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Archived Letters

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.