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Archived Letters

Saturday, April 30, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Liberal Christian

You probably don't want my story but I'd like to say that I think I understand how all this happens.

First and formost religions and various writings are man made, man propagated and sustained by man. I do believe in God but the generic version who perhaps sits somewhere shaking his/her head wondering when everyone will finally get it!

I've always been of the opinion that faith precedes but is eventually displaced by knowledge. The two keep moving ahead. When enough melding is done wisdom begins to show. Our younger brothers and sisters who have yet to discover this are indeed brainwashed but are helpless to change. I believe a lot of those ministers are brain washed too.

I call this spiritual evolution and have come to believe strongly in the concept of each of us living hundreds of lifetimes while we learn. Eventually we come to the point where it is no longer necessary to be human anymore, we become like Jesus though his mission was unique. Then we go off to other worlds of existance for "new adventures". Sigh! Now there's a happy thought...

Debunk the bible? Hell, which one? If it is truly perfect then changing it would be the ultimate blasphemy! It's pointless to use mind over emotion unless it be to insulate oneself from harm.

I just hope while I'm here that I never have to live in a theocracy! I guess I'm a cafeteria Christian. I take what appeals to me.

Patience Bro,

Rev JP Simmons

ATTENTION ALL EX-CHRISTIANS:

sent in by Sarah
Check out this very christian press release.

http://www.godhatesfags.com/fliers/jan2005/Tsunami_1-1-2005.pdf

Do I need to say more?

Social control at its worst.

No comment needed.

Take Action! It's Fun!

Hello all, LOVE the site, was just turned on to it by a close friend. I've been a very active ex-christian for about 20 years now, agressively attacking religion and myth-based moralities whenver I can. I walked away from Catholicism with ease and confidence. Since my dad has since followed suit, it's not been difficult. But having moved to a very religious town filled with Aggressive Evangelicals and Intolerant Congregationalists and Self-Righteous Assembly-of-Godders, I've found quite a bit of acrimony directed my way. I personally find this type of Christian, the nouveau-Protestant, as I call them, far worse than your typical sin-and-confess rosary clutching Catholic. Example - I was a soccer player, and my daughter wants to play and I want to coach her. But no less than FOUR Bible thumpers (I believe they worked in collusion), once they found that their precious brood would be on my team, decided to withdraw their enrollments. I was asked nicely not to coach, but refused. The kind man who runs the league was good enough to shuffle the rosters. But the whole thing just peeved me to no end!

Anyway, to the story that leads to the title of this post: I have found it INCREDIBLY rewarding to give these proselytizing jerks a taste of their own medicine. What I did was take some of my own old writings as an existentialism major in college, some stuff from Robert Ingersoll (if you're not familiar with Ingersoll, you MUST look him up on the Net and read him. Beautiful, rational, powerful humanistic/agnostic writing from the latter 19th century), and condensed them into a concise, simple treatise entitled "YOU ARE LIVING A LIE." The piece basically sums up a critique of Chritianity and religion in general, provides an alternative in Humanism, and beseeches the reader to free him/herself from the dogma. I've been printing a bunch of these out, folding them up like pamphlets, then going to the parking lots of the local God Centers and placing them under windshield wipers. I haven't been told to quit yet, but then I've only done it three times so far. If only one person sees the light, then I will consider my work a success.

Michael Close
michaeljclosejr1971 at yahoo dot com

Saturday, April 23, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Fear...its all based on fear!

People of the world are innately selfish....and will do all they can to get over on their neighbor.....

I've never been able to totally believe, always felt uncomfortable in church and the whole religion thing. Now, since time has passed, I realize it is BS. I came to this realization on my own....and I am glad i came across your site..

This thought hit me one day...If God granted me life and Jesus died for my sins, then I have to believe that prior to that I was sitting in some room somewhere waiting to be chosen so that I can come to earth and have a life filled with pain and fear....both put there by the bible..and that I shuld be grateful!!!!!!!.Just doesn't make sense.....never did.

Another thing, God is assuming I want eternal life.....I don't want eternal life....I just want to live life, the one i know I have....guilt free and free to look around and enjoy as much as possible..

Anyway, thank you for your site....

Joseph
jmdpo at yahoo dot com

Why Ex-Christians Are So Pissed Off

Any Christian that visits this site enough will realize that tons of people are pissed off. Perhaps that's an understatement. Enraged is more like it. We have all lost something because we walked down the Christian road and found it treacherous, dangerous and beset by bandits, thieves and ravenous wolves.

We sought for God and for goodness, but we found hypocrisy, dysfunction, close-mindness, guilt, shame, and a people only too willing to condemn our friends and loved ones to hell because they disagreed.

Who will give us back those years, those relationships and friendships we could have had, that time we could have spent growing and learning about ourselves more and about others? No one can, and that is what enrages us against the fools peddling false gold.

There's more. We are angry, because Christianity attacks our sense of dignity and worth.

After all of the talk about morality, Christians are forced to support a religion that condemns individuals based on one thing -- whether they believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Under these conditions, 1) a Christian is saying in effect that no human being's actions have moral value or relevance if he/she falls under another belief system and 2) that every human being who rejects a culturally-specific and limited view of who God is and how He has revealed Himself to the world is worthy of damnation.

Why wouldn't I be insulted by that? Theoretically, if a man is hung for killing a family of 5, I have no objection and will say that the state is just for executing right judgment.

But if a man is hung or tortured because his hair is red, or he prefers to drink coffee rather than tea, where is the justice in this?

The Bible is guilty of double-talk here: If I don't believe in Christ, I'm condemned regardless of my actions; my beliefs, my morals, my hopes, my dreams have no meaning -- Christians believe this, and have the nerve to say it to my face and smile while they do it.

To add insult to injury, no Christian I've encountered even acknowledges this fundamental problem. There is nothing so frustrating as speaking to a person who CANNOT understand why their position fundamentally insults your sense of worth and dignity.

So, my dear Christian, believe what you will. But don't tell me that you love me while supporting a religion that discounts me as a person able to make moral choices, deserving more than an eternity in flames just because I don't think that you have a monopoly on who God is and what he looks like.

If there is a God, he belongs to all of us. And we don't deserve hell for believing so.

from "Figuring It Out"

Monday, April 18, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Anyone ever have a huge meltdown and reconvert?

I was just wondering if anyone ever had a complete meltdown and "re-repented" of their sin? The reason I am asking is because I am very close to do just that.

I haven't been a Christian for over three years. Before that, I was a christian for about seven years.

I am under a lot of stress. I live far away from my family-- work in a hugely Christian small town community-- coworkers, new friends, everyone seems to be christian and I am really feeling the pressure. It's like I can't make a new friend without someone eventually inquiring whether or not I know Jesus as Lord.

It doesn't help that I bait them.

What is my problem? Why am I baiting Christians or even letting them bother me? I am so nervous to be even admitting this I am nervously looking over my shoulder at work as I type. I don't want anyone walking up (I work in an elementary school) and asking me what I am doing, and finding out the depths of my heathenism.

It was never this hard in college!

Additionally, I DO somtimes feel like God is still around-- even though I know thats total crap. Am I going to be brainwashed forever?! It's been three years? Has anyone else ever felt this way?

Maria

Wednesday, April 06, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

an oasis of reason

Hello,

I happened upon your site while reading up on Reformed Theology, Calvinism, Dominionism, Recontructionism, and various (ad hominem deleted) like Gary North (Y2K guy, I'm sure you know who he is).

Anyway, I read your testimony regarding your deconversion, and your transformation from Christian to agnostic to Atheist (or Freethinker). After reading through tons of hateful clap-trap like that spewed forth by people like Gary North, I can't describe what a pleasure it is to see someone speaking his mind so forcefully and rationally, not to mention courageously, since your website obviously has a great deal of traffic.

I am an atheist, though I had years of spiritual struggles, during which times I was trying to resolve conflicts within my own mind without realizing that it was never my own mind that was at fault, but that in fact it was the contradictory and nonsensical belief system to which I was desperately trying to conform my thinking processes which was at fault.

Though I may be an atheist, I do not rule out the possibility of some type of Aristotelian Prime Mover, some benign and ineffable entity which might be entitled to my utmost respect; but I doubt that such a being would resent anyone's honest and decent quest for the truth, no matter how errant that quest might ultimately be.

I hope your website continues to be instrumental in helping others on their quest for the truth. It's an oasis of reason and good will in an often irrational and mean-spirited virtual-world.

I hope you get this message, and I wish you the very best, and the very best to the ones you love.

With kindest regards,
William A. Baurle
williamabaurle at yahoo dot com

Sunday, April 03, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

HOW TO HANDLE CHRISTIAN RELATIVES/FRIENDS/CO-WORKERS

sent in by Sarah

This letter is an opportunity to share how you deal with christian relatives, friends, and co-workers. Please mention what worked and what didn't work. We all have to deal with Christians from time to time and how can we deal with them in the most polite manner?

This is not time to discuss anti-apolgetics, because that would imply debating, which we do plenty of anyway. This just addresses how to be civil and get along. (If we have to see them for holidays, work, ect..)

Any ideas? What worked for you and what didn't work?

How do you deal with the difficult Christian?

"Is there a God?"

Dave,

I stumbled upon your site by accident while looking for something else. I just read the story of your life and have been perusing some other areas of the site.

Your story reads like a laundry list of some of the most misguided doctrines and their proponents...Pentacostalism, AOG, Rushdooney/Reconstructionism, Arminianism, second baptism nonsense, Charsmatic tongues, premillenial eschatology, the list goes on...UGH! Not to mention some of the most pathetic answers and worst advice I've ever heard from clergy or someone who professes a knowledge of and belief in the God of the Bible. Misguided is putting it mildly, some of this stuff is positively delusional.

Without getting into a lengthy discussion, it seems to me that in all of this you never really started at the begining and got answers to some of life's most important questions from people who should have been able to provide those answers or at least the direction on where to find those answers. That is a real sad commentary on Christianity in America (and Japan apparently) today. I can understand why you'd want to leave that all behind. I sure would.

I think that all the questions you raised are important especially the ones about biblical contradictions. But I also think the most important question, the question (and answer) on which all those other questions and answers must be predicated, is the question, "Is there a God?" And if there is a God, can we live without Him? If there's no God and we can be deffinatively sure of this, then Christian's are some of the most pathetic and pitiable people in history (even Paul says so). On the other hand, if there is a God, knowing his nature and character would be important goals because it's likely that thumbing our nose at him won't get us anywhere (at least not anywhere we want to go).

At the end of the day "religiousity" is a very poor substitute for answers and an emotional "conversion experience is a poor substitute for true salvation.

I have a book here written by an Indian guy who was raised Hindu that really had an impact on my worldview, how I understand God, and answered many of the most philosophical, theological, and practical questions that I had - many of which you have asked throughout your life as related in your anti-testimony. The book is called "Can Man Live Without God?" and it's by Ravi Zacharias. Maybe you've heard of it or read it already. If not, I would deffinately pick it up when you have the chance. I've heard Zacharias speak on occassion and have never heard someone ask him a question that he wasn't able to answer - sometimes in ways that just floor the audience and the questioner. From communist and islamic heads of state to college students and clergy, he's addressed them all. I recently heard him again when he addressed the Brigade of Midshipmen here in Annapolis at the USNA.

His book can be found HERE.

He has also authored "Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims Of The Christian Message" and "Who Made God: And Answers to over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith". You might find those interesting or possibly...ahem..."cannon" fodder for your website. :) You seem to be a serious searcher and someone who is also a lifelong student. Whether you believe in God or not, and whether or not you like the God you do or don't believe in, I hope the God I believe in will bless your journey even if it has been at times dissappointing so far. It aint over til its over.

-Erik
eheisig@connectiv.net

I've seen it all

My name is Dean. I'm a student at a Bible college where I'm taking a course on Apologetics, which is the defense of the Christian faith. My professor gave us your web-site and asked us to check it out and to try to respond to some of the articals. It sounds easy enough, but when I came to this site and started reading the personal testimonies, my heart was broken. These testimonies are the most important material on this web-site. We could argue for the rest of our lives siting scientist after scientist and philosopher after philosopher.

We could talk about history, archeology, and biology until we are all blue in the face but the only thing that can not be disputed is someone's testimony because it is real to them. I've read so many testimonies on this web-site about people who have been decieved, demoralized, cheated, disallusioned, and generally mistreated by people and organizations flying the Christian banner. The bad part for me is that I believe it all because I've seen it all. As a child my mother draged me to almost every denomination of Christian church that there is along with the occational trip to see the latest, greatest traveling evangelist slash healer of the time. So many beliefs, so many contradictions, so much conflict, so much judgement, so much hippocracy, and so much rejection.

The good thing for me, however, is that somehow I didn't turn away from God. All this experiance made me look to see what God had to say about all this garbage. What did the Bible say is right, not man. Once I had done this, things suddenly became clear to me. Even though one of the main objectives of Christianity is to be like Christ, we can never acheive it. I realized that I was holding these people to a higher standard than myself because they claimed to be Christians, but they were still people and a person who makes no mistakes is a person who does nothing. So I learned to live with the mistakes of others and myself and to seek God's word for real truth. The change in me was real and complete and my life has not been the same since. I still do a lot of things wrong (this whole letter is probably wrong) and I still mistreat people, but it's about 10% as bad as it ever was. That's pretty good buy any standard and I'm getting better all the time. That's my testimony and it is very real to me.

I want to end this letter by apologizing to all of you who were ever mistreated in any way by a Christian or Christain organization. Often times we forget that we are the only representation of Christanity that people see. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to make excuses for people, it's just that sometimes we (as people) misrepresent Christ.

Thank you and God bless,
Dean
email: dean8897 at juno dot com

Saturday, April 02, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Folderol and Fiddledeedee

sent in by M.a.o.

This could take a while; never give a prolific writer a chance to express their passionate viewpoint. It just doesn't stop.
-----------------------
To be frank at the beginning, I was supposed to be born Catholic. By the terms of my parents' marriage agreement (so they could be married in my mother's church), I was basically signed off to the Merry Mindfuck Corporation, Peter's Branch, before I was even conceived, since my father is a Lutheran, and she is, obviously, Catholic. Since they didn't want children, they had no problem with it, as far as I'm aware.

Obviously, protective sex has gained a bit since the early 80's.

I was born - and, in a marvelous statement as to the rest of my life, apparently ass-first, forcing them to do Cesearian - and my parents, who had by then moved out of the city, went to take me to the local church for baptismal. So far as I've understood it, the church wouldn't do it for free, as they weren't part of the assembly - my father says $100, which seems a bit odd for 1981, but who am I to understand the mentally depraved? - so I am, to this day, blissfully damned by being un-baptized. (According to my father, if being dunked in water is all it took, he baptized me every time he gave me a bath as a baby. This is why, despite his belief, he is the shit.) This has caused marvelous conflicts with my current boss, but I'll get to that juicy rant later.

Anyway, I was born, missed the baptismal bus, and realized early on that I was also just lucky enough to be born in the most assbackwards, lily-white, conservative Christian county in the state of Wisconsin. I, being half-Mexican and clearly looking it, was of course accepted with full and warmest regards by my classmates - and if you believe that, I have some prime farmland behind my house to sell you as well. Has some bastard angel with a flaming sword who won't leave, though. Needless to say, I was probably the only non-Caucasian student in my elementary school, maybe one of two or three in my middle school, and one of perhaps ten by the time I graduated high school. Almost every single one of them was either Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran (though I still have no fucking clue what the difference is between those last two, and both a Protestant and two Lutherans can't tell me), or, perhaps, a batshit insane Born-Again. Almost every single classmate I had went to Sunday school, which didn't necessarily register in my mind as something religious; just something I could laugh at them for, because HA HA HA, I didn't have to get my ass up to go to church, nor the class.

Why didn't it register? Well, my home life was fucking mad anyway - my parents are so queerily seperate from one another that they may as well just be roommates in the same house. My mother spent most of my life up until high school working second shift and spending her nights at the bar. My father is intelligent, fiercely passionate with his beliefs on whatever topic, but was not the touchy-feely type, really. So I spent much of my time playing outside, having friends who regularly stabbed me in the back, and watching TV. Neither of my parents went to church - I think I've honestly been inside of a grand total of three churches in my life, not counting assembly halls as my aunt is a Jehovah's Witness - so my religious education came mostly in the form of animated Bible Stories. You know. The three kid archeologists in Egypt somehow travel back in time to witness stories from the Bible. Marvelous animation for its time. Completely banal storylines. I had no idea they meant them to be serious. How could I? I never went to church, was told about God or Jesus except through a kind of osmosis, and never really had any reason to believe in the crazy shit. It was TV and a cartoon, and for me as a kid to believe in some Moses dude parting the sea was about the same as me believing there was a group of talking rodents rescuing people in New York.

I also had no idea Jehovah's Witnesses were supposed to be loopy until a few years ago, because my aunt is surprisingly not open - to me, anyway - about her views, I've only seen a few of their assembly halls and I spent the time staring into space, and her kids said nothing about it. She had nice picture books with, y'know, those majestic lions every damned Christian picture book seems to have, but that was about it.

So I grew up thankfully mentally sound, even if my ego took a daily beating in school because I couldn't change my skin colour. Made it into high school without any serious injury, and, thanks to the discovery of music outside of contemporary adult, also underwent a change from "Hopeful, Shy Puppy" into "Somewhat Hopeful, But Why The Fuck Bother?" and continued to watch people, because it's just what I do. I've since realized this may be a clue to my relatively uncluttered headspace; when you're the observer, you're prone to recognizing problems others don't. Almost every single student was some sort of jackass, conforming to the eternal stereotypes of some sort or another, and hopelessly quick to judge. Religion didn't often come up, but it seemed odd that it was so obviously there, hanging over everyone's heads, even if the students who came from the Catholic schools were the worst at breaking the rules. Hypocritical to a fault and completely closed-minded. It made me realize finally that I really was an athiest, because the logical, rational whole of my brain simply couldn't accept the doggeral they drooled. Told my mother when I was seventeen, which prompted a shrill "What?! Of course you believe in God!"

"Uh, no. Why would I? What reason was I ever given to believe in the first place? When have we gone to church? Read the Bible? Give me a break."

That precipitated my third and last visit to a church: I was forcibly dragged to the Catholic Church during our Easter trip to visit our relatives in Texas. Wonderful nap.

It's amazing what you then notice when you've finally realized that yes, people who still believe so strongly in God are completely insane. My born-again aunt is barely above poverty level, because she gave almost all of her inheiritance to her church, and a good portion of her income currently, despite having to raise a son - who was born a bastard, I will add, from a member of that same church. My roommate is a WELS Lutheran, born a bastard - his father is, from records, one of the richest men in Wisconsin - adopted by a pastor and his wife, and is apparently haunted by his dead mother and sister's spirit, which means he is not only mentally tipped, but spiritually questioning. Constantly. I'd call him an athiest if only for the fact he can curse God, God's plan, and everything else, yet still say he believes in Jesus. He can agree with almost everything I point out that contradicts the Bible, the sheer mind-numbing idiocy of Christianity, the hypocrisy of God, yet still revert back to the ol' Jesus hype.

My boss and her husband are WELS Lutheran too, after changing from Protestant in a snit over being snubbed over a building contract for the church, and from her once being Catholic - all Mexicans are, pretty much. They stand as a monument as to why I am gloriously athiest. She is the most insanely hypocritical, racist, insensitive Christian I've met, yet claims I'm close-minded and terrible. He pretty much follows whatever she says, because he is whipped. Both of them together are like a fundamental tornado of bricks; it appears suddenly, beats you without a chance of a real defense, and disappears, leaving chaos in its wake. Not surprisingly, they're also staunch Republicans who voted for Bush both times, even writing a letter to the local paper this last time as to the fact that voting for Bush is essentially a vote against the evil, Godless terrorists, and if he wins, we've won against them. She apparently said letting Terri Shiavo die could allow for a second Holocaust, as Hitler got the idea from euthanizing the drooling retarded.

Not a single Christian can tell me yet the real reason God kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden. It's fascinating to tell them what it says - have them dispute you - then pulling out the Bible and pointing to the very quote. Silence.

It's also fundamentally disturbing to see people believe in a theological entity that is perfect, but flawed; loving and kind, yet vengeful and spiteful; the Only God, who still refers to other gods; who made us "In His Image," begging the question that if it was spiritual and mental instead of physical, was God originally as dumb as a sack of bricks? To see people believe in a book that offers up flawed moral advice, only to spit venom at others who actually follow a moral creed Christians claim they're solely entitled to. To see people believe in a religion that has sparked the raping and looting of fellow Christians, the raping and looting of non-Christians, the forcible conversion of thousands, the torture and burning of thousands, and the current trend of wartime hypocrisy.

Being athiest isn't a decision. It's practically a lifesaving device.
----------------
Note: as some fundamentalist will no doubt leave some misspelled, improperly typed and punctuated remark to the point of me needing to find God because He's so marvelous and blahblahblah, I'll say this; tend to the log in your own eye, before you look to the splinter in another's eye.

Have a pleasently misguided day.

URL: http://www.meijinhada.org
Email Address: 8_24 at grievousbodilyharm dot com

Hit and Run Christians

sent in by Jack

One thing I have noticed is that many Christians seem terribly insecure. That is, they will not engage what they perceive to be an "unbeliever", or a "fallen" or "backsliding" Christian in open discussion or debate, but that does not prevent them from dropping a bomb on you at the moment when they feel they can escape before you have a chance to reply or to refute what they have said.

The first incident of this I can recall was when I was probably about 18, hitchhiking through the Detroit area. A guy picked me up and gave me a ride. As we rode we talked about many insignificant things, none of which I can even remember now. But it was what happened at the point where he dropped me off that stuck with me. Literally just as I was getting out of the car, he handed me a tract, and said something along the lines of, "Here, you look like you could benefit from reading this!" Now mind you, we had not discussed religion at all, so I was a bit taken aback. I said to him something like, "I have been riding in your car all this time and you wait until I'm getting out to hand me this? If you wanted to talk about your religion, why didn't you say something when I first got in, then we could have talked about it?" He really didn't have an answer for that, just suddenly looked very uncomfortable like he wished he was somewhere else. I could almost hear the sign of relief as I closed the door and he got out of there. As I thought about it, I really felt offended that he had apparently sized me up as a heathen that needed conversion, but was too cowardly to broach the subject directly.

In the years since I have seen several other examples of that, and I am ashamed to say that during my years in a fundamentalist church I probably did the same thing a few times (not so much with tracts, I pretty much always considered them a cowardly way of "witnessing", but I did say things to people in situations where they did not really have an opportunity to question or discuss it). Sometimes the technique is as simple as laying the "zinger" on the person you want to lay the message on, then turning your back to them and walking away - people have done that to me right inside the walls of the church.

In case it's not obvious to anyone, this may be one of the most unloving things Christian can do to each other. Most of the time it's based on being judgmental of others and very often the person doing the judging has incomplete information - that is, they are judging a person based on what little contact they've had with that person (or worse yet, on hearsay from others who ought to have kept their wagging tongues silent), and often don't know the full story, not that it makes any difference because one of the basic tenets of Christianity is supposedly that we are not to judge others lest we be judged ourselves, using the same measure. Yet judging others is often a Sunday sport in some fundie churches.

I'm reminded of this "Hit and Run" technique by something that happened on Friday. I was in a bakery thrift store buying a loaf of bread, and ran into a lady that I had barely known many years ago as a casual acquaintance (to the point that she had to remind me who she was). Anyway she started asking about other members of my family and to make a long story short, we somehow got on the subject of organized religion, and I was trying to explain how the churches lie about certain teachings, even using the Bible as a reference. As the conversation went on, I was trying to explain how the most churches had perverted the doctrine of tithing, how the Bible says that "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion" (from 2 Corinthians Chapter 9) and yet the churches very often try to compel their members to give more, for example when the pastor needs a new car or the church leaders decide that the church needs a new building.

I also tried to explain that first of all, tithing per se was never mandated by the New Testament, and that most churches do not feel the need to follow old testament laws (we don't sacrifice bulls and goats) but for some strange reason make an exception where it comes to tithing. But beyond that, they do not teach how tithing was originally practiced in the old Testament. That is, the common people never gave ten percent of their income to the temple priests - you can search the Bible long and hard and you will never find any instance of that. Rather than go into it here (since most are probably not that interested), I'll simply leave those interested with a few web links:

http://www.blessedquietness.com/journal/housechu/tithe01.htm
http://www.harvestnet.org/articles/truthoftithe.htm
http://www.nomoretithing.org/
http://www.agape.com/tithe.htm
http://www.religionquest.com/CC/ccunderstandtithing.htm

Those are just five links more or less randomly selected, there are many other web pages that basically say the same things. Anyway, I am trying to explain this to this lady and of course her first question is "where did you hear that?" and I explain that I've read it in several pages on the Internet, and immediately she says, well, you can't trust everything you read on the Internet (I also discover that she doesn't even have Internet access). So I say of course you can't, sometimes it's hard to determine what is true and what isn't, but this is something you can look for in the Bible - nowhere is tithing taught in the Bible the way it is taught in traditional churches.

I feel at a disadvantage because I realize that this woman has probably sat under church teachings for years and here I come trying to explain that they aren't telling her the truth, and what evidence do I have? It's not like I have any of those URL's memorized, and with her perception of the Internet, I doubt that even if I could write down a URL for her she'd bother to look it up. But that's not the point of this story. As this discussion was ongoing, we moved up to the checkout counter with our purchases. There were two ladies working in the store, plus one couple ahead of us making a purchase.

As we were talking the lady (of the couple) in from of us started looking at me, but I didn't pay much attention. She had a pretty large purchase so it took them a minute or two to ring her up, and in the meantime this other lady and I kept talking. Finally, after her purchase was rung up, and literally as she was on her way out the door, the lady of the couple turned to us and, apparently unable to contain herself any longer, delivered The Zinger: "Just remember, you can't outgive God!"

Now I must admit that I probably had a more negative reaction to that than I should have, simply because that particular phrase had been part of nearly every coercive sermon on tithing I had ever heard. And since the lady was on her way out the door, I had like one half second to deliver a response, which came out something like "You're just believing what you've been taught by organized religion." And she responded with something like, No, it's the truth, whereupon the "Amen corner" (the two salesladies) kicked in with "That's right", allowing the lady of the couple to make her escape. At that point I realized we probably should have ended our discussion before moving up to the counter, but I explained (to the salesladies and the lady I had been talking to) that I probably shouldn't had said anything, but that since leaving the fundamentalist church I was much happier and in particular had no fear of the type I had when I was in the church (I'm sure some of you will understand what I mean when I say that Christianity is a fear-based religion). I probably should point out that by the time I said that, I myself was finished making my purchase and on the way out of the store, but the difference is that I had been engaged in this discussion for several minutes whereas the lady of the couple didn't really join the discussion, she simply wanted to deliver her "zinger", what I'm sure she thought was her bit of light to the apostate, and then leave without further discussion.

I'm not as anti-religion as some on this board; I do believe that some people really do need the sense of community that organized religion offers, although I feel bad that they basically are required to swallow a bunch of lies just to have that community. Why cannot people join together and have fellowship and still respect each other's different beliefs, or even their lack of belief? But I also know that many here were at one time church attenders, just as I was (for over 20 years), and I wonder if anyone else has noticed the "Hit and Run" technique being practiced in the churches they attended? Is that something peculiar to fundamentalism, or is it a problem throughout the organized churches?