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Showing posts from March, 2015

Land of the free?

By Klym ~

I just now read that the governor of Indiana signed a bill to give religious people the right to turn away anyone from their business because of their religious beliefs. So, does this mean that if a woman is trying to buy tampons or minipads the business owner will have the right to ask her if she is menstruating? If she answers yes, and the owner is a Bible believer, he can then tell her to get out of his store? Of course, I guess he could encourage her to buy some soap instead, because she is obviously unclean. (I'm using the pronoun "he" to indicate the business owner, but that person could also be a "she".)

What a can of worms this opens for everyone. When and where will the insanity stop? Now, more than at any time in U.S. history, it is imperative that "believers" in human rights take a stand.

What if someone who does not have the same religious beliefs as you is in the life saving business? Will this give them the right to say, "…

Oppressive Christians

By Worried Parent ~

My husband and I have a daughter in middle school who consistently deals with questions about Christianity. Many students have directly asked her if she is Christian and why not. Inevitably the conversation then moves on to how she is condemned, she will not be saved by God and will be sent to Hell. She even had one of them tell her not to tell her parents that they spoke about Christianity even though he wanted her to join his church.

We should not be subjugating children to this form of psychological mistreatment. I want this to stop, now. My issue is that she is being excluded and treated as some kind of pariah just because we have not raised her as a Christian. This really crosses the line of common decency. How have we become so entrenched in such harmful forms of hatred towards those who are in the least bit different from the norm of our American society. I know that was a rhetorical question but I am extremely frustrated, angered and hurt that m…

Joy Unspeakable (Part 9): A Match Made in Heaven and The Honeymoon from Hell

By undercover agnostic ~

Our honeymoon was awful, even with my rose colored glasses. All of my sexual thoughts, desires, and fantasies that had been bottled up so tightly since puberty, continued to retain their shape of captivity even after the lock box had been removed and my inhibitions had been set free. I was nervous and self-conscious about my body, and about as rigid as an ironing board, partly because I had yet to hear that I was beautiful or sexy by any man, let alone my new husband. And like a budding flower, I couldn’t just open up and blossom without first being swaddled in warm sunlight and doused with gentle rain. But nurturing wasn’t one of Troy’s selling points and his attempt at “watering” my garden often felt like a high compression gardening hose in the face.

Just to be clear, this is not a graphic blow job reference, but merely a metaphor to describe my feelings. We never even attempted oral sex until our 29th year of marriage!

Anyway, point being, grace and ta…

How Did Jesus Get to be So Hot? Where Popular Images of Jesus Actually Came From

By Valerie Tarico ~

Lyrics for the rap song, B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), include the following line: The white image, of Christ, is really Cesare Borgia. The idea that our modern image of Jesus could be based on a ruthless power-hungry illegitimate son of a pope is startling and farfetched. But it is no more bizarre or fanciful than many other ideas about who Jesus was or what he looked like. And it does have an interesting tale behind it.

To understand the Borgia story requires a bit of context.

It’s All Guesswork

In contrast to what many people believe, we have no authentic physical artifacts confirming the gospel stories, nor descriptions of Jesus from any of his contemporaries. Even the gospels themselves never claim to be eyewitness accounts. Scholars now believe that the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry that have been handed down to us—both within the Bible and outside--were written decades (or more) after Jesus would have lived, by unknown authors. T…

The Soul Lost

By The Classics Guy ~

I was a Catholic until my senior year of college. I grew up in highly religious and homeschooled family. We were taught the Baltimore Catechism and I believed it all: heaven, hell, souls, demons, archangels, guardian angels, seraphim, cherubim, mortal sin, venial sin, original sin, the resurrection, the incarnation, and all the rest of Catholic minutia.

As I grew older, I became increasingly more serious about my Catholicism until I decided that I wanted to be a priest. I told my Dad that I wanted to go to seminary as soon as I turned eighteen, but my dad, being the wise man that he is, told me to go to college before making such a big decision. So, I went to the most Catholic college I could find, Ave Maria University. I was immediately immersed in a sea of Catholic intellectual tradition that seemed fearless in its pursuit of truth and intellectual honesty. I loved it there.

My sense of worth very much depended upon a sense that I had a soul and wasn’t just a m…

Children as Chattel--The Common Root of Religious Child Abuse and the Pro-Life Movement

By Valerie Tarico ~

On the surface, valuing embryonic life and abusing children are at odds, but with a biblical view of childhood, these positions can go hand in hand.

Why do the same people who fight against abortion argue that parents should have the right to beat their children and deny them medical care or education, as some conservative Republicans have done recently? How can someone oppose family planning because a pill or IUD might have the rare and unintended consequence of interfering with implantation, and then endorse beating a child, which might have the rare and unintended consequence of battering her to death?

These two positions fit together seamlessly only when we understand the Iron Age view of the child imbedded throughout the Bible, and how that view has shaped the priorities and behavior of biblical literalists.

Extreme Biblical Parenting

In 2014, Pentecostal parents Herbert and Catherine Schaible went to jail after a second of their nine children died from easily …

Joy Unspeakable (Part 8): A Match made in Heaven

By undercover agnostic ~

The same twisted faith that utterly screwed up my youth with “the end of the world” preoccupation, became even more destructive as I became an adult. The stakes were higher with choices to be made regarding marriage and vocation. I couldn’t see clearly, the things that were important because my god goggles distorted everything.

When introducing ourselves in front of a group, my favorite opener was, “Hi! My name is Joy, my husband’s name is Troy, and my Father’s name is Roy.” By then everyone would be laughing, and Troy would pipe in, “And my father’s name is… Fred!” It was a perfect icebreaker and one we used for many years. With rhyming names and similar passions for ministry, it seemed that our relationship was an obvious match made in Heaven. We started at Trinity on the same day in 1980 and graduated together four years later. Troy was the only guy I ever kissed and my virginity was the gift I gave him on our wedding day. By the Bible’s standards we had …

The S.T.P. Campaign

By Carl S ~

Several weeks ago, I went into a rant with a believer. I told her how I felt about prayer, and mentioned the prayer of grace before meals that I have to put up with before I can eat with her friends. Why, I asked, should I listen to someone praise a heavenly father for giving us a meal we pay for, when I know that that "father" allows children to be abducted, raped, and left dead in the woods? (I ended up on that believer's s**t list for quite a while.) But then, last Sunday, after her church service, she and I attended yet another of our after-service familiar luncheons. This time was different. No one said the blessing before we ate, even though a retired pastor and his wife were present. Was this just a fluke, or will this change last?

Actually, my protest to saying "grace" predated my rant, for I used to simply look around or start eating during its recitation. In telling Wizened Sage about this latest of experiences, I added, "I'm too …

The Christian God's Obsession with...Blood?

By Ben Love ~

The Christian God is, allegedly, a spirit. As such, he has no physical body. He therefore should have no physical needs. And yet, this God, who ostensibly created the entire Universe, requires the blood of goats from one of the tinier planets in the vast cosmos for which he is responsible (see Leviticus, chapter 16). Why does he need this blood, you ask? Well, the Bible does specifically state that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness (see Hebrews 9:22). In other words, when part of his creation (us, the humans) commits a sin, he needs innocent blood to pay for it; otherwise, he is honor-bound to punish us (which apparently does not want to do[see footnote]). So, by means of a proxy, he is willing to accept the innocent blood of another part of his creation (goats, in the Old Testament) to reconcile the rupture the sin has produced.

Where to begin! The problems here are so many. First of all, how does a just God reason that the killing of an innocen…

Let kind actions drown out ugly words

By Rachel K ~

I am an atheist and it's been several years since I've posted here. I am profoundly amused/ confused about the subject of the second coming/ end times and Christians true emotions about death and the afterlife. I only realized consciously that when I used to be a Christian, since childhood, I never REALLY believed in heaven. I used to lay in bed and give myself a pep talk in my head, trying to convince myself that truly one day I would be in an actual heaven standing in the presence of God/ Jesus! I didn't really buy it. I knew deep down that the lights just go out and it's over.

It is my understanding that so many American Christians are adamantly against the Affordable Care Act, different foreign policy decisions, and worried about the sex lives and reproductive rights of others because they feel that these things might bring about the very end of the world! They believe that when things get bad enough, it will trigger the end times and are always…

Agnostic in a Christian School

By AgnosticMan ~

I began attending a Christian Elementary, Jr. High, and High School in 5th grade. The very first day I was told about Jesus Christ and I prayed for salvation. I was taught against evolution. I was told that the Earth was only 10,000 years old. I knew they were right. I was certain that Christianity was true. I had answers to some of life's biggest questions.

Then everything changed. I watched a creation vs. evolution debate and it shook me to the core. Real evidence was given for evolution. I began doubting everything I had once known. I doubted the Bible. I doubted young earth creationism. I doubted Christianity. I began researching evolution and Christianity. What I discovered was incredible.

Perhaps one of the most important discoveries of my entire life was my discovery that evolution is true. I found out that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. One of the things that struck me the most is that various missing links between different species have been …

Secret Lives and the Pursuit of Liberty

By Carl S. ~

The subject of secret lives has engaged my mind for years. Perhaps it all began with a revelation. An acquaintance, a veteran of WW II, now deceased, found among his deceased wife's belongings, a birth certificate of a child he never knew she had. No doubt, this experience or other revelations of a partner's untold life are commonplace. Indeed, even within the lifetimes of couples and friends, we take their private lives as just that, private, and go no further. And we also note the growing concern we feel at the possibility of government overreach, in prying into our lives.

Novels, murder mysteries, actual criminal cases, tell-all books and media reports are saturating societies with revealing secrets. (My older brother had to meet his future wife secretly. He was German, she Sicilian. This stuff goes on all the time.) Celebrities "come out" or are caught off-guard in their actions or words. There are wives and husbands of famous authors, scientists, et…

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