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Showing posts from January, 2010

Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?

By Bret P

Image by Wellington Grey via FlickrChristians seem to whine a lot about how they're ridiculed and disrespected in the media, and how this fallen world is somehow persecuting them. I think it's an absolutely laughable claim, especially here in the United States where Christians have far more influence on public and foreign policy than they should.

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Desconstructionism beliefs?

A letter from Mike

Image by SnippyHolloW via FlickrA lot of content and study on this site. According to you an educated Christian would have to go to great lengths in order to "interpret" the Bible and still believe. Deconstructionism is a beautiful thing, isn't it?

Truth is, deconstruction is much simpler than construction... a house can come down quickly but it may take months to build... you get the point. Your conclusion is Christianity is all about faith and only fools would believe it... you celebrate those who reject the Bible and make insinuations that people who believe in Christ as being the Son of God and follow his teachings are foolish. Any one can do that.

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Taking the Red Pill

By BillRPJ

I fell in love with Jesus when I was 12 years old. On the back wall of the baptistery of the Chemung Baptist Church, there was a life-size picture of Jesus as a shepherd, a crook in one hand, cradling a soft, little lamb in the other. As I looked at the face of Jesus, I felt that his eyes were gazing right into my soul — kind eyes, eyes of love. I can recall the picture of Jesus like it was yesterday.

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Whenever I think of religion, I think of the military

By 0pen ur Mind

Image by Toni Travels via FlickrI grew up in a Christian home, loving, never to question authority, always bring it to God and you will be blessed. If I wasn’t, well... God was testing me. Growing up it never crossed my mind that there was something else to believe in. I was the good girl who had the truth on her lips. God is good, how can he not be? Not until college did I expand my mind and fully open it. It’s a brief overpass of my history, but a lot of you know exactly how my “upbringing” went. It wasn’t until I met my future husband that everything finally made sense.

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"Good Christians" with non-working noses

By summerbreeze

Image by maxgiani via FlickrListening to the news about Haiti, and hearing the News Commentators talk about "the stench of death", revived a memory of what my Dad had said about his service in WW II. He had fought in the Battle of The Bulge, among other battles, and told us several times about how once you smell a decaying or burning body, you instantly know that it is human, and you never forget that smell. Dad was a very sensitive man, and you could see that even decades after-the-fact he was still disturbed by it.

There's a reason that I'm bringing up this unpleasant subject.

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Nothing Fails Like Prayer

By Mriana

In previous postings I have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus in various ways. This time I am going to say something about prayer, which all too many Christians seem to think that getting housemaid's knees and praying to something that does not exist really does come true. If one tries to point out that it is nothing more than the role of the dice and pure superstition, they act like they are trying to save Tinker Bell from certain death by saying, “It's true! Prayer really works. I do believe! I do believe!”

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Accentuate the Positive -- Ignore the Negative

By J

Image by asparagus_hunter via FlickrMy ex-relationship with Christianity is perhaps unique, in that my family attended an Evangelical church, but one whose pastor was nonetheless pretty progressive or diplomatic in his views. (i.e. he rarely mentioned hell, End Times, or even sin in his sermons. It was just "love" and "the Good News.")

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Disbelief in a NON-thing

By dealdoctor

Image via WikipediaDisbelief in a NON-thing is different from disbelief in an actual thing.

When someone is a believer in the Spirit of God they rarely consider the fact that a spirit of any kind is not a defined thing. Our nouns are people, places or things which might be found and examined in the world in which we live. When we use the word “God” or “Spirit” however we may not consider that belief or disbelief in such an entity does not involve a limited person, place or thing that might be found in our world. So the word God is a very funky word. It does not work well in any context including arguments about its own existence.

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Moses - revisited!

By James C

Image by Loci Lenar via FlickrJust about everyone has some knowledge of Moses, be it from the Bible, the Qur'an, or movies. A historical figure, credited with leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt as well as reputedly being the author of the first few books of the bible and famous enough that he is mentioned more times in the New Testament than any other Old Testament character; and is the most mentioned name in the Qur'an.

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Sad About Haiti? Give to Our MegaChurch

By Valerie Tarico

Image by speakingoffaith via FlickrLast week I wrote an article about solar powered Bibles that are being sent to Haiti as aid. As a former Evangelical, I was trying to explain the psychology that turns a tragedy into a marketing opportunity for religions that need recruits. On a whim, I pulled up the website for Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Ok, it wasn’t a whim, it was a hunch based on past experience. At the time of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, I was researching local mega churches and ran across Mars Hill for the first time. I was appalled to see their home page recommendations for members: pray for the people in the disaster zone, give to Mars Hill church, give to our church building efforts in India. (Why wasn’t it “Pray for Mars Hill Church, give to the people in the disaster zone . . . ?)

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Countermeasures: Dealing with fundy-in-laws

By exfundy

Image by George Eastman House via FlickrMy super fanatical fundy-in-laws are some of the most rude, disrespectful and arrogant people I have ever had the misfortune to meet. I put up with them for my wife. She doesn't agree with the things they do either, but they are her family and she doesn't want to completely cut them off. We have come to an agreement that I won't just unleash and tell them what I think while forbidding them to ever step foot in my home. In return I do lots of little passive-aggressive things when their actions step over the line. My wife actually gets a kick out of it. The following are the first two stories of some of the countermeasures I have used.

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Good vs. Evil: There's No Such Thing

By Bret P

Image via WikipediaI'm quite exhausted from politicians and religious people talking about evil in regards to foreign affairs (particularly Islam), and propelling this idea that there is some kind of eternal struggle between good and evil in the world.

I think as humans, we're preoccupied with opposites, forgetting there is a spectrum contained within polarized concepts. Good vs. evil permeates our legends and movies. History is viewed through the lens of culture, and humans generally have a real problem with moral ambiguity.

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Atheist Churchgoers Anonymous?

By Vyckie @ No Longer Quivering

I've skipped church four Sundays in a row now and I'm feeling slightly guilty. It's freezing-ass cold here in Nebraska, and I just have been too lazy to scoop the driveway and drag myself and my children out in sub-zero temps. Considering that I stopped believing in God over two years ago, it seems rather weird that I still spend my Sunday mornings attending the local Salvation Army worship services. So why don't I just quit going?

I didn't leave Christianity because of any failure of the people. For the most part, I found the Christians I knew to be sincere, generous and supportive. Misguided and unrealistic, maybe - but hey, that was me too.

It was the Bible and Christian doctrine which I finally recognized as ridiculous and even abusive.

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Off with the yoke

By Kalos

“There are tons of religions in the world… but only ours is right?” I asked my mom, I couldn’t have been much older than five years old.

“Yes.” she said, and then smiled and chuckled in a way that seemed to say she was uncomfortable sounding so smug but she did believe what she said. For some reason that explanation was enough for me for so many years to come…

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My Atheism

By Sean

Image via WikipediaA few old friends ask me why I'm an atheist. Anyone who knew me growing up remembers me as a faithful and religious teenager. What could have possibly happened to the kid who led prayer group every morning before school, organized Chrysalis weekends and professed to love Jesus Christ with all his heart, mind and soul? It was a slow processes, but I'd like to share it and what atheism means to me.

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"McChurch" or "My Worldview's OK, Your Worldview's OK"

Bu Bob R of A Priori Blues

Image by via FlickrAmerica is adrift in a sea of propaganda. Depending which brand of propaganda you like best, you tune in dutifully, become convinced that They are evil and We are good. Everything that They say is false, everything that We say is true. I use the word "brand" to refer to our favorite forms of propaganda purposely, because that's technically what information has become. In a media saturated world, which is conversely a world predicated on advertising, everything is about the "brand." This is why a football stadium can be named after a bank, or a shaving cream, or any number of things which have nothing to do with football. As long as you create a brand, and then create brand awareness, you are successful.

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Worshipping Convictions

By Carl S

A co-worker used to watch Saturday morning cartoons with his grandson, and would repeat some of the incidents on them to me. One of his favorites was of an older dog teaching a pup “dog traditions.” The adult dog says, “We fetch sticks, chase cats, and bury bones. I don’t know WHY we do it, but we do.” I think many believers are that way. For example, they keep praying as if prayers actually worked. Reminds me of that old joke about the man waving a blanket around on Times Square, to “Keep the elephants away.” When informed that there weren’t any elephants for hundreds of miles around, he said, “See, its working!” These things are funny and harmless, but how do people get into them in the first place?

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Bionic Marvel

By Ayhwh

Faith healing, divine wonders, and miracles are a significant part of religion’s shtick. A miracle supposedly subverts nature causing unexplainable supernatural things to happen. Pastors and evangelists use the idea and promise of miracles to swindle the masses into giving them cash and obedience. Miracles do not exist, but science brings amazing cures!

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Waking Up My Closed Mind

By Andrea

Image by Mr.OutdoorGuy via FlickrGrowing up surrounded by only Christians is strange thing. My parents were Christians and they home-schooled me and my younger sister. Church was like a second home and all our friends were there. I knew a few other home-schooled kids that didn't go to my church, and they were Christians too.

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Solar Powered Bibles for Haiti: Why Some Christians Feel Compelled to Exploit Disaster

By Valerie Tarico

Image by Toni_Chacheres via FlickrWhile Doctors without Borders was struggling to get anesthetics for amputations into Haiti, an Albuquerque group queued up aid of their own sort: 600 solar powered talking Bibles. Eve now, food, water, and medicine are having trouble reaching Haitians because of damaged transportation facilities and supply lines, but the missionary group says some of their Bibles are on the way.

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Why I Am Not A Christian

By Chas Warren

Image by Brian Hillegas via FlickrThis is going to be long and rambling, but not intentionally. The topic is clearly stated in the title, but in this introductory paragraph, permit me to amplify slightly. In this article, I intend to chart the route of my own non-theism. Call it descent or ascent, but know that I have felt like a mountaineer, struggling towards one peak, only to have another suddenly rise before me, beckoning me to climb again. But the path has never been straight. It has always been circuitous. That’s why this literary map will belong and rambling.

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A Prayer for Haiti

By the Avangelism Project

Image by United Nations Development Programme via FlickrI was thinking about how I might have addressed the tragedy in Haiti as a pastor and this prayer is what I came up with.

Scary how easy it is to come up with pious sounding words that simultaneously play on guilt and pride when you know the jargon.

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Irish Blasphemy Law

Image by altemark via FlickrBy Dealdoctor

You might enjoy reading about this historic American blasphemy trial before reading the article below which points out that Ireland has brought it all back again.

I understand as well that the United Nations also wants to make it unlawful to speak against religion, supposedly in the interest of community cohesion. Can you imagine cops standing behind a preacher to insure you either say "Amen" or keep your mouth shut?! No free speech and no free press where religion is in control! Remember the time of book burnings?

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Tree Droppings

By Valerie Tarico

This morning, when I thought I had better things to do, I spent an hour cleaning gutters and sweeping tree droppings off of our back porch roof. I could have been writing the definitive article that would spread across the net and free humanity from religious fundamentalism—-or--ok, emptying the dishwasher.

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Poverty as a Testimony

By Eveningmeadows

Awhile ago, I had a thought that I was quite surprised about. I had thought that my life was a "testimony" when I was a xtian. I was told that we were all created with a purpose, and whatever happened in our lives, it was god's will. Well, out of the blue, I started thinking about that statement. Was it a testimony for me to live in poverty?

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Pastor Convicted of Killing Wife

WACO, Texas — After convicting a former Texas minister of killing his wife, jurors on Thursday were to hear new evidence — possibly about sexual advances toward other women — as the punishment phase began.

Matt Baker, 38, faces up to life in prison for drugging and suffocating his wife, Kari, then faking her suicide note in 2006. Jurors deliberated more than seven hours before finding him guilty late Wednesday.

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Second Star to the Right

By Ted Gresham

Image by gainesp2003 via FlickrThere's a poster on my bedroom door of the Triangulum Galaxy. I bought it at the VLA Radio Telescope in Socorro, NM. I love that place! Sometimes I pass by the poster, point at a spot, and say, “I want to go there!”

A few years back I was digging around in Hubble photos and discovered the Deep Field Survey. When I read about that picture and understood the magnitude of what it represented the little bit of belief in a creator within me that still existed began to flame out.

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Humanist Charities Sends Food and Supplies to Haiti

Dear Friend,

Thank you to everyone who answered our call for donations to support the American Humanist Association's Humanist Charities project and Sebastian Velez's efforts in Haiti to bring food, water, and supplies to the people of Jacmel, a city also devastated by the earthquake but received little media attention.

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Bible Band-aide

By Ayhwh

What do you do when praying for the Haitian disaster just does not seem to be enough? When you feel like you should do something more concrete to help? No, don’t send aid money . . . that would be just stupid. You should send solar powered audio Bibles called Proclaimers.

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Another viewpoint of Unbelief

by Swabby

The Hindu god Ganesha by wallyg via FlickrI deconverted from Christianity over three decades ago. I was raised in the United Methodist tradition by a conventionally conservative Nebraska family. I think the roots of my disbelief may have been planted as early as the time I discovered the non-existence of Santa Claus.

I took a tangential interest in Sunday school during the 1960s when I was looking for mainstream religious validation of my peace movement alignment against the war in Southeast Asia. But beyond that, I didn't put a lot of faith in the Bible-God or Christ.

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Ex-Christian Question

By Master's of Nothing

At the age of forty-something I’ve spent over half of my life engaged with, supporting and preparing to work in the xtian church. About three years ago I read Richard DawkinsGod Delusion and from the day I finished the last page, I’ve not looked back. Indeed, I’ve found atheism to be the most honest, refreshing and liberating experience of my life. That said, I now have a bit of a dilemma.

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Tearing Away From Religion

By VisibleAtheist

During graduate school I conducted a qualitative research study on the deconversion experience for those in college. I optimistically thought that the research would impact the lives of other questioning or deconverted students by educating administrators and raising awareness. My own deconversion experience was a profound part of my college experience, although it was so deeply personal it appeared separate from college life.

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A very short trip that took many years

By Ryan

Image by DennisSylvesterHurd via FlickrIt was not a long trip from agnostic to atheist, but it took years. My story is a bit different than many of your testimonials, but I wanted to post this in solidarity and respect for the bravery that so many of you have shown. I can’t imagine what personal strength it must have taken to leave a faith that was given to you from childhood, and especially to feel yourself drift from a spouse whose traditional faith remains. I have read this story several times over on these pages, and it is an impressive display of humanity. And in many cases heartbreaking, when a marriage or family is pulled apart.

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Whose Red Herring?

By ExFundie

Image by Nimbuzz via FlickrHaving lived as an ex-Christian for awhile now one of the things I have found fascinating is being able to see Christianity from the other side. Christians have a hard time understanding why the opinions most non-Christians have of them range from amusement to downright anger. Looking at it from the other side I can now understand it. It's been rather amazing. Perhaps the most interesting part of this observation though is to see the different ways that christians have learned to rationalize the fact that those outside the church most often state that christians are the reason they have no desire to become one.

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Jesus the False Prophet

By WizenedSage

Image by Sacred Destinations via FlickrChristians are fond of defending the claim of Jesus’ divinity by pointing out the “fulfilled” prophesies of the Bible. However, if they paid attention to the whole Bible, then they would see that they are obviously guilty of the confirmation bias; that is, they count the apparent hits and ignore the misses. Below are a number of passages from the Bible where Jesus or one of his minions (on Jesus’ behalf) prophesies that the end of the world will be soon. That was 2,000 years ago. Now, for those who might be tempted to suggest that a couple thousand years could be like a couple days to a god, please be aware that that is irrelevant. The Bible was written for the instruction of humans and no human would interpret 2,000 years as ‘soon.’

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Praise God for the Disaster in Haiti! Isn't God Good? Thank You Jesus!

By John Loftus of Debunking Christianity

As a bit of sarcasm that Voltaire would appreciate let's all praise God for the disaster in Haiti. God is sovereign. He knows what he's doing. In fact this has been long overdue.

If this is a punishment sent by God then God's punishments are good, aren't they? We're all sinners so we deserve to die, right? People deserve what happens to them because Adam and Eve sinned, or because our parents sinned, or because of original sin (whatever that can possibly mean in this context for the children). God's goodness and glory are displayed in the sufferings and deaths of the victims along with the grieving surviving family members.

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They Don’t SPEAK for ME!

by Bruce Gerencser of Restless Wanderings

They all use the same Bible.

They all believe the same Bible.

They all worship the same God.

They all believe the same about Jesus.

They all believe the same about man’s need of redemption.

They all believe in heaven and hell.

Whether they call themselves Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or Baptist they believe the same.

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Cornering a Christian

by Gray

If you really want to stump a Christian, ask one which doctrine of salvation is the correct doctrine, according to the Bible. And by that question, I am not asking what the Biblical steps to salvation are. I think all Protestant Christians would agree that the definition of salvation is basically, repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Rather, I am talking about which of the competing theological doctrines of salvation, like predestination, Arminianism and “eternal security” is the one true doctrine of salvation. In other words, how is salvation achieved? Is it through predestination? Or is it through the Arminian belief in a synergistic interplay between God’s calling and man’s choice to believe? Or, is salvation up to man alone and guaranteed forever, once chosen?

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Pastor indicted on child pornography related charges

LUBBOCK, TX - A federal grand jury indicts a former Lubbock pastor for his alleged involvement in child pornography.

Fifty-seven year old Dean Richard Tarkington, who was arrested last month, is indicted on two counts of attempted enticement of a child, two counts of attempted production of child pornography, and two counts of attempted possession of child pornography.

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Televangelist Robertson Likely Possessed By Satan

by Valerie Tarico

It appears that televangelist Pat Robertson is in the thrall of Satan, according to spiritual warriors, Drs. Valerie Tarico and Marlene Winell. "It's the only possible explanation," said Tarico. "How else can we make sense of his repeated attempts to humiliate both God and Christianity in the wake of recent natural disasters."

Tarico spotted what she saw as a suspicious pattern after Robertson's recent remarks about Haiti. As people lay dying in the rubble of Tuesday's tragic earthquake and nations around the world scrambled disaster experts, Robertson spoke to the Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club:" "Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," "They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. Tru…

Christian Hypocrisy

Image via WikipediaBy Yellowcat

I was watching "Hardball with Chris Matthews" when I witnessed what might be the most offensive thing I have ever seen or heard in my life. While discussing the tragedy unfolding in the impoverished nation of Haiti, Mr. Matthews played a clip from Televangelist giant Pat Robertson. Mr. Robertson, one of the most vile humans to ever draw breath, gave an "explanation" for this disaster.

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Motorcyclists and Molotov Cocktails

Kuala Lumpur -- Image by Christopher Chan via FlickrBy Crissy

Last week three churches were bombed in my city of Kuala Lumpur. It was a confirmation of issues that had been brewing in my head for the past few months.

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Rope a dope

Image by wonderbjerg via FlickrBy Scott

I have been an ex-christian for over 10 years. I was "recruited" into christianity in 1992 by sheer stupidity. I was young and much like most high-school graduates, didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I had already had an interesting summer and through a friend, I had heard about this girl who happened to be one of his exes. Strangely enough, he even recommended that I date her! Anyway, skipping ahead to the meat of the story, I got to know this girl's mother first..... literally. It didn't take her long to profess her faith to me and through the telephone, she could sense that I wasn't a willing participant in that part of the conversation. Evidently, something sparked in this woman and she urged me to run right down to where her daughter was working and pick her up and so on.... This was the beginning of what I like to refer to as the "rope-a-dope."

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Help me deconstruct this!

A letter from Autumn

This would probably be better posted in the forums but, I know there are some brilliant minds on here that could help me work though this puzzle. My in-laws are challenging my husband on his lack of belief, and I struggle to understand what they're saying, let alone where they're coming from, and therefore I cannot deconstruct what they are trying to argue. They've started discussing it on his Facebook (great idea, since most of our friends don't know about his lack of belief) and I don't really have a lot of time before all our other religious friends (we attended a bible college) jump in and make a huge mess of things.

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by Carl S

Image by Fiver13 via FlickrOne summer, about three years ago, my wife’s brother, his wife, and a couple they knew with their son and daughter, came up to stay at our place for their vacation. The parents, all in their 60’s, and the kids, son 30’s, daughter 20’s, were all fundies. On the first full day, the women tuned into one of those Christian TV stations, and for the next two hours watched Nazi rally type praise and sermons, during which time I thought I’d lose my mind, even though I couldn’t make out the words, only the emotional intensity that came out loud like that of an attacking mob coming at you. They were totally involved.

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Fray of Dysfunction

by Ouchimoo

Image by Whewes via FlickrI've been following the stories on this site for a long time now and I'm finally getting around to writing my own. I can't say that it took me courage to hunker down to write this because I am actually quite loud and proud about my atheism. Apparently that makes me a fundy AND militant. And depressed, and sour, and mean, and miserable, and wasting my life away, and meaningless, and etc. Funny really, considering that the only reason why any of those were applicable at any time were because my family and communities put a great deal of effort into subjugating those effects. Well, despite the nasty effects that has happened it didn't seem to bother me so much because I was already used to being an outcast.

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Oregon City trial raises new questions in faith-healing debate

Jeff Beagley (center) reacts minutes after his son-in-law, Carl Brent Worthington (right), was sentenced to two months in jail for criminal mistreatment in the faith-healing death of his 15-month-old daughter, Ava. Beagley, the father of Raylene Worthington (left), and his wife, Marci, now face trial in a similar case, the faith-healing death of his 16-year-old son, Neil.When an Oregon City couple go on trial this week in the faith-healing death of their son, the case will raise a new wrinkle in Oregon's debate over religious freedom:

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Encouraging de-converting and former Christians

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