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Showing posts from January, 2018

The illusion of identity and why it matters to Christianity

By Michael Runyan ~ I magine that you have developed a machine that can make a perfect clone of a person, atom for atom. The fact that this will probably never be possible is irrelevant to this thought experiment. Now, one day you decide to clone yourself and you accomplish this perfectly. Your clone is brought to life. As it is a perfect copy of you, it looks just like you, has all of your talents, knowledge, and memories. Although it is minutes old, it believes it is as old as you are, and, in fact, when it looks at you, it thinks that you are the clone since it also has the memory of building the machine and deciding to make a clone. Now, suppose the clone, thinking it is the original you, decides that this was a mistake and proceeds to kill and bury you. You are now dead, but the clone assumes your identity and returns home to your wife, your children, your work colleagues, and your friends. No one knows the difference and even the clone mistakenly assumes that he is the ori

The Bible Is Boring!

By Carl S ~ T heology: “A system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions.” The key word here is “opinions,” over which millions of human beings have been made to suffer and die. Opinions also can apply here to gods, devils, dogmas, and billions of those other fantasy “religious questions.” Christian theology, as we know it, originates in the bible. Not only is the bible boring, but the people who keep flinging out “God” to justify shoving their God-opinions down our throats become boring, too. Televangelists and evangelical politicians (old white men), sell their God-products while rattling off selected pick-me-up bible verses. It's what snake-oil salesmen do. That wears thin very fast. Frankly, I've got things to do, to discover. New and fascinating facts keep coming up every day to learn, and they're all about this real universe. Mythology never held my attention for long. There's more truth in the daily weather report than in the bible; it&

The Bible says what is says about women

By John Draper ~ P rogressive Christians need to have the proverbial Come to Jesus Moment about the Bible. Earlier this year, the trending hashtag on Twitter was #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear , started, I guess, by a Christian feminist as an afterthought as she was boarding a plane. At least it was trending in progressive Christian circles. The gist was that most male churchgoers misinterpret the Bible. The majority of the tweets testified to a daily barrage of discrimination and double standards for women in ministry and beyond. Some examples: First off, I agree. The Christian feminists are right. Patriarchy and misogyny are indeed rampant in the church. But the people who are pushing those agendas are just following the clear orders of scripture. The Bible says what it says about women. Progressives Christians need to come to terms with the very human book they call scripture. It’s not God’s word. Progressive Christians say all scriptures from Bible that adv

Free To Be Uncertain

By Jan Tessier ~ R ecently, my sister read me an excerpt from a letter I sent her several years ago when I became "born again". In it, I made the assertion that being gay is a sin, but that I loved gay people and wanted them to be free. I cringed when she read the letter, and asked her to throw it out. It was a painful reminder of a time when I got sucked into that Christian bullshit to the point of believing that some of my friends were "sinners". In 1995, I got sober through a twelve step program and started questioning everything in the world, including my own strange religious beliefs. Sometime in my fourth year of sobriety, I found a marvelous book by Bruce Bawer called " Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity ". Perhaps it was "divine intervention" that prompted me to buy that book. At any rate, I read it cover to cover, and then read it again. It completely changed my thinking about not only Christianity, but religion


By Daniel Payne ~ This is the first chapter of my newly published memoir, From Faith to Freedom: A Gay Man's Escape from Christian Fundamentalism . W hen all is said and done, geography is key to my journey. We are all products of our specific cultures and regional uniqueness, and even if we choose to leave those locales later in life, they remain a part of our makeup to a greater or lesser degree, sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously. I was born and raised the first eighteen years of my life in Pensacola, Florida, located in the northwestern panhandle region of the Sunshine State. When most people think of Florida, they think of beaches and bikinis and sailboats and resorts. Pensacola has its fair share of all those things, but only within a few minutes of the Gulf of Mexico. Once one leaves that little strip of land and travels a bit farther inland, northwest Florida is hardly distinguishable from the Deep South states of Alabama and Mississippi. Rebel flags a

No, Birth Control Isn't Dangerous--But Guess Who Wants You to Think It Is?

By Valerie Tarico ~ Headlines and hype can leave women wondering what’s real and how best to take care of their health. L ast week, several news outlets including The New York Times ran articles about a Danish study examining birth control and breast cancer. The headlines were alarming, but the actual level of risk was less so: After examining millions of bits of data, the researchers found one extra case of cancer for every 7690 women using the Pill for a year. Not terribly newsworthy. That represented an increase of 20 percent but, as Mia Gaudet, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society told NPR , “A 20 percent increase of a very small number is still a very small number.” Is the link real? Probably. Doctors have long noted a detectable association between breast cancer and reproductive hormones including estrogen and progestins. Should you stop taking your pills or swap out your hormonal IUD for a hormone-free copper one? Probably not—not if you want to be

Private Investigator

By Carl S. ~ F or many years now, I and other writers have written letters to the editor of our local weekly newspaper criticizing religious claims. No one responding was a member of the clergy. Not one. They're all from true believers reacting from their guts and fears. Not one of them addresses the inherent contradictions and immorality in their scriptures and their god, even when these are pointed out to them point-blank. This fact has been aggravating me since I first noticed it. So, I told my wife that the people I hang around with have one thing in common: focusing on morality and searching for truth. If there's one lesson I've learned from exChristians it's that they are very concerned about morality; whereas, I don't see true morality is important to believers. And as for truth, believers are curiously not serious about finding the facts behind their beliefs. In his book “The Kingdom,” Emmanuel Carrère writes about his conversion to Christianity, his p

An Immensely Hurtful Time During The Holidays

By MTC ~ D ecember 23rd, the day one of my stepbrothers died. Today is the 11-year anniversary of his death, but it sure doesn't seem like it's already been a decade and a year! "Steps" have a negative reputation, but they wouldn't if they were all like Tracy. He was just like a real brother in every way. He was in the hospital for 18 days before his death, and for a majority of that time he was comatose. The whole ordeal was immensely painful, and I'll never forget! Christianity loves to harp about the power of prayer, and the claim that if you ask for something in Jesus's name you'll receive it (or something along that line anyway). There were many people praying for Tracy while he was in the hospital. But nevertheless he didn't pull through. Christian doctrine also claims that God doesn't want anyone to perish, or in their terms be condemned to eternal damnation for something as small as not believing in him or agreeing with h

The murderer/victim paradox

By Michael Runyan ~ T he theology espoused by most Christians includes the possibility of a murderer being forgiven of this grievous sin and gaining entry into heaven. The same theology generally assumes that once a person has died, the judgement of their souls takes place without additional adjustments. This means that a person who has been murdered is immediately out of options and must face the music without any chance for further reflection. This brings us to the murderer/victim paradox. For example, in the tool box serial murder case in California in 1979, where two men (Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris raped) tortured and killed 5 teenage girls, both defendants, although given a capital punishment sentence, were still in prison almost 40 years later. They had time to reflect on their deeds, get involved with prison ministries, and confess their sins, and accept Jesus as their savior. On the other hand, the murdered girls did not have this opportunity. If they had not yet

Your and my personal Jesus

By Pedro Fortunato ~ T he series American Gods portrayed the figure of Jesus in one of its episodes in a very intelligent way. In the episode, there were several actors who looked very differently -- only the purple shirt guy is not representing Christ). I think the episode was clever because every one has a vision of one's own about Jesus. A vision that somehow reflects much of one's own worldview. Thus, some people tells us about a loving, inclusive Jesus, who champions social justice above all (including religious morality). These people, however, seems to ignore that not so inclusive and very authoritative part in which the savior decrees that if yu do not believe in him, "you are already condemned" (John 3:18) and that Jesus, as a Jew preacher from the first century, would probably sound kind of sexist and homophobic if we could go back in time and interview him. Meanwhile, some more conservative people love to point out how Jesus taught about hell, denyin

Evangelicals Don't Have A Brand Problem, They Have a Product Problem

By Valerie Tarico ~ O k, Evangelicals do have a brand problem—but they also have a major product problem. Bible-believing born-again Christians, aka Evangelicals, have had a brand problem since Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority sold the Born-again movement to the Republican party in exchange for political power a generation ago, forging the Religious Right. The Republican party has been using Christianity’s good name to cover bad deeds ever since, all the while tapping Evangelical media empires and churches as communications and organizing platforms to bring ordinary believers along with the merger. Having become true-believers themselves, Evangelical leaders have offered themselves up as trusted messengers for this New-and-Improved political gospel project. And it has worked. Born-again Christians haven’t given up their core beliefs: that the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, Jesus died for their sins, and folks who don’t accept this gift will burn forever in Hell.