Statement of Faith

It’s been two years since I finally admitted to myself that I was not struggling with doubt any more; I no longer believed in God. The creed below is what I can say with some confidence that I believe in today. I got a little silly with the language, and I did so on purpose, to help me remember to hold my new beliefs lightly.

Proposition 1: I believe that there is an objective reality; that what is, is; that a = a.

  • Clarification of the above Proposition: I believe that what is, is neither as good, as bad, or even as easily defined or comprehended as it first seems.
  • Corollary of the above Clarification: I believe that labels, like all nouns and symbols, are useful tools- if you remember they are not what actually is.
  • Addendum upon previous three statements: I believe that observation, experimentation, reason, and logic are the best tools we’ve yet found to learn what actually is.

Proposition 2: I believe that actions have consequences.

  • Corollary on Proposition 2: I believe that what we think, say, do, and choose matters.
  • Conclusion drawn from above Corollary and previous Clarification: What we think, say, do and choose matters, but rarely in the manner we expect or intend.
  • Corollary on above Conclusion and previous Addendum: We don’t really know what we’re doing, but that’s no reason not to do our best. Please refer to Corollary two statements previous.

Proposition 3: I believe that value is extrinsic.

  • Addendum on Proposition 3: I believe that we attribute value through ritual and sanctification (blessing, or intentionally making sacred/holy).
  • Corollary on Propostions 1 through 3: I believe that we create what meaning and purpose there is, and can, through changing our choices, change what meaning and purpose we create.
  • Addendum on above Corollary: I believe that empathy, introspection and reason are the best tools we’ve found yet for choosing what meaning and purpose to create, and that the ethic of reciprocity (popularly summarized as the Golden Rule) is the best starting point from which to employ our empathy, introspection and reason, with special attention paid to the resources we have to draw on and the needs which we can fill (including, but not limited to, our own).

Overly simplistic, yet still valid Conclusion drawn from everything said thus far in this creed (much to my pleasant surprise): I believe in love.

In the beginning

All right, I know it’s been a long, long time since my last post. I find I need this blog a lot less than I once did, when the grief of deconversion was a lot more immediate. This video amused me enough that I wanted to post it, though, so here I am.

Edit: And a short while later, I catch another video that I’d like to post with the first. Enjoy!

Over the past year, I’ve been interested to look at other people’s creeds, philosophies, principles, gatherings and attempts to live their lives focussed on more than themselves.

Some of the more interesting groups I’ve come across include:

The Church of Google
The Church of the One Miracle
The Memetic Warriors
The Druidic Order of Naturalists
The Church of Universal Esoterics
The Humanist Manifesto
And, of course, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Take a look!

I’ve been reading all sorts of things over the past year. Last week, I found myself on a watching a video about polyamory. This week, I was reflecting on it, and slightly misremembered what I had seen, though I think I was close enough to the principles explained.

The video mentions that honesty, communication skills, self-awareness and the ability to ask for what you want are key elements of a successful relationship- whether monagamous or not. Well, when I was thinking about this, days later, I had unconsciously included self-awareness under the category of honesty (being honest with yourself, about yourself) and thought of the final category, “the ability to ask for what you want” as “security” instead.

Honesty, security and good communication skills. I think these are Continue Reading »

Speaking without confidence

When, as a pastor, I was asked to lead healing services, I was torn. It was entirely Biblical and within the bounds of orthodox Christianity, but I had seen so many people tear themselves up, or hurt their dependents, when it did not work in ways they expected. My words reflected this conflict within me, as I would try to provide cautionary disclaimers while projecting the confidence they wanted in their pastor.

Here’s a sample:

A few words about what we’re doing here today.  God created the church to be an instrument of wholeness. We gather as a community to be made one with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then, as one, we can go out into the world and live out this unity, not through everyone acting, dressing and talking the same, but through love for each other as children of God. But we do not only love other Christians, but all whom God Continue Reading »

Parental pimps

I know it’s not even vaguely funny, but I do wish someone would tell me that this site is a joke.

Death and grief

Safely Home

I am home in heaven, dear ones;
Oh so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.

Did you wonder how I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh, but Jesus’ love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.

And he came himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Father’s will.

There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remains,
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.

When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!

No, I have not died, but my wallet has. It died of old age, having fallen apart at the seams. As I removed various identification and buyer loyalty cards to transfer to my new wallet, I found the above poem, carefully written in my handwriting. Seeing it reminds me that I had placed it in my wallet years ago to be found after I had died- to reassure and bring some comfort to my loved ones.

I do not fear my death. My dying, perhaps, but not my death. It saddens me, though, that my loss of faith will make it harder for those I care about to reconcile themselves to my death. I wish I could still offer them something like the poem above, but I have nothing to give.

One day, a theologian decided to challenge a street preacher. “Preacher,” he asked, “what must we do to be saved?”

“What is written in the Gospels?” the preacher replied. “What do you read there?”

The theologian answered answered: “It is through Jesus that we are saved. We must believe in Him.”

“You have answered correctly,” the preacher replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But the theologian wanted to justify himself, so he asked the preacher, “And who is this Jesus that we must believe in?”

In reply, the preacher said: “A man was walking downtown, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stole everything, even his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him to die. After he died, Jesus came to him, wearing a frayed loincloth and a crown of thorns. Blood dripped from his hands, feet, brow and side. He was beaten but not broken, and there was a fanatic gleam in his eyes when he raised his head to snarl,

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

Again, Jesus came to him, blond and blue-eyed with a sad smile and a pure white robe. He sat in the midst of quiet children and clean sheep and gently told the man,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

A third time, Jesus came to him, almost unrecognizably: a young, Jewish man with traces of sawdust on his faded blue jeans. When he saw the man he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, tears falling down his face. Then he took the man up in his arms, and carried him to our Heavenly Father. “Look after him,” he said, “I have paid for any debt he may owe.”

“Which of these three do you think was a saviour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The theologian replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

The street preacher smiled, “Go and do likewise.”

((I wrote this for a heretical Christian blog that has since disappeared. I’m including it here so as not to lose it.))

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