Leaving the Cult

St. Bartholomew Church in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. This is where i was raised.

I was never in a cult, technically speaking.  Yet I identify with people who grew up in cults and then left and found sanity.  My story is different, yet oddly similar. I grew up with a mentally ill father in a deeply religious family.  We didn’t know he was mentally ill at the time.  But he was incredibly abusive to myself and my brother.  If parents were governments, then I grew up in an absolute dictatorship.  My father reigned supreme.

The abuse drove me away from my family.  Complicating the situation for me was the inability of anyone else in the family to recognize the abuse, let alone do something about it.  

This led to my lifelong struggle with mental illness.

My family is Polish on both sides.  The Catholic Church was the institution of our lives.  My grandparents were immigrants.  I loved the church as I grew up.  I wanted to be a hero to my faith.  I wanted to be the person who could prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus was real.  But two things happened to me.  The first is that I began to see God as an abstraction of Truth.  And over time my allegiance to God transformed into an allegiance to the concept of truth.  The second development for me was an intense desire to be rational.  I wanted to live, as an adult, in a more rational world.  It had to do with language.  By a fairly young age I could see that some people made sense, while other people spoke with ignorance.  I wanted to be someone who made sense.

During my sophomore year of high school, a Sunday sermon set the course for my life.  The priest was speaking about the Catholic Church and science.  The message was that the teachings of the church and the teachings of science are both true.  Science, because it is based on evidence.  Whereas the Church is blessed with divine authority.  When I heard this, I could see a problem with what the priest had claimed.  There was a contradiction between the preachings of the church and the teachings of science.

Life is filled with contradictions.  But during the previous year, I had learned in my math class that contradictions were not possible.  We were studying geometry and proofs.  And during my sophomore year I was studying biology, where I learned and accepted that evolution was true.  Evolution made sense to me.  In the moment of that sermon, everything clicked.  And I could see a way to prove that Jesus did not die for our sins.  I didn’t even know what to make of it.  Because, up until that moment, I not only believed, but I wanted to believe, what the church had been teaching.

I left the church because of the logical contradictions inherent in Christian belief.  But I never stopped studying the church.  I couldn’t let go of the fact that my faith was false.  I didn’t know how to because I was leaning on my faith to help me endure my father.

Something interesting happened some years later in the throws of mental illness.  I was reacting badly from the ways I had been treated within my family.  I had ended my relationship with my father.  My relationship to the rest of my family suffered too.  I withdrew from them.  And I had this reaction to the church that was not merely ideological.  So much nonsense in my life had been justified through church teachings.  I wanted to tear it all down.


Several decades have passed. My rage has mellowed.

These past few years I have been trying to write a book that takes on the theology of the church..  But I have reached a point where I need to stop isolation myself to work on this, and integrate my self instead with others by sharing what I have discovered.  So, I am going to unravel it here on this blog.  The Christian faith is a false faith.  Evidence and proofs forthcoming.

God is my pronoun for God

The concepts of he and she are embedded in human language, because we are biological beings.  These concepts only make sense within a biological sex-based context.  Outside of biology, we still assign sex to inanimate objects.  A ship is a she, for instance.  But assigning gender to God?  It is absurd to call God by gender-based pronouns if God is only one God.  God does not have reproductive organs. Why would the one and only true God reproduce? 

Faith and Assumptions


In the last post, I argued that faith-based beliefs are irrational.  To deepen this perspective, we will look at things from another angle.   Let’s compare the definitions of ’faith’ and ‘to assume’.

Faith: Belief without evidence or proof

To assume: to take as true without evidence or proof

‘Faith’ is a noun, while ‘to assume’ is a verb.  But, otherwise, these two definitions are nearly identical. There is a slight difference between believing in something, and taking it as true. Faith is more committed to an idea than an assumption needs to be.  But, faith plays the same role in the mind as assumptions do.  They enable reasoning.

Faith itself is not reasoning.  Faith is belief.  Belief is a starting point in reasoning.  Before we can question our beliefs, we must first believe.  Religious faith accepts its assumptions uncritically.  Faith is acquired and faith is passed on.  Faith is community-defined belief.  The group has a say in what the members profess.  Faith is not knowledge.  It comes without evidence or proof.  Faith does not know.  Faith merely accepts as true.

Faith can be wrong.  When there is evidence to support an idea, we can place more confidence in the idea.  Faith says, “I am true,” but without evidence.  Rationality is more skeptical.  A rational thinker realizes that faith could be wrong.  The rational person does not accept incredible claims without credible evidence.  It is rational to question faith.  It is rational to ask, “Is it true?”

Faith can be taken too far.

Delusion: A strongly held mistaken belief that cannot be swayed by evidence to the contrary

When we question faith, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence that its claims are wrong, we are behaving rationally.  When the faithful cannot change their thinking, even when their thinking can be shown to be wrong, they are delusional.  There is no problem in having faith in an idea before there is evidence to support it.  But ignoring evidence to the contrary is wrong.  Ignoring evidence to the contrary is not honest.  How strong is your faith?  Is it delusional strong?  A delusional person believes they are right when they are wrong.  And when we show where they are wrong, they still claim to be correct.

Rationality is a choice.  We have to choose to be rational, in order to become rational.  Faith happens to everyone.  We are all born into some form of faith.  We do not choose our initial beliefs.  Delusion is also not a choice. Delusion believes what it wants to believe, evidence be damned.  The delusional mind cannot help itself.

Rationality is not an easy choice.  Especially when faith can be so comforting.  It is comforting to believe that your beliefs are valid and true.  It is discomforting to realize they may not be. 

Rationality seeks to believe that which is true.  And to not believe that which is false.  Faith does not aspire to be true or correct.  Faith only claims that it is so.


Christian salvation makes no sense.  Supposedly, because we are all sinners, none of us gets to heaven, except through Jesus.  In order to be forgiven for our sins, we first need to accept Jesus into our lives.  He died on the cross for us.  We should be grateful for this act of love.

But is this how a loving God would treat us?  After all, God could have simply forgiven us for our sins.  So, why does He require an unblemished human male to be sacrificed, first?  And if he sends his only begotten son to his death, does he love His Son? If He loves his Son, and if He loves us too, why would He be pleased by this crucifixion?

Should we be angry at Pontius Pilate because he sentenced Jesus to die?  Pontius Pilate is portrayed in Christian lore as one of the bad guys.  But, in order for God’s plan for salvation to actually work, someone had to kill Jesus on our behalf.  If I accept salvation from Christ, does that make me an accessory to His murder?  Why would I want to be a part of that?

Christian theology is wrong.  God does not require a human sacrifice before forgiveness can be granted.  Christianity is based on a primitive and brutal understanding of God.  The path to salvation does not begin with the murder of Christ.

God and Time

Someone once said that we should think of God as the set of all true statements.  If that is all that God is — an infinitely large set of true statements — then I believe that God exists.  Because I believe in true statements.  I can’t argue with that.  But I am not sure that we should worship God either, if that’s all He is.  Don’t get me wrong.  I hold truth as the highest virtue.  And the set of all true statements would be of the utmost importance in society, especially if we could somehow tap into it.  But I don’t believe that a mere set of true statements can hear prayers.

There are different levels of infinity.  Some infinite sets are countable, in the sense that each member of the set could be associated with a unique counting number.  Other sets are uncountably large.  There are many more members in the uncountably large set than we have numbers to associate with each of them.  The set of all true statements is uncountably large.  If there are an uncountably infinite number of points between 0 and 1 ( — and there are —), then there is an uncountable infinity within set of statements that could be made about just those points between two consecutive integers.  Now extend that to how many true statements could be made about any given point within the space-time continuum.  Try to imagine a mind with a total and comprehensive awareness of everything.

I can’t do it.  I cannot imagine it.  I do not believe that such a mind could exist.  What is the mind of God made of, if everything that exists came after God?  How could the mind of God exist before anything that does exist was actually created?  How could a mind with no physical substance think everything that would need to be thought of in order to make the universe a reality?

If God had thoughts before the universe existed, then thoughts predate existence.  How can thoughts predate existence?  Before the existence of time, how did God think?  Thinking is a form of processing.  Processing is an action.  What changed in God’s thinking that caused Him to create the universe, if He had always existed before He created time itself?  What is the nature of a timeless eternity?  Why did God’s timeless mind suddenly change?  That would have had to have been the starting point of time itself.  That point where God’s thoughts were set into motion.

Letting Go

My resolution for 2017 was to publish something.  I failed to meet the deadline.  But this past February, I finally did submit my first manuscript for publication.  I had been working on this paper since about August of 2015, when it began life as the opening chapter of a book.  The last little bit of work was easy, and yet so difficult.  I had put a lot into this project, and a psychological block was preventing me from closing this chapter and moving on. I finally did.

Then, I took some time off.  I kept writing daily.  But nothing specific, and not very imaginative.  My mind needed a break.  I needed a break.  Sending off the manuscript felt like victory, even though I can’t really celebrate until it is published.  It has been two months, and I haven’t been rejected, yet.  My fingers remain superstitiously crossed.

One of the things preventing me from blogging more had been this paper.  I needed to finish it before I could say anything meaningful here.  Until it is published, I can’t really discuss it in detail.  But this manuscript was a personal thesis.  The more I put into it, the less there seemed to be to say here, until it was done.  Blogging about this unfinished project felt self-defeating.  Why?  I would ask myself.  Am I writing for this blog when I could instead be finishing one of my dream goals?

Now that the work is behind me, I have had a chance to re-orient.  The thesis is finished. Now I want to test it out.  I want to challenge how we see religion.

My parents raised their children Catholic.  I began life quite devout, but with a burning desire.  I wanted to understand my world.  I wanted to understand my faith.  Originally, when I began this journey, I began with the assumption that my faith was true.  This is what I had been taught as a child.

For years my mother defended Catholicism as ‘the one true faith.’  How could this be the one true faith?  I would ask.  How do you know which version is true Christianity?   I have met Protestants who steadfastly proclaimed that their own versions were true, and who condemned Catholicism as everything from misguided to the work of the devil.  I would ask them the same questions.  How do you know that your beliefs are true beliefs?  I could never get an answer that made sense.  People defend their faith in many ways.  I was looking for something rational.  When I realized that there was nothing rational about it, I let go, and my faith fell away.

Letting go of my faith was perhaps one of the most important decisions of my life.  It forced me to confront my own spirituality more directly.  I was changing my thinking by challenging my assumptions.  I wanted to be able to defend my words.  This meant discarding indefensible beliefs, in order to speak truthfully.