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Showing posts from April, 2009

I am also a survivor

A letter from Todd

Image by HuNo (On & Off) via FlickrThanks!

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.

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Sent in by Agnosticator

When I was 17 and naive, the Christians came knocking upon the door of my mind, persuading me to join the ship of fools for Christ. I thought we were embarking upon an upward journey to the city where the streets are paved with gold. Reality dictated otherwise. My journey did an about face when I realized the streets are paved with pyrite, or fool's gold!

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God Can Be Googled, but The Way to God is The Story

Image by xaimex via FlickrThe following is a vlog by U2bian Synic with a response by ChuckyJesus. The description in the video should be self-explanatory, but just to warn you, U2bian Synic starts out with some expletives (the F word)

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What made me finally start thinking

Sent in by Ryan P

Image by ::: Billie / PartsnPieces ::: via FlickrI was born in New Orleans Louisiana as a Catholic. I attended Catholic School until I was in the third grade when my parents decided to move to a rural area 1.5 hours north of the city. Though not that far away, the difference in religious belief was staggering. I had entered the Bible Belt.

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Why I left the Christian faith

Sent in by Mitchy

Image via WikipediaI’ve not been a Christian now for over 20 years, since 1988. Church was not a very important part of my childhood, as my parents stopped going to church (they were Methodist) when I was about 4 years old. My mother in particular was rather cynical about organized religions, believing they were only in it for the money. Still, I was somewhat fascinated with Christianity as I grew up and kept reading the bible. I became enthralled with the stories of heaven, eternity, and biblical prophecies, and truly wanted to do what was right and good. By the time I was a teenager, I had accepted Jesus and Christianity and started going to different Protestant churches with friends. However, the seeds of doubt and skepticism started growing when I was in high school.

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Faith and the Chair Argument

By Neal Stone

Image by Getty Images via DaylifeWhen Christians go out “witnessing” they often will challenge someone who isn't interested with the chair argument. The idea is if you resist faith in god, then they say use the chair argument saying that “you have faith to sit in the chair”.

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Questioning my reality

Sent in by Jason

Image by eylon via FlickrI was born into a strict Christian family that followed a cult-like version of Christianity that was similar to the Seventh-day Adventists, called the Worldwide Church of God. There was a heavy emphasis on the Old Testament and so my brother and I grew up in a pretty sheltered life, attending the church-ran elementary school. We didn't know better, as it was all we knew. Sure the occasional childhood 'why?' popped up, but there was always a bullshit answer that, coupled with the reassurance of our parents and our whole social bubble, there never was a reason to truly question the teachings. Besides, the bible said we were right and everyone else was going to burn in the lake of fire while we enjoyed eternal life. Man, what a sham. Eventually, in my rebellious teens I finally waved the bullshit flag when the church began to question a few of its prior teachings. I saw a crack in the facade of Christianity and began to feel real anger…

Why We Believe in Gods - Andy Thomson - American Atheists 09

Image by Phil Dragash via FlickrDr. Andy Thomson gives his talk entitled 'Why We Believe in Gods' at the American Atheist 2009 convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Thomson is a psychiatrist in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has a private practice of general psychiatry and forensic psychiatry as well as serving as a staff psychiatrist at the University of Virginia's Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy and the Counseling and Psychological Services of the University of Virginia Student Health Services. Born in Washington, D.C. he received his B.A. degree from Duke University and his M.D. from University of Virginia School of Medicine. Robert Wright's book The Moral Animal introduced him to the emerging discipline of evolutionary psychology. It is that new lens of evolutionary psychology that informs his recent work on a comprehensive psychological formulation of suicide terrorism.

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Waking up

Sent in by Kate W

Image by ericarhiannon via FlickrMy family was never really very religious when I was growing up. My father would randomly take me and my two siblings to church, but he beat my mother so it's not like he was instilled with values. When my mom left him, we moved far away and she never made us go to church at all. My father's side of the family is very Christian and whenever we visited him in the summer we were made to go to Sunday school and church service. When I started making friends after moving to a new state, some were church-going. I would tag along with them. Eventually, I started going to one Methodist church in particular. Mostly because my friends did too. I then became baptized as a Methodist.

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Evangelicals do more harm than good

By Mriana

Image via WikipediaA few days ago, I went to work and when I got there, I started spouting off about Christians. Then the other day Valerie made a post and off I went again on another rant (she can take it, I’m sure), once again and in part due to her encouragement, I am yet again writing (people want me to write, yet I’m a starving artist). This time it is a rant and the outcome of both incidents. Ah, well… maybe it will do someone some good. Maybe me, if I can get out of my cynical mood.

In response to my rant at work, a younger co-worker said, “Oh tell me about it!”

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Rational delusions

By European House Sparrow

Image by Ennor (unwell-resting) via FlickrI've always been a rational person. Educated in math and science, you wouldn't find the likes of me writhing around in a church and speaking in tongues. But yet I believed.

I believed because that is what I, and most all of us here in the Bible Belt, were told from the minute we are born. I believed because all my family, friends, and relatives believed. I believed because all you hear in this culture is that the great deceptive power of evil plants seeds of doubt in your mind, and to not have faith is to deny the source of all love.

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Find Inner Peace and Solace -- Entirely Without God

By summerbreeze

Image by via FlickrWith Earth Day being in the month of April, I wanted to share my story with all of you.

I had dumped a very good " friend " years ago when for the first time in my life, I reached out to God. That good friend was my deep love for the natural world, the wilderness and all of its' creatures.

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Chucky's first video: My early years of atheism

Image by wormwould via FlickrThrough the mediums of animation and YouTube, Chucky Jesus tells the story of how he left the silly and irrational teachings of Christianity in favor of a godless worldview.

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If the Bible Were Law, Would You Qualify for the Death Penalty?

By Valerie Tarico

Bronze Age casting of a bronze axe. smiling_da_vinci via FlickrThis week the Supreme Court declined to review a Texas murder case in which a juror brought a Bible into the sentencing process – showing that the Bible recommends death for anyone who kills another person with an iron rod (Numbers 35:16).

Let me say for the record that I’m not against the death penalty, and in this case it sounds like the defendant fit my criteria, too. I know I'm ruining my liberal credentials here, but I frankly don’t have any moral problem with the jury condemning him to death. However, to do so based on the sanctification of a Bronze Age legal code is somewhat horrifying—especially given the list of other "crimes" that are recommended for capital punishment in the Bible.

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Los Hijos del Cura (The Priest’s Kids)

By Lorena

A child plays near the government palace a day before the inauguration of President-elect Fernando Lugo's government in Asuncion August 14, 2008. Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop who once led anti-government marches took over as president of Paraguay, promising to end deeply ingrained corruption and give land to the poor.For English readers, a translation is provided, below, at the end of the Spanish Article.

El porcentaje de Latinos no Católicos es muy bajo. Yo nunca fui católica, y escribí en mi blog las razones hace bastante tiempo. Una de ellas es que en mi infancia aprendí que los curas eran famosos por sus escapadas sexuales. Frecuentemente se escuchaba que los padres escogían una mujer especial para sus amoríos, y todo mundo la conocía como la mujer del cura.

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God, or invisible imaginary friend

By Maria

A few days ago I read the story of parents who were sobered and distressed because her child of 10 years age always talks to an imaginary friend. According to the parents their child has psychological problems and needs medical treatment, or at least needs to be seen and evaluated by a psychiatrist. The parents say the boy tells all his friends that when he is sad or happy, he shares everything with his imaginary friend.

This article is in Spanish. Use the Google Translator in the side column if needed.

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From hardcore Jesus freak to atheist

Sent in by Marcus

Image by mattlemmon via Flickr I wasn't just a Christian. I was a hardcore, Bible-thumping, tongue-speaking, over the top extreme Christian that other Christians wish they were like. I believed God literally talked to me. I believed God had a "mission" for my life. And I was ready to do anything, no matter what the consequences.

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From hardcore Jesus freak to atheist

Sent in by Marcus

Image by mattlemmon via Flickr I wasn't just a Christian. I was a hardcore, Bible-thumping, tongue-speaking, over the top extreme Christian that other Christians wish they were like. I believed God literally talked to me. I believed God had a "mission" for my life. And I was ready to do anything, no matter what the consequences.

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Everything over the past years started swirling in my mind

Sent in by Anon (hiding from lynchers)

Image by Funky64 via Flickr My struggle with Christianity began in the third grade when I attended a Christian private school in the city (my parents were working class, and I would ultimately move to public school with the birth of my second sibling, when funding private school was not longer an option). The curriculum novels (i.e. propaganda) described glorious close relationships with God, and I tried hard to develop such a relationship. However, when I prayed most devotedly, nothing happened. It didn't help that I found services sleep-inducing and boring; it also annoyed me that I felt required to donate portions of my meager allowance to the offering plate, which they passed around Sunday school, which I felt I could use on toys. "Jesus will touch your heart in his own time," the preacher would scream over the pews. I worried that he must not have touched my heart; if he didn't soon, I would go to hell! Hell! Hell!

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By Danny

Image via WikipediaAre you unable to think for yourself? Will you believe anything as long as lots of other people believe it too? Do you enjoy reading the same stuff over and over and over the rest of your life?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you need religion!

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Faith VS Religion

By Shannon Hughes

Image by gaspi *your guide via FlickrWikipedia defines Faith as a belief in the truth of or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing, that is characteristically held without proof.[1] [2] Informal usage of the word "faith" can be quite broad, and may be used standardly in place of "trust", "belief", or "hope".

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Christianity made less and less sense to me

Sent in by Wendy

Image by Lin Pernille ♥ Photography via FlickrI can't say I am completely free. I can't bring myself to tell my family that I don't believe in God, although my husband knows and completely supports me. And I do believe in something, just not the God of the Christians. It's hard because my mother is so devout and it would tear her apart to know that I am doomed to hell because she really, truly believes that crap. I figure, it's just better to let her be in peace than break her heart. I live about 45 min away anyway so I don't see her all the time.

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An Easter reflection

By Wendy

Image by Urijamjari via FlickrI went to church this Easter. I did it because my entire family was going and I didn't want to upset anyone. I expected the regular sermon about Jesus being crucified, resurrecting, etc.

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At least I'm finally free

Sent in by Ryan

Image by Getty Images via DaylifeI was raised as a "Non-Denominational Christian", which is a short-handed way of saying I was Southern Baptist; my parents didn't want the stigma attached I guess. Some of my earliest memories were at a church. Some were fun memories (youth group trips)...some were terrible (vacation bible school, church camp, everything else).

I always resented going to church. It was always boring and I almost always fell asleep or tried to read something other than my Bible. I would doodle sometimes.

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Leaving Christianity in the midst of fears of hell and Satan and Antichrists and raptures with trumpets blaring and people flying into the sky

Sent in by Alison

Image by Gabriela Camerotti via FlickrMy departure from Christianity occurred 11 years ago.

This is a letter I recently wrote to filmmaker Brian Flemming after watching the film The God Who Wasn't There.:


For the first time in my life, someone has reflected back to me the kind of kind of utter confusion, anxiety, stress, and often panic that I experienced being raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian community.

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Ex-Pastor vs. Pastor: CASE CLOSED!

Sent in by Ex Pastor Dan

Image by badlogik via FlickrWell, 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...

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Holy Week: a High Fast, or an ingredient in the recipe for an eating disorder

By Mriana

Image by charluna via FlickrI have mentioned a few reasons, including disbelief, as to why I left the Church and can never go back even just to attend for the social aspects, like Bob Price does. Here is yet another reason as to why I know I can never go back. The Episcopal Church, as well as other churches, has major fasts and feasts, as well as minor feasts and fasts. Except for Easter, because I have always loved chocolate and the new life Spring brings, I never did celebrate feast days. At one time, when I went to church regularly, I could name all the fast days and seasons. Lent is another one in which fasting is involved, but the majority of healthier people do not literally go on a forty day food fast and for me, religion was a part of my own eating disorder.

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I stopped believing and never looked back

Sent in by Joseph

Image via WikipediaI came across this site while search for the origins of Easter. I guess that was my sunrise service. I read Nicole's testimonial dated April 6, 2009 and was inspired to share mine. (Thanks for the forum).

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Where I came from; where I'm going

Sent in by Larry

Image by Himalayan Trails via FlickrI was born into a devoutly Christian family in the Midwest 51 years ago. I can't honestly say I ever felt accepted in my family, or in any extended church "family". I always felt out of place, unwelcome.

I won't say that I didn't believe, but I think I always had some reservations.

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Does Evangelical Giving Do the World Good?

By Valerie Tarico

Image by carf via FlickrThis week, Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the GIVE Act, which aims to increase volunteering. It gives young people a way to pay for education with public service. Some right wingers have been squawking because the plan excludes religious activities like church attendance and outreach from the social service hours that can be applied for credit. Personally I’m relieved. I want my taxes to pay for programs with clear benefits, and I want the wall separating church and state repaired. But before we secular types get all high and mighty we should take a look at why some people think that faith based programs are necessary for the good of society.

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Get on the Atheist Bus -- in Indiana!

Sent in by Eoban Binder

The IndianaAtheist Bus Campaign has formed in Bloomington to spread the word: “You can be good without God.”

Through advertising on buses across Indiana, the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign has partnered with the American Humanist Association in hopes of promoting a lively and respectful discussion in the community and to counter the stigma against voicing atheist views.

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Faith without God

Sent in by Shannon

Image by » Zitona « [09] via FlickrI want to take a moment and tell you how truly grateful and inspired I am from the very personal stories shared on this site.When I first left religion I was extremely depressed and lonely. I had considered suicide seriously for the first time in my life. I was in one of the darkest hours of my life ,but, ironically I had faith. After finding this and other similar sites I was warmed and found peace in your different stories. Mostly I realized I wasn't alone. I wasn't crazy and I wasn't being illogical.

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Christianity left me looking for answers

Sent in by Grace

Image by fionnaigh via FlickrMy life never started off on a religious fore-front. My parents were both heavily into drugs when I was very young. They divorced when I was two or three. I went to live with my grandma. My grandma grew up in a Catholic household. Her father was Catholic and her mother was Mormon.

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The Stage Is Just Way Too Big

By WizenedSage

Image via WikipediaAccording to the Bible, we humans are clearly the crowning achievement of God’s creation. We are what it’s all about, the central actors, what it was all made for. But, there’s something terribly wrong with this picture.

Consider for a moment, if you were staging a play for a half dozen actors, would you build a stage four miles on a side for the performance? Wouldn’t this be a bit like building a universe several billion light years across and then putting your actors all on one tiny planet in the suburbs of a fairly average galaxy, revolving around a relatively modest star?

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Breaking up with God

Sent in by Free Wanderer

Image via WikipediaIt’s funny to me how, not so long ago, I was standing up in front of the church congregation, giving my testimony of how Jesus had saved me, and now, here I am, giving my testimony of how I’ve come to completely reject that salvation. It’s also amusing to me, that if you had told me back then, that I would one day divorce God and His Church, and deny Jesus, I would have laughed sweetly, nodded my head, and had pity on your soul, because it was definitely not going to heaven when you died.

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Finally free!

Sent in by George in KC

Image via WikipediaI am 49 years old and finally FREE of the yoke of Christianity! I have so much to say I don’t know where to begin.

I was born into a southern Christian family. Went to church every time there was a service. Sunday school, VBS, summer camp, choir, etc (you know the drill). I never heard any arguments of the other side and I believed it all. Yet occasionally something would not sound right. I particularly remember being in church at about age 12 at services by a guest speaker talking about Genesis. Of course the question came up about the earth being very old. He brushed it off by saying god created the earth with”apparent age.” That sounded corny to me at the time. I remember it so well because that phrase, “apparent age,” would sporadically come to the front of my brain. It made me think about other weird things in the bible (resurrection, miracles, killing) but each time I would suppress the ideas and continue on in my Christianity.

Easter, Death, and Life

By Marlene Winell

Image by via FlickrIt’s Easter; I have memories of getting up early year after year as a child to go to Easter Sunrise Service. We gathered somewhere outdoors, simulating the women and disciples who went to Jesus’ tomb in the early morning on the day of his resurrection. We sang certain hymns that were only for Easter – “Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Ha-a-a-a-He -lelujah,” “He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me, along life’s narrow way!” I liked it – the brisk early morning, the feeling of life and hope, the joy of the music. Unlike a lot of other church experiences, it was a day of celebration. And what a profound message – death has been conquered! Just put your faith in Christ.

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Let "them" know we're here.

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Atheism is not a Religion

By Justin

The following is a letter I submitted to various Christian friends, family, and clergy on the eve of my recent deconversion, explaining my change in perspective.

Would-be Christian apologists often make the claim that atheism is itself a religion. Atheists may rightly respond that this notion is absurd; atheism does not adhere to a particular set of beliefs, practices, or laws as is typical of religions throughout history. Even the lesser claim that atheism is a “worldview” or “belief system” fails on the grounds that atheism makes only one declaration – namely, that God does not exist – and is therefore not a complete worldview but merely a rejection of the subset of worldviews incorporating God. In fact many “atheists” do not reject the possible existence of God but merely the existence of any of the finite number of Gods proposed by historic religions.

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Church pulls strings in an attempt to muzzle a blogger critical of the leadership

The Rev. Mac Brunson A blogger critical of First Baptist Church wants to know why his Web site was investigated by a police detective who is also a member of the minister’s security detail.

Thomas A. Rich also wants the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to explain what suspected crimes led Detective Robert Hinson to open the probe into his once-anonymous Web site.

Rich also wants to know why Hinson revealed his name to the church despite finding no wrongdoing. Hinson obtained a subpoena from the State Attorney’s Office requiring Google Inc. to reveal the author of the blog.

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Ancient Sumerian Origins of the Easter Story

Image via WikipediaThe Christian Bible culminates in a death and resurrection story. What is this story, and where did it come from? In this post, Valerie Tarico, author of The Dark Side, interviews Dr. Tony Nugent, scholar of world religions and mythology. Dr. Nugent is a symbologist, an expert in ancient symbols. He taught at Seattle University for fifteen years in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and is a Presbyterian minister. This interview was first published in 2008.

Easter is coming. Some people are saying that the crucifixion and resurrection narratives simply retell the cycle of seasons, the death and return of the Sun. Others say that these stories are literal histories. But you say the reality is more complicated than either of these. You argue that the Easter stories - the death and resurrection of Jesus have very specific mythic origins.

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Why are you so angry yet make nice with some religious people?

Image by eagleglide via Flickr“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ quote by Lois Smith as Iris Hineman from Minority Report.
So often I have been asked so many questions in recent years and the answers are long and detailed. One of them deals with my rants against some Christians, yet accepting others, even giving them some respect, especially those of the Episcopal/Anglican Church when I have left it. I will agree that I am “not ready to make nice” with those who are extreme in their views, but at the same time, I did pay a price for the knowledge I did gain over the years with the help of those I greatly appreciate. Well here is the short version of what happened between when I left home at 19 and when I left Christianity completely six or seven years ago.

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Ex-Pastor vs. Pastor: A Family Affair

From XPD

Image by play4smee via FlickrRecently, 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...

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It's just not God's Will

By Neal Stone

We've all heard it before. We prayed for a miracle and no answer. We are often told that if God doesn't provide an answer then it must not be his will. This is nothing but a sorry excuse. I have spent 20 plus years trusting in God and assuming that it wasn't his will when he didn't answer.

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What LIES beyond death!

By Becky
Image by mugley via FlickrDeath is often something that humans fear because of the unknown that follows it. Throughout history, we have answered that unknown as best we could with the resources and technology that we had at the time. Explaining what happens after death has been coupled with superstition and power hungry authorities needing to control others. The belief of an afterlife is something that should not be forced on others, although that is just what humans have done with the aid of religion.
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Vegetarians are weak? Please!

By Mriana

Vegetarian BodybuildersOne of my older son’s friend’s mother said vegetarians are weak to me almost a year ago and tried to tell me that not eating meat is a sin. She even quoted chapter and verse, from the Bible, that justified her inane belief (Romans 14:2), as well as other verses that state all foods “are made clean” and alike. I was irate! As soon as my son came home and walked through the door I said, “Keep that woman away from me!” He said, “What did you do now?” I replied, “I didn't do anything!” Then I explained to my fellow vegetarian son what happened between us. He asked to see the verse and saw the following verse after it, which she did not read, “Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.”

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Open Season on Christians

By Valerie Tarico
Image by nasunto via Flickr
When Cory Doctorow at Boingboing recently posted a video of deadpanned quotes from fundamentalists, one moderate person of faith lamented that it seemed like open season on Christians. Is it?

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Christianity: fear, hypocrisy, self-righteousness and selfish greed

Sent in by Nicole

Image by xaimex via FlickrI just don't know. I have grown up in the church, I've gone to countless Bible studies, I've taken great leaps of faith, I've married into a very religious family... but it's all becoming kind of sick to me. There are so many things I question about Christianity that no one seems to have any answers to-- except "Have faith." Uh-huh.

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Struggling to Leave Your Religion?

Come to a powerful weekend with others who can understand and support you.

“RELEASE AND RECLAIM” Recovery Retreat
May 1-3, 2009; Oakham, Mass. (near Worcester)
Friday at 7pm until Sunday at 3pm,
at a beautiful lakeside home on six acres with hot tub, canoes, and more.

This program is for you if you want to let go of toxic, authoritarian beliefs and reclaim your ability to trust your own feelings and think for yourself.

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By Dr. M. Lee Deitz

Image via Wikipedia“Give me that Old Time Religion,” was my battle cry! Early in life, I listened to the old time country preachers bellow out “hell fire and damnation!” As I became of age, I convinced myself that I was to become a spokesman for the “truth” of “God’s Inspired Word.” Truth was defined by the community of which I was a part--the church, the elders, family and acquaintances. I dared not step out of the belief system.

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Encouraging de-converting and former Christians

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