About WINLB

I had not edited this page since I first began this blog.  My mindset has changed a little bit, though not a whole lot, but things need updating from time to time.  I thought at first that I would just change it, but now think it more interesting to preserve the original and add my edits in italics.  Very self-indulgent, I admit, but it *is* my blog…

Why I No Longer Believe is an account of my journey out of Conservative Evangelical Christianity.

My name is Anthony Toohey.  I’m 44 46 years old.  I’m joyously married to my high school sweetheart, and have three amazing children.  I’m a sales rep, a leader in my local small-town arts community, a sometime soccer coach, and pretty much a regular guy.

For 26 years I was a born again believer.  For nearly all of that time I was a Biblical Inerrantist, Young Earth Creationist, Traditional Marriage, Republican voting Christian.  During the last few years, some of those things changed before I had the courage to face the overall question.

Despite what some Christians may have you believe, I, and others like me, have lived a genuine born-again, spirit-filled existence.  We have put everything we are into living for Jesus.  In the final examination, though, we found the faith wanting for many reasons.

I don’t intend this to be a bitter tirade against the faith.  I suppose I still don’t intend it to be bitter or a tirade.  While I might mostly make good on the tirade part (in my posts at least – in the comments all bets are apparently off) I do find that I am bitter about some things.  Self-examination carries with it discovery not only of your own mistakes, but of others’ mistakes and outright wrongs in the perpetuation of delusion.  Future posts will explain some of what I mean.  In the end, I wish to let go of all bitterness and come to terms with the negative parts of my Christian past.  For now, however, I still find myself in discovery mode, and my emotional reactions are simply what they are. When you have lived for 26 years as a believer, most of your closest friends are still Christians, Christians who don’t understand what the heck has happened to you.  I still love these people dearly, and they me.  I do still, but distance grows as common understanding shrinks and crumbles.

When you have devoted yourself to a vibrant church life, most of your fondest memories are centered around church.  I was married in the church, dedicated my three children in the church, honed and developed most of my musical and theatrical abilities in the church, learned to grow up and be a man thanks to my mentors in the church, and many more things.

There is so much in my life that I gained from my time as a Christian that I will appreciate for as long as I live.

How could I then leave, turn my back on everything I believed?

I hope to answer those questions here.  I hope my friends who read this will have the courage to examine their faith, and the honesty to understand my conclusions, even if in the end we don’t agree.  I hope strangers who are seekers will find a balanced and honest look at issues of faith, philosophy, science, and knowledge, and thoughtfully consider all of the issues involved.  And I want to challenge myself, and be challenged, to make sure *I* have taken an honest look at the matter.  I’m a lot more sure than I was when I began.

As to what I am now, I suppose I would say I’m a Buddhist Atheist an Atheist Humanist with an appreciation for much of the philosophy of Buddhism and the value of meditation.  If you’re interested in that part of my story, I’m logging that journey at Gentle Dharma.

In the end, I don’t want to convert anyone.  Actually, yes I do.  I’m sorry, but I do.  I’ve come to believe that religion is a millstone around the neck of human progress, a hindrance to the betterment of mankind.  I want religious people to read this and change their minds, shuffle off the burden of imaginary beings controlling the cosmos, and enter into the present as the only reality we have to depend on and to fulfill.  If that costs me a few religious readers, then so be it.  In a blog focused on honesty and clear vision, it now seems disingenuous to pretend my goal is anything but what it is.  I only want to be open, honest, and forthright, and follow truth wherever it may lead.  That, however, is very much the same as it ever was.

Thank you for visiting.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “About WINLB

    • Wow!
      One thing is sure seek & you will find!
      I am very near where you are Anthony! I am actually Anthony also but I would like to talk a little about my thoughts please!

      Someone said “education” is “what happened” to their Christian beliefs & I have to say I agree the more yu learn the more you realize that perhaps it is US who are making excuses for “God” in our determination to make him more real. One thing I decided is I really don’t want to make excuses for a capable God anymore if he wishes to be known let him “speak” but this auto-excuse thing I do has got to stop.

      My questions come surrounding the drama of the Hebrew people.
      Suddenly I just wanted to look at them & not even God at that point. Serious questions flooded as I looked at “psycology of this people.

      What happened when you leave your home & you never find another?
      Who do you become?
      What can you expect?
      More importantly how do you affect others in the world?

      So we have a people who decide to leave instead of stay and be a solution to any perceived problem.
      This is the beginning of the fight or flight mentality.

      It occurred to me even in my own faith journey how “leaving” is rarely seen as the “solution” to a problem in LIFE!
      Oh yes we want it to be and perhaps in some other inane instances it is but how is it that faith is born of leaving rather than staying and confronting an issue.

      I had to seriously ask myself is this the God I knew of would he just “take me out of” the situation or would it be more of a get through it?

      Again sometime WE would prefer to leave but in this case of the Hebrews what was the effect of Abraham just leaving under the supposed unction of god?

      The only answer I see is a lifetime of slavery in someone elses world if not the endless war & unrest in the quest to take another’s home.

      But what struck me even more is the idea; what happens to the psyche when one is never at home even in his own home land?

      This is the most frightening of all because the answer is clear to me once HOME is unbearable/unlivable to stay (and fix) then it is likely that NO PLACE IS EVER BEARABLE one has made of himself a virtual vagabond.

      On another note I found that the more I looked them ore The Hebrews seems to be living the lives of the un-chosen Hamite or even Cainite line; wasn’t Cain the eternal vagabond? How is it now Seth’s/Israel’s line now becomes the homeless wanderer?

      I began to see a LOT of wire crossing between chosen & unchosen’s

      But actually I take that back the unchosen/gentiles seem to fare almost TOO well in ALL of this!

      While God is on Israel’s tail like a gas fire the gentile world is like the teenager who gets to get into ALL manner of worldliness WITH the means & finances to do it as well!

      I wondered why do only this small group of Chosen get the God policing while EVERYONE ELSE ON THE PLANET get to do as they damn well please pretty much free of charge?

      How does a responsible universal God account for this degree of irresponsibility? Indeed at time it was like Israel gets disproportionately “chastised” to make up for generations & multitudes of gentiles living the life of Riley!
      It just all kinds of no right or logical!

      Why does or would God CHOOSE to NOT “God” the WHOLE WORLD?
      Is he not capable?

      More importantly if HE can’t or won’t take this responsibility….how much better can humans do?

      I just am starting to think either the god of the Hebrews has been SERIOUSLY miscast (A tribal or local God suddenly inundated with a UNIVERSAL GOD’s workload) or there just isn’t such a God per se!

      Also the hypocrisies hey either you are for or against child sacrifice correct? How is it that this Hebrew God gets to condemn child sacrifice of the heathen’s but then it is suddenly just the tops to have Jesus be “sacrificed”?
      So then the heathen were onto something all the long weren’t they?

      I mean YES we can always explain it away (Jesus is just different than the heathen children) or better chalk it all up into Just believe no questions asked but there is a principle that is being ignored the line is TOO fine!

      I just wonder also about the old testament violence …no matter how one justifies it there is SIMPLY TOO MUCH VIOLENCE there to much KILLING for someone to say thou shalt NOT kill really TOO mUCH!!!

      Jesus I always had a heart for I just felt of ALL Jesus seems to have love for mankind…..but in the broader picture…… it just seems to much too little too late……Jesus seems NOTHING like the harsh being of the old testament…
      He is just TOO DIFFERENT to really be seen as having any real connection to that God!

      SO Jesus is like the Hebrews FINALLY sort of admitting …you know Yahweh just too darn harsh so let’s tack on a “Jesus” so folks don’t hate us quite SO much as we hate ourselves!

      I love the idea of Jesus he is everything a God SHOULD be but his placing ?……..his eleventh hour show up is just …suspect I am not sure why it’s just a little hokey sort of like Mighty Mouse’s “Here I come to save the day” & if he was and was always & had always been then the question still remains “Why SO MUCH VIOLENCE PRIOR IF YOUR SPIRIT HAD ALWAYS BEEN even at the foundation of the world?

      And lastly for now?
      Where is the Goddess?

      I read that ALL the heathens honored a female Goddess so why did the Hebrews demonize her?

      Look there is only SO far you can throw out the formula as simply a means to “be not like the others” but if you go TOO FAR off the deep end to be different only…you have a problem on many levels including but not limited to:
      IS THAT REALLY YOUR MAIN REASON FOR NOT following suite with the rest of humankind?…To SAY your “different” ???

      Even if there is a God I don’t even know at all WHY the WORLD at large would make the Hebrew’s local tribal deity THE ONLY God I no longer understand why that leap was ever necessary!

      How is it that the SUCCESSFUL nations were ALL “WRONG” and the Hebrews who barely ever had a pot to piss in where ALL RIGHT or even “beloved”

      Why is success & affluence (Egypt, Mesopotamia) the “bad” thing while being wandering nomads between slave-dom with no home the thing to aspire to?

      At best Yahweh was a great deliverer of slaves….but again did we overwhelm him a more universal God’s duty or character?

      • I admit that was a lot to get through, but several interesting things to talk about. Here’s my favorite:

        **I just am starting to think either the god of the Hebrews has been SERIOUSLY miscast (A tribal or local God suddenly inundated with a UNIVERSAL GOD’s workload) or there just isn’t such a God per se!**

        That’s a really interesting way to say that. I think that’s the whole of it. What started as a tribal god among gods of competing tribes morphed into a god of all gods, omnipotent, omniscient, the works. It’s a testimony to man’s creation of gods, rather than the other way around.

        Thanks belatedly for visiting. Cheers.

  1. Sorry, Toon. I am so happy to find you I chose the wrong blog to respond. I will stay over here, since I have not begun to investigate Buddhism yet, other than reading “The Art of Happiness” (?) several years ago.

    Mike, I want to again express my appreciation for your humility and simplicity in dealing with folks like me. It’s why I respect and listen to you with a (hopefully) open mind.

    As to your points about the reasons why Evangelicals fall off the tracks theologically, or morally, or (esp.) intellectually — where you see that as “proof” of the veracity of the discoveries you have made concerning the Bible, I see that as empirical evidence for my side of the argument (the Scriptures are inscrutable, or more people would be such as you).

    I do not have time to write more now, but I am sure we will speak again. My wife and I are currently remodeling our retirement home (where we spend our weekends), and we do not have Internet access over there.

    Till later, then — peace, and thank you.

    • Thanks for stopping in. I really appreciate your kind comments.

      The posting has dried up lately – well, the completing of posts. I have about 8 or 9 in media res right now 🙂 I hope to get at least a couple completed soon.

      Thanks too for following Gentle Dharma. I have the same problem over there. Having to work for a living puts a crimp in the mountains of writing I wish to do.

      Cheers.

  2. Anthony,
    Thanks for your thoughtful writing. I recently left Christianity after thirty years of pastoring, writing and speaking. Hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. What I always wanted during that transition was a “How-to” book. So I recently wrote one, Leaving Your Religion: A Practical Guide to Becoming Non-Religious” and began my own blog. As I begin to cruise the internet, I’m finding many others with such a journey. I’ve subscribed to your blog and will be sharing some of your posts.
    Jim Mulholland

    • Jim – this reply is so overdue it’s almost shameful, but I do appreciate that you visited and the thought behind your book. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to check it out soon. Cheers.

  3. Hello,
    Thank you very much for writing down your memories, I would have a question for you and for the “believers” who may read this reply.
    I think i’m pretty much in a journey seemingly like yours, but out of Islam. I first asked myself similar questions like you but sticked to a devout life for some time, than raised doubts and started questioning the religion.
    My question is that, I’m experiencing somehow the fear of Hell which I think is irrational. As a muslim, if christianity comes out as the “right” religion, my family and all I know around me, as they are deprived of salvation, accepting general christian doctrine of Hell, they are damned. There is nothing which justifies Islam or Christianity. But I have a feeling that even if “the opposite” is true, my family can’t go to Hell. I’m unable to imagine this.
    So my question is,
    1. When you assume for one second that Islam is true and Christianity is wrong; can you believe that (for christians), your christian ffriends and family is going to Hell directly? Does that seem reasonable to you, can you ever imagine this.
    2. Again an emotional question: How do you feel about the idea of dying non-christian? Does that make horror to any devout christian believer.
    Thank you

    • Hi, Burak – thanks for commenting.

      Early on in my deconversion, I did struggle a bit with that fear that I was crossing a line, and once I’d crossed it, if I was somehow wrong, there would be no going back, and I’d be bound for an eternity of torment in hell.

      What I quickly realized is that without a belief in a god, there is no belief in a hell. And there is so little reason to believe in a god that there is no chance of a hell.

      In addition to the philosophical issues the concept of hell has (I touch on this in a couple of articles on this site) if you take some time to understand the where the concept of hell came from, how it developed and evolved, will be a great help to realize that the concept itself is man-made and has no spiritual root.

      Take heart – if you can let go of the delusion of a god, the fear of hell will quickly follow it out the door and out of your mind and heart.

      Good luck. Hope to hear from you again.

      • Of course I am responding to your so-called “deconversion”! Again, very sad! Note the great Parable of the Sower, (St. Mark 4: 1-20 … of course noting too, Matt. 13: 1-15 / Luke 8: 4-10). See also, Matt. 7: 13-23, etc. “I never knew you!” As it quite appears, you sir have NEVER known Jesus the Christ!

        Sincerely In Christ, Fr. Robert Darby (Anglican) *Note, I am 65 (66 this Fall), semi-retired and a Brit, now living in America. I hold two grad degrees in Philosophy and Theology. And part of my life experience is being a retired British Royal Marine (RMC), recon and intell officer.

      • Well, I’m sorry you find that sad.

        I find that rather condescending, I’ll admit. You can probably imagine why.

        Still, thanks for checking in and engaging. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

        As for my nym, it’s actually in reference to the Mighty Toon, Newcastle United… Of course, the only Might on display right now is that we might go down 😉

        Cheers.

      • And finally, your “No True Scotsman” (Irishman?) fallacy is noted and rejected out of hand. I think you ought to read a little more about my experience before you make such empty judgments. Cheers.

      • I was born in Dublin mate, 1949! And no “empty judgments” here, I have noted you have said nothing about the Holy Scripture I quoted? Your in apostasy now, simple! YOU must walk the road you have chosen!

      • The scripture you quoted is irrelevant as to whether you have any position with which to judge me when you do so by a standard I have rejected in totality.

        The standard of the parable of the sower is basically a control device to frighten the faithful into avoiding reasonable examination of their faith. It’s a way to bolster the idea that they’re elite, special, set apart. Not only that, but they passed a test, proving that they’re special.

        The fact of the matter is that your religion is but an idea, an idea that wholly reasonable people have a right to accept or reject, and if they wish, do so interchangeably. But such stories create a division in order to control and prevent any but those who insist on pursuing the question despite such fear-mongering stories.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say again – If I was not a true Christian, then you are not and never will be. Period. Knowing how this happened in hindsight repudiates the regeneration nonsense that Christians cling to in the fantasy that they are truly elite and chosen.

        But if you’re going to continue to make such statements, I think it would behoove you to actually read through most of the 30+ articles on this blog to gain a better understanding of what I’m trying to say, having already addressed the same old saws you proffer.

  4. Pingback: So Sorry, So Sad | Why I No Longer Believe

  5. Looney!!! I bookmarked your site a long time ago, and, well, I finally got around to reading it (so sue me). Dude!!! What an amazing journey! I’m so proud of you

    In the immoral words of Der Gropenfuehrer…”I’ll be back!”

    • Kimmer!! Wassup? Thank you so much for taking the time to read through it. I hope you have time to add your thoughts here and there. It’s been an interesting road, to say the least 🙂

  6. I just found your blog and am relieved that others have come to the same conclusion. I followed the christian religion for nearly 30 years, fell for it hook-line & sinker! I really, really wanted to believe it all to be true! But after a near-death experience, I seemed to have gotten a clearer picture of it all and realized that I just really wanted it to be true because I was afraid of dying and going to hell. Now that I realize that words cannot change what the universe is already doing, no amount of wishing or praying will change that, it only changes our attitude about it all! Now that I’m free from believing all that crap, I’ve changed for the better, I’m healthier, more focused and happy! the only problem is that I’m from a small town and my Christian friends are horrified at my decision and are convinced that satan is involved, I’ve been basically been shunned and I’m afraid that they may try for an “intervention” or “exorcism” soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s