Religion doesn’t “Poison Everything”. It Poisons Us, and we do the rest.

From a conversation of sorts with Color Storm.

I was answering his post regarding a comment left by someone else that referred to the subtitle of Hitchens’ book. I had told him that I didn’t necessarily agree that religion poisons everything either, but I asked him if he’d read the book or listened to the audio book even. I could already have presumed the answer based on my own experience as a Christian that he wouldn’t really allow himself to do so. “Be careful little eyes…”. But he answered me this..

Just because there is a bottle of poison on the shelf, that does not mean I have to drink it to see if the label is correct. I am well aware of DeGrasse, Nye, Maher, Sagan, Hawkins, etc, they are cut out of the same rags and mildew.

To which gave me the opportunity to clarify my previous answer which I will post here just in case he doesn’t allow it in his comments section.

Not sure physical poison is the same as encountering ideas that are different. For the latter, actually reading and considering them is necessary before dismissing them as “poison”. Otherwise you’re just being dishonest and reinforcing the fear of information you refuse to consider. Self imposed mind and thought control, color storm. Very much like what you would consider Cultic activity if you were looking from the outside at someone else. I could recommend John Loftus’s Outsiders Test for Faith. It’s difficult for us to ‘test’ our own beliefs the way we would those of others. But to be an honest and integrity driven person, it is a necessary activity.
I was once like you, refusing to see or consider anything outside of the Christian bubble. Marking everything outside as “poison” to my Faith, unwilling and unable to evaluate the real truth of the claims of my own Faith, Christianity or it’s foundation, the bible. Although I was not as antagonistic and hostile towards others who questioned or challenged me as you are, i once lived behind the solid walls of “know it all”, secure in the knowledge that we were right and everyone else was wrong and headed for perdition.
I was wrong, and so are you. I did wake up John, but you’re still dreaming, afraid to open your eyes and face the day. The real poison of religion, in our case chriatianity specifically, is that it encourages us to work against ourselves and turns us into our own jailers and wardens in the POW camp of the mind, prisoners to a war we didn’t start, that we can’t win and will never be totally rid of. Religion doesn’t poison everything, but it does poison us… and to the extent that we let the false parts of our Faiths infect both our realities and that of those around us… We as religious or Faithful people do the rest. Religion doesn’t poison everything. It poisons us and then WE poison everything. I hope I’ve made my point clear. Have a great day. Recovery Awaits, brother john.

Seeing From the outside now, having been away from Church, Christ and Christianity for a few years now, I can recognize the fear and insecurity and even sheer arrogance that drives the kind of “everything OTHER is poison” mentality.

When you think that you have the Truth ™ and that Apostasy leads only to death and a fiery eternal fate, letting go and allowing other ideas or thoughts, or examining long held and cherished beliefs carries what you think are huge eternal consequences, both for yourself and those around you.

It’s a big reason Christian bloggers and amateur internet apologists moderate heavily their comments sections. Self Protection and protection of the Faith of other people who might be “poisoned” by contradictory evidence. It’s a reason that they often become so aggressive and hostile with those who ask questions or present ideas and evidence counter to what they believe to be true.

If you can’t Dazzel them with Evidence, and you can’t even Baffle them with B’.S. then you can at least attack them and run them off your blog comment section so you and your readers no longer have to hear them or consider what they are saying. I’m sure we habe all had those experiences and could name the names of Christian bloggers who have stooped to this last tactic as their only remaining resort.

For John who is still moderating my comments in response to his…

KIA says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I was exactly like you John, just not as aggressive and hostile to people as you are. In was a born again Christian for 34 yrs, bible believing, kjv (TR if you please), young earth creationist, evolution denying and very missions minded. I even served Christ as a missionary in the inner city here for 5yrs, and in two other countries… sans paycheck, ie. On my own dime. I was in avocational ministry for 25yrs. Even started blogging on WordPress as a Christian ministry blog originally “purposeful pruning”. So yes John. I was exactly like you, but less caustic and more friendly and polite.

Those who don’t want you to think are never your friends.

My encouragement for today, for those still in “The Faith once delivered to the saints…” and for those not into never allow anything or anyone to stop you from thinking, or hearing, or reading or considering ideas counter or different from those you currently hold to be truth. And lastly, never allow anything or anyone keep you from examining your beliefs as if from an Outsiders Perspective, as you would the beliefs of others. Truthfully some Words and Ideas can be poison but they aren’t like Arsenic or Strychnine. It’s only Fear, Insecurity and sometimes sheer Arrogance that tells you they are. Recovery Awaits.

-kia

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20 thoughts on “Religion doesn’t “Poison Everything”. It Poisons Us, and we do the rest.

  1. My reoccurring theme lately is embedded in your title. When someone leaves religion, they about-face without even realizing it. They leave behind divisive speech and hateful rhetoric without even trying and become human. We don’t have a people problem—we have a religion problem. A set of holy Jim Crow laws that separate and divide, and like every subject of religion, what they say is not what you see. When you dump the faith, you also for the first time in your life in many cases, think and say things for yourself. Until you experience it, the shroud of religion hovers over your eyes blinding you to the blatant obviousness of reality. Great post Kia.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. KIA, I presume you read my post (can’t remember if you commented … there were so many!), “Now in the Ring: Theist vs. Atheist.” While I am a strong advocate of religious discussions — and even disagreements — it seems there are always those who are unable to remain “civil.” Undoubtedly, this has a lot to do with why many Christians “close ranks.” Of course, there’s also the “fear” element — that a non-believer might say something that actually “makes sense” and thus, create doubt. (“God” forbid!) .

    Maybe it’s my training, but I tend to adhere to that old saying: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

      • How will you ”do better” in the face of an arsehole like Branyan or his unstable offspring? Other than simply not engage them of course –

        Which is a valid option as you may have noticed when nobody snaps at their bait they are simply blowing in the wind.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t know why you all bother with any of them. They don’t want an intelligent discussion, which is so obvious in their remarks. They repeat the same things over and over and quote the Bible until I want to puke. They delight in being annoying and condescending. They have no interest in learning anything or doing any research or critical thinking. It’s a game with them….there’s no real conversation. You all are wasting your breath. You cannot deal with severely brainwashed, intolerant, self centered individuals. If one of them are going to ever “see the light”, it will be on their own accord at their own time. The stronger their petty need to be “right” and “chosen”, the less likely they will ever change.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Lurkers and outliers. Such was I once as well. Lurkers and outliers may be watching and able to catch what the mels, Wallys and colorstorms are unable to

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    • Remaining civil in the face of people like chicagoja is like trying to have a scientific discussion with a Creationist like Stefan or Colorstorm.
      A person such as chicagoja or JA as dear old Arch used to call him, is simply a disingenuous arse, and we all know it.

      Be honest Nan, you know why such post quickly degenerate.

      You throw Raw Meat to the JAs’ Stefans’ and Colorstorms’ and Mels of the world on a blog such as yours and you expect things not to get heated!

      If you wish to ”catch more flies” then maybe you should word you posts differently?

      😉

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      • Ark, sometimes no matter what you throw out, be it honey or fresh meat, they will always come back agressive and attacking.. then blame YOU for being overly offensive. “Some men you just can’t reach” -prison warden from cool hand luke

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          • Ah but ark. That’s the rub. Most Christians have no idea. Even those in ministry. Even those like color storm and maybe even Mel. They refuse themselves the information and knowledge that would make them responsible for the implications it would bring to their understanding. Thus they fight anyone who would try to make it known to them. Fingers in ears, lalalala-ing away so they don’t have to “know better”

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you think it possible that there are also non-theists who also fear Christian faith and are quite closed in their thinking based in past negative experience? From my perspective, when I hear someone say they are in recovery from religion, I assume they were caught up in some kind of extreme and pernicious cult. I could be wrong, but it’s hard for me to believe that people were greatly harmed from say, attending the local United Methodist or Episcopal church down the street and singing in the choir or volunteering at the nearby homeless shelter.

    What about Christian people who are well read, open, and have considered other points of view, but are simply not intellectually persuaded toward atheism?

    Also, I have to gently point out that because someone is a Christian believer, it does not necessarily follow that they feel that they have all the truth, everyone who disagrees is heading to Hell in a handbasket, or they can’t benefit and learn from other perspectives as well. We can always find some common ground, IMO, with just about anyone. But, obviously, all contradictory opinions can’t be equally true, though. 🙂

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        • Most scholars admit there is no real history in the pentatuch at all. So… What does it mean when your belief system and how you see the world and other people is based on non historical and fictional characters and ‘history’?
          What does it mean when people are raised to believe fiction is real history? Is it beneficial or damaging?

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          • KIA, I can see some of your concern. But, I think the harm is probably deeper than whether it’s thought all of these stories are historically/literally true. (The debate between the minimalist and the maximalist scholars will probably go on forever. 🙂 )

            When I was younger, I accepted more of the stories in the OT as being literally and historically true. As I grew older, and thought and reasoned more deeply, as well as studied and reviewed the scholarship, I came to think that I was mistaken in some of my views. But, on the other hand, I can’t see that I was poisoned, or that there personally came a terrible harm in my life. I just had to revise some of my earlier opinions.

            As a Christian, I also feel very strongly that the depth of God’s love and nature is revealed in the incarnation and teaching of Jesus. So, if I read stories relating to God in the OT which blatantly contradicted this, I assumed that the writer was mistaken, or that the text reflected an earlier stage in the development of the people’s understanding relating to the nature and will of God.

            But, if the foundation of someone’s faith is simply centered in something like the genocide of the Caananites, or the destruction of Sodom, and if they think that this is an objective and complete portrait of God, full stop….then I’m able to see how real harm could ensue.

            The truth is we are learning and growing all the time, and are all in some measure limited in our knowledge and understanding. For me, the key is to study and to be open to truth wherever it’s found, and with confidence to trust God.

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  4. Rebecca, I think many deconverts, though not all, tend to come from religions with high religiosity. So once they stop believing in God and the Bible, a major part of their life and identity unravels. So for them it really does feel like they’ve been living a lie for 20, 30, etc. years and they wasted all that time.

    Since a lot are coming from high religiosity versions of Christianity, but again not always, the concepts of Original Sin, Hell for non-believers, etc. can be particularly pernicious and mentally damaging to some people. Other people and versions of Christianity don’t put as much emphasis on this and put more emphasis on being Christ-like and helping people.

    Dogmatism of any form of any set of ideas can often lead people to not research or explore other possibilities or other ideas different than their own. But you’re correct that there are plenty of well-educated Christians as well.

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  5. Your “Choosing Blindness” picture looks awfully familiar. I wonder where it came from? 😉
    https://theriverwalk.org/2014/07/10/john-928-34-choosing-blindness/

    I agree that all too often Christians live in a bubble where they do not engage or often even acknowledge contradictory evidence. I would, however, suggest this is a humanity thing and not a Christian thing. I am living in a country that claims to be 99.8% Muslim and it is rare to find someone who is willing to critically look at their beliefs or history within Islam. Also, most of the NGO workers here from Europe are atheist without really ever exploring why. They might know a quote or two from Harris or Dawkins that they toss out like scripture but it is rare to find an atheist on the street who seriously has engaged what he or she believes and why. Doubt is an uncomfortable thing for most and most people, whatever their walk in life, tend to hold to “faith assuming understanding” rather than “faith seeking understanding”. So keep seeking my friend, and from the far side of the spectrum, I will do the same.

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