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Showing posts from August, 2014

Outside the Religious Childhood Bubble

By Carl S ~ C onsider the differences: Imagine a boy of 10. He is being raised by parents who allow him to understand the world as it is. They take him to see dinosaur skeletons and the aquariums, and leave him open to understanding the findings of evolutionary changes. They encourage his questions and respect his curiosity. This boy has several cousins living in another state. They have been raised to believe in a ten thousand year old Earth, in which dinosaurs co-existed with white humans. They attend purely Christian schools, and are taught not to question dogmas. All the parents are well-meaning and protective of these children, but some of them regard a human child, by virtue of being human, born in, and subject to, sinning, so that the child must be indoctrinated ASAP and thoroughly. If your experiences fit this latter example, you need to regain the child you were denied to be. When I'm awake at 3 a.m. and the word “quarantined” comes to me it's not a “sign.” I mig

How No-So-Catholic College Opened My Heart

By Lust for Life ~ C ollege has been a huge eye opener for me, like many of the other students at the catholic university I attend. Sure, there's an abbey and a monastery on the campus, but almost none of the students are religious. This was a huge shock for me as I have attended Catholic school and church my entire life. My parents, especially my mom, are really Catholic. My mom has always been active in our church, and my dad loves going to mass early Sunday morning to start the week. For most of my life I too 100% believed in everything the Catholic Church teaches. In high school I started to feel wishy-washy about gay marriage, and the more I studied religion the more I wondered why it had to be so complicated, but the church had to be right since it was the original church based on the only god to come in the form of man, right? Wrong. In college I learned that Jesus is essentially just one of many pagan figures who share near identical life stories, and much of the B

My Brothers Tried To Inappropriately Convert Me

By Kris Haas ~ I am an artist with a Brain Injury Disability and on August 8th, 2014 my born again christian brothers tried to convert me to their religion. Below is a background of my predicament leading up to the situation. Back in March I was asked to give a presentation about a survivor living with a Brain Injury. Because of my desire to give a well thought out and enlightening presentation I worked on it for over three weeks in which It took so much out of me, my regular work chores with the business side of my art business suffered greatly. I got 6-7 weeks behind on getting orders out to customers, listing new merchandise, and basic shop maintenance suffered. I went from selling the most I ever had to very little over the next 3 months. Needless to say, I got behind one month in listing fees which closed my main source of income (my Etsy shop) to close down, which in turn caused me to get late in rent which now brings me to sitting in a motel room after being evicte

On the Happiness of “Dangerous” Atheists

By Carl S. ~ A m I and others like me, the kind of persons referred to when most people say, “It takes all kinds?” In other words, are we eccentric, not dangerous, harmless outsiders to “common sense explanations” of the majority? After all, we don't accept the “obvious truths” of dogmatic things believers take for granted and prefer not to think about. We don't believe in supernatural gods/forces/explanations. We not only question, but outright dismiss “sacred” texts and the “authorities” who quote them for their own purposes. (We OFTEN find those things boring.) Does this make us dangerous and unhappy? A hell of a lot of believers are taught to believe it's so. A hell of a lot of believers are afraid of becoming “that kind” of person like me. They believe that in leaving belief they would take the chance of being condemned to eternal torture; that belief is of paramount importance for everyone's happiness. And they raise their children to ignore or shun “people l

Wasting your life away

By blackfreethought03 ~ O ne of the biggest issues I have with 21st Century Christianity deals with how it focuses on living for the future as opposed to living in the present moment. The doctrine teaches things such as god has a special plan for your life, god will exalt you in due time, if you don't lose heart, your blessing is on the way, keep holding on until your your change comes, god is faithful to his promises. While a person waits on these supposed promises, they believe that god will come through for them. When he doesn't, they have a built in excuse for god's failure to grant them their request. Christians usually say that god has something better for them or it is not time for them to have this particular blessing yet. These unfortunate souls waste their lives away waiting for future glory as opposed to living in the present. Instead of being passive about their lives, these folks need to be active in living. For example, if someone desires better employ

Losing Fear

By Melissa ~ I grew up in a chaotic environment, lack of love or care. I always felt I was missing something and with the sexual trauma I suffered as a teenager I turned to partying to help myself cope. I lived a dysfunctional lifestyle. My family and I attended church when I was very young but my mom stopped going because they did not accept her decision to leave my very abusive father. I felt lost and depressed most of my life and seemed to be surrounded by unloving people. Then I met an amazing women, she was very loving and spent a lot of time just listening to my story. She happened to go to church so I started going. I felt things in my spirit there, like I was alive for the first time. The worship helped me feel a connection to God and a love I had never experienced. I concluded it must be the truth and became a Christian. I did all the right things, went on a long healing journey from my trauma and served God by going on mission trips and trying to be the most lov

My Cruise Ship Captivity

By undercover agnostic ~ This is not a polished, well-scripted piece. I just need to vent. I hope that’s okay. A few weeks ago my in-laws invited my husband and I along with siblings and nieces and nephews to go on a “free” cruise to Alaska . The catch? A Christian organization called Convoy of Hope was doing a fundraising campaign for their ministry and we had to listen to their spiel AND go to a church service on Sunday, while on vacation! I know. Poor me, right? I was trapped on a ship with super right wing fundamentalist Christians for the entire week who looked and sounded like Bart Simpson ’s religious neighbor, Mr. Flanders. Basically, I had to try and not come unglued as Convoy talked about preying on victims of disaster in order to proselytize. They don’t feed hungry people because of a moral obligation. They feed them in order to tell them about Jesus. They absolutely won’t do one without the other. And if there is a major disaster, like a typhoon, or tsunami, t

Why Everyone Else's Religion is Crazy

By Carolyn Hyppolite ~ S o you’re an atheist now. You have left behind one of the many gods that humanity has invented to comfort themselves and control others and you look askance at the pious proclamations of your former co-religionists , shaking your head in exasperation that people could be so irrational. Isn’t obvious that you can’t possibly place all the animals on the planet in one ark? *Face palm*. And then you remember that not too long ago this was you. Not too long ago, you espoused propositions that are indisputably mad. Surely, I was not this bad you say to yourself. Yes, I was a believer but I asked questions; I was engaged in a sincere quest for the truth; I was open-minded; I was progressive. Admit it. You were like that—judgemental, naïve, and certainly, credulous. You believed things that were undeniably insane. I remember once a few years back, I was having a debate with a secular Jewish employer about evangelicals who were supporting Israel because th

Forgiveness in a post-religious worldview

By sinner ~ F or me as an ex-christian , now that I don't have a rulebook to follow, I generally adopt the value of " Ahimsa " a Pali/Sanskrit word meaning do no harm. Or the Wiccan idea of 'An it harm none, do what ye will' (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism), Pope Benedictus XVI, Johannes-Paul-II-1987, Mariamagdalena, Borobudur-perfect-Buddha, Lord Ram, Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach der Ältere (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I find this to be a very practical and skillful way of minimizing suffering, both in myself and others. It is a value I have chosen. But, as a human being, I don't always live up to my own values. Recently I harmed a friend (and lost the friendship). It wasn't my intention to harm, but looking back, I realize I made serious mistakes. As a shorthand, I'm going to borrow the old term "sin" to refer to this. In religious traditio

Tim Minchin - The Good Book (Live)

The End Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) Tim Minchin -- The Good Book

The Problem of Good

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ I n religious debate, much is made of the “problem of evil;” that is, if god is good, then why is there so much evil in the world. Personally, I think the problem of good is (or should be) just as important, especially to Christians. Let me explain. Christians frequently claim that god is and must be the final arbiter of good. Skeptics then ask whether something is good just because god says or does it, or whether there is some other standard that even god must meet in order to be judged “good.” Overwhelmingly, Christians argue that god is the standard; he determines what is good and what is not. But, we clearly have a serious philosophical problem here, an epistemological problem. How can we tell that what god commands is good, if there is no external measure for us humans to appeal to? How do we know that what god commands is not actually evil, or that god himself is not evil. There appears to be no way to prove the Christian assumption,because

If Jesus is so important, why don't believers take him seriously?

By Carl S. ~ L et's face some important facts: First of all, to a great deal of the religious in this world, Jesus is irrelevant. The Jews , Hindus, Buddhists , Muslims, non-theists and Deists regard the Jesus figure as just a special religious teacher, deny he existed, or ignore him altogether. Secondly, even those who honor him as a great teacher or god, disregard his commands. Thirdly, he is not taken seriously whenever the everyday practicalities of living are applied. (And even though some religions honor him as a great teacher, he wasn't; he did poorly in communicating and left a muddled legacy.) For instance: The “faithful” are not actually faithfully hating father, mother, brother and sister and their own lives, in order to become Jesus' disciples. Nor are they cutting off their offending hands, plucking out offending eyes, or castrating themselves in order to be rewarded in heaven, rather than be denied entrance fully physically, “offendingly” intact. They a

This Apostate Hearts the Church of England

By Carolyn Hyppolite ~ I am probably doing the Church of England no favors by praising them. After all, I am an apostate. I am now part of “the world.” The very fact that I should consider their actions laudable is proof to their conservative detractors that this church has sold out to the world and is under demonic influence. But I can’t help myself. Church of England has taken some important progressive steps this month—they promoted women and demoted the devil—and they deserve the recognition. After years of struggle and a few compromises with conservatives in their church who cannot countenance the thought of a woman having authority of men, the Church of England has finally decided to allow women into the bishopric . If you an atheist, like me, and you are tempted to dismiss this, I get that. So what!? Exactly how grateful should we be that the Church of England has finally caught up? Thanks for joining us in the 21st century! Okay, okay. But let’s face. Religion, par

Follow up to "CRUCIFIED BY CHRISTIAN BEST FRIEND"

By Teal ~ T hanks to the Ex-Christian subscribers for all your kind and wise comments on my story a few months ago --this will sound silly, but I've been trying (without success) all this time to access the website using four different browsers, but could never get through--even my mobile browser wasn't allowed to go to comments. The only way I could actually read your comments on the site was to go to a public library --now not convenient to where I'm living. gratitude: january 16, 2008 (Photo credit: rversde23 ) Made me sad--I didn't want any of you to think I hadn't appreciated your words, or was ignoring your outreach, because you were all so helpful, and I was so touched. So I'm submitting this to the Ex-Christian web people in the hopes they'll post it for me as a follow-up story in a place you'll see and recognize from its headline and content. I'd love to be able to continue communicating. Reading your words was amazing: all o

Dirt and Magic

By Vadarama ~ F or decades I took the Bible’s creation account as historical fact. I knew the world’s first human was molded by the same hands that knit me together in my mother’s womb . 1 God’s own breath infused brand new dust to create a conscious body. Other species were spoken into spontaneous existence before having their naming ceremony casually outsourced, but Adam was fearfully and wonderfully made . 2 We humans were the big stars all along. Earth was a backdrop for our high-stakes drama- a prelude to eternal bliss or agony. Though God had worked on it to the point of exhaustion, He wanted us to be “in the world but not of it” 3 - divine beams of light trapped in fragile jars of clay . 4 We were doomed to our prisons of expiring flesh until our eventual homecoming in paradise. I expected that realm to be much more hospitable, since up there, no earth quakes, no cancer spreads and no heart splits in two. Mostly, I yearned for the boundless joy, unmediated worship an