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Andrew Jones
Dec 26, 2019
In What's your story?
Just the day after Christmas and still full of good cheer (the non-alcohol type) I was reflecting on Christmas Past and how I was raised. Many good memories because my Fundamentalist Regular Baptist parents tired real hard to make their version of reality a pleasant one for my sister and me. They wanted the birth of God the Father as God the Son, through the unction of the Holy Ghost a memorable time of "tidings of wonder and Joy" to be truly that. Most Christmas's were just that. Lots of excitement, the tree, the accumulation of presents, the snow, the sledding, Christmas vacation and everyone trying to be...nice. But the underlying story line is where the Grinch lives. Where Scrooge (before his conversion experience) in perpetual frumpery dwells. Aside from the wonder of being born again and God's love and pie in the sky by and by, there was also the need for a Savior to be born. We the people are helpless concerning salvation, death and taxes. One day out of the year (maybe two if one counts Easter) all was love and joy and good cheer. The other days were full of Original Sin. You know, the reason for the season is that one is damned from the sperm meeting the ovum, through no choice of ones own and maybe, just maybe, God might send the Holy Ghost to grace one with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and just what a little shit you have always been and always will be til death or the Final Trump is sounded. Helluva way to grow up. Then survive to perpetuate the malarkey. The verses drummed into my head from earliest memory are (of course) Romans 3:23, Jeremiah 17:9 (as part of AWANA I memorized hundreds of verses by 14 and had read the Bible through at least twice; KJV) and the whole of stinking chapter Isaiah 53 (required reading before communion) and numerous others that proved how horrible one is and there is not a damn thing one can do about it!. As an adult, the hooks were planted deeply, so escape was highly improbable and one was found trapped when encountering other religions, ideas and (gasp) scientific methodology. Once the emotional/reward hooks are planted, it takes just one song and "with all my sins before me" back one tumbles to the altar to start the whole cycle over again. It gets exhausting. So I sit here the day after Christmas reflecting on how wonderful it is that I can enjoy the show, exchange gifts with friends, chat amicably with total strangers and realize that belief in a Horrible, Bloodthirsty, Genocidal deity (let's not forget "Jealous"!) is not required in order to celebrate a season where-in our ancestors marked out for millennia as a time of hope for the coming spring. But the bugger of Not Good Enough still lingers. I am loved and respected where I am employed. My partner loves me, my cat greets me at the door, my friends still want to spend time with me and yet..."late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers knocking at my door...". Such visitations, purely in my imagination, are a cause of anxiety. I live with a bit of anxiety most days. No longer in fear of sins I have committed and sins not yet committed but probably will. No fear of an angry God holding me over a fire as a man holds a spider over a fire nor rejecting the blood sacrifice and ensuing confusion of which aspect of the deity is doing the dirty work, the suffering and the final redemption, no longer that bugaboo. Yet with my brain wired to fear an implacable deity (or destiny if one suffered under the karma hooey as well), that finds no satisfaction in It's creation, what my brain recognizes is the uncertainty of what happens next. Usually meant to be bad, if not very bad. If I give 'it' my all will my all be good enough to eat around the campfire and share the spoils of life or will I be assigned to "outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth"? According to standard Christian doctrine the answer is a granitic "NO! Never!". It is easy to find my fault in any issue that requires that someone must have done something wrong. So easy, in fact, that it is almost narcissistic in its presentation and reception. "Everyone look at me! My bad, my bad." I can still make it all my fault just by being in the room. Sometimes it is so (in recovery from alcohol and religion we are taught to be honest in our appraisal of our deeds under the influence) quick I don't realize until words and actions flow that I am in the middle of the addiction (again). Other days I can see it sneaking through the shadows to "cough when I would kiss". Now it is out. Rough, uncut, uncertain and as the rain falls gently outside, full of the melancholy of one in recovery. I remember the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy when he was commenting on the evolutionary process being "good enough". My life is good enough, all that I have recognized, used and forgotten, is good enough. Though the perception of the world from a Bronze/Iron Age people group is fascinating and its perpetual message of Not Good Enough is still be taught and believed across the land, today I can be at relative peace that I am good enough and when how I live and how I think are no longer sufficient, then it will be time to do something else that is and will be good enough.
Andrew Jones
Oct 15, 2019
In What's your story?
Hello! My name is Andy and I am a 58 year old male that apparently gets to deal with not only RTS but also other addictions. The two most prominent are alcohol and my own opinion. The three together often leave me restless, irritable and discontent, sometimes just because I woke up this morning. Alcoholism dominated my life from 17-42 years of age. Getting sober was also the time I found myself drifting from beliver in any form of theistic world view to an atheist. Not an easy or acceptable path in the rooms. I haven’t had a drink in over 16 years and AA has been very helpful with continued sobriety. That being said, though I still attend a few meetings (mainly Freethinkers meetings) I find the god-shouting distatsteful and the groupthink cultish. Having been born and raised a Baptist and subsequently in and out of cults of both the Christian variety and non-Christian, I (usually) can smell a cult a mile off. Cults are legion and very subtle in their mind-fuck of devotees. But I digress. Atheism came about through reading and researching and after awhile daring to doubt. it was not easy, but numerous voices from the Atheist blog/youtube community and just reading what scientist’s had to say about this bizarre and inexplicable universe (a grateful nod to the late Douglas Adams for that handy quote) have eased me into a life that I get to give meaning and purpose to. No longer from a book purportedly authored by a genocidal diety whose adherents really are no different in behavior from the rest of us, no matter the chant, spell or ritual they claim makes them so (really tired here of the ”god-glasses” and special auditory messages tripe). Lastly for now, ”The Rage”. Rage at deliberate deception, lies, half-truths, misinformation, strawmen arguments and downright sleazy used car salesmen techniques. Most days I don’t suffer much. Most days I love my existence (such as it is). Most days I love reading non-fiction about this lovely pale blue dot we call home and birding with my partner. And then there are the days where, ” Like one who on a lonely road/doth walk in fear and dread/and, having once turned round/walks on, and turns no more his head/Because he knows a frightful fiend/Doth close behind him tread.” Then cometh Rage. And I rarely know what shadow crosed my mindscape to trigger it. Finally, I am happy to be sober and happy to be an atheist. Happy also to know I am not alone. And the inevitable post script: this is on my profile. I am so new to this format I may have repeated myself unnecessarily or missed the point entirely.🙄

Andrew Jones

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