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Showing posts from November, 2015

BREAKING FREE: A LONG TIME COMING (PART ONE)

By Jennifer ~

I grew up under South Africa’s apartheid government whose leaders were Fascists as well as fiercely religious. This white minority group called themselves Afrikaners, likening themselves to “modern day” Israelites of the Old Testament to whom God had given the Promised Land. White people were naturally superior to non-white people because it said so in the bible, according to the Afrikaner clergy of the time.

See, after the flood when the ark finally landed on dry land after forty days and forty nights’ rain, Noah had planted himself some vineyards. One day he had too much to drink and passed out naked in his tent. Noah’s son, Ham, saw his old man in the buff. Giggling, he joined his brothers outside relaying what he had just seen. Next day, Noah now sober, found out that Ham had seen him “nekked,” cursed him and sent him to Africa where he sired black people! (I'll reserve my objections to biblical racism for another blog.) Funny how nudity always pisses off God an…

Banned From Heaven; Mature Adults Not Wanted

By Carl S ~

First of all, here's a great comment from a BBC series: "Being a vicar doesn't make him right. It just means others assume he's right." To which we might add: All houses of worship with their pastors and apologists are encyclopedias of assumptions.

Now, I am not making this up. It's Christian dogma: "that unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven." Got that? You must become a trusting, gullible, unquestioning, obedient child. (Too bad that these adults forgo being the kinds of children of curiosity and questioning who become the scientists who keep their childhood sense of discovery and wonder.) Which leaves me, as a curious, questioning, rebellious, free thinking and skeptical mature adult, ineligible for entrance. As such, I'm not only barred from any future "heaven," but from all churches.

This child/adult difference explains some previously mysterious but now obvious questions. Believer…

I Give Up--Stop the planet and let me get off...

By Klym ~

Dear Ex-C,

I write this article with a heavy heart. I posted a comment on FaceBook that I knew would be controversial, but I never expected one of the replies I received. The reply was not posted on my FB page---my "friend" sent me a personal email this morning. I should have expected it---I don't know why I am so surprised and so deeply hurt. This friend was, after all, a Baptist missionary for many years in China. In our twenties, we were best friends---soulmates, really. He was the nearest thing to a brother that I ever had and he helped me through some horrible times in my life. I have a great deal of love and respect for this man, but his email made me cry. It seriously hurt me in the deepest part of my soul.

So, I post it here and welcome your insights; in fact, I need your insights. And keep in mind that my "friend" is not a bad guy---he just honestly believes that my post was "dangerous" to the message of Jesus. ME and my thoughts a…

Challenging the View

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

My letter-to-the-editor, which follows, was published recently in our local weekly newspaper here in midcoast Maine. I had titled it “Religion and Moral Development,” but apparently the editors didn’t like that title. C’est la vie. Anyway, I thought I would offer it here, too, since it shows the non-religious in such a positive light.

Challenging the View

If you want your kids to grow up to be moral, altruistic, and tolerant of others’ missteps, you get them to church and Sunday school. Right? This belief is so widely accepted in our culture that it’s generally taken as simple “common sense.” As Christian teaching puts it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Hold the presses! A new study just published in Current Biology turns this “standard wisdom” upside down. Those scientists get up to some silly stuff, don’t they?

The lead author of the study, Dr. Jean Decety of the University of Chicago, collaborated with other developmental psyc…

We're On Our Own

By Ben Love ~

Everywhere you look, people are being killed. Raped. Cheated. Everytime you turn on the news, or click on Yahoo, you see more war, more carnage, more tragedy…more death. To die is natural, but to die at the hands of blind rage is unnatural. The world is dark, and brutal, and cold.

And yet, according to recent polls, there are at least 2.4 billion practicing Christians on this planet. Most of them, we must presume, spend a portion of their life praying. Praying for what? For peace. For goodwill. For the intervention of their God. Most of these Christians, we must presume, have petitioned their God about the current situation on Earth (as they have presumably been doing for at least 2,000 years). And their God (who allegedly said that when his believers ask anything in his name, it will be done) either doesn’t listen, or doesn’t care. But that wouldn’t make any sense. If he doesn’t care, then these believers are wrong about his love anyway and the whole point is moot. If h…

SOMETHING CAME FROM NOTHING? NONSENSE, RIGHT?

By Ben Love ~
“How can something come from nothing?” This is the statement made to me time and time again when I discuss the possibility of a godless Cosmos with believers. They speak this statement as though it is the end-all, be-all trump card of all time. But is it? Usually, this statement is made in reference to the fact that it is difficult to imagine, even for the staunchest of atheists, that the Universe came from nothing, that[nothing]+[time]=[everything]. I get that. I am an atheist, and thisisa difficult concept for me to accept. I don’t deny that. But grappling with difficult concepts as opposed to easy concepts is not the measuring stick for how unlikely a given idea is. And yet I do concede that while I subscribe to a godless Cosmos, I am at a loss to sufficiently explain it. (But at least I don’t deny that.) Having said all of this, why should it be that attaching the “God solution” to the problem makes it any easier to swallow? Who says that inserting God into the gap sudd…

Constant State of Self-Indoctrination

By Eric G. ~

Constant State of Self-Indoctrination

Lately I've been asking myself, "What exactly made me believe anyway?". Besides the emotions, there were intellectual arguments that I used to convince myself (see list below). After a Methodist childhood and Atheist college years, I began my adult life as a discontented spiritual seeker. There was also some naivete and gullibility at work. Enter a Christian friend who seemed to have some wisdom and peace of mind. After interrogating him, I decided to read the Gospels for myself "with an open mind". It was all downhill from there. I started visiting every church in town and found one that seemed cool and progressive.

For someone who wasn't a Christian for very long - I went deep. I was baptized (full immersion) in front of my new congregation. I signed up for every group, class, and Bible study. On my own I became determined to read the entire Bible and read for hours every night. I spent forever online sear…

Knowing Everything is Knowing Nothing

By Steve Dustcircle ~

The problem with being a Christian, especially involved with a leadership position like pastor or minister, is you have to be everything to everyone. This is encouraged by the Apostle Paul, being all things to all people so that you can reach them for Jesus.

To non-Christians, you have to be able to discuss matters of all types: science, history, theology, counseling, et al. And within these subjects, you have to know an array of topics. In science, you have to know about creationism, evolution, cosmology, archeology, environment, biology.

In history, you have to know about the various eras, continents, and people groups, religious and cultural. In theology, you have to know about the various Bible translations, the understanding of why and to whom it was written, and the application of the text, whether it's literal or figurative. In counseling, you have to know about disorders, personality issues, development, relationship boundaries, single-hood matters.

I…

On the Reincarnations of God

By Carl S ~

Reincarnation is also known as "the transmigration of souls." It is an intransigent belief going back for millennia. As a creed of Hinduism and Buddhism, reincarnation is the belief that the soul of a human or animal can pass, after death, into that of another human or animal body. (This can be disturbing to those who really believe they might be reincarnated as slugs or cave fish if they have not behaved well in life.) If we are to take some claims seriously, this can take place while bodies are still alive. Thus we have tales of demonic possession, as in the movie, "The Exorcist," or the tale of demon spirits migrating into the bodies of swine.

Fairy tales are another example. We know the story of the prince turned into a frog and being restored to being a prince again, by a kiss. (Little children have been known to accept this as true.) Transferring to Transylvania, we find Dracula, who transmigrates from man to bat to vapor and back again. All vampir…

Scam or Schizophrenia?

By Father Thyme ~

"I felt God calling me." Messages covering the windows of a house from a patient with schizophrenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I smell Christians writing such nonsense all the time. *chuckle*

What's up with such preposterous language? Feel somebody calling you? I think this absurdity is a way to weasel-out of direct, honest language that may be too revealing. If one goes around saying that he can "hear God calling me," then the believer is admitting to a common symptom of schizophrenia.
"A common report from those with schizophrenia is some type of a religious delusion - that is...God is talking to them..." -- Wikipedia, Schizophrenia and religious delusions By attributing divine communication to "feelings," Christians make their emotional whims the Lord of their life. And if anybody questions their whims, the whimster gets to claim it was God. Can't question that! My dearly beloved whims have the power of the Almighty!

Christianity and Children

By Dr. Marlene Winell ~

Christianity as a whole takes a dim view of children.  This is not unusual for the Abrahamic religions but Christianity takes it further.   We can benefit from understanding this because 1) our own Christian training can unconsciously impact the way we treat children, 2) our indoctrination can affect the way we view and treat ourselves in the most basic ways, and 3) many people in our culture are impacted by Biblical views of children. 
You may object if you have images of Jesus with children in his lap, protecting them and teaching them.  But that was a Sunday School picture, and not exactly in the Bible.  Jesus words were to allow the children to come to him, for of such were the kingdom of heaven (humble, compliant).  
Children in the Bible are most often objects to be owned, controlled, used, and discarded when a problem.  They are important for lineage, not for themselves.  They are often not mentioned at all and sometimes slaughtered wholesale.  Human sacri…

Making Peace with Christmas

By Klym ~

A few years ago I posted an article here on Ex-C about Christmas. It was titled "The Most Miserable Time of the Year" in reference to that popular Christmas song sung by Andy Williams---only he sings the word "wonderful" instead of miserable, of course.

I have been struggling with Christmas for many, many years, and I have decided to dissect my personal history with the holiday to see if I can understand why Christmas is difficult for me. So, here goes:

I grew up an only adopted child with older parents who loved and supported me more than any one person probably deserves. My parents were my world---my dad was the most fun, playful person, with these twinkly eyes, a mischievious smile, and a fantastic sense of humor. My mom was quiet and reserved, but she also had a great sense of humor and was the best listener I have ever known. She was an extremely non-judgemental woman who truly lived the saying, "Don't judge another person until you have wal…

Falsifiability is my “Savior”

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

I am reading John W. Loftus’ new book, “How to Defend the Christian Faith; Advice from an Atheist” (and enjoying it). I had to chuckle at the following in Chapter 2, where Loftus writes:

English: Flying Spaghetti Monster and a pirate at Dragon Con 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “There are two areas that are not up for debate, as far as I’m concerned. The first area concerns philosophical arguments that purport to show god exists. They are all such a failure that even discussing them is boring to me. That’s right, they’re boring because they’ve been reformulated and then defeated so many times by smarter people than I am that they’re no longer worth bothering anymore. I know my readers may still disagree, but I cannot take them seriously anymore.”
And, sure enough, Loftus ignores all the existence arguments. But, it occurred to me that Christians themselves provide another very interesting way to deal with the existence problem when they make so much of th…

What Jesus Believed

By Carl S ~

Christianity tells us to believe whatever Jesus said is absolute truth. Jesus himself says that he must be believed, or else we must suffer eternal punishment in refusing to do so. Or so we are told by the gospel writers. This causes problems. Number one is that no one knows who "they" are, those who wrote the gospels from whom these sayings arise. Neither do we know their motivations, which may have slanted what they chose or did not choose to write down. Therefore we have no way of knowing which words of Jesus are direct quotes, or are "attributed to," Jesus, or if he said some of them in jest, or if any of them are derived from folklore.

Anyone might question why an educated rabbi such as Jesus did not himself write what he wanted to convey, doing so straightforwardly and unambiguously, during the decades of his life. (We shall not address the fact that there are no historical references to a Jesus, his miracles, etc., by any historians writing durin…

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