Rachel Johnson

Atheist Blogger- the godlessvagina / Podcaster the pink atheist


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When It Comes To The Godless V.

I have noticed among the atheist community there is something not short of a problem. It seems that the wounds that have been created by being theists don’t end at the moment a person becomes an atheist. Nor do they get better quickly. The fact that religion has infected our heads remains for long periods, sometimes for life. I have to live with this every day of my life, opening old wounds, and looking deep inside. When I do I often find things that are remnants of old moral codes, fears and just outrageous thoughts that were once based in religion. So it comes to me, that I am not alone in this. Many of us are suffering.

I am not a therapist, but I bet one might call it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  PTSD as bad as it seems, is about right when you look at the harm done by religion. We still suffer even after the leaving of the indoctrination. Old habits die hard, and so do the memories of the terrible consequences. What we are left with is something that seems to be reactive fears, unparalleled, by what really happens in life. We come out of it humbled, weak, and like children again. We have to learn everything all over. Some people don’t get that, but I do. Leaving religion, for me, was the first step towards maturity, and emotional growth. But it was only the first step.

I have had relationships since leaving religion, and often I find that there is a trace amount of dogma still hiding in my mind. The way I think about sex, my body, and how I react to things. I am not alone in that. Several of the relationships I have had bear the scars of what religion has done to the other person. It makes life very hard for everyone involved. It seems there is no depth where religion has not crawled in and poisoned parts of our lives even when we try to escape it.

I am sure there are atheists who have also lived through some tough times, and emotional growth stunting without the dogma present. Yet, I can see things that religion has done to me that secular people have not suffered. Guilt and shame over my body seems to be the predominant one. Even breaking the shackles of religion, I still feel the guilt about what I chose to do, not the sex, anymore, but the allowing of others to get close to me. Religion taught me that my body was something to hide. That I was to not let anyone but my husband in, even then it was mechanical. The fact is I had more fun, and better sex, outside of the confines of marriage. Once marriage was there then the guilt and pain set in.

Even now, with the after effects, I find myself pushing men away. Choosing to be chaste when there is no reason. Having sex under certain circumstances. I often feel bad about my body, guilty of how many men I have been with, and worried at how others perceive me. So when I speak out, when I plaster my Facebook wall with my emotions, it is because that is for me a volatile attempt to break those chains. Instead of hiding away and hiding my emotions I try to express them, learn from them and grow from them.

Sometimes things flow in a direction I don’t want. Where others are trapped in my public life, and that hurts them as it does me. It aids in nothing, and while I try to keep my intimate life, just that, there will be spill overs. I set my self up to be the godless vagina. I put myself out there for ridicule, and secretary. Others who will come to my life, or have been didn’t. They get to be the hapless victims of my choices. Which is one thing I won’t stand for. I am a work in progress, so is my life. I am always trying to grow, correct bad thinking, fix errors. That becomes harder when people get destroyed in the path.

The point is that for all of us, we bear some scars, the tissue may be deep. It is hard. I am public, my wall on Facebook reflects that. Some parts of my life are not. Some parts need protecting, because as long as I am fighting to keep others from being hurt by who and what I am then I can’t grow. It took a lot for me to break free from religion. One thing I don’t want is to stop the growth. I have gone from a dumb Christian to a learning atheist. It took a lot out of me being a theists, giving up my love for life and science in one foul swallow. Then letting it eat at me for years, torn between guilt and desire.

I guess to some I am a strong woman, thank you for that. I am learning to be strong. I was an introvert for many years. It was one of the reasons life was so hard for me. While I read about things I enjoyed, I stayed away from the things that challenged me to grow, accept the reality that I was alone, and take responsibility for my errors. My strength comes from living through that, challenging myself and walking away.
Now I am learning most of the things I once believed to be true, were either lies or toxic thinking from the poison inside of me.

And it was poison. I suffered a lot at the hands of religion. My duty as a woman, a wife, a mother. My fears, my worries, and the things I couldn’t accept. It was all so burdensome with no answers. Now I have to shed every part of the dogma. That will be some time. I suddenly have a bookshelf filled with atheists educating me, teaching me from their wise minds. I use it as my shield. There are moments when I want to  back slide, just to not be alone. But then I think of the evidence, the truth, and what I see in the religious.

It is hard to be strong every day. Some days I fall down and have to be picked up. Some days I wonder what this life is even worth, then I realize that my passion is the life I live which connects with other lives, and how beautiful and precious they are. Some of them are a mess, some of them are strange to me, some of them challenge my old theist beliefs. I find them lovely though. I find my strength in the people who surround me with love, care and concern. I know that when I am making a mistake I often can’t see it, but when I look through others eyes, then it comes clearer to me. That is the best part of this journey.

So constant reader I am taking you along with me. You can learn from my mistakes, or just empathize if you wish. You can see me stumble and laugh, you can be my shoulder when the tears come. You can see me open my wounds and pour out the poison from my days of indoctrination from them. I will take you with me, but respect that there may be people, especially my family, who want nothing in my being the godless vagina. They deserve the respect to have their privacy, and I will gladly give it. I hope that you will too. Even if you know whom they are, it does not mean they share in my feelings that we are stronger when we can say to the world that we are in pain.

I think that being able to tell the world that something hurts makes me stronger. It makes it easier to fix, to shed, to change, to grow. But not everyone is the same. Some people need a private world in which to live. They are not like me. I find that good if it is what helps them, and I don’t expect everyone to be like me. I just know that I am here. I am the godless vagina. I will keep growing and taking you with me as I go. It will be a long road, but I hope it ends with me one day speaking on the stage at an American Atheist event.

 


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Science Vs God?

Before I get into this blog I want to set the stage for you. I am studying cell biology, and of course I come with a bias. But not just any bias, the bias to defend my one love, science. That is the basis for this article. Above being an atheist I represent science first and foremost when I study and work in the lab. So let me clarify that I will not defend any lies or misrepresentations of the scientific method or process. This article is just overdue.

Time and again some theist throws out a cliché sayings like: Science is trying to disprove god, or I know scientists who don’t believe in evolution. These two statements are, alone, enough to infuriate me. Now let me explain why.

In the process of science we have levels of study, discovery, and understanding. It takes observation to form a hypothesis. Once an observation is made then a question can be created. This is the formation of the hypothesis. Basically an idea of how something works, should work, or a prediction of an outcome. It is then tested.

It is not tested once, but several times. It may be independently tested by various groups, persons, and multiple studies. Confirmation of a hypothesis is based upon repeatable and reproducible results. If the results can not be reproduced, then the hypothesis is thrown out. If the hypothesis does not hold true from the onset of testing, it is thrown out. Science is quick to discard and dismiss what does not work.

The reasoning behind this is simple, we can’t depend on results that won’t work. Science is like a ladder, we build on what we understood before. A hypothesis that does not work benefits no one. It is only working and functioning hypothesis which will be useful in the next step of observation and testing. If they prior hypothesis does not work and you try to build on it, then science would shut down. It would be wasted time and energy. This is why peer review is critical, and if review shows errors or misconduct a paper will not be published and a scientist may lose his position. We are in the business of being right and holding high standards.

So how could science try and disprove god? What hypothesis could be formed from the god idea? There are no physical observations to be made, nothing that can be falsified, or proven. If I tried to hypothesize that god(Yahweh) exists and Zeus does not, what measures would I take to prove this and test it? Would looking at history be enough? Could I say that if there are books and statues that this constitutes existence? How do I use a credible method to prove, or disprove that there is a divine being? Would miracles suffice? What if someone knew of a miracle by Zeus, would that counter it?

The fact is, none of that would suit for testing. There is nothing I can observe which would prove to be direct evidence for or against god, Zeus, and any other deity. No scientist would be able to trust my results because there is nothing falsifiable. If I claimed there was once a man named Jeremiah who flew like superman over volcano’s and ate lava, it would be the same. Without physical proof, observational material, and a control nothing I can attempt to test would be anywhere close to the scientific standard for creating a hypothesis, and testing it.

This is why science is not in the business of proving/disproving mythical, or non evidence based ideas. We simply have no method of testing for them. This in no manner makes science weak, we have plenty of physical and substantial things to prove. Our work simply shows the outcome of rigorous testing, and experimentation. Science is not invested in the god question, nor should we be. It is not our objective to chase after ideas, and unfounded beliefs. It would be a waste of time and resources, and would dismiss the credibility of scientists who chose to embark on such an absurd quest.

Science is simply content to leave the god question to those willing to ask it, and attempt to answer it, outside of the lab. While there are numerous scientists who are atheists, we don’t go into the lab wearing our atheism above our practical standards. No scientist with good credentials would attempt to elicit the answer, or engage in the quest of such a benign task. In the laboratory all things are equal, and so are the scientific standards. No one cares if there is a god in the laboratory. We care if the science works, and how well it works. We care that there is honesty and responsibility in the laboratory. beyond that the question is moot.

As for scientists who don’t believe in evolution, or feel that Darwin was mistaken. Well, we call those creations scientists. They are not a part of mainstream science for a reason. simply, we have proof for evolution and those who seek to educate people to the errors of Darwin, seek to distract and deny the facts which are housed in every museum (Non creation) on earth. They deny facts which are in use in surgical, medical, scientific, evolutionary, paleontological, and geological sciences. Which is to deny most of history, and science. Not many creation scientists actually work in the scientific community. That is because it is hard to deny the basic tenets of science and work in the field. Also there must be a lot of avoidance for actual evidence which exists.

In every credited college, evolution is taught. It is one of the basic principles that is taught to every student who takes a biology course, and paleontology course. It is not only a theory but a fact as well. That is because there is enough evidence to substantiate it happening. How it fully happened, well that is the part that is still a theory. That is because we do not and will not have all the fossil evidence. What we do have is enough to prove that it took place, what we are missing is the exact chain in the line.

People who chose to believe in some for of creation are making a choice, but to deny something for which there is overwhelming evidence is based in ignorance. There is absolutely no merit to be had by denying it. It is one of the worst forms of apologetics. It allows people to wallow in ignorance and perpetuated the dogmatic notion that we were created in just six days. Which dismisses most of geological history, dinosaur evolution, the fossil record. There should be no respect given to creation scientists who seek to perpetuate ignorance by misleading the masses.

When it comes to science, some people are in it for the money, others for the love. The difference is clear and unavoidable. Those who seek it just for the money look to the easy sciences, and to use them for their benefit. Those of us in love with science will defend the truth of it, and the honor of it until death takes us. We will not blemish the name or standards with corruption, nor let others do the same. Those who poke at science do so with ignorance of the high and rigorous academic standards that are in place. Science is not a god, nor is it above every other field. There are errors, we make mistakes. We learn from them and grow. We throw out the bad and work harder for the good.

So we are not busy attempting to prove/disprove god, any god. We are not busy trying to dismiss him with evolution. We are simply stating the facts, and that is something creationists have to learn to live with. We will not be lied about, misused for some petty argument, or accused of impropriety of any kind which we are clearly against. Science is a fact seeking mission, and we go where the facts lead us, wherever that may be.


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What We All Bring To Atheism

Men like Dawkins and Hitchens have broken unprecedented ground with their books. When there was nothing but murky waters for atheists to walk in, these men came in like storm troopers and waged war on silence. They broke the boundaries that had been set by religion for hundreds of years now. And the best seller list was topped by atheists speaking out loud. It was a moment that made religion step back and regroup, and atheists come to the call. A wave was set in motion. Instead of hiding in the corners of life, atheists for the first time in millenia stepped out and cried that they ready, and need to be heard.

Now that the first wave has come and gone, the second wave is people who feel we should work with theists on every level, but make no mistake, those willing to end the days of tyranny and fear caused by religion are still there and working. The voices that refuse to be silenced make way for the gentle and soft voices to come, so when you tell a fellow atheist to not be confrontational, what are you really saying?

We all have to deal with a society inundated with doctrines. Everywhere you go dogma is waiting. From your social life, to your sex life religion is lurking in the midst of your every day life. Most people spend their lives hiding from it, dealing with it and choking it down. We bind ourselves to the idea we are free, but the oppression is always waiting to be thrown upon us. There has not been a time as free from this plague as there is today, in a long time. We are seeing progress at the hands of education, science, unity, and understanding.

Most of the atheists I know were at one time indoctrinated, and chained to an idea about life and death, and the burden to break the chains came at a price. We have lost friends, loved ones, and family. There are sacrifices to be made when you step out in the open and let go of the bonds of the god delusion. It is a taxing and heavy burden to bear to see beyond the penetrating virus of religion. In the world of men taking up Pascal’s wager, we are the few who refuse to wage our one shot at life with being a servant to a god we don’t care to believe in without some form of substantiating evidence.

We should not be so quick and determined to see the most outspoken and vigorous of us silenced, or rant against the things they have done to set us free from our bonds. If it were not for them we would still be the silent atheists with no choice and voice. Religion would be finding its way into every area of everyone’s lives. The fact that religion is writhing and fighting means we have it on the defense. Something which disturbs those who want to come at it from a less aggressive position, but history has spoken, and what has been said about the control of religion is a lesson we should never let ourselves forget.

We all know that the dark ages were the product of religion. Not just one religion, but every religion, waging war on thinking and questioning the church and authority of the dogma. If you held a different belief than the majority you were likely to be held as suspect, or worse, and there was much worse. Thinking men and women died by the thousands. God was the answer for everything, and if you questioned that believe it was heresy and you were likely to be put to death. Popes and religious leaders ruled over kings, and all men. The sword was used to keep people obedient and servantile to the religion of the masses, and men went to war for their god, as they still do.

The modern age was sparked by men like Pasteur and Van Leeuwenhoek who found more in their short lives than religion found in centuries. Even today they are held in the light by science and in the dark by religion. While Pasteur is only given credit openly for the pasteurization of milk, it was only one small discovery in his huge amount of them. Religion keeps people from learning more about what he knew. He eliminated the idea of disease randomly arriving. He took us from fear of demons and monsters in the night, to microbes, and infections caused by them.

What if the church had silenced him? His opportunity came because of thousands dying, if not for this the church would have grouped together and sought to kill him for taking credit away from god, and the devil. Due to the conditions of the time he was able to see there was more, and prove it. The same masses who once called upon god to save them flocked to him by the thousands begging for cures. His vaccinations led the world to overcoming many diseases, and helped with the cure of rabies.

These are the things we forget when we say religion is not that powerful. We tend to overlook the thousands of wars, millions of deaths, and the blood that religion shed in the name of propagating the doctrine. It is easy to deny history when you never have to see the effects it has had. Even the last century showed what can happen when men use god to their advantage. Hitler worked with the full permission and support of the Catholic Church. They stood to the side while he brutally murdered six million people. Hitler used god as his shield. With just evoking the dogma he convinced thousands of men to leave rational thinking, and begin the work of genocide. That is how religion works when unhindered.

We atheists are the guardians of sanity, of humanity, and of life without religion. We pave the way to the future with our voices. We keep the poison of religion at bay while the hard work of providing a future free for thinking to all men. Just look around you, at your ideas, at your life, and your culture. Can you say that religion has not worked hard to find a way into every aspect of most people’s lives, and how has it found a way in yours?

I often think back to my days as indoctrinated life. The burden of religion was heavy. Every move I made and every thought was counted in some book, in some way, towards my place after life. Once I let go of this delusion I thought I was free. Even now in the corners of my mind, hidden where I don’t even know there are ideas lurking, thoughts I find that make no sense to me. It is like every neuron has to be remodeled. From the way I feel about my body, to how I live my life, it is there haunting me, especially in front of family and friends. It often feels like a poison inside of me.

Those of us who have come away from religion angry, confused, hurt and bewildered find that our reality was based on nothing related to reality at all. I spend my days thinking of what religion has done to me. The way it stole my questioning, and love for life. The way it made me nothing more than a woman who’s duty was to have babies. I was a servant to religion and nothing more. I perpetuated the virus.

Now I have broken the bonds of my shackles only to find that there is much more to do, much more struggles ahead. I am an insult to religion, and an enemy as well. A woman who will not take her place as second in society. One who will not be silenced and placed into the role of submissive woman. I fight against the ideas that I should be silent, and stand by while men take care of me. I am a fighter and this was a great struggle. Now I rage against the stealing of minds and the indoctrination of millions who will never have a say. Children who will be made by force to believe in something that they question. I stand opposed to the virus of religion.

While there are those who are content to work well with religion and be kind, I want to be known as the enemy. I want to see that no other girl has to give up her dream of being more than a servant and a mother has to do so. I want a world filled with rational thinking, one where minds are free. So while it works for some people to be easy and silent, I find that my hate for religion grows the more I see of it penetrating every aspect of life. The more I see it clearly, the more I want to fight against the poison it brings to the world. It is a tumor on the face of the planet erupting in every part of life. I can’t help but see it for what it is. While I face my own inner thoughts which have been tainted by it, I work to be free of it every day. Every form of atheism needs to exist, and those willing to tear down the veil of religion and shine a light on the sickness in men it brings need to stand, and I will stand with them.

We all bring something to the community, but the best thing we bring is strength of mind to overcome the darkness that awaits us in the hands of religion.


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The Faithful Godless

Skepticon may be over, but the community that began there is only the beginning. If you ever wanted to see so much of a gathering that brings everyone together in one place on equal terms, then you want to know Skepticon. It was shocking to see how the people we look to for knowledge and strength in our community are the olive branch. They reach out, and give love, and by that they touch many lives.

The widespread misconception that atheists are anything but charitable, caring, loving and most of all humans is about the same as any other myth. I am humbled by the people who talked about what they do to reach out to their communities. But it is not just the way they are reaching out, but the lessons they are giving in reaching out. Being part of a strong atheist community is more fun than most people can explain to you. It is like church, but without all the hellfire, sinning, and damnation. In fact it is a lesson in just how bright atheists are. Never take for granted how many people became atheists because they mentally outgrew god.

When you are small and god is given to you, he seems so big and looming, full of doom and fear. Once you get educated enough you begin to realize that the christian god is small and petty. He is a immature idea of oppression in the form of a tantrum throwing deity, and he simply doesn’t ever grow up, so if you do, then you outgrow him.

Listening to the speakers, seeing the reading material, looking at the list of doctoral writers, imaginative musicians and looking to all that our community has to offer, free of judgment and fear, was just astounding. It is like walking down the corridor of a college and peeking into every class, even the ones you might not take, but can’t help but stop and listen to. It was pleasant to walk among these people and know that they guide us to think more, question more, and speak out about both more. When you look at the contributions to society, you wonder how any place in the world can be civil without atheists in the midst. What would the world be offered without such great freethinking people stirring knowledge into the pot of rancid religion? What would the world have been without all that they have done, not just now, but all through history. It seems every period of time has had atheists in the most inspiring of places, and without them, you face times like the dark ages.

It is not just the Skepticon method that is working, but the gathering, talking, relating, moving, helping that is getting the job done. It is far from just a bunch of people talking bad about religion, instead it is a bunch of people celebrating life, and how we can live it better without the petty and in just god that lives in the minds of billions of people. People who will always be hating themselves for whom they are and what they are, while atheists think up things to do like, feed the hungry. Yea other religions do that but for the hope of mercy from their angry sky daddy who just won’t let them breathe without fear. Atheists are busy helping children be better critical thinkers. Meanwhile religion is finding ways to stop critical thinking before more kids figure out their god doesn’t work. The list goes on and on, but one thing atheists do best is share time and company with the rest of the community. They gather, and laugh, and drink, and live. They are as much fun as anyone could be, they are just not ashamed of who they are. That is vital for the atheist movement.

I hope that in the next 100 years the world is full of freethinkers, rational minds, science loving people who can’t wait for the newest science to come, and not with men who think a woman’s body has some mechanism which determines if she has been raped or not. What a great world that would be. What a great idea to gather free minds and let them be free.

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The Toxic Power Of Faith

Over the last month religion has shown us how faith works. The benign tumor of religion has become masticized in the core of society, to a point where discretion is no longer of use, or need. Religion has begun to dominate and control aspects of the country once feared by the founding fathers. From the shooting of a young Pakistani girl, right in the head, to statements as nauseating and thought provoking as “legitimate rape.” We have seen almost all of the utter disgusting ugly pour out of the religious mouths like putrid vomit, even being spewed from the pulpits.

This vile type of demagoguery has gotten fearless, proud and even unashamed. Men like Ryan with their anti-abortion stances, men like the senators who bash our homosexual brothers and sisters. Men who forget that the watchers, are watching. We atheists are on the rise, but are we rising fast enough? It seems like we are in a race, not forward in thought, but backward. As we watch the dogmatic drag us further back in time at the petulant hands of their demonic god, his bloodthirsty ideas, and enslaving doctrine.

Atheists have watched from the sidelines, both silently, and passionately disagreeing with the outrageous disgusting bold manner that the ignorance, and backwards nature of religion is reviled. Our silence through history only bought us death, bitter death, at the merciless hands of the delusionally indoctrinated. Now as we push the doors wide open and expose the height of the cruel and disgusting nature of the religious doctrines, religions are striking back from their death throes. We have exposed their underbelly, their rancid sides which leave women dead, beaten, battered, raped, abused, and children alongside of them. But it is not all to blame on men, no blame it on those who live with the fierce determination to promote their dogmatic mindset. Be that women, or men. Or those with too much power and a determined mind to subdue those who would dare to think for themselves.

There is a sector of this world that is seething with rage, and fear and hate. They are the indoctrinators, the preachers, the reverend’s, and chaplains reaching out to snatch the liberty and freedom from the minds of the young and the thinking. They are the sellers of oppression. The come in black with a message from their manacle god, of doom, and fear, and hate wrapped in the warm comforting love that only an oppressive father can give. It is the paradox of the abusive relationship. The father who beats his children into submission and then offers them up love, only to terrorize them again at the first sight of disobedience.

Do we really think that life is better lived when the masses fear every breath, who they are, and their own nature? Can we be convinced to hate ourselves and bear the burden of guilt that is heaped upon us by the mere idea that we are human? Would one original sin be enough to condemn and damn humanity for all of eternity? If this is the case, then god has no integrity. He is a manacle tyrant who lives for every moment we suffer. He is the master of the damned, and the damner of the innocent.

This mentality of hiding in the darkness has got to stop within the atheist community. How dare anyone say that silence buys us the grace of the religious. How dare anyone point at me or those speaking out and say you are what is wrong with atheism, while they turn a blind eye to the horrors reaped upon humanity in the name of every vulgar and twisted religion. How dare we think that the time we saw humans being burned at the stake, and tortured, and raped, and pillaged, and murdered can’t occur again. How dare we deny that it is happening now in the middle East. It is the worst of absurdities to go as far as to leave the dogma, believe that there is no evidence for a god, only to dismiss the problematic nature of those that do.

The reality is blatantly in our faces, struggling and breathing down our backs. The appalling nature of the delusions degrading our society, dismissing evidence in the name of faith is absurd at best. We see the sick with religion spreading their plague on humanity, dragging children away from evidence into a stagnant blind faith which is worthless in the face of the world. It leaves the believing longing for death, asking for permission to kill in the name of their god. Why would we be silent. How dare we?

This mockery of humanity called faith has done nothing for any people. This inhuman belief that for being born gay, or a woman is disgusting. It is absolutely horrible to see the damage done to this world in the name of such a twisted thing. Meanwhile we can put men into space, while the religious deny the fact that evolution happened. The same science these indoctrinated Mormons need to live is the same ones they use to tout their gods mercy and greatness. These same deniers of science use the likes of every device to shout down the homosexuals, organize against women, and declare war on freethinking. How utterly atrocious. We have more people in the United States who believe that one woman and one man are responsible for the whole of humanity, no matter how it happened, than can believe that we are all intertwined in evolution. This is both dangerous and sickening.

We atheists need to be loud. We need to organize, to be funded, to rally, to group. We need a community to fight against immorality in the name of religion. We need to stand tall and not be willing to be silenced. When they give us cause to fear and be silent then they have won. For the little children who will face horrors yet unknown, and the ones who have already faced them, we must challenge the established religion on every front. We must push it back into the darkness, and the ages of fear and superstition. We must not relent and let ourselves or the world be destroyed by this madness which is expelled upon us by the doctrines at hand.

There must never again be silence in the face of horrors and inhumanity. There must never be a time when religion is free to kill and destroy. We must ensure this with knowledge, and passion, with strength in numbers. Never again will we hide in silence. Atheism lacks the indignancy of silence in the face of human cruelty and we should continue that trend.