ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Archived Letters

Wednesday, December 12, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Thank you for hiding the truth...

From Gina:

Dear Webmaster,

I came across your site by accident. Since I don't believe in coincidence I read your testimony and comments from other people.

What stood out most in your testimony was the following:
Later that night, in the dark and quiet of my room, I got down on my knees confessed my sins, repented as much as I knew how, and accepted Christ into my heart. It was a mind-altering experience for me. In my mind’s eye I visualized the Creator of all physically with me in the room. I felt overwhelmed with what I believed was a personal and direct manifestation of the LORD. I cried and cried. The emotional cleansing and reality of that moment has never left me, and as I write about it now, it comes alive once again

This is where you find God, and come to truly know Him. Find that quiet place again, grab the NIV bible and fall to your knees. Like one other person said " Stop looking for God in man, religion, churches." Many people are not honest with themselves about how they feel about God. I myself believed in God but did not love Him. I wanted to Love Him so I prayed to Him "God I want to Love you please give me that love." He did. I have a wonderful relationship with Him and he is as real to me as my own son, even though I can not see God. It is that relationship you get through prayer and reading God's word (bible) that no, person, place, or church can ever give you.

Anyway I prayed before sending you this e-mail and opened bible for God's words. Here is His response:
Mathew 12:25

Then Jesus prayed this prayer. "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!

Webmaster, I do not know your name unless you tell me but I will pray for you. God Bless you.

I am confused, and I am a Christian still (maybe)

Sent in by Naudia

I am confused. I am a Christian still (maybe). I have been browsing this site for a year or 2 now I guess. I have had a lot of questions and read many more things on this site that has disturbed me to the point of lots of research. I have found an answer that has been satisfying for me at least to most of the questions that I have been faced with about the Bible's authority in our lives.

I however can not make myself truly believe without doubt about Christ anymore. I can not see how we can trust the way the Bible was canonized. I'm speaking of the canonization of the New Testament. I am scared because I don't want to burn in hell. Which I suspect is why the majority of Christians actually came to Christianity in the first place. I am afraid that if I come to the conclusion Christ is a fabrication and I am wrong then

I will burn in Hell for eternity or for however long it is.

Does anyone have any information or know where I can read more about the authenticity of the 4 gospels?

I read that Most of the early church fathers accepted the 4 gospels as being authentic but had problems with a lot of the other books in the New testament. I guess if the 4 gospels are authentic then that is grounds to keep believing. I guess because this all so confusing and giving me a freaking headache. A lot of my family look at me as a degenerate because I have questions and read anything besides the KJV of the Bible and this makes me feel ashamed of myself but I can't shake the questions.

Has any of the ex Christians here ever been deeply into their faith before leaving? Has anyone here experienced supernatural things that kept them from leaving the faith? If yes can you provide me with examples.



This is my story:

I myself may sound crazy but I actually experienced demonization. I was really depressed for a long time because I thought I had committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I was and still am completely normal and do not, nor have ever, had problems with mental illness. I have even had myself checked out. Well one day I went to church and a lady who calls herself a prophet called me forth and said God told her to pray for me. When I went forward she said , "Satan leave this girl ( I was about 22 at the time) alone in Jesus Name. When she mentioned the name Jesus my body bent over by itself in a submissive bow. Every time she said it that happened to me. I have never in my life been the type of person to make a scene or draw attention to myself so this was embarrassing to me. But I was bowing over at the name of Jesus and my head started shaking NO and I started crying but it was not me crying. I literally for the first time In my life felt something intelligent inside of my body that I had no idea was there before. This scared the crap out of me. Anyways I felt that whatever was inside of me was terrified of the Name of Jesus and it was getting ready to come out upon the insistence of the woman using the name of Jesus. But she stopped and when I approached her about what was going on she did not believe me and a lot of the people in my church did not. I eventually left that church and have not been a regular church goer since. Basically to this day I can not go into a church without demonic supernatural things happening to me. It doesn't happen unless I go around praise and worship and church settings. It can not be psychological because I started speaking in weird languages and said some things in Italian and Spanish that were confirmed by my husband who speaks Spanish fluently and knows a little Italian I also have predicted small immediate future events while in these states that have come true. I have had Medical checkups and also Cat scans and MRI's to see if anything was wrong with my brain. Nothing wrong physically or mentally except some allergies and chemical sensitivities. I just know what has happened to me is real and not a mental illness. I have found other Christians who have gone through the same thing but no one that is an EX Christian.

Has anyone here experienced anything like this and still lost their faith?

I really need to talk to someone who has gone through similar things.

This may sound like a movie or the rantings of a crazy person but I swear that it is true and this keeps me thinking that Christ is real.

However I don't understand how the bible can be trusted considering the way it came together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Need some advice

From Jackie:

I have been an ex-Christian for about a year now. I work with a guy who desperately wishes I would "come back to the fold".

Too bad... I won't.

I overheard him and another gentleman talking about the evidence for Christianity and authors like Tim LaHaye and CS Lewis, who used to be atheists. They mentioned the book by Josh McDowell, "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". I have not read this book yet. I was wondering if anyone here has and if you could tell me how ridiculous it is. I'm still learning to be tactful. Sometimes, just coming back with the "no evidence" argument isn't enough when they think they have all they need.

Thursday, November 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I would love to debate you all

A letter from Kyle M

I only do this because this is the only place a care to post. God forgive you all in the end of days i pitty you all. Remember, no matter what God will forgive you for your transgressions against his holy name. I know that without God I would have killed myself by now and you need to wake up to the world you live in if any of you would like to debate me I would love to talk to you.

Thank you.

Monday, November 12, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

What church do you attend? Or are you Atheist or Agnostic?

Sent in by Eris Discordia

What I find interesting and a little disturbing is the fact that so many people feel it is necessary to pry into my personal belief system! When I finally broke free of the bonds of my prison religion I was made to feel uncomfortable by old friends and relatives, and even people I meet in the coffee shop who insisted on quizzing me as to how I spend my Sunday mornings! "What church are you going to now?" "What happened?" "Why don't you attend church any longer?" "How can you survive without a church family to give you strength in the Lard?" Blah blah blah blah..............

When I reply that I no longer attend church the barrage of questions ensue. The inquisition gets under way! At this point I am afraid that I have been less than tactful and lashed out inappropriately. However, looking back on it, it still angers me that my Christian friends and family are so nosy about my personal beliefs. It has been several years now and I still don't handle these questions very well. In the past I have lied to get people off my back and other times I have told them that it is none of their business. Sometimes I tell them that I am involved with a Satanic cult just to fuck with them! It ll depends on my mood.

I must interject here that I live in the Baaable Belt of the U.S. of A. Jebus Land, Indiana. Where you get told to have a blessed day EVERY fWHERE you go! You can't even get a cup of coffee without having a fucking blessed day! Where they have SIGNS posted in the local Mc Donalds commanding you to "Have a Blessed Day". I am NOT kidding!

Now I get the Atheist vs. Agnostic question a lot. It's as if they are trying to find out if my soul is salvageable!

"Well, do you believe in GAWD?" 'Even if you don't believe in Jeeeeesus as your personal Savior, you MUST believe in GAWD!"

My resentment of people questioning my personal beliefs coupled with the fact that I have no more respect for the sheeple and their fairy tales has caused me to be less than compassionate toward them! I keep thinking, Maybe I need to talk with Miss Manners! But then I think, Maybe THEY should be talking to Miss Manners and learning to mind their own Gawddamn business!

However, after handling many of these nosy inquiries I still feel like I need to find a pat answer to shut them down without creating a scene or starting world war III. As much as I would love to tell these people to go away, take their fairy tales and leave me alone I want to take the high road and learn to be a nicer person.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Q: What do you call a pastor who impregnates his brother's wife? A: Earl

Sent in by Jan from deep within the buckle of the Bible Belt

I'm a member of your ex-christians group and this is a newslink to my old church that is in the news here in Atlanta again. I was a member of Earl Paulk's Cathedral of the Holy Spirit for over 13 years. I left there in 1992 after Earl's Brother Don had an affair with one of my roommates and dear friends. The whole time I had been there I had heard rumors about the Paulks being sexually depraved, but I never believed the rumors... I mean, after all, they were my pastors, right? Good people... They'd never hurt me. Uh-huh.

In 2005 I started an online support group for people who have left CHHC and we work constantly to keep the stories of Earl Paulk, Donnie Earl Paulk, Don Paulk, and the whole hillbilly gang in the public eye, both here in Georgia and everywhere else.

This most recent scandal is outlined here on pt. 1 and pt. 2 of this FOX-5 I-Team report. The paulks are being sued by a bunch of different folks, and some of the depositions occurred in their attorney's offices in Cobb Co., Georgia. There Earl said he'd never been with anyone but his wife and the woman who is currently suing him. Turns out, he was lying (surprise!). After DNA tests were completed, it turns out that Earl is the biological father of the man raised as his nephew, the current pastor of the church, who was conceived with the minister of music, Earl's brother Don's wife. (Hear strains of the theme from deliverance playing in the background?) So... his nephew is really his son.

The Cobb Co. DA takes a dim view of being lied to under oath and hopefully there will be arrests made in this story soon. Here's hoping justice prevails.

There are 1,000s of people who left that church over the years and none of us will ever be the same. We totally trusted the Paulks and did whatever they asked us to, even to our own detriment. Yes, it was and is a cult. I'm very happy to be gone from there.

Thanks for all you do to help out those of us who are working through our own beliefs, or nonbeliefs, as the case may be. I'm an atheist and very happy about it, but in my online support group I deal with people who are still trying to have a faith in God and they are just a mess.

Thanks again,
Jan

For more information, log on to http://www.thepaulkfiles.com/

Saturday, October 27, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

What if everyone stopped believing in god?

Sent in by Geoff

As I'm sitting here at 1:06 a.m. in the morning, something occurred to me: What if everyone stopped believing in gods?

No, really. What if everyone everywhere just gave up Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc., etc. Would a god still exist?

If it's as Christians say, and everyone really knows deep down that God exists, then regardless of whether or not anyone believes or disbelieves in God, HIS existence should still be obvious to everyone, right?

But it's not obvious to everyone, so religionists evangelize and evangelize and evangelize and evangelize...

Christians, when pushing their dogma, always point to nature as proof for a creator. But does beauty in nature really show anything except for the fact that nature is beautiful? How many people can honestly say with a straight face that when they look at a beautiful flower they think to themselves, "This must have been made by the Judeo-Christian god, who in the beginning made two people and a snake, but ironically the snake HE put there compelled the women to eat a piece of magic fruit, which plunged everyone into eternal depravity and separation from God, and the only way out of this is situation is to telepathically accept his human son into my heart, the son that HE had to sacrifice on a stick in order to find it in HIS heart to forgive us."

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that without people constantly proclaiming a god's existence, would God cease to exist?

It's obvious to me that GOD is a phony story of epic proportions. If there were no god believers, there would be no god. End of story.

-Geoff

Thursday, October 25, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

You have no true understanding of God, Jesus or the Holy Sprite

From Janice S

I came across your Website by accident, read your comments. My heart goes out to you. You have no true understanding of God, Jesus or the Holy Sprite.

I was amazed that you would ask for a donation in an attempt to prove your case. In asking Christains for a donation, to support your anit-God beliefs, you are asking Christains to further the work that Satan is doing thru you. (You can not sever two masters, either hate the one and love the other or love the one and hate the other)

Also in your sad attempt to get money to support your views, you are suggesting to us the same arguement that Satan purposed to Jesus in the widlerness. Jesus's reply as is my own (Thou shalt not temp the Lord they God.)

We do not have to prove anything to you or anyone else, we know in our hearts that we are saved by the shed blood of Jesus and that the Sprite of God is living and dwelling in us. It is a long and painful process but daily we are being renewed. And yes, we make mistakes and yes there have been Leader's and Pastor who have made mistakes, that is why Paul said to be on guard always and to not cease from praying. These are the last days, and there are many false prophets in the world claiming to be of God, but aren't. But he who is born of the Sprite is able to recongize what is of God and what is not.

You obvisiously are not. Oh, and just because I felt compelled to response to your claims does not mean that I want to recieve any other communication's with you. I say this in love, for we are told to speak the truth in love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

You were never a Christian

I happened upon your website, it made me sad to see the Ex-Christians and all of your stories..

How can people give up on God?

There will come a day when you will see that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only way.

I can't understand the point where anyone would say ok I am not a Christian anymore.. then you probably were never one.

The Lord says in His holy word that it is better for you to have never know me than to known me and to walk away or turn your bcak on Him.

I pray that you and your members will return to His way before its too late.

MaryG

Saturday, October 20, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Abominations that are causing desolation

From Gary T

To all "ex", "Non" christians, and all others reading this who feel they are disapointed or confused by the amount of ignorance, lies, perversion and confusion that is rapidly overtaking much of the Christian world today - I understand much of your heartaches, and I'm a Christian. I have'nt been going to a "church" religiously for many years now. We are at a time where we are experiencing "abominations that are causing desolation" due to the enemy within, and its growing strength. The strength of evil forces expanding throughout the world as more an more people fall prey to the temptations of an ever growing babylonian lifestyle, which intern causes lies, deciet, subversion and satanic influence within so - called church leaders, and the congregation. There is also much debate over the truth of the scripture, and there are many people who have many diferent views, all must be taken with a grain of salt and thouroughly examined and studied in a theological and historical text before making decisions on any claims. However, because of my self education, self respect, and respect for the devine man Jesus an his sacrifice, and a belief in God due to common sense, I remain a Christian in faith. Just as you urge people to investigate the downfall of the denomonations and the transgressions of weak willed Christian practicioners, I urge you to remember what caused you to decide to believe in the first place, to keep your open mind and heart open to hope. And I will pray for each andevery one of you, to find your personal peace at the end of your searches and your battles. Amen

Monday, October 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I wasted good satire

Sent in by Bryan B

Why is it that fundamentalists have to have a complete lack of sense of humor? Why is it so hard for them to detect shades of sarcasm, or hints of mockery? I guess the reason I'm asking is because I sent a satirical letter to Answers in Genesis, and it went like this:

"Dear Creationists, I, like you, am offended at the exclusive teachings of evolution in public schools. I feel it is important for students to critically consider both sides (creation and evolution), not to be brainwashed by one side.

As a member of the native Kiowa Apache tribe, I take pride in our creation story, which never changes, no matter what other men say. I still believe the world was formed by a creator mixing the sweat of 4 different gods, and a tarantula pulling cords to make the earth its present size. Secular scientists say there is no proof of this, but unbiased Kiowa Apache scientists have found just the opposite!

Also, our sacred teachings predicted that many people would find this story foolish, and surprise, surprise! They were right, which helps prove our theory. Please, how can we get society to look at evidence for both sides, (Kiowa origins and evolution), not just pure secular propaganda?"


Here is the reply they sent me (and yes I realize it's probably an automated response):

"Dear Bryan,

Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis.

In order for people to truly consider creation as well as evolution, they need to have open minds and unfortunately, most do not.

If you have never read the Bible, I would encourage you to do so, also with an open mind. It was written over a period of approximately 2,000 years and yet without error. Only an omnipotent God could orchestrate that."


I also got a code enabling me to receive 10% off my next AiG purchase.

Either my comment went right over the editor's head, or they refuse to acknowledge any discussion to the effect that their backward-ass theories might be wrong. I mean Jesus, does battling every advancement in every scientific field mean you can't have any fun?

Anyway, I thought readers might appreciate this.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

How do you handle grief?

From Jannah B

I've been thinking about Christianity and the crutch it is since my leaving it.

Recently, a friend was set alight and attacked with a screwdriver (by a complete stranger... can you believe it?) and they did not know if she would survive. In all honesty I prayed out to anything, just by the off chance she would be okay, or that it may help. I knew whilst saying it, that i was talking to thin air. But, it assisted me to cope with the grief and the anxiety of not knowing.

The question I have is, how has everyone coped in their grief since leaving behind the lies of Christianity? I have chosen to allow myself to feel out of control and know that there is no cosmic force aligning itself with my prayers.

But, I still feel the need to pray in those times of grief, anxiety or even when i just need a little help with something...

What do you do? How do you cope? How do you address stress?

Is it okay to cry to the God that doesn't exist? Is it okay to pray? Or am I merely covering grief and stress with a crutch like I did with Christianity?

Is it okay to cry out to a god you don't believe in? Or are you merely covering your crutch with another?

sidebar: Crutch implies for those that may not be aware (I dont know if this is Australian slang or international) a crutcher or something that holds you up when you feel you cant carry yourself.

from www.dictionary.com No. 3 being the one i am discussing

crutch /krʌtʃ/ Pronunciation Key - –noun

1. a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.

2. any of various devices resembling this in shape or use.

3. anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute; prop: He uses liquor as a psychological crutch.

4. a forked support or part.

5. the crotch of the human body.

6. Also, crotch. Nautical.

a. a forked support for a boom or spar when not in use.

b. a forked support for an oar on the sides or stern of a rowboat.

c. a horizontal knee reinforcing the stern frames of a wooden vessel.

7. a forked device on the left side of a sidesaddle, consisting of two hooks, one of which is open at the bottom and serves to clamp the left knee and the other of which is open at the top and serves to support the right knee.

–verb (used with object)

8. to support on crutches; prop; sustain.



Where to from here with our grief?

Questioning my assumptions

From Chris A

Since commencing a reevaluation of my beliefs earlier this fall, I've become consumed with doubts, and I was hoping that perhaps some of the former Christians here could give my troubling questions an answer. I would have gone straight to your excellent forums with this, but something seems to have gone wrong with the sign-in process...

As I recall, this ordeal started when, while attempting to improve my debating technique, I decided that a Socratic analysis of my deepest convictions and why I held them might help me reach a better understanding of the art of argument.

This was a mistake, albeit an enlightening one; after some analysis, I had stumbled onto an important aspect of the relationship between the position of atheism, and the position of Fundamentalist Christianity.

As I see it, any atheist position will rest on two or three assumptions, the most common being that human reason is sufficient to determine the validity of any proposition. However, in assuming this, doesn't the atheist thereby admit a prejudice into any argument they might use?

It gets worse, obviously. Once I'd called the reason into question in the name of complete impartiality... Well, you can imagine the nightmares, I'm sure. With no way to reliably measure the likelihood of Christianity's claims, my infrequent thoughts of "What if it is true?" have become full-blown all-consuming fears that threaten to drive me from my comfortable lifestyle and straight to the nearest mourner's bench. My work is suffering, I've made absolutely no progress with my therapist in weeks, and I'd probably be suicidal if I wasn't so afraid of being tortured forever. How many of you have had experiences this terrible? How did you deal with it?

...Thank you for your time.

Monday, October 08, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

To any ex-Christians in New York

From Diane

I'm a freelance writer based out of New York, and I'm looking for a religion story.

Could you direct me to any Ex Christians here that would be willing to talk to me?

What are the major issues in terms of Ex-Christians that are being underreported by the media?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

dianabritton AT gmail DOT com

Wednesday, September 26, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Confused and in fear

From Lori K

Just Kinda wanted to say hi,

I left the Christian church and my husband three years ago. It's still been a struggle. My 7-year-old son when he visits his Dad, is being told awful stories about how if he doesn't believe in God, he will go to hell, and how I'm full of the devil.

Now this poor kid lives day today, confused and in fear.

It's just nice to see others who have been through the same thing.

I just go day by day, but I worry about my boy.

Friday, September 21, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

You really need to read the Bible!

From Saphire

I have only read a few of the posts on here...some from "christians" and a few from the webmaster, and a few from non-christians. I am truly amazed and almost want to laugh at some of the things being said. Laughing though, is not the answer because it really is a serious subject, and some people are really stuggling with their effort to find the truth. The bible is not an easy read, its long, and takes some real attention. To make an intelligent argument for or against christianity, a person needs to be able to comprehend what's written, and actually read it. Not parts of it, but all of it. Anyone who really wants to find the truth, first needs to do that. I dont think anyone should rely on what others are saying, and I mean to say, what ANYone is saying. People have their own agenda's, their own beliefs, and some just wont budge even when they dont really know the facts for themselves. Everyone needs to figure it out for themSELVES by looking at the evidence. Anyone who has done that, really read the bible, will come to the truth. Ive seen it. I love a good conversation and debate over the bible and its meanings and interpretations, as long as its with someone who knows what they are saying.

Webmaster...I said in the beginning that I was amazed by some of the comments. Im also amazed at how many people are so eager to jump on the "christian bashing" wagon, and so obviously dont know the truth, the facts, or even good grammar. I see here people making picky little stabs at others, silly trivial stabs, in order to prove how imperfect someone is. DUH. I dont know one "true christian" who is perfect, who doesnt sin etc. And I would bet that if someone on the street, dirty, drug user, drunk, sinner whatever...if they asked for some thing to eat, a true christian would show their love and the love of their God by giving them something to eat. That's what Jesus meant. Not to refuse anyone. We all need help, and the only way to show and spread unconditional love, is to show unconditional love.

Webmaster.....I just couldnt refuse writing, I suppose its my sinful pride that made me do it, but I am not going to hang around here to argue. This stupidity....I mean uneducated, not to mention ignorant arguments! Do you know the meaning of ignorant? Just wondering. Anyway, I was saying that this site just gets my blood pumping, and gives me bad "sinful" thoughts like wanting to tie you to a chair, and read the bible TO you, until you at least know and understand what it says!!! Do you have any idea how many non believers, scientists, and others have set out to disprove the idea of Christianity by first reading and studying the bible....only to find themselves believing and finally knowing why they are here, what their purpose is and most of all, understand why God sent Jesus...(so that the Devil couldnt have us just because we are human and sin) and the truth of his love for us? Look up at the sky, and try to imagine how big the universe is...and mabe you'll see that the supernatural seeming parts of the Bible, just might be true. There is so much we still dont understand about the universe and nature, but that doesnt make it false. Well, Im done. None of this will mean a thing to someone like you unless you really learn the bible first. Not just lines that you can take out of context and change the meaning of.

I hope you do read it sometime, its not boring, it will fascinate you!

take care

S

Monday, September 17, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Upon death, you will see

A letter to the WM from Joe McG

Your words make it questionable if you were a true Christian ever in your life.

Sadly, you seek to put down the very Gospel you said you once embraced.

Perhaps your human intelligence has overtaken the truth of God's word in your heart. Perhaps the god of this world (satan) has blinded your mind to the truth. Perhaps some unresolved pain from church members has made you bitter to the true and living Lord of the Universe - Jesus.

Upon death you will see that all your negative efforts against the Lord were for nothing.

Hopefully in a quiet moment you will truly examine your life and see the emptiness that remains there.

Hopefully your worldly gain now is worth what you will lack in the God-less eternity you face in the future.

Sunday, September 09, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I really need answers

A letter from Nisa:

Hello my name is nisa, a 34 year old single mother of two. I TOO AM AT A CROSSROAD IN LIFE. i can truly identify with webmaster's testimony from beginning to the end. I was brought up in the pentacostal church, even as i type i am still confused of God's existence. See, i rebelled at the age of 13-14 and fell into the life of herion, prositution, sadomasocisim and exotic dancing... we all know how that story goes; however, the only thing that keeps me believing in a supernatural prescence is that I have experienced undoubtly, supernatural experiences. Like, the night i was going to commit suicide and as i was about to jump i felt as if someone was "holding me back" which make me rethink the whole situation or the numerous times when i sincerely bowed my knee and felt undoubtly great sense of contement in peace. Does our minds have the ability to create this?? Was this all in my head or can there be something greater existing beyond ourselves?? I could go on but I am only sharing this because I really need answers .



thank you ,

nisa

Tuesday, September 04, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Did I overreact?

A question from Berkley H

This past weekend I was relaxing on my lawn (NOT really all that visible from the road), mostly dozing off (as one might do on a weekend in nice weather), when I was awakened by an "evangelical Christian" who had decided that I should be preached to on the subject of saving my soul.

Now, I have chased these idiots off in the past with verbal abuse. You would think that they would have gotten the word by now, but apparently this one hadn't.

Being in a reclining position on a chaise, I reached up my hand as if requesting assistance in sitting up. The god-shouter reached for my hand with his fingers spread wide. Instead of grasping his hand in mine, or grasping his wrist, as he apparently expected, I grabbed his middle finger (it was his right hand -- the left was holding "The Good Book" and a bunch of Chick comics) and bent it sharply back. I think I dislocated it. At any rate, it caused him great pain, apparently, because he yelled very loudly. I released his finger and got to my feet, at which point he turned and ran to his car and sped off. He left some of the comix strewn across my lawn.

His noise roused my wife, who had been napping inside. She wanted to know what had happened. I explained, and she berated me for "over-reacting" to his approach.

My question is this: is my wife correct? Did I in fact over-react?

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, August 28, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Xian Brainwashing

Sent in by NZC70

I've been a reader of this outstanding site for quite a while, and I've made it part of my daily reading. I've been wanting to participate more, but time hasn't allowed it. However, I've come across a new (at least to me) xian disturbing method of brainwashing that I just had to address.

Here's a prime example of how some xian preachers are now re-enforcing the hold they have over their "flock". They have the congregation hold up their bibles and repeat the following: "This is my bible: I am what it says I am; I have what it says I have; I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I'll boldly confess. My mind is alert; my heart is receptive; I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living Seed of the Word of God. I'll never be the same - never, never, never! I'll never be the same, in Jesus' Name."

Boy, talk about brainwashing! It almost makes me want to puke. The really scary thing is the "flock" as they buy into this (remember one must have faith) are, or become, truely mindless lambs being led by master manipulators (mind you, some preachers probably really believe this crap, but I believe most are just working the mind control game for their own benefit).

How dare a true xian ever think for his/herself after "confessing" this. Talk about being blindly led down the primrose path. After having utted this preposterous statement, one ("a true believer") cannot possibly dare to think anything is true except what the bible and/or the preacher says. I see this as the most blatant and dangerous form of xian mind control yet enacted.

I guess one positive aspect (from our perspective) is that xtianity must be running scared to resort to this method.

I hate to admit that I too was once caught up in this "mind game", but I finally (after 20 years; my deconversion is very similar to most of the testimonies) saw it for what it is and have joyfully left it behind. So, understanding the mind control perpetrated up us fellow exians, I applaude you for standing on your own two feet, using your brain and common sense to think for yourself, and having the courage to make a decision to be free; I encourage you in your freedom!

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Monday, August 27, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

A letter to my concerned friend and pastor at church:

Sent in by Jeff

Dear friend, thanks so much for your note of concern regarding my absence from the church community of late. I’m sorry I’m just replying to it! Grab hold, I’m going to share what I think. I share this with you in confidence, as I’m in the wrong community (a small Texas town) for this to be general knowledge.

In all honesty, you and I have shared some of the questions of faith that I’ve encountered over the last couple of years, and I have appreciated having an “ear” for that limited dialogue. I think it would be fair to you and Pastor to let you know that my “faith journey” has changed fairly significantly and dramatically since my return to Texas, and perhaps had the seeds of change much earlier, prior to our move from Utah.

I find at present that it is very difficult for me to be honest with myself (and therefore others) during our worship, and I somehow feel that I’m not entirely being genuine as I pray the prayers and recite the creeds, because in fact I no longer own many of those beliefs. I’m afraid that I’m not able to see this earth in the often-described black-and-white dichotomy of true and correct spiritual belief versus the harmfulness of “the world.” I’ve resolved that I am, in fact, a natural product of this world and am not separate from it. I don’t claim natural or “spiritual” advantage. I can’t subscribe any more to the necessities to somehow separate myself from those who might “believe” differently, or who have lived in another culture different and non-congruent to the gospel that I’m advocated to spread. I’m unwilling to consider that I might have just serendipitously stumbled upon revealed “truth” by way of being lucky enough to live where I live, or to be in a culture where it’s promoted and culturally normalized. I’m afraid that I can’t ignore those questions that arise outside of the fold.

Perhaps the hardest thing for me at this point comes at the heels of the last six political years, and seeing the results of campaigns that have attempted to clarify which are the “chosen” or “moral” among our population at large. It’s been disheartening to me to see our country polarized and divided over issues of “belief.” For all the good that’s been done in religion’s name, I’m saddened by the harm as well. I can only hope for my son, as he grows into an adult, an ability to contemplate how wonderful and beautiful and mysterious is our natural world, and about the possibility that he can grow up thinking and considering, loving deeply and joyously, without needing to hear (week after week) about our spoiled and sinful nature, and about how God would otherwise be extremely disappointed with creation had it not been for the ultimate sacrificial offering, and about how grateful we ought to be for it. I’ve lived long enough to observe that human nature doesn’t appear to be changed all that much by professed belief and that humans are capable of amazing things both wonderful and evil, the world over.

I do miss the church community of friendly and wonderful people, who are on a similar quest for truth. Departing from this community of belief has been the somewhat saddest and most difficult part of any prior journey for me, but also the most satisfying, and the journey most worthy of travel. I’ll always have a deep love for the “people of God,” and have all respect, admiration and awe for the lessons Jesus taught about compassion, the call for justice, and the leveling of unjust power systems that oppress and hurt people. It’s a truly worthy calling and I believe a lot of people within and without the church have the desire and ability to change the world for the better.

I will remain a “friend” of the church, although I’m in the process of seeking my community, which I may never entirely find. We might attend as a family occasionally, as my wife and son are not in the same place with me. For now my boy has chosen to continue to be involved with confirmation classes, and I don’t yet know what my wife will ultimately decide or if she will continue along the same journey. I’m afraid that for the most part it was I who got the troops rolling on the Sunday worship, so (naturally?) our family won’t be as permanent a fixture in the pews. I encourage them both to walk along their own spiritual paths and seek goodness and truth, and I can never bring myself to antagonize people of faith for the sake of pride or “winning the argument.” Too many of my life-heroes are people of faith—you two included!

I’d welcome any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Jeff



To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Thursday, August 23, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Bathwater and the Baby

Sent in by KW

In all senses of the word, I am a "Christian". (Yipes!)

I am a respected man in my church, I have a thriving buisness, I have a wonderful "Christian" family.

But I don't like what being a Christian has become. So I have a bit of empathy for your site. I find it interesting and insightful.

I think you all are a bit angry, but you have a right to be. Somewhere along the line, you became bitter and agnostic because these "Christians" continue to do the things that pissed you off in the first place. Well, they piss me off too. But human nature is what it is.

There is a huge gulf between Christianity (as we know it), and having a personal connection with the Main Man. That's a personal issue.

But there IS something to it, and I think it would be unwise to completely throw out the baby with the bathwater.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, August 19, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Onward Atheist Soldiers?

A letter from Glenn B

Religion and her twin sister, mass self-righteousness, have been the stated cause of every war man has ever fought. It's the cause of most of the hate, bigotry and hypocrisy in the world today and always has been.

The prisons are full of Christians and Muslims. Then they have the nerve to say that it's us, the atheists, who are being mislead and are bad people.

Atheists don't brainwash their kids into thinking that they're better than everybody who doesn't believe what they do. Or that you can go out and rape, torture, murder and steal all you want, as long as it's in the name of some invisible guy in the sky who's never saved anyone.

Atheists don't pull that cowardly old "I was in the grips of Satan and am not responsible for the terrible things I've done" crap. Sorry to spoil any atheist bashing, but we don't believe in Satan, so of course we don't worship him. Technically, you have to be a Christian to worship Satan, because you have to believe in one to worship the other.

Christians and Muslims alike have a long bloody history, and they're showing no sign of changing that path. I've never heard of a song called "Onward Atheist Soldiers." Actually I've never seen a group of people more misinformed about their own religion than Christians. About 30 years of studying religions, beginning with Christianity, then other modern religions, then going back chronologically through the history of various ancient religions, I discovered that the further back you go, the narrower the field of study becomes. Then you realize that they've all got common roots deep in antiquity. Well, that and they're all bullshit.

No religion follows any logic. Anyone who believes in ANY religion has been brainwashed, and most likely by the people who claim to love them the most.

I've also found most atheists to be, on the average, higher in intelligence, far more aware of what's really going on in the world around them and better equipped, (less baggage?) to deal with it. And if you really dig hard enough, you'll find that a vast majority of history's best minds were inhabited by atheists. There have always been people, especially high-profile public figures, who've feigned Christianity to avoid the hassle, which sometimes included imprisonment or death.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Should I go with the flow?

Sent in by Deborah K

My mother is 80 years old, a retired missionary to Africa! I have recently discovered that Christianity in it's fundamental, evangelical form is certainly not for me. My siblings are current foreign missionaries. I know it will break my mother's heart to hear of my change so I am keeping it to myself and just nodding in agreement to her crazy remarks.

I know the subject will surface soon and I will have to confess to my new thoughts, and I was wondering if anyone else has been through this to give me some encouragement or advice. I mean a very real, true ultra conservative, evangelical environment. I don't want to bring her "shame" that's why I fell it is important just to go with the flow until one day I'm found out.

Thanks

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, August 07, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Atheist meetup in Brisbane

From Martin R

Hi,

I run an atheist group in Brisbane Australia which meets once a month.

If possible pls pass this information onto your members who may be interested in joining us for these meetings.

Details at the website: http://atheists.meetup.com/501/

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, July 29, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

GET A LIFE!

Your gospel story quiz made me angry.

I took it twice, the second time through I recorded the opposite response to each question and still received a zero.

Maybe you think it's clever to quiz people on the contradictions, my time is valuable and you wasted it with your impossible quiz.

Get a life.

~Alana Cooke, MA, MEd

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Thursday, July 26, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Griffith University Society for Skeptics and Freethinkers

My name is Jayson Cooke and I am a Psych Science student at Griffith University Gold Coast campus in Queensland Australia. I am in the process of starting an on-campus cultural group "Griffith University Society for Skeptics and Freethinkers." I was hoping you may be able to help out in some way, any way really. I really believe we can contribute towards something great here and any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

The Centre for Inquiry On Campus group (http://www.campusfreethought.org/ ) has kindly provided promotional and educational material which has been a great help but in order to achieve our goals of not just preaching to the “converted” I will need all the help I can get. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated and I have just finished setting up a myspace group page to be found at http://groups.myspace.com/gussf

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for the inspiration.

Jayson D Cooke

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Monday, July 23, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I feel a connection with you guys

A letter from Michelle N

I have enjoyed reading this site for months now. I'm not good with computers and mine is an antique.

I left the faith a few years ago. The main reason was the hell doctrine. My mother took me to a Lutheran church as a child (pretty laid back,no fire and brimstone). My dad would drop us off and go get a coffee. My mother had faith but was not fanatical: more of a "Sunday Christian." It was the warnings of hell by an elderly women at a friend's youth group that scared the shit out of me. I tried to feel close to god, but was convinced He hated me. I was also convinced at age 22 that I had somehow committed the Unpardonable Sin. I practically had a nervous breakdown, just waiting to die and face my unchangeable fate.

Every night was spent weeping for all the people who were destined for hell. I started to realize that being a Christian meant shutting off the part of the brain that feels compassion. How could anyone accept their loved ones -- or anyone for that matter -- going to hell for all eternity? I didn't believe that even the most evil of us deserved that.

Humans are scared,fragile creatures, and none of us asked to be thrown into this world. If we screw up it's God's fault and the responsibility lies with Him. I went from having library of books by apologists, to books by John Shelby Spong (whom I still admire), to books by atheists.

I now consider myself an agnostic, leaning toward atheism. At 27, I'm glad to be free of the mental hopscotch that goes with religion, and I am pretty vocal about it, which alienates people. But it helps weed out the sheep. Besides, I feel a connection with you guys that i really can't get any where else.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, July 22, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Lame, illogical arguments

Sent in by Cathy M

I do not consider myself a part of the Christian-sect; however, I find this site to be filled with the most cynical of former Christians -- and what's the point? Why would these folks need encouragement? I think it's because they still carry the Christian belief that they will burn in a place called hell for turning their backs on a God whom they believe to be vengeful. (case in point: why does the anti-spam question ask if fire is hot or cold? Freudian slip?)

It seems to me the whole purpose of this site is for folks to reassure themselves they made the right decision in leaving the Christian doctrine; yet over half of the arguments are illogical, lame -- as if the bloggers aren't quite sure they did the right thing.

One blogger argues against God and somehow introduces religion as part of his argument against God -- there is no relation between the two: God is God. He did not create religion -- religions were invented by men who attempted to control the masses.

It would appear your ex-christians discovered fallacies in the Christine doctrine, but that is no reason for them to slam the beliefs that others still follow. Everyone has their own truth, but not everyone has the same truth. It's whatever gets you through life and death.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Friday, July 20, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Where is our God?

Sent in by BTG

I would like to submit my full story sometime later on when I have the time. Until then, I would like to bring up something that crossed my mind as I was sitting down on a bench in the middle of a garden. I began to gaze at a mamey tree. The cycle of life came into my mind.

Obviously, it was birthed out of a pod from a previous tree, and it grew into what it is right now. That tree, which is currently full-grown, has had many different pod-filled fruits come out which it will hope to birth dozens more trees. And then, someday that tree will die.

What becomes of the tree? Surely, it's seedlings live on to hopefully become trees, but does the tree in question go to some sort of magical garden in Heaven? Or does it wither away and vanish from existence for all eternity, as I fear may be the truth?

This applies to all living microbes, animals, insects, and humans that are on this earth right now. When we die, what becomes of our consciousness? Does our consciousness live on in our "soul" and go to Heaven or Hell, as the Christians would like us to believe? Or do we fade away into the abyss, never to "be" again?

Where is our God?

Why hath he not answered to us when we were Christians and prayed to him in order for him to save us from not believing in him?

Why, when we prayed for our gravely ill relatives, grandmothers and fathers, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, pets, friends, and everything else, he turns His back and lets them die?

Is He even real as the priests, clerics, and fundies claim he is?

Where is our God?

I must be a ranting madman, but I had to let that out. In the near future I will be writing my own testimonial. Until then...

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Monday, July 16, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Methuselah and tooth decay

Sent in by The Atheist Tooth Fairy

Before I state my question, first some basic history about myself.

My wife is a very devout Christian woman, while I'm now a complete atheist, one who not only doesn't believe in God and the bible, but also sees zero evidence for anything supernatural on this earth as well.

You can surely imagine how the debates must go between my wife and I. My ongoing efforts to show her with extensive proof that the bible is nothing supernatural to 'worship' and her telling me that she'll be praying for God to give me my faith back, for to my wife my problem is surely just a matter of 'fixing' my faith to get me back on track etc.

In all my research of the supposed supernatural things of the bible that Christians and atheist debate about, there is one interesting item I never see anyone talk about. This subject came up during one of our many little debates with my wife, about the extraordinary claims of the bible.

If one assumes that folks of the old testament, like Noah, lived to be a few hundred years old, then such a life span raises some obvious practical questions.

Even if we suppose our DNA was different back in those ancient days and that our bodies didn't degenerate as quickly as they do in modern times, then we might make the assumption that such things as our internal organs and even our skin, just repaired themselves much more efficiently than we see today. Perhaps there were no "free-radicals" in those days that caused cell damage.

Such natural degradation of our physical organs obviously still happened, just more slowly, as humans of that long ago era still eventually died from getting old.
However, the rate at which we degraded in those times, wouldn't seem to have external causes, but it was more like our life spans were pre-programmed pretty much as they are today....just for a longer period of life.
Let's call this slower body degradation of those times, "Internal Influences", which would allow such organs as our hearts, kidneys, brains, eye's, ears etc. to maintain a better health state than we see in modern times.

This leads to the question of "External Influences" that might make it very difficult to survive for something like 600 years. No, I'm not talking about being killed in battle or even succumbing to some dreaded disease of the times but something far more simpler and all too common.

That simple external problem would be Tooth Decay.

I won't even go into the problem that half of us have, about impacted wisdom teeth that require surgery to rectify, but one could surely ask if we were made perfect (as my wife insist if the case) then why did God give us such problematic unneeded extra teeth? Shouldn't ALL of us have larger jaws to accommodate such extra teeth?

I won't ask God why we don't grow an extra set of adult teeth when our primary set of adult teeth decay or even fall out, but it sure would have been nice if he had done so for most of us.

Now unless you can tell me that God only invented a substance called SUGAR once he shortened our lifetimes to what they are now, then I have to assume they had sugar in those ancient times and if they did, it surely turned to acid in our mouths as it does today, and thus it surely broke down the enamel that protects our teeth from decay, just as it does today. Oh, but as I recall there was fruit in the Garden of Eden. Was it sugarless fruit perhaps? Perhaps God changed the formula for fruit later on.

So then that leads to the obvious question of how one could survive for say 600 years and still have teeth to eat with all that time.
Perhaps the answer is that they did lose their teeth in the first hundred years and for the next several hundred years they just gummed their food to survive? Perhaps God supplied them with a blender to liquefy their food for 500 years.
Hey, I'm trying hard here to find the answers to an obvious problem.

Now I'm sure as often happens when talking to Christian apologist, they will do their normal thing of the "Insert Miracle Here" in the equation.
Surely in their minds, God came along and either gave them a new set of choppers every so often, or perhaps he put super fluoride in their water.

From a practical mind however, we know eating sugar causes tooth decay and short of one of those miracles, it surely would have left these long-lived ancients with no teeth to chew with for the majority of their super long lives, yes/no?

Unlike the assumption I've made where some super DNA keeps our organs healthy for a longer period of time in those old days, the problem with tooth decay is that our teeth aren't naturally degrading of their own accord, but instead are being 'attacked' by the very external foods we must eat to live.

So is there anyone out there who can explain to me how the God of the bible solved this very basic human problem of tooth decay?

Just another practical question that the bible doesn't seem to answer for some strange reason.

Signed,
The Atheist Tooth Fairy

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, July 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Combating faith with reason -- can it be done?

Sent in by Monk

First, let me say that I am adamantly atheistic. I want to make that known to put my question(s) in the proper context and identify myself as a sincere seeker of knowledge (as opposed to a rabble-rousing “troll”). Having said that, I ask:

How is it possible to make an informed decision about anything when so many sources claim to have the inerrant truth? (This could apply to several subjects, but let’s limit it to religion for now). I reasoned my way out of what little faith I ever had using solid, verifiable evidence…but what about the religious masses? The findings of science, scholarly history, atheism, etc., etc., are enough for me. Yet, what is true and reasonable to me may not seem that way to someone else.

In my experience, you cannot combat faith with reason. Why? Because you cannot combat emotion with reason, and I would argue that faith is nothing more than an aberrant and misguided combination of otherwise healthy emotions. How can we, as non-believers, proselytize for our cause when our greatest weapons (reason, logic, PROOF, evidence, etc.) are utterly rejected before they are even heard? Must we wait for some fanatic with a ‘nuke to start a REAL Armageddon before the religious communities at large realize their insanities? I sometimes wonder if even the devastation of nuclear war would jar the convictions of some people.

Frankly, this makes me despair.

I see little hope for a brighter, more rational future. I think religion is too firmly entrenched, and I’m afraid it may prove our undoing. For a real wake-up call, read the works of Sam Harris (to which I am very much indebted): Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith. We cannot just sit back and wait. My ultimate question is to ask: “what can be done?”

Input, please.

—Monk

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Saturday, July 14, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Seeking an answer to a question

Sent in by Jim

Before I ask my question, I want to provide a brief overview of my religious background--a mini-testimonial. My Mother was a very religious person (Southern Baptist) who dedicated me to God at birth, bred me for the ministry, read to me from the Bible every evening, required me to say my prayers with her every evening, and she took me to our church for every single event which occurred there: weekly prayer meetings; Sunday morning and evening Bible study and services; Bible Study classes during special weeks during the year; revival services; Vacation Bible School; etc.

I attended the Baptist college in my state as a ministerial student, majoring in philosophy with a minor in religious studies. After graduation from college, I attended seminary and earned my B.D. degree. During my first year in seminary, mymother died, and as a result of that, I was able for the first time in my life to begin to "decide" what I really wanted to do with my life.

During the second year of my three-year seminary program, I began to have lots of doubts and misgivings about many of the Christian beliefs and doctrines which I had grown up believing. Consequently, I came to believe that I should abandon the ministry to pursue a teaching career in philosophy.

I attended graduate school to pursue my Ph.D. in philosophy, completed that program, and sought and obtained a full-time teaching position at a college as a philosophy professor. At that point, I left organized religion, rejected Christianity, and I am now an agnostic.

My Question:


I very much need any good responses anyone can give me in order to reply to a close friend who charges that I abandoned Christianity and became an agnostic because of my very religious upbringing, during which the religious views I held had been pretty much predetermined by my Mother's influence over me. In short, my friend claims that I abandoned Christianity and became an agnostic because "religion had been forced upon me by my Mother."

I have tried to identify the fallacious reasoning used by my friend and have found some answers. But my friend's claim is primarily a psychoanalytical claim, a claim about personal reaction to my past.

Any help would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Jim

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Monday, July 09, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

YMCA and the establishment clause

Sent in by SailorFraud

This is in reference to the YMCA evicting the atheist youth group, Camp Quest, posted in March 2007. I sent a letter to Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and got a response that they will respond when they have the time.

AU recently sent me an email with detailed questions. The letter is posted below. Can you please answer their questions, or direct me to someone who can answer them, or perhaps post it on your site so the audience can answer them?

Thanks!


Thank you for contacting Americans United. I apologize that it has taken a while to get back to you. As you might imagine, our office has been extremely busy.

Because the YMCA is not a public entity, its actions probably do not constitute an Establishment Clause violation.

Do you know if the YMCA is receiving public funds to maintain these camp grounds? Do you know if the YMCA owns this land or if it rents it from the city?

I look forward to your response.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Thursday, July 05, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

From the Internet Infidels:

On Sunday, July 1st, Internet Infidels released the first installment of a series of debates called The Great Debate: God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence. It aims to bring together nine distinguished philosophers in a series of four debates, each with a different focus on evidence for and against naturalism and theism.

You can view the first installment, a series of exchanges between physicalist Andrew Melnyk and dualists Stuart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro on "Mind and Will," here: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/debates/great-debate.html

This is the "live" table of contents for the entire series of debates, giving you a general idea of what's planned for the forthcoming installments. The remaining installments will be released about every two months after the release of the first, i.e., September 1, November 1, and January 1.

In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you would assist me by linking to the Great Debate Project website itself (my first preference) or, if it is easier for you, by "tagging" the Secular Outpost entry, from your own blog or website, as soon as possible:

http://secularoutpost.blogspot.com/2007/06/internet-infidels-online-debate-god-or.html


If you want to write up your own entry for your own blog or website, alternative descriptions of the project are given on the Secular Web's July 1, 2007 What's New entry and Naturalism subject index, respectively:

http://www.infidels.org/new.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/naturalism/

The reason that I say "as soon as possible" is because we only have a window of about one month from the initial announcement to solicit thoughtful questions meant for the contributors in this first debate. This first installment, as well as those to come, represents a unique opportunity for *anyone* to pose questions directly to the contributors. I would be happy if the readers of your blog, or you yourself, "interrogated" the contributors for this collection.

The Q&A sessions offer a rare opportunity to bring the concerns of average readers into the debate, concerns that are no doubt all-too-easily overlooked in the debates themselves given the necessarily narrow focus of the contributors on select topics. Personally, I often find myself disappointed by the fact that, on certain topics, philosophers often seem to talk about the same things--typically issues that have become the standard "problems" in the field--to the exclusion of virtually everything else. Thus I view bringing in questions from "average readers" as an important aspect of this project--potentially even more important than the papers themselves.

Although this project was funded and is hosted by Internet Infidels, it should be of interest to both naturalists and theists, as the agnostic editor Paul Draper has brought a sense of objectivity and balance in his choice of topics and contributors. Additionally, we hope to challenge the theistic *and* naturalistic contributors with an equal number of tough questions from readers.

So any assistance you can offer in promoting this series of debates as widely as possible would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, KA


To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I was shocked ... that such a website exists

From Andrew D

I am sorry that the curch as we know it has failed so many people.

Chritianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not a personal relationship with man although that is part of it. If there is no love, all other things are meaningless.

I would like to encourage those who have been hurt, neglected or condemned by fellow man, there is a thing called unconditional love but you won't experience it from man. Man will fail each other time and time again. We have to look past the ills of man and hope for better things.

I am a Christian and I understand why people have turned there back on God, I have come close but I realise that it has always been because man has let me down or because I can't see the resons for certain things happening in my life. Our understanding is so limited and if we would realise surrendering our lives completely and trusting in God we would see drastic changes in our lives for the better but we fear not been in control of our own destinies, I know I do.

I was shocked and interested to see that such a website exists and saddened as well.

No one said been a Christian was easy and I laugh at people who say we use it as a crutch, give me a break. It is the easiest thing in the world to do whatever you want but to stand for your beliefs in the face of adversity, well that takes courage. I struggle with issues but I know that God loves me and will never leave or forsake me. I do need to be more obedient though. Perceptions of Christians must change and Christians must get down from there pedistalls.

We are all human and not one of us is perfect but lets at least tolerate each other.

Take it easy guys, lets not go pissing on one anothers beliefs.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Friday, June 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

I pray that God may soften your heart

Dear sir/madam,

I am writing to you out of concern, and i really hope that you might spend a
short time to read this email.

i dont write this email to try to stir or offend you but i was googling
"christian forums" when i stumbled upon your website. I attend christian
forums as a born again believer and i believe they are helpful for dicussion
of hard topics and current affairs etc that might be causing a christian
some struggles etc. The chrisitan forums websites are used to encourage
each other - and to lift one another up.

Your website however seems to only have the sole purpose of bringing people
down. I;m not the smartest or most knowledgable person around but i do know
that what you are doing is sin and i think it a real trajedy that you would
encourage others to leave behind God and to not return to Him after trials.

Life is hard, i will grant you. But what do we deserve?? nothing! We are
sinners, all of us - and there is no denying that every single person on the
planet is guilty of one sin or another. I'll admit myself to being guilty
to numerous. But God made us promises and they are written in the Bible.
IF you have read the bible then i encourage you to look closer, and
especially pay attention to revelation - where it refers to judgement of
sin. Please dont encourage ppl to turn away from the one thing that can
save them.

If you however are have not read the bible then i beg you to go to bible or
baptist church and talk to the pastor there. ask them to prove to you that
God is real. But please do this in an open manner. dont close yourself off
to a God that loves you and is calling you to come home.

i hope you chose to read this, and please know that whatever you may think
of me and this email - i care for you and i pray that God may soften your
heart and that you might call on Him to save your sole.

L Mclean

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, June 10, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

The worst people in history were atheist...

Sent in by Jake O

i am extremely disapointed in this web site. indeed athiesm is a belief and should be repected, indeed religion has flaws and can be challenged, but at no time should you ever critisize others and put them down, and to insult them because you dont agree. you think you are so sophisticated and intelligent over those who believe in a higher being. you think that religion is the source of all of what is bad in the world when really the worst people in history were athiest. ex. adolf hitler, napolean, stalin. not to mention how many people has religion given hope, comfort, and healing to?

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Thursday, May 24, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

The rebirth of Israel in 1948

I am hoping that you can give me some sort of rebuttal concerning the so-called fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, particularly the one involving the rebirth of Israel in 1948. I have been presenting various information to a friend of mine to illustrate that the Bible is full of errors and a very shady history as far as how it was constructed.

This particular friend keeps harping on the fact that the rebirth of Israel was predicted in Ezekiel 37 & 38. He also constantly reiterates the fact that the much-hyped "Mark of the Beast" scenario was not ever possible until the generation that we are currently living in (computer technology, lasers, Digital Angel tracking, etc.)

What would be your reply to such a person?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

This site has been a huge help to me

Sent in by Harry

Hey everybody. This is my latest posting here on this site. I have written quite a few times before and at various points in time have had differing opinions.

Despite having gone to church for years, and bible college, I have come to the conclusion (yet again) that I am not comfortable with religious doctrines/heaven and hell/salvation/etc.

I'm not really sure whether I am an Agnostic or an Atheist. While I don't believe in a personal god that answers prayer and is in control of the universe, etc., I do have an appreciation for the beauty of life and nature. I understand why people believe the things they do about their respective religions: Faith is comforting (for the adherent).

At this point in time, I am having mixed emotions at the prospect of not believing in the religious God(s) I have come to know over the years. I feel more free and clear-minded than I have ever felt before... yet at the same time, I feel nervous.

This site has been a huge help to me over the years, and it helps to know that others know what I am going through right now. Thanks to all of you, and keep me in your >>thoughts>>.

Sincerely, Harry

Tuesday, May 22, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Help me! Please!

Sent in by Mike Brown

help me please, I am a christian, I'll admit it. I know such a confession on a site like this is like painting a target on yourself but here goes. I've been accused of "soliciting" trying to "convert" you name it I've gotten it in the last two day. I'm sure some of you are annoyed with me and have me shoved into the same old box of "just here to try out the latest evangelism techniques. That's just not so... See I'm in semonary working towards my MDiv. We've been talking about some pretty difficult stuff for the church. Things like how to deal with the post modern world, how our faith can withstand the changes in the world, how are we to adjust our lives and message to an evolving context. These things are hard for us because the paradigm of the world is shifting. As believers we have to figgure out what shifts and what does not, what remains constant and what does not. It's not easy trying to figgure this out. It's actually quite difficult.

Ok, now why I'm here.... I was curious how others were handeling this shift in paradigms, you know from modernism to post modernism. I was curious how athiests (and I know not all of you are athiest but the responses I have received fit a modernist mindset pretty easily) were handeling this transition and what they were saying to each other and how this new world is affecting things.

What I have discovered is actually quite shocking to me. Not only can I not find anyone to discuss post modernism and it's implications but I can't even find anyone who will accept that we live in a post modern world. I mean I've gotten a hold of people who think that there really is a truth and that empiricism has access to it. It's amazing to me, honestly.



I know I'm a christian. I know therefore anything I say is suspect, but there is a much bigger world out there. Pure hard core athiest are becomming rarer and rarer I won't say we are becoming more christian but spirituality is something that is growing.

How are you modernists (and there are quite a few) handeling the transition from a world that believes truth exists to the post modern world where truth is contextually developed? This shift has implications for science, empiricism, technology, faith, reason, and Truth.

There I've said it, I've been trying to work my way into it and allow the topic to develop naturally but that's hit a brick wall. It seems to me that my biggest mistake here was to ask it from a Christian perspective. I didn't expect such a stiff arm to the topic just because I am a believer.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

God is real

Sent in by Anna

Dear Dave:

I could have written the anti-testimony you posted myself. The similarities are eerie. The questions I asked however resulted in a physical beating or two (once when I was pregnant, killing the baby), but very similar. It was made painfully clear to me that Christianity..no denomination.. had a place for me. Believe me, I gave it a good go> My husband and I were even pastors for a short while. I graduated from Christian school. Had a full time ministry, etc etc ...

Anyway, Christianity is a cult!! No thinking man can reconcile the inconsistencies and outright lies. But, that is not God's fault. In fact I am sure it makes Him mad too. I will not detail in angry lamenting all the reasons why I know that...you no doubt hear that ad nauseum. Instead I offer this...

It is only with the courage to UNlearn that I learned anything worthwhile.

Like you, I walked the path of complete disconnect for a while. Not in as high tech a fashion as you have found,however. I allowed my mind (and wounded soul) to rest from the intensity of the search. After awhile however there are still things you know are true in your soul. The questions do not go away just because you have not found the answers.

Atheism is just another word for quitting. It is the path of the disenchanted who refuse to heal.

When you have the strength, and when you tire of the company of the enraged, you will resume your journey.

One piece of Truth I can share with you is....God is not in a box. There are those who say..God is in THIS box...do not believe it. Those who say He is in a box (ie..a doctrine, a book, ...have an agenda)

I have renounced Christianity. The Trinity, the word "Jesus", the 'sinners prayer', the books of Paul, etc etc ..and I now call myself a Jew, tho no orthodox Jew would agree.

God will show you the promised land...He will even open the ocean if He has to. When you tire of the company of the enraged, and you will...

you will resume your quest.

You will not find your answers in any books about religion. If you could you surely would have found them already. Instead...write your own book, the answers will find you.

In love and understanding...

Anna

A parting story, one of hundreds that I could tell you...

I had been in an accident and I totalled my car. I had amnesia, broke up with my boyfriend, lost my job...and found out I was pregnant. (that about sets the stage)..I was a "committed bible believing Christian" and I needed some REAL answers and some real assistance. My parents (christians) threw me out for being a fornicator..same with my church. It was me and God and I needed REAL tangible help. I held my Bible up to Heaven and I screamed...if this book is true then it is true for me too, and if it is not- then you are a liar and who wants to serve you anyway?? Then I threw it down on the ground. It fell in such a way that it lay open on the floor. Through my tears I saw this verse...

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will and it will be done for you. John 15:7

I promised to keep my part and demanded God keep His part. Then I asked for a car so I could get to work.

That night at a restaurant I worked at that I could walk to, I told my friend, the barkeep, what I did. She was not a religious girl. She said..I am not trying to make fun of you, but how do you expect God to give you a car. Is he just going to come in here and give you the keys?? I said...that is not my problem...it is HIS.

The next day when I came into work, my friend, white as a ghost, told me there was someone there to see me. Turns out it was a guy who had seen me walking to work. He was buying a new car and wanted to give away his old one and wondered if I needed one. He gave me the keys, no charge, no strings. (a big white gorgeous Lincoln continental with working A/C..important in N.C.)

Coincidence?? I could consider that. But..I could tell you huindreds of stories just like this one and some of them defy physics.

God is real.

When you are done healing, get up and press on.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, May 08, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

You don't have a soul...

Sent in by Stephen G

You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. Your sickness will never change the fact that there is not a man or woman in Hell right this moment that does not know Christ Jesus! Please Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Only the Grace and Mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ has allowed your life to be spared from an eternity in Hell. Give it up brother, but then your pride in all your foolish opinions won't let you , will it? Sounds like someone else I have read about. Your god. Satan. he loves you so much, he wants to take you to Hell with him. That, my friend' makes you a LOSER, because he is the greatest LOSER of all time. Thank God your mother was PROLIFE! Get ready and don't be surprised, your life is going to change. You will never admit it when it does, but you still won't be able to fool yourself. When it does though, do me a favor, let me know. I won't tell anybody. I promise.


To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

It is impossible to be an ex-Christian

Sent in by Dominique A

i've looked at this website and have found that so many of are not necessarily looking for the Truth, but are more bent on proving that the Truth isn't. When Jesus the Christ was speaking to people who questioned Him (Pharisee and "ordinary" folk alike), He knew what was in their hearts. He understood those who came to Him looking for Him (the Truth) and He also understood those who came looking to make a point of their own; those who came to prove Jesus wrong and show their own intellectual/emotional/spiritual fortitude or ability.

As for the writer's comment that his Bible teacher told him that we are not supposed to know everything there is to know about GOD, I say "Right on!" We are not supposed to know everything. I wish, for the life of me, that I fully understood this issue of "pre-destination" or "non-pre-destination", but I do not. Does that mean that I should reject Jesus? Does that mean that, because I don't understand it, GOD has it out for mankind? Since GOD made us and understands how our sinful minds work, since He is love, why in the world would He purposefully include something in the Word that would cause us to turn away?

We seem to take the things that we don't understand about GOD, rationalize them and come out with our own meaning of things, which leads to a rejection of Jesus the Christ. We kinda like the fact that GOD would send His Son to die for us b/c He loves us. That idea makes sense to us and makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. The idea that GOD gives grace to the humble but cuts off the proud is good for us, b/c it appeals to our sense of justice. And the fact that Jesus heals makes sense to us. But GOD sending people hell? GOD foreknowing and predestinating people who would choose Him? Rom.8:28-30 Oh, forget it! That's it! Reject and insult Jesus (ie: the art gallery photos on this website)!

Christianity in and of itself asks us to come to GOD like a child. Jesus said it first. If we come to GOD, full of our own understanding and ready and willing to fit Him into our own little box, how can He teach us? If we are already full of ourselves and our own understanding, how can GOD fill us up? It is impossible! Matt.18:1-5

What I also do not understand is the term you use "ex-Christian". How can you be an ex-Christian? I can understand how you can be an ex-churchgoer, an ex-Bible-reader, or an ex-praying person. But it is impossible to be an ex-Christian/believer. Jesus said that those who decide to leave the flock or turn their backs on the flock (such as yourselves) were actually never part OF the flock ("among" us, but never "with" us). Just b/c you went to church or "prayed the prayer" without ever believing in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, doesn't make you a Christian. It's almost like saying that standing in a garage makes you a car! However, it is interesting to know that Jesus is still on the lookout to save those who were never of His flock. John 10:14-18 And those of you members of this website who are still part of the flock, please listen when you hear Him call.

GOD made it clear in His Word that His way of doing things is far different and far better than our way of doing things. Isaiah 55:1-11

We would have GOD one way. The problem is, is that He is not. Jeremiah 2:11-13

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Sunday, April 29, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Thanks for encouraging me to become an atheist

Sent in by Chris

This message goes out to all the asshole Christians who regurgitate the same nonsense bullshit on this site over and over. I can't read any more of your shit. It's repulsive to me, as a new Ex-Christian, because I didn't used to think that Christians could be so rude. This especially goes for the ones who say they are doing it in love. No you're not, you self-righteous pricks! You're doing it to earn brownie points with your bloodthirsty god, or to feel better about yourselves because you've done something productive by "saving" someone else.

Don't bother replying to this message for my sake, because I won't bother wasting any more time reading your comments. I'll come on to this site only to read the front page articles from now on. You've lost your chance to show me the respect and love that you believe Jesus taught. Prior to my de-conversion I was much more of a Christian than any of you are. You make me sick with your disrespect.

Aside from this site's new articles, I'll spend the time I had wasted reading your comments on browsing even more atheist sites and reading other atheist material. I am interested in learning all the scientific theories and facts that the church has discouraged me from reading for so long. Perhaps I'll come back here to read the comments after my mind has been filled with truth and wiped clear of the nonsense you spew.

So I'd like to say thank you to all the inconsiderate, rude, self-righteous and stupid Christians who post to this site. Thank you. You've encouraged me to stop wasting my time reading your crap and grow in my knowledge of atheism and science instead.

Your fellow man,

Chris

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

Thursday, March 29, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Warning To Fellow Christians

Sent in by Niece

For those of you here that are Christians but desire to somehow convince these people that they are errant in their ways, please stop. These people are hardened by annoying if not mean persons who believe they are 'acting for Christ.' This is not a holy crusade to visit this website and tell these people they are wrong, that's called harassment. Simply fitting into that Superman shirt will not allow you to save these people, that's God's job. If you so desire to 'help' these ex-Christians, then do as Jesus and pray. He knew when to keep his mouth shut, so should Christians.

A problem with Christians is that they claim everything they do is in the name of Jesus but is it really? Couldn't it be more for your own ego or somehow perversed superiority? Jesus washed feet, he came to serve...so with a servants heart act. Do these people desire your comments? Most likely not.

The first step a Christian could make while on this site is to understand that you are not going to win here, only God can do that. So quit typing and pray. (Taking my own advice here.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

"Live Prayer" on Howard Stern

Sent in by Jim T

I thought this was pretty funny and I wanted to pass it along.

I recently got Sirius Satellite Radio because I love radio and I just couldn't take regular radio anymore. Anyway, I was listening to Howard 100 and Howard 101, which is Howard Stern's radio stations on Sirius, and Howard invited a guy named Bill Keller to host a weekly live prayer show on his radio station. Howard basically did it as a "goof" and thought it would make for entertaining radio to have this guy interact with his listeners on his radio station.

It was pretty entertaining to say the least. His first day Howard put a prostitute and a transvestite on the air with Bill Keller and it was pretty typical. He basically told them they were both going to "hell" and he was going to pray for them before they did.

I wrote Bill Keller an e-mail and told him that I am an ex-christian, and I explained to him why I left Christianity. He had said life is a "mess" without GOD; I basically told him that my life was a bigger mess with Christianity and all the confusion it caused in my life. Below is the response I got from Bill Keller.
I'm sorry you've chosen to turn from the truth Jim...that's a choice each of us has to make and each of us will be held accountable for the moment we die and stand before God..I will be praying for you

Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,

Bill Keller

Founder, www.liveprayer.com

More on this from The Christian Post:

Howard Stern Invites 'Live Prayer' to His Studio

A live prayer show was featured on Howard Stern's show Monday night when the controversial and famous "shock jock" invited the television host of a prayer program to his studio.

Bill Keller, nicknamed the "Dr. Phil of Prayer," was invited to hold his daily program, Live Prayer with Bill Keller, on Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio 101 network from 7-8 p.m. where he would answer calls from many of Stern’s difficult fans.

"Howard said he wanted me to field calls from some of his most challenging listeners," said Keller, the host of Live Prayer, in a news release. "He is a man of his word because after the show his people called and invited me to do a one hour special just like my television program."

The special programming is a result of a debate Stern and Keller had on Mar. 1, where they quarreled with one another for about 20 minutes on topics ranging from homosexuality to adultery to pre-marital sex. The shock jock enjoyed it so much that he invited the prayer warrior for a full show.

Despite the difficulties he will have to face in dealing with Stern’s typical listeners, the guest host was excited to be on the programming, expressing how he can bring about positive change.

"Just from the first program, I had over 3,000 emails from Stern listeners," the ministry figure noted in a statement. "About 40 percent of them were typical, hateful anti-Christian emails, but some 60 percent of them were legitimate, sincere people asking for prayer and direction in their lives. I believe many were backslidden Christians who were jolted back to reality by listening to Howard and I debate the very things that were heavy on their hearts."

The format of the special program on Stern's show was the same as on Live Prayer. Keller opened the show with a 10-12 minute monologue about current issues and gave his opinion about them. Following that, the phone lines were opened up for callers who he then responded to.

Live Prayer with Bill Keller is the only live call-in, faith-based television show that is broadcasted on only secular television channels. The host deals with a large variety of hot topics and sins, which he prays for live on the spot from a conservative, biblical perspective.

The show is broadcasted Monday-Friday on Tampa, Fla.’s CBS Affiliate CW 44 late at night from 1-2 a.m. Interested people can listen 24/7 to online streaming on his website, LivePrayer.com.

According to Keller, his website has responded to over 60 million prayer requests.

link

Sunday, March 25, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Some questions

Sent in by Gina L

I was born and raised in a strict Catholic family. Since the time I was a child I questioned certain things about Christianity that I never found answers to.

First, if God is all-knowing, he knew Adam and Eve would sin. He knew he'd redeem sinners through his son Jesus. He also knew that many people wouldn't live up to the standards to allow entry into heaven, thus condemning them to an eternity in hell. The New Testament stresses the loving, forgiving nature of God. But what I have always wondered is, if "God is Love" then why would he create us knowing most of us will be damned for all of eternity.

Second, if we need to live a certain way and believe certain things in order to obtain salvation, why are our lives so short? Doesn't it seem like an insurmountable task to be completed in an average lifespan?

Thirdly, if we were created in "the image of God" and God loves all of us as his children, why is the feminine aspect of our nature so suppressed? Are only men truly created in the likeness of God?

And another thing...why is such a sin to believe in mystical experiences or psychic phenomena even if they bring to us a feeling of love, peace, compassion, acceptance and all the other things that a loving, peaceful and compassionate god would value?

I believe in good and evil in the world, but I'm having a really hard time finding answers that clarify these things for me. And I really think that God would want us to understand them to encourage us to become closer to him, leading us eventually to heaven for all of eternity.

And why are none of these types of things ever addressed in church? Why doesn't the priest's homily ever help us understand this? Is it because if he addressed the topic, he'd have to admit he wonders the same thing?