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Showing posts from April, 2014

Aunt Agnes, the Atheist

By undercover agnostic ~ I’ve recently been writing short memoirs from my childhood as a way to reflect on and better understand how religious indoctrination shaped my beliefs and behaviors for 50 years. In this story about the death my Aunt Agnes, I identify a defining moment where I had to exercise cognitive dissonance in order to worship Jesus and accept that my aunt was burning in hell. M ama’s brother, Richard, left home as a young teen, lied about his age and joined the army because his stepmother, Marie, was unbearably cruel. Marie represented Christianity to Uncle Richard and he wanted no part of it. She played the organ at church and acted like a saint in front of other believers, but the minute she stepped foot in the house, she was violent and abusive, stomping around, throwing things and beating the children. So, it isn’t surprising, that Uncle Richard found a good atheist to marry, an English woman named Agnes.  I had never known anyone who openly professed a

Novel Puts Into Words My Break with Childhood Faith

By Sheldon Cooper ~ I recently finished 13:24 , the powerful new spiritual thriller from author M. Dolon Hickmon . Although it is a work of fiction, this story about the impacts of religiously motivated child abuse hit close to home and spoke volumes to me. In 13:24, murder and scandal erupt during a controversial rock band’s weekend visit to a small town. When police link the band’s lead singer, Josh, to a homicidal teenaged fan, the resulting drama causes Josh to have flashbacks of his own abusive childhood. In a series of potently emotional scenes, Josh relives his early years with his minister father, who has a lot in common with real life fundamentalists like James Dobson and Michael Pearl . In places, it felt like Josh was explaining my childhood, with better words than I would have come up with. For instance, after a suicide attempt, Josh tells a friend who has come to visit him at the hospital: “I don't have a clue what I am passionate about, because my father st

Do You Have To Be A Practicing Catholic To Attend A Catholic School?

By Russ Hamel ~ Do Non-Practicing Catholics Really Have a Choice? W hen it comes to spirituality, this type of story always makes me cringe. It's the very reason I personally choose not to be associated with any one particular religion. Here is an account describing the lengths one non-practicing Catholic couple was willing to take in order for their sons to 'fit in' at the school of their choice. (It's really MY story in disguise - a few names and other details have been altered to protect the innocent, as well as those not so innocent). Location, location, location. Real estate agents know that for growing families with school-aged children, location - especially that of the school - is of prime importance. For Bill and Agatha Dickerson, the location of the Catholic school just around the corner from their modest bungalow was perfect. What delighted them even more though was that the school was small, with a student/teacher ratio of about 18:1, far lower t

Leaving Christianity: Looking Back After One Year

By Antitheist Joker ~ I committed to atheism on May 25, 2013. My de-conversion took years to come to fruition and was met with, as expected, many angry responses. I only recently discovered this site and would like to share my story as well. Raised by my grandparents from birth, I was in church every Sunday since I can remember. My grandfather was a preacher and I learned quickly to be quiet and sit still during service. When I didn't, my grandmother would take me out the front door and spank me good. That was the beginning of the religious fear I would carry for 28 years. When I was five my mom (as I called her) told my brother and I the entire spiel of Christianity for the first time. We were both "saved" that very night. My indoctrination was in full swing from that point onward. I had the typical brainwashing of memorizing the bible and learning all the cherry-picked "good parts" of the book. When I was 12 I was filled with the holy spir


By Carl S ~ T he foreman was concerned because one of his men was in the port-a-toilet unit for quite a while. (Previously, he had a man die during such a long restroom break.) The foreman went over to the unit and, standing outside, heard unusual noises coming from inside. He opened the door, only to find the man with a long tree limb, reaching down inside the toilet. “What's going on?” he asked. “Well,” came the answer, “I dropped my jacket in here, and I'm trying to get it out.” “Ah come on!” said the foreman. “That jacket's ruined.” The man looked him in the eyes and said, “I know that. But my lunch is in the pocket.” What a tasteless joke. How dare you come on to this site where so many are struggling with coming out of often mind-bending religious indoctrination with crap like this? What the hell are you trying to prove on such a serious, thought-provoking site? Webmaster Dave — Help! Oh, there's a point to this, there is. Most of the testimonies we se

Escaping the International House of Prayer

By Brandon Frederick ~ I came into this world as an evangelical pastor’s kid and then became an atheist after almost 4 years of bible college. It is a long story, but one that I hope gives some insight into the inner workings of Evangelicalism . I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin to two loving parents who had only the best intentions for my life. Among other side occupations such as church directory photography, my father is a pastor and my mother a worship leader. As Bible-believing Evangelicals, they worry about hellfire, where those who do not believe in the right things are punished infinitely for finite crimes and have no opportunity for repentance after death. They wanted to save me from such a fate and perceived the best way to do this would be to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). This training occurred by homeschooling me and keeping me apart from non-Christians as a young person and by giving me m

Don't Be Stupid... You Know You're Wrong?!

By Joel H. ~ A fter listening to a podcast by The Thinking Atheist on the book " Why Evolution Is True " by Jerry Coyne , I decided to read the book for myself. In addition I've been watching Cosmos presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson as I have been learning all of the wondrous discoveries us humans have made about Earth's past as well as the universe. But this post is not going to be solely what I learned from Jerry and Neil. As I have been very open to the fact I believe evolution and the universe is billions of years old to be true since there is PLENTY of evidence supporting them, my uncle once again has challenged me. Earlier this week he stopped by the farm to drop off two DVDs he borrowed from his church's library on what creationist scientists had to say about the subject. Before watching any of them, I checked the back of each case to see where they had come from. I was not surprised, they had come from Ken Ham 's Creation Museum . The first I wa

After Noah: Five Sordid and Sexy Potential Blockbusters from the Book of Genesis

By Valerie Tarico ~ H ollywood’s quest for sex, violence and disaster (or, better yet, the intersection of all three) is as voracious as British Petroleum’s quest for oil. Now, with the dollars rolling in from the latest biblical blockbuster, Noah,— $160M globally and counting—the film industry may have tapped a lucrative pool of black ooze. Greek, Roman and Norse mythology have offered up rich sources of live action and titillation in recent years: Troy, 300, Ulysses, Immortals, Thor, and Clash of the Titans, to name a few. But some critics are calling 2014 the Year of the Biblical Movie . If the studios are looking for epic battles that span heaven and earth, supernatural special effects, sordid tangles of kinky sex, and heroes who live and die by their own rules with irrelevant extras dropping in droves, they can hardly do better than the book of Genesis . Here are five stories that just might have what it takes: Abraham (Epic drama). The story of Abraham is a tale of jealo

Update on "Good" Friday

By Marlene Winell ~ T his is not often a fun weekend for Reclaimers so I have a gift for you.  Someone had to do it! With love and hugs, Marlene

Infographic: Taking Easter Seriously

By Brisancian ~ M any Christians read the Easter stories year upon year, as I did for several decades, yet we never compare them in detail. As a consequence, we often do not realize that they are not telling the same story. There are indeed contradictions in the texts, but it is very important to move beyond “mere contradiction” - the issues with our gospels are far more extensive than that. Comparison against the historical record and assessing the gospels for trends of legend development are probably far more crucial. As with many non-believers, I left Christianity specifically because of the Bible, and because I considered and examined its content very seriously indeed. Perhaps it is time for more Christians to take the Bible and our Easter stories seriously. References: Dennis, Lane T., ed. The ESV Study Bible . Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. Thomas, Robert L, and Stanley N. Gundry. A Harmony of the Gospels: New American Standard Edition , NASB. Harper Collins, 1978.

Easter's Coming and Mom Thinks I'm Going to Hell

By Cindy G. Wynia ~ N ormally, I try my best to ignore Easter , or Zombie Rabbi Day. This requires staying out of shops that have seasonal aisles piled high with sugar and chemical-laden treats and garish plastic crap from China that cause little children to have cataclysmic meltdowns when their parents don't buy the stuff. I also overlook the signs in neighbors' yards advertising their churches' annual come-to-Jesus "free" Easter egg hunt and proselytizing fest. And thick glossy sale ads in the Sunday paper exhorting us to buy a new set of clothes ('cause Jesus cares about what's on-trend for Spring!). And a myriad of other mostly small annoyances. Soon it will be over. Sigh of relief. But there's one irritation I can't ignore. She's 87 years old, has a heart condition, and she's my mother. Did I mention she's been a Christian all her life? When I was little she could force me to go to church. As a teen, I quickly put an end

Raised As A Southern Baptist, Graduated As An Agnostic Atheist

By A Maryland Freethinker ~ I went to church every Sunday for 12 years, and as a kid I enjoyed it honestly. But around the age of 12, I questioned it heavily and read the famous Epicurus quote and showed it to my grandmother. She said how dare I question the Bible and had to hang out with the pastor for an extra hour. I then read Friederich Nietzsche quotes and watched the YouTube user Thunderf00t and his mind-opening knowledge of science he wants everyone to embrace. But, I still feared the idea of Hell so it took me until the age of 13 to leave it completely. For one, the people at my church were VERY condescending, pretentious, and actually very unintelligent. Also the pastor thinks he knows a lot about physics because he took algebra-based physics in college. Throughout high school I was a militant atheist, and Westboro Baptist Church came to my school ( Glen Burnie High School ) and I was on the frontline counter-protesting them, it was VERYA liberating. But now as