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Showing posts from January, 2012

Rational Religion

By John ~ T his is from The Orthodox Study Bible: "Man is not sinful by nature. The Orthodox Church rejects any teaching that man has a 'sin nature' or that man is depraved to the core. Because we are created in the image of God there is indelible goodness in our nature that can never be undone. While we can become immersed in sin, we know that it is still not part of our nature, but a foreign force that dwells in us. Thus, sin is what we do, not what we are." I wonder how many of us would still be Christians if we had been raised under a concept like this? From reading extimonies on this site, I would have to guess that most of us would still be Christians if we had not been exposed to high doses of fundamentalist doctrine. In reading the above text, it seems to me that the Orthodox Christians agree (at least in theory) with the general principle that people are capable of good even without an atonement. This is a huge step up from what the fundies believe. Wha

Christians "against" religion?

By Stephen ~ Y ou may have seen this YouTube video doing the rounds lately (maybe, like me, your friends have posted it on Facebook). It is a "Spoken Word poet" doing a little rant against "religion". But he's a Christian. Get it? Me neither... When I see videos like this, I am not impressed by the show of humility and standing up against the big evil "religious" folk. I’ve seen this all before. The trouble is that Christians tend to define “religion” in a way that suits themselves. Since “religion” has a bad reputation these days – a large amount of which is due to evangelical Christians such as this young poet! – it is fashionable to join the anti-religion club and thus make oneself and one’s clan look more attractive. There is something slightly devious and dishonest about this. It’s usually called “shifting the goalposts”: when somebody seeks to score an effective attack on your beliefs, you merely redefine certain words so that the criti

The social costs of the faith.

By Eversion ~ W e are all unique individuals, no two people alike, as we live, we change, grow, mature and develop our own preferences, desires, beliefs and world view etc. I like myself and I'm glad that I'm different in the way that there has never been or ever will be another like me after I cease to exist. I enjoy the freedom to be myself and make choices that are not forced upon me, it makes life worth living. Imagine if we all fit the same mold, how far behind we would be in our development as a human race. Unfortunately in Christianity, individuality is a threat. When I was a christian my reality was that what made me me, was just not good enough. The quote below says it better than I could. “We had to become like Jesus Christ and die to ourselves. In other words, you kill your own personality off and try and replace it with Jesus Christ. When I did leave I had killed myself off to such a point that there was nothing of me left, and that’s what keeps you in there

Family Life in Heaven

By Alex ~ I am writing this piece regarding the worthlessness of life described by many, but not all Christians concerning marriage and family life in Heaven. First off, I am writing this from a point of view for the possibility of an afterlife. First off, I’d like to tackle one aspect which I haven’t seen mentioned on here: MT 22:23 That same day the Sadducees , who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" In the resurrection they neithe

Problem with Repentance

By Paul So ~ W hen I was seventeen years old I took my faith very seriously; I took my faith so seriously that I could pray over an hour if I felt compelled to do so. But why did I feel compelled to pray over an hour? As a Christian at the age of seventeen, the most important phase is to be forgiven, but forgiveness is only possible through confession and repentance . I learned this from reading a few passages from the bible and from other Christian devotional books. However, while I understood what it means to confess, I didn’t exactly know what it means to repent. When I read some of the devotionals as well as some of the passages of the bible, and begun to reflect on the meaning of repentance, it dawned upon me that repentance done by a single human being is impossible. The reasoning behind this thinking was that a sinner cannot repent unless he realizes the benevolent nature of God through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When I say the sinner cannot repent, I really

The Hiddeness of God

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ "I've never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith -— it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe." - Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein A ccording to Christian theology, an invisible god created the universe and sustains and rules it today, making this god the most powerful force in the universe. But, why then is he so hidden from us? We know of many lesser invisible things, such as gravity, electrons, and magnetism, which we have discovered, measured, and described by their effects on visible things, but such evidences of a god are highly ambiguous at best. Amongst the apologists, there appear to be four main arguments for the “hiddenness” of god: the testimony of the Bible argument, the free will argument, the mysterious ways argument, and the “spiritual sight” argument. Christian and fence-sitting visitors to this site should think seriously about th

Snow White: Antichrist

By John ~ A friend of mine once proposed to me that Disney's Snow White is the Antichrist. There you see her lying in state while the seven dwarves (who represent the seven churches) bow before her. A prince (the false prophet) comes riding up, kisses her, and restores her to life (false resurrection). Therefore, she's the Antichrist. Makes sense to me. The theological underpinnings of Snow White are simply one in a string of Disney tales. Prince Philip (the savior) slays the dragon (Satan) to rescue Sleeping Beauty (the Church). Simba is separated from his father and flees (the fall of man) only to live in an unnatural state until he is reconciled to Mufasa (God the Father). Goofy becomes possessed when he gets behind the wheel of a car (representing how modern science separates us from our true nature in god). And less obvious examples such as Peter Jackson (Pontius Pilot) crucifying the characters of Aragorn, Faramir, and Galadriel (the Father, Son and ...Holy Crap! A

Can We Encourage Others With The Truth About The Liars?

By Yak ~ Yet Another Representative of Christ Shown to Keep Toxic Secrets: T he old adage that "The fish rots from the head-back" certainly proves itself to be both true and relevant on an on-going basis. Secretly fathering a child while in the institution of higher learning that "forms" priests in their role as spiritual leaders, "pastors," confessors, truth-tellers and even judges of other people's faith (ever been told by a christian pastor/priest/minister/teacher that "your conscience wasn't formed correctly" when you took issue with their crazy-making?) Famously, (and joining the long, distinguished and rapidly growing list of religious vow-takers-and-breakers) Thomas Merton , a member of the Catholic " Trappist " or " Cistercian " monastic order -- one of the golden boys of their religion -- also fathered a child while at sc

Blank Checks

By Andrea ~ I magine that you are with your life, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or anyone else that's close to you. You're with them on the first day of a new year. They ask you what you hope to do this year and you say ''This year I will be a blank check for you(insert their name here). You decide what you want me to do with my life this year and whatever it is,no matter if I like the idea or not,I will do it.I will be like a blank check and you write the cost, of whatever you want,on me and I'll let you ''cash in'' whatever amount you desire from me.'' Then for the next 365 days you do everything this person asks from you.No matter if its insane or if you don't understand any of do it with a smile.Every time you want to say ''What the hell am I doing this for?'',you bite your tongue and instead say ''Thank you for the opportunity to serve you this year.'' Aw isn't that sweet? Isn't

The Hug

By Tania ~ T he house is empty now. Everyone has left to go to prayer meeting. I had to go to the basement for something, and I saw one of the many God books on the desk. And I remembered that hug, that hug that reminds me that I cannot share these thoughts with my family yet – or maybe ever. It would be too much. They know that I am having doubts. They know that I am not sensing God, that my experiences with prayer and church and Christians in the past year have significantly changed my thoughts about this faith that at one time meant the world to me... And, I think – I should hope – that they know me well enough to know that this is not a phase, this is not me rebelling or being selfish or lazy or judgmental. They know how I am in my relationships (not perfect in any way, but probably as “normal” as most people!). They've raised me in a simplistic, non-materialistic way, and I've stuck to that because I think it is the best way to live. I have volunteered with the dyin

"Word" Processors

By Carl S. ~ S everal years ago, Newsweek magazine published the results of a survey asking different denomination members to define "God". Yes - that god. The definitions of "God" fell into four or five different categories. (I made a point with my wife one day that her definition of God was not the same as her brother’s, sister-in-law’s, my niece, etc.) Thus, theology, as a method to define "God" and “his” mind, wishes, and duties to Him turns out to be a means to control via . . . words. And it works. A noted Father of the Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas , wrote of the "Five proofs for the Existence of God." Aquinas, an erudite philosopher quoted occasionally by theologians, is considered by them to have written a brilliant exposition with his "proofs", but, as one thinker noted, his "proofs" only make sense if you accept his premise to begin with, and he offers no proof that his god exists. What Aquinas offers is what

The Free Will Argument

By Klym ~ I am fairly new to the ex-xtian community, so I still struggle to explain my nonbelief to Christians. How do you reply when they give you the free will argument to explain evil? Aside from wanting to ask them if they really have two brain cells to rub together, the answer seems pretty obvious to me. Christians seem to have no problem believing that a human being can be "possessed" by the devil. Why then, do they believe there can be free will? If we truly have free will, then neither the divine nor the demonic could control us, right? And, free will seems such a convenient way to explain away horrendous suffering and crimes that human beings should be angry about. It seems to just give Christians an excuse to do nothing about the injustices in the world. Does a severely mentally ill person really have free will? I think only to the extent that their brain chemistry allows it. Now, don't misunderstand me, I do think we have free will to some extent, but

Spiritual Naturalism

By Paul So ~ I t is often believed among Christians that non-believers who have no religion cannot have true spirituality; the reasoning behind this is not mere bigotry, rather it is the assumption that spiritual life is wholly dependent on a relationship with God. However I want to go beyond this assumption by arguing that spirituality can be independent of religion (including Christianity). I will argue this by expounding on a naturalistic/atheistic world-view in which Nature is the source of spirituality, not God. However before I do this I want to define or elaborate on what spirituality is; I know that spirituality cannot be thoroughly defined in an exhaustive manner, but at the very least I want to elaborate on the general idea on what spirituality is in order to further explain why it is possible without God. I also want to elaborate on what Nature is in the most simplest way possible…after that I want to relate them together to see how the pieces fall together. Spirituality

Righteous Abortion: How Conservative Christianity Promotes What It Claims to Hate

By Valerie Tarico ~ O ne of the great ironies of American society is that most abortions in the U.S. are caused by conservative Christians. Read the statistics: Forty nine percent of pregnancies in this country are unintended, a rate that has been painfully stable for almost 30 years. Almost half of those pregnancies end in abortion. Or, to turn it around, over 90% of U.S. abortions are the result of accidental pregnancy. U.S. rates of unwanted pregnancy and abortion far exceed any other country with similar economic development. So does our rate of religiosity . The fact that we are outliers on both is not a coincidence . Three aspects of conservative Christianity promote abortion: pro-natalism, an obsession with sexual sin, and an emphasis on righteousness over compassion. Biblical Christianity is not pro life. It is not even pro human life. Steven Pinker recently estimated that the Old Testament alone describes 1.2 million deaths at the hand of Yahweh or his servants.