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Showing posts from December, 2016

Surviving religious trauma and dealing with anxiety

By Dan Pazmino ~ I left Christianity about two years ago, but the effects of leaving the faith have only begun to erupt. Like many people the study of the science and my life experiences started to discourage my desire to continue to the affliate with the faith. I was very involved in my non denominational church which really advocated the idea of "Gods will for your life". The church constantly wanted me to take a path I had no desire in exploring. Being in the children's ministry/ being in the prayer band. When all I wanted to do was make music and art. It was very hard dealing with this especially when on many occasions I was told I should give up art. This amongst the idea that my church community didn't really seem authentic and that Gods will wasn't really becoming a reality started becoming way too much. I did so much for God and there was no return not even what I thought Gods will was going to be. (Going to a Christian college and becoming a miss

Reverend Avery

By Carl S ~ “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”- Lewis Carroll “One man's religion is another man's belly-laugh.” - Robert A. Heinlein P astor Avery was not in a very good mood. His wife was still upset from their latest argument, and he now realized why. It was out of character for him to admit he was wrong. On top of that, he was reading “forbidden” books, and, since he had never liked being deceived, he wasn't too happy with his superiors, either. He wasn't looking forward to the monthly bible study for his trusting group of kids. “Welcome, boys and girls. There are words we use every day when talking about God and his Word. Today, I'm going to tell you what they're really all about, so get out your paper and pencil. First of all: Some people even today believe there is more than one god, so they might think their gods created other worlds than our own. That's their problem. W

Think or Thwim

By Carl S ~ W ould you prefer to think or believe? Which is more important to you, believing stuff, or finding out what's real, no matter how much effort it may take? Are you by nature a doubter, unwilling to accept without question what people claim? Are you a searcher, or an acceptor? Do you find more pleasure in discovering new facts about reality, or would you rather go along with "common sense," despite your doubts? Think before you answer. Over the years, I’ve tried to help people in their predicaments, i.e., another name for religions. Looking for comparisons, I've used being placed on a tightrope over hell, on which believers are told they have to walk. (Perhaps you have a few of your own.) At the moment, one idea comes to mind that sounds close to home. I'll copy an idea initiated by Lewis Carroll, in his poem, "Jabberwocky." He would combine words to make one word which, oddly, seemed to make sense. I'm going with "Thwim" a

Recovering from the Mental Abuse

By AnonAgno94 ~ I spent the first 17 years of my life being a Catcholic. At 17 I was brought into the non-denominational Christian culture and was "born again." I spent the last five years, then, meeting fellow Christians, exploring the different sects of Christianity, studying and writing worship music, and reading the Bible daily. In all of my times, both good and bad, I always believed that I had "god" looking out for me. I was taught to be fully and completely dependent on him and nobody else. that if I was feeling anxious, I just wasn't trusting "him" enough. that if I was still single, then I had to wait for "him" to bring the right one in. When I did start dating my secular humanist boyfriend, of course religion would come up frequently in our discussions. They were never heated discussions, though if we hit points of strong disagreement, I remember at times feeling that Christian mindset of, "Well, he doesn't bel

The Good News

By Carl S ~ I was unable to sleep. When I woke up at 3:40 a.m., I went on the internet to find the most recent news. It was fascinating. There's a man who cures blind people by asking them to close their eyes, then he touches their eyelids, and they can see. There are many testimonials of this, many cures. He also has raised the dead (at least six have been reported in the last two days alone), and goes about feeding hundreds of people from the bits of food found in his pockets, which multiply as he hands them out. Those who benefit from his blessings, and his followers, are sworn to secrecy, and for good reasons. He was interviewed, his face hidden by a small panel, and asked the source of his miraculous powers. Very softly, he said, “Jesus Christ said, ‘Those who follow me shall do even greater works than I have done.' I take him at his word, and that's why I can do them. Some people say they don't have enough faith to do greater works than Jesus himself; but I


By Carl S ~ T here's a lot in Nature people find disgusting: Bugs, phlegm, dogs eating their vomit, etc., etc. It's all part of life. Science is down in it, curiously investigating. When it comes to science, everything is fair game. Science regards nature as neither good nor evil. For that reason alone, religion rejects it. But a scientist is only the child investigating the world to find out how it is and works. Examples: Science researches the gut genome, extracts biological juices from ugly, reflex-gagging organisms, and experiments with fecal implants, which involves taking shit from one person's body and putting it into another person's! Yuck. Science doesn't forbid questioning or doubting. Religion has to. Religion claims all human life is sacred, often so rabidly as to forbid contraception! But you will never hear a clergyman protesting the execution of a man on the grounds that he won't be able to procreate in the future. To science, there is no “mi

Where is the Magic?

By Thomasina Belle ~ A colleague of mine was telling me about seeing an illusionist. She was blown away by his tricks: sawing a man in half, cards appearing out of nowhere, escaping from a tank after being submerged in water in a strait jacket for three minutes, etc. She said her husband couldn’t enjoy the show because he was just trying to figure out the mechanics of it all. She agreed with me when I remarked that even though nowadays it’s easy find out the man-made secrets of magic, it’s still amazing to see. I think it makes “magic” even more amazing, just knowing about all the complicated work involved behind the scenes, and how our brains are still deceived into seeing something they’re not. It is so much like our journey from religion to the other side. For most of my life I believed in “magic.” Even when seeing a magic show, I thought something supernatural was going on. I believed in ghosts and demons and angels. I believed in a supernatural “savior/magician” who was watc

Male Authority

By Karen L. Garst ~ A fter the recent selection of Donald Trump as president-elect of the United States, many people have tried to fathom how most of the polls were inaccurate in predicting his victory. Richard Dawkins tweeted that pollsters got it wrong because the people they were talking to simply “were ashamed to admit they were Trump supporters.” Sarah Haider added that “when political correctness takes over—you don’t know how people actually feel.” These statements go a long way to explain how the predictive polls were inaccurate. But more important than the inaccuracy of the polls themselves is an interesting fact revealed by the final election results —52 percent of white women supported Trump, while Clinton received 94 percent of the votes of black women. Who are these white women? Why did they vote the way they did? Are they simply opposed to reproductive rights for women? Unconcerned about family leave? Oblivious to health care programs like the Affordable Care Act?

Where did that that name YHWH come from?

By Karen L. Garst -- The Faithless Feminist ~ The Biblical Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew Name for God the Father. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) U nless you are Jewish or took a course in religion during your lifetime, you may not even know what the letters YHWH stand for. No worries. It is the name of God written in Hebrew in the Torah or, as Christians call it, the Old Testament. The word is composed of all consonants because the written Hebrew alphabet has no vowels. I’m sure you have seen those posts on Facebook where they ask you to read a jumbled sentence with letters out of order. Most of the time, you can still discern what it means. It’s like that in Hebrew. While there are some markers that can assist you, there are no written vowels. Sometimes this name for god is written out Yahweh so you know how to pronounce it. This is the name that morphed into the word Jehovah in English. The King James Bible used the word Jehovah extensively, but now most translations use the word Lo

A Skeptic's Reading List

(or "Christmas gift ideas for the skeptic on your list"!) By Tania K ~ U p until a few years ago, I thought that I would always wear the "Christian" label. I never doubted that all the components of my religious faith would be a huge part of my life until, well, the Lord called me Home. When that faith began slipping away from me, my world felt like it was shattering. I was fortunate enough to have a co-worker, a hairdresser, a landlord, and a bunch of other people who listened to my angst, who calmed me down, who made me realize that I was going to be okay. There were also some very helpful websites (like this one!!) and many videos on Youtube. And there were the books...oh, there were many, many books. I would visit the library's website and order books that I never imagined I'd ever read. I'd stay up late at night, reading, reading, reading. I'd slip the covers off the books (so that nobody could see the supposedly "bad" titles)


By Carl S ~ W e often hear of the “faithful,” but what does that designation mean? Isn't it just another word for something we're supposed to respect, a word everyone takes for granted we understand? Each December, what should be our neutral-regarding-religion media let flow a torrent of entertainment saturated with Christian propaganda. Secular programming and motion pictures frequently include hymns such as, “ O come all ye faithful .” Who are the faithful? Depending on which cleric you ask, the faithful are those who follow the gospel teachings of Jesus, the dogmas of a particular church, Mohammed, the visions of Joseph Smith , the interpretation of “Christ” by the apostle Paul , etc., etc., “faithfully.” (They won't, but we must include Jim Jones, Buddha, and televangelists.) The faithful stick with what they believe in, no matter what. Let's see when actions speak louder than attestations. Are they faithful? Does being faithful have anything to do with virt


By Carl S ~ L et’s suppose you know what evangelicals and fundamentalists are thinking. Even then, individuals can surprise you, as anyone would be surprised when finding someone acting “unlike himself.” You would expect a person who preaches morality to you will recognize its opposite and reject it. On the other hand, you may personally have a suspicion of what one writer called “a neurotic appetite for lies” involved when that person unthinkingly chooses what is blatantly opposed to what he alleges to believe. Evidently, such people make such exemptions by obeying “authorities” they trust to know better. So, a group-think mentality, shepherded by these authorities, replaces personal conscience and responsibility. This overrides moral considerations. Now, all of this sounds dry and academic - until it becomes active. (Consider the Third Reich .) Let's take it from here... Now, evangelicals and fundamentalists have elected their man. Let's suppose they expect he'll ad