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Sunday, October 12, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

You are doing an excellent job of debunking Christianity

Dave VanAllen,

I think you're for real. You are doing an excellent job of debunking Christianity. Let me be quite up front with you throughout this message. It will take me a while to say some things, but I will be real with you as you are real with the world through your webpage. I would be honored if you would read my message through to the end and I believe it will be worth your while whatever your final conclusion. However I imagine that with a site this big you must receive quite a bit of mail and have quite a bit of work on your hands. So suite yourself, it's your life and your time. I for one am choosing to spend some time writing you. As a friend perhaps? That's for you to judge. Maybe there are no real friends, only people deluded into thinking so. Maybe I'm one of them. Once again..., let me not waste any more space. I want to quote you 3 times and put in some response.

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Originally reading this I had some thoughts I wanted to put out but later I see your final position is atheism. I know the philosophical shift between these two positions is a big one and one of a lot of thought. Anyway perhaps I shouldn't have quoted this section, I just could really identify with it in my life. I'll share more later.

<<<...That is another topic that contributed to my first suspicions that Xtianity is a false lie. The striking ignorance and loathing for learning or reading that is rife in the Christian community. Claiming to love god with all their hearts and souls, yet reading his word, memorizing it, studying theology to better understand HIM, is quite beyond most, if not nearly all, Christians. Finding anyone who understands the history of Christianity prior to Darby's dispensational gospel is nearly impossible.>>>

TRUE!!! I was raised in the church and by the age of 15 I knew more theology than anyone I had ever met. Also more Christian apologetics. And beyond that, to go into other issues. I found normal run of the mill pagans to be the friendliest people I'd ever met and couldn't imagine them going to hell! Christians the meanest and deserving of hell! I never had faithful Christian friends, and I never met more than a few Christians that weren't either blatant hypocrites or atleast stupid ignorant ones. I'm trying to be concise, I tend to be wordy but you hear all this stuff all the time, or atleast you've experienced it for yourself so why repeat it? I just want you to know I have been through what you've been through. I left the church and my religion at the age of 20. I was saved at 5, grew up in a Christian family. Was homeschooled. Learned it all, knew it all, knew more than it all. Found Pastor's to be theologically inept and boring. Found hypocrisy and emotional
hedonism at every turn. I grew up hearing the bored hymns in churches where nobody thought emotion was necessary. And the wales and cries of those who thought that emotion was everything. Who thought that they could replace and make up for their secret profound doubt deep inside by tearing up to some Christian song of praise.

<<>>

Fence sitting is existentially difficult isn't it? I fence sat for a year. Constant thought and grinding agony for a year. I went to a few extian websites at the time but most of them were too shallow. I tried to get into some of the deeper Christian Apologetics but I found that shallow too. The extian websites were shallow in that most of what they said weren't the reasons I was doubting. I could suspend judgement about those things, they didn't help my faith, but I could live with them I thought. What really got to me was my own experience with the whole thing. I found sin impossible to really conquer, and Christians always talked of "accountability" and I never heard of that in the Bible? I found hypocrisy, catch phrases, a lot of people unwilling to admit they were doubting, and because of it they were crippled intellectually and messed up in general. Sorry for my poor sentence structure. The extians had never been Christian enough to be good extians. I was a
good Christian. Like yourself, I knew more than my pastor and everybody elses pastor too. The Christians I was around treated me often treated me like dirt, and I treated them back with love. Some were nice I must admit. I'm not boasting, I'm being honest. I don't give a rip about any of this. It's all a joke what they did or I did, devil take it.

So you have become an "evil Atheist" I assume that you added evil as a humorous reference to how Christians will think of you. I believe you are sincere so forget that. Evil's not so scarry anyway. Anyway. Fence sitting isn't existentially feasable. Fence sitting between Christianity and agnosticism is less existentially feasable than between agnosticism and atheism. But I believe that you are refering to moral issues? In otherwords, for a while you searched for the mysterious essence, or something like that. And then you found that you couldn't find it, if it even existed. And then you found that what is unfindable is unmeaningful. And the issue here is whether there is anything to believe that makes sense at all? Something you can find with your being, and not through years or centuries of study. For if this "Thing" is existentially worth finding, then it must be findable. One interesting thing about life is that it happens. Samuel Beckett's play waiting for
Godot, (I hope you've seen or read it?) I think it's very applicable. I'll assume you have read it. There is no meaning when you're waiting for meaning. Atleast that's how I look at it. That interpretation is obvious to me because I've been there. I rode the fence for months, maybe a full year, and then I decided that fences aren't ridable. So I became an agnostic.... Whatever that means. I looked a while for The Thing. Which btw, that term is an invention of this message to be cute. I guess you could say I was looking for meaning. Meaning. What is meaning? You find meaning in making a webpage like this. Or maybe truth?

Well I existed like this for a long while. I had grinded my mind constantly. My job was a simple one and so I was able to think pretty much 24/7. I read anything I could. Actually that's a lie. I was bored with most everything I could read. Same old stuff on both sides. Like you I realized that Christians weren't at all able to help me. Shallow panny waists peddling malarky at charge. I went to bed at night listening to Enigma or maybe the soundtrack from Riven or some other nonsense. I wanted to sense and experience, and see what there was to know or do or feel or believe or not believe, or want, or be content with.

I feel like there's more I want to comment on. Let me go back and look. No I have a lot to say. I want to say that after a few years of solid doubt and then unbelief, or rather agnosticism, I slowly but surely came back to Christianity. But never in the way I left it. Before I left I knew it was a fraud, and in coming back I was a rebel. I can't stand church. Ignorance and stupidity fill those places.

I guess my statements about coming back to Christianity need more said about them. I'm still trying to perceive what I should say. I think I'd like to make a side comment that will maybe guide me back to the main theme.

I see we have another thing in common. A love for beautiful women. I guess 95% of men have this in common. I almost left your website as soon as I got here because of them. It seems rather insincere to have them on here, when trying to draw Christians away from Christianity. Or if your purpose is to encourage extians, then keep them up, they need them. I found them distracting and I confess to putting my hand up on the screen to help myself read what you had to say. I'm young and I have hot blood. But then after reading your anti testimony or whatever you called it, I can see where you're coming from. Anway, it seems to me that in leaving the pictures up, the Christian visitors who come to your site will probably find themselves lusting and sinning, and then find your message more pertinent about their religion being powerless. Because their religion is powerless. You have proven that and it isn't hard to prove.

Anyway, if you're read this far then thank-you, I am being more long winded than I intended to be, but the matter of how to approach you isn't exactly clear to me yet.

I guess I have little to say afterall. Or perhaps my little will take a few pages to say because even a little needs to be said properly. Life isn't just about ideas, it's about their meaning to human beings.

Your website is filled with antichristian arguments. Many of them seem to be well constructed, and sincere in nature. As a student of philosophy, as a well informed Christian, as an exextian (cute huh?), as a thinker, I don't find any of them compelling me to leave my faith or even doubt it's absolute truth at all. Some of the material on your website is more of a negative aesthetic association sort of thing, and soe essentially an attack against ignorant Christians rather than the Bible. But other stuff is a lot deeper. You use all your tools, I'll give you that forsure. Nothing is new here for me. I formulated half of these arguments myself independent of you, and the other half I don't care about. I believe in Christ once again and I have good reason to, having also had good reason not to. I have found Him to be the truth and His power is in no way lacking in my life. Case in point, I did not lust after the woman on your site. The glimpse I got made my heart bea
t fast but I wouldn't be writing this email if I let her get to me. I only bring this up because you say Christians are hypocrites. If I am then I'm also a liar. Some women are very beautiful. Intoxicatingly beautiful. Unbearably beautiful. I used to struggle with pornography and the guilt of partaking of it. Repenting and sinning again as soon as my drive became strong again. Lust, sin, let down, repentance, lust, sin, let down, repentance. It rendered me, not hypocritical, for I always looked for an answer, and I was young- but very angry because there were no answers! When I couldn't find one, I quit trying.

I see you as being very sincere. I wanted to share my testimony with you as also a very sincere one. I am far beyond needing to argue with anyone about these things. I don't really have the time to do it anyway. I believe time is valueable- despite the evidence to the contrary in my wordiness :-) (that's how I think).

So I'd like to be forward with you as to why I'm a Christian. I had reasons for why I specifically came back to faith in Christ.

A lot of my philosophical questions were answered by my own thinking for one. These are my answers and they don't come cheap apparently.

And I have reasons for coming back that I don't believe you'll find to be good at all. Maybe you will, maybe you won't.

Morally I needed a compass. I couldn't condone Hitler or Stalin. I couldn't condone surival of the fitest at any cost. I couldn't live without law. My own heart was incapable of making me live by anything. I needed directions and there were none without God. I could pretend there were but there weren't. But when I say I needed a compass. Don't think I compromised with reality. I threw out needs and looked reality squarely in the face willing to face whatever would come. Atheism or Christ or some sort of Henotheism or Pantheism or whatever.

I also needed meaning. A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. But a skunkweed by any other name won't. We can find our meaning within ourselves. We can deny meaning. We can play all kinds of games, but in the end we live for something. Perhaps our sex drives. But something didn't work for me. I could perceive that it wasn't just religion's influence that had brought whole aspects of mankind's personality to some sort of state of interest beyond my state of interest- sex. I believe that there is meaning in life, beauty, etc.... I find my source for meaning in God.

But all this, I wondered if it was my upbringing creating this "need"? If it was just the way I was raised? You'll notice I'm not arguing. I'm just stating. I don't know what I'm even saying forsure. You know. I think I do. I believe you are sincere. I've been through the same things. I want to offer you my exextian testimony. For you personally, man to man. I just want you to know I exist and that I am a bondslave of Jesus Christ. That way you can do whatever you want with your life but please know that I understand what you've been through and I've been there and I have been back again.

My needs for morality and meaning may could be weaknesses, or they could be my very nature programmed by God. Or they could be the leftovers of childhood. It's up to you to decide. I have reason for why I believe that they are needs but that reason is very deep, very personal, very intuitive. If it could be argued, and maybe it can, I wouldn't argue it; that's not the point.

It took me several years to readjust to even reading my Bible when I came back to God. At first I had to vomit out all the stuff I had been taught before. The catch phrases, the theology that Scripture didn't teach. The soft answers to real questions. The same stuff you spit on, I spit on. I remember when I was in my doubt, I knew I could write the book that would kill Christianity once and for all. I hadn't seen your website at the time and most of the extian websites were too shallow. Their arguments were more aesthetically compelling than logically compelling. Few people deal completely honestly. To be honest, I believe you're sincere, but I see stuff on your website that shows me your heart is pretty hard now. The images of the women. Some of the other images are rather mocking. You can leave Christ without abusing Him can't you? You'd look more objective if you just left out all the banners and fire and lewdness and you would look more respectable. I guess
in spilling my guts to you I'm suffering for you. I have a lot of reason to call you my enemy and to not trust you. I am a very real person and I want to be up front here as well. I don't like writing you. Broadcasting my worldview and heart to you who hate my God and fight against what I fight for? No I won't like knowing you have this knowledge of my life in your hands. If anyone could make me loose my religion it would be you right? No that's not the real source of my suffering. The real source may yet reveal itself.

I want to give you a chance to change your mind about your decision in leaving, not the church (the church is pathetic), but in leaving Jesus Christ. When I was an agnostic, I eventually got over needing to write about how it's all false. The religious were religious and the extians and pagans were extians and pagans. Who cared? Let them be, I came to conclude. Who really cared? My own parents were afraid to talk to me about my unbelief. It really hurt me. I lost all my sense of self esteem. I was so tied into my knowledge of theology and Christianity, that when I lost it, I lost everything.

Anyway I'm several times lost in thought. I want to say.... The answer is within your sense of the value and meaning of things. Within your willingness to be honest with your own heart about how you feel about moral issues, if there are any for you. Can you condone survival of the fitest and would you like to live in such a world? I used to think I would at times. But then I realized I wouldn't be fitest in such a world. I've been a little sickly for years. I'm just throwing questions out. Only you can give answers.

But there is an answer found in my testimony to you, one man to another. I have found Jesus Christ to be the truth. The fact that you were struggling with lust as a young man shows something. It showed something about me too. Let me pour out some more to you whom I have not met; my declared enemy whom I love.

I've suffered a lot lately. My sister came close to death and the cause has been parasitic infection. I've grown up with bad health problems and round worms and tape worms have been the unknown and undiagnosed (until now) cause. You told Christians to be honest with themselves and you put a lot of pertinent Scriptures in there. Christians really don't keep Christ's commands and so they shouldn't call themselves Christians. Maybe there are no Christians left? I can't remember, I think you said there weren't. I agree. But knowing these things..., these Bible passages you quoted in your Plea- when did you learn them Dave? Wasn't it when you still considered yourself a Christian? That's when I learned them. I always wondered about them. Not whether they were true, for I came to believe them. But I wondered..., how my church could be so incredibly stupid to not teach them. Then I got to the point before my doubt, where I couldn't go to church because I was trying to
live the's Bible teaching, and nobody would support me. Only tear me down with their nonsense religious "praise songs." The whole thing fell as I tried to do the impossible and live the Christian life.

But something's happened to me. After coming out of my doubt I learned a lot of different things. I slowly but surely came back to reading my Bible over a couple year period. For a long time any Christian word would make me almost puke. I coudn't stand them!!!! I couldn't stand any of them. I replaced them with philosophical words and studied philosophy independently of the Bible. I continued thinking etc.... Well through various circumstances and existential needs and sufferings I came back to The Bible- all the hard, violent, and obscene, parts included. When did you learn those passages of Scripture set forth in your Plea to us Christians? I think it was when you still called yourself a Christian. But did you ever follow them? I know you tried. Maybe you tried your very hardest. But did you ever follow them Dave? Were you really ever able to give up your lust for women in exchange for the God who created woman? Before my doubt I never followed those Scriptu
res fully either. I tried, I failed, I tried again, I failed again. Repeated that 1000 times and you have my story at that time in my life. I loved God enough to feel bad for my sin and I loved my sin enough to feel bad when I didn't partake of it.

Dave, it seems you left Christianity because it doesn't work and because the church is laughably ridiculous. That's why I left. It got beaten out of me! But there's more here. There are other passages. Jesus said in some place. "When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the Earth?" And in another place it is written, "Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." Could our experience be normal for the times in which we are living? Maybe you don't like it, but admit that Christianity predicted it's own failure. Or maybe not. Maybe failure is a strong word. It predicted it's own repulsiveness to the point where people wouldn't be willing to follow it in view of the immediate pleasures of lust and materialism etc.... There is a lot hard to accept in the Bible! The church with it's doctrines of absurdity, like original sin, and calvinism or arminianism, or dispensationalism and covenant theology, make a mockery out of philosophy a
nd out of Scripture. Christian catch phrases make everything seem rosy when things are complex and big, just like God. Jesus said things that made him repulsive to most people of his day! He didn't mind saying those things. But I remember being at a Bible study recently where the teacher taught, "Failing constructively." The sermon title was "One day with Jesus. What would we learn?" "Failing constructively was on the list. He didn't support it with Scripture. He felt the need to add it I guess. Considering the fact that we all do fail and we must do it constructively..., blah blah blah. Whatever. If he would have pulled from Scripture he might have found. "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord'and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6.)

I'm driving at something here Dave. Jesus says in Jn. 12 "He who loves his life will loose it but he who looses his life for my sake will gain it to life eternal." Paul says in Phillipians 3 that he counts all things loss for the sake of Christ. And that he rejoices in suffering for those he is writing to. He then tells them to adopt his passion and suffer for the growth in faith of others. But if there is no resurrection, we are of all men most miserable he says in 1 Cor. 15. Somebody lived it. Paul did. Others have since. I humbly want to say I'm one of them. I should get sleep. This whole thing is being written in one setting and my kidneys are hurting from some of the events surrounding the extermination of these parasites. I am just being honest to show you that I am willing myself to live my faith, and that I'm not afraid either to tell it like it is. Jesus wasn't afraid to say He's God's Son, and I'm not afraid to say the same.

There is a real issue here Dave. Grab a hold on life and you find that lust and sex and power are limited. Beauty is limited and pornography is an artistic form that hides the reality's of life. Nomatter what your age you can always look at 18 year olds. Ofcourse, age may dullen your appreciation for them. But sometimes silent pictures are easier to enjoy than a stupid woman (no sexism intended or implied). But a real woman responds! But she can carry diseases and heartache for those with hearts. And if you have no heart will she be catchable without rape? But rape isn't natural because then she won't respond. Unless you have appetite for it. If you're healthy, 4 orgasms and you're out for some time until the passion returns. It's all a mess. Our fairy tales dream of love. As children we believe in romance don't we? I don't know. In the end what it all comes to, is, it's up to you to decide. I want to get back on track.

Faith is always forward. You didn't keep going forward and you lost the light you had. Invest or loose. Some seed falls on soil that can't grow because it isn't right. Yet Paul says in Phillipians that even he himself forgot what lay behind and pressed forward. And then in the last few verses of the chapter 3, he talks of those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Who's god is their stomach and glory is their shame. Who set their minds on Earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, The Lord Jesus Christ....

He is basically drawing the lines. You either focus on Earth and live without faith- eventually being consumed by worms, be they nematoads or cestoads..., or you set your hope on something much much better. On a resurrection body, on a future life in a kingdom in which all is made right again and suffering is extinguised. Yet maybe that's just a dream for infant minded fools like myself.

This decision for faith in the next world where my citizenship is, has been a difficult one. I have been plagued with questions and drives. The sex drive topping the list! I'm still single and staying away from lust is a daily thing in a modern environment with unclothed women at every corner and nobody to see. If there is no God, then I'm suffering a lot in vain!! But let me draw the lines for you myself.

Christianity didn't work for you, the whole thing was a flop in your own life and in the lives of those around you. I've been there.

But what would have happened if you would have chosen to look beyond your church, knowing that Scripture contradicts your church's teachings or atleast emphasis..., and would have truly learned to take up your cross daily and follow Christ, setting your hope beyond your sex drive and into the next world? He gave you insight, were you too weak to exercise it? Did you have no fear of God and the "Christians" around you had less than yourself? Maybe you couldn't keep going. I couldn't. I fell into doubt and agnosticism. But I'm offering you a second chance. This offer extends until the day you die. Repent and you will find He is still there. Maybe you never knew Him before. Maybe reason seems to hold you back. God created it; our sense of it is finite and limited. Look at Christians who can't see the Scripture in front of them and still believe blindly in their falsehood. You and I both agree on one thing. Modern Christians are hypocrites. Jesus spoke to the rich y
oung ruler. One thing you lack. Go and sell all your posessions and give the money to the poor and come and follow me.... The rich young ruler went away sad for he owned many things. How hard it is for those who have pleasure and power right in front of them to enter heaven. I understand.

If you never really ever believed in Christ enough to come to the repentence He called you to, then how can you say you tried it? You never did. You tried church doctrine, not Bible doctrine. Yes I know. I spoke as you speak. Don't answer me, answer yourself. It's too hard; it's impossible come to my mind. NO IT ISN'T Dave! I live it and I know others who do. Few, but yes they exist. Somtimes they sin, and fail. Sometimes I do to. But it is rare and rarer all the time- and we are alone. We aren't being encouraged or helped. Everbody is halfhearted or cop out and not admitting it. Our churches are our often our worst enemies. But we are surviving, yeah even conquering through our God! What is impossible through our flesh is possible through faith. And faith is tested and does grow. And we can know God and He can bless us to be free of sin. The Bible says we are dead to sin. It's my experience that through faith I am.

Dave. At any point in your life when you are willing to really repent and set your hope on the next world instead of this one, giving up all that holds you to this Earth. At that time, you'll find that through faith and patience and humility, HE IS THE TRUTH.

If you don't take Jesus' words seriously enough to follow them fully, you'll find yourself failing the way you did before. I never conquered my "big sins" until I repented of my little ones. Until I freed myself from my own right to myself and gave myself to God as a bondslave willing to suffer anything for love of Him, in response to His love of me, I couldn't conquer anything. And really all I was doing was for once in my life, taking Christ as seriously as He asked, unlike the whole world, and the whole church does (with very few exceptions). I counted everything loss in view of Him and I gained Him. I've tried it and it works.

Another thing I want to offer you is this testimony. Not only do I have power in my life to conquer sin, and particularly lust, but I also speak with God. When I pray He answers. And I don't get mostly no's. I get constant yes's. Some "wait's" but rarely a no. "If my words abide in you, ask what you wish and it shall be done for you...."

Just the other week for example, God spoke in my heart to pray for my boss, who is a Christian herself. I don't know her very well because I work only part time at this job and rarely with her, but she has young kids I've seen, and I felt convicted that she needed to quit her job so she could spend time with them instead of being a workaholic mom like she is. 2 months later after that prayer she quit. I had almost forgotten about the prayer but I remembered it and I asked another employee why she quit? "So she could spend time with her kids" Came the answer back. This is just one case in point. I don't expect such possible coincidences to convince you. They don't convince me either. They just happen. I don't need convincing.

One night a couple years back I lay out under the stars, sort of camping out in my backyard. I've only shared this with my close friends but I want to share it with you. I was praying. Now having come out of my unbelief I came to learn a lot about the nature of faith. And I believed. But I was out there praying and suddenly I asked God if He'd send a meteorite in a particular portion of the night sky for me. I felt it would be no trouble for Him. I hadn't seen one all night though being out there for an hour already, and I felt if He was God He could and maybe should do it since I was His son. As soon as I said that I said, "wait, I don't need a sign. I would doubt it was You if I saw it anyway! (I would think it was a coincidence and a wicked generation asks for a sign.)" And just at that very instant when I got the last word out, the meteor shot bright and cut right through the section of the sky I was gazing into,(where I had asked for my sign to appear.) What d
o you think my reaction was? I immediately doubted God sent it. But then I caught myself and reasoned backwards, and just chuckled. That was one of the most fun experiences of my life. I played chess with God for an instant and He gave me a move. I felt honored and still do. And I got something sealed in my mind once and for all, that I already believed firmly, but maybe not in my emotional center. And that is that only faith can see God. Sight is blind in this regard. The senses are for observing phenomena. Faith is for coming in direct contact with the nomena. With reality, with God. It's your choice. Of course, what is your reaction to my story? Does the sign convince you? Me neither. But I believe the sign was from God through faith. I didn't see another meteor the rest of the night.

I want to bring up one last point.

It is highly absurd to set our hopes on the next life isn't it? But I think that life itself can bring a man to not see it as being near as absurd as he may at first think it is. The door of suffering may open someday and whole sections of reality come to light that can't be existentially dealt with through our limited world view. But I guess every animal dies unwillingly huh? Except True Christians :-) It's up to you to decide. I don't know what to expect from you in the way of response if you have any. I'm not asking for one. It's up to you, I'm a busy guy but if you want to write, so be it. If not so be it. There's not much to talk about. We both know about eachother. If the things I've said aren't interesting to you now, maybe someday years from now you'll find them so. Will you do me one favor? Remember.

Your Friend,
Benjamin J. Scott

John 3:16-21 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

Benjamin Scott