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Showing posts from September, 2006

Untroubled self

I was raised as a Conservative Baptist and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 7. I would have done it earlier—not because I believed I was a sinner, but for a more innocent motivation. I felt sorry for our pastor. At the end of every sermon, with a soft, droning and pleading voice he would ask for someone, anyone, to just “raise their hand”. I was more than happy to comply and raised my hand as often as I could while my mother calmly kept pulling my hand back down. Eventually I reached the ‘age of accountability’, my raised hand was deemed (finally!) acceptable, I was saved and promptly baptized. I did love Jesus (for Yes, Jesus loves me) and so it was.

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Finding my way back to church -- and getting kicked out: The struggle over what it means to be Christian today

by Robert Jensen

This past year, after decades of steadfastly avoiding churches of all kinds, I returned to church. Ironically, and completely by coincidence, I returned to a Presbyterian church, the denomination in which I was raised and to which I swore -- in both senses of the term -- I would never return. But return I have, prodigally perhaps, depending on one’s position on various doctrinal issues, which we will get to tonight in due time.

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When Moderation is a Bad Idea

by J. C. Samuelson

Otherwise rational people who look to ancient manuscripts for moral instruction inevitably do so within the framework of modern ethics. Modern ethical norms grease the wheels for the student of ancient morality, allowing the acceptance of certain doctrines that seem timeless while rejecting others that seem barbaric. Generally speaking, this is a perfectly reasonable approach to the study of ancient moral philosophy. Unfortunately, such an approach becomes unreasonable once an ancient manuscript is believed to be the product of divine authorship, applicable to all people in all ages.

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Schizophrenic Faith

Sent in by Kristina

I had the kind of faith that was coined as "childlike." My mom (a Christian) would remark on it often, saying she wished she had my kind of faith. That is funny, considering where I am now. I started going to church at the age of 10. I actually enjoyed it, and I used to beg my parents to go. Why? I don't know. I didn't even really have a relationship with God.

Then all of a sudden things got very serious.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Tyrone Williams

The Bible is a book of vile trash. From cover to cover, Old Testament and New, from the mouths of Moses, Jesus or Paul, the “word of God” is an “inspired” mish-mash of instructions and commandments that promote MURDER, GENOCIDE, RAPE, ABORTION, INFANTICIDE, SLAVERY, HATRED, MISOGYNY, MANIFEST DESTINY, CONQUEST, INTOLERANCE, RACISM, BIGOTRY, CLASSISM, IGNORANCE, GULLIBILITY, SELF-MUTILATION, THE BELIEF IN MAGIC and just about every IMMORAL and HEINOUS DEPRAVITY a sick mind can imagine. And there is not one HONEST person, who has read the Bible, who can deny this fact.

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Atheist group opposes campaign ad set in church

"To our knowledge, this is the first time a partisan political ad has been produced using the backdrop of a church," said Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, in a statement. "It's part of a larger and disturbing trend where candidates are invoking religion in order to woo constituencies and win elections."

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Females, Gays, and Other Samaritans

This post is excerpted from The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth. (www.lulu.com/content/220355.)

There is nothing respecting which a man may be so long unconscious of as
the extent and strength of his prejudices.
—Francis Jeffrey1


Several of the writers of the Bible didn't care much for females. More than one thought homosexuals were vile. Some considered foreigners to be slightly less human than God’s Chosen People.

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No, I wouldn't burn a nun alive

From James van Aarde

I simply don’t know where to start. This is not exactly a story of de-conversion and I apologize if this is the wrong place to post this – If anything is certain it’s that the very act of writing this will make me feel a little better about the awful things I have witnessed tonight.

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My story beyond Christianity

Sent in by Jennifer

My grandparents raised me to be the model Christian. They had me in church from the time I was 15 months old all the way up to the time I left home. I was involved in all the youth groups, but I never felt comfortable enough to tell others how to get "saved". I felt that it was a personal choice for a person to make. I started noticing all the hypocrisy in the church when I was around 12 years old. Our church broke up because of some things that were said. It never got back to normal. We were one of the largest churches in that town and then we went to having a total of maybe 20 members.

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Pastor Accused Of Defrauding DOE

CLEVELAND Oh — A well-known Cleveland-area pastor has been accused of defrauding the state’s Department of Education of $2.2 million.

The is a well-known pastor who works with ex-convicts.

Olds, 56, of Solon, is charged with conspiracy, money laundering and mail fraud in connection to his operation of a now-closed charter school, Cleveland Academy of Math, Science and Technology. Olds was the developer of the charter school.

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Pastor convicted of having sex with children

A Columbus, Ohio pastor was found guilty of three sex charges with children Friday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, and may learn his sentence on Monday.

The Rev. Maurice L. Jackson, pastor of New Generation Church, 1173 Essex Ave., had been accused of having sexual contact about nine years ago with a girl who then was 7 or 8 and engaging in sex about eight years ago with a relative who then was about 14. Jackson was 22 when the latter offense was said to have occurred.

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Atheist Pride

By David Horton

Much talk on the Left in recent years about how the Right have been able to co-opt religion for their own evil purposes. And endless answers from leaders of the Left, about how progressive politicians should proudly talk about their religious faith. And they do; and are shown obediently trooping into churches, bibles under arms, and then meeting pastors, and sitting in front rows staring adoringly up at the preachers just as the rest of the congregation is doing.

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Rewriting our religious history

By B.J. Paschal — a Christian

Why are many religious conservatives obsessed with invoking the Founding Fathers? That is, why is there such a brisk book trade in re-examining the founders’ lives? For the religious conservatives, the fight is about proving that America was set up as a Christian nation. And their efforts to rewrite American history are paying off, since a recent Pew Forum survey found that 67 percent of Americans believe this falsehood.

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I think for myself now!

Sent in by John

Where do I begin? I guess at the beginning...

My mother raised me in a Christian environment. We went to church, and I heard all the scare-stories of Satan and hell, and being so young and impressionable (this was around 3rd grade), I saw other children crying and scared at the altar, so I decided I needed to be 'saved' also. I think I was saved around 3 times, and even as so young a child I remember wondering what all the hoop-la was about, because although I was sincere, I felt absolutely nothing.

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“Would Jesus Wear a Rolex™?”

By Tyrone Williams

I love comedians and I love parody songs. I love them because with biting sarcasm and cunning insight they are capable of exposing the ugly truth of things even the most stubborn person can’t ignore nor deny. And they're just plain funny!

Take for example one of my all-time favorite comedic instigators, Ray Stevens. Long before Weird Al Yankovic came along, Ray Stevens pioneered the field of comedy songs with such classics as “The Streak”, “Ahab, the Arab”, “It’s Me Again, Margaret” and “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex™?” It’s the latter song to which I call your attention. It begins like this:

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Leaving the "saints"

Sent in by Kelsie

I grappled for years over whether or not I was living the "Christian life" or if I was even saved at all! I grew up in a highly aristocratic Baptist church that seemed busy teaching the perils of alcohol while allowing members of the Sunday School class to underage drink with rare abandon. From there, the myth of the "Christian life" just began unraveling.

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Pastor Faces Sex Charges

The pastor of a Winston-Salem NC church has been indicted by a Burke County grand jury on charges of sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl, according to Burke County authorities.

Gregory Michael Butler Sr., 45, of Winston-Salem, was arrested in Forsyth County and returned to Burke County on Tuesday afternoon.

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A deeply pissed off ex-Christian

Hello, First of all may I thank you for your site. As a deeply pissed off ex-Christian myself, it is excellent to finally find a community of people who think as I do. It has made me laugh and feel better about myself, and has armed me to the teeth against the Christians I am currently surrounded by.

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An Ex-Christian suffering from guilt

Sent in by J.G.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist home. Always fearing the "fire and brimstone" I was warned of, I - as you can imagine a young scared child would do - accepted Christ as my personal savior, albeit I hadn't the entire idea of what that meant. So I grew up calling myself a Christian cuz I felt like I had to because of pressure to go to church or to be a good Christian from church and family.

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The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ignored

by Tyrone D. Williams

Without question my favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz. From the black and white beginning in Kansas, to the colorful world of Oz. From the mundane antics of the farm hands and the natural threat of Miss Elmira Gulch, to the comic buffoonery of Dorothy’s new friends and the supernatural threat of the Wicked Witch of the West, I find The Wizard of Oz a marvelous tale of timeless delight for both young and old. I never get tired of watching that flick.

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Why Don't Christians Argue This Way Much Anymore?

By John W. Loftus

People in Biblical times defended God against the problem of evil by blaming themselves and their own sins for the natural disasters that God sent on them. They believed God controls all natural happenings (Ex. 12:23,29,30; 32:35; Num. 11:33; 16:46-50; 25:18; 2 Sam. 24:15-16). Why don’t very many Christians today use this same response to exonerate God for natural disasters? In ancient times, disasters were usually explained in only one way: God was upset with people because of their sins. And that’s the explanation we find most often in the Bible, although there are a few notable exceptions (Job; Luke 13; John 9). But even here we see a God who could do anything with the world of nature that he wanted to do without regard for the ordered world and laws of nature.

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A burden is lifted

Sent in by Warin

Well, my name is Warin and I've been raised Christian from birth. Every Sunday we went to church, we learned about how God is in heaven and he's always watching us, protecting us, and loving us. And some day when we die, we go to a golden city of light. But if you're bad, you go to hell and burn for all eternity. It made me feel good as a young child about the Heaven aspect of religion, but the hell part always left me a bit uneasy. I wondered why a God who loves his children would send the naughty ones to a bit of fire and brimstone.

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Is Evolution keeping us superstitious?

From The Times

HUMANS have evolved over tens of thousands of years to be susceptible to supernatural beliefs, a psychologist has claimed.

Religion and other forms of magical thinking continue to thrive — despite the lack of evidence and advance of science — because people are naturally biased to accept a role for the irrational, said Bruce Hood, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol.

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Atheist after reading the Bible

Sent in by Susan

I was raised Catholic. My whole family still believes in the Church. My dad is even a "Knight of Columbus."

As a child, I was afraid there was no God. I was always doubting. But since my parents believed, I assumed there must be a god, even though I couldn't see him. I sometimes felt uplifted at church.

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Death to the Infidel!

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31

It is well-known that the spread of religious ideas has often been facilitated by the threat of force. Economic, social, political, or physical force (violence) has been exercised by and upon nearly every religion in history. In the name of God, our ancestors exterminated entire communities and even cultures, using scripture and traditional doctrine as justification.

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Major flaws in the Creationist argument

By John Paulos

A recent international study in the journal Science by Professor Jon Miller of Michigan State University and his associates finds that a growing number of Americans do not believe in the theory of evolution.

In fact, the survey of 32 European nations and Japan reveals that only Turkey has a higher percentage of its citizens rejecting Darwin.

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Pastor sued — affair alleged

NORFOLK Va - A Baptist minister who was ousted as pastor at a prominent Berkley church earlier this year now faces civil lawsuits accusing him of financial and sexual improprieties.

The allegations have shaken the congregation of the nearly 80-year-old Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

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Putting away Christianity

Sent in by Ellis

I grew up in a Christian home and at a young age always believed in God and Jesus. I always loved the Bible stories that they told at Sunday school and loved to pray. I was always on and off from church-going and its activities, but gradually faded away from it once I was close to graduating from Elementary school. Prior to graduation, I went on some church retreats and attended Bible studies from time to time, but none of it really meant anything to me. No one even bothered to explain why we believed what we did.

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The New Naysayers

Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and many other atheists are attacking superstition in a public way and it's pissing-off some religious folk. Ironically, for generations religious fundamentalists — Christians, Muslim, and Hebrew, in varying degrees at different times in history — have been killing, waging war, committing acts of terrorism, subverting individual freedoms, violating human rights, and openly declaring an intent to take over the world. Is it time for a strong and vocal non-theist movement to stand up to these bullying religious fanatics, or is that just going too far?

Well, Newsweek thinks that anyone who criticizes religion is... well, just read it:

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Left Christianity

Sent in by Yolanda

I have decided to leave Christianity, alone.

As you can guess that doesn't sit to well with my family. I was on the phone today talking to my cousin, who was basically trying to convince me that I have made some sort of mistake. She is telling me that I have a spirit of confusion because I let some books change the way I used to think. She all but cussed me out and called me a demon. She did nothing but yell and scream at me.

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Jesus Camp

There's a new documentary coming out this month showing children being drilled on the evils of homosexuality, being told that prayer in school is necessary for effective teaching, and being made to beleive that America is responsible for the deaths of fifty million innocent children since 1973. The childrens' families even travel to Washington to protest in front of the Supreme Court building.

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Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief

Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief (also known as Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief) is a 2005 documentary series conducted by Jonathan Miller for the BBC tracing the history of Atheism.

The series includes extracts from interviews with various academic luminaries including Arthur Miller, Richard Dawkins, Steve Weinberg, Colin McGinn, Denys Turner and Daniel Dennett. The series also includes many readings from the works of atheist, agnostic and deist thinkers, read by Bernard Hill, and has an original percussion score by Evelyn Glennie.

Each episode lasts 60 minutes.

Part I

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Pastor confesses to murder

SWEDEN — In an interview with TV4's news programme Nyheterna, Knutby pastor Helge Fossmo has admitted involvement in the murder of his wife in their home in 2004. Fossmo also said that several others were involved in the crime.

"I feel that I have recovered. I lived a lie and I don't want to do that any longer," he said as an explanation for his confession.

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Pastor casts out demons with a rod of power

LEONARD RAY OWENS FORTWORTH -- A 63-year-old pastor accused of raping a church member last year during a ceremony to cast out demons has been indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury.

Leonard Ray Owens, who is free on $25,000 bail, is now awaiting trial on a charge of sexual assault -- a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

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My Life as a Christian and How I Got Over It

sent in by twincats

I was born into a Lutheran family, an only child. I grew up in a Southern California congregation with Midwestern values. My first memory of church is probably around age four, sitting in the pew in awe and wonder because God was up there, speaking to us. I believed that the pastor was actually God who’d come down from heaven. My mother didn’t work and since I was the only child, she had plenty of time to coach me about sitting quietly in church and listening to the word of God and who else but God is going to give His word?

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