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Showing posts from October, 2010

Lying for the Lord

By Thor's Hammer ~ Image by Bashed via Flickr “ Imagine that all of your friends and family are on a rushing train. Now imagine that this train will inevitably crash because the bridge is out. Everyone that is still on the train when it crashes will die. Let’s pretend your loved ones do not know that they are in danger so if you want them to live you will need to convince them to get off at the next stop. “In the same way, all of us are rushing inevitably towards death. If anyone dies without being saved, they will go to hell for all of eternity. If you haven’t accepted Christ accept him now. If you know someone who isn’t a Christian be bold and witness to them as soon as possible so that they do not perish. Let me tell you what hell is like… ” T hat is a condensed version of the most memorable sermon I have heard in the 16 years I was a Christian. At the time, I was a camp counselor at a Christian camp in southern Pennsylvania and we were listening to the daily sermon. Whe

The Dangerous World of Biblical Counseling: Part 1

By Larry C ~  O ne of the biggest dangers to a person's mental well-being and health is getting the wrong diagnoses. I have seen some true "miracles" of positive change happen to persons who were diagnosed and then treated properly with therapy and - if needed - medication. I have worked in the substance abuse treatment and mental health fields for several decades now. I am a Masters level clinician and have a good grasp of what particular symptoms and behaviors could mean, and what needs to be done to help a person. My work as a counselor is "evidence-based". This means that the practices that I use must be based on real research and results and just not some unproven and untested "theory" of human psychology . Such was the case for many years when psychologists and psychiatrists were interpreting people and their problems based on Freudian, Adlerian and Jungian "theories" which had not been put through any real clinical trials or re

Please Don’t Say You’ll Pray for Me

By ThinkTank ~  “Is it all right if we pray for you?” A year ago, we found the courage to tell our families that after 40 years, we were no longer christians. Now my spouse lays unresponsive in the hospital with spinal meningitis . We do not know the pathogen. A common bacterium will be readily treatable. An antibiotic resistant super bug could prove fatal. I send a message to let our still very Christian family know that we are in the hospital. My pastor brother respectfully responds, “Is it all right if we pray for you?” My loving, supportive sister texts me, “I’m praying for you even though I know you don’t like it.” I know my brother and sister love us. I know they feel awkward with our deconversion and don’t have the right words to say. I don’t have the right words to say either. I wonder how I should answer the question, “Is it all right if we pray for you?” I want to say. “No, it’s not all right! The god you are praying to is not real. Prayer does not work.

A Fortunately Easy De-conversion

By Attenti Al Gatto ~ M y mother had me when she was just 16 years old. Her father and my grandfather, a Roman Catholic of strong Italian descent, disapproved of the whole pregnancy. My mother had, after all, sinned to bring on this pregnancy. As a devote Catholic, my grandfather did however support my mother as best as was possible. Maybe he’s one of those rare Catholics that can still put family and loved ones before God. It was my grandfather’s idea to have me baptized after birth. My mother would be damned to a fiery pit for all eternity, and I was given a clean slate with God. I was officially brought into this world as an already saved child in God’s eyes. Boy, he must have had big plans for me! A few months after my birth, my father left my mother. It’s hard to blame him too much. They were, after all, just kids at the time. I hardly ever saw him after that though. Even to this day, 22 years later, I can count the times I’ve seen him on my hands. I think my mother’s preg

The Toes I Can't Step On

By Tusk ~ I 'm sure this situation may be old hat to some of you, but I've got to ask, because I haven't found any answers yet. Image by ems2n21 via Flickr When I de-converted, I was in a relationship with a woman I thought I was going to marry. She was/is a curiously devout liberal protestant. In the months since I "fell away" we broke it off, but stayed friends. It's safe to say that we will not be trying again. This has been one of the most difficult part of leaving the fold, for me at least. At times, it has been crushing. More difficult than dealing with my uber-Catholic mother, who hasn't so much as responded to a text message in the last few weeks. I'll take some help, if you've got some. Now, it's no secret that apostasy can be one of the most exciting, paradigm-shifting, and important events in a former theist's life. The freedom. The lack of guilt. The knowledge that you are not a wretched sinner. The freedom, again. Natur

Last Minute Forgiveness

By Renoliz ~ M y mother is apparently dying as I write this. She will soon take her last breath. Whilst not wanting to speak ill of the dead I am yet baffled by a life so wasted. I am incensed by a life so injurious to her children. I found out from my sister that Mom has spoken with a chaplain at the hospital. "She has regrets about her life," my sister states "But she does believe in God." So, apparently, all is forgiven and she can die in peace. I wonder why Mom didn't try to make amends when she could -- with us real human beings? Instead, last minute and all, she decides that she will talk to a chaplain. What did he tell her? That god loves all of us and that we are all born sinners. She couldn't help the bad things that she did. Did he tell her that children should honor their mother and their father? We children just haven't done right by her. We should be punished not her. I wonder if he told her that she should forgive us

Pastor arrested for downloading child pornography

DUENEWEG, Mo. — The minister at first denied downloading any child pornography to the federal agent and police officer who showed up two weeks ago at the door of his home in Duenweg . But Michael A. Crippen, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Duenweg , soon broke down and admitted to investigators that he had secretly viewed images of adult and child pornography via the Internet for years, according to allegations contained in an affidavit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Image via Wikipedia He allegedly told investigators that he had become addicted to pornography, and that he deleted a number of such images from one of his computers earlier that day and prayed for help with his problem. The affidavit states that he told investigators he normally viewed such pornography in the morning before going to work at his church. Crippen, 51, appeared Tuesday in federal court on a complaint of possessing child pornography. He remains in custody pending a detention

Priest arrested for sexual abuse

A n Ontario priest has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy, police said Tuesday. Jose Alejandro Castillo, 57, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario and known as "Father Alex" to parishioners, was arrested Monday at 3:30 p.m. at his Ontario home. After a three-month investigation, Ontario police say they confirmed inappropriate sexual contact by Castillo, with eight separate acts committed against the boy over a three-month period in 2008, said Sgt. David McBride. The San Bernardino County district attorney’s office issued an arrest warrant charging Castillo with eight counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14. Castillo was removed from active ministry in June after he was accused, by relatives of the victims, of molesting two adolescent boys. The Diocese of San Bernardino took it to police, and the allegations were made public nearly three months later in a letter read at weekend Mass at the four church

The Virginity Syndrome

By eveningmeadows ~  R ecently I heard a couple from my former church were getting divorced . I was quite surprised, since they were considered very spiritual. The wife was in charge of Women’s Ministries when I was at the church. I heard they had left that church and joined another one. I certainly don’t know the reasons that might have led to their separation. But the wife made a comment a while back that might be a clue. Image by ctbarna via Flickr We all know that “keeping oneself pure until marriage” is the mantra of the xtian church. It’s supposed to prevent all those problems that those in “secular” marriages have that lead to divorce. The wife told us at one time that she and her then boyfriend had had sex before marriage. She was very bitter and angry, still, after 15 or more years of marriage. They hadn’t waited until their wedding night . She then made the comment that no one seems to understand how upsetting this is for her, and how it still affects her. I remember loo

People who live in Glass Houses...should pay their bills!

By summerbreeze ~ N ow that prayer failed, and the Crystal Cathedral is in bankruptcy, the higher-ups are scrambling to keep that monument to deception going. These people have whined to the press for a while now about how "Tough times never last; every storm comes to an end. Right now, people need to hear that message more than ever." ~~~Sheila Schuller Coleman ( dtr. of Robert Schuller ) (Tough times never last? Tell that to the countries where, since time began, have struggled to achieve even a level of sub-poverty ) What sticks in my craw (Grandpa's phrase) is how they had put the paying of ills to the vendors on the back burner... meanwhile the cogs of the Chrystal machine just kept turning, keeping the status quo, for the most part. Quoting Jim Penner , a church pastor: "What we're doing now is we're trying to WALK WHAT WE PREACH" ....Hmmm.... Was it the lawsuits against them that lit a fire under that "walk?" Abraham Li

Deconversion Phases

By Patrice ~ I wrote a short description of how I was feeling at the start of my deconversion . One thing I know is that mentally, I am pretty far gone from Christianity--even the fear of hell is SLOWLY dissolving. What I think I'm dealing with now is a lot of ANGER, mixed with confusion. I know that I am in a rush to be completely free of this but I can't rush myself. I just recognized that there was a BIG problem in my belief system and I'm determined to start listening to myself for a change. Image by tizianoj via Flickr I just keep thinking of all my experiences as a Christian. And most if not all of them were laced with the emotion of guilt. Even from a young age. During communion we always had to pray first and examine ourselves and me being a perfectionist was always, always so deadly afraid of something being wrong inside me. Something I didn't confess or really didn't believe-this is at around nine years old. I shouldn't have felt guilty

My Path to Atheism

By Autumn Horton ~ M y biggest problem with religion is the answers I get (time and time again) to this question: If God is a loving God, why did he allow me to go through what I went through? I've heard it all: from “We can not know why God allows some things to happen to people” (Okay, then he obviously doesn't care if he's allowing people he created to suffer) to “Well maybe you did something in your past that God saw fit to correct and this was how he chose to punish/teach you”. Yeah, thanks for that one. Image by metrognome0 via Flickr Another of my biggest problems is the hypocrisy you see throughout the church (any church, pick one). I've had people say, “Now wait a minute, you can't judge god based on what people do!” Sure I can. You claim he changed your life and because of that you're a different person now. Uh huh. And your proof of this is where? Obviously NOT in the lives of those who claim the same belief. My path to Atheism is a lon

Editing the Bible

By Carm ~ R ecently I attended a wedding in a Lutheran Church to see my beautiful daughter-in-law and adorable grandson stand-up as the matron of honor and the ring-bearer. We had our own little cheering section in the back of the church which included family. His 2-year-old cousin Madalyn -- spelled like Madalyn Murray O'Hair -- had taken the pencil from the pew and started randomly crossing out sections of the Bible. I told her, "That's OK honey. There's a lot of really mean bad stuff in that book. Cross out whatever you like." There was an eruption of laughter from all. Which leads to my question: If you could strike out or edit any part of the "GOOD BOOK" as being the most harmful to Christians, to you or the world at large- people dealing with Christians what would it be?

Polytheism and Human Sacrifice in Early Israelite Religion

----An interview of Thom Stark, author of The Human Faces of God . Thom Stark is a scholar of ancient and modern religious texts. He is currently an M.A.R. student at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, TN . His first book, released in October, is called The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) . In chapters 4 and 5, Mr. Stark systematically lays out evidence that polytheism and human sacrifice were practiced widely as a part of early Yahweh worship. I have to start with a question that may sound rude. Most people would expect that someone writing about human sacrifice and polytheism in the Bible would be an atheist or agnostic. And yet you describe yourself as a very committed Christian. Help me put the pieces together. Well I hail from the Stone-Campbell tradition, an anti-creedal protestant movement that is committed to discovering what the Bible says, even if what the Bible says contradicts what ort