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Showing posts from February, 2010

Zeno's Story

My name is Zeno and this is my conversion… and deconversion story.
I loved my life growing up in my middle class family just north of Detroit. Life was exciting. Skateboards, break dancing, virgin sex, Nintendo, and boom boxes were sure to make most days pass on with a smile.

Most of my friends and I were doing drugs by the time we were fifteen. Those were great beginnings in my naivety, but things became much darker and stale as time went on in my lustful pursuits. What used to be a party just became a lifestyle… and I’ve never done anything small. This was sure to lead into some extreme forms of behavior just to get a thrill. Fires, fights, familial destruction, LSD, sexual conquest… all decorated with loud music and a constant flow of pot were my diet of choice.

Soon, all the ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ became the natural emptiness it is… when it is the consummate substance of your existence. Like most youthful extremists, I had to push it to the edge of the wall until it came cra…

Who Is Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Submitted by dealdoctor --

Which is more likely to happen: Going to hell or hell when you die, or getting hit by an asteroid?

Image by Torley via FlickrDo you know any people who are obsessed with their loved ones not being with them in heaven when they die?

Do you know any others who ask every non-Christian they meet, “ If you died tonight do you know for sure you would go to heaven?”



The Dead-End Response

By AncoraImparo --

My search for the reality of the world began in college, provoked by an unassuming paper in which I was to evaluate my faith journey from a sociological point of view. Image by ~Sage~ via FlickrAt the time, I was quite proud of the final result: an analytical study of the factors that influenced me throughout childhood to be the dedicated Christian I now was, including a strong Christian family whom I love and respect, an inspiring and authentic circle of Christian friends, and intensive discipleship by my pastor. Underlying all these external factors, I also outlined my own personal and conscientious desire to serve and love God, prompting me to seek out apologetics, leadership within my youth group, keyboard in the praise band, mission trips to Mexico, becoming a counselor at a Christian summer camp, and an earnest struggle for understanding God through a genuine relationship with him.

However, despite the sense of accomplishment in my critical self-analysis, sev…

Pastor arrested, charged with indecency with a child

PALESTINE, TX — A 74-year-old Palestine man who has preached at churches in Anderson County for more than three decades has been arrested and charged with indecency with a child.


Hezekiah Stallworth Hezekiah Stallworth, 74, of Palestine was arrested around 1 p.m. Friday at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office after he had come in for an interview, according to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor.

Stallworth was charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, according to the sheriff.

Stallworth has served as a pastor at both Oak Grove Baptist Church in Elkhart and Beulah Baptist Church just south of Palestine, according to the sheriff.

“He preaches regularly at both of those churches,” Taylor said Friday.

The alleged offense involved a female victim and occurred this past Sunday in an office at Oak Grove Baptist Church following services, authorities have said.

“This particular incid…

A holy friend?

By Cullyloden --

In a recent article, titled "Some things just don't make sense," the author made mention of God posing as a "friend" to fearful and needy believers, helping to map out their lives for them and giving assurance and justice. This makes sense and is in my estimation a common reason for religious devotion, especially Christian devotion.

From Dave's article:
"Some people need a friend, a friend that is totally in control and gives them the assurance that their lives are mapped out for them. Some people want to believe that no matter what difficulties they may face in life, all their efforts and the injustices they may endure will be lavishly rewarded or at least made right"
-webmdave
My "Friend," who was there to "map out" my life and make things right and comfort me in fear, was snatched away from me by religion. This friend was my most cherished mother. She was and could still be a witty, urbane, open minded and com…

I am an EX-Christian

Child porn charges involve church boys' group

A Granite City man charged with child pornography was a leader in the Illinois Royal Rangers, a ministry of the Assemblies of God church.

Joseph Emil Klug, 29, was a staff member of the Frontier Group of the Royal Rangers and the leader of a Collinsville church's group. Klug was charged on Feb. 17 with child pornography after police said Klug put a video camera in a tent, recorded a boy masturbating, edited video clips and stills and sent it out over the Internet.

Illinois Royal Rangers Director Thomas Kesteleyn said he removed Klug when he heard the allegation on Feb. 9. Kesteleyn would not comment on whether the victim was a Royal Ranger.

"There is an ongoing investigation. This is now in the hands of law enforcement," Kesteleyn said.

The indictment stated Klug hid a mini video recorder in a tent. The indictment also sought the forfeiture of computer and video equipment and a green backpack with a hole cut in the front pouch.

Royal Rangers is an Assembly of God mission …

No more lables except "human being"

By Ex-paulist --

Yes, I am a recovering human being. Why do I say this? Simple, I was born into this world as a human being. Beyond that semantically driven statement lays the fact that all of us are merely mammals.

When I was a child, the church instilled fear and hatred in me. The world was a dark and terrible place! Jesus would be returning at any moment. The Devil and his minions lurked around every corner. “Mother, I thought the earth was young?” I would observe as the history channel explained that many people disagreed. “Do not ever question the Lord young man!” This was typical in my home and the church.

One day I realized something. My faith was sinful, vile, and dirty. My faith was nothing more than a reflection in the mirror. Legalistic Christian had a negative and damning view of god. The liberal Christians took a salad bar approach, and made scripture fit any situation. “What that about the speed of light from distant stars you ask?” Well son, Jesus caused the light to tra…

Dr. Marlene Winell speaks about indoctrination by authoritarian religion

By Dr. Marlene Winell --



The effects of authoritarian religious training can last a long time and run deep, seriously impacting your ability to enjoy life. Often people have intense feelings of confusion, grief, anxiety, and anger as they let go of a harmful religion. Image by ArcaHeradel via FlickrFull recovery can be difficult if the issues are not clear and you feel alone in the struggle. At the same time, you can feel enormous relief and liberation, especially if you have support.

As a "recovering fundamentalist" myself, and with years of experience working with people coming out of many dogmatic religious traditions, I have written a self-help book called Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. For some time now, I have been counseling people of many backgrounds – evangelical and Pentecostal Christian, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Christian Science, Seventh-Day Adventist, Scientology, Eastern groups, and any organizations of a…

Kenya: Thousands pray for pastors to rise from dead

They came from the four corners of the country and even neighbouring Uganda with one mission — to pray for a miracle.

Two pastors in the Kingdom Seekers Fellowship International church were killed in a road accident on Monday last week and the faithful believed that God would resurrect them if they prayed hard enough.

There was a large congregation of faithful and curious onlookers who were eager to witness the resurrection.



Nothing happened.

By this time, one could sense doubts creeping into the minds of some of the faithful. To banish any such thoughts, Apostle Steven Bulungi from Uganda chased away the doubting Thomases.


Pallbearers carry away the bodies
of two pastors after a bid by a
church to raise them from the
dead failed.
He kept on telling the congregation that they were not being “fanatical or emotional” enough. ‘‘You are practising the word of God,” he exhorted them.

Nevertheless, the worshippers eventually lost hope. One of the pastors announced: “Some miracles do not …

Mother says she agreed to starve son to rid him of demonic spirit

The mother of a dead child testified Wednesday that she agreed to starve her toddler son, who refused to say “amen,” to rid him of a demonic spirit that was potentially placed there when her own mother offered the boy up to the devil.


(Left) Ria Ramkissoon and her son Javon Thompson,
(top right) Queen Antoinette and
(bottom right) Trevia Williams.
Ria Ramkissoon, 23, also said she has faith that God will resurrect her son, Javon Thompson, and she’s not afraid to say so, even if it makes her sound crazy. [...]

Ramkissoon has pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death, and expects to receive a 20-year suspended sentence, along with inpatient counseling and five years of probation.

Her official sentencing has been repeatedly postponed in anticipation of her testimony Wednesday against three other defendants who are accused of running a religious cult and are charged with murder in 16-month-old Javon’s death.

On trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court are accused cult leader Queen A…

Pastor swindled nonprofit

A minister charged with qualifying people for cash assistance stole money for three years from a nonprofit organization, police say.

Thomas Croyle, 44, Carpenters Park Road, Davidsville, embezzled $18,615 from St. Francis Sharing and Caring Inc., a nonprofit organization located in Conemaugh Township, between May 2005 and June 2008, according to court documents.

He is charged with 56 counts each of theft by deception, failure to make required disposition of funds, theft and receiving stolen property.

Conemaugh Township police said the organization’s primary goal is to provide cash assistance and food to eligible individuals in need. Through the cash assistance program checks are made directly to utility companies, landlords or mortgage companies, police said. Croyle determined individual eligibility and forwarded cash assistance requests to the corporation’s treasurer, police said.

Croyle created a fictitious company, C & A Management Services in Jerome, and had checks made payabl…

Countermeasures: Dealing with fundy-in-laws, part II

By exfundy --

This is the second installment of the countermeasures I use to deal with my fanatical fundy-in-laws.

Story #3

Jane (the sister-in-law) refuses to have a computer in their house. Why? Because of all the evil things that can be found online. That age old Christian belief that it's better to completely avoid something good because it can be used for bad things. We have tried to tell her how important it is for her kids to learn to use a computer these days. The argument falls on deaf ears because she is afraid they might see something they shouldn't.

Of course she has no problem coming to our house to use our computer. Many times she either arrives unannounced or calls when she is two blocks away and asks to use the computer. We are generally very accommodating because we do understand that these days there are some things that are just much easier to do with an Internet connection. The thing that frustrates me the most though is she will volunteer to do thing…

Some things just don't make sense

By Webmdave --

I have problems with several issues when it comes to Christian Soteriology. For those reading this who are not familiar with Christian theological terms, Soteriology is the study of salvation, and the term is generally used in reference to Christian salvation.

First is the idea that salvation is unconditional. Following is that grace is freely bestowed on the believer; the believer is not saved by works or by earning salvation in any way; salvation is a gift, offered freely and without cost to the believer.

Or at least so we are led to believe.

I contend that this salvation concept does not make sense. If salvation is a free gift, and we as human beings can contribute nothing to our own salvation, and if it is all a work of the grace of GOD, then why isn't everyone on the planet destined for eternal life in heaven? While Christians throughout history have debated this issue from either an Arminian freewill approach or a Calvinist predestination interpretation, neith…

Disabled kids are God’s punishment

RICHMOND – Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican.

“In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

Marshall was among more than 20 people, mostly Christian pastors and clergy, who gathered for the press conference in the General Assembly Building.

They called on Virginia officials to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions.

“We are gathered this afternoon to draw attention to the unet…

Poo-cakes anyone?

By Discordia --

"But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?" 2 Kings 18:27 “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.” Eze 4:12
That sounds totally disgusting. Who in their right mind eats dung? The very idea is nauseating to us here. A popular insult is telling someone to “Eat s**t and die.” Yet here are verses in the bible where people are eating dung and drinking urine and it’s a good thing. What is up with that?

None of those verses made sense to me until I started gardening. A quick survey of organic products for plants in most dedicated gardening stores is gross when you really think about it. Blood meal (for nitrogen), bone meal (for calcium, something tomatoes need to avoid blossom end rot) and fish emulsion (made…

Former Pastor John Loftus debates Christian Apologist Dinesh D'Souza

John W. Loftus earned M.A. and M.Div. degrees in theology and philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary under the guidance of Dr. James D. Strauss. He then attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he studied under Dr. William Lane Craig and received a Th.M. degree in philosophy of religion. Before leaving the church, he had ministries in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, and taught at several Christian colleges. Today he still teaches as an adjunct instructor in philosophy at Kellogg Community College and has an online blog devoted to "debunking Christianity." His book is Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity.

Dinesh D'Souza (born April 25, 1961) is an author and public speaker who once served as the Robert and Karen Rishwain Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. D'Souza is the author of numerous New York Times best selling books and a conservative writer and speaker. D'Souza is a Roman Catholic.

God designed us like this

Lesch-Nyhan syndrome causes compulsive self-mutilation. Children eat their lips or fingers, and stab their faces with sharp objects. They feel the pain, but they cannot stop themselves. Why would a loving, all-powerful creator allow anyone to be born with such an awful disease?

Image by Colin Purrington via FlickrLesch-Nyhan is just one of the tens of thousands of genetic disorders discovered so far. At least a tenth of people have some kind of debilitating genetic disease, and most of us will become sick at some point during our lifetime as a result of mutations that cause diseases such as cancer.

The reason? Our genome is an unmitigated mess. The replication and repair mechanisms are inadequate, making mutations commonplace. The genome is infested with parasitic DNA that often wreaks havoc. The convoluted control mechanisms are prone to error. The huge amount of junk, not just between genes but within them, wastes resources. And some crucial bits of DNA are kept in the power factorie…

Biblical Literalism and the “Redemption Racket”

by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

The leaders of America’s Christian fundamentalists and biblical literalists are constantly whining about being mocked and ridiculed. There are good reasons for the derision, and no one better personifies those reasons than Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum.

On 17 February 2010, the Associated Press ran a story about Mr. Ham’s latest pronouncement. It was also carried by OneNewsNow – the propaganda organ of Don and Tim Wildmon’s rabidly anti-gay (and anti-gay families), anti-civil equality, anti-reason, anti-science American Family Association website – under the title “Creation Museum founder: U.S. should take Genesis literally”:
In what he characterized as a “State of the Union” speech from his museum in Kentucky, Ken Ham rebuked churches and Christian scholars who don't believe in a young Earth and creation in six days. “That’s why we have such a weak church, why a church is not touching the culture,” he stated. “[T]he church…

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