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Today I’m sitting in church once again, the sermon topic today, through the lens of the story of the birth of Jesus, it’s salvation. Salvation is one of the central tenants of Christianity. It is taught that we require salvation because we are a horrible, sinful people who can do no good. Without salvation, it is said, we are damned to eternal torment (fire and separation from God!) In hell. How is salvation given? Since it is our sin that curses us to examination then those sins must be forgiven in order that we might be saved. How are sins forgiven? Blood sacrifice.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” Leviticus 17:11 (ESV)
This is one of the things that I was never able to make sense of. Why is bloodshed required for this forgiveness? Why would animal sacrifice be accepted temporarily fir this purpose for a few thousand years? Why would one person’s blood be accepted for all time and all people?
It send to me a silly system to set up. If this god is, indeed, all powerful, then it seems like he didn’t have to set things up like this at all. Why make things like homosexuality or extramarital sex a sin? Why require sacrifice to forgive said sin? Why require a piece of himself/his son come to earth to be brutally killed because of this? It never food fully make sense to me…
Nite that I can look at it rationally, I see it for what it is: bronze age myth twisted to fit first century religious ideas, and then modified through the ages as changes needed to be made to outdated beliefs. If course none of it makes sense, it’s a hodgepodge of ideas from multiple cultures and ages.
Merry Mythmas, everyone!
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So, first things first, apologies to the folks who made comments that didn’t get approved or replied to until today. I haven’t been paying much attention to the blog lately (uh… mostly was distracted by a new game, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but I’ve also not really had much new to say in a while).
Quick update on me: nothing really has changed. Still working at the church, still looking for something else (though sometimes I get discouraged and stop looking for a while), and still involved in the local freethought group. I survived Thanksgiving with my religious family and now I have Christmas to look forward to. :)
If anyone has any questions for me, or suggestions for a topic that I haven’t covered, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. I promise I’ll get back to you sooner than 6 months this time!
Last week, a promotional video for a religious documentary film, Unstoppable, was released. The film and the video both feature Kirk Cameron (famously of Growing Pains, the terrible Left Behind movie, and friend of the Bananaman). In this video, Kirk claims to be a “recovering atheist” and asserts that there are two things all good atheists must cling to: firstly, there is no god, and secondly, that they hate him (the god they do not believe in).
In previous posts I’ve talked about how great things are going now that I know some of my friends from before my realization that I’m an atheist are also atheist, that those I’ve told who are not atheists have been understanding, and that I’ve made some wonderful friends in the freethought group here in town. These things are still wonderful, and have helped me immensely over the past three years (wow, it has almost been three years since I admitted to myself…). I’ve loved becoming involved in the freethought group, getting to go see Dawkins, and attending some of the meetings of the local Americans United for Separation of Church and State chapter in that time. However, there are still things I can’t do as I’d like.
Today there was a rally at the statehouse in support of marriage equality, and there has been a campaign on Facebook to change user images in support of marriage equality. This is all to show support for equality as the United States Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether or not the California ban on gay marriage is constitutional.
I am unable to show my support for fear that I would lose my job were it found out what I believe on the issue. Most people do not have to worry about this, even if they are employed by religious people, the law protects them from religious discrimination. However, that same law does not apply to me as I am employed by a religious institution in a ministerial position. They can fire me over differences of belief without question and I would have no legal recourse. I doubt I’d be able to draw unemployment, either.
So I must keep my head down. When events are high profile, or very public like on Facebook, I can’t participate. I have to let my gay friends, and my friends who also support equality, know that I support them wholeheartedly but cannot make that public knowledge for fear that I would end up homeless in a month. (I could survive a month, probably no longer, on the money I have. I’ve figured that out so I know what the cost of my actions in this regard could be.)
So, to anyone who reads this and isn’t considered equal under the laws of our land yet, I support you. I long for the day when our laws will reflect, not just public opinion, but the moral stance on these matters. I just can’t let everyone know that…
Culture Warriors, hooray!