This has been a long time coming. Recovering Catholic here. I hope I can share as succinctly as possible what finally brought me to my senses.
The "believers" out there will likely take this story as some proof that I was driven to a non theistic philosophy by being somehow traumatized by this experience, but read what I say; I am attempting to choose my words carefully to get a point across about the value of rationality vs. fairy tales.
I had a on and off girlfriend for many years. She had suffered from various significant mental illnesses. She claimed at one point paranoid schizophrenia. A possibility, but I was not there for her diagnosis.
She came back into my life last June after a extended absence (read: substance abuse. leading to violence and prison). For many years I prayed for her.
In other words, I sat on my ass and refused to rationally acknowledge what she had and what needed to be done. She had, as far as my research shows (consulting professionals) a personality disorder. Nothing magic about it; no "demons" as she had come to believe.
I had several months of bliss with her last year but was unprepared mentally - logically and rationally - to deal with her coming storm of drug abuse, depression, etc. I still sat around waiting for her to get her act together, based on my "prayers" , encouragement, and chastisements, as a good judgmental Christian would.
She ran off with some guy and got married in less than 2 months. After all my years of "believing" in some possible miracle. Laziness. If I had simply studied the scientific facts behind her issues, I believe I could have done a far better job of not only tolerating her failings due to her condition (plainly stated in the DSM-IV), I may have also been able to steer her towards the proper help.
I lost my beloved to some fool willing to blindly put up with her issues (that would be husband # 4 at 35 years old that I know of). I may have been able to help her with those issues, genuinely, with results, had I looked at all this rationally; there is much more to the story of course. That's not what brought me here, entirely.
The day after I heard of her snap marriage, I turned again to Catholic radio, listening to the story of a 4 year old with Leukemia all of his tiny life. A short horrid life of pain. And then the usual excuses. God works in mysterious ways, etc.
No. If we had spent a fraction of the money and effort we spent on propping up various theocracies in the past, say, 50 years, we would have had the ability to cure so many dread diseases, mental and physical.
I am so tired. Worn out from seeing suffering for so many years. In my family, my country, my world. A humanitarian effort based on the scientific method, given the proper resources, would be a cure for so many ills. Perhaps not a cure for mortality, but a basis for a ASSURED quality of life.
I'm rambling I guess. But when will we get together and actually assert ourselves to the point of making gains for living human beings?
I don't care about atheism as a philosophy so much. I don't care about battling theist whackjobs, or the mainstream religions.
I want results based on logic and rationality. I feel as though I am alone. Am I?