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Showing posts from October, 2016

Struggling with it all

By Scott S ~ S o my story isn't much different than anyone else's: raised conservative christian, kept out of mainline churches for most of my young life because organized churches were "too corrupt", met mainly in people's homes on Wednesday nights for most of my childhood, home schooled, virgin 'til I was 23... Pretty boilerplate stuff, right? Fast forward 10 years. I'm married, have three kids and am a member in good standing at a local bible church, where I even volunteer to teach sunday school to 6th graders. And every day I wake up, I feel like the biggest fraud who ever walked the earth. Why? Because I don't think I believe in God, or the supernatural, or heaven, or hell, or any of it anymore. And it hurts. It kills in fact. I've had so many suicidal thoughts over the last few months (related both to the idea in my stupid brain that I can't get out about there being no God, AND the cesspool which is my marriage most days),

Do you really know what the bible says?

By A happy Ex missionary ~ T his is the second time that I write a text to post on this website. My first text was two years ago and it is titled “ Just to get it off my chest ”, being about my struggles and hopes as a new ex Christian and ex missionary. It has been three years now since the last time I stepped into a church and, thanks to much effort, I am in a much better situation than the one described in my first text. I managed to graduate this year and got my English degree (in only three years instead of four, by taking more classes than usual). I also started a Postgraduate course and now I am a master’s degree student of literary theory (in Brazil, many universities are public and, therefore, free) I still have to share an apartment with a flatmate, but he is a very nice person, so it’s ok for now. With this introduction made, I now can really get into the issue I would like to bring you all. Last week I attended a seminar on translation. Although my master’s research i

How God Runs Things

By Carl S ~ O ne person I mailed my commentaries to wrote back, "I don't want to hear any more about your hatred of religion." If you're familiar with my comments, you find they're not hateful, just logically critical. But this person, like many brought up to not challenge the status quo, thinks religions should be spoken of only positively. This author may be dismissed as a "hate-filled diatribe writer" (Dietribe: an indigenous people who carefully monitor what they eat?) by those who cover their ears and say, "I can't hear you!" Please keep in mind I'm merely revealing the layers of deception religions have robed themselves in. There's an old American tale about two trains racing down the track, one northbound and the other southbound. They collide. An investigator talks to one man who tells them he saw the trains, "from the ridge of yonder hill." The accident investigator asked him, "What were you thinking wh


By Carl S ~ Matthew. Chapter 28, vs. 16-17: "But the eleven disciples went into Galilee , to the mountain where Jesus had directed them to go. And when they saw him they worshiped him. But some doubted." In 1936, a team of German scholars were involved in translating songs of the Middle Ages found in the Benediktbeuern monastery, Bavaria . Among the many manuscripts discovered was a small note, written by a monk. Translated from the Latin : "I, Brother Johannes Eckhart, on December 1, anno Domini 1317, confess to altering the Holy Text of St. Matthew, chapter 28. I did so, not of deception nor malice, but only to know whether my masters were checking my work for errors in translation. I myself added the words "But some doubted" to the text. I thought that surely, this would be noticed immediately, since none of the disciples who spent years with Jesus, witnessing his many miracles, would doubt his resurrection. May God forgive me and grant me His grac

A Man with No Past

By Fernando Alcántar ~ I I am a man with no past. And you are probably one too. When I was born, my family put the seal of Catholicism on me and taught me that since I was Mexican, I was Catholic just as much. The rest is a story I’ve shared on the book To the Cross and Back: An Immigrant’s Journey from Faith to Reason . A story of how as a teenager I converted to Protestant Christianity trying to escape loneliness and seeking healing from childhood trauma. I then became a state leader for the Foursquare denomination in Baja California —where I was a tongue speaking, demon-casting young leader. I then became a globetrotting missionary for Azusa Pacific University —one of the largest evangelical colleges in the nation. And then became head of youth and young adult ministries for the almost 400 churches in the Southern California-Hawaii region of the United Methodist Church . For about 30 years I obeyed the rules of the Bible as best as I could, including hiding the darkest sec

The Faith That I Had

By AnonAgno94 ~ U p until May this year, I was the Christian that the other young Christians wanted to be. I’ve had people tell me that they wished they had the faith that I have. That I had. Now there are moments when I wish I still had the faith I had. Because that faith died 5 months ago, and since then I haven’t been the same. I grew up Catholic in an unstable household. The lack of fatherly affection left me with a hole in my life, and the constant negative external validation from my mother still is with me as scars to this day. In my youth, I was a devout Catholic who prayed every night because she was too mature for her age to have real friends. Flash forward to 17 years old and then change “Catholic” to “non-denominational, Bible-adoring Christian.” Charismatic to the core. Bilingual leader, worship songwriter, mentor, Christian friend. I was certain of ‘god’s’ existence. So what happened? Combine severe anxiety with depression, take out church support and under

Spiritual, Romantic, Sensual

By by Carl S ~ I f you're raised in a society inundated with the indoctrination that spirituality is far, far, superior to sexuality, you might be tempted to believe there's something to it. Is there something to "spiritual" that makes it superior to being a fully aware, alive, person? Can it compete with sex? Nah! Having a "relationship" with a spirit-being in one's own head can't compare with one with a real person, even if it's a messy relationship. You can never be sure where you stand in relation to your imaginary other. This is why so many people have difficulty relating to their biblical god: they're never sure if they're pleasing him. They go to humans to find out, but they might just as well have someone reading tea-leaves for answers, for all the good it does. God the spiritual being is only another vaporous monolith to our senses; there's no "there" there. Many, many people have tried to live totally spirit


By Carl S ~ W hat is the definition of "culture shock?" According to my friend, it is a reaction of an individual to a foreign culture. I argued that it could just as well be the other way around. But he maintains it means only an individual's response. Find yourself in an entirely different culture than your own? Adapt, is the answer; even if the culture's beliefs don't make sense. You're surrounded, with no backup, just as other cultures have been surrounded by inundations of missionaries or explorers, for one example. Adapt, especially if the other culture is hostile to the one you're from. This is one way religions have made "converts"- no choice. Take it or leave. Since you're born and raised in a culture, there's an implied understanding it works for your society; otherwise it wouldn't exist. How well it works, of course, like anything in nature, has both good and not so good benefits. The system may be weighted in favor


By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ I n a Pew Research poll of 2010 , it was found that atheists and agnostics, on average, had a greater knowledge of Christianity than Christians. Apparently, the average Christian doesn’t spend a lot of time reading the Bible or actually thinking about his religion. This is written to help Christians to examine their religion more closely. Of course most Christians will stop reading at this point, thinking that to question their faith is a sin against god. I contend that to avoid thinking is a very regressive and foolish policy. After all, thinking is what got us out of the caves and into houses, and – if you wish - out of false ancient religions and into modern ones. If god and/or nature gave us brains, then surely we were meant to use them. Through my own study of Christianity, I have arrived at 5 questions about Jesus that seem to me to present very serious logical problems for Christianity. Surely there are other very good questions, but I think

Why I Wrote a Book about Leaving Religion

By Karen Garst ~ G iven the fact that I was born in 1950 in North Dakota, it is not surprising that I was raised as a Lutheran. There was one Catholic church in town, one very small Jewish synagogue, and the rest of the churches were Protestant. I knew what church every one of my friends went to, even as early as first grade. A cute boy walked me home from school that year and I sought out my father’s advice that very night. “Can a Lutheran marry a Catholic?” I asked my Dad in all seriousness. While he didn’t say no, he said marriage was sometimes difficult and sharing a faith helped. P. S. Both my sister and I married lapsed Catholics . I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and was surprised at what I learned in my first religion class. The professor talked about the different oral strains of the Old Testament and how they were named after different words for God over time. He also talked about the exile in Babylon as a historically verifiable event. In other clas

My journey from Catholicism

By Flashfan12 ~ I t truly is sad how religion is practically forced down Children's throats these days, something I can personally attest to. St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) When I was younger, I grew up in a Catholic environment- my father, sister and mother were all Catholics, my grandparents were all heavily devoted, and my cousins, though not as dedicated, went through the essential traditions as well. I was sent to a church school as a child, which teaches us 'Religion' lessons once a day and holds optional masses every day before school. Apart from that, it forces us to go to a mandatory school mass every month, on the first Friday. I would also be forced to go to Catechism twice a week, in order to be able to do my Holy Communion and Confirmation. As a child, I never did find anything 'wrong' with this, though I loathed having to go through all this- I personally found everything on that list incredibly boring,

The Question Needing an Immediate Investigation

By Carl S ~ S everal years ago on this site, a reader mentioned questions he used in conversations with religious believers. The subject was " The problem of evil ." Why is there evil in the world? This is explained by the religious as, "Evil came into the world and persists because human beings have free will . Humans freely chose and still choose to do what is wrong." Our questioner pursues this, asking, "So, does this mean humans have the free will to lie?" The answer to this is, "Yes." Our inquirer then comes to the question: "Since humans have free will, how then do you know that those who wrote the scriptures were telling the truth?" The author does not mention any responses, and we have good reasons to doubt he got any, or ever will, based on our own questions to believers. It is an excellent question, a demanding one that won't go away. Scriptural writers tell the reader to believe what they write because "it'

Time to Dump Holy

By Carl S ~ E very book of scriptures should have on its cover the words "DISCLAIMER: None of the events described within have been authenticated to be true." If the publishers are honest, we expect this. Since they are not, they prefix the books with the words, "sacred or "holy," as if no explanation is necessary. Any other publishers will categorize their publications: novels, fiction, history, psychology, fantasy, science, et al. (The Catholic books would require the words "nihil obstat," meaning, "free from doctrinal error,” up front. But what does that tell you, except that what's contained in them conforms with its propaganda?) Only religious scriptures tell you that to believe what you read in them requires no evidence. The fact that a book begins with the words, "In the beginning, God," is an obvious tip-off that whatever follows is also fabricated. From this point on, I shall be uncomfortably honest with you, in contr

Died-again Christian

By Wouter ~ M y journey started at the age of 28, 1995, when I became a 'born again' Christian after living a nominal Christian life. I believed God called me to the ministry and studied to become a pastor in the Pentecostal family of churches. 1865 engraving by Gustave Doré. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) After several years of preaching and teaching, and after I found I was preaching things which were contradictory to scripture, I started asking questions for which there were no real answers. Eventually I left the church. I questioned Christian practices like Christmas, Easter, and worshiping on Sundays which brought me to the study of Church and Roman history where I found the pagan origins of these Christian practices. That then led me to question the truthfulness of the Christian Church. I heard the Hebrew name of Jesus and it led me to involvement in the Messianic movement where I studied Hebrew and the Hebrew customs. In the Messianic movement I came to que