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About Samuel

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  • Location
    Huntington Beach, CA
  • Interests
    Adjusting to life outside of religion
  • More About Me
    I like getting outside and enjoying life, and beer.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    God no.
  1. Samuel

    Christians blaming gays

    Neither have been easy. There are gay churches, and I went to one or two for a bit until I realized, no, it’s not just about being gay, it’s about the beliefs as well.
  2. I was able to have a nice conversation with my grandma today about how I felt growing up as a closeted gay man amongst religious Christians. There has been this massive fire here in Southern California. I could see that flames all the way from the coast, one of the first things that came to mind was how a lot of Christians would appropriate this natural disasters to blame one of the groups they disagree with, particularly gays. Maybe not all Christians, but on some level they’re thinking it. They’re thinking sodom and gomorah. It just makes me realize that no matter what happens if I get hurt someday or something bad happens to me, there’s going to be someone in my family or former community whose going to think, that happened to him because he was gay, and then to think it is justified and that they’re the ones who are on god’s side. It’s covert narcissism, because first of all it’s ignorant, and then it comes in the guise of being righteous. And no where in there does Christianity allow for the person to think that there is just something in their own mind and life and experience that they have to re-examine to put themselves on equal footing with a person of a different sexuality. As as I left my grandma’s house today she said make sure to remember to pray for so and so (though I’ve told her before I’m an atheist, she didn’t seem to believe) but I’ve felt a little less detached from community being part of this group this last week, and I just told her flat out, “I don’t pray grandma” and I meant it, and I felt it stuck a little more. I’m still emotionally coming around to appreciating how to interact and adjust to social norms as an atheist. It’s also my world view as well, not believing that magic help is coming, but learning and discovering how you can and cannot rely on other people and yourself. So many people have prayed for me at times when that was so far from what I needed. These people patted themselves on the back for essentially not being there for me. But also really helping people can be hard or complicated and is worth respecting. The hollowness of prayer is something that I am happy to be someone who can say no thanks to. It’s also sort of an invitation, like, participate in the real world and keep you imagined powers to yourself. Not having this social nicety to hide behind makes you a better person, gets you off your butt, helps you know what you can and cannot do, what you are and are not willing to do, gives you real world experience, and can led you to accept things as they are, not happily sit at home condemning some people to hell without ever meeting them. I suppose looking and experiencing the world as it is, is probably one of the fastest ways to lose your religion. Although for me going deeper into religion was my way out oddly enough. Prayer is one of those things that stops people from facing reality, the reality of other’s suffering and one’s own limitations(both things which lead a person to treat others with dignity).
  3. I recently went up to the mountains here in California where I had been taken 5 or 6 times as a kid for Christians retreats. And I had a chance to think through some things. Firstly, how ideologically packed these so called retreats were for a child. I was also struck with how much had been missed out on and how much a week or weekend like that could have benefited a kid had the intention not been so terribly dogmatic. (No, what if the weekend had not been religion related at all. Isn’t there an irony to Christians not really seeing the point of that. If not for doctrines to impose on young minds they would never had had those retreats). In going back there without such ideological burdens I appreciated the smallish town, the awesome hikes, the wilderness, the cabin, the food. A secular friend went with me, and I didn’t realize how it would impact me, I was just crying on the inside for a good part of the trip just realizing more or less that I had been cheated, used. A lot of serious men convinced they knew what was right, and thought they had the will of their god on the side of using these short and fleeting childhood moments to make sure they got an ideological foothold. As a young adult I participated in one or two occasions and I know just how much these chrisians schemed to get people out for a weekend. They really looked at it like trapping them there getting them away to the “retreats” without family and friends to interfere. They knew these weekends were the prime occasion. I swere, it’s probably one of the core reasons I began to leave religion the first time. I was convinced that a god couldn’t have such low respect for human dignity. As if all you needed to do was manipulate people off their fulcrum until they felt trapped in your hands. Even had I not been led on to read research and understand more and intellectually know there is nothing in religion, one of my core issues is still an omniscient god would know better. There wouldn’t have to be this battle for conversion. And it comes down to human dignity for me. It wouldn’t need such tactics. And then all the reasoning around why such tactics were needed. God, all the fucking reasoning. You need to bind the devil, the thoughts, all these things, because god is so great except for human thought. Where’s the dignity in that? Why not covert a cow? And even the most sweet and nice people in Christianity all resort to a kind of trickery in the end. Some are very good at it, some are not. I think they really depend on being able to lure you in deep enough that it’s too hard to find your way out, so that when it comes time for the real questions they don’t even bother. They kind of look at you and say, yeah, well what’re you going to do about it. Of course they really just say: “why don’t you pray about it.” The ultimate fuck you and your reason, you drank the kool aide, now go fucking pray about it. Christianity should come with a warrantee. It would quickly end the religion. Anyway, revisiting those mountains and having a positive non-religious experience there went a long way to reclaiming that part of my youth.
  4. Samuel

    Not a vessel

    I think one of the things I am struggling with is the space to form new opinions and really open myself up to new information and experiences. Ive always valued having a deep sense of what I believe, and in Christianity you are told you are this vessel meant for another life form. But the premise is that empty is normal, and that is a lie. Like meditative states and all that are cool. But from a human developmental point of view what could be worse than to tell a child or make a child believe that an unformed psychology is optimal, or what could be worse than having parents who believe that their child should not contain things. Or even to think of a psychology as a container. I had parents who, I think, were clearly perplexed by this duality, of believing that people are just vessels, and then needing to educate their children and include vitally important things in their lives as they develop change and grow. A vessel doesn’t grow or develop complexity. But people do, they are irrevocably impacted by events for better or worse. And that’s the job of a parent to appreciate (I’m really just thinking this through as I’m writing FYI, kind of struggling with my thinking here to be honest) to bring coherence to the uses of a human mind, pick some worthwhile experiences, take advantage of learning situations, not by attacking the child as if they were bad, but working with what is there. There is almost a malpractice to Christianity in the parenting aspect. I guess I just find myself longing for what I didn’t have especially the logic and coherence of being interacted with like a human, rather than an object to be impacted by beliefs. It’s true my parents had four kids of which I was the third, and my dad was stressed, worked too much. When I think of their religious lives I just think, you didn’t have to take all that on. And it didn’t work out for me and I’m tired of being embarrassed to say how bad it was.
  5. Samuel

    Samuel from SoCal

    I’d love some suggestions. Thanks!
  6. Samuel

    Samuel from SoCal

    That’s awesome. Thank you for the encouragement :)))
  7. Samuel

    Samuel from SoCal

    Yeah, that’s my situation.
  8. I’m so impressed that you were able to keep the relationship intact. I haven’t been able to do that, mainly because my family is dismissive, and I don’t know how to deal with that. They think it’s just a momentary turn away. And I get these comments that are just really painful to me like we think it would be a real blessing if you just came back to church. I think its partly my fault for trying not to hurt feelings and maybe have it both ways, but it’s been hard because it’s an evolving understanding thats getting deeper as I rethink other things in my life and how I have looked at them in the past changed dramatically. Its hard to keep updating people like, yeah this was ok with me in the past but now it’s not. The transition has been really hard because I’m not going back but I haven’t figure out all the things about my destination and how the other beliefs in my life will change in life of the new information. It’s just been such a huge shift of mind and heart and it seems like there are no words to describe it to some former aquantances and family. Other than emotionally and psychologically the change has happened, and I can tell you that, that I don’t believe, but I sort of haven’t arrived yet. And then I feel stuck defending myself against people who are convinced they need to hinder, stop, or reverse the process of me becoming what I already know to be true in my heart. And I feel stuck holding up this middle ground of the relationship, not cause it’s where I want to be, but because I haven’t reached a place where I feel comfortable yet, and I’m still stuck with people in my life who aren’t supportive. So there’s a lot of awkward avoidance that is mistaken for wavering, when it’s just not.
  9. Samuel

    Samuel from SoCal

    Hi my name is Samuel. I'm 29. I live in southern california, and grew up as part of a chinese sect of christianity called the local church. Ive been really struggling to break free, and being in the sphere of people who still think that god is the answer to all problems continues to haunt me, and make me feel inadequate. My father was pretty authoritarian and my mother hyper religious. I grew up hiding the fact that I was gay and it really hurt me. I also believe that as a child, had I the pathway, I would have chosen to be an atheist. I began the process of leaving about 2 and a half years ago, but its not the first time I have tried to leave. The powerful insistence of my parents that they have the absolute and only truth has at times made for some psychological crazy-making (made it hard for me to get a grasp on my life, and feel like the I can't choose my destiny). I hope to build for myself a more solid connection to the secular community, apart from people who continually try to tear down any world view that I would build. I grew up thinking the world was evil, and struggle with self defeatist kinds of beliefs. We didn't have any tv in the house and only participated in christian activities for 95% of the week. I've had time to break free from some things, but there are just a lot of pieces of my life I am struggling to find more freedom to live in. Right now I'm looking for work, but have serious trust issues and have been struggling to find motivation, and awaken any true callings I might have once had. Thanks for letting me participate in your community.