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Showing posts from November, 2010

A Fool's Morality

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

This article examines how a Christian apologist can stand basic morality on its head to fool himself and others. It deals with the Exodus 12 passage (sometimes called the Tenth Plague) and a Christian apologist’s response to a question about it (from http://christianthinktank.com/killheir.html). The passage reads as follows in the King James Version:

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.”
On the site Christianthinktank.com, an unnamed apologist wrote:

“I got this question a while back and wanted to make an initial reply:

"Pharaoh was holding Moses and his people captive, and doing really nasty things to them. God tells Pharaoh to let his people go, but Pharaoh says no. To show Pharaoh that he means business, God retaliates by killing thousands of first born children (and adults that were f…

Youth pastor accused of rape

A youth pastor accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old church member is now in the Oconee County jail.

Thursday afternoon, Brian Richard Gray, 32, was extradited to Georgia from Alabama, where he was arrested Tuesday at a family member's home, Oconee Sheriff Scott Berry said.

Gray, of Winder, faces charges of rape and and child molestation stemming from a relationship with a teenager he knew through the Monroe Church of Christ. Gray allegedly visited the teen several times in her family's Oconee County home while her parents were away, Berry said.

Deputies believe there may be other victims, and that Gray could face additional charges, Berry said. The church has cooperated with the investigation, he said.

Gray was being held Thursday night without bond, a jail spokeswoman told the AJC.

Read the previous story.



Youth Pastor Accused Of Sexual Deviance

Previously Convicted Of Indecent Exposure

GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- A voluntary youth pastor at the First Baptist Church in Grand Blanc was arrested and charged with indecent exposure for an alleged act committed on a child in August.

Curtis Burkhardt, 43, of Grand Blanc, was taken into custody on Nov. 22 after police investigated claims that he had exposed himself to a child at an area campground.

Detective Dale Brown, with the Brandon Township Police department, said he received a fax from the Grand Blanc Police Department which indicated that in August, Burkhardt took a group of neighborhood children to the Clearwater Campground in Brandon Township without prior approval from their parents.

Read the entire story here: LINK


Father loses custody for leaving Christianity

ANDERSON­ — A court ruling in which an Anderson father’s religion was a determining factor to strip him of joint custody of his three children is cause for concern, an Indiana University law professor said.

Craig Scarberry of Anderson lost joint custody of his three children this month after Madison County Superior Court 3 Commissioner George C. Pancol issued an order that included court evidence that Scarberry, formerly a Christian, had become agnostic. The order was affirmed by Superior Court 3 Judge Thomas Newman.

Jennifer Drobac, an IndianaUniversity professor specializing in family law, said a parent’s religion has no place in custody decisions.

“Father has a reason to be concerned,” Drobac wrote in an e-mail, suggesting the ruling might violate Scarberry’s First Amendment constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“I have read the order and am really concerned about why (Pancol) twice mentioned (Scarberry’s) religious beliefs,” Drobac wrote. “Such discretion would be clearly un…

Hell - Revisited

By Renoliz ~

The concept of Hell is what got me started on my journey out of Christendom. I could not bear the thought that God would be punishing people I knew, or even people I didn’t know, in eternal hell. It was tearing me up so I started doing some research. Ironically, it is this same concept of Hell that keeps many people from questioning their religious beliefs. Seeing the many comments and concerns voiced by visitors and contributors to exC, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this topic myself.

Whenever I write a reply that refers people to one of my favorite website I use the disclaimer that it is a Christian website. And why wouldn’t it be? Only Christians would care about the concept of eternal hell and only Christians are worried about having a god that is roasting untold millions of people. Much of the world does not believe in Christianity and would have their own concerns.

Vast numbers of people live in fear of this place of imagined unending torm…

Prayer for an Atheist

By KFR ~

My son,who is 41 years old, has suffered a brain aneurysm. We were able to get help for him quickly and it looks like he will be OK. I am getting frustrated and angry at all of the relatives on both sides of the family who call to tell us we are in their prayers, and knowing that I am an atheist, give a little sermon about why I should believe as if my son's aneurysm is a "teaching moment."

Here's the thing. These Christians seem to believe that they are doing something great for us. How much effort is a prayer? It would seem that it replaces any other action like a hug, a visit, a card, or an offer to bring sandwiches and fruit to the ICU for the family.

Here is the other thing: By their faulty reasoning, a god who can answer their prayer to heal my son, also caused this to happen. Yet they don't seem to think of these things in the same sentence. They seem to be unreasonable and self-righteous hypocrites who are incapable of critical thinking an…

Pursuing a Practical Standard of Proof

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

My reading on this site over the past few years suggests that many believers and fence-sitters stay that way because they dare not take that last step.

Through their own research and independent thinking they have come to the conclusion that Christianity is seriously flawed with unproven assertions, contradictions, and moral lapses. They realize that a “god of love” is inconsistent with a god who drowns every human being on the planet except for one drunk and his family. They realize that not all prayers are answered, despite what Jesus said. They understand that to execute a person because he is homosexual or works on Sunday is immoral, despite what the bible says. They know that the bible reads like a book of myths, with its dragons, talking snakes and jackasses, a woman turned into a pillar of salt, and page after page of other fantastic creatures and stories. They know that Christianity relies on miracles like virgin births, faith healing, and walking…

Obama’s Commitment to Christianity Trumps Commitment to Constitution

By Dr. Valerie Tarico ~

Faith based social services; Christian language from the presidential bully pulpit; Executive support for Arizona vouchers that divert tax dollars to religious schools … by the stack of evidence mounting up this fall, President Obama’s commitment to Christianity holds greater pull than his years of constitutional scholarship.

In his inauguration speech, Obama acknowledged explicitly that this country includes nonbelievers along with Christians and religious minorities. This might seem obvious, but compare it with Bush’s unapologetic bigotry: “I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” Given the contrast, nontheists of all stripes (humanists, rationalists, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, pantheists, etc.) were thrilled--pathetically so in hindsight. They would have done well to heed the broader pattern in Obama’s remarks rather than jumping on an isolated word.

According to Marvin Kra…

Socked in the Gut by Reality

By J.T. ~

Reality and truth are unkind to those hopelessly stuck in delusion. That is what I found out a long time ago. A large potent dose of truth that socked me in the gut so hard I cried as I watched my delusions crumble away until all that remained was the way things are.

The stark, alarming, blinding truth of existence. The feeling deep in my heart/mind/stomach...at the very center of who/what I am, that the universe in which we live exists independently of any 'intelligent' creator or author. The feeling that the universe is beyond any capability for me to ponder, without beginning or end, and yet uncaused and without error. I'll begin with this little rant about the universe and what I see it as. I think it is of at least some importance as it was this line of thinking that started my straying from religious thinking.

This feeling of "universal awareness" (since I have to call it something) wasn't some beautiful enlightening sense of oneness or …

On Morals

By darklady ~

One argument I have often heard Christians make against atheism is that without god there can be no moral absolutes.

This type of statement presupposes a number of assumptions: one, that the bible is the word of god (obviously debatable); two, that the morals of the followers of god are ‘correct’ and ‘good’ (highly debatable); and three, that people without god conceive and do evil at a greater rate than people that have some kind of belief in god. I am sure there are others as well.

I find myself getting quite angry with the proposition that without god one will have no morals. It is often noted on this site how evil the god of the bible is, the complete disregard shown in the bible for life, for women and for the state of humanity. Less often do we discuss how people can be and are in general ‘good’ (as opposed to evil) without the god of the bible making them so.

So without god, what is to stop people from being immoral?

From the point of view of one atheist, o…

Thanksgiving Confessions of an Ornery Atheist

By Valerie Tarico ~

As a child I liked Thanksgiving hymns even better than Christmas carols – perhaps because I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. My daughter, Brynn, is the same way. Case in point: She probably would have disliked the Twilightbooks even if her friends hadn’t crooned over them. But the abject loathing she expressed whenever they were mentioned, coupled with facial contortions and intermittent retching noises, were, by her own admission “because everybody else likes them so much.” Another case in point: The animals that elicit her protective instinct aren’t those with soft fur and big eyes but those with cold skin and big teeth. You catch the family pattern.

Some things change, and some things, like a tendency to swim upstream, don't. My understanding of our Thanksgiving holiday is one of the former; my stubborn refusal to abandon my traditions despite their religious history, is one of the latter.

It’s been a long time now since those cher…

Euthanasia, End of Life Issues

By Mriana ~

Last Monday, for 24 hours after seeing the doctor, my older son and I thought hard about this subject. The next morning, I decided to write about the subject, because a part of me did not want to do it, but the other part was doing its best to comfort and tell myself, it was the right decision and best for Amber. Since this topic is one of much discussion, besides one my family had to face, I decided to share my thoughts. I had to stop trying to second-guess the decision too, in the hopes of saving her life, but writing did not stop the tears or the pain.

There was a time I said I would never do that to a pet or anyone else for that matter, because I thought it was murder, at least when I was in the Church. The thought of killing someone to save them from suffering and pain was an abhorrence to me and I truly believed that we should do everything to save their life, even if it fails. Why? I do not know. However, since I left the Church that has changed and I have se…

Think on these things...

By Mike ~

Hello everyone; my name is Mike. I am 32 years of age and I left the church when I was 23.

My journey away from the church started when I became curious of where my religion came from and what effect it had on the world. To make a long story short I found that my religion has been the cause of pain and suffering for many people. I discovered that my religion killed people because they were non-Christian and even killed other Christians for so-called heresy. I also discovered that my all-loving, merciful, compassionate creator condoned the murder of children in the bible. I began to think about how a loving, merciful god could ever create a hell for anybody to go to just because they did not believe in him or his son.

I reacted to all this with a sense of injustice and rage. I didn't really think about the so-called consequences of doing what I was doing. I felt betrayed and lied to by god himself. I just couldn't stand to think that my god murders little infants and…

On Becoming a Passionate Atheist

By Carl S ~

A recent letter from American Atheists says,
"Each year, the Christmas season brings critics out of the woodwork to challenge us on our "war on Christmas," followed by attacks on our morality... The funny thing is that we have not really had a war on Christmas; we were just blamed for having one anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, if we are to be blamed for a war on Christmas, why not do something to deserve it?"
Atheists, like scientists, are portrayed by the religious and the media, as cold, analytical, logical . . . and dispassionate, despite the overjoyed reactions we share over new discoveries. How can believers ignore the shouts and hugging at NASA control when landers touch down on Mars, or astronauts land and walk on the moon, or when Voyager spacecraft and the Hubble telescope send their first pictures? What drives scientists to spend tedious hours, days, years, keeping precise measurements and records in the labs, or working with trowels and small …

God’s Emotions 6: Pleasing a High Status Deity (Supplication, Adulation, and Subservience)

By Valerie Tarico ~

Note: This is Part Six in a series, “God’s Emotions: Why the Biblical God is so Very Human.” Parts 1-5 are available at this blog or http://www.awaypoint.wordpress.com/

Imam Muhammed Baquir is said to have related this illustrative fable: “Finding I could speak the language of ants, I approached one and inquired, ‘What is God like? Does He resemble the ant?’ He answered, ‘God! No, indeed—we have only a single sting, but God, he has two!” --author unknown

Do people think I am crabby? Or insecure? Or jealous? Do they think I am easily pleased? Happy? Contented? One way to tell would be to ask them. Another would be to watch how they interact with me. Christians spend a lot of time interacting with God, or at least attempting to. We may not be able to tell what is happening on God’s side of the conversation (that is highly contested), but we know a good deal about the human half. How humans attempt to approach, influence or simply relate to God tells us ab…

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