The following is a contribution I made to The EX-TIAN Home Page on May 13, 1996. This is a wonderful place for people recovering from Christianity and other religions.

Atheism is not a religion. To be an atheist means to have no religion. I do not believe people have any spiritual nature whatsoever. So, I don't haggle about New Age stuff, Christian stuff, or Eastern stuff. I treat them all equally. Try it sometime.

minor revision June 20, 1996

"Why I am not a Christian", copyright 1996 by David G. McDivitt, all rights reserved

For me, to fully exit religion was a long process which took several years. I would not have made a clean break, had I not come across the EX-TIAN mailing list on the internet. On the list, I experienced my first separation from the need for religious thought, and enjoyed it. Religion suddenly had no more significance than an old habit. All the threats, learned since a child, of denying God, and taking credit for personal accomplishment, were suddenly empty. No longer did I wish to make religion work, some how, some way.

For many years I had been developing my own personal theology. I did not agree with other people's interpretation of the Bible. The extent to which scripture was interpreted with respect to theology, rather than the other way around, had always been obvious. Many years ago, I was quite diligent, studying the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, trying to ascertain original context and intent. I wanted to understand. I wanted to be right. I wanted to be a right person. Over time, I have learned it is better to live, than to be right. Self has become more and more significant.

I'm sure Jesus was a nice man. I cannot however, think of a more codependent symbol, than Jesus hanging perpetually on the cross, and somehow removing the responsibility of sin. First, religion defines sin, and says how despicable we are as humans. This is derogatory and inflammatory. No matter what good anyone does, and by good I mean something which generates self-respect, it is still "filthy rags" to quote the verse. Supposedly, no one can ever be good. This is a lie. I am good, simply because there is no reason for me not to be good. People accept this lie, because socially, and culturally, they are brought up to believe it is wrong not to accept it. Guilt, as it turns out, is nothing more than the acceptance of guilt. By this I mean, a person must first accept the ideological concept of guilt, or have been indoctrinated culturally to think in terms of guilt, for guilt to have any meaning. Without guilt therefore, what need is there for Christ? Without subscribing to the concept of guilt, what reason do I have to think Jesus has done anything for me? Religion then, is a two pronged philosophy. First, there is an unsubstantiated declaration of guilt. Then, there is put forth a salvation from this fallacious guilt. Thank you for all your well meaning intent, but I do not need either one.

How can I criticize religion? Who am I criticizing, but a bunch of people, who often times do what they think is right, and are often times quite generous. Yes, I know, many terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but was it actually religion, or was it just society? Religion is another name for society. It represents the codependent nature of society. It represents all which is mystical and magical. I cannot criticize religion too much, because I am a result of society, and religion has had much to do with the evolution of society. I can however, make the conscious choice, whether I will be religious, today. I can choose who I will be. Do I deny God? Yes. I deny he exists outside any representation of him, made by society. Do I feel good about saying that? No. I do not like segregating myself from society in this manner. I do know however, more and more people shall make this decision, and I hope to provide inspiration and aid, as they do.

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