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Showing posts from November, 2014

Facing Alzheimer’s without a Net

By freeatlast ~ A s a child, I heard so many sermons, sang so many hymns about heaven, and although I would have never admitted it out loud, secretly I found the thought of streets of gold and endless praises to God dull, so I jazzed up heaven in my mind. I conjured place of endless chocolate ice cream; an amusement park with roller coasters and no lines; a place where I could ride my bike-- complete with banana seat and sissy bar --forever downhill. Despite the boring aspects, though, the idea of living forever without sickness or sadness was quite appealing, and as I became a devoutly Christian adult, trying to convince myself that singing endless praises to God would be AWESOME, the deep appeal of heaven still lay in the promise of happy immortality. This denial of death is the root of most religions. As the only animals aware of our mortality , religion is the preferred coping mechanism for most of us, the way we deal (or fail to deal) with the fundamental tragedy of exis


By Brandr Rasmussen ~ T hanks for coming to this interview. We’re all curious to hear about your journey. Thanks for having me. So let’s just jump right in. Did you have any Christian background before you “joined the tribe” so to speak? I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada . Basically in the countryside. Where I lived, our only choices were to be “secular”, or to adopt Evangelical Christianity . A few became Jehovah’s Witnesses. My own family was not religious, although my parents brought me and my siblings to Sunday School at various churches. That was common practice in those days. Just to give kids a foundation of morality, or so the parents thought. Really it was about arts and crafts, a few fantasy-like Bible stories and silly songs. My generation of kids didn’t take it all very seriously. If I grew up in Saudi Arabia , I’m pretty sure I’d be a Muslim. If in Thailand, I’d be a Buddhist. Or in India, a Hindu. I think the planet’s citizens are most of

A Creator-Being vs. the Biblical God

By Ben Love ~ W here exactly is God? This is my question for those of you who believe in God.Where is he? If he is a personal God, then he must therefore be a person (on some level). A person, by definition, has to occupy space and time somewhere, right? So, where is God? "He exists everywhere," you might say. I might inquire what this is supposed to mean, exactly. God is everywhere? Does this mean that there is no place in existence where God does not dwell? This implies, then, that if you believe in Hell, God must be there, too. But Hell is defined by Christians as, among other things, separation from God. How can there ever exist a place in all of reality where God is not present if God really is everywhere? God must be just as present in the Biblical idea of Hell as he is in the Biblical idea of Heaven, otherwise, you cannot say God is "everywhere." The statement is incoherent. We might then inquire what exactly the word exist means. To exist means to

"Honest Atheism"

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ I n the article “Honest Atheism” by D. Cameron Webb , in the Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015 issue of Free Inquiry magazine , the author concludes that atheists are unlikely to win many converts so long as their description of death is “certain annihilation.” And, he argues that since we cannot be 100% certain that annihilation awaits us at death, then the honest answer to what happens to us when we die is, “I have no friggin’ idea.” Overall, this is a great article which I heartily recommend, but I must take issue with his conclusion. I don’t think it’s being honest to hold out a scrap of hope that annihilation can be avoided, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary; nor do I think it necessarily makes atheism less attractive to theists, so long as “certain annihilation” is packaged in the right words. Okay, I can’t prove with 100% certainty that death brings annihilation, but let’s take a look at the evidence. The evidence is everywhere and uncontrov

Did Thomas Jefferson Actually Call the Bible a Dung Hill?

By Valerie Tarico ~ A merican Founding Father Thomas Jefferson , who authored the Declaration of Independence and served as the third president of the United States, also took a pair of scissors to the Bible , publishing a thin volume of the parts he thought worth keeping. The original Jefferson Bible exists to this day, and is available online . But did Jefferson actually call the Good Book a dunghill , like some say? The answer to that question is kind of yes, kind of no. Yes, Jefferson thought that most of the Bible was, in modern vernacular, a load of crap, and yes, he did, by way of analogy, use the term “dunghill.” No question: If Barack Obama repeated Jefferson’s words, conservative Republicans would leap to their feet no matter how much t.p. they were trailing, and Fox News would stir the latrine, and the Religious Right in unison would loose a loud, flatulent eruption against Obama, cursing him to the sulfurous steam vents of Hell for calling the Bible a pile of poo.

How a Believer Becomes an Atheist

Ben Love ~ I ’m not sure if you think this or not, but just in case you do, let’s set something straight: no one just wakes up one day and says, "Oh, by the way, I'm an atheist from now on." That never happens. Never. Now, it's true that some people are born that way because their family or their culture rears them in that mindset, but I'm referring to the person who spent years and years and years as a believer in God. This person doesn't just change his mind one day. It's a long, grueling process that starts from within rather than from without. What I mean by that is this: while there are vocal atheists speaking out about their conclusions, there really isn't any sort of atheist evangelism going on, by which I mean you're not normally accosted on street corners and in parking lots by atheists armed with pamphlets and preachy pushing. While it's true that atheists usually unite with other atheists once they've become one, their jou

Family Coping: the Leprechaun Technique and other Holiday Tips

(This is a chapter in the ebook by Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico, Heretic Holidays: Tips from Two Religious Renegades ) By Marlene Winell, Ph.D. A t this time of year it’s hard to avoid dealing with the differences you have with your family. If you are a “reclaimer” (reclaiming your life after being religious) who has been raised in a religious household, holiday times can be very uncomfortable when other family members are still devout. Having worked through these issues with many clients, here are a few guidelines that might be helpful. I’ll start by suggesting you write in a journal, starting now and continuing through the holidays . This can help you sort through jumbled thoughts and emotions, stay on track with how you are trying to handle things, take care of yourself, and learn. There are exercises here to prompt your thinking. In general, if you plan to be with family at this time, it helps a great deal to approach the holidays with a high level of consciousness.

Life Without God

By Ben Love ~ R eceived an interesting message from an old friend tonight. Among other things, he said he has been keeping track of my journey from his vantage point way out in Portland, Oregon . While still a fervent believer in Jesus (this guy is the real deal, by the way), he said that much of what I've had to say of late has resonated with some of his own personal doubts. Then, toward the end of the email, he asked me this: "So how is life without God?" What is interesting to me is that of all the many Christians who have taken issue with my recent confession of atheism (and my vocal rants that have accompanied it), this was the first time a Christian genuinely asked me what life was like on the other side. I suspect most Christians either do not want to know, couldn't handle the answer, or just don't care since it's something about which that they're perhaps not the least bit curious. And that is just fine. Nevertheless, I did appreciate the que

Atheism Gave Me Hope

By Ethan ~ I grew up in a moderate-to-strict Christian household. My dad was a pastor (at first of one that was part of a chain of churches called Calvary Chapel , now a Southern Baptist pastor). When I grew up, I had a rather positive idea of God. I always thought of him as this parent-like figure that was always watching over me, and always had my back. I went to a Christian school most of my life, until 7th grade, where I was pulled out and homeschooled until my junior year of high school (HORRIBLE). While I was growing up, I never questioned my faith. I always thought of people who questioned their faith as people who didn't have enough faith to call themselves Christian, and that those who were truly "saved" would never question their faith. I always went through most of my life just blindly following God. If I had any questions, I would always ask my dad, who I thought of as this infallible source of knowledge and had all the God answers. Whenever I heard ac