So here it is, what could possibly be the last WFA podcast. We start off with some sexy beats for your ears, move on to a little rant, some great audioclips and finally, finishing it up, wrapping it up, shutting it down in a way that should be how everything should be shut down, with great music…Check it out.
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It was interesting telling one of my cousins, who has been well aware we were raised as JWs, that I had become an atheist. After giving my schpeel on the evils of religion and the nonsense that the bible is, he (who is a Catholic that plays in the church band) acted like it was no big deal. He said: “So youre no longer religious? Well neither am I really, nor anyone in the family, you just do it to do it”. Of course it wasnt a big deal to him, he is the exact prototype of the typical religious individual: religious but not a believer (until someone is in a jam, of course). What surprises me even more though, is that even though most of the hispanic people have never read a bible, gone to church or even know what they believe, they still carry with them pictures of saints. They setup altars, candles, pictures, banners, etc, etc. Why? I cant seem to understand my other cousin who, again, is not really a believer but happens to have a picture of a couple saints in his wallet. Why must you care about the virgin mary? Who gives a fuck enough to paint murals of her on every possible wall? Why do you feel the need to have corny and cheap, Chinese-made, plastic statues glued to the dash of your car? Why are my people so religious and superstitious?
And dont even get me started on the zodiac and horoscopes crowd. I am shockingly, ridiculously, surprised at how many people actually believe in this nonsense. Why is it in the newspapers and daily websites? At what point did we say: I really would like to hear some bullshit today and make important decisions based on it? Have people not learned that we CAN know things? That we can test and research, and make informed decisions on empirical and proven data? Why do people question if a plane is safe enough to get into but not if the information the live their life by is correct?
Lastly, conspiracy theorists. I really dont have much to say about this crowd. It can all be summarized quite effectively into a quick statement: You’re all fucking crazy and irrational beings affected by the disease of gullibility and idiocy, explicitly paired with a sense of self-entitlement and paranoia. You will be ridiculed and laughed at by anyone with half-brain for the rest of you days.
Anyways, just wanted to throw out this quick rant….
I’m sure you’ve heard that expression before, heck, maybe you’ve said it, I know I have. But, don’t you hate it? I know I do.
I really cant seem to recall how many times I’ve heard that, and I’ll tell you that its been more than you’d think. Now, I understand the feeling and idea behind the comment, and in fact, Im sure that its justified. After all, we do gain wisdom and experience as we grow. We learn from our mistakes, we adjust our thinking, we evolve…in essence then, the comment is a legitimate one. But is it really?
Young Atheists seem to hear this more often than not, in fact, I just heard it from my mom a day ago. The need for an older individual to use their age and experience to invalidate a sound, logical argument is one of the most annoying things anyone can do to me. I understand that as a young person I will change my mind on things. Hell, I remember being 17 and thinking I had it all figured out, or being 21 and thinking I was ready for marriage. Now that Im 24, soon to be a quarter century, I realize how wrong I was. I realize how shortsighted and immature my mindset was. Im sure Ill even say that when Im 27, and then 38, and 50, etc etc….but to sacrifice an argument and reach a conclusion on the mere merits of age is, simply put, bullshit….
Yes, it has been over two months since a post. Its surprising, but its so hard to for Jesse and myself to take time out of our schedules and commit to putting out a new podcast. Sometimes timing doesn’t work out, sometimes it’s work or family problems, sometimes it’s just pure laziness; but, in reality, it’s just that we might just not be giving that much of a damn…
This isn’t to say we dont give a shit about the many people that enjoy our podcast or the cause that fighting the poison of religion is, in fact its been one of the best things about starting this, meeting new people and being part of something important, a cause. What I mean to say in fact, is that I’m finding it harder and harder to remember all the bullshit that was involved in being a JW. I know its been just a bit over 2 years, but it feels like a lifetime ago that I was dressed in suits knocking at doors or sat through 2 hours of bullshit spewing out of an uninformed, ignorant buffoon that self-designated himself a minister of a supposed god. My morals, mindset, guidelines, humor, vocabulary, friendships, music, etc, has all changed…I’m a new me…
I keep finding that keeping up with Atheist or religious current events, watching FOX bullshit news, or even reading about the injustices done in the name of religion just gets me pissed off. It’s obviously much easier to be ignorant, it is bliss after all, and I just cant make myself argue about religion so much anymore. When someone still cannot explain coherently or logically their reason for believing something, I just ignore it or walk away, stupidity is hard to erase on someone. I know I should continue to be open to discuss and try to persuade others to examine their beliefs, it is after all the reason why I’m here, because someone took the time to challenge me, but it has become a chore to put up with the ridiculousness of religious individuals…
I believe that people, being outspoken and challenging religion is the best thing that can happen nowadays. I believe that through writing, blogging, reporting, discussing and being approachable it is possible to change people’s minds. I think it’s fathomable that we can make a change, I’m living proof of it. I know some people close to me that are going through a hard time, and although I can’t relate in a completely mirrored perspective, I can understand the hardships and pain that is involved in life changing situations, such as leaving the cult you grew up in and realizing that your entire view of the world around you is a total lie. I can relate to being separated from family, to being alone, to having sad days, but the hardships involved in this is evidence that something good is coming, nothing good is ever free of hardships.
One of the reasons why I’m ranting about this is because one of the most influential people of our days has just passed away; this person was critical in helping me free my mind, in releasing the chains that religion had on me. As sad as it is to say, Christopher Hitchens has passed away…
I could sit here and write pages on the brilliance, intellect and elequoence in which Hitchens expressed himself, but I think its irrelevant for me to write about him as I would only limit and obscure the shining bright light he was to many of us. Suffice to say, we will not be forgetting what he did for atheism, for logic, for rational thinking and human rights.
Lastly, it is after all time for the holidays. This year will be an interesting one, and Im looking forward with positive outlook towards the future, towards a new year and continuing to grow as a person. I find that Im finally leaving the shell I have been in for a long time and Im ready to move on, to have fun, to enjoy these times we are having with friends, family, good music, great booze and more music.
Im looking forward to the memories Im having now…
….with that said I just wanted to take a second and say: Happy Holidays!
If you are reading this, then perhaps you know already that this is a blog/podcast that doesnt hold it’s punches towards religion, more specifically the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you have listened to our podcast, you probably are quite aware that we are sarcastic, cynical and blunt guys that can get drunk and whine about how much it sucked to be raised in a cult. Although there are a lot of legitimate statements that can be made because we grew up in a cult, I’m sure there’s many of you out there who are complaining or even wondering why we don’t just shut the fuck up or focus on the positive aspects of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The truth is, that as much as we want to focus on the shitty parts of being a JW, no objective and fair individual can simply ignore the decent stuff that came out of it all, and thats exactly why I’m writing this post.
Everytime someone asks me about what it was like to be a JW, it always starts with a comment along the lines of “you must have had a terrible childhood” or “you missed out on so much”; whether it was holidays, candy, dressing up for Halloween or not even being able to associate with family who were non-believers. Yes, its true, I did miss out on all of that, and it sure would have been fun to do all of it (of course I would have loved gifts every year from Santa!), but there’s also stuff that I’m quite glad I missed out on.
So, what could possibly have been good about growing up in a cult? To understand where I am coming from, I must start with my childhood. You see, by the time I was old enough to go to school, I was already indoctrinated with the dogma of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I knew all the bible stories (for all you ex-JWs, I’m sure you remember that yellow book of “My bible stories” or maybe even the tapes that came with “The Great Teacher” book) by heart and was able to give decent answers as to why I did or did not celebrate certain things; all mindless regurgitation based on information that as a 6 year old you have no grasp on.
I started preaching door to door at the age of 6, maybe giving tracks as instructed by other members at a younger age, and publicly gave my first bible reading at my local congregation at the same age. I was an exemplary child, trying to please all the brothers and sisters that affectionately encouraged me as well as praised my “efforts” (it really should be called conditioning). If you can picture it, I was a cute chubby-cheeked 6 year old, in a tiny suit, with a lovely little tie and my hair perfectly combed to the side with generous amounts of stickey-gooey blue-colored gel; all of this courtesy of my mom’s loving attention and cleanliness. Paired with a bit of smart genes from my dad’s side of the family and the decent memory that only a 6 year old can have, I was able to memorize all of Psalms 51 and give an outstanding bible reading to a congregation of 150 or so devout churchies. From that moment, I participated in door to door ministry, reading and analyzing information in church, public talks, even conducting bible and congregation book studies or service arrangements. A lifetime of talking, especially to strangers, does have an effect on a kid, and I can say a good one. To be honest, I can be a bit introverted and shy at times (I know, you wouldn’t think so from listening to our podcast) but I can only wonder how things would have turned out without all that practice.
On Wednesday or Thursday meetings, we would be instructed on how to approach strangers, how to walk up to Joe Schmoes, priests and people from all walks of life to persuade them that the “Jehovahs” are the best thing that happened to religion since Jesus took his first shit. Parking lot or gas station witnessing was another semi-bold thing, and telling the world you’re right and everyone else is wrong is arrrogant to say the least. I must highlight that being an active, practicing and outspoken soldier of Christ takes actual commitment and bravery (gullibility and ignorance as well) but bravery for sure. There were notes and even grades at these meetings (back in the earlier days of the ministry school) to model you and aid you with pitch, tone, reading, introductions, examples used in your talk, research, and many other factors in the art of public speaking. That’s not too bad for a bunch of individuals who are force-armed into skipping on a decent education and encouraged to spend the rest of their days shoveling shit for minimum wage and praising the lord all at once. All that made me a better speaker, a better salesman, a better teacher; hell, nowadays, when enduring myriads of job interviews, I even surprise myself how good I can be, but only sometimes…
And what can I say about growing up defending your faith? Well, let me tell you that in second grade I brought the Apocalypse book (yea the one about Revelations with all the demons, and pictures of harlots and beasts and Armageddon) to school. Perhaps it was because I was in a private school that they tolerated me babbling about it to teachers and kids, or maybe that Mexico was a very religious country at the time, all I know is that I was preaching gloom and doom, the death of all unbelievers with a passion. To this day I dont understand how my mother let that happen, or maybe I was a stubborn sunuvabitch (Catcher in the Rye reference here) even at that age, all I know is that that book would come along to school tucked in my little ninja turtles backpack. Being asked every fucking holiday why I didnt do this or that can really build character, being singled out can do it even more. Not “worshiping” the flag, not celebrating little Alberto’s birthday or eating a sugar skull for “Dia de los Muertos” with all the kids makes you stand on your own, all before even hitting puberty. I’m not going to lie, it was rough; it was even worst for my older sister who would come home and cry about the teasing that was the inheritance of being a witness back then. At the end of it all, I stood on my own two feet, stayed in my own bullshit boundaries for something I though was real; yes, it was unnecessary, yes it could have been much better, yes I could have grown as a person in other ways, enjoyed high school and college a lot more, but in the end it made me who I am today.
There was of course, more parts to the social aspects of growing up like this. You do miss out on so many social experiences when you’re in a cult for obvious reasons, anything from just making friends to learning how to hit on women; hell, my pickup line was: “Sooo, what hall do YOU go to?” But (yes, here comes the “but”) the thing about religion is that there are also some great people inside it. In being a JW, I had a chance to meet so many people. It wasn’t just your typical subset of individuals either, it was a vast number of guys and girls from all over the area, all different colors, different countries, different paths, and different ages (the WT always encourages association with “older, mature ones”). Of course, all this great network of people is completely shallow to a degree and full of shit, ready to dismantle and demonize you the moment you don’t get on your knees and give fellatio to the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”; but all in all, it’s still a great bunch of people that expand your horizons, even if its all brought together by the cancer that is religion. We were all stupidly dying together and wasting our Saturday and Sunday mornings knocking on doors.
So, in a nutshell and for the record, I am admitting that there was some good to this particular cult. I walked away with experiences that created who I am, gave me some positive attributes and skills that helped me even to this day. No one really knows who they could have been if X or Y hadn’t happened, or if they would have chosen differently in a certain moment of their past; that is the beauty of this chaotic and erratic universe we live in. Uniqueness and serendipity can happen, creating a snowflake out of our lives, out of us, and that’s kind of cool, even when we realize that we are just one more snowflake in a snowstorm, and that eventually our sun, our galaxy, our universe will dim out and fade away, just like snow inevitably will when the sun shines.
So, after a month + hiatus, we finally recorded another, and its actually quite fun if I say so myself. Jesse and I are accompanied by our friend Mark, who joins us all the way from Australia. We have a Holy Shit That’s in the Bible?! segment and shoot the bull with Mark. We were definitely getting drunk last night, so we might rant a bit much at the end, but all in good fun…
I also decided that I’ll be changing intro songs more often, just cause theres so much good music out there. This episode’s music is Inspiration Youth by Original Natty.
Check it out!
Well, I saw someone else post this link on facebook and I just had to share it. It’s really for Mormons but I think its even more applicable to Witnesses. Check it out, its quite funny and I’m thinking it would be a hilarious thing to do…
My buddy Rick just pointed me to this website which I think is great, just thought I would post it up!
Jesse and I are back at it with this new episode, this time discussing a very important book in the deconversion process: Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan and why the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a harmful cult. Joining us is a good friend and former JW. We meant to also include a discussion of Crisis of Conscience, but it will have to wait for an episode of it’s own. Hope you enjoy!
Here it is, an episode about the flood. Our friend Dave joins us as well, talks a bit about his Baptist upbringing and then helps us disect the stupidity that is the flood…
I was fairly drunk at the end of the episode, but it looks like it still turned out alright…hope you dig it…