort in a forgiving god, and that’s okay. But for me, observing and being curious rather than spending my days with closed ears is how I would like to live my life.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Black Santa

Something strange is brewing when I side with Fox News on anything. I don’t think I could’ve bashed them any harder this semester if I tried, but I can’t get behind the latest Fox News blunder that’s been picked up and exploited by the liberal media.

Megyn Kelly stirred up a massive controversy when she tried to poke fun at an essay that called out the traditional depiction of Santa as a ‘fat old white man,’ arguing that this depiction made the writer feel ashamed as a child and the character should be changed to a penguin. Kelly then rebutted that it isn’t racially insensitive to depict Santa as white, since that’s just the way it’s been since his commercial origins.

In response, every liberal Facebook page I’ve ever liked went on an angry rant spree and was sharing pictures of black Santas captioned, “Share this photo of black Santa because it pisses off Megyn Kelly.” It was off to the races with another case of liberal outrage.

black-santa-16x9
How does skin color play a part in Christmas tradition? Image courtesy of MSNBC.

We can’t have nice things because we’re stuck in the old mentality that white people are the only ones that can be racist. I hate myself for sticking up for Fox News, but can we address the fact that the writer also called Santa ‘melanin deficient?’ Isn’t it racist to say that white people are lacking melanin? When did it become common to assume that only white people can be racially insensitive? Does a race need to have endured centuries of slavery to earn the right to be racist?

The fact of the matter is that Megyn Kelly isn’t wrong. It isn’t racially insensitive to have a white Santa. What this tells me is that political correctness has become so severe that it’s now racist to have white characters. The fact that Megyn Kelly was called racist for saying that Santa and Jesus are white is absurd (although I do take some issue with the factually incorrect white Jesus).

I can’t stress enough how wrong liberals are on the issue of political correctness. I would say we’re being white knights, but that would be racist by today’s standards. Of course racism is wrong, and I think there’s so much more we should be doing to ensure the empowerment of minorities. Why does that have to mean we need to make white people feel bad for being white?

We need to stop looking for outrage where there’s none to be found. We need to make an effort to encourage racial sensitivity where it’s actually a problem. If a melanin deficient Santa makes you feel ashamed, maybe you’re the one who’s racist. If you want to make an ad that features a black Santa or a penguin Santa, you can do it. If you want to make a spinoff of your favorite show where the main character is of a different race, you can do it. Someone created the idea of Santa and envisioned him as a jolly old white man who drives a sleigh with reindeer and delivers presents to every good kid’s house. You can’t take away someone else’s vision of a character. We need to let go of this ridiculous high horse that is political correctness so that maybe — just maybe — we can have nice things.

Islam and Christianity: From Al Qaeda to Westboro

Many ignorant and uneducated Americans believe that all Muslims are terrorists, and that every single Muslim participates in and/or supports terrorist groups. After 9/11, many Americans created and subscribed to this very negative stereotype. I’m not blaming anyone other than the attackers and plane-jackers for this. Yet we, as Americans, have to move on and educate ourselves. Continue reading Islam and Christianity: From Al Qaeda to Westboro

Sick of atheists?

If I could write an article every time a Fox News pundit says something that grinds my gears, I would have enough material to write a book. I’d like to think I’m pretty good about controlling myself on the off chance I happen to catch a bit of Fox News. This video surfaced recently of Fox News pundit Dana Perino saying she’s sick of hearing about atheists trying to remove “under God” from the pledge of Allegiance, and that if they don’t like it, they don’t have to live here.

Continue reading Sick of atheists?

In memory of Brandon Brinkley

Former Radford University student Brandon Brinkley, 28, lost his fight with cancer on Jan. 14. He left behind his wife Lindsay and son Tristan.

Brinkley was diagnosed with Stage 4 testicular cancer in 2006, and rediagnosed in Nov. 2012. His three-month-long battle is detailed in his blog, which can be found here.

Photo from Creative Commons.
Photo from Creative Commons.

But what defines him was not his death, but the way he lived life. Continue reading In memory of Brandon Brinkley

Damned to Heaven

I don’t want to go to heaven. I dreamt that I died. I met St. Peter at the pearly gates and he opened them and invited me inside, but I didn’t budge. I looked inside and saw peace, serenity, constance, a destination. I asked him if I could choose not to go in. I wasn’t ready to rest yet, and frankly, I’m not sure I’d like heaven too much. Continue reading Damned to Heaven

Exposing the truth about atheism

In today’s society there’s a huge misconception about what atheism really is. There are many people out there who believe that any person who is an atheist is just a demon-loving killer. Atheism is not actually a religion; it is the belief in lack of religion. The difference between it and any organized religion is that religions are theistic, which means that they believe in a higher power — a God of some sort that they follow. Continue reading Exposing the truth about atheism