Monday, December 29, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Hello Believers

Rainbow starImage by Mrs eNil via FlickrA letter from Transman

To all the believers and religious people who come here, I have some small advice for understanding. Quoting Bible verses to us, offering websites and books of apologetics, and trying to bring other arguments or pseudo (or fraud) claims of proof, will not change anything.

As many of us have said before, try comparing it with Santa Claus or other fantasy creatures of our childhood. Once you know that they are really just a fantasy, you cannot go back to believing, even if you tried or really, really wanted to. I can't imagine that anyone on this forum would ever go back.

Also, to help you a little further, look at the big picture. Most people don't want to insult you, hurt your feelings, or be in any way negative to you, as a person. Often however, when someone says something negative about your particular religion, faith, denomination or god-person, you are personally offended, because you identify with this god, you treat the god like a good friend, and feel the need to defend that god. On the other hand, you probably may not have a problem making a joke about other religions, gods, or religious practices, or make critical remarks, sometimes not knowing how deeply THAT can offend someone who is a member of that culture or religion.

Similarly, let's say someone watches a TV show and likes that TV show a lot. The main character might be Superman. You watch the show every day and when you just hear the name "Superman" or the melody that starts the show, you feel elated, happy, you smile, relax, or get excited. You have Superman posters, pictures, magazines, you meet weekly with your Superman club. You collect stickers and can recite lines of the movies. You sleep in superman sheets and wear a Superman shirt, to show everybody who you like. Then, if someone says something negative about Superman, you may feel equally offended and defensive.

It doesn't matter that Superman is a fictive character. After watching and hearing it that many times, the brain treats it like it would react when you met an old friend, a real person. The brain creates the same feeling of recognition, happiness and excitement, or worry that the (real or imaginative) friend might get hurt.

Now, let's take a step away from the closeness of the TV show and the character you like, and from your god, your religion.

I am not trying to convince you of your hero/god not being existent, just keep reading.

Here are some questions I want you to ask yourself, and I am asking you to answer them, just to yourself, in non-religious language, without quotes form religious books or phrases you are used to hear in church.

Think about why you believe in this god (don't say because this god has led you to believe, but think in terms of where you grew up, what your family believes, what churches are in your area etc). Why you believe in this religion or denomination? Where did your faith or belief come from? Is it the culture of your family? When you were a kid, were you always told that god is really real and Jesus really walked on water (just an example, use a different one if you like)? Do you believe that Jesus' mom was a virgin when she gave birth to him? Do you believe another young woman could be pregnant right now and still be a virgin, and maybe give birth to a god-son today? What questions would you ask her?

What if your family had lived in another country with a different culture? Have you seen how different denominations of the same religion sometimes tell or believe in contradicting things? (For example the Catholic religion believes in saints....how can you prove or disprove the existence of Saints?)

What is religion and where did it come from? Read some of the different stories about the beginning of the world, that different societies wrote a long time ago. How do you feel when you read these stories? Do you feel any specific emotions, such as happiness when you read the name of a certain god? Read some other religious books and see what you think about the writings. Look at them very objectively, as I have no plans on trying to convert you to any religion. Why do you go to church? What are some of the things that you like about it, maybe some things you may not like? How about the people there, what connects you with them, besides the belief in the same religion? Learn some things about other cultures and how they are interwoven with their religions. Make a count of gods that have been worshiped.

See, I am not telling you to read Dawkins or any books by atheists, nor do I bring up arguments on how there is no proof of god.

But looking around and seeing that there are many different ways of life, many different people and cultures, and many things to know about the different may help you to not take as much offense when someone does not like your particular one. And maybe, just maybe, you can see how life is diverse and how we all want to be happy. And we, just like you, don't want to constantly hear what we should do in your opinion. I know you mean well and I know that many of you have this really hurting emotion of worry about their loved ones because they are "not saved" or not practicing religion the way you do or believe it is done right.

Try to let go of that worry. It is okay if your daughter does not go to church and does not indoctrinate her children, your precious and beloved grandchildren. Do not worry about the afterlife so much. It is hard not to, because your religion is aimed at the afterlife, but really, your family needs you here and now.

I have a coworker who is very distraught about her daughter not taking the grand babies to church, and I feel her real, consuming, heart-wrenching pain over it. But there isn't much she can do about it, and her life would be easier if she could step back and let go.

Try and make a friend next time, who you know does not go to church, whether that person is an atheist or simply someone who has no interest in going to church. Be aware of the way you talk to the person, and try not to constantly mention god or Jesus. Get to know that person a little, and you may find out that this person has the same human traits and characteristics and interests as yourself and your religious friends.

There is not a lot of difference. Your new friend might be as honest, friendly, well-meaning, family oriented, open, accepting, helpful and giving as you would want your best Christian friends to be.

See, if you do these things, you will not lose anything. You won't lose your religion, you won't get any doubts, you don't expose your mind to what you may consider dangerous or frowned upon by your god or Christian friends.

I do think it may open your sight to life in its diversity, and that may help you to take different opinions in a less offended way, and see all the different people out there.

It may be hard for you to understand, that some people do not enjoy the same things you enjoy, or don't believe the same things you believe. Have you ever encountered someone who told you something you know isn't true, such as "feeding gunpowder to your dog makes it a better hunting dog" and you wanted to keep debating with that person to convince him or her that it isn't true. It is hard to understand, even just accept, that there are people who don't believe in the existence of a god, when it plays such a big role in your life. It is hard to resist to say something. And often, we atheists feel that very same way. We want to say something too, want to share what we learned through research, share our stories, help you understand.

I am sure you would not want us to bombard you with quotes from science books or philosophers. You know that would be offensive, unasked for, and unwelcome.

When you deal with people you don't know, be a little careful. You don't have to constantly express your belief and religion in your conversations. You may not even be aware of doing it, so maybe develop some awareness.

I have a neighbor who is very religious, and she knows I am an atheist. Every time she talks to me, she says things like "god only knows" or "thank god" or "thank you Jesus!" She is very aware of her speech, and I never asked her to, neither am I easily offended, nor do I really care all that much about it. I do appreciate her effort though and we are great friends. Often expressions like "thank god" are just cultural and used by non-believers as well. What I ask for is maybe take the edge off a little. Spare the loud exclamations of "thank you Jesus" or to constantly point out how "the lord" healed you, saved you, delivered you or blessed you with a new car. Just use normal language.

And on this forum, it is offensive to most people if you talk religious talk and quote verses of the Bible, such as "god so loved this world" or "Jesus is the way" or other things. They do not have the meaning to us as they have to you, and they do not touch us emotionally anymore than if you read in some other nation's religious and treasured book that "the god Hylpitrumwfs sacrificed his favorite pet to save men from the demons." It might elicit cheers in the members of this religion, but has no meaning to you.

Also, please be a tiny bit critical to yourself as a group (with many different faces, yes), that you represent to us. Check out www.FSTDT.com, specifically this page: http://www.fstdt.com/fundies/top100.aspx?archive1.

These are quotes from Christian/religious people, left on blogs on the Internet. I am sure you will see some you would agree with. And some, where even you will shake your head.

Thank you for your attention, and I hope to have fostered a bit of understanding and acceptance between the general group of Christians (no specific denomination) and us, the atheists. Most of us in both groups are nice, civil, friendly and helpful people, and I think most could do better in commenting to the testimonies than to use the same phrases that we all already know (Bible verses or typical sentiments used by preachers). Just speak normal language and be yourself.

Respectfully,

Trans-man



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, December 21, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

The Bible is one of the most violent books I have ever read

Description unavailableImage by Rayani Melo via FlickrA letter from Evelyn

Thank you for this website. I was in pain and searching on line for something, and I decided to search for Jesus is a lie, and I found your website. I read the testimonials, and they sounded like my story.

I will write a full story of my experience later but today I would like to share an experience I had Wednesday, December 17.

I had spent the morning praying for all of my friends, family, and God's forgiveness. The illusion did help me feel better for a while. I went to my volunteer job and I do not know what happened. A customer was telling me how she looks on the positive side and how it took her a long time to learn. Then she started giving me advice about a joining a bible study. My response shocked myself. I proceeded to tell that I thought God was a sadistic son of a bitch and that Mary had sex with a man and got pregnant, and I would defend anyone's right to be negative. I said more things. I was angry. I told her I thought roles of women in the church were stupid.

The Bible is one of the most violent books I have ever read. God is supposed to be loving, all powerful, created the whole universe, and the only thing he could think of is sacrificing Jesus Christ. Human sacrifice, what that is crazy.

What is the big deal about Jesus being born in a manger. Women have been giving birth to human beings in fields, barns, housing, or anywhere else for a long time and frankly 2000 years ago it was probably cleaner, safer, and smell less in the manger. The way people behaved 2000 years ago I wouldn't want all those unwashed, crude people around me. I am sure Mary didn't either if she were real.

Where is mandated that I have to decorate my house with Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, and spend money I don't have to buy junk that it is basically worthless to give to people who really don't want it. Feel guilty because I can't buy people presents, and I have to help the homeless, poor etc.. (I am not against helping the homeless) Frankly I need to stop begging a God that does not exist and help myself.

Christianity has wiped out every culture and people's across its path. Have any of you read revelations it is a book written out of someone's psychotic nightmare.

I can write more. I am angry. My life has been stolen and built upon lies. The worst thing I have ever down is read the Bible at age 8. I really believed God would save me and there was a purpose in all of this hell. That I was doing it wrong. There was something wrong with me. I didn't pray enough, couldn't forgive, and lustful thoughts. It was like walking with one leg tied up. Well there is nothing wrong with me the religion was crap.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, December 15, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Filling the void

From B.R.

Christianity is an ethos that penetrates all of life and provides answers that are useful in some cases. For example, answers about how to deal with bitterness that otherwise in a bad case of bitterness would eat someone alive, like a bad cavity that eventually abscesses.

If Christianity is not true, and someone comes to recognize that, they still have the problems that Christianity tried to solve, but they are without a solution any longer. While Christianity may not have been correct, was at least practical and useful at some level (Christianity would not exist were it not useful at some level for solving the problems of the human condition. It transcends the mere critiques of Marx or Nietzsche for example). At the same time, I am not saying that we should follow a system, or indeed, give our lives for something that is not correct.

In fact, the formerly Christian and now agnostic's position in practical terms seems temporarily at least worse, and rather dangerous, because in addition to being, say bitter, about whatever he was trying to deal with through Christianity, he must now overcome his sense of bitterness and betrayal by a God who is not there, and sense of bitterness about having given decades of his life to a set of rules that are not actually required.

And by his doubt, he no longer has access to the ethical and spiritual tools he once used that had at least a practical effect. That had some utility.

So recognizing that utility is what is needed, the agnostic is confronted with a sense of loss, and can go in any direction. Nihilism? Machiavellianism? Nietzscheanism? Materialism? Utilitarianism? Meglomania? Sociopathy (since there is essentially little accountability)? For someone who has taken the idea of ultimate truth seriously, to suddenly find that they are in a world without any accountability beyond law and what it catches and holds accountable is stunning. There are both the internal, soulish (or psyche if you prefer) health problems, and the external behavioral questions.

So if we are condemned to freedom, how do we solve these? What direction are most taking? Is there an area of your forum that relates to these questions? What ethical system shall we adopt now? How do we deal with bitterness and a sense of betrayal? What limits are there or should there be on our new found freedom? Are there any other links you can suggest?

Thank you for your consideration. These questions are in earnest.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, December 13, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Worthless religion

worthlessImage by assbach via FlickrFrom Paul D

I would like to say a big Scottish thank you to all the people whom have written testimonies that have been so helpful and comforting to me.

My own story is rather long and complicated, and I need to think about how to word things before I go ahead. Until then I am writing this as a reply to all the Christians who write comments on this site in order to convince, scare or browbeat us back in to Christianity.

Christians, you are completely missing the point by quoting Bible verses and trying to reason with us, and this is the reason why: You Christians claim to have had a wonderful, life-changing experience, in which the Holy Spirit now lives in you and has given you the very nature of Christ. You say you are full of the Holy Spirit, you are transformed, made anew, born again, etc., and have the love and grace of God in your hearts, and so on. The reason your words fall on deaf ears is not because Satan has deceived us, but because you are all such complete bastards yourselves.

Instead of grace, you are arrogant, bigoted and judgmental. Instead of love, you are shallow, two-faced, and inhumanly cold hearted!

Christians, if you really were "born again," then that would be evident to all simply by the way you conduct yourselves. Everyone who is now an ex-Christian understands that it is unreasonable to look for perfection in anyone in this life, and to use the "free will to co-operate with God" excuse is nothing more than a very weak and desperate cop out.

The problem is that you Christians are so contemptible as people and so unlike the Jesus you claim to know, that is evident that you have never had a re-birth and the Holy Spirit does not live in you, otherwise there WOULD be a positive change about you -- even if just a little bit. As it is, you are dead in the heart and dead in your emotions, and without a natural sense of decency.

You condemn us, but if you really do believe your Bible, then what you have to look forward to is standing before your God and hearing him say, "I NEVER KNEW YOU -- DEPART FROM ME."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leaving the Bible Belt?

The approximate extent of the Bible Belt, indi...Image via WikipediaA letter from DJ

I am coming to feel less and less at home here in the Bible Belt, and I wondered if anyone could make a suggestion as to a good place to raise my kids religion-neutral, without being harassed and looked down upon.

The more specific the better.

Thanks.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, December 11, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Listen to Your Mind

August 6th 2008 - Leave a Little Room In Your ...Image by Stephen Poff via FlickrFrom Emily

Listen to your mind, and not your heart;
The pumping of blood is not an art.
Not by design or purpose, intent,
Were the systems of your body meant.

By natural cause they came to be,
Just as you are, and all you see.
As by nature we are discerned,
From nature can our place be learned.

A cousin to all that lives today,
We are unique...
In one percent of our DNA!

I hope everyone enjoyed this off-the-cuff poetry, inspired by the "Listen to Your Heart" post. This is my first of hopefully many submissions here on ExChristian.net. Though I post only once in a blue moon, I check the site every day for everyone's very insightful comments. You folks have encouraged me to stop being the timid, credulous girl I once was, and become the independent-minded woman I am today. I'm looking forward to posting my ex-timony after finals. :D

-Emily

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Listen to your hearts

From Jackie

i pity those who do not listen to their hearts, but furthermore, who do not listen to Christ.

Most of you have been Christians or at least "believers" for most of your lives. How is it, that NOW you decide to turn away from God? Has He not been there for you since He came to you? Have you not any wisdom when Satan is deceiving you? God has shown you the truth, yet you still deny Him.

Listen to your hearts. Put all the worldly things aside, and truly listen from within.

...then what do you hear?

God Bless

Sunday, December 07, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Don't give up! Keep searching, your life is worth something

A letter from Jesse

I found this site through a search i did on google. I started reading through some of the testimonies and was really interested so i kept on reading. I actually am a Christian, but i'd like to share my testimony as well as long as its alright. I grew up going to church a couple times but by family wasnt really the church going type. My family ended up leaving the church because the pastor was stealing from it and doing other corrupt things. It wasn't until i was a Softmore in high school that i ever went back to a church and i only went there because i was invited by a girl i liked at the time. I ended up staying, very skeptical but at the same time i had met some great people so i kept coming back. My softmore summer i went to a camp and asked Jesus if he was real to show me, and if he did i would follow him. I began crying as i felt an extreme happiness. Come over me, it felt so right. So I took a leap and gave my life to Jesus. Later during that camp i would tell my self that if i could only spend the rest of my life here, at this camp. My life would be the happiest life ever. Later on i would come to know that dark and corrupt side of the church, the part of the church that was fake and the part that disfunctional. Because of it i found myself questioning God, saying God do you even exist? I held on to him though, i wasn't about to let some silly offense i had taken pull me away from God. And i'm still here, holding on to God. He's done so much in my life, my life had become one big adventure and i love it. I understand how much we want to view the church or Christians as God, but the truth is their not obviously not God. Why would we let go of him because of them? Their just messed up people like anyone else. I really do like this site, you guys are being real and i love that. But heres the thing, were all gonna die someday weather your a drug dealer or a CEO, A Christian or an Athiest, homeless or wealthy. You'll die, no amount of medication, money or belief can save you from that. So if there's no God, if thats how it is, well i guess i've wasted my whole life. Not that it matters, not that i'm gonna remember anything. Its not like theres any eternal record book to record my life or anything i do or anyone else does. Were just an accident, and the end of the story is we die and thats it. But i don't believe that, because i choose to hope in life over death. Choose faith over doubt. And live my life for a very real God. See because what if God is real? What if there is hope? What if he does love you? What if he's like the trillions of cells in your body that are constently working in your life but your completely unaware of? Don't give up! Keep searching, your life is worth something.

Sunday, November 30, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

I'm holding my options open

The goddess of the Moon, with her cloak billow...Roman statue of the goddess Luna/Selene.
Image via Wikipedia
From James

As I have been reviewing many of the articles on this website I have noticed something that needs to be addressed. Like many of the people here I have had a religious past - Christianity, New Age, Unity, and Wicca. The one thing I have noticed a lot in the articles is the equating of the discrepancies in the Bible with proof of the non-existence of a deity. Disproving the Bible does in no way disprove god. It only disproves the divine authorship of the Bible. Disproving any particular religion does not disprove god either.

Religion, and religious texts, are the by-product of people who ponder the questions about god/gods and how they interact with man. What began as innocent stories and speculations, over time became sacred texts and then religions. This is undoubtedly where the bible came from. Bible criticism has brought many bible facts to light through research and very timely investigations. Many are turning away from the bible because of these findings.

Should losing ones religion ultimately bring one to atheism? Thomas Paine and others did not feel this way. To them, god existed, and that was as far as they took it. To prove, or disprove a deity is absolutely impossible. To worship a god one has no proof of is frivolous.

Until science can tell me absolutely how this universe came about, and how life came to be (since life can only come from life), I will hold my options open.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 27, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

You fools... this website is pathetic

A letter from Benny

This website is pathetic...You bash pastors for asking money for their religion and you have a donate button right on the front page...

If you left Christianity and have no religion then there is no reason to recruit anyone else... what is it going to win you? A darker non-existence when you die? What then, if you "express" your non-christianity then you get to be some kind of spooky ghost that floats around the earth after you die?

Just another attempt at making money, just like you are accusing church people of doing...sad, so sad...

And I had hoped people really were sincere about their religious doubt, but you fools just are hoping to capitalize on it...figures...

Saturday, October 25, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

What now?

From Matthew

I have been de-converted for around three months now. It's actually been much better leaving a religion that had scarred me emotionally.

Primarily, I had an emotional reason for questioning the religion. Now, through my journey, I am compelled to think about answers to
  1. What about earth and the human race? Don't these things witness to some kinda higher power? How do we rationalise that?

  2. What do we hold onto when facing problems in life? How do we endure it, and what do we hold onto?

  3. How do we get finally out of this religion thing once and for all?


I don't want to go back into the shell for reason because of fear or unfulfilled answers, but I want to be free totally & be at peace with my existence.

Looking forward to your comments.

Sunday, October 19, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Catholic Lies

From John

I Googled 'Catholic lies' to see what would come up ... and here I am, with you. I was reared catholic and ditched the insanity of catholicism as soon as I could. why? well, if the teachers of Christianity taught by slapping the crap out of kids and kicking them (a priest in high school almost broke my shin bone), I wasn't going to be much of a student.

Catholicism has nothing to do with faith or spirituality and everything to do with the collection of wealth and political power. The church's methods have been among the most brutal in history. speaking of history, a good primer is the book on Faith, part of Will Durant's brilliant series, "The Story of Civilization."

I like what my Aunt Ruth, your typical intelligent, educated, thinking and thoughtful atheist says, when speaking about the ideas of gods: Why all the mystery? did this intergalactic hero really need to create an earth and solar system billions of years ago and then only 2000 years ago decide the Christians were the one and only? Gimme a break.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 17, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Barak Obama kills babies

Sent in by Jason

I just discovered this website today. I wish I had found it about a year ago.

I recently moved from Tucson, AZ to a small town in central WA. I grew up in the Midwest and was a devout Christian until I was 15. I finally realized then that I was surrounded by hypocrites and people judging my every move. Now I am happily married to a woman who had a similar upbringing. Christianity was shoved in her face until she couldn't take the B.S. anymore either.

We were married in Tucson where we had lots of friends with very similar beliefs and a good support system. We have a beautiful 5-year-old daughter and wanted to live in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. We live in the best school district with small class sizes, and there is virtually no crime here! We live a modest life, and we both have good jobs.

Our neighbors have three kids 16, 9 and a 5-year-old. They are a very nice family from Mexico with whom we let our 5-year-old go over and play. Our daughter is very outgoing and has never met another kid she didn't like and is very inquisitive like most five-year-olds. She has asked us about god before and we have never given her a straightforward answer and say we will tell her more about it when she gets older so she can understand things better on her own. We don't want to deny her the chance of learning anything at the right time.

She has come home from the neighbor’s house and asked us why we don't go to church. We told her more of the same. Yesterday she came home and asked my wife if Barak Obama kills babies because that is what the neighbors’ 9-year-old told her. Luckily I wasn't home or I would have gone over to their house immediately, but I was at work and I had some time to kill and think things through a little bit. This is when I started researching a came across this website.

I will talk with the father tomorrow about this whole thing and report on exactly what I said and his explanation. I do not know what religion they are, but in my mind no nine-year-old should be saying things like that -- whatever religion they are.

I just recently put up an Obama sign in our yard.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Random thoughts that are important to me

From Jonathan

I have been viewing the posts on this site for a couple of months now. I feel very connected to the people and the stories that I read on here. I would say that I am a spiritual person that leans towards humanitarian thinking (I have not studied it much) and more agnostic than atheist. I was going to a United Church of Christ church and loved the spiritualism there, but not the push to be a liberal activist.

With that little sliver of who I am I want to know how everyone has survived there families that are worried about them, praying for them, still believe god has a plan for your life and that it will manifest itself. I have turned to my parents as of late for support because I have been living a desperate, unplanned (without goals) life for the past 10 years (I am 32).

I have struggled with addiction issues these past 10 years too (I have a theory that this happens to a lot of people raised as I was) and have tried 12 step groups, but I found that they reminded me too much of growing up in the Assembly of God church that getting away from the negativity was more important to my health. I am desperately seeking support, and I don't go to my church anymore on the weekends because I have a part time job to make ends meet. I have good friends and they all live out of state except one who I appreciate. How do I find healthy friends?

I would be happy to clarify anything. I could write forever since I think about how being raised as I was really affected my life more often than I like to admit.

Just wondering if anyone can relate.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 13, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Where to, from here?

From ML

I was a Christian. Jesus was my rock, my world, my everything. My curious mind got the better of me. I found that Jesus was the sun.

And now I don't know what to hold on to!!!
I know the truth now! Where to, from here????

Child of Horus, Mithra, Krishna, Dionysus, Jesus....

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 10, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

I'm confused

A letter from Ashley

If you all don't believe in God or Jesus, why does this website exist? If in fact you truly believed there was no God, would you need to argue about it? If you dont believe in God, why are you talking about Him? You're talking, arguing, and making statements about a being that ceases to exist in your mind. How does that even work?

By discussing Him, you are really proving that He is a being worth being contemplated and discovered.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Thanks, Jesus

From TM

As I continue to "molt" away the last vestiges of my Christian faith, it's letters like these (from a church I used to visit) that only confirm the absence of any god:

"We have all been praying for little baby Levi, unfortunately he passed away early this morning. Please pray for his family, especially his parents. As you can imagine they are taking it very badly! They really need prayers and comfort form God right now!"

Prior to this, there were many heartfelt and no doubt sincere prayer requests for this little baby. I guess god felt it best he just freakin' die. Gee....thanks Jesus!!!!

Jesus can go F*** himself. If Jesus exists within the framework of the Bible then I'll gladly suffer forever in Hell, shouting "bullshit....you're a goddamn liar" from every day of my torment!

Saturday, October 04, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Are the beliefs and values of the different groups mutually exclusive?

From Dave AC

I was directed to this website after talking through email with an individual who participates at this sight. In my search for answers to the question of what is the purpose and meaning of this life I am exploring all systems of beliefs found within religion and those not a part of formal religous rites.

My current thoughts and question to this group is this:

I was raised in a religious home where my parents were very kind to others, accepting of those who were not of their faith and willing to give volunteer service as encouraged by their church. I have tried to follow their example which has brought joy to myself and family. I embraced many of the teachings and related to parts of the dogma of their church. There are other parts that I do not agree with. I also say that I have the same thoughts about humanists, atheist's or whomever..(I am sure how to identify the groups that are similar but with small differences) There are parts I agree with and some that I don't.

So with that back ground my question is: Are the beliefs and values of the different groups mutually exclusive of each other? Is it possible to embrace ideas from both groups? Are the tenents of organized religion invalid because of their association with a God? Is it possible to live a happy full filling life accepting thoughts and teachings from all walks of life which provide meaning and comfort. Or am I setting myself for a harder fall if I continue with my current ways?

Thanks for providing the forum to expand my search

i'm ready for the golf now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

The doctrines of hell, the trinity, etc., are all lies

A letter from Arthur P

I have sympathy for your position. You have been lied to by a false religious system of trinitarian and hellfire dogmas. These things are not actually taught in the Bible. There are better translations than the King James Version and that translation has corrupted the verses referring to something much different than what they have been twisted to say.

An example is the doctrine of a hellfire of torment. There is no such thing in the Bible. You are either alive or your dead and unconscious to anything as far as final judgment goes.

The trinity, which I won't even give the capital letter to, is a lie. It is not found in the Bible and even they, (The trinitarians), themselves cannot site it anywhere in Scripture. It is a dogma made up by men such as Athanasius who believed that Christ is "fully human and fully divine" when Christ himself had testified quite to the contrary that he was God's son and that their wills were two distinctly separate things, as Christ testifies of his Heavenly Father that, "I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me." John 5:30, and another very clear statement, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me." from John 7:16-18. Christ humbled himself to obey God's will as a son who trusted Him.

It is also clear that Christ came as a man of flesh and blood as is testified by the apostle John who said that anyone denying that Christ came in the flesh is an "anti-Christ," or pseudo-Christ seducer by deception. 2John 7. The religious system that you all have wisely fled from is that anti-Christ system that has its basis in Papal dogmas, and in the early days of the Protestant Reformation it was widely know that the Papacy was indeed the anti-Christ system, but that knowledge has faded from the sight of these now daughter systems as pictured in type and represented by Herodias who danced before Herod to entice him into cooperation with her harlot mother who typifies Papacy, in order to have the head of John the Immersor delivered to her on a platter.

This daughter system, (ie., the religious right), is now making nice with the Papacy and cooperating in an ecumenical spirit with them to garner the cooperation of the civil power extant. It's in the very news your watching and viewing on TV and the internet. They are attempting and will in all probability succeed in creating a theocracy to some extent and eventually incarcerate any who oppose their agenda of control and coercion.

That "dark night" is coming but will end with the subduing of these crazy men by Christ who comes, not in plain sight, but as a great spirit being to rescue mankind out of this terrible night of sin and suffering and to restore that which was lost in the garden of Eden, and begin the restitution process whereby the dead shall all be raised to life again right here on Earth, and will then have their tears wiped away and "sorrow and sighing will flee away."

This is not contingent upon the actions of men in high places nor will it be attained by their use of civil power. It will happen regardless and despite what men presume to do, especially what the Religious Right and Evangelicals have presumptuously assumed is their right, and no man shall ever lord it over another man, nor woman, nor child in that kingdom of righteousness and peace.

What books would you recommend?

From Still Undecided

I wanted to ask for some feedback from anyone who posts on this website or anyone else who wants to respond. I have been actively seeking answers to my doubts and questions off and on for many months and have done a lot of research online, including this website. I've read "Misquoting Jesus" by Ehrman and "God Delusion" by Dawkins.

What I would like to ask is "if you could recommend 3 books to me that you have read and found to be the most helpful and enlightening, what would those books be?" There are so many available books on the subject that I don't know what to go to next. I am eager to get on with this, cut to the chase you know? So, any recommendations? Thanks for all input.

Friday, September 26, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Hear the Word of the Most High!

This letter was just sent in from a Charismatic believer named Rick who lives in the Bible Belt. He's been overcome with the Spirit of Prophecy, apparently, and felt compelled, so it seems, to share his ecstatic exuberances with us.



Hear the Word of the Most High:

Your fathers knew that I was God and many prayers were offered for the freedoms you now enjoy. I set this nation on a hill to be a light to the world but now you are filled with darkness and sin. The stinch of your sickness and perversion has filled My nostrils and I Am even now ready to send forth destruction to the whole land. Those who are called by My name have failed to stand against the sin that has overtaken this nation. Your complacency has allowed the evil one to come in and rob, rape and kill. Your failure to do My Word and not just hear has allowed all manner of evil to creep into your very lives. Even now there are some reading this and saying, "What sin? What have we done that this nation should be brought down?" Find My Word and read Isaiah 59 and 2 Timothy 3:1-9. For the evil that is saturating this land I will leave you as it is written in Isaiah 13:12, 21-22. Yet even now it is not too late. If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. I will send forth a final warning. A great and mighty shaking of this people is coming. As a father shakes his child awake I will shake you. Awaken my children for the hour is at hand.
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Christianity is wrong on so many levels

From Eric

I have never practiced any religion and consider myself an atheist. I found this site because I was searching for information about the “Fathers of our Country”. I always argue with my Christian friend who strongly believes this country is based on Christian beliefs which is the furthest from the truth. I have always said religions of any type are dangerous. The stories I have read here have only laminated my opinion on how damaging religion is and how it must remain separated from government. I gave many of these stories to my “Fundy-xtian” and he just says. They are not Christians. I of course say, you just don’t have an answer. When he quotes the bible I tell him it’s pointless because I do not believe one freaking word of the piece of crap.

Reading your stories makes me so thankful that my parents did not put me through this torture. My parents both had strong religious backgrounds but kept my sisters and brother out of it. I had a great childhood, I am very close to everyone in my family, I respect others regardless of color, race or sexual orientation and religion, all of us are happily married and have children of our own. My son gets exposed to God in school. He asks me about it. I say when you get older you can formulate your own opinion. I tell him I do not believe in an almighty God. He says he does. I say to him “Good for you”. If he so chooses a religious path so be it. I will have no issue with that. Same as if he was to say he is a homosexual. I love him regardless. I just asked my xtian friend if God makes us all in his own image why are homosexuals not included? HE GOES ballistic on me. How funny.

Religions destroy so many lives, whether it is Christian, Catholic, or Islam or whatever. The sad part is that children are subjected to this bullshit. Christianity to me is just another extremist cult like the extremists in Islam. Unfortunately these institutions will be around forever.

NEVER in the history of the world has there been a War fought between Atheists, at least not that I am aware of. There has never been Atheist responsible for ethnic cleansing and I’ve never heard of an Atheist terrorist.

Christianity to me is wrong on so many levels. George Bush has helped in their endeavors to give them more control and it’s scary. I am afraid that one day my son will be forced into some religion by the government.

I ask all of you who have been Christians how do I debate Christians. Is it pointless? I have used many quotes from people here but it makes no difference. I enjoy all the stories. Keep them coming

Monday, September 15, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Bible sends frightening messages

From SConner

I wrote a letter to my local newspaper -- Bible Sends Frightening Messages -- and a few weeks later I received a letter (ground mail) from a person, who had to set me straight, on what the Bible really, means. I would love your responses, so I can send them to him, personally and then give him the web address to Exchristian. I’m hoping he has an email, but I suspect that maybe he does not. I think, perhaps, he is a Jehovah Witness and he might not have a computer – you don’t want JW’s exposed to information and he sent the letter to me personally. He could have submitted it to the Dispatch but it was never printed nor was it found in the web-only letters section, of the Editorial Opinion page.

Anyway, have at it and have fun.

My letter:

This letter is in reference to the Sunday letter "Bible basics influence voting decisions," by John W. Hoberg. Although loving your neighbor as yourself is a commendable and virtuous ideal, the Bible itself is not unequivocal in the matter.

I can't help but wonder how your decision in voting would be influenced by 1 Samuel 15:3, which says: "The Lord says, 'Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don't have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies.' " If this is loving your neighbor, I wouldn't want to see what the Bible has to say about hating your neighbor.

Additionally, verses from Hosea and Psalms have to be reconciled, if the Bible is categorical in its message about loving your neighbor and if it is to be used to influence your decision in voting. Hosea 13:16 says: "Samaria will be punished for turning against me. It will be destroyed in war; children will be beaten against rocks, and pregnant women will be ripped open." And Psalms 137:9, "May the Lord bless everyone who beats your children against the rocks!"

Nothing like loving your neighbor by killing children and mothers in a barbaric act of violent torture. Can you believe this is in the Good Book? It is; read it for yourself.

The Bible is rife with warring nations, land squabbles and atrocities, which are the complete antithesis of "trying to understand people with whom we disagree and who have different interests." After Moses led the chosen people out of Egypt and wandered the desert for 40 years, did God have a nice, empty patch of land for the Israelites to settle on? No, God decided to give to the Israelites land that was already inhabited by other people.

How does God deal with these neighbors? Deuteronomy 20:16-17 says: "However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them -- the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites -- as the LORD your God has commanded you."

One only has to read the whole Bible for himself to understand that the majority of the Bible basics are gruesome, vile acts toward one's neighbor -- surely not to be used in making any moral decision, let alone voting decisions.

His response:

Scott, I was very interested in your editorial that appeared in the Dispatch 9/6/08. A lot of people reading the Bible would come to the same conclusion.

I would like to fill you in on some detail that hopefully, will not have you writing off God completely.

First of all, God – Jehovah, as creator of the earth and man, owns the earth. He is like a landlord with tenants. He has the right to pick his tenants. If the tenants don’t live up to their contract, he has the right to evict them. In the case of the Israelites and the Promised Land, those tenants were wicked people and did not deserve to inhabit his property. Consider a couple of examples:

The Amorites, and Canaanites ( Amorites was a term sometimes used for all the Canaanite tribes): Several hundred years before the destruction of Canaan Jehovah told Abraham: (Genesis 15:16) “But in the fourth generation they will return here, because the error of the Am’or ites has not yet come to completion.” So, Jehovah was watching what was going on in Canaan, took note of their error and set a time limit for them.

Here’s what the Canaanites were practicing on God’s land: They used a “sacred pole” in their worship. These “sacred poles” were evidently, phallic symbols and many of the rites at these places involved sexual excesses. There was a story in the Dispatch on page A2 on Sunday 9/7/08 about a town in Georgia that had been swindled by a man supposedly wanting to buy property from the town to open a family owned restaurant. As soon as the man got the property he opened a strip club- in a town within the Bible Belt. This is not what the owners had intended. God did not intend for the Canaanites to use the land like they did.

The Canaanites also practiced incest, sodomy, and bestiality. They also practiced spiritism and routinely offered up children as sacrifices in fire.

The Hittites & the other related countries were similar to the Canaanites in their practices. In fact they aligned themselves with the Canaanites against Israel, God’s chosen people. This is not what the landowner; God had intended his property to be used for.

You also mentioned the Amalekites and the command to kill everyone, including their women and children. What kind of people were the Amalekites? They were the first nation to launch an unprovoked attack on the Israelites after the Exodus. (Num. 24:20, Ex. 8:16) They seemed to have a particular hatred for God’s people, which is why God gave the command that you quoted. I will address the issue of killing the women and children later in this letter.

You also mentioned the scripture in Hosea 13:16 where it mentions “Samaria” and “pregnant women being ripped open and children beaten against rocks.” The context shows what is going on here. Samaria was the capitol of the 10 tribe kingdom of Israel. Samaria had fallen away from true worship and had done some very bad things. The prophesy was merely foretelling what was going to happen because of their errors. God could see into the future and knew that Assyria was going to do this. From history, we know that Assyria was ruthless with their enemies, especially after defeating another nation. God was not going to cause this. He was only telling his people what was going to happen to them because of their failures.

Psalms137:9
The writer here is in exile in Babylon and has probably witnessed many of the cruel things done by the Babylonians, including things done to their babies. This comment about the babies being beaten against the rocks was the writers thinking. It was based on emotion. The Bible reports on everything, even things that are negative. For example, it told of Peter denying the Christ. It told of the “sharp burst of anger” between Paul and Barnabus-both of which were being used by God in their imperfect state- and their eventual split up.

How does God feel about the cruel treatment of children?
Jeremiah 7:31 (New Living Translation) And they have built the high places of To’pheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hin’nom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.
Deut. 12:31 (New Living Translation) You must not worship the lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.
2 Kings 17:17 (The message Bible) They even sank so low as to offer their own sons and daughters as sacrificial burnt offerings! They indulged in all the black arts of magic and sorcery. In short, they prostituted themselves to every kind of evil available to them. And God had had enough.
Ps. 106: 37, 38 (New Living Translation) They even sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder.
Isa. 57:5 (New Living Translation) You sacrificed your children down in the valleys among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
Ez. 16:20-21 (Contemporary English Bible) But you did something even worse than that—you sacrificed your own children to those idols! You slaughtered my children, so you could offer them as sacrifices.
Ez. 20:31 (Amplified Bible) And when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons pass through the fire, do you not debase and defile yourselves with all your idols to this day?

Another thing you have to realize is Satan was active during all of this. He was aware of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others that the Messiah (Jesus) was to come from this line of descent. Satan knew that if he did not stop the progression, Jesus Christ would eventually cause his destruction. He was using the nations to carry out his purpose. After the coming of the Messiah, Jesus established the Christian congregation. The Jews were no longer God’s people. God was now using people from all nations as he had promised Abraham. No longer was God using any one nation. Those wars from the past that involved the nation of Israel were truly “holy wars”. That is not true of any wars being fought today on earth.

I understand you were just replying to another editorial on voting. But, what I saw was an article that was expressing a lot of negativity concerning the Bible itself.

The purpose of the Bible is to show how God will make the earth like it was originally for Adam and Eve- a paradise where we can live forever in peace and security- without all the atrocities that make this world the way it is. When you understand what God is really like, you begin to realize that God could never do many of the things he is accused of doing. Whatever injustices we are experiencing now will be taken care of in the future.

Rick

Friday, September 05, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

What now?

From Jeff M

As people being free of Christianity, I was wondering what do we do now, as socially responsible people?

We see all around us the illogical initiatives of Christians such as Intelligent Design and Creationism, political maneuvering, and general poisonous rhetoric.

So we know that they are wrong; we know they are trying to rationalize lies and myths; we know they are passing these lies on to the next generations and trying to change the society to conform to their false ideals.

But what do we do? Should we protest politely in front of churches? Join organizations and efforts like secularhumanism.org for largely personal discovery? Do we shout out to stop the madness and be modern-day Martin Luthers?

We all share a similar story, and have ended up in the same place - realizing Christianity just isn't true. How can we - or should we - share with and convince others to save society at large?

Thank you for any comments you may have!

Thursday, August 28, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

The Bogeyman?

From Brent

OK, I have a question.

I had been a Christian for 27 years when I started questioning my faith. I began seeking information about other religions and atheism. Over the past two years, I have searched my heart and mind to come to a conclusion for what I truly believe. During the past week, I decided that atheism made the most sense. Based on the invisible pink unicorn theory, I felt that god/s could not possibly exist. Within three days of making this decision, something strange happened. First, let me say that the paranormal is something I really believe in.

Two days ago, early in the morning before dawn, my three-year-old daughter started screaming out in terror from her bed. At first, my wife and I believed that she thought a bug was in her bed. My wife managed to calm her down for the time being. About 10 minutes later, she screamed out in terror again. This time, I had a nauseous feeling come over me and I became very anxious. My wife tried to calm our daughter down again and for a short time it worked, but it didn't last as she cried out in terror again. Finally, my wife said she was going to put her in bed with us. The rest of the night was calm, but my girl didn't go to sleep for awhile.

My wife, the next day, said she felt that something was really in the room and felt as I did. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!

Sunday, August 17, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Any Baha'i adherents here?

Hi everyone!

I enjoy your site, especially the testimonies of others who've left Christianity like me. The ones that interest me most are ex-Christians who've joined other religious groups. So my question is: Are there any Bahais out there and what drew you into the Baha'i faith? I'm asking this question as I'm interested in the Baha'i faith and would like to touch base with other ex-Christians who've found more fulfillment among the Baha'i.

Thanks!

Sunday, August 10, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

How do I go about raising my kids in a non-religious home, without confusing them?

From Freethinking Mom

I have been visiting this site on a regular basis for almost a year now. My husband and I de-converted from Christianity in December 2007, and I have posted the odd essay here.

Today, however, I come asking for advice.

We have three kids. A daughter aged 4 and 18 month old twins. We live in South Africa, and the crèche my kids go to have a loosely Christian foundation. Please understand, this is not the fundamentalist type Christian schools that I have heard so much about in America. They have bible story time and they pray over their food. No hellfire and brimstone nonsense. Unfortunately, the area we stay in is predominantly Christian, and there are no secular pre-schools in our vicinity. We are also not prepared to move the kids to a different school.

How do I go about raising my kids in a non-religious home, without confusing them? They are taught at school that you should pray before each meal. At home, obviously, we do not subscribe to such a belief. My four year old now refuses to eat, until we have prayed. We do not make an issue out of it, and we have tried to explain to her that some people like to pray over the their food, but that we don't, but she is insistent, (like only a four year old can be). I have suggested to my husband that when she is adamant, we should make a statement like "We are thankful for this food" and leave it at that. No "Dear Jesus" and no "Amen". Just plain and simple.

(A friend of mine recently also became a freethinker. She and her husband struggled with the idea of not praying before meals anymore, so they started a lovely new tradition. They now "hi-five" each other before they eat. Maybe we should do the same.)

The school knows that we are non-religious. They have no problem with it. I think it would be inappropriate and unreasonable to insist that my children be excluded from all religious activity. At this age my kids will not understand the reasoning behind such a decision, they will only know that for some reason they are different and that they do not fit in with the general way of doing things.

My personal opinion is that the less we make an issue out of it, the less impact it will have on their lives. They will soon realise that we do not follow the same ideals, and at that point we can then start expanding their minds. However by then, would the damage already have been done?

I do not want to offer answers to questions they are not old enough to ask yet. I also do not want to raise my children to be intolerant of people who do not share their believes. I want to protect them from indoctrination, but at the same time expose them to the reality that not all people think the same way and that this is OK.

Also, my father-in-law is not a healthy man. How do I explain death to my kids? We do not believe in an afterlife, yet, the only frame of reference I have is what I was taught as a child. Animals go to the farm and people go to heaven (If they were good and had Jesus in their hearts). What do Atheists tell their kids?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I anticipate your insights.

Saturday, August 09, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

What do you all think?

From Hoo-Haa

Hey there - I've recently found the site and enjoyed listening to your highly engaging, entertaining and intelligent podcasts on the variety of truths I know hold dear - those of anti-theism aka atheism.

Like many, I was brainwashed by the xian cult from an early age, slowly throwing bits and pieces of its iffy 'Gospel' into the bin until nothing regarding the 'c-word' but anger and frustration remained.

I took a few wrong turns on the way - stumbling into so-called 'liberal' xianity and even gnostic xianity as the result of some kind of guilt flashback in my early 20s. I tripped over paganism and the occult on my way out of that, soon to be rescued (bizarrely) by study of the tarot (a suprisngly excellent map of human psyche when stripped of all the mystic psychobabble and outrageous claims of fortune-telling) and, more recently, the candid, atheist rants of is-he-isn't-he-for-real, Anton LaVey...

So, now in my 30's, I'm left delightfully godless, even anti-christian, washed clean of all the rabid nonsense that polluted my head long past its sell-by-date. I see no value (and often danger) in any kind of organised expression of theism and only limited, pragmatic (as opposed to spiritual) value in the more disorganised expressions of religion or spirituality.

One question - Anton Lavey's delightfully candid and engaging writings/ rants against theism introduced me to satanism - a seemingly atheistic 'religion.' Now, as already expressed, I've no call to revisit any form of religion or anything which uses the horrific terms of 'church' or 'Reverend' (such was the horror experienced at the hands of such first time around) and I couldn't subscribe to what could be seen by many as social Darwinist principles of Satanism, concerning society as a whole. I wonder, however, is there a place for some recovering theists in such a 'religion'? Does the Church of Satan's offer of selfish ritual, to replace that which was deemed anti-selfish within xianity, have anything positive to offer? Or is any church, even an atheist one, going to be a negative thing by its very definition, replacing xianity with only a mere pseudo-satire of itself?

What do you all think?

Anyway, LOVING the podcasts - keep them up. I do appreciate how difficult it must be to research the bible/ Christian nonsense in order to create such consistently and creatively inspiring outings, each time, so my heartfelt thanks and admiration goes out to Exchristiandotnet for your hard work...

Cheers,

HOO-HAA

Tuesday, August 05, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

What is the euphoria that often comes from initial conversion?

Sent in by Gloria

I am telling my story here today because I have a question that I hope someone here can answer for me. If I can find understanding on this last issue, I believe I will be at peace with my decision.

I was raised in Protestant churches from the time I was in elementary school. My father never attended but my mother and siblings all did. I believed my mother to be a Christian because of her Christian walk but it wasn't something she voiced particularly. She was a quiet woman and I was a reserved child. I remember responding to an altar call to be saved as a 7 or 8 year old, doing what my pastor said I needed to do and believing that I was born again. Of course, I didn't understand much of what that meant but I do know that from that time on, I was very conscious of any thing I did that might be considered a sin and was sure to confess it that next Sunday in church. Many other times in the next few years I again went to the altar, unsure that I had truly been saved and wanting desperately to assure myself that I had salvation. I was most afraid of spending eternity in hell and the thought of being separated from God and my family forever was especially frightening. I was raised to believe that once truly saved, always saved. Yet, I felt that maybe I had somehow failed to ask it right, or believe it enough, or something. I was a very well behaved, moral child who, because of my strict upbringing, was too afraid of punishment to really do anything wrong. Still, I worried over anything that looked like it might be sin and spent time in prayer and confessing to God.

As a teen, I was active in youth group and Sunday School, still praying, reading my Bible, believing that I was doing what was pleasing to God. At 17, I went out of state to college, and like so many other young kids away from home for the first time, began to do some things I was raised to believe were wrong. Mostly drinking, partying and sleeping around. For a couple of years, I kind of forgot about God and my Christian life and considered myself backsliden but not overly worried about it. My Christian roommate had been praying for me for some time and asking me to go back to church with her. One Sunday I did and about the time the invitation was given, I was sort of drifting in and out, probably from being up too late the night before. I know I wasn't paying much attention but then I felt as though I had been woken completely up and God was clearly telling me that it was time to come clean and get right with Him. Before I knew it, I had walked out of the balcony and down to the altar, where I kneeled, confessed my sins, asked forgiveness, asked Jesus to come into my heart. The evangelist that day took me through all the steps again and prayed with me. I was baptized shortly thereafter. There was no doubt in my mind that I was truly saved. I felt different, I acted different, I wanted different things. I was a new creature. I changed my life from that point. No more drinking, no more bars, no more going home with my boyfriends. I was spending time with God, studying my Bible, worshiping in church, with other Christians all the time. My group of friends changed. I was happy with all of this. I believed God was causing these wondrous changes in my life. I prayed and fully believed they would be answered if it was the will of God.

About this time in my life, a new guy came into the picture. He had never set foot in a church, knew nothing about the Bible, salvation or Jesus. When we began dating, I made it clear to him that I was a Christian and I would only marry another Christian. He agreed to go with me to church. He went and seemed to get nothing out of it. I was praying for him as was my church group. I was really into End Time prophecy at this point, partly because a new church in my town had been bringing in end-time movies to show to college students. I had been talking to my boyfriend about some of these things and finally convinced him one night to go with me to a movie. He did and afterward an invitation was given. He didn't go forward but when we were in his truck headed home he began to ask me questions. I called my pastor who met us at his office and that night my boyfriend gave his heart to the Lord. I was there and witnessed this amazing thing. I heard his prayer and watched as a change actually seemed to physically come over him. He lit up. I have continued to have doubts about my own salvation over the many years that have passed, but I never doubted his salvation because I saw the change in his countenance and saw him grow daily into a different person. Everything about him changed. We eventually married which is how I know about this.

So, here is my question and the one last hangup I have about rejecting what I've always believed. If God is not real and salvation and being born again are not real, what is this thing that happens when you get saved? This feeling, this euphoria that almost everyone who has given testimony has talked about. Something does happen, we have mostly all felt it. I remember feeling different, being different. And though I know that I can talk myself into believing things are coming from God, then finding out they were coming from me, I am still sure of what I saw that night when my future husband was born again. I have had many doubts about my own salvation, but never about his. I hope someone who reads this can help me understand what this experience was and where it came from.

I have devoured this website and others and have had a lot of questions and concerns answered. Thank you for being here for me.

Friday, August 01, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

I have come to believe that we MUST find a way to get along

From Billybee

Hi to all,

I have been an Atheist for over 15 years. In that span of time I have sought and found satisfying answers to many many of my questions. However there is one question that has never been adequately addressed to my satisfaction. That question is simply; Now what do I do?

I've spent countless hours reading and listening to discussions on Atheism. Undoing the tangle of indoctrination has been a feat in itself, but I can happily say that I finally am free from many of the poisonous effects that my childhood indoctrination and adolescent assumptions wrought.

I've tried my best to be more careful as to what I can reasonably accept as factual. My favorite component of my Atheistic worldview is having the luxury to be skeptical and simply grant myself permission to be undecided until I've heard more than one side of any idea.

I've been through a range of emotions on my journey into freethought. Shock, fear, anger, frustration. Joy, anxiety, resentment and deep peacefulness. As of lately, I've become painfully aware of the seemingly hopeless situation in regards to the bottomless chasm that divides the believer and the non-believer. To simply "agree to disagree" has not been a satisfying solution for me.

I have come to believe that we MUST find a way to get along with each other or else... But how can this ever happen when both sides are convinced that they have the correct viewpoint?

I've just recently discovered a possible sensible solution.

Please listen to Michael Dowd's perspective, and see if you can agree at least in part with any of the ideas/solutions that he puts forth.

Don't get me wrong...I still love to hang out and dissect the idiocy of religion; I just think we also should be searching for all the help we can find to make things better.

Check out this fellas suggestions;

http://thankgodforevolution.com/

(click on the video box at the TOP RIGHT SIDE to see an overview of his lectures)

I'd love to get other's reactions to this presentation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Today's message was directed to you!

From Tom:

I have been visiting exchristian.net since the past month and I find it very interesting. Are there former ministers who have been to bible school or have studied theology intensively? Is there anyone here from South India? Especially someone who a pentecostal?

I am currently a pentecostal from South India (Kerala) but since last year I have been very critical of Christianity. Reading the bible and really thinking about it, the whole thing brings forward may too many holes for christianity (Firefox shows up a typo when I type christianity with a lower case C-hmmm-supernatural) to be a one stop shop for truth. I have slowly started to move away from christian beliefs and have been inching my way to atheism. And in most areas I have started to find answers that gives me some clarification.

However there is one aspect that stumps me and I have not been able to find any solid articles regarding it. It's about prophecies. And by prophecies I mean the ability of some pastors to know secrets of a particular person. We have quite
a lot of that in India. Predicting the future is nothing big, cause I have read about self fulfilling prophecies and such. But the following has me researching online frantically but not finding anything yet. There's quite a lot of 'supernatural' prophecy phenomenon and miracles (mostly unverified and quite a lot of them involves just doctors doing their job) in South India.

1. I recently had an interesting conversation with my sister and she told me about a pastor who visited her college and revealed things about her that he couldn't possibly have known ever. He did this again with her friends who weren't christians that turned out to be true. These are things their friends didn't know but he was able to reveal it to the person privately and sort of 'call them to action'.

2. She again tells me of a couple of students from a college prayer group who meet with a pastor they never knew when they went to a church. The pastor tells them that there is one student in the prayer group who cries out at night. It turns out that a student was going through quite a lot of personal problems and he used to cry at night after prayers. This student accepted christ eventually and was worried about his brothers who weren't saved. He prayed quite a lot and one day saw a vision of a large book and he sees the names of his brothers in the book. The next day he gets a call from his brother and the brother tells him that he accepted Christ last night (the night the student saw that vision). This is what the student told my sister and I have no way of verifying whether he exaggerated or just plain lied.

3. A girl was pondering over questions of God's existence over several months almost tiring herself out. One morning she goes to church with my sister and friends and the preacher speaks exactly 'what she needed to hear'. After the service, the preacher comes over to the group and suddenly points at her and says 'today's message was directed to you'. No one had told him anything about her.(Incidentally, this pastor's father is thought of as a false prophet by quite a number of people that I know personally)

4. I personally have had prophecies told about me. Most of them were predictions of my future which I could point out as self fulfilling and I could argue against it.

These are unverified but these are testimonies from my sister who has no reason to lie because she herself is a bit of skeptic although not as much as me. She does believe the 'holy spirit' reveals things but I definitely can't believe that unless it's verifiable. And plus there's just too many holes in christianity to reconcile it with this apparently supernatural phenomenon. I do think this is an area that needs some serious scientific research. If it's being done already please point me to articles regarding this.

Is it the unknown power of the mind? Would anyone here know anything in-depth about this? Have you gone through this experience?

Do you think the youth is vulnerable enough for people to look into their minds easily?

Please point me to articles that you think will help me with this question.

Regards

Tuesday, July 29, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Experimenting with experiential Christianity

From Alex:

Hello all. I'm looking for some input on an experiment I am considering. Before I get into the details of my experiment, a little back story is in order.

I'm a 19-year-old guy from southwest England. I was brought up casually Christian. My family isn't particularly religious, but the schools i went to happened to be Christian. I became an atheist when i was around 15 and haven't looked back since.

I was never really into it, to be honest; the only reason I believed was because I didn't know there was an alternative. Religious studies in my education was a joke; 90% of the curriculum was about Christianity, and while other religions weren't shunned from the lessons, they were treated with a definite undertone of "check out how silly the non-believers are".

In recent years, I have become a little obsessed with researching religion and atheism, and as many of you will understand, it has strengthened my atheism. I have felt an astronomically higher level of emotions, clarity and freedom ever since I discarded my faith.

However, reading testimonials from Christians and ex-Christians alike, I have heard stories of such profound clarity and emotion from the religious fold. Now, I am someone who is plagued by the knowledge that I will never know and understand everything, but I really wish I could. In a way, I feel that as much as I KNOW about the logic and reasons of why religion is false, I can never really understand it because I haven't experienced the opposite side of the spectrum.

The experiment that I am toying with the idea of carrying out is to try to convince myself that Christianity is true. I want to go to church, go to youth groups, read the bible, everything. I want to immerse myself in the culture and try to discover what it is that these people are talking about.

To my knowledge, this hasn't been done yet, but I would love to hear about any similar experiments so that I can also learn from those conclusions.

A lot of you may think that it is impossible to go back to it after learning about atheism. However, I have a moderate learning disability, and one aspect of it is a blurring between the boundary between my conscious and sub-conscious minds. This means that I have an extra-ordinary amount of control over my own feelings, and I can very easily convince myself of what I consider to be lies, and I can create false memories that without serious reflection, I will honestly believe are true.

My idea reminds me of a book that I read a short while ago. A journalist wrote a book about the drugs culture, and while interviewing a crack addicted prostitute, willingly smoked crack because he didn't think that he would be able to retain his journalistic integrity in his situation without discovering firsthand what it was like. He was fully aware that the addiction rate for first time users of crack is somewhere in the realm of 50%, but he still tried it. I feel the same way about my situation. Also, I understand that there is a danger, however small, that I may become too immersed in what I currently consider to be a delusion and be unable to get out again, but its something I feel that I should do.

I'm not sure whether I will ever actually carry out this experiment, but I would appreciate some feedback from people who have had different experiences in their lives.

Also, I understand that there may be some ex-Christians out there who may feel that what I want to do in some way cheapens their own experiences, especially if they have had particularly bad ones. I want everyone to understand that this is in no way my aim. My reasons are purely selfish and for my own understanding. In this same vein, I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to set myself up as some kind of martyr or anything of the like. I'm not looking for any respect, disrespect, or recognition. I simply, desperately, want to understand.

Please reply with any kind of comment, criticism, warning or information.

Sunday, July 27, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

When was the Bible written?

From ATF

This is about an upcoming PBS TV special that will air in Novemeber this year.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/tv/orl-exodus2108jul21,0,7755323.story

The Nova program will premiere Nov. 18. PBS presented a clip and a panel discussion at the summer tour of the Television Critics Association.

The program says the Bible was written in the sixth century BC and that hundreds of authors contributed.

"At least the first five books of the Bible come together during the Babylonian exile," says producer Gary Glassman.

The program challenges long-held beliefs. Abraham, Sarah and their offspring probably didn't exist, says Carol Meyers, a religion professor at Duke University.

"These stories are unlikely to represent real historical events, but rather there's some kernel of ancient experience in there which has survived and which helps give identity to the people at the time the Bible finally took shape centuries and centuries later," Meyers says.


ATF

Saturday, July 19, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Q&A about posting comments

Commenting using Disqus




Disqus is a comments system that’s new to this site, so I thought we should take the time to run through it to make commenters comfortable with and proficient at using it.

What is Disqus?


Disqus, pronounced discuss, is a service for blog comments. Disqus enables bloggers to make the conversations on their blogs more interactive and manageable. Our distributed comment system connects readers across blog communities, while empowering publishers in promoting their content.
In short, using Disqus is a better way for people to participate in conversations initially started by blog posts. Check out how Disqus enhances the discussion on this blog.

How does Disqus work?


Like your average blog comments system. With a few extra perks.
a compiled a little guide is below:

Sort comments

What? … You can sort the order of the comments to your own whim:
By Oldest, Newest, Hot and Best.

How?
… By pressing the above ‘OPTIONS’ button.

Please … Only reply when the Oldest or Newest setting is on, however, as this will mess up the structure and strived-for chronological and sequential nature of the comments.

Rate comments

How? … Comments can be rated using the arrows next to the display picture.

Why?
… Rating comments can, amongst other things, remove said comments - and even the person behind the comment himself from the blog due to his clout.


Questions, comments, complaints, compliments about the new commenting system? Leave a comment here or just message me.

Please … Only to use the rating for strictly inappropriate comments - not ones you formally disagree with in a discussion. Disqus allows the explicit feature flag as inappropriate, but I’ve chosen not to include this due to redundancy. The grounds for the rating are more subjective.

Undo your rating
… by clicking the selected rating.

You can’t rate a comment, if
… one of these conditions are met:

(1)It is your comment.
(2)The comment is a direct reply to you.
(3)You are not a verified user.
(4)Your clout is below a moderator-chosen threshold.

Editing your comment

You are able to edit your comment constantly, until someone replies to it. If you want to delete it, edit your comment to [DELETED], and I will delete it for you.

Advice and guidelines

Remember to reply to the proper post; if you reply to the blog post, type in the default field; if you wish to reply to a comment, use the reply field appearing by pressing the ‘reply’ below that comment.

Do I really need to create a user?

Nope, you can settle on commenting as an unverified user, if you don’t mind the couple of seconds it takes to claim your unverified profile one or creating a full profile. Though you won’t be able to have a profile, rate comments and deter and reward users, or be able to follow the comments of users you like.

It is not necessary to register in order to post. However, those who do register will find a wealth of features such as being able to edit comments, follow the posts of all and/or individual posters, follow comments on all and/or individual threads, receive email updates, create a profile, subscribe to rss feeds and a handful of other great options. One really cool feature is the option of posting a video comment. Another is a threaded reply ability which enables posters to reply directly to the OP or to a particular poster.

Note: Anonymous comments (comments by unregistered users) are moderated. Registered comments are not moderated and will appear instantly.
Or, use the brand new OpenID compatibility on the Disqus login page to log in using your username from services such as Google, Facebook, Hotmail - just to name a couple. At the moment, the feature isn’t integrated into the comments interface on the blogs themselves - yet.

Does Disqus support tags?

Some, yes. See below for a list I made after testing what popular and useful commenting tags Disqus supported.

Tags working

<blockquote> - Quotes, and indents, a long excerpt.

<hr /> Creates a horizontal line/rule.

<a href=”[link]”>[name]</a>

<b>

<i>

<u>

Tags not working


<li> - Creates a list.

<sub> - Subscripted text.

<sup> - Superscripted text.
By far the best way to participate and comment is to create a free profile at http://disqus.com, where you can set up email notifications, follow select posters or comments, keep track of your own comments, vote on posters, flag comments, etc.
<q> - Quotes a short excerpt.

<big> - Makes the text big. Duh.

<small> - Makes the text small. Duh again.

<del> - Strikes text (as the deprecated <strike>).

Web and mail addresses posted without any formatting are automatically converted.

Feel free to use this thread to play with and learn the commenting system.