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Showing posts from December, 2005

Religious Discrimination Continues in the Military

by Wayne Adkins

The United States military has gone to great lengths to accommodate soldiers from a variety of religious backgrounds. They provide dietary alternatives, a variety of chaplains and printed materials from every major religion. They have gone as far as accommodating Wiccan rituals and allowing open Satan worship on military bases and ships. But there is one group of soldiers that the military has turned its back on.

Atheists are still openly disparaged by chaplains in today’s military. Chaplains continue to perpetuate the myth that there are no atheists in foxholes despite the fact that atheists are serving honorably right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The military’s response has been to simply ignore it.

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Walker Between Worlds

sent in by Sigrun Odinsdottir

I have bipolar disorder, and have been in and out of institutions for the past 3 years. My last experience with a psych facility, I was in for a year and a half, residential, and I won't name names because I don't want to get sued, but most of the staff was born-again Christians. At this time I had been practicing Asatru, which is Norse neo-paganism (www.asatru.org), for five and a half years. I was not allowed to have my Freyja statue or my runes, although another resident was allowed to have a breakable crucifix. Well, after you hear that you and your religion are evil umpteen times a day every day, you are going to break under pressure. On September 27, 2005, i "received Christ as my lord and savior", renounced Asatru, and proceeded to dispose of $1000 worth of books and ritual items (thank the gods that I had more in storage at my mom's house, where I now live). Then the brainwashing began.

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Fantasy versus Reality

sent in by Angie

I was raised in a devout Catholic family. We went to Mass every Sunday, and said the Rosary every evening. I had doubts as early as nine or ten. This was about the age when I started to separate fantasy from reality. I started to realise that magic, dragons, fairy tales, Santa Claus, storks delivering babies, etc. were simply fantasy. I couldn't help but throw religion into the fantasy category.

Yet, I was confused because unlike dragons and fairy tales the adults around around me took religion very seriously. Like with Santa, I thought maybe everyone was pretending to believe for the sake of us kids. I actually asked my mother one day if God was make believe and got into trouble. Then I realised that, yes, God was real.

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A pastor no more

sent in by former pastor

left the church and Christianity two years ago.

I had been a Christian since the age of eight when, out of fear of hell, I prayed to Jesus to forgive me.

My family had only intermittent contact with the church over the next 12 years, but at the age of 20 I had what I believed was a real conversion experience (more so than my fearful prayer as a child) and began an 18 year ’adventure’ in Christianity and the church.

I believed I was called to minister, so much of this time was taken up with bible college, one-to-one studies and tutoring, mentor ships and so on, and then with my own teaching, serving on church boards, serving as a deacon, and culminating with becoming a pastor.

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Ex-Lutheran minister sentenced in sex case

Kristen Rasmussen
@PensacolaNewsJournal.com


A former local minister was sentenced Wednesday to nearly three years in state prison, despite his plea that he is not a pedophile and "still has much to give" to the community.

Michael Anthony Harris, 43, stood expressionless as Circuit Judge Nick Geeker sentenced him to two years and 10? months. Harris pleaded no contest last month to third-degree felony charges of attempted lewd or lascivious battery and using a computer to solicit the sexual conduct of a crime. He was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing.

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Durham pastor sentenced to a year for luring children

link

A Durham pastor has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to lure a child for a sexual liaison.
Kenneth Wayne Symes, 36, of Whitby, will serve just a few more months after being given two for one credit for the four and a half months he's been in custody since his arrest last summer, a source with Durham Regional Police said. Mr. Symes, pastor at the Ajax Alliance Church, will also serve a three-year term of probation.

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Ex-pastor faces up to 10 years in prison

Carol Sowers
The Arizona Republic


A former pastor who once preached against leniency for thieves, could spend up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from parishioners.

Patrick A. Shetler, 49, was indicted on one count of felony theft for allegedly stealing between $25,000 and $100,000 from parishioners of the Glass and Garden Community Church between February 2004 and July 2005.

Shetler, who is not in custody, is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Courtroom 501 of the Maricopa County Superior Court, 201 W. Jefferson St.

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The Amazing Jesus Of Nazareth

A short skit by Rowan Atkinson illustrating Christian gullibility.

(Click here to view...)

hard to breathe

sent in by MJ

I am new to this site. I posted a testimony. It's in the recent articles.

Sometimes just thinking about what has happened in the past 2 years makes it very hard to breathe. I went for so long with Christianity programmed into me that it's really hard. Do I still believe in God? I can't answer that. Sometimes I don't think I do. Sometimes I think He's there. I can't decide.

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Sodom and Gomorrah tract, another tract from Jesus Christ Arcade.com

from Rev Jeremiah

Hello everyone at exChristian.net... I have listened to your requests with an intense passion. I want to entetain you ALL as much as I possibly can! I want to thank you all for your honest input.

I have created a new comic / tract called Sodom and Gomorrah

It is my second tract, so I am getting the bugs out of my system, I hope you enjoy. I have also created a tract viewing system that resembles a gameboy to keep the arcade theme going, and to help make it user friendly...

(Click here for more...)

Texas District Adopts Disputed Text on Bible Study

By BARBARA NOVOVITCH

ODESSA, Tex., - Trustees of the Ector County Independent School District here decided, 4 to 2, that high school students would use a course published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools for studying the Bible in history and literature.

The council is a religious advocacy group in Greensboro, N.C., and has the backing of the Eagle Forum, a conservative organization.

The vote on the disputed textbook, for an elective Bible study course, has not ended the matter. Critics say the book promotes fundamentalist Protestant Christianity.

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Happy Yuletide Cheer

CHRISTMAS TIME IS PAGAN!
(sung to Gloria in Excelsius Deo or Angels We Have Heard on High)

Christmas time is here again,
Decorations everywhere.
Christmas carols ringing out,
We're ex-Christian, we don't care.

(Click here to hear and sing along with the rest of the song...)

Where was this 'god' when I needed him most?

sent in by Mark

I am a seminary graduate, so I know all the 'arguements' of these shallow, glassy-eyed hypocrites. I served as a 'lay leader' in a couple of churches for 15 years, often being hurt by those who most demanded that I pander to their spiritual 'needs'. Yet god was nowhere when:

1. My wife dies in my arms with cancer five years ago,,,

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Wife Of Pastor At Largest U.S. Church Asked To Leave Plane

link

Church Members Stand Behind Osteens

The FBI said the pastor of the nation's largest church and his family were kicked off a Continental Airlines flight to Colorado earlier this week.

The Rev. Joel Osteen of Houston's Lakewood Church, his wife, Victoria, and their two children had boarded a flight from Houston to Vail on Monday.

The plane's door had been closed when Victoria Osteen and a flight attendant had a disagreement.

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Did Jesus really say that?

link

Bart Ehrman, head of the religious studies department at UNC Chapel Hill, has written a new book, "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why."

Reading Life editor Jeri Krentz talked to him about the book's premise -- that ancient scribes changed the Bible and distorted Jesus -- and what it means to Christians. The interview was edited for clarity and length.

Q. You start your book with a story about your journey in understanding the Bible. It sounds as if you had an epiphany at Princeton Theological Seminary when your professor suggested that "... maybe (the gospel writer) Mark made a mistake."

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NEVER going back to the Churches of Christ

sent in by John

My story begins when I was three years old, my mother, who just left my father, rededicates herself to God through her connection to her church, The Church of Christ, and dedicates her children as a gift to God... This comes as some friends from this church help her to kick an amphetamine habit.

When I was nine, one Sunday morning in 1973, my mother explains to me that I must obey God today, that I was a "footstool of the Lord" and that I had no choice but to be baptized today... At church, she pushed me down the aisle, but I told the minister my mother made me do this and asked him to talk to her... He lectured her about when a child was ready for baptism... My mother soon placed membership in another Church of Christ in the area and asked the minister and elders to talk with me.

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damaged

sent in by MJ

Where to begin...I'll start with what the word "Christian" meant to me
"Christ-like". I'd like to say that I was trying my hardest to be
Christ-like everyday since I was 8. I wanted to grow up and be in the
ministry. When I was 15 er so my church's pastor had an affair. I was a
little angry by the hypocrisy, but I knew that all 'sin' and who was I to
judge anyway. I watched that church split in half. Then a year later it
split again. Well shortly after that I found a different church in
Urbana to go to. I hoped that I would never experience that type of pain
again. After all, who was I to put a human on a pedestal?

I began to love that new church. After graduating from high-school
and when I was going to college I became a leader at that church's youth
group. I was the leader of the drama team there...

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The same old lies and Christian dribble

sent in by Jim T

Before I start I just want to let everyone know who has posted a comment or testimony by saying that you have really helped me sort out a lot of the thoughts and questions running through my mind. I think my testimony is similar to many others in here and I would like to share it with everyone.

First let me give you a little background to my story. I guess I can begin my story at about 6 years old. My family and I were living in a suburb outside of Detroit called Pontiac which many of you will be familiar with from the car. It was me, my mom, my brother, and my dad. Everything was going fine until my dad decided he wanted more out of life and struggling with his own personal issues succumbed to the bar life and drugs.

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Kitzmiller et al versus Dover Area School District

a report by Burt Humburg & Ed Brayton

On November 4, 2005, after 40 days and nights of testimony, the first evolution-Intelligent Design trial of the 21st century drew to a close in Federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While evolution trials in the 20th century had focused more on traditional creationism, Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District pit the teaching of evolution against a more legally sophisticated challenger, Intelligent Design (ID).

This morning, December 20, 2005, Judge John Jones III handed down his ruling against the teaching of Intelligent Design:

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

(Click h…

Court rejects 'intelligent design' in science class

link

"Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said.

Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.

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Does Religion Cause Immorality?

Original Article

By Alex Johnson Reporter MSNBC

The paper carries the daunting title “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies.” The writing is appropriately dry, but it is dry like tinder is dry, and when it was discovered, the tinder was set alight. Now it is burning hot under the skin of Christian believers and thinkers. This is what it finds:

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Christmas "battle" is really becoming annoying

sent in by Sarah

Ironically, I feel like the fundamental Christians are trying to take away Christmas/Holiday/Hannaukah (whatever you prefer to celebrate during this time of year) for the rest of us.

Anyone who studies the history of "Christmas" for even five minutes will learn that there are so many roots of the December celebration which go way beyond the birth of Christ (by the way, the actual day of his birth is still an unknown).

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Pastor is charged with sexually abusing teenager

link

He is the second leader at Redemption Christian Fellowship in Woodlawn to be charged in a month

By Nick Shields

For the second time in a month, a leader at a church in the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County has been charged with sexually abusing a teenager.
Gary Warren Warfield, described in court records as a deacon at Redemption Christian Fellowship, has been charged with sexually abusing a 17-year-old boy at the church. Last month, Gerald Fitroy Griffith, a pastor at the church, was charged with sexually abusing that boy and two other teenagers during counseling sessions.

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War on Christmas!

Beyond Belief Media declares war on Christmas

Last week Beyond Belief Media issued a press release declaring war on Christmas. Here are the first four paragraphs of this historic document:

Beyond Belief Media has formally declared war on Christmas, the December 25 holiday in which Christians celebrate the birth of the mythical figure Jesus Christ, the company announced today.

"Christian conservatives complain nonstop about the 'War on Christmas,' but there really isn't any such war," said Beyond Belief Media president Brian Flemming, a former fundamentalist Christian who is now an atheist activist. "So we have decided to wage one, to demonstrate what it would look like if Jesus' birthday were truly attacked."

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My Christian University experience

sent in by Mark

Well I grew up in an ultra fundamentalist home. Dad was a marine DI,
mom was a very involved Christian/homemaker. I was hit and abused as a
child. As I became a teen I was confused, attracted to other guys, and
told all gays were going to hell, my life was very sad. All through
high school I had sex with others at my school, and at church asked for
forgiveness. I was alone and very conflicted. I was close to suicide
often.

I applied for and was accepted to BIOLA (college) in 1977. I went to
the college, and was lodged in the all male (men and women were
separated) dorms. Living in such close proximity to so many other young (teen)
men, I became very sexual.

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Since my departure from "the faith"

sent in by "freedy"jackson

For 22 yrs I was a minister/Christian songwriter & keyboardist. Over this period I wrote over 200 crappy, sappy worship & praise songs...what a waste! In the last year I've been reading a lot of books like the Jesus mysteries, which expose the truth of the Jesus myth cycle. I've come to believe the bible to be a compilation of plagiarized myths & fictional history.

Now that I'm free from that patriarchal, tyrannical serial killer and torturer god of the bible...

(Click here for more...)

Accused pastor placed on 90-day suspension

By CAREN M. PENLAND
SPECIAL TO THE STAR-TELEGRAM


EULESS -- Methodist church officials placed a pastor accused of molesting a 21-year-old man on a 90-day suspension Tuesday, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Bishop Ben Chamness has called for a special meeting Dec. 14 of top officials of the 28-county Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church to discuss further disciplinary action against the Rev. James L. Finley, 68.

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Baptist pastor accused of raping Thai immigrant

link

PARMA, Ohio - The senior pastor of Parma Baptist Church in Cleveland's biggest suburb has been accused of raping a Thai immigrant and threatening to have her deported if she reported the crime.

Senior Pastor Richard G. Manning, 48, of Parma Heights, was arraigned Monday on a single felony rape count and was held on $100,000 bond to await a Thursday court hearing.

Manning arrived at the church in September after working for seven years in churches in the Oklahoma City area. Manning told police that before that he lived in Thailand for 15 years.

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Anglican priest guilty of sexual assaulting teen

By Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Rev. David Valencia pleaded guilty yesterday in Common Pleas Court to sexual assault stemming from a series of incidents in 2001 involving a high school junior he was counseling at church.

Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in prison and 5 years' probation. He also must register as a sex offender.

"We think that this is justice served," said the victim's father. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not identify victims of sexual assaults.

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Lynchburg Mayor/Methodist Church pastor accused of stealing money from a charity

Lynchburg Mayor Carl B. Hutcherson Jr. talked to reporters after appearing yesterday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. At right is his lawyer John P. Fishwick Jr.

Lynchburg Mayor Carl B. Hutcherson Jr., who faces a variety of fraud charges, said yesterday that he is "looking forward now to clearing my name.

"With family support and support from my friends, I'm just hanging in there," Hutcherson said, shortly after a brief hearing in U.S. District Court.

Hutcherson was arrested in Roanoke after voluntarily turning himself in yesterday morning to the FBI and U.S. marshals. He was fingerprinted and a mug shot was taken as part of the arrest process.

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FFRF draws criticism for holiday sign

by Carolyn Smith

A sign promoting the separation of church and state now accompanies the many holiday decorations at the State Capitol as of Friday.

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation posted their annual “Winter Solstice” sign in the first-floor rotunda area, which has been gracing the building for the past 10 years despite mixed reactions from those who visit the state’s seat of government.

The sign declares: “At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

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Comment notifications are off-line

The hosting company that provided our list-server for comment notifications is presently offline.

As a result, we no longer have the shout-box or the present comment notification of service that some site members have used to keep up with action on the site.

So, I've redirected comment notifications from the site to go through our Yahoo Email Group. The Yahoo group may not be able to tolerate the significantly large number of comments that get posted on this site, but if it works, that's what we'll have for awhile. If it doesn't work, I'll be working on setting up another listerv.

One thing nice about the Yahoo group is that you can set up your email notifications to be instant, once a day, or in a digest format.

If you don't already belong to the Yahoo Email Group, you can join here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/exchristian/.

Looking for volunteers

To whom it may concern,

My name is Simon, I'm researching a documentary film for Touch Productions, based in Bath, UK. We're trying to find stories about families that have been divided or broken due to religious conflict within the home. This might involve a split family, who haven't seen a daughter for ten years, or maybe a devout couple where one has a
dramatic change of faith.

(Click here for more...)

Still Holding On

sent in by J. Strong

For the past five years, I've struggled with making a decision.
Whether I should stay with Christianity or leave it alone. Over a period of
time, I've found that the religion I've once relied on has the
credibility of any children's fable. I go to church every week and sing in the
choir. The whole experience can be nerve racking because I feel like
I'm the only one saying "am I the only one hearing this garbage?". I
don't have any experiences of abuse or mistreatment by the church. As a
matter of fact, I've grown to respect, love and appreciate members of
the church. Especially those who have been a part of my life since the
very beginning.

(Click here for more...)

To all the "anonymous" posters!

When posting comments to these articles it is not necessary to register with Blogger nor is it necessary to post as anonymous. As with everything else in life, there are more than two choices, even when it comes to posting comments on this site.

How?

Well, when posting a comment, click on the radio button beside the word "OTHER."

When the radio button labeled "OTHER" is clicked, two text input areas appear - one for a name and one for a webpage. It is not necessary to give a webpage address, but a name can be typed – any name at all. Typing in some kind of name helps avoid the annoying confusion of having a half-dozen or so "anonymous" posts in a row.

Remember - there are always more than two choices. There is always the "OTHER" choice.

On the Path to Recovery

sent in by Kevin Smith

First of all, let me say how much I have enjoyed this website, and how encouraging it is to hear from others out there who have sacrificed the spirit of superstition at the alter of reason. I would especially like to thank this website for introducing me to the works of Thomas Paine. Secondly, writing this is part of a very difficult process for me. Working through these religous issues has not been easy, it has conjured up painful memories and forced me to relive them. One episode of the Sopranos said it best, Tony's psychiatrist likened the purging of painful memories to giving birth, Tony replied "no, it's definately like taking a shit". Well, anyway, maybe it's a good idea to start "In the beginning...".

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Life as a slinky

sent in by redwolfd

I'll admit it. I was a Christian at one point in my life. I will not lie to anyone and say that I did not think I was happy either. I was the typical Baptist bible thumping goody two shoes who always stood out as the example for other christians to follow after. I can remember in high school being the leader of teaching sessions to new christians teaching them how to act "proper" because it was more effective when someone who was the same age as the other kids who would show them what was "Christian". I was very good at being the person whom every young person should strive to be like.

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Kansas Anti-ID Professor Beaten

Original Article

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the reported beating of a Kansas University professor who gained recent notoriety for his Internet tirades against Christian fundamentalists.Kansas University religious studies professor Paul Mirecki reported he was beaten by two men about 6:40 a.m. today on a roadside in rural Douglas County. In a series of interviews late this afternoon, Mirecki said the men who beat him were making references to the controversy that has propelled him into the headlines in recent weeks.“I didn’t know them, but I’m sure they knew me,” he said.Mirecki said he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.“I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind,” he said. “They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out.”

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Trying to find peace in my soul

sent in by Thomas

I was born into a evangelical family. I became a Christian at age 12,
it was an enormous relief after years of being desperate to know I was a
Christian and no longer facing hell. Through my teenage years I was
100% convinced and read the Bible every day. I was persecuted at school
for my faith but always turned the other cheek when beaten up, which was
not a very successful strategy. At Univerisity I was president of the
Christian Union and led the "mission" to promote Christianity to the
lost students. Nothing made me happier than seeing people come to faith
and find salvation.

(Click here for more...)

On the eve of my ex-Christianity

sent in by anonymous

Practically from day one, I have been brainwashed by Christian schooling. Oh, I don't doubt that they had nothing but the best intentions, but that is beside the point. I went to a Christian elementary school, where I thought I had become saved at a very early age. There was however no joy or feeling of the spirit, etc...a fact which later caused me accept countless more salvations. Saved, not saved, saved, not saved....Let's not even go into the Tulip Principle. After elementary school, I (and of my own decision,unfortunatly) went to another Christian school. The former was Lutheran, this was Mennonite based, but really was a collection of the individual beliefs of each teacher. Upon arrival I noticed the startling difference in their worship,(you know...sappy, emotional music, hands raised, prayers said under the breath.

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Paintball spree was anti-occult, says pastor

link

Controversial Christian evangelist and pro-gun campaigner Peter Hammond confirmed he has been charged with assault after what he said was an anti-Hallowe'en spree with a paintball gun.

Hammond, director of the Cape Town-based Frontline Fellowship, an organisation dedicated to "missionary outreach", said he would appear in the Goodwood Magistrate's Court on December 20.

He said last night that he had not touched the gun that day, and that it was accidentally discharged by his 10-year-old son.

(Click here for more...)

Tickets for eternity cancelled!

sent in by Ryan

I have been educating myself on this forum for several months now. I must say, I have learned so much from everyone on this website and I truly appreciate the inspiration and comfort I receive.

To begin with, I was raised from day one into the Southern Baptist dogma and culture. I was always taught the Baptists had the right way and no others. Catholics? Going to Hell! I can remember as young as seven being stricken with fear as the preacher asked all the saved people of our church to come forward in the altar area to fellowship. My mother had informed me beforehand that I would not be going forward because I was not “saved” yet. Well, when everyone went forward I thought I was going to hell,

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Ex-C vs. Church, why this is better

by Dio

Ok, I've been here a little over a year, fresh from my deconversion. This Sunday as I woke up and once again did not go to church, I logged into this site and came to the realization that this place has become my congregation, my assembly, my 'unchurch'. As I considered this, I also realized how much better this is than my old conventional church. For example at ex-C, there is:

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New US textbook aims to teach Bible as knowledge

By Alan Elsner

Since the U.S. Supreme Court banned the promotion of religion in public schools in 1963, the Bible has virtually disappeared from most American classrooms.

But in recent years, as evangelical Christians have grown in numbers and gained political clout in the United States, Bible studies have been creeping back into schools.

(Click here for more...)

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