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Archived Letters

Wednesday, April 29, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

I am also a survivor

A letter from Todd

Thank You!Image by HuNo (On & Off) via Flickr

Thanks!

I would like to express my appreciation for this site. I am like most of you: Someone who has "left the faith." I am also a survivor of a Christian cult.

For some years I have sought to find a well established form such as this to hear the accounts of others like me. I hope to do more writing and submit to you my account of all the fucked up stuff that happened to me within the Christian community.

Thanks again for being here.

-Todd

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Friday, April 17, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Ex-Pastor vs. Pastor: CASE CLOSED!

Sent in by Ex Pastor Dan

ShoutImage by badlogik via Flickr

Well, it finally happened. I couldn't take it any longer. I BLEW! Some of you told me to try this approach, some of you offered a different one. Many told me to give up. I don't know if I was right or wrong, all I know is that it felt good to 'Let it ALL Go'! I think I was speaking to all of the ignorant, arrogant Fundies, who throw up the 'Not a True Scotsman' argument.

So, for better or worse (you be the judge), here is our last exchange. My cousin makes it clear, in his response, that he wants no more to do with me. I guess Jesus changed his mind about me!? LOL

It does still break my heart, but as Barbie-Brains says, "I can't understand it for you!"

Ex-Pastor Dan wrote:

Dear T. -

Shame on you! You have stooped to a place that I thought (hoped) you would not. Your ad hominem replies to my heart-felt, gut-wrenching honesty to you... well, I'm appalled and disgusted.

Your words are so typical of Christians when they run out of things to counter REASON.

You said, "I am left with the conviction that you knew 'ABOUT' Jesus Christ, but you never deeply experienced what has marked my life for nearly four decades. You never 'TRULY KNEW', deeply KNEW Jesus. But your lack of faith in Him, and your present state of "intellectual attainment", cannot explain away THE JESUS CHRIST WHOM I KNOW AND LOVE AND WORSHIP AND SERVE AND ADORE. You profess happiness and even excitement over your intellectual discovery of truth, as you speak against God's Word, the Word I love, The Word which God has exalted above His very Name.

If I never deeply experienced Jesus, If I never TRULY knew him, whose fault is it? Mine or God's (Jesus')?

Here is a condensed Litany of my life. I can honestly say, as Paul said "I was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of Hebrews!" (In my case, I was a Christian of Christians!) In the Law (what I understood from Bro. M. & the church), I was Blameless (at least I was striving to be). When I failed, I would be at the altar the next service, repenting and swearing to not fail again!

Born into Christianity. My earliest memories are of looking up at my dear mother's face as she cried and prayed in tongues (in the prayer room of the old 4-Square church, in Ventura, CA.). Mom had me dedicated to the Lord (as Samuel) while I was still a little child. I knew nothing else; God, the Church and Jesus were my REALITY... MY LIFE.

I asked Jesus into my heart as a little boy. I was Baptized in water at 8
years old. I wrote my first gospel song at 9. I was filled with the Holy
Ghost (with the evidence of speaking in tongues) at 12.

I wrote gospel songs and sang in numerous groups around Southern California. I went on mission outreaches to Mexico and the Rescue missions around So.Cal. I felt the 'CALL' to the ministry at 16. I asked my brother T. (my hero) about knowing God's will and how did he know he was called to the ministry. I went out, door-to-door witnessing, going to Nursing Homes and Rest Homes, singing and preaching the Gospel.

I went to ministry classes at Church. I went to Ventura College and majored in Music so I could be a better Minister of Music for Christ.

I went into the Army and became a Chaplain's Assistant. I Baptized soldiers in the Mekong River in S. Viet Nam. I led Bible Studies and Prayer meetings. I led men to the Savior and led them in the sinner's prayer. I led our Methodist Chaplain to an understanding of the Holy Spirit and he was
filled (he even saw a vision!)

I came home and went to work for the church. I wrote a song, 'For me to Live is Christ', at T's house in N.Y. (It became Brother M's Favorite Song, they asked me to sing it at his funeral....I declined).

In the late 1970's, I lived in Lancaster, CA. where I was involved in ministry with one of our CEA churches (music and Youth ministry).

I went into the ministry (full time) in 1982, in Salem, OR. I can't tell you the dedication and zeal with which I sought God! Fasting and Praying. Writing songs of Worship and Praise. Singing in the Spirit. Being Slain-in-the-Spirit. Teaching God's word. Memorizing whole chapters of the Bible (I wanted to be like M. Smith & memorize the whole New Testament)

I studied (got a Master's Degree in Bible Subjects & wrote my Doctoral Dissertation on Latriology, 'The Study of Worship'), I PRAYED, I BEGGED GOD FOR LEADING AND UNDERSTANDING! I would spend all night, face down, in the Sanctuary, praying and seeking God. Worshipping, Pleading with God for direction and power, that he would make Himself KNOWN, FULLY TO ME! ... "Christ in me, the Hope of Glory!"

I gave messages in Tongues, I interpreted, I prophesied. I LOVED JESUS WITH ALL OF MY BEING!!!!!!!! I tithed and gave of my time, my money and my LIFE!

My dear wife and I counseled and taught in the Christian School. We (me and my family) were the Church Janitors on the side (we had to eat). I had to leave during the summer and find work (the church wouldn't pay me through the summer). I spent one summer in Ventura, CA. with my furniture stored in a garage in Salem. Luckily, one of our members owned a Garbage Co. and I was hired to pick up garbage for two summers. How I praised God for his provision!!!! Thank you God for letting me pick up garbage so I can continue in the ministry (no sarcasm intended, I was TRULY grateful)! I sacrificed, my family sacrificed, for God's Work!

You have no right, no basis in saying, "you didn't TRULY & DEEPLY know the Jesus that I know". How POMPOUS, how VAIN, how JUDGMENTAL, how ridiculously WRONG you are. I have more respect for my brother's response, when he said, "I guess you are just not one of the chosen!" (at least that lays the blame where it should go... ON GOD)! I sure was accepted, loved and respected by all whom I met, back in the day, when I still professed Christianity, even by you! Where was your discernment then? Why didn't you and my brother tell me to stop trying so hard, "you'll never REALLY KNOW Him, you are not one of the Chosen!"

How pathetic, shallow and hollow your so-called 'Love in Christ' really is. You are just like every other Religious person in the world. When someone leaves a particular fold (faith), they become the enemy, to be castigated and maligned for their 'un-belief'. Or worse yet, KILLED (figuratively or literally) because they have become apostate! I equate you to the Muslims who flew the planes into the twin towers. They were convinced that they knew God and that He wanted them to KILL the infidels. They were martyrs for their belief, just as you say you are willing to be!

How do you KNOW that you are right and they are wrong?

I feel deep pity for you. You poor, mis-guided, BLIND, man. I am disgusted with your attitude and your religion.

Now, think on those things. No, I said THINK, don't just react with emotional fervor.

Write me back when you can display some real caring and understanding. Are you capable of understanding? Do you have any part of your brain left that has not been completely saturated by mis-truths and delusion?

Please prove me wrong. Come back with something genuine and truly loving.

Love,

Danny


************** My Cousin's loving reply.......



Dear Danny,

When I wrote my first letter to you, it was never my heart to anger or offend you. Too many years have passed without our having enjoyed ongoing relationship. Only at the first of this year did your brother open to me with any detail concerning you. And after your last letter you just sent... I am profoundly sorry our words have escalated the way they have, and I realize in spite of my intentions, nothing I say, or you say, will help. Perhaps I was in the wrong in writing you, but I was only doing so on the basis of what we once enjoyed so long ago. After reading your "concluding four brief paragraphs" in today's letter, I realize in spite of my best intentions, the exchanges between us must end. Perhaps it was just your anger and resentment toward me that would compare "this Christian patriot" to the terrorists that destroyed 1000's, but I will not entertain those kind of words or comparison. So this will be my last reply. Even in choosing this final reply I risk only offending or angering you further, which is not my intent.

All my best to you, to your wife, and to your precious children and grandchildren....

T.



************* Epilogue

Looks like those who said "Give Up, he's hopeless" were right. To think, I was once that Blind and Judgmental.

To the Whole World I say....... "Please forgive me for what I was when I was a Christian!"

XPD

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Thursday, April 09, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Ex-Pastor vs. Pastor: A Family Affair

From XPD

Cat fight?Image by play4smee via Flickr

Recently, I posted an exchange (just one of several) between myself and my cousin. The comments that I received from many of you here on Ex-Christian.Net helped me formulate a 'new' approach. I responded to my cousin with a more deferential tone. I really do think, that he thinks he is acting out of Love and Care for me (the Prodigal). I threw in some 'reason' about the Bible and how it came into being. I assumed that 'this' time he would 'hear' me and understand my heart. It seems that those hopes have been dashed as well. Read the exchange below.




My dear Cousin,

I am truly touched by your concern for me. I hope that we can remain
loving, caring relatives. I am saddened that you continue to MIS-judge my
words. I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. My vocabulary only
goes so far and perhaps you cannot sense my true attitudes through just
'written' words.

One last try, here goes:

I did NOT leave Christianity because of what Christians did to me! I used
to teach and preach, "you can't look at Christians, only look at Christ.
Christians will fail you, Christ never will!" and many other such related
ideas. I get it! I really appreciate your humility and what you attempted
to do 'In the name of Christianity', when you apologized for what Christians
may have done to me. It was a kind and loving gesture. Thank You. I did
not mean to hurt you by calling it 'silly'.

I left Christianity (and may I say, it was not without MUCH agony...it was
like dying a long, painful DEATH) because I found that it was not REAL. For
me it was mostly about coming to an understanding of the Bible and how it
was written and assembled by MEN, hundreds of years after Jesus (supposedly)
lived, for political reasons. I read real scholars such as Bart D. Ehrman,
Rubenstein, Pagels, etc., etc. I studied how and who came together at the
first council of Nicea (in the 4th century) and how they had to put aside
their fighting and bring ALL of their respective, writings, dogmas, myths,
and beliefs to Nicea, under Constantine, to formulate a NEW Religion; to
unify the empire and end the bickering. These 'holy' men, hated each other.
They were murderers, adulterers; raging lunatics. These were the Priests
and Religious leaders of that time, who were invited to Nicea (highly
simplified)(sorry for the run-on sentence).

Then, in the 7th century, the Holy Catholic Church said (paraphrased) "those
Bozo's didn't know what they were doing", so they got together and did it
all over again and changed everything! The names of Matthew, Mark and Luke
were ascribed to 3 accounts, that we know all derived from one document,
referred to as 'Q'.

Why all the contradictions? Why all of the confused, non-sense? Why does
the story so closely resemble so many other, more ancient, religious and
mythological stories, i.e. Virgin Birth, God born on earth to become man,
dies, raises from the dead, returns to the heavens, will come back again.
Some of these, thousands of years older than Christianity!? And that, not to
mention, Luther and his changes! O.K., enough of that.

Let me ask you a question. If God knew that the Bible was to become the
foundation for us as humans; if it would be how his plan of Salvation was
revealed to the world; why didn't he write it himself? If he wrote the 10
commandments on stone tablets; why not leave us with the whole thing? How do
you know that Joseph Smith and Mohammed weren't also writing as they were
led by the Holy Spirit? If Jesus was God in the Flesh; why didn't he write
the Bible? Why didn't he at least turn to one of the disciples and say
"Write this down!"? Now, with T.V. and the Inter-net; why not just 'Reveal'
himself to the world? It would end all of the Wars, it would show us all,
once and for all, Who he is and What he wants!

WHY DID HE ONLY REVEAL HIMSELF TO BRONZE-AGED, SUPERSTITIOUS TRIBESMEN IN
THE MIDDLE EAST? WHY, WHY, WHY?... He didn't, IT'S NOT
REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I don't mean to Rant. I am excited about finally finding TRUTH! I
can tell you exactly where I was, in Phoenix, when it Hit me like a Tons of
Bricks and I exclaimed, "That's It! Now I get it, now it all makes sense!"
What a blessed moment in time, I was truly BORN AGAIN!

I AM HAPPY! I AM NOT ANGRY! I AM A MUCH, MUCH BETTER HUMAN BEING THAN I
WAS AS A CHRISTIAN! I DO NOT HATE!

I LOVE! I HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN!! I AM FREE, I DON'T LIVE IN FEAR AND GUILT
ANYMORE!! PEOPLE LIKE ME!! I LIKE PEOPLE!!

I DON'T JUDGE!!

Please STOP telling me what you think I AM, and LISTEN TO MY WORDS! I Love,
I am Happy, I make people happy, I am Excited about Living, I don't fear
Death!

How many more ways can I say it? I hope you understand.

May I suggest you contact my sister's oldest son, R. S.
He is younger and more intelligent than I. He also has given up the
ministry and Christianity. Perhaps he can relate the reality of what we
have become, better than I. I know that he is insanely, happy and fulfilled
since he de-converted. His web-address is..........

Of course, you may continue writing me, if you choose, and feel free to
share my writings with anyone you wish, just don't edit. Let me speak for
me.

Thanks for Caring.

Love,

Danny




Response from my cousin, the Pastor


Dear Danny,

The irony of your most recent letter, is that it arrives on the morning I am preparing to preach the funeral later today, of a friend (52 years old who just had a massive sudden heart attack) of whom I have the deepest and most profound confidence, that he is with his Savior Jesus Christ right now in heaven. I was re-reading Don Piper's book "90 Minutes in Heaven" early this morning alongside my Bible. And to say I am thinking of you and praying for you would be the understatement of the year...

But I realize after reading your latest litany of unbelief and atheism there is nothing apparently I can say that you don't have an argument of rebuttal for. And I am left with a profound and deep eternal sadness for you. I have long enjoyed a personal, intimate and incredibly deep relationship with Jesus who has in every way possible way imparted to me HOPE of unending eternal life with Him. No one can take from me my living, eternal and absolute faith in and love for Jesus. It would be easier for me to doubt you exist, than to doubt my God exists. I will live for Him, and if He wills it, I would gladly suffer martyrdom for Him and His Gospel.

I am left with the conviction that you knew about Jesus Christ, but you never deeply experienced what has marked my life for nearly 4 decades. You never truly knew, deeply knew Jesus.

Your lack of faith in Him, and your present state of "intellectual attainment", cannot explain away THE JESUS CHRIST WHOM I KNOW AND LOVE AND WORSHIP AND SERVE AND ADORE. You profess happiness and even excitement over your intellectual discovery of truth, as you speak against God's Word, the Word I love, The Word which God has exalted above His very Name.

So there is nothing more I can say. All our exchanges would only move us closer to the obvious. The gulf between us now is great and irreparable unless you find repentance! I preach and stand opposed to everything you represent. Everything. I've heard all your arguments in my years at a secular university. (The University of Oregon) I've heard it all and read it all, so nothing you say is new to my hearing. Anymore than my words of Faith and Love for Jesus Christ are new to you. I gather from your every letter, that you consider me and those like me as intellectually inferior, duped and illogical. I consider you apostate, blasphemous and now an enemy of the cross of Christ. Sigh. Unending sighs. (And you take delight and joy in one of your sister's children following along the same path as you???? )

And on and on and on we could go, but I see no point to it except as I already pointed out, a further and deepening galvanizing of what we have both decided to live for and apparently die holding on to.

I say this with no arrogance, but only deep, pleading, begging sadness Danny. We will both find out who is right when we die. If you are right (and you are not) I have lost nothing. If I am right (and His Word is True) you have lost everything.

You know where I'm at if you ever want to find a pathway back to faith in God. ( I have a whole shelf of brilliantly written godly books giving solid historic, prophetic, archaeological, etc. evidence of the truth of God's Eternal Word.)

I know where you are at if I ever want to find a pathway into humanism, agno-atheism. (I know you have the books to provide evidence there is no God, no heaven, no hell, and nothing more beyond the grave.)

I know it's a childish statement. But I just wish and long to have the old Danny back. The one I sat around my kitchen table with, so long ago, and we dreamed and invisioned a future of serving Christ and reaching a generation so in need of The Gospel. I never dreamed you would become an enemy of the cross by disavowing the very Christ who died there for you and me. Deep eternal sadness.

Goodbye for now Danny...I promise you before the God whom I love and serve, I will pray for you alongside your Mom and your brother until the Lord takes me home...

T





So there it is. Should I keep trying or just give up? Will he ever hear me? What do you all think........

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Sunday, April 05, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Ex-Pastor vs. Pastor: a heated exchange

From XPD

I was recently contacted by one of my cousins who is still a Pastor of a Fundamentalist, Charismatic Church. After spending some time with my mother and brother (also a Pastor), he decided it was time for him to try and bring back the backslider (me). Below is one of our exchanges. It really relates how fundies think. I wish that I had Sconner and Boomslang sitting with me in my office as I wrote (I could just imagine the Bible concordance ruffling and the phrases flying from two great minds), which would have helped me with my arguments. I think I held my own, but it's hard to not just start railing against such stupidity. But, he is my cousin, and I love him.

Please read this exchange and voice any helpful opinions that I may incorporate into further discussions that I will surely have with him.

Dear Dan,

Stunned and overwhelmed at your level of hatred, animosity and rancor is what I am. Though your precious Mom and my dear Aunt L. and your brother T. (my best friend) had spoken to me about their deep heart rending concern for you, I was nonetheless unprepared for the depth of cynicism and disgust which you display toward "the faith that was one and for all delivered to the saints."

Even in this letter, your words are nothing more than a stereotypical diatribe against anything religious as though any one of us who believe in God are deluded, ignorant and ill informed.

I disagree with virtually every accusation, every caustic word you use as a weapon. Do you mean for your hatred, anger, arrogance and pride to come across as it does...or am I misreading you?

So I sit here this morning in The Presence of Christ who is my life, the One whom I love, whom you have now disavowed, and I struggle with what to say that would make a difference for you.

I cannot promise that I will continue this kind of exchange Danny. Why? Because I've written you off? NO, a thousand times NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But rather because I don't believe the level of argument you want to engage in works. All it does is galvanize each of us in our already deeply held convictions. I've come to this conclusion after nearly four decades of wonderful, love and laughter filled Christian ministry. On each point you accuse, on each point you conclude, and on each point you rail against religion of any kind (especially my kind) I don't hear that you are at any level open to my appealing to you, are you? Correct me if I'm wrong about this Danny.

All I hear from you is what I hear from the nightly godless news on NBC, CBS and ABC, and from the endless array of wealthy Hollywood stars who rail against anything Christian. Oh to be sure, I am ashamed (and have publicly preached that shame) over much of what I've seen on Christian TV and what is sadly charicatured in the whole realm of organized Christianity.

But dear Danny, what you stereotypically and across the board acuse any and all of us concerning (including your Mom, T. and Me is untrue because: You ignore the vast numbers down through Christian history who have lived and died in love and truth and integrity all because of their love for Jesus. Jesus Christ is my hope, my salvation, my joy and my song. Just as He has been for numberless multitudes over the past 2000 years. Were men and women of The Faith like Hudson Taylor, Francis of Assisi, Poycarp, Amy Carmichael, CH Spurgeon, David Livingsgton, Billy and Ruth Graham, etc. etc. etc. all deluded, deceived and wrong? Dan, with all my heart, with every cell of my being I plead with you, we are not the ones deluded, deceived and wrong.

But I honestly don't think, I am going to "out argue you" if that is the approach we take. Some men, more gifted and inteligent than I, whose books I do read, and a calling to "Christian Apologetics" which you informed me you were completely closed off to. Yet you yourself are simply choosing godless and atheistic apologetics, using their arguments, accusations and caustic unbelief in every accusing question you set forth.

Dan (and this is my opinion) I believe that the last 20 years of "your de-conversion" as you call it, you have set out to find evidence of God's absence, not His Presence. And what you've gone looking for you have found.

I have gone looking for evidence of His Presence, not His absence, and I have found it.

You said, "Haven't you ever wondered why Prayer does NOT work?" Oh Danny prayer is my continuing conversation with Jesus. Prayer is not a "thing" that works or doesn't work (like a formula) prayer is the language of relationship between me and my Lord.

You said, "Have you ever wondered if the Bible was really the 'inspired' word of God?" Oh Danny, His Word has been my daily Source of help and hope and peace and direction. It's inspirtation (non-apologetically speaking) has attested to in my heart and soul over and over again. Years ago, HE prtomised me in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eye upon you." And He has been faithful to that promise.

Danny, I am out of time before a dear friend of mine named M., comes in a few moments. She has not long to live in her battle with cancer. But she is radiant, joyful and ready to go home to be with her Savior. I will not, I cannot believe that the grave is the end for her. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn 11:25-26) Yes I do. I pray that you will once again too.

With all my heart of love in Jesus my Lord, T.



Dear T.,

Don't forget, you contacted me. I hoped it would be a chance to discuss issues in an intelligent manner, but alas, it seems not to be. You Christians don't seem to have the ability to see FACTS when it comes to your silly superstition. You compartmentalize your brains. You can see reality in every other aspect life, but when it comes to seeing truth as it relates to belief in your god, the blinders go on.

I did have some animosity and bitterness over WASTING 40+ years of my life, but I don't hate, I have no rancor. I am extremely happy and fulfilled. I don't judge anymore. I am not a bigot anymore. I have forgiven my mother for what see did to me. I love her, she is my mother. I understand why she turned to God. I understand why she lived in fear and guilt (and then passed that on to us kids). I know that there are some terrible skeletons in the Family Closet. I understand why uncle H. tried, numerous times, to commit suicide (while still in the ministry).

My wife and kids love me again. Just ask them; which person they want in their life. The born-again, spirit filled, pastor Dan or the man that I have become since I have been BORN AGAIN into REALITY and TRUTH!

I have tried to get you to see where I was coming from. I asked you some of the questions that I wrestled with for decades. You have refused to even entertain these thoughts (although, I know you have had them). You come back with Christian clich├ęs. The same ones that I used for many years. Instead of taking these questions head on, and spending the energy to THINK about them, it is much easier to just throw a trite apologetic at it and then say that the person asking has something wrong with them, ..."your faith isn't strong enough, you must accept by faith, you have hatred, you are using stereotypical arguments, etc., etc."

Guess what?! You are using stereotypical arguments and your arguments have no foundation or FACT to back them up. Anyone can have (and they do have) a subjective experience. I had hundreds of them while I was a Christian. The Muslims also have subjective experiences. The Mormons have them (a little aside - our cousin, B. D. contacted me many years ago while I was still a devout Charismatic Christian, and 'testified unto me' that Joseph Smith was the true prophet of God and that she was praying for me to 'come to the light' of the 'truth'). The Jews have them. Witch doctors in Haiti have some doozies (so do their victims, i.e.. Voodoo). Native Americans have some amazing experiences with their 'god', while chewing on Peyote.
Indigenous humans around the globe, throughout millennia, have had incredible, subjective experiences and drew pictures, told stories, and eventually wrote about them.

Don't you ever get tired of trying to support your beliefs by telling about a subjective experiences or quoting a DEAD book (take some time and find out how we came to have the 66 books we now call 'god's word') that is no more god's word than the Book of Mormon, the Koran or the Bhagavad-Gita?!

Just be HONEST! I know how scary it can be, but don't you ever just want to
know TRUTH AND FACT?

Please don't judge me as something that I am not. What is wrong with seeking TRUTH no matter where it leads? Can I help it that I just want to KNOW. Can I help it that I have always wanted to get answers to my questions, that made sense and rang TRUE. Can I help it that I was born with a high IQ and a drive to Learn. Can I help it that I discovered the difference between FACT and FICTION??????

Here is a paraphrase from Corinthians "...when I was a child, I thought as a child... when I became a man, I put away childish things!" You no longer believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, do you? (I'm not sure what you will say to that, when I put it to mom, she said "yes, I do believe in Santa!").

Don't lump me into the "heathen-who-want-to-sin-all-the-time-atheist" Camp.
I am a much better person today, as a secular humanist, Agno-atheist, than I ever was as a 'man of God'. I love lots! I don't cheat on my wife! I don't judge others! I continue my search for truth! I probably have less 'SIN' in my life than anyone you know. I just don't call it sin and I'm not ready to relegate people to HELL for the crime of not believing a ludicrous, myth.

I would love to see you and T. and my precious mother come to the beauty of TRUTH and REALITY before you die.

I Love you all,

Danny

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Ex-Christian testimonials sought for new book

From Edward Babinski

Prometheus Books is interested in publishing a book of testimonies of college students who have left the fold, including the testimonies of founding members of the various freethought campus groups that have sprung up across the country in the last decade or so. There will also be room for testimonies by "leavers" from Christian colleges, even ex-seminarians. Though most of the contributors ought to still be fairly young. I am seeking intelligent, articulate and moving testimonies by young people who left the fold in college. I expect some may wish to remain anonymous which is fine; their name and the names of their church and family can be edited either before their submission or afterwards so that anonymity is maintained.

I hope to publish the most intelligent, articulate and/or moving testimonies in full length format along with a photo of the contributor (unless they wish anonymity), and also include quotations from the testimonies of the remaining submitters.

I am also seeking to speak with past founders and presidents of campus freethought groups for an introductory chapter on the HISTORY of the rise of campus freethought groups during the last two decades (or if not a complete history at least some of the most entertaining or moving anecdotes concerning the founding of such groups).

Edward T. Babinski (editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonines of Former Fundamentalists, Prometheus Books, 2003) email: <leonardo3@msn.com>

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Dallas filmaker seeking former Christians for documentary

Losing My ReligionImage by Auntie Shadrach via Flickr

From Randall Scott

In 1990, a Faith/Religion survey was taken by Adherents.com. In this survey, only 8% of the American population claimed to be ‘Nonreligious.’ However, the same survey taken in 2005 showed that 16% of the population claimed to be “Nonreligious.” The numbers of the ‘Nonreligious’ DOUBLED in just 15 years. If one goes up, something must come down.

In his "Untitled Short Doc," filmmaker Randal W Scott will peer into the hearts, minds, and souls of many valiant men and women who awakened from their dogmatic slumber and reject the religious indignation of Christianity and it’s teachings.

Open, safe, group discussions and individual interviews will give birth to the story. Randal will tap into the conscious, heroic life of Ex-Christians by exploring four main points:
  1. their previous religious lives
  2. the grueling de-conversion process,
  3. their frightening experiences of coming-out-of-the-closet to family and friends, and/or
  4. their post-religious lives.

The goal of the film is to help dismiss the mistaken, ill-informed notion adopted by a lot of Christians, that non-believers are evil and not to be trusted. Not only can they be trusted, but they are some of the most honest and intelligent people performing some of the most beautiful, benevolent acts of love and kindness.

Randal hopes to play this documentary at Film Festivals, Free Thinking organizations and churches, the Internet, friend’s homes, and any other mountain top that will have it.

If you are a former Christian; live within a couple hundred miles of Dallas, Texas; and would like to participate in this project, Randall can be contacted by email at <randalwscott@gmail.com>.

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