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Showing posts from March, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known About My Sunday School Teachers

By Graham Stoney ~ W hen I was a kid, I naively looked up to any adult as an authority figure . Adults always seemed so old and wise compared to me. It was like they were from another planet, and I assumed they knew pretty much everything there was to know about everything. Doubly so for the adults in authority positions over me, like Sunday School teachers, ministers, Scripture teachers and primary school teachers. As a boisterous young boy, I was constantly pushing the boundaries against these teachers: I wanted to run around, play, and explore the world; whereas my Sunday School teachers wanted me to sit down and learn about Jesus. I wanted to play and have fun. I didn't like getting in trouble all the time with these authority figures, who appeared to think that they knew best what was good for me. Faced with a wall of opposition, I eventually caved in and learned to sit down and sing dicky songs about Jesus instead of doing what came naturally to me: having fun explor

Sick of the Charade

By Klym ~ D ear Ex-C friends, I am weary to the core today. This website is the only place I feel I have to turn to for solace. Last weekend I lost a dear family member to a long illness. At my place of employment, I continue to advocate for those without a voice--abused and neglected children. My boss, who I lost respect for many years ago, announced her retirement yesterday. She should have gone away a long, long time ago. Of course, she is a highly thought of, well-respected "Christian" in the community, who is above reproach (in other words, when I considered filing a grievance against her, I was advised that it would be committing suicide to my career). I do go to a Unitarian Universalist church where most of the members are atheists and freethinkers, so there is some relief for me there. But for the most part, I must live a lie, day after day, month after month, year after year, here in the Bible Belt . I am sick to death of the constant charade, but I don'

My Brief Story

By Van ~ I thought about telling the story of how I got to where I am today but decided it would be entirely too boring and tedious. Here's the abridged version. I got involved in Christianity in 1997 when I met my future wife. We married in 1998, became members of the church she grew up attending, and got very involved in Christianity. Here are the highlights: Sunday morning worship (duh) Sunday school (including leading and teaching) Many Sunday and Wednesday night programs Small home groups Teaching children's classes Running sound for worship service Working for the Christian school co-located with the church Working directly for the church Christian based martial arts (teaching as well as participating) Baptism I was never "on fire for the lord" but I was certainly enthusiastic. I also felt Christianity/church was an important part of a family. In spite of this, I always felt some level of dissonance and discomfort. While present, it

God Must Be a Master Planner

By doubtfulagnostic ~ F or the first 15 years of my life, I was a devout Christian, mainly due to my dozens of insanely religious relatives. It wasn't until my zoology class in high school that I really began to think. My whole life, I was taught that evolution was blatantly wrong, the entire universe was 6000 years old, etc. But when I was confronted with the mountains (literally) of evidence against that viewpoint, I was astounded. As a lover of chemistry, I understood the concept of a half-life fairly well and it began to occur to me that if there was the correct amount of carbon in the lower layers of the Grand Canyon to suggest that it was billions of years old, then obviously God made it that way for a reason that, as a human, I wasn't qualified to understand (this was the extent of my brainwashing). Then it was pointed out to me that the fossils of the least complex organisms were ever so coincidentally also at the bottom layers of rock formations and the most compl

“Grace of God” Revisited

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ My good friend Carl S. and I are frequent contributors to the Letters page of our local weekly newspaper here in Maine . Recently, Carl took some flak for his contributions on religion. Rather than him responding and making it look like a personal, one-on-one argument, we decided it would be best if I responded in his defense. My letter, below, was published yesterday. I wanted to share it with you all because I think many will get a chuckle out of it. Obviously, I think ridicule is a legitimate and highly useful weapon against religious nonsense. Oh, and thanks to Fuego for recently pointing out some of the contents of 2 Peter 2 on I read with interest last week’s letter on these pages by Ben Barth titled “The grace of God.” In his letter, Mr. Barth takes Carl Scheiman to task for his letters in this newspaper “about freedom and the fallibility of Christianity and the Bible.” Mr. Barth writes, “It was not until I knelt beside


By D. Hevel ~ I was raised in a very conservative, religious Christian family, and although I never felt comfortable with any of it, I accepted it. I accepted it because I really thought there was something wrong with me and that perhaps I was not normal. However, ever the course of many years, I have personally gone through both a political and religious awakening. As a result of my upbringing, I considered myself a Christian and married a devote Catholic, and raised my sons as Catholic. I was also very conservative politically and being in the military, also had all this sense of patriotism instilled in me. Unfortunately, this awakening evolved over time and came late in my life. It also puts me in conflict with my family, who all remain conservative, religious types. I will also say that as a result of the religious and patriotic brainwashing I was exposed to, there were times when I experienced some feelings of guilt. Overtime, any guilt as gone away, I feel strong i

That’s Entertainment!

By Carl S. ~ T o solve the puzzles in life or fabricated, you have to look for the clues and put them together. If you have just enough, you can build a case. If you don’t have enough, you can still begin the process, so that others can join in the search with you. Together, you can solve the puzzle. Some puzzles have been around for ages. Serious puzzles for which no one seems to have the answers and for which countless men and women have made up their own answers, and those answers are accepted because no one feels the puzzles are worth solving, or they're content to accept any answers that feel good in lieu of real solutions. I'm one of those detectives who is discontent to accept just any answers, when they impress me as being nothing more than fabricated b.s. One reason for this attitude is the joy I find in discovering explanations that solve puzzles simply by being persistent at looking for clues. But sometimes, I just stumble over them. One person's discoveri

Free to be me

By Lindsay ~ I t's been refreshing to read that there are people out there that know how it is when you leave something that has controlled your thoughts, lifestyle, finances and belief in yourself for a long time. I live in Portland,  Victoria, Australia , and left Christianity 15 years ago after 25 years of dedicated church life. I had been trained in a bible college to be a pastor and was about to embark on a promising ministry. But, at bible college I started to really examine and question my faith, and why I was in the church. My revelation came when I asked the question, "Why do we evangelize refugees as they come into the country when they are already traumatized by many events in their lives and not just help them to adjust first?" The answer i got sent me down the road of examining my faith all together. The answer I got was "because they are vulnerable." This was not my only revelation, so to speak, but it started me questioning a whole l

In deep confusion

By Baby Steps ~ W ords cannot express how excited I am that I've come across this website!! I have been dealing with so much over the last few months, and it is so refreshing to see that a lot of you here have had similar dealings with Christianity. A little over a year ago I decided to become a devout Christian for the second time in my life. The first time ended really badly, but i decided to give it another shot. I cut myself off from people whom I thought wouldn't fit with my Christian lifestyle. I started a Facebook page that mainly discussed the teachings of the Bible.  I read my Bible and prayed daily.  I started meeting Christian friends.  For a while, things were ok. I was happy... Or so I thought I was. I was introduced to the " declare and decree " way of thinking, which I never bought into. I was also introduced into the thought that God blesses people with their spouses, but you must wait on God and his timing. I met a man who believed

Five-year exodus: From church to freedom

By Joshua Vernon Fisher ~ I left the church in my 20s. I had started having doubts about the religious teachings being taught in my evangelical church. The hatred spewed forth from the pulpit was in direct contradiction to the "love thy neighbor" commandment we had been given during sunday school as children. How could we hate the LGBT community , and yet say that we love all those who god created? Eventually I was kicked out of my church for questioning these teachings, and slowly I lost my faith in god. I cannot say for certain when I "fell away," as many people of faith would put it, but I can say that after being away from the church for five years, after realizing the truths of logic, reason and science, I no longer feel that I "need" a creator to make me feel like my life has meaning, as I suspect many people of faith feel. I am free to live my life without guilt of enjoying things that the church would have us feel guilty about. I can have

Freedom from Lies

By E Singletary ~ I am a Man who has taken it upon himself to think, think critically about what is presented to me as fact and fiction. In particular religion. From an early childhood I was indoctrinated into the baptist church, I was scared into being "saved" by a hell fire preacher at the impressionable age of 6. I was told to believe everything that the people of the church told me yet was never offered one bit of proof. The world was hidden from me, I was never taught to think critically or even allowed to question what I was taught. Right along with reading and math I was taught the bible as total fact and not to question it. Good people taught me this but better people would have exposed me to it and let me formulate my own choices and opinions as an adult instead of indoctrinating me as a child. As I grew up I challenged what I was taught, but only to myself because the people around all passed judgement on each other based on the person's religious

I Need More Evidence

By undercover agnostic ~ T his morning, I was thinking of my third child, Sterling, and the scare I had with her in utero. When my pregnancy test confirmed her existence, I was absolutely elated. And even though I couldn’t see her, I knew she was growing inside of me because the pink strip magically appeared and it was deemed reliable to 99.9%. From that moment on, I loved her, talked to her, and bonded with her. It may seem silly to think that I could love so deeply and completely, a mere embryo who wasn’t developed enough to love me back. But I only needed proof that she was indeed real to completely fall head over heels in love with her (or at least the idea of her) and believe that she would emerge from my womb one day as my beautiful offspring. This analogy helps explain my relationship with God. In a similar way, I truly believed that Jesus was real and that he lived in my heart, forgiving my sins, comforting me, and directing my path. The evidence for this belief was the

Conscience Creep: How "Religious Freedom" Spiraled Out of Control

By Valerie Tarico ~ S ecular Americans and many liberal people of faith have been horrified by the Right’s most recent ploy: “religious freedom” claims that would give conservative business owners license to discriminate. Until Arizona made the national spotlight , the need for lunch counter sit-ins had seemed like a thing of the past. But in reality, advocates for religious privileges have been circling toward this point for some time. As a legal and political tactic, Tea Party politicians and conservative Church leaders have high hopes for their “religious freedom” push. What they want broadly is a set of legal agreements that elevate religious beliefs above human rights laws and civic obligations. They hope that securing absolute religious rights will let them roll back rights for queers and women. They further hope that playing the “religious freedom” card will guarantee them access to government contracts and will let them continue to proselytize on the public dime . Here’s

Guided by Reason, Not by Faith

By Kei Y ~ I am a private Christian school student in the Bible Belt . My religious background is a bit of a mess. My family is predominantly Christian, and anyone who isn’t a pastor of some sort, is a devout fundamentalist. My parents are very controlling and self-admittedly closed-minded. This environment caused me to be a very gullible child. Even though I loved science and saw the problem of light existing before the Sun and stars in Genesis , my upbringing led me to call these contradictions “God’s mysteries.” When I learned about evolution in school, it became clear that my parents had no idea what they were talking about when they said that “we didn’t come from pond scum .” In my house, all reasoning that disagrees with the Bible is discarded. As a result, I was a Christian until I was 13 years old. I began questioning God, because he never spoke to me. He also never seemed to provide solid evidence of his existence. After hearing a sermon on the evils of witchcraft

Still Learning

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ T wo young men recently came to my door carrying Bibles. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses and wanted to know if I’d heard the good news. I said I would be happy to chat with them, but that I felt I should tell them up front that I’m an atheist, so they wouldn’t waste their time, if they thought it would be a waste. They said they don’t usually talk with atheists but they guessed they could this time. We talked for perhaps a half hour, and I must say that I think I learned more from them than they learned from me. But don’t get the wrong idea; I learned more because I’m still willing to learn. When they left, I tried to give them an article which I had written about the Bible, but as one of them put it, they believe the Bible proves itself. They refused to take my article. I can only remember bits and pieces of the discussion since we covered a lot of ground in a short time, and I was feeling considerable frustration in failing to get them to conced