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Showing posts from March, 2017

22 Amazing Women – Part One

By Karen Garst ~ I n this post, I am going to introduce you to three of the 22 women who wrote their personal stories of leaving religion in my book, Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion . Hopefully you will agree with my assessment that it took strong doses of courage, will, and strength to share their stories with us. Ann Wilcox Ann was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian family. Raised with the shame and guilt of human’s sinful nature, she was further subjected to the low expectations of women. Decades later she writes… In Fundamentalist theology, people don’t just commit sin—they are sin. Because Adam sinned, every person born after him was born with a sinful nature and is inherently corrupt. As if that weren’t enough, there were sins of commission (when you did something you shouldn’t) and sins of omission (when you didn’t do something you should). If there is another religion that vilifies humans more than Fundamentalist Christianity, then I feel sorry

Live and Let Live?

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ I n the March 2017 edition of Freethought Today , the monthly newspaper of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, there was a letter from Russell Gregory of Pennsylvania which caught my eye. Mr. Gregory wrote, “Imagine if everyone believed in that adage ‘Live and Let Live.’ No one would have any desire to change a single person. In fact, everyone would show great respect for each person’s belief. There would be no attempts at conversion,” etc. At first blush, Mr. Gregory’s utopia sounds great, but as I thought further on the issue, I began to find serious problems with it. First and foremost, what about the children? If no one questions the religious, they will simply continue to indoctrinate their children with their superstitions, as they always have. Those children will be left severely deprived of knowledge of how the world really works. They will be naïve, overly trusting, gullible, and believe that one’s feelings can actually prove things ab

The Case for Declaring Secular Humanism a Religion

By Carl S ~ M aybe you haven't heard of Raymond Loewy , the great American industrial designer. (There's an article about him in Atlantic magazine Jan/Feb 2017 .) Loewy believed consumers are torn between two opposing forces: 1. a curiosity about new things, and 2. a fear of anything too new. He called his grand theory, “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable,” or, MAYA. He noted that people gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible. Recently, Prof. Paul Hekkert of Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, came to a similar conclusion: 1.” humans seek familiarity because it makes them feel safe, 2. “People are charged by the thrill of a challenge, powered by a pioneer lust. This battery between familiarity and discovery affects us on every level.” Hmm... Would this knowledge enable us to declare humanism a religion? After all, A. humanism is familiar – the majority of humans ascribe to humanist values; they are “instantly comprehensible.” B. reinter

God is Sin

By FoundationOfUnity ~ G reetings. I hope each of us can help others reach the level of life experience they deserve as humans and will earn through hard work toward their goals. I speak to myself as well. I am a scientific life coach so goals are central to my work. I was once a pastor in the Assemblies of God, Nationally Appointed Home Missions Chaplain, and Director of a spiritual care Department in a larger New York State Hospice. I was a pastor to the master and thought it was just his servants running things on earth that was the problem. Instead, it was the master himself. I really can't blame god, he just doesn't exist so...such futility only hurts me by dissipating my energy. And what energy it requires to either blame him or tame him. He is on sickening virus of the mind. From the charismatic, tongues speaking, fasting, praying preaching eating meditating life in leading a community of people lobotomized by god it become clear that there was or must be another w

Fake News vs. Absolute Truth

By Burny ~ I saw this silly quote on a Christian's timeline the other day; If there is no absolute truth, there is no fake news . Once again, a cute quote sounds profound until we examine it a bit closer. First of all, Skeptics don't assume that there are no absolute truth(s). We assert, humbly, that absolute truths are very difficult to find and even more difficult to prove. In order to prove something is absolutely true, we must be able to prove all other options false, and this is nigh impossible from a logical and mathematical perspective. Let me give a simple example. In order to prove that the Christian God is absolutely true (he's the only real one), we must first prove that all other God's that people believe in don't exist and that all other miracles, holy books and holy people are wrong about their beliefs while Christians are correct about theirs. But it gets much harder than that! We also have to prove that all versions of there being *

The loss of my "real" Father

By fisheroffish ~ M y father died last month. Recently, I have been thinking about the irony that losing my real father was somehow easier for me than losing my “heavenly father”. First I want to tell you about my real father and our relationship and then I will get back to this irony. You see, I had a difficult time growing up and it was because of my father. At times he was both verbally and physically abusive. At other times generous, and fun to be around. He was military sergeant then later become an officer and was quite an imposing figure. I was certain he would kill me or my brother one day. Never knowing when Dad would be mad again, caused me to say as little as possible, hide when I could, stay outside as long as possible, attempt running away from home on a mini-bike, and employ many other avoidance measures. During my early teenage years, my dad pulled me aside and said “David, you can be whatever kind of person you want to be and do anything you want to do.

April Fool!

By Carl S ~ Y ou go to the vineyard and sign in at 6 a.m. You start work right away. Others come in and begin at 9, at noon, and four p.m. At the end of the day, you all get paid the same. The boss tells you take it or leave it. You work your way up the business ladder expecting promotions. Then, one day you overhear, “In my rules, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” Little did you suspect such prejudice. You consult a charismatic wise man respected as a god, who advises you to handle violence directed at you thusly: If someone hits you in the jaw, turn your face so he can hit you from another angle, and if he steals your coat off your back, don't neglect to give him your shirt, too. Forgive the guy who rapes your daughter. You've been a really good son; you've done everything to earn your father's respect, and nothing to cause him the slightest embarrassment. Are you recognized for this? Your lazy brother, whose gone off and spent his inher

Contemplating death

By Tania ~ M y job as a housekeeper at the hospital offers some insights into facts of life that are, for many people, quite unfamiliar and uncomfortable. For me, after years of working in hospitals and nursing homes, most of it is not a big deal anymore — the places of aging and sickness and healing, the hospital gowns and bedpans, bells and alarms that ring all day. As well, when working in a hospital or a nursing home, the concept of “death” isn’t as foreign as it is in other work places — like, for example, at a department store or a credit union! In the unit I work at in KGH, death is not as “common” as it is in other units. After their surgeries, most people there are ready for discharge after three or four days; but every once in a while, that’s not the case. A few mornings ago, I was cleaning a patient’s room, and her husband told me that death was imminent — maybe a few hours, maybe a day or two. As it turned out, it was about two hours later that the patient passed away

Destined to become a Christian

By Elysia ~ I must first state that I am writing this as a 16-year-old high school junior, and that I still have many years to come until adulthood. This is just my experience with the religion, and I felt obliged to share it. F rom the moment I was born, I was already "destined" to become a Christian. I was born (as an only child) into a Christian family, with both parents and the majority of their respective sides of the family as believers of Christ. My mom, originally from Indonesia, attended a Methodist school with her siblings as a child, while her parents were Buddhists. My dad was raised as Christian by his non-Christian parents in Taiwan. My mom had me baptized when I was only two months old. After that, I fully gave myself to Jesus Christ. I lived in Monterey Park, California for the first eight years of my life, and attended church every Sunday with my parents. While they stayed in the "adult sermon" (as I called it) with the pastor preaching a le

Nausea

By Carl S ~ J anuary of 2017 was one of those periods most of us would prefer to forget. My wife and I spent most of the month suffering from a viral siege most likely picked up from her congregation, since its entire membership came down with it at the same time. I count myself as “collateral damage.” To make matters worse, the 20th brought It's Mourning in America. Illness puts one in what my ex called “a different world,” that healthy people can't approach. Well-meaning people will phone to ask you, “How are you doing?” while they really don't care to hear the details, and I don't blame them. And their prayers may make them feel they're helping, but prayers are the cheapest gift they can give. That's why some bring food, or offer to do errands for you. Feeling as rotten as I did, what was merely annoying became severely aggravating. Just leave me alone! For this reason, I tuned out the talking head opinions masking as news. With that sickness, I lived

The Odds of being Right

By Burny ~ S omething I've heard a lot from Christians again lately, is the idea that since we can't really know who's right and who's wrong about God vs. no God, their opinion is just as valid and likely to be true as someone like me who doesn't believe in God. This argument is a sort of Pascal's Wager which has been dealt with before on this site, but a more subtle version of it which demands a simple illustration to show why this argument is too simplistic and doesn't make sense mathematically speaking. Let's say there are 4200 world religions today. Of course, you assume that only 1 of those 4200 views is the correct way to view God and reality - that is Christianity. The way a lot of Christians talk is that they assume that Atheism is simply another religious point of view, i.e. there are 4201 differing opinions and 4201 options - one of which MUST be correct. This is an incorrect way of using statistics and I can illustrate this with an example

Jesus Made Me Hate Myself

By Fernando Alcántar ~ I just finished watching the movie MILK — yeah, for the first time. It came out on Netflix and I added it to my list. When the movie first came out in 2008 I was at the peak of my Christian career. I was just leaving my role as Senior Coordinador of North American Partnerships for Azusa Pacific University and starting the one as Director of Leadership Development for Young People for the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church. I was leading hundreds of churches, speaking in front of thousands of believers, and traveling the world as an evangelical missionary, all preaching a gospel I believed to be true and able to save lives from eternal damnation. And part of this “true gospel” that would save us from filthy sin included that God was against gay-marriage, that homosexuality was a mental disorder, and that it was our duty as servants of The Lord to impose his will on earth—even if people couldn’t see it themselves yet. Some peopl

Paradise

By Karen Garst of FaithlessFeminist.com ~ W here did the concept of heaven or paradise come from? One of the major promises of virtually all religions is that after you die here on earth, you will be taken to a paradise in heaven where everything will be perfect forever. Of course, you have to do everything the religion requires you to do to qualify. In some cases that is separating your dishes that have had meat in them versus dairy, suffering through genital mutilation, tithing 10% of your income, etc. The concept of heaven or paradise is and has been a strong motivator for religions to keep people from leaving the flock. But where did this concept arise in the Abrahamic tradition? Was it there from the beginning or did it get added later? Most people who were raised religiously might start their explanation with the story of the Garden of Eden. They would say that until Eve took a bite of that pesky apple, everything was hunky dory. So let’s start there. The story of t

Different Worlds

By Carl S ~ R ay Bradbury's novel, “Fahrenheit 451” is famous for it's message of resistance to a government's suppression of free speech through the burning of books. His society has accepted this suppression as “normal.” Beneath the story of the fireman book-burner who becomes the book-preserver, lies another: his resignation to the “normal” relationship with his wife. During the course of his experiences, we come to see how each of them lives in differing worlds. The world is dramatically changing before him, while his wife's remains the same, every day. Perhaps the author is commenting on spousal relationships in general. Normally, marriage relationships might begin in passionate “cannot live without/we're soul-mates “ confessions, but eventually, each spouse wants his and her own personal space, interests, hobbies, activities, etc. They remain emotionally attached, committed, and physically involved enough to feel secure and comfortable together. You mi

New Vision

By BlackFreethought ~ D uring this last foray into Christianity I held more progressive views of scripture than before. I now realize that I spent a lot of time in self-deception. In trying to discover an alternative or progressive view of scripture, I told myself that what I read wasn't really what I read. In other words, this scripture does not mean what is written or how it has been traditionally interpreted; it means something completely different. The more I tried to find different interpretations of certain Bible verses, the more I could see how the traditional positions carried more weight in the church. The irony is the more I studied the Bible, the more faith it took to believe the claims it produced. As I took the scriptures out of the esteemed philosophic ether and placed it into a historic context, I saw a book edited and written with various agendas in mind. It was already going to be difficult for me to be a Christian who no longer believed in the devil, heave