Posted by: Jim | September 3, 2009

Final Blog Post

After a few months away, thinking, I’ve come to some conclusions regarding this blog.

My overtly stated purpose was simply to confront society with the danger that religion is posing to us all (which I still ardently believe.) But beneath that purpose was a subconscious impetus, which has since moved into my conscious and I will freely state it now: I wanted to convince Christians that faith is a bad choice.

I feel certain that I possessed some psychological underpinning that drove me to “fix” the flaw in other people that I deemed to be a simple error in thinking. The journey out of faith for me was emotionally traumatizing but intellectually simple. I spent 20 years of my life believing and trusting in God as a divine “friend,” believing in the ultimate reward of eternal life, believing that I was a horrible sinner at my core, believing that society was being corrupted by Satan, and believing that it was my duty to risk life and limb to salvage the eternal souls of other people.

Then, I accidentally learned how to think (mostly by reading books, attending college, and talking to other thinkers.) The doubts I confronted gave me the courage to start thinking correctly and honestly. Once I did that, my faith dried up, shriveled, and fell off me like a scab.

The damage of realizing that my faith was a huge lie will probably stay with me until I die. I have no desire for your sympathy or sadness because even at age 13 my choice to embark on a misguided life of faith was mine, and I take responsibility for it. But I realize now that perhaps my desire to “save” other people from this fateful decision was really an attempt to heal myself of the aforementioned damage.

While attempting to heal myself by helping others, I learned that many Christians do not think that intelligence is a virtue. They eschew logic as flawed. For them, science is suspect, and facts lead to deception. For them, the only way to find knowledge is to embrace ignorance. Their choice to remain blissfully attached to a cancerous, iron-age philosophy is not the result of a lack of intelligence, but merely a fearful abandonment of intellectual courage.

Though I resisted it for some time, the meat of the matter is this: people of faith are not fixable by any external means. Those to be fixed will, as I did, fix themselves. My erstwhile subconscious goal was futile, and so I will now officially stop.

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” – Jonathan Swift

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Responses

  1. I’ll miss your posts. …perhaps because your journey is not much different than my own.

    I wonder sometimes why equality and liberty were so important to me as a child when I grew up being taught principles that were much different. Maybe the smallest thing – educational television when I was a child – was a big difference. Or maybe it was the culture of my generation that had a big influence on me as sheltered as I am. Whatever it was I’m grateful that it caused doubts and those doubts eventually led me to seeking answers.

    My parents think education is very important. Unfortunately their view of education is about opportunity, not about learning. Learning is only okay when it doesn’t conflict with their holy book.

    I wish you well.

  2. Thank you Ordinary Girl. 🙂

    You can keep in touch if you’re on Facebook. I still tend to create incendiary comments there on a regular basis.

    Friend me by searching for Jim Etchison.

  3. Wow, I hate to see you go so soon after I discovered your blog.

    We all get worn out on our journey and feel overwhelmed on our mission. I’m sure everyone feels like they are fighting a losing cause sometimes. You’re not alone.

    I admit though, the good thing about being a Christian is we can always seek the strength to continue on. Good luck. Who knows… maybe you’ll find the strength again to keep up the fight.
    You seem to be most interesting.

  4. I’ll miss this blog. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  5. I wondered what the state of play was, Jim.

    Please remain in touch, I still hope to visit LA, and you’re welcome anytime in Guatemala.

    There was still something to be said for simply being here on the web, as somebody who could evidence the journey out of faith, and be able to sympathise/support anybody who is privately considering, about to embark upon, or who has embarked upon, that perhaps long and difficult journey.

    Maybe there are other ways to reach out, should you wish to. And it seems also to me that you possess a lot of fine qualities that do not require the support of daily/weekly doses of faith/organised worship, in order to sustain.

    May I just add something to that, a person can retain faith, in the ability of a society to progress, in the capacity of individuals to grow and change in profound ways, in the ability of even the worst events to produce positive results, and so on. The great tragedy, for me, is that the church ‘owns’ faith (sees Christ on the cross with Pwned above his head – an aside), so it is vital, I believe, to distinguish between leaving the church and the idea of somehow relinquishing faith. What I am saying, is that you’re reference to ‘people of faith’ is a little limiting, you should perhaps qualify it as ‘people of the organised Christian faith’ or you leave yourself thinking in that dumbish way where everybody outside the church has ‘no values’ or ‘no beliefs’ or ‘no faith in anything’ etc, which I don’t think is something you’d subscribe to.

    Erm, what is Ted going to do with the rest of his life? 🙂

    I will pray for his immortal blog commenting soul.

    Amen

  6. Jim,

    We are all going through a journey in our limited amount of years on the planet. It is really very hard to compare ones journey to another’s.

    We have not lived in someone else’s shoes and really it is impossible to do that in a way that would be truly comparable.

    I choose to go through life humble and humbled. Humbled by so many things I cannot possibly name them all. Before you look down at another, or have pity on another or feel that you are greater than someone or something, it would be wise to remember that we all share the same human condition.

    My faith has taught me that I am not greater than you or anyone on this blog or on the planet. It is a nice place to be actually. It is liberating. I can enjoy people and things and ideas without feeling angst.

    I can sit with a scholar or a hobo or a baby or a senior citizen and feel the common bond and joy/sorrow of being human.

    Life is simpler. There are benefits of the scientist, and there are benefits of the philosophers, musicians, writers and poets.

    Regardless of where our lives go in the future, and although we have never met face to face (we have met heart to heart) I will always consider you a true friend.

  7. Thanks Ted

    I’m coming to agree with you, although it’s from an entirely different path. For me, in a universe where meaning is an illusion, any response we choose is equally valid. As I’ve said in our private conversations, it’s the people who retain the ability to honestly reflect on their own lives who make a meaningful contribution. This matters more than their chosen philosophy.

    See you on Facebook. And maybe you can buy me a beer someday. 🙂

  8. Interesting, you can disregard my last response on your other blog, I’m new to this blog thing so do bear with me. However, if this were to be your official ending to the blog, and know and or getting a glimpse of the type of person that you are; if you are truly up for intelectual debate and or reasoning, you should really try to get onto this radio station call WDCX 99.5FM either on Saturday night at 10pm or Sunday same time (i belive its a repeat) but the guys name is “Bob Dutko 9:00PM Defending The Truth” and just let me know when you get on, because I would love to hear a rational and intellectual debate. I could never be able to verbally joust at that level, but I am open to listen to those who can logically present a point. I am sorry about your “past experience” but as you can clearly see that you blame an entire belief system for someone elses or circumstances mistake. Why dont you take it up with God instead. Ez.

  9. Hi Jim,

    I’ve not been very good at commenting, but I’ve always enjoyed reading your words and am happy we became friends. I’ll keep up with you on Facebook, but know that, should you wish to create another blog presence, I’ll be there to read.

    And maybe we can get drinks in real life sometime – we don’t live that far apart.

    *hugs*

    Take care,
    Carol 😀

  10. I can’t join you on facebook, but your welcome to keep up with my new blog here

  11. Are you still on Facebook? I couldn’t find you. Searched on “Jim Etchison.”

  12. Jim Etchison should work. Hmmm.

    Try searching for Jim@Etchison.com

  13. Sorry to see you go. I just found your blog today and was responding to a few. Now I see this final post, disappointing, I was looking forward to future banters.

  14. Hey Jim,

    I’ve followed your blog off and on for a while now after finding it somehow (can’t remember). You’ve brought up some very thought provoking points and as far as I’ve been able to tell, had some great discussions. I appreciate how you’ve kept things very respectful, logical and rational and I think it has fostered some amazing discussions here.

    Typically, I’ve hesitated to add anything as I didn’t feel I had much to present. (I’m not really much of a philosopher.) I was reading a book recently though and when I finished, your name and blog once again came to mind.

    The book documents the author’s quest for truth as an atheist, seeking to determine if there is any credibility to the historical existence and claims of Jesus. Maybe you’ve read it, the book is called “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.

    The reason I thought of you is that you seem to be honestly searching for and open to truth through rational reasoning and logic. This is exactly how Lee comes to the matter, interviewing a wide range of experts and examining the evidence rationally and logically.

    I hope it can be of some encouragement to you in your ongoing search for truth.

    All the best,
    James W.

  15. James, I hate to break it to you, but Strobel’s work is laughably illogical. If you want to bring up some of his “proofs” we can discuss them if you want.

  16. Hey Jim,

    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, this is why I usually try to stay out of logic and philosophy discussions. But for an “unphilisophic” person like me, I found his arguments to be quite convincing.

    For example, dealing simply with the credibility of the biographies discussing Jesus history here on earth, it seemed fairly logical that the closer the records we have can be dated to the original time of writing, the more likely they are to be accurate and free of “legend”.

    Which of his arguments did you personally find illogical?

    James W.


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