Tuesday, July 22, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

$10 challenge

I have read your $10 challenge and you will have my $10!

Unfortunately, I'm skint until the end of the month, but as soon as my cheque clears I'll paypal your share to you. Thats my word.

I stumbled on your site quite by accident. I was looking for some jokes and came across one of God's Billboards, in searching for more I found your take on them.

Your site looks pretty huge, I've only looked at a few of the pages including your own testimony - wow! The Church has abused you mightily.

I assume from the nature of your site that you are happy to post all replies. I hope that I will be able to reply as elequently as you have posted. You've obviously exerted great efforts in building this site.

Speak to you at the end of this month / beginning of next

Robert Kinchin

Thanks for the site

Thanks for the site. It's saving me lots of time tracking down stuff. My history is somewhat like yours; we're about the same age. We went to an AG church in Seattle; as a child I didn't have the capacity to appreciate the strangeness of it all.

But I remember one thing in the High School Sunday School class, where the youth pastor held a multi-week presentation on how it was likely that JFK (who at the point had been dead 10 years) was really alive and was probably the Antichrist. I remember thinking at the time, pfffft.

I used to think that going to (now Catholic) church with my children was, at worst, harmless. I no longer think that's the case, because I wasn't being honest with myself or with them. They, like I, think it's a waste of time. Why indoctrinate them with something you yourself don't believe in, only to later have to un-indoctrinate them?

Best regards to you. This is my real name; if you post this, please anonymize it. Thanks!

L

Monday, July 21, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Hey webman, hows it going?

Its funny how my friends use to say they loved me so much, now they are calling me a vessel of wrath, chosen for hell...But they are still giving me threats about me leaving the church, and doubting God and His awesome double predestination.

You know, I think we have some stuff in common, when it comes to the dogmatic calvinist churches...


Charles Kennedy

Friday, July 18, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Hello to whom it may concern

my general reaction to your site is as follows:

You say to Christians "Who are you to believe in God and tell me I'm going to hell?" Well, the converse could be asked of you: "Who are you to say there is no God, no Hell, etc." The truth is that we simply do not KNOW -- we make a choice to believe or not to believe in these things. As a former Christian I do believe in God and I hold that hell is only for those who freely choose to go there themselves - a loving God will not force Himself upon an unwilling human being, to do so would be spiritual rape. While I'm not ready to deny the existence of God or the spiritual, I do believe that your remarks about Christians are right on the money. Many of them have never grown in their understanding of their faith beyond their avoidance of hell. Thus, many of them are complete morons when it comes to proselytizing. (Did I spell that right?) :)

I'm lucky to have a certain family member who will patiently tolerate my vitriolic rants and my doubts and fears. While he wears the label Catholic, he's also a good man who's not afraid to explore these possibilities - in his words, he himself goes back and forth between "lost in his faith" to "I don't believe a fucking word of it." While I'm not keen on people who call themselves Christian (for obvious reasons) he is a breath of fresh air and I'm hoping he'll be around for a long long time. (Police work is a tough and dangerous job and not for the faint of heart!)

Thank you for this site and for showing me there is more than one point of view on this subject. To me, a faith that cannot stand up to questioning is not a real faith. A Christian who reads this should remember we learn more about ourselves from our critics than we do our admirers, and thus cut you a break.

-Sign me, Stop The Merry Go Round I Wanna Get off in New York aka: Conster

Wednesday, July 16, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

One Lord?

Sorry but I just didn't have the hour and a half necessary to figure out how to use your site. Here is an observation on scripture - you may use it if you wish.

We have all heard it said in the Bible that there is only one God. True believers know that to worship more than this one God is idolatry. Perhaps the two most famous quotes illustrating this are the following:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deuteronomy 6: 4, 5

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Mark 12: 29, 30

Yet in the very first chapter of the Bible is this:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1: 26, 27

Why doesn't Genesis 1: 26 say, "Let me make man in my image, after my likeness." After all, there is only one God isn't there? Why the plural? Why say "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," unless he was talking to another God or Gods - perhaps even Goddesses.

sent in by: Charnley [charnl@sprint.ca]

Saturday, July 12, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Wow!! What a fantastic website!

Wow!! What a fantastic website! I see now why you say that you hardly have time to keep up with it. What an amazing job you've done. I'm most impressed!

Most of my disillusionment with religion and Christianity in particular was born out of putting down the apologetics and picking up various books on science. I began with astronomy and cosmology then moved on to evolution and evolutionary sociology and psychology. Perhaps I'll put together a "favorites" booklist and share it with you.

In any case, after much soul searching and intense study I finally woke up and realized that religion is little more than a mechanism our mind provides for answering difficult, if not imponderable, questions. In other words, we make it up as we go along. The problem is that when it becomes institutionalized we end up with behemoths like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.

Anyway, I would still like the opportunity to sit down and chat with you and Sally sometime. There is much I have not written here but one thing is certain, we're on the same page as far as religion goes.

Keep up the good work,

LG :-D LIFE IS GOOD! (even without God's interference.)

RE: Thanks L,

I would like that list of favorites. I am sure it would be a great addition to the site, and I am always looking for new reading material ! !! !!

Apologetics vs Science is something I want to touch on soon. When we go to church we spend a considerable time singing songs confirming various aspects of the "faith" such as "God is real", "Jesus loves us", "mercy", "judgment", etc. It borders on emotional self-hypnosis. Maybe it goes past the border.

Now lets consider a bunch of scientists singing and affirming their faith in gravity singing over and over such things as "what goes up must come down", "the planets keep to their orbits", and so on. You might think they were as insecure about their ideas as the religious seem to be about theirs.

Have a great day!

Dave


Re: Here is the list:

On Cults and Mind Control:

The New Believers by David V. Barrett. An encyclopedic look at cults (religions) with the basic premise being that yesterday’s cult is today’s mainstream religion.

Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History by Philip Jenkins. Along the lines of The New Believers but, as the title suggests, focusing on American cults

The Transcendental Temptation by Paul Kurtz. Exhaustive overview of the lunacy we call religion. Another must read.

Releasing the Bonds by Steven Hassan. A classic on the tactics of cults and mind control.

On Science versus Creationism:

Scientists Confront Creationism
by Laurie R. Godfrey (Editor)
Essays by various scientists.

Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism by Philip Kitcher. Very readable overview of the arguments put forth in the controversy.

The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism by Ronald L. Numbers. Scholarly history of creationism with an emphasis on how the tactics of creationists have changed as science has inexorably chipped away at their arguments.

On Answering Biblical Myths:

Genes, Peoples and Languages by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. Classic exposition on the dispersion of the human family beginning with the “out-of-Africa” scenario. Refutes the Tower of Babel myth without ever talking about the Bible. Very readable and fascinating stuff!

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. An archaeological demolition of the Old Testament. Even if you don’t agree with everything presented, it’s a can’t-put-it-down kind of book.

Mapping Human History by Steve Olson. . Has nothing to do with religion, hence it’s power as an unbiased source. Traces the genetic history of humankind from Africa to the Americas over 100,000 years. If genetics is your interest, you’d better read this!

Noah’s Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman. Speculative but fascinating examination of the Flood myth of the Old Testament. Whether you agree with this premise or not, it’s far more plausible than the Biblical story.

The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes. Should be read as a companion to Mapping Human History. Speculative but engrossing! Reads like a mystery novel.

On the Cosmos and The Big Bang:

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler. A scholarly and exhaustive history of the universe. Explores the “why are we here?” question. Requires some background in cosmology. Not an easy read.

The Universe that Discovered Itself by John D. Barrow. Discusses the evolution of knowledge about the universe. Not light reading.

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. Who needs God?! A classic argument for a universe without design that will stand the test of time. Brilliant!

The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe Report by Timothy Ferris. Here’s the easy-read overview you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t want to get in over your head, this is the book for you.

The Inflationary Universe by Alan H. Guth. Cosmic origins without God’s assistance. Not light reading.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. The undisputed masterpiece of cosmology. Destined to be a classic. If you can only read one book on cosmology, this has to be the one. (The Illustrated Version is great for older children.)

Before the Beginning by Martin Rees. Speculation about the origin and future of the universe based on the best science available today.

On the Origins of Life:

The Fifth Miracle by Paul Davies. How did life begin in the universe - and why here? Speculative but informative.

Vital Dust by Christian de Duve. Good overview that advances the notion that, given the nature of the universe in which we live, life was inevitable. No need for God’s guiding hand.

Stardust by John Gribbin. A brief and easy-to-follow discussion with persuasive arguments for the origins of life sans God.

At Home in the Universe by Stuart Kauffman. Explores the laws of complexity with the aim that life is all but inevitable. Good companion to Stardust.

Our Cosmic Habitat by Martin Rees. Examines why our universe is “biophilic”, that is, favoring the emergence and evolution of life. A solid overview but not too technical.

On Jesus Christ and Early Christianity:

From Jesus to Christ by Paula Fredriksen. How the historical Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into Jesus the Christ. Scholarly.

St. Paul versus St. Peter: A Tale of Two Missions by Michael Goulder. Regarding the schism between the two factions of early Christianity and about how and why the Pauline version won. Interesting.

The Historical Figure of Jesus by E. P. Sanders. The real, historical Jesus was hardly “The King of the Jews” of Christian mythology.

Jesus the Jew by Geza Vermes. Another historical look at Jesus. Once again, the conclusion is that Christians are worshipping a work of fiction.

The Religion of Jesus the Jew by Geza Vermes. The religious movement that may (or may not) have been initiated by Jesus was not the Christianity of today.

Jesus A Life by A. N. Wilson. The religious movement that may (or may not) have been initiated by Jesus was not the Christianity of today.

Paul: The Mind of the Apostle by A. N. Wilson. Paul invented Christianity. A very scholarly work. A good companion to St. Paul versus St. Peter described above.

On The Brain and Why It Makes Us Think We Need Religion:

Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer. A sometimes difficult but always interesting explanation of how and why mankind invented religion. A guidebook (dare I say “bible”) for atheists.

Descartes Error by Antonio R. Damasio. How reason and emotion cannot be separated during the thinking process and how there is no “spirit” or “soul” apart from the body/brain organism.

The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio R. Damasio. A sort of sequel to Descartes Error and a fascinating read.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. An examination of the survival of humankind and why we don’t need religion to do it. Or, any religion will do, one is as bad as another. This is the standard work and classic in the field of evolutionary psychology.

The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. The biological evolution of morality and society. Religion is a fabrication and a fiction.

The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley. More along the line of The Blank Slate but with a slightly different perspective. A good read.

The Moral Animal by Robert Wright. A scholarly exposition of evolutionary psychology. Once again, religion is found to be obsolete, albeit alive an well.

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright. How and why humanity will survive into the foreseeable future in spite of religion.

On Alternatives to Religion:

Paul Kurtz has written a number of excellent books on Humanism, here are three of his best:

The Courage to Become: The Virtues of Humanism. An examination of what it means to live a moral life without religion.

Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism. A philosophical inquiry into Humanism

Living Without Religion. A true handbook for living a rich, full, moral life without the need for religion.

Friday, July 04, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Enjoy the Hell you don't believe in

Well, that was a very interesting site.

nonense, through and through, and very interesting contradictions you made on every single article.

It comes down to this:

1 - You were never a real Christian; you had an emotional experience but then lost the "feeling" but never truly repented and were saved.

2 - you took your frustrations out on the Faith, rather than appealing to the Lord Himself.

3 - you love sin (probably homosexuality or some other sexual sin) rather than holiness, so you had to try to "destroy" Christianity (it's been tried, and failed, keep trying if you like spitting into a hurricane gale).

4 - you try to "encourage" other "ex-Christians" (who are really only unsaved people, who have "returned to the mud like pigs" just like you have, showing who you truly are, but you lure in these "others" to make yourself feel more justified.

5 - you stick to materialistic science, quoting the words of others who likewise have the morality of a child molester, and puppet their teachings & words to back you up, to harden your further.

6 - You embrace materialistic science, ignoring the science of the Bible and true "clear thinkers" (us) who have all kinds of education above yours in thse areas, but you embrace materialism and sink to the level of thinking all of existence is an accident, and that despite darwin's fans (modern day scientists) all abandoning evolution like a fairy tale, you still think the human eye could have evolved (unlike Darwin).

7 - You encourage masturbation, as no person of the opposite gender worth 2 cents would EVER want someone who is as vile, ammoral, and nasty as you are; so your hand is all you'll ever get;

8 - (If you've read this far w/out exploding in a fit of satanic hate) you make it your life's work to attack the very thing you don't even believe in.

9 - You quote early "Christian" teachings like Roman Catholicism, Luther, calvin, and other "Christians" just because so many idolize those people (as I do not), and use their testimonies/stories/histories to attack Jesus - sorry, Charlie, but it takes more brains than that - True Christianity has nothing to do with such men.

10 - You attack the Bible, despite the total scientific, historic, archaeological, and ELS Code proofs of the scriptures (but you're too stupid for that).

11 - You claim "immorality" in the Old Testament and New, but that is because you were never saved, and do not see the context nor the point, but only venting flatulence at what you do not understand like a baby with gas.

You are a very foolish, pathetic small-minded, cold-hearted person on the equivalent moral level of an islamic terrorist; continue in your perverted, hating, loathing of life existence, and I will see you at your Judgement, as a witness against you.

Enjoy the Hell you don't believe in, but is coming to devour you for spitting on the Son of God.

comment added by the webmaster:
This bold Christian signed the letter as ME with the fake email address of cantemailmefromhell@hotmail.com which is a shame because I really wanted to thank him or her for the hilarious belly laughs their letter gave me. This is the best letter sent to me yet ! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOOOLLLLLOOLOL !!!!

Happy Fourth of July everyone. It is so good to be free of religion!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

anti-testimony

Dave-

Your story is eerily similar to my own, with the exception that I haven’t pursued Christianity for 30 years after first realizing its shortcomings… once out, I’m out.

I sent the following email to the pastor of a church I’d frequented and had been familiar with, in the final throes of my leaving Christianity. I received no response.

-Zachary Moore



----------------------------

Pastor Todd-

Hello, my name is Zachary Moore. I'm 22 years old, and a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati studying Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine. I wanted to hear your thoughts on my situation.

I was born in Cincinnati into a Christian family. My mother was raised in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reading, and my father had some exposure to a Disciples of Christ church in Carthage. They both eventually had epiphanies of faith while in college and attended a Messianic Jewish Church, then became enamored with a Reformed Baptist Church which empasized Paul's doctrine of grace. Suffice it to say, when I was born, they were pretty strong Christians.

I was raised in this tradition, with a heavy emphasis on Bible literacy. After church every week, my father would assign a book of the Bible for me to read, which I would then have to give a written or oral analysis of. Currently, I've read through the Bible too many times to count.

When high school started for me, my family moved to Mason, Ohio and joined a new church after a long search in the community. None of the existing churches seemed to satisfy my father, but the prospect of a newly-born church, a foundling of the PCA from Birmingham, Alabama, excited him. I believe it brought back some of the zeal and motivation that he felt while a college student and newly-minted born again Christian. Eventually, however, the growing church announced long-term plans to establish an affiliated private school. My father is a principal with Cincinnati Public Schools, and the competition between public and private (especially Christian) schools is a sore issue for him, especially with his Christian friends who sent their children to private Christian schools. My attendance at public school was a religious statement for him, and the fact that I excelled academically and found Christian friends there has always been a point of pride. Thus, after this announcement, we terminated our membership and my father, who felt betrayed by the Church in general, has never returned to any church.

I, however, enjoyed church and felt no such disillusionment, so I looked for a church that I could attend. On the recommendation of a friend, I visited the Vineyard back when it was still on Crescentville Road. It was a fun place to be, and it was a church. I learned the songs, I passed out Pepsis and cleaned windshields, and I ate bagels and cream cheese while listening to Steve Sjogren's sermons. About the time they moved to their new location, I found out about a new Vineyard starting in Mason, close to where I lived, so I began to attend at your church regularly.

But then I began to read the Bible again seriously, for the first time in a long while. I was older than I was when I had originally studied it, and had a more inquisitive mind. I went to the the bookstore and perused their religion shelves, seeking others' words about the Bible and the message contained therein. It was during this time that I began to notice inconsistencies that I could not understand. One of the most common attacks on the Bible involves claims of inconstistency and contradiction, but I had always dismissed these, based on my faith in the unerrancy of God's Word.

However, I found that these claims do have substance to them. Endorsements of un-Christian practices (prostitution, infanticide) in the Old Testament as well as in the New (homophobia, misogyny) were a serious problem for me. I sought answers in the work of Bible scholars, and was shown the Bible in a different light, as a work of anthological literature. Suddenly so many things about the Bible made sense. All the puzzlement I felt as a child when reading a disturbing passage, yet would ignore for virtue of the whole, was resolved. I looked to men like Meier, Crossan, and Akenson for a new appreciation of the lives and purposes of Jesus and Paul, and I feel like I found what I was looking for.

I short, I've found spiritual peace through my study and reading, and I don't really feel like I can call myself a Christian. I've been outside of the Church for a long time now, and I've had no contacts from evangelising Christians, only the occasional Jehovah's Witness or Mormon. I've been waiting, tense, expecting God to creep up on me, send an emmissary, or give me a dream that tells me that everything I've uncovered is false, that there is a real and solid basis for the faith I am forsaking. I've prayed nightly for some kind of revelation, but the next day I become stronger in my newfound convictions.

This leads me to why I am contacting you. The people I've met at the Vineyard are the only men of God that I've met that I have real respect for, mostly because of the doctrine of servitude that you preach AND follow. But while I admire you, I cannot reconcile myself to the doctrines espoused by your or any other Christian church, especially belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible. What should I do in this situation? Is there some secret about Christianity that I should know before I turn my back on it for good?

Thanks for your time,

Zachary Moore