No Apologies, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Bigfoot and a Lost God

In highschool, many of us rebel and start to question everything. I was no exception. I don’t know if it is hormones or just a cultural thing or a combination, but how I viewed the world changed. I became sceptical about just about everything. I used to believe in extraterrestrial UFO’s, ghosts, bigfoot, heck, God, even the Loch Ness monster. There were two parts to this transformation:

This a time of adolescence and puberty. Your brain and mind changes significantly during your teen years.1 It is the transformation of changing your viewpoint of the world from a child view to an adult view. As a 41 year old adult, I recognize that much of who I was as a child is still there, but, just as with the general trend of evolution adding new parts to old, my mind is an overlay of an adult mind over my child mind. Heck, even the people who wrote the Bible said it well and recognized this universal truth:

1 Corinthians 13:11, NIV translation

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. “

This, ironically, is how I feel about UFO’s, bigfoot, ghosts, and god(s). As as child, I believed, but as an adult, I put aside childhood things. In this case; belief in an invisible, unknowable, undetectable entity that had nothing to do with start of the universe, the origin and evolution of life on earth, the origin of the earth. With how much we know about the origin of the universe, earth, life, and evolution, the concept of a universal creator god is just plain childish. I will detail why it is a childish and simple concept later.

The second change element was my first biology class in highschool and the book Cosmos. I went to a public high school, and they teach actual science in schools. They was a one sentence acknowledgment of ancient beliefs and the idea that the world was created by a creator god. It then immediately went into abiogenesis, including the Miller experiments and accepted, at this point in 1989, we do not know exactly how life started, but we know it did and approximately when. The biology book then moved onto how organisms work and how evolution works. I remember keeping fruit flies and seeing how variation works and was even able to breed characteristics (like red eyes) and see in just a few weeks how artificial selection, and by proxy, natural selection works. It works. You can try it yourself. It requires no faith or belief. It just works, every time. That is when I decided the whole childish concept of a biblical god was just place keeper until science finds out the real answer.

This loss of belief in a god soon spread to all the pseudoscience for me. Bigfoot? Improbable. Ghosts? Impossible. Extraterrestrial aliens visiting earth in flying saucers? Umm, yeah, next to impossible. These world starting making sense. Why is there ‘evil’? Well, the universe just does not care. What is my transcendental purpose? There is none. Just be the best person you can be and not worry about it. You are an ape, a mammal, a living creature that shares your DNA with all the rest of lif on this planet. It is amazing how much more connected you feel with the world, your fellow humans, and all life on earth. It made me happy, and I did not need any deeper introspection for many years. It is healthy to question your beliefs from time to time. Was I wrong? Could I be wrong? Well, I decided to go and read the Bible, just to set what all the hubbub is about. Wow, that is all I can say. Follow my journey in the next chapter.

1 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201004/adolescence-and-the-problems-puberty

No Apologies Chapter 1

Chapter 1, In The Beginning

For about the first 7 or 8 years of my life, if asked what religion I was, all I responded was with “Christian.” My parents did not bring us to church or were very specific about any kind of firm religious belief. As a side note to anyone wanting to indoctrinate their child into a belief system, really try to do it before 7 years old. Any time after that, especially if they were exposed to a lot of science before the, will result in a life long disbeliever. I don’t fault my parents, not at all in fact, since this allowed me to come up with my own answers.

I think around when I was in the fourth grade, my parents started taking us to a local Lutheran church. I did enjoy the community and the rituals involved. I attended passover, and was even an acolyte. When listening to a sermon, it is pretty easy to believe. However, it was Sunday school that was the problem.

Here I was, a little 9 year old, brought up on watching Nova and Cosmos on PBS, taught about dinosaurs and the very basics of how life evolved on this planet and how old the universe was (as estimated in 1983) faced with the Bible for the very first time. It was a strange book. I innocently asked why it was not in alphabetical order, like a dictionary or encyclopedia. Looking back now, reading it in alphabetical order will make it about the same sense, with the disjointed narrative.

The book of the Bible they were studying during the first class was Genesis. Oh boy. Even my 9 year old mind knew everything in there made no sense at all. Everything from the Earth being center of the universe, the waters from the waters, the stars in the sky put there to denote the seasons. Things I knew were wrong. The came Noah’s Ark. I asked the instructor a simple question: “Where are the Dinosaurs?” I did not get an answer, other than some vague explanation that this was a just a parable or something of that nature. This planted the seed. I will expand upon this in another chapter.

Another shift in my thinking was around the same time when I discovered Santa Claus did not exist. We discovered this by accidentally seeing the wrapped “Santa” presents in my parent’s bedroom closet. In my mind, there was little difference between the two. Both knew if you were naughty or nice, both were magical, both lived forever. In fact, there seems to be a lot more evidence that Santa exists than God. At least I know were Santa is supposed to live, and how all the toys are made. The only real difference is that if you believe in Santa as a grownup, you are considered a little crazy. If you believe in God, you are considered normal, even though they are just as real.

I really did believe in parts of the bible. I believed God was a real thing. Moses was real. Jesus was really the son of God. I continued to believe until I was in high school. My family continued going to Lutheran church. I sang the songs, lit the candles, and read some passages of the bible. My belief was never very deep, but it was real. Then high school hit.

Introduction

No Apologies

I decided to post the book serially as posts.  At this point, I think I will shift my focus a little and provide more reasons why I don’t believe now, as opposed to too much of my journey.

Introduction

This book is the summary of why I made the choice to not believe in a higher power, the supernatural, magic, or anything that violates the laws of this universe. I am an atheist and a skeptic. However, this book it not here to convince you to reject whatever belief you subscribe to; it is a statement of my world-view and how I arrived there.

I have been an atheist my entire adult life and even as a child, I always had some doubt in any kind of higher power. As I have grown older, my non belief has grown deeper. In particular, the blatant falsehoods of western religions have done nothing but solidify this choice. In particular, Apologetics attempt to defend their faith with a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. This is the origin of the title of this book, No Apologies.

Professionally I am a test engineer. My entire career is based on the ability to measure real things. If it exists, it can be measured. I have, and continue to work in the field, and have measured: temperature, torque, force, density, salinity, relative humidity, pH, velocity, linear and rotary position, air and water pressure, laser intensity, and a myriad of other measurements. If it is real, you can measure it or determine its absence.

Personally I am husband and father. I have been married over a decade and plan to be with my wife until my body ceases to function. She is also a non believer, but I will not presume to know her complete journey. We have a son together. At this point, he knows the concept of a god, but has pretty thoroughly rejected the concept with some surprisingly solid logic. This will be detailed later.

In discussions with others who believe and not believe, I have unintentionally cemented the beliefs or disbeliefs of others, which I think is great. To be intellectually and emotionally honest, everyone should re-examine their belief system.

This is my journey.

David Nelson, May 21, 2015, United States of America.

No Apologies

Welcome to my site, dismantling Christian apologetic arguments, and offering a pragmatic commentary on the Holy Bible.  If I have time in the future, I will tackle other religious worldviews.

First off, what is Christian apologetics?  From the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry it is defined as:

Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.  Christian Apologetics is something every true believer should be involved in even if it is only a little.

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence,” (1 Peter 3:15).

There are several branches of apologetics, but this is the most common on the United States, so this is what I am most familiar with.