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By Carl S ~ Q uestion: If you have school-age children who are allowed to play in the neighborhood with their friends, do you tell them to trust every adult they encounter? If the answer is "yes" or "no," what are your reasons? Now that you've thought about it, another question: If you know a registered pedophile sex offender lives in your neighborhood, will you encourage them to trust him as an authority figure? In the latter case, aren't you setting them up to be victims? Those questions are the result of another question proposed by WizenedSage: How can anyone continually abuse, or even stand by and watch children being abused? Since then, this question has troubled my mind, for a week now. I have to admit, the answers are profound. I suspected the roots might run deep. Then came assistance, so to speak, on helping find the "logic" behind how pedophile clergy members alone can abuse children continually, with the tacit consent of their supe

Where does morality come from -- Part 4

By John Draper ~ I n Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 , I asserted that morality is discovered by humans, not revealed by God. Specifically, religious folks say the superstructure of morality is erected by God in scripture. I think that’s not the case. But I think we’re stuck with the Bible. It’s too embedded in our culture. The Bible influences believers and nonbelievers alike. That being the case, it behooves us to use scripture wisely. There is truth in scripture. But we—not God—put it there. Scripture plays two roles. One, it reminds us of what we’ve already figured out on our own. Two, by providing us inadequate descriptions of the character of God, scripture provides a picture of what not to do. This post will look the first of those two propositions, that all scripture does is remind us of what we’ve already worked out on our own. Said differently, God doesn’t reveal His moral will for us through scripture—any more than He does with any literary work of human hands. What we ha


By Lauren T. ~ O n Sunday nights the crowd is louder, the music is fun and we get guest preachers. Some come from their TV shows to use our church’s microphone and water. They’re so close to God that He put them on TV to be pastors to our pastor. You can’t get higher than that unless you’re the Pope, but he’s not a real Christian. One time a preacher from TV stood up front and raised his arm up, and then started walking through the aisles. I saw people shaking and praising next to him, and the Spirit came over my section when he passed. It felt like a big warm chill, then wanting to fall over. But I kept standing so I wouldn’t lose it. I let it come back in waves, feeling the man walk by, and it stopped when he moved on. That was how strong the Spirit was in him; he had so much overflowing for all of us. My pastor and dad said you’re not saved until you can speak in tongues, since it’s the real sign you have the Spirit. The part of God He left on Earth is inside us and it can tal

How do I stop being afraid of going to hell?

By ClayBlack ~ I 'm not quite an ex-Christian yet, but I've been having serious doubts and the one thing stopping me is the fear that if I stop trusting in Jesus, then I will go to hell. I'm hoping that people who have felt the same see this post and are able to give me some advice. I was raised in a Christian home and passionately pursued the faith from the age of 12 up until a few months ago (I'm 23 now) when I started having serious doubts. Two years ago, I moved out of my parent's house and have been exposed to more secular environments. My husband (I moved out when I got married) says I've become a more optimistic and confident person since I left my highly religious parents home. I love listening to philosophers and debates on Youtube, and have found that many people arguing for Christianity use this argument based on Romans 1:20: "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clea

Abracafuckingdabra: a working title

By Ronna Russell ~ W hen someone who has an incurable disease is told their condition can be whisked away by a magic spell, it disrespects their daily reality. Every day contains struggles unknown to the rest of us, both emotional and physical.  The utter disregard of that reality is staggering.  Chant the right spell and it will all go away. Um, no. To pretend to have access to a magical cure is arrogance beyond comprehension. It insults the sick in a way that faith healing believers cannot fathom, because their certainty and superiority complex runs deep. It seems the underlying emotion is love for the afflicted and a desire for their wellness, but disregarding the personal beliefs of others is not love; it is an ego-driven, manipulative power trip. Such disregard is rude at best, but also cruel and misinformed and can be emotionally damaging to those not good at critical thinking. This might seem to be an overreaction to anyone who hasn’t been steamrolled by religios

Turning My Back on Religion

By BAD2G4E ~ I grew up in a family that was Christian. Not full-blown bible reading daily Christians, but every Sunday is going to church and do the "right" thing normal "I don't judge, but judging at the same time Christians. I believed wholeheartedly that God was a jealous God and Jesus was the way to salvation. My young mind was always curious, though. I had many, many questions, & the answer was always, "never question Jesus." It was amazing to me that the world's smartest humans were also the world's dumbest Christians. I'm 27 and I met my partner at 18. Coming from a Christian family, you can imagine the looks I got, Right? I didn't tell my mom until my partner and I were dating 6 years. We'd go to family gatherings and spent holidays with family, but my mom insisted on calling her our "cousin." Dumb right? Well as we all know, a family filled with Christians, theirs bound to be "prophets" in the bun

Does Your Life Have Meaning?

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) By Carl S ~ M ortality is a sobering thought. Immortality is the insight of the inebriated. My wife and I have known Peter for over 15 years. He was in a drowning accident. He apparently had a stroke, and was in the water face-down for 20 minutes before being found and given CPR. Knowing him pretty well, we thought he might have attempted suicide. He lost a young son many years ago by drowning, and the loss of a child is one of the most tragic of experiences, or as some claim, the most tragic. We were having lunch (at the same restaurant where he dined with members of his church after Sunday services) with others who knew and cared about him, when we were told he died. He was 73. Both my wife and I had serious discussions with him over the years. We attended his wedding to, and the funeral of, his second wife. His obit was in the paper. His surviving sons were listed, (but not his imaginary friend

Christian Carnage

By Tina Rae Collins ~ C hristians complain about the violence of Islam and the Quran, ignoring the brutality in Judaism and the Old Testament. And when Christian hostility is mentioned, it's often attributed to a few "fake Christians." But Christianity is beset with cruel warfare. Otherwise, why did Jesus say he came not to send peace on the earth but a sword (Matt. 10:34)? Just what does that sword do? While Christians can be physically abusive (and certainly we see this throughout history), the sword of Christianity more often slashes at the heart. It cuts asunder the love of a father for his son, a sister for her brother, a grandmother for her grandchild (Matt. 10:36). Christians cast aside their most sacred relationships, no longer providing emotional support and acceptance of their loved ones, in a bid to gain heaven from violent gods who (some Christians believe) plan to torture the Christians' child, sibling, or grandchild. Rather than offering love tha

I'm God. God is love.

By Private One ~ I am God. God is love. I love you so much. I love you so much that I set you up to fail. I love you so much that I taught a snake how to talk, tempt and deceive. I love you so much that I created most of you knowing you'd reject me. I love you so much that I made infinite torture the price of your finite rejection. I love you so much that I'll give all who reject me a special body that will never die and never stop feeling ultimate pain. I love you so much that I've made sexuality one of your most intense desires but one of your most forbidden actions. I love you so much that I'll let some of you be rich, powerful and comfortable while most will be poor, miserable and weak. I love you so much that I'll make my forgiveness and salvation one of the most obscure, secluded, exclusive, elusive, difficult, ancient, senseless, illogical and bizarre, argued, debated, opinionated, sadistic, divisive, repulsive, reject-able, laughable, un

Condemned & Confused -- HELP!

By Shai ~ I went to church yesterday for the first time in awhile and it was a nice service but it doesn't mean it's something I want to continue to do. I've felt this mental tug of war for a long time and I guess peace and routine are the things that are on each end. I don't like the idea of going to church when I have questions and I usually tend to get answers for something completely unrelated to what I'm confused about. I feel like I've fallen from grace but that doesn't necessarily scare me. It's just if there is a hell why am I going there? If there is a God why does he give people the choice to turn their back? I don't know why free choice is supposed to be this back-handed gift. We're supposed to enjoy our free will but dig ourselves holes and cry when it comes to face the consequences of the same free will we were "gifted". How come God seems like the very emotional manipulative type in the relationship to test you by no

I Have Prescience... What if?

By Private One ~ I magine for a moment that I have the "gift" of foresight. I always know exactly what's going to happen, in intricate detail, long before it happens. I am 100% right 100% of the time. There's never a sliver of a chance I could ever be even slightly wrong. It. Is. impossible. Now then, I know for certain that if I send you into a certain room with 100 boxes in it, 99 containing 10 pounds of diamonds and 1 containing a Taipan, the worlds deadliest snake (a bite results in almost instant death), you'll soon open the box with the Taipan, be bitten by it and die a horrifying death within 60 seconds. Furthermore, I know for certain that WHEN you open that box, are bitten and die, every single person at PVBC will be simultaneously stricken with acute eBola and die within 24 hours. There is absolutely NOTHING they will be able to do to heal themselves. NOTHING. Therefore, I tell you exactly which box has the Taipan inside it (I placed it in the mi

Duplicate Bible Verses

By Snabag ~ I have always been puzzled by the number of verses & stories that are duplicated in the bible. For example there are two creation stories, two sets of commandments, two stories of giving your daughter to be raped to give examples. Find below 235 duplicated verses and the question I ask is why? Duplicate Bible verses Genesis 36:41, 1 Chronicles 1:52 Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58 2 Kings 19:5, Isaiah 37:5 2 Kings 19:2, Isaiah 37:2 1 Chronicles 16:10, Psalms 105:3 Ezra 2:53, Nehemiah 7:55 2 Samuel 22:46, Psalms 18:45 2 Kings 18:3, 2 Chronicles 29:2 1 Kings 12:11, 2 Chronicles 10:11 2 Kings 19:34, Isaiah 37:35 Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33 Genesis 10:27, 1 Chronicles 1:21 Jeremiah 10:15, Jeremiah 51:18 1 Kings 8:14, 2 Chronicles 6:3 1 Kings 12:6, 2 Chronicles 10:6 2 Samuel 23:19, 1 Chronicles 11:21 Genesis 10:16, 1 Chronicles 1:14 2 Kings 16:4, 2 Chronicles 28:4 1 Kings 12:1, 2 Chronicles 10:1 Psalms 60:8, Psalms 108:9 Genesis 10:2

Shifting the Focus

By Carl S ~ "Once you realize God is imaginary, you lose interest in hearing what God thinks about things." - Christy Hoffman Wiegand (Free Inquiry magazine, Sept. 2016). G od is imaginary, like all the other gods; products of the imagination open to unending and unresolvable interpretations. After all, anything goes. This explains why the nature of God, his thoughts and his commands, are interpreted in so many ways by so many faiths, sects, and individuals. It also explains why so many believers are upset at the indifference of unbelievers. It’s because cherished commitment to an imaginary god is taken to be a sign of virtue; therefore, such belief is threatened by pointing out that it’s only make believe. No one is interested in or cares about what Osiris, Thor, or Baal thinks about things. No has interest in, nor cares about, the thoughts and desires of Huitzilopochtli and Quetzalcoatl, though thousands of innocent lives were sacrificed to them. They're all

Where does morality come from? -- Part 3

By John Draper ~ I n Part 1 and Part 2 , I introduced my premise that morality is discovered by humans, not revealed by God—in particular, not revealed through scripture. Now, to that Still, Small Voice: personal revelation independent of scripture. Religions allow some latitude for personal revelation—but always within the boundaries of scripture. That is, God would never tell you to do something that He had revealed in His written word to be wrong. You don’t need to wrestle in prayer to determine whether it’s right to jimmy open your neighbor’s marmalade safe. Just put away the crowbar and read your bloody Bible. What happens is that religious folks use scripture for the Big Questions and leave the mundane matters of living day-to-day life to personal revelation—whom to marry, how to cut our hair, whom to vote for, where to hide your marmalade. But we all know that God doesn’t speak to us, even on mundane matters. C’mon, be honest. When we rely on personal revelation to de