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Showing posts from August, 2006

The great depression

Tom had lost his faith. He felt a mild sense of euphoria at having rediscovered the freedom to think, to act, without fear of divine retribution and condemnation. He also felt apprehension that when he died, nothing would follow. There would be no heaven, no hell, no resurrection, no rapture — no life beyond the grave. When Tom breathed his last, he would be no more. At 25, when he’d first abandoned belief in God, death didn’t bother him. Lately, however, episodes of depression troubled him.

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Is it possible to de-convert Christians?

By an anonymous agnostic Baptist minister
From Infidels.Org

Two concepts few would ever find themselves combining into one are “Baptist minister” and “agnostic” – unless of course one is describing a debate of some kind. Keep them separate and they make sense, bring them together into one person and the dissonance begins. And yet, an agnostic Baptist minister is exactly what I am. How I came to this place from fundamentalist Christianity is a story in itself better told another time, and where my beliefs might end up is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, this is what I am today.

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Pastor sentenced to jail

FORT WORTH -- Terry Hornbuckle used to stand before thousands and preach the word of God.

On Monday, he stood silent in a Tarrant County courtroom and listened as one of the women he raped called him the devil.

"You are evil in every way," Kate Jones said defiantly. "You are truly pathetic in everyone's eyes."

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Saying goodbye

Saying Goodbye
By Ian

***

A few years ago, I was reading a strategy guide for the video game Dino Crisis and came across a quote near the back of the book. In the section of the game, the main character is fleeing a tyrannosaurs rex and has to fire grenades into it's face to slow it down. At the end of the section, the book says "After three or four grenades to the face, he'll (the T-rex) come to understand that some partings are inevitable, that even fleeting friendships help you grow as an individual, and that Regina's (the protagonist) haste to leave Ibis island is in no way a rejection of him personally."

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William Lane Craig versus Eddie Tabash Debate

Secular Humanism versus Christianity, Lawyer versus Theologian. Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig debated humanist atheist lawyer Eddie Tabash at Pepperdine University on February 8, 1999.

The debate was filmed and is now available on the net.


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CONNECTIONS:

A weekend intensive for moving beyond religious indoctrination and reclaiming a life of joy, creativity, and connection, led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D., author of Leaving the Fold: a Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. It will be held from Friday, Oct 13, 7PM to Sunday, Oct 15, 3PM in the Elmwood part of Berkeley, CA.

Authoritarian religious belief systems foster separation from self, others and the world. Recovery requires that these issues be seriously addressed. In addition to discussion, we will use experiential methods including art, guided visualization, movement, and role-play.

For more information, visit Marlene Winell's website at http://www.marlenewinell.net

Pastor arrested for not reporting alleged abuse of child

The pastor of a church on the northeast side (Houston Texas) was arrested late Wednesday afternoon. It came after a police investigation that lasted more than a month and a half.

Houston police say Pastor Robert Holmes knew about the abuse a 12-year-old boy was suffering, but did not report it to authorities. That boy is now living with other relatives. He sustained bruises, cuts and multiple broken bones, authorities say, at the hands of his father and stepmother.

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Pastor charged with sex assault

An Orangeville, Ont., pastor has been charged by the Toronto police sex crimes unit in relation to sexual assaults of a woman between 1997 and 2005.

Police allege at the time of the offences, the suspect was a United Church minister at the Manor Road United Church in Toronto and Mono Mills United Church in Orangeville.

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Why I Left: Problems and Unanswered Questions Regarding Christianity and theism

Sent in by Benjamin Anderson

My childhood and early teen years revolved significantly around Christianity. I was raised by two Lutheran parents, attending church at least once a week, praying before meals and bedtime, and celebrating all the important Christian holidays. By the time I turned 16, (over 4 years ago) I had gone through a lengthy process of expunging my faith in God, Jesus and Christianity. Too many problems with piled up; too many questions were left unanswered. The result, although far from immediate, was me settling upon atheism as the most accurate set of beliefs regarding the realities of our world.

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I need some advice...

From Jessica

First of all, I just wanted to thank the Webmaster for this incredible, insightful, informative, encouraging website. It has been a life saver for me.

I left the church 6 years ago and have found the most difficult part of all this is dealing with my family. I love them very much, that’s the problem. I can’t just walk away from them even though sometimes I wish I could.

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James Randi on Faith Healing

James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, August 7, 1928 in Toronto, Ontario), more often known as The Amazing Randi, is a stage magician and skeptic, best known as a debunker of pseudoscience. He is perhaps most known for the One Million Dollar Challenge, in which his James Randi Educational Foundation will award a prize of one million USD to anyone who is able to demonstrate any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties. He has appeared on the television programs The Tonight Show and Bullshit!, which is hosted by fellow skeptics and magicians Penn & Teller.

His interest in debunking the paranormal started when he was in his early teens. He has also been credited with exposing Reverend Peter Popoff's fraudulent faith healing schemes in 1987.

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The Theory Has Holes

sent in by a Pennsylvanian agnostic

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for 12 years. I was obsessed with the idea that praying to Jesus was the only solution to every worry in life. He was my hero. What I was taught about Christianity is that it's about love, kindness, and self-sacrifice and getting rewarded with your own personal invisible super hero who will protect you through life and reward you after you die. The first part are good ideas to live by, but what gets mixed into that is magical properties that seemed to work all the time a few thousands years ago, yet you never see work today.

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Man cooks up the Virgin Mary on the grill

Some have seen her in toast, in trees, even potato chips. Now one Glendale man says the Virgin Mary is in his refrigerator.

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Joy in tribulation

by Ian

Recently, a Billy Graham tract arrived in my mailbox called "Joy in tribulation". Looking through it, I chuckled at some of what it said.

While I may not personally agree with Mr. Graham's approach to spirituality, I must admit that he is dedicated to his views and his ideas. But then again, so am I.

With that in mind, I decided to…ahem…adapt and rewrite his own brochure into something new, in the vein of my own views. Here is the end result.

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Sam Harris at Idea City '05

Sam Harris (born 1967) is an American author with an interest in neuroscience, neurotheology, and religion. His book The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction,[1] and his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, Free Inquiry magazine, and Playboy. He also appeared in the 2005 documentary film, The God Who Wasn't There.

A philosophy graduate from Stanford University, Harris has made a long study of both Eastern and Western religious traditions. He lives in New York City, and is currently pursuing research into the neural basis of religious belief. He is a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post and Truthdig.

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Unsure With Many Doubts

I really don't know where to start. I was a serious Christian when I turned 19, I think. (Of course I have heard since I am not sure of the exact date of my conversion, then I must not be really saved). I went to a spirit-filled church for five years and to other denominations before that. I stayed in the spirit-filled church because my pastor was, or is, a "prophet", or had a prophetic type gift. I was going through really hard times (emotionally).

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The truth hurts, sometimes

sent in by Carolyn

How I wish there had been a world-wide web when I was a kid trying to sort this out.

I grew up in a nice French-Canadian Catholic family, though there were some complications. My grandfather had an objection to the church itself, so my immediate family was Anglican (as close as you can get without the same hierarchy).

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Calling UK exChristians

I have been reading this site for sometime, and really value the fact there are others out there who are in the same boat as me. I am now convinced, after years of doubt, that Christianity is not true. I now face the huge and scary task of unpicking my life so I can be honest with everyone whilst still maintaining treasured family relationships.

I would really like to pen pal some people via email about all of this- any takers?

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Christian-Related Fraud

Randall W. Harding sang in the choir at Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, Calif., and donated part of his conspicuous wealth to its ministries. In his business dealings, he underscored his faith by naming his investment firm JTL, or "Just the Lord." Pastors and churchgoers alike entrusted their money to him.

By the time Harding was unmasked as a fraud, he and his partners had stolen more than $50 million from their clients, and Crossroads became yet another cautionary tale in what investigators say is a worsening problem plaguing the nation's churches.

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The price is worth it

sent in by Cad

Jesus didn't die for my sins; I didn't give him permission.

I attended three church services a week for over 20 years, and have read the Bible at least ten times, with about a quarter of it memorized. I told myself I had experienced a relationship with Jesus, but really it was a relationship with my ego.

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The paradigm shift

sent in by don't-know-what-I-believe

Growing up I was a child prone to deep thoughts and depression. My family life did not help matters as there was much violence and strife in my home. I remember getting very depressed when I was around 11yrs old as I would think about God, existence, how the universe came to be. My big fear was that I would cease to exist and that the whole universe would one day cease to be.

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A long journey

sent in by Rachel

I was raised in a Christian family and my mother remains one of the people I respect most in the world. A desire to please her, and a natural child-like acceptance of what I was taught in, I do believe, good faith, led me to 'give my heart to Jesus' at 8 years old. My parents became disillusioned with the congregational church they then attended and moved to the Brethren shortly after my own conversion. Thus the religious influences on my adolescent years were strict and uncompromising; I had to cover my head in services and was expected to submit to male authority.

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Fear leads to the Dark side

sent in by Dan

I became a Christian as a result of a burnout on drugs (hash,opium) that I had at the ripe old age of 16 while living in Europe. After experiencing a great deal of paranoia and instability, I encountered a pastor of a newly developing church called International Christian Fellowship. Basically this was a spin-off of the Assemblies of God, made for the European market.

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Deception

I grew up in the baptist church. My grandmother used to take me along with her to most of the services when I was younger. The pastor at that time had a job. He did not feel it a crime to do repairs on the church himself, with his own hands. He did not hold service all day and beg for money as the pastors do now.

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Waking up from the nightmare

sent in by Gretchen

I've always been a people pleaser. No matter what it was, I would do it. I guess that's why it was so easy for me to fall into the trap of Christianity. I remember my conversion well. I was attending vacation bible school and had been listening to this woman talk about Jesus' love and sacrifice for us. How he didn't want us to go to hell. How we were not worthy, but if we let him into our heart, he would come in and wash all of our sins away.

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Pastor accused of rape, assault, drugs, and child porn

A TEENAGER from Summerstrand broke down in tears as she was asked to identify herself and other women in an album of hard-core pornography handed in as evidence in a string of charges ranging from rape, indecent assault, drug abuse and the making of child pornography against a well-known Summerstrand church pastor, who is her stepfather.

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Pastor pleads guilty

FLINT MICH - The pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church pleaded guilty to several charges Monday and faces a Sept. 18 sentencing before Genesee Circuit Judge Judith A. Fullerton.

The Rev. Derrick A. Aldridge, 51, of Flint pleaded guilty to improper possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a 90-day misdemeanor, and possession of cocaine, a 4-year felony.

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A letter to a friend who is a fundy and jokingly told me last night I was going to hell...

sent in by Shellie

Dear Rog,

Please note that I fully understand your commitment to religion, Jesus and the Bible and I mean you no disrespect. As I have said, for most of my life I was very much the same way. I took years for me to fully accept that Christianity is (in my opinion) very misguided and well, wrong.

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Calvinism Explains Everything...and Nothing

By John W. Loftus

Matthew, a fellow Blogger with me on Debunking Christianity wrote:
"But is it always rational to accept a simpler theory? It is true that simpler theories always have greater explanatory scope. But there is a point where a theory can have too much explanatory power in which it explains everything, and actually doesn't really explain anything because there is no observation or fact which it cannot explain. Such a theory, having too much explanatory power ceases to be a simple theory and becomes simplistic."

I liked what Matthew said so much that I want to use it as a basis for making an argument against Calvinism, if I can.

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Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

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a man and his God

sent in by Someone

I was a "Christian" for as long as I could remember. One of my earliest memories was talking with my grandmother one night -- I must have been four or five -- and asking her about Jesus. As we talked she told me she had something called a prayer language, which gave her the ability to speak in tongues. I asked her if I could hear her speak that way, and she did. Then I asked her how I could have one too. She told me that you receive a prayer language when receive the holy spirit, and that you receive the holy spirit when you asked Jesus into you heart. So like a good little girl, I asked Jesus into my heart and waited for my prayer language. Nothing happened. I went back and asked my grandmother what happens if you don't ever receive the holy spirit and she told me that you go to hell. She then proceeded to describe, in vivid detail, what hell was like.

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I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger...

sent in by Robert

Both my parents were raised Catholic, and just like most Christians I've met, had never thought twice about it. It was always 'the way things are' even if they didn't quite live according to the doctrine. Like all children, I believed what I was told, and when any question regarding how the Earth was made or why we were here, or why something was the way it was, I was immediately referred to the Bible by my mother.

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What's the best way to leave fundamentalism?

sent in by Mike

I'd be grateful if anyone could tell me the best ways of coping with leaving fundamentalism.

I've been a Christian for 23 years, mainly in the charismatic movement. But after several years of increased doubting about the inerrancy of the bible, I've reached the stage where I can't go on any further.

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Pastor jailed over 'slave wages'

A church leader who illegally shipped South African workers to the Isle of Man and paid them "slave wages" has been jailed for three months.

Pieter Van Rooyen, 46, admitted breaking immigration laws by providing false documents to help five labourers get through immigration controls.

The pastor faked invites to a business course when they were actually renovating his luxury home.

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Pastor's Wife Charged With Assault

Calls into the 911 Newport Arkansas Dispatch describe what happened with a pastor’s wife during church.

Dispatch: (Phone rings) "911 Emergency Services."

Caller: "I'm up here at the Pentecostal Church on Dill Street behind USA Drugs. There's a woman up here who’s got a gun."

Dispatch: "A gun...all right, we'll send an officer."

And with that, Newport police arrived at the Pentecostal Church of God for what was anything but your typical church service.

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