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Showing posts from September, 2012

Faith is not just an assumption

By Paul So ~ I t is pretty common among religious apologists (as well as lay believers) to argue that we have faith all the time. A common argument they would use is the skeptical argument. They that if anything requires justification then so does reason and evidence, but to justify reason and evidence we have to provide a justification that is not from reason or evidence otherwise it would be circular. But we cannot find any justification for reason or evidence we simply have faith in them as much as someone might have faith in God. This argument is pervasive among lay believers who insist that we often have faith in many things such as our parents, airplane service, and law enforcers (although that one is questionable in some circumstances). They might go so far as to say that I have faith when I assume that my chair is not fragile so I sit on it. The problem here is that they are equivocating the meaning of faith with making assumptions. While it is common between both belie

What is Life Like if We Run Jesus' Experiment?

By Douglas A. Lefelhocz ~ I found your article " No True Christians! " article interesting. The comments section had a lot of interesting debate going on there. I'm not a Christian or a believer in any sense. I once considered myself a Spinoza-ist of sorts, but I recently learned that he used a phrase, "per causum" which indicates all of his ideas as *openly* a pretext. Many of the things the collection of books of Christians says, I find foolish. Other things I find obscure and capable of many, many different interpretations to the point that making sense of what the authors intended becomes impossible. This all said, I wonder... what if instead of quasi-rationally trying to figure out the value of an idea like "give to all who asketh of thee" via a thought experiment, which even ancient philosophers did and ended up with many, many mistaken conclusions, we took our reason further and viewed Jesus's idea as a hypothesis... that is "

Ex-Christian or Post-Theology?

By Christy ~ I started the only Ex-Christian support group in the New York City/tri-state region. My ranting was wearing thin with everyone else. We're called ExChristianPostTheo. We've been going for less than a year and have 60 members so far. We try to support people leaving (or who have long since left) "the" faith. But we also form a replacement social group for what turns out to be generally very intelligent, brave, curious people. You don't leave Christianity if you're a casual Christmas-and-Easter Christian. You leave Christianity because it's been your life, because you went to Sunday School AND Bible Study every week, because you went to Christian summer camp or led the youth group. You leave Christianity because you spent a huge amount of your life seriously trying to grapple with your own faith in a sincere way. That's why, in my experience, Ex-Christians are rarely the wanton sinners Christians say we are. We're not even G

Is having a belief in an imaginary creator a good survival strategy?

By Dano ~ I think the biggest challenge we as humans face is to accept the fact that we are smarter than we used to be but we still have a lot of evolving to do. We as Homo Sapiens , managed to survive the transition from being stronger in tooth and claw to a more slender version with larger brains, and it only took a few million years of nature selecting certain individuals who had those extra brain cells and could out smart everyone else in the business of keeping warm and killing whatever and whoever we came into contact with, and endowing them with more and longer reproducing capacities. Yes Neanderthal man may have had bigger muscles and more hair but the guy who could bring home the bacon, won the favors of little miss cave girl, and departed this small world leaving more copies of himself. A sharper arrow, a truer shaft, and an appreciation of the target, even today, beats big and stupid. All that said, if we are to maintain any piece of mind, we just have to adju

No Sure Thing

By Carl S ~ D ear Convinced Christian: Mom and Dad won't always be there for you. Your beloved may not always be faithful, always love you, may never meet your expectations. Friends may disappoint you, even betray you, move away, and even die. Let's face it, life is unpredictable, even as we continually keep making order out of its chaos. Where is there any 'home base' to tie up to? Here's what you've been taught as you grew up: There is one sure thing you can depend on, God. He will always be there for you, of that you can be certain. But, even that certainty itself changes, if you're willing to learn. Well, YOUR god is the Real Thing. Previous gods were worshipped, special prayers were formulated to win their favors, avert their wrath, defeat their enemies and yours, and, of course, rituals were created so that there would be guarantees these beliefs would continue forever. Magnificent edifices were erected to these invisible spirits who are in con

Coming out as an atheist while married to a devout Christian

By Ben ~ I recently deconverted from Christianity, and for the past few months did not know what to do about it. You see, I am very involved in church{ teaching Sunday school, singing in the worship team, ushering, past board member, and married to the pastor's daughter. I decided I could not live a lie and had to tell my wife. To her credit she has agreed to try to stick with me, but is saying its unfair of me to stop going to church or doing nightly devotions with her. Telling my family and hers has been really difficult too. After a two hour meeting with our parents, the in-laws left from the opposite door I was standing at, refusing to speak to me as they left. My mother asked me to get checked out by a doctor to see if I am suffering from some sort of depression. My sister posted on Facebook a lengthy plea, public, outing me to the whole world. And my wife, though she says she loves me , told me she is afraid God will make one of our kids die, in order to "

Ten Proofs That There Is No God

By Valerie Tarico ~ P hilosophers and theologians have been quarreling for centuries over a handful of abstract arguments –ontological, cosmological, teleological, experiential . . .-- that some insist either prove or disprove the existence of God. Obviously, they don’t prove either, or the argument would be over. Mind you, I do think it’s over. The scholars have had their noses so deep in their books that they didn’t notice the obvious. 1. Mosquitos.  Let me get it straight. The world – in fact the whole universe—is fine tuned so that humans, the pinnacle of creation can live here on Earth and spend our time joyously praising God. Oh, and there are mosquitos, but they didn’t evolve. They are part of the perfect plan. Huh. 2. Migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are about as useful as mosquitos, and they hurt worse. As many as ten percent of school kids get migraines; mine started right around the time I learned to talk—barf-in-the-bathtub headaches, not the rare-bu

Some things are unexplainable, so lets fill in the gaps!

By Log1cd1ctat3s ~ A lmost every time I defend a secular viewpoint, I’m met with this statement; and I quote, “I just believe that not everything can be explained, geez.” It’s either that or something similar to that. I’ve been confronted with this statement on a multitude of occasions by people who run out of arguments to defend their fallacious religious beliefs. My question adhering to that is this, “If everything truly cannot be explained, should we then just fill in the gaps and assert things that we don’t have evidence for?” Even if everything cannot be explained (which I disagree with); that doesn’t mean we should just jump to conclusions in a possibly-erroneous way. I know a lot of people are not going to like this but—faith is dishonest. Not only are you being irrational when you put faith in an anthropomorphic deity, but you are also deceiving yourself in case you just so happen to be wrong. Every shred of empirical data that we have up until this point repudiates

Clash of the Theodicies

By SteveS ~ S uffering is an immense problem for Xians. I’ve already talked about the problems with the free will argument, but there are many people, like evangelicals and fundamentalists who use the line “everything happens for a reason”. To put it in Bible-speak, “All things work together for the glory of God, and according to his purpose ( Romans 8:28 ).” Whoa! That’s a huge pill to swallow! God is in charge of everything, and nothing happens without his consent, is basically what Paul is saying here! This verse is a fatal, fatal misstep for Christianity. How can you use the free-will argument when your own authoritative text plainly says that God interferes with the world to make it work for his glory?! Seriously, you could ignore this verse, and say, oh, Paul’s not important, but you’d be damn wrong! What other books are you gonna take out next? You could go until you have just the four gospels left, then take out John (90% of it isn’t even what the real Jesus is though

Prideful or Stupid, What'll You Have?

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ A few weeks ago on this site a Christian woman claimed in a comment that she had once been an atheist and found it to be a life of emptiness and loneliness. She advised the article’s author to accept belief in Jesus for a better life. Her last sentence has been bouncing around in my head ever since. She wrote, “Don’t listen to your pride.” Of course, many of us pounced on her assumption that atheists are empty and lonely, and rightfully so, but what did she mean by her parting shot? How does pride become an issue in believing the Christian story? Since the foundational story of Christianity comes from the Bible, I have to assume that she meant that to doubt the Bible is prideful, that one should just ignore his doubts and believe. However, if there is clear evidence in the Bible that at least some of its contents are contradictory, false, stupid, and immoral, then wouldn’t it be stupid to just believe in it all without doubt? Must one be either

Music Saved Me

By HardToBe ~ T his is an exercise for me. I have read countless of testimonies and going through my journey of leaving Christianity has been extremely therapeutic. I'm sorry that this will be long. All these little moments led me on my journey of leaving Christianity. Hopefully someone else can find something in my story that rings true for them. Thanks to those who run this site. This story begins like most. I was born to Christian parents. My father was a Baptist and my mother was a Catholic. They decided to raise me in a non-denominational home. I read bible stories with my parents every night. My heroes soon became men and women like Moses, Esther, Joseph, Noah, Joshua, Mary, David, Solomon, Paul and Job. The top of that list was Jesus. He was an amazing man who died, so that I could live forever with God. It made sense and I had incredible faith in this. I went to a Christian elementary school. I got good grades, but always excelled in Bible class. I knew

Weak in Faith

By Sara ~ A Take On Judgement (Photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune ) I am 23 years old, and I would definitely say I am an 'ex-christian.' My father was a heroin (and whatever else) addict, so my sister and I were raised by my mother. We struggled all our lives, and a lot of terrible things happened. When I was 12 years old, my father was killed. I began a downward spiral. By 14 I was using drugs and just acting crazy. My mom worked 2 jobs, so supervision wasn't an issue. My freshman year in high school, a church by the name of Church on the Rock did a small revival-like 2-day conference in my town. Suddenly there was a blast of teenagers in my school being dragged by their parents, or the group of zealous converts, to church, every week. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. I don't know how to explain the difference between this church, and the other churches in the area, any other way except: The people were militant. Every person I ever talked


Awakening-12 (Photo credit: justinrummel ) By Twinkletoes ~ I began realizing that I didn't believe in religion when I was a teen, but couldn't leave it as I was forced to go to church, w/o fail, every week. When I got old enough to drive, I still went to church and youth groups out of habit as well as being uncertain of my true beliefs. The older I got, the less I believed in religion of any kind. The crowning blow was when I tried to have my letter transferred (I was raised baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal church ) to a church nearer where I then lived and was denied because I'd married a man who had previously been married. I was told that I would have to get special dispensation from the Bishop to be able to be a member of any church. That really did it for me as attending went. I was furious that anyone would dare to tell me who I could and could NOT marry. What difference did it make if my husband had been married before or not? If his previous

Change is Inevitable

By Journey ~ change (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee ) M y husband and I had some long-time friends over last night. It was nice to get together with them but there were times during the evening that I felt unsure about how much to share in regard to my current beliefs and world view. Even my husband and I avoid the subject because of our differences in the past 2 or 3 years. He has also stopped going to church regularly but still very much believes the inerrancy of the bible and all that goes with that and I haven't been too open in sharing with family or past christian friends about all the changes that have taken place in my own life in regard to Christianity/religion and my personal beliefs. It becomes even more awkward when friends from our past come and expect that nothing has changed. It's funny how we seem to accept the reality that life is never stagnant but rather constantly changing and evolving. Our bodies change, our children grow up and change, our surround

Being Myself: A (Brief) Memoir

By Don Emmerich ~ I realized at a fairly young age the importance of being myself, of being true to myself. By way of example, here’s a snippet from a self-admonitory journal entry, written my senior year of high school : Don’t put on an act and pretend to be someone you’re not just to make people accept you. You don’t have to reveal everything about yourself, but don’t lie about who you are. If people only accept the you that puts on a facade, they’re not really accepting you. Much more importantly than the way you act around others, however, is the way you act around yourself. If you’re some totally fucking weird schmuck, you might not want to reveal your weirdness to others, but you must at least accept this about yourself and not try to change who you are simply because it is unconventional by society’s standards. Simply put, be yourself. Act the way you feel you should act, not the way society says you should act. Needless to say, I wasn’t always true to myself, often