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Showing posts from May, 2014

Leaving the Fold part 2: What the Hell, God?

ex-Xtian (aka Thal) ~ The title "What the Hell God?" is based on an entry found on the website TV tropes called "What the Hell Hero?" It describes any event in a book, film or other medium in which the hero is called out on their actions wherein the hero breaks their own moral compass and therefore is criticized for it. I could go on for pages, and indeed have gone on for pages in my blog (see below for the link)about how God appears not to follow his moral compass especially in the Old Testament. Here however, I thought I would stick with the aspect of Christianity that has bothered me the most, Hell. I ronically, I first started having difficulty accepting Hell when I started reading Christian literature , including books by apologists and a few wacky ones on the end times most of which paint a picture of a God who is less than loving. Hell does the same thing, after you peel away Christianity's shiny exterior wherein evangelists advertise the idea of

A "Providential" Encounter At A Pub

By Rev. Ex-Evangelist ~ M y friend Kary owns a pub. It's a place that persons of my "mature" age can go and enjoy. The pub also attracts a lot of undergrad and grad students from a nearby, large, state university.  They come to have a drink, enjoy live music and play pool.  It's the nearest thing to "church" that I have going on in my life these days. I go to Kary's pub several times a week and sometimes get into some very interesting and intelligent conversations with total strangers while sipping his many fine brews and wines. Recently I was hanging out there when two attractive young women came in to order a drink.  They were dressed provocatively and, as "Providence" would have it, sat down next to me at the bar. Well, being an ex-fundamentalist Christian minister, I quickly judged them - based on their outward looks - as being of a heathenish sort:  they were displaying ample amounts of flesh, numerous tattoos and clothed in bl

The Recipe for Spiritual Experiences

By Carl S. ~ I t‘s not unusual to find individuals testifying to their spiritual experiences , while others describe  themselves as “spiritual” persons. We can be sure, with the new pentecostal movements in the  Christian religion alone, that churches are loaded with those sharing personal testimonies of spiritual  experiences. Have you had your “spiritual” experience yet, and aren't you tempted to join this fad - movement? Wouldn't you want to experience just one of those moments that in current parlance,  “changed your life forever”? Well, drugs have brought many to experience the “spiritual,” the  “transcendental,” and  opened the doors of sensory perception to a hyper-reality. ( Henry James , in  his book, “ The Varieties of Religious Experience ,” cites alcoholic beverages as also causing them.) we  hear of ordinary people describing some experiences as “surreal.” You don't need admittance to an  American Indian peyote-included, religious ceremony, or money to pay

Brainwashed at Bible Camp

By undercover agnostic ~ L ately, I’ve been reflecting on the key stories and experiences from my childhood that had shaped and solidified my belief in God/Jesus for several decades, until my recent deconversion. One event in particular had a profound impact on my spiritual development, and convinced me that Christianity was real. As I look at the story with fresh eyes and without my faith goggles, however, I can clearly see that my experiences were largely the product of manipulation and brainwashing, but at the time, I was sure they were supernatural. This is the story of going to summer Bible Camp and getting “Baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Every summer I went to Bible Camp in Bellevue Idaho, situated just minutes from the famous Sun Valley ski resort and Ketchum, the resting place of Ernest Hemingway . The documentary, JESUS CAMP , paints a vivid portrait of what my experiences were like.  We started our day with devotions in our cabin led by our camp counselor, followed by br

The Most Bass-Ackward Path From Christian To Atheist You’ve Ever Heard

By Amethyst7 ~ F rom my very earliest memories, I had a very strong sense of a Something there watching out for me and caring about my well-being. I called it God. This was true even though I was raised by Milquetoast Methodist parents who had me baptized and then took me to church a couple of times a year, being essentially agnostics. One day during Sunday School (I was 5), I posed my first theological question when the teacher told us to pray for good weather for an upcoming church picnic. “What it there is a farmer who is praying for rain for his crops on the same day?” I asked. The teacher thought my question was cute. In middle school, our neighborhood had a lot of (reform) Jewish families. My best friend Bekka came from a large family that had emigrated from Israel a few years before. She and I were inseparable, and her father was a Cantor, so I spent many nights at the Synagogue and many other nights at Shabbats, mesmerized by the prayers over the candles: Barukh atah

Changing the Abortion Conversation--A Biblical Aikido Strategy

By Valerie Tarico ~ P icture this: A group of abortion opponents stand outside a women’s clinic holding pictures of fetal remains. As they stand there, calling and offering pamphlets to people entering the clinic, a trickle of pro-choice activists also arrive. Instead of lining up on the opposite side of the sidewalk, they position themselves beside the first group in silence, holding posters of their own. The signs have words—not their own words but words from texts that inspire the anti-choice movement. Some quotes are from modern church leaders or ancient patriarchs. Others are from the Bible itself.  They read : I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee. –Genesis 3:16 Women will be saved through childbearing. –1 Timothy 2:15 The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be

Leaving the Fold

By ex-Xtian ~ D e-converting from Christianity was not easy. It is one of the most difficult things one can do after being a follower for almost ten years. I was a Christian for the better part of ten years, even after the events that destroyed my trust in Christianity my faith remained by the tiniest thread for a long time. In many cases, the person de-converting may have been a follower for a lot longer than ten years. The process starts due to some crisis of faith, at which point the doubt begins to set in, you can try to ignore it but eventually it may become as annoying as an itch you just cannot reach, or a warning beep on your computer that tries to tell you something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If you ignore it it won't go away, if you give it your attention then it grows. At this point, those experiencing a particularly serious crisis of faith will often find themselves beginning the process of de-converting from Christianity. For a long time I thought I was g

From Fundamentalism to Freedom

By East TN Ex-Chrstian ~ In the Beginning F or over 20 years I never once doubted the existence of the Christian god. I may have doubted specifics of his nature, I may have doubted interpretations of his actions by others, but I never doubted the existence of my chosen deity. Church My Christian credentials ran long. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior at the age of 3 or 4 (plus several re-dedications), I went on 4 mission trips in high school, received the highest award possible from AWANA, sang with the praise team, attended Sunday school, and even taught an apologetics class. I was homeschooled from kindergarten to 12th grade and participated in a weekly Christian home school collective. My belief permeated every single facet of my life. The denominational background I had was more diverse than some experience--ranging from the charismatic Vineyard movement (Assemblies of God/Pentecostal influenced), to the comparatively stodgy Reformed Church of America (no r