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Showing posts from March, 2011

Tribal Lore in the USA

By Carl S ~ H ow often in your life have you been exposed to motion pictures and documentaries wherein tribal elders pass down the lore, the "wisdom" of generations to their young? Their wisdom is lauded and becomes sacred in ancient tales and rich rituals. Along with survival techniques, food and medicinal plants are pointed out, gathered and described. Oftentimes, sacred purification ceremonies are held, as in sweat lodges. Ah, traditions! As sacred places, explanations, and observances are mixed in with the practical, they all tend to have tacit acceptance as equally valid. But, if you stop to think about these things, you come to the conclusion that much of this traditional “knowledge” is pure crap. Take this one step further, and you realize that established major religions may be more elaborate, but in essence they're just tribal superstitions with different incantations, and they are still taught right here in the U.S.A, still passed down to the young from the

Cosmic Balance

Apostate Peg ~ I ’ve been thinking about cosmic balance; every action having an equal and opposite reaction. A while ago my husband and I were out for a walk. Actually, my husband was doing the walking and pushing me in my wheelchair. (My limbs do work, I’m not wheelchair-bound, but I can only stand or walk for scant minutes at a time.) Anyway, we were crossing a restaurant parking lot when a woman came running up to us with her hands raised and asked if she could pray with us. She seemed surprised when I said no and took a couple of steps away from us but then started loudly praying, “Jesus, heal this woman, let her stand right now and walk away from this wheelchair and proclaim your glory through your healing power”. I was sorely tempted! I almost stood up and yelled, “Hallelujah, Jesus has healed me”. What a good joke! And then I looked, really looked, into her eyes and saw a fanatical gleam that sent a chill down my spine. In an instant I knew she not only wouldn’t g


By V ~ I was a happy kid before I entered the church. My family had moved from Washington State to West Virginia and the landscape was amazing. Across my house was a yawning gorge and I would spend endless days building little mud dams and floating my little foam boats down the stream. My family would go for walks to a park near our house and tiny little turtles floated in the pond. So here is where it drops that church made me unhappy and ruined my childhood. Well, yes. But it is slightly more complicated than that. My family decided to join a church. They did so because there was a sizable Chinese community in that church. The Chinese community sat in the same congregation as the "American" community as they put it, though all in a section. So the "American" preacher would be preaching to everyone and the Chinese community would be clustered to the left. My Sunday school teacher was a very intense man. He told us about how amazed he was by God's gr

A Rant about Teen Challenge

By paganvegan ~ I attended Teen Challenge for five months. If you are a person who responds well in situations where you are continuously inundated with dogma, never resting or being given time to reflect or experience time away from anything which does not involve being in the midst of people, sounds and never ending activities while being repeatedly subjected to the same rhetoric over and over while simultaneously losing your ability to think and reason for yourself, then TC is for you. They break you down, attempt to strip you of your identity and then substitute it with their own. It is a typical dick move cult brainwash tactic. They also claim a 90% success rate year after year after year. Here's how that works...100 people show up and 90 drop out. 10 remain and 9 of them actually succeed. Voila! 90% success rate. There is also a veiled not so subtly veiled threat of something to the effect of a chain letter type manipulation tactic which promises "great rewards a

A Personal God

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ S cience is seldom able to say much concerning religion because one is based on faith and the other on facts. However, once in a while, science is able to make a very concise and accurate statement on religious matters. One notable example was the recent Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP), conducted under the auspices of Harvard Medical School (2006), which showed there was no positive benefit from prayer for those recovering from heart attacks. I recently came across a scientific survey which may have even more to say about religious belief than the STEP study. The study was conducted online in 1999-2000 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance . As the study designers explained, “Our survey was conducted by Email. We placed a request on our 'help us' page, asking people to take part in a study of prayer. The survey's main purpose was explained as an assessment of "the will of God on the topic

An Atheist in the Pew

By IDH ~ G ood morning brothers and sisters. I'm your father, sister, spouse, maybe your best friend. I have a secret, and as much as I can allow it right now, I want you to know the truth. Though I sit in the pew with you, I am a closeted atheist. Years ago I decided to "own" my faith. I did it for God, and for the Kingdom. I took up "God's Word" to make it my own, to demonstrate my love and dedication. My intentions were pure and holy. The first few years weren't so bad, and I felt closer to God than ever. I realized that the believers in the church across the street (the "wrong" kind of Christians) actually had some well founded beliefs, backed by scripture. In fact, almost every belief (even the contradictory ones) can be backed by scripture! But... what could that mean? God wouldn't author confusion. My mind weighed this paradox for months... years... then over time a singular idea took hold: Why have I starting wit

True Freedom

By Your Fellow Free-Thinker ~ M y grandmother was a believer, and taught me as a little girl (what I now realize as brainwashing) to believe in Jesus Christ, as he died for my sins and that if I didn't believe, he'd send me to be eternally damned and punished for it. As a little kid, I was terrified. Of course I believed. Back then, that was perfectly reasonable. Our church was full of gossipers and hypocrites. I remember one kind old lady who gave me caramel flavored candy every time I went. One day that kind lady died, and the church went on just the same. I remember asking my grandma about it, and she just said that was the way things were. I was frustrated, though, because that answer didn't answer anything. But I brushed it aside. So I grew up, and around fifteen I had suicidal thoughts. I remember feeling useless and like God was punishing me with self-hatred because I wasn't living a godly life (I was attracted to males AND females, I masturbated, I lied, I

Papa’s in Hell

By Higgs ~ S tanding there, staring at the six-foot deep hole in the ground now being filled, while the lyrics of “We Rise Again” by The Rankin Family resound from an apparently overused boom box, a single sad thought infects my brain: Papa believed in reincarnation. Feelings of remorse and pity and guilt overwhelm me. Papa’s burning in Hell. And it’s all my fault. As I sat in the passenger seat of our Chevrolet Sprint, my two brothers in the back, my mother drove us home, and I cried for the entire two-hour drive. A normal reaction, one might assume, to the death and funeral of a family member, but my tears were more than those of a boy sad to know he would never see his grandfather again. Mine were tears of sadness; more especially, they were tears of guilt, and tears of anger. Again, sadness should not be surprising, and anger is often a normal reaction to death, but it seems far less normal for a thirteen-year-old boy to feel guilt over the death of his seventy-year-old grandf

Faith explained it all to me

By Dan ~ I grew up in a conservative Christian home in South Africa during the apartheid years. In those days all the white people were Christians and we were taught not to challenge authority. After I left school I did not bother going to church and did not even think about Christianity until I got married and my first child was born. I started going to church again with my wife, not because of conviction but because that was the expected thing to do. Although I was only a typical Sunday Christian , I have put my talents to use and quickly became a deacon and after two years one of the youngest elders in the congregation. I was a full-time soldier and was involved in the war in Angola . During this time I started to question God and Christ and decided to walk away from all that. I left the church, and my wife left me. For years I read everything I could find on evolution, the history of the church, and other religions, mainly to equip myself for arguing with Christians. Then

I'm a tyco racetrack

By Matt ~ H owdy all, my name is Matt and yep coming here because I'm going forward only to come back to the beginning. Long story short; raised a Jehovah's Witness in a very violent home. Tried to commit suicide, offered myself as a martyr by refusing a blood transfusion 26 years ago, led a debauched lifestyle, had a child, tried a relationship as a father who believed in the bible god, to be a good example as a father, but father just no longer can bring himself to go to church, believe in blind faith, haven't been associated with any church for quite a while. Image by JW Ogden via Flickr My daughter no longer wants to go to church, she's 12 so I'm not getting a 'why not' conversation out of her as to why she doesn't want to go. But gut feeling is that she finds something not quite right about religion. I'm not 100% sure that's how she feels/thinks, but she does not like to discuss religion, yet she's still on tract to go through som

A life through faith

By mari_mayhem ~ O n March 7th 2011, my grandmother died in what people are probably deeming an act of god. I would say that it is far from that. Many would think me heartless for the things I am about to write, but for me this is part of the grieving process. They say we all grieve in our own way, well this is mine. This woman is known to have been a popular pastor for fifty years and they viewed this woman as a perfect person. When I say perfect, I mean perfect. They had a lovely suburban home, seven children, and god was a reality for them every day of life. What they don't know is that this woman, no matter how kind in her later years, destroyed my life. I don't think it's what she intended to do and it's not very often that a person goes out of their way to ruin another. Still it is her life's work of ministry that destroyed her family. Now the only real reason I am doing this is so that maybe you will be more able to see through the lies of others. Maybe you

Where does the love of god go when the minutes turn to hours

By darklady ~ ‘Where does the love of god go when the minutes turn to hours? ( Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald ) T he recent earth quake in Christchurch NZ has seen the usual bigoted comments come out. I have heard it blamed on gays, women wanting equality and sinning in general. Mostly I ignore these types of comments as being from ignoramuses, uneducated, fearful people who know no better. But a few comments have got to me. One such recent comment on Facebook from a xtian friend was that it was ‘remarkable’ that no one was killed when the church spire in the square collapsed, with the implication being that god was somehow protecting people from dying in ‘his’ space. Needless to say this comment ignored the others killed in another church in the city. Why should it be ‘remarkable’, that ‘god’ stopped people dying in ‘his’ church? Shouldn’t we say instead that where was ‘god’ when people died elsewhere, shouldn’t that be the comment. Shouldn’t w

Madoff, Mubarak, and Us

By Carl S ~ L ittle Johnny vomited on the kitchen floor. Grandma was angry because he caused her discomfort. Mother was furious. She said, "Johnny has insulted my dinner, and he ought to be punished." Father said that Johnny should have held it back, and gone to the toilet, the proper place to dump it, and not bother anyone. Nobody considered that Johnny had eaten something poisonous to him, and had to get the poison out of his system; they were only thinking of themselves. And nobody cared. You may notice that this scenario mirrors the attitudes of believers to those who question their beliefs. Recently, a writer responding to my essay, " What's Missing ," asked about my marriage to a Christian woman: “How do you stand it?” Good question, since I frequently ask myself the same thing. The little Johnny story came out of my situation, and will be familiar to many others on this site. It IS frustrating, when the most important matters in my life - truth and

Flatlined__________and still no prayers

By Summerbreeze ~ L ife can throw us some weird coincidences. I had typed my article " Entering the NO-FUN ZONE " ( about the health benefits of laughter )to Dave on a Monday. Then three days later I flatlined three times in 14 minutes. The day prior to my flatlining I had been outfitted with a cardiac event monitor because of weird squeezing sensations in my chest. (This is a little box that you are wired up to 24/7 & you wear it.) Image by zerok via Flickr Three Doctors called me in the space of five minutes, telling me that I needed a heart catherization and a pacemaker. "WHO, ME ?!?"....."I'm too young," I cried to them. I was horrified and mad. All of a sudden I felt very old... How could someone who was Jr. High School age when she idolized James Dean, Natalie Wood & Ricky Nelson need a pacemaker?! In a nut-shell, I had the heart catheterization, then the pacemaker surgery. Never during the entire time from beginning t

Check and Mate

By JadedAtheist ~ Nailing Jell-O to a Wall M any people get frustrated with Christians because they always seem to have an “answer” to every problem you present to them. This in their mind seems to prove that their God exists but this is far from the truth as we are all aware. They have a few tricks up their sleeves and one of them might consist of an answer that requires you to prove otherwise. To illustrate this, we can look at a primary example: Jesus’ birth in Luke. Image by electrobrainpdx via Flickr Luke states that Jesus was born while Herod the Great was ruling AND during the time of Quirinius ’ census. Herod died 4BCE but Quirinius’ census was held around 6-7CE. The Christian explanation? Quirinius served an earlier term and held a census at that time as well. Just because we don’t have the evidence for it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! Prove otherwise! Then of course we have the “trust God™” answers that so many of us ex-Christians detest with a passion. It doesn’t

Soldier, Dad, Whistleblower: Atheist in a Foxhole Takes on Evangelistic Military Hierarchy

By Valerie Tarico ~ J ustin Griffith is a twenty-eight year old active duty soldier, a sergeant at Fort Bragg in North Carolina . He is also a new dad. Griffith likes what he does. He describes the military as a place that has structure, discipline, and opportunities. From his point of view, he has a full life, and a good one. And yet it was Griffith, as much anyone, who blew open the U.S. Army ’s Spiritual Fitness program this winter. Why? Why make waves in a job you love among people you respect? Why risk the pariah status that is so often the lot of whistleblowers? Griffith agreed to let me ask him those questions. Justin Griffith Tarico: I’m impressed that you got permission to talk publicly about the Spiritual Fitness Program. Griffith: Well, I need to say that I am speaking as Sgt. Justin Griffith. I am not representing the army in any official way. I’m free to talk about my opinions and experiences related to the mandatory soldier fitness tracker, how “Spiritual Fitne