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Showing posts from February, 2018

You won’t believe the BEST reason for being an atheist!

By Ubi Dubium ~ A while back Jim posed a question on his blog,  The Common Atheist. His request was “ If each of you would share right here one of your best arguments for atheism…” And I replied with one of my best reasons, but since it was in a comment thread I tried to keep my answer brief.  However, I think the point I was making deserves a more careful discussion.  So here’s a full post about it. First, we need to look at how people get their understanding of their religion. With christianity, first and foremost they get it from other people.  People they trust.  People who tell them that they know things about god or the supernatural.  People who claim to speak for god. Secondly they get it from a holy book, which is just a less direct way of getting it from other people. And thirdly, they have personal experiences, including intense emotional experiences, that they believe come from their god. The problem is that this is not unique to christianity.  All over the

Describing God

By Michael Runyan ~ C hristians worship a god that they believe has three parts- a father, a son, and a spirit. The son took on an earthly body for about 30 years, and the spirit produced a wind at the Pentecost. The father walked around the Garden of Eden after the fall, and was seen by a few prophets in the Old Testament. Let’s focus on him,, the father, and ask these questions about his characteristics: Does God have a body? If so, does it look like a human as suggested by the scriptures? How big is God’s body? Is God a male, or a female, or hermaphroditic? If God is a male, does he have a penis? If so, why? Does God have a specific location in space? Where might that be? Does God have long or short hair? Does God have emotions- as suggested by scripture? Does God watch everything happening, even evil acts such as the Holocaust? If so, does he have the power to stop them? If so, is there a reason he chooses not to? Does God speak all 6500 human languages fluently?

God of the Gaps

By Carl S ~ I f you read anything about the history of science and philosophy, you'll be exposed to “God of the Gaps.” In the past and even now, whenever there wasn't a scientific explanation, the fill-in was that the answer had something to do with “God.” End of story. This attitude is often expressed in reactions such as “God only knows,” and “God has his reasons; works in mysterious ways.” The truth of evolution is interpreted by the Catholic Church as the means God has chosen to create. Now, any time evidence is discovered that confirms natural explanations, it's typically met at first with denial or outright rejection. It's normal to be skeptical. Even when these confirmations become obvious over time, we still find people, like creationists, who insist “God” is the explanation. In place of natural selection via chance and adaptations, these humans substitute human selection, which is one good explanation of how “human nature” operates. (It's interesting:

My Story about fear, manipulation and control.

By SueAnne ~ S o here I am after being raised Christian and living it strongly my entire life, 39 years old and I’m left with nothing. I woke up one day in August, 2017 and it was like someone unplugged (or possibly plugged in) something in my brain and it was all gone. Every ounce of belief or faith I’d had was gone. I felt like God had left me overnight. I remember telling my husband, I feel like God has left me. Like it’s all gone. He, like most believers, quoted a scripture at me about how god would never abandon me blah blah blah. It didn’t help, it pissed me off and I said for the first time in my life, I don’t care what the bible says! He’s gone. I didn’t feel it anymore. Let me clarify that I never questioned god or jesus and had never struggled with my faith. I was one arrogant Christian who could quote scriptures at you like no one else. I didn’t need proof, I just knew. Until that one day...suddenly I didn’t know anything. No one at church spoke about a crisis of f

Twitterati Go Nuts Over Suggestion that Bible is Badly Written

By Valerie Tarico ~ G od forbid we should talk about the fact that the Bible, despite some wise and lyrical passages, is mostly a boring tangled mess. After a storm of  protest  on Twitter and in comment threads, Salon  retracted and removed  my recent article, “ Why the Bible is So Badly Written ,” saying that it failed to meet their editorial standards. But which standards were those? Notwithstanding its provocative title and lede , the article summarized a series of well-known flaws in the Bible along with facts about how the book was constructed. It proposed (as did Thomas Jefferson) that the Good Book could use a good edit. Reviewed before publication by a retired religion professor and a professional editor, and errata corrected, the analysis was factually defensible and reasonably clear. What the article definitely violated were the sensibilities of many Christians and orthodox Jews, and an array of literature lovers from Christianized cultures. Christians and Jews

Why a book-based religion eventually fails

By Micahel Runyan ~ C hristianity and many other religions are stuck on a book. A book that can’t be added to, subtracted from, or changed in any way. It leads its followers to assume that what is right and wrong never changes, despite all of the advancements of knowledge and experience over centuries and centuries of human history. In Christianity’s case, the book that defines and confines its doctrine was written from about 1450 BC to around 100 CE. Nothing written in the past 1900 years has been added to it. But the world has changed dramatically over that time. Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin, but if ongoing research continues to reveal that homosexuality is not a choice, is the Christian position still tenable? Christianity teaches that men have authority over women, but if ongoing research and historical experience shows that women have talents equivalent to men, is the Christian position still tenable? Christianity teaches (through its scriptural

Pixie dust works! Right?

By John Draper ~ R ight out of the chute as a Christian, God saw fit to put me in a Bible study with a bunch of guys who had a weakness for bare-naked ladies. It was sort of a practical joke on His part. All of us were “sold out” for Jesus Christ, no question. The burning passion of our lives was to serve the Lord. Yet we were fully aware that as 19-year-old men, we were each at our sexual peak. Never again would we be this horny. The comedy of our situation didn’t escape us. So every study would be well peppered with jokes about choking the gopher and the difficulty of not turning our heads to watch a beautiful girl pass us by. And it wasn’t just lust. You name the sin, we committed it. We could laugh about our “carnal mindedness” because we were convinced God was going to empower us to “live in victory”—eventually. It’s known as the doctrine of sanctification: God’s Holy Spirit works in believers to make them more like Jesus. At least that’s what we were sure of when we

What We Understand

By Carl S ~ I have a son from my first marriage. His name is Emmett. My wife and I went to his wedding reception, and all of us have gone out to restaurants together. Although we live far apart, we keep in touch regularly. You won't find better friends than they are, or a more lovable gentleman than Emmett. Love is a means of manipulation because it is powerful. There are many case histories of men killing the spouses of women they love, out of love. Consider a common situation some males get themselves into, and the consequences of their decisions while in love. We all, male and female, can understand what it means to be intensely in love with someone. We've heard “love is blind.” For example: A vulnerable man strikes up a friendship with a woman, which becomes a passionate sexual relationship. He's taken leave of his mind, doesn't care, he believing she loves him more than anyone he's ever known, she’s someone he is destined to be with. Then, she reveals

The Christian Romance Fairy Tale

By Tania ~ T here are the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, and the Little Mermaid...and, of course, the men they fall in love with and -- depending on which versions of the stories you happen to read -- live with happily ever after. And there is the story that I'm most familiar with: Christian Girl Meets and Marries Christian Guy. Until I began to transition away from Christianity about seven years ago, that story was, I thought, the framework for my own personal love/romance/marriage story. It's the storyline that many Christian romance novels and movies use, and it's supposedly what will happen to you if you do just the right things. In this story, the girl is a Christian, and the guy she is interested in is also a Christian. That's a given. There have been how many books written and sermons preached on 2 Corinthians 6:14? "Do not be yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with

God's Muddled Message to Mankind

By Michael Runyan ~ S o, after waiting 200,000 years after modern humans evolved, God decides to deliver an important message to mankind. You would think it is essential that all of the people on earth receive this vital message and that it is clear and unambiguous. After all,, the stakes are maximally high- eternal bliss versus eternal torture. Let’s see how that worked out: Jesus is sent to the earth, but he only interacts with a small tribe of Jews in the Middle East, leaving Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, and South America in the dark. The message of Jesus doesn’t even reach all of these continents until 1500 years later. Jesus did not write anything down so we can’t be sure of his real message. Neither Jesus’s disciples nor anyone who directly witnessed Jesus’s mission wrote down anything (all of the apparent references to them are forgeries). When someone finally started to document Jesus’s life, it is at least 40 years after he died and is ba

The Bungled Resurrection

By John Draper ~ T he problem I have with the resurrection is not the resurrection itself—that is, the act of a physical body sparking back to life. First off, that does happen. People do “come back to life” after being pronounced dead—and everybody’s at a loss to explain it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a miracle. It just means we don’t understand the physical process—yet. But let’s say you insist on the resurrection being a classical miracle—that is, it never would have happened if God hadn’t monkeyed around with things. If God is God, I suppose that means He has the power to circumvent the laws of the universe. Either way, I have no problem with the act of the resurrection. It’s the way it was pulled off that bothers me. The creation of The Christian Church doesn’t look like a beautiful plan unfolded by an all-wise God but, rather, like something that was ad-libbed by humans—a real Keystone Cops affair with goofy goons running around, pants around their ankles, bumping into o

The Incredible Body of Jesus

By Carl S ~ I used to be impressed by the gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus, describing how his body differed from the one he had before he died. What I missed were the accounts of his pre-death body. It's a body capable of turning water into wine, a body sensitive to the extent of feeling when a woman touched the hem of its robe, a body being “transfigured.” Even the spit coming from this body, when mixed with dust, restored sight to a blind man. The writers describe a body that cured illness, blindness, epilepsy, madness, and all diseases - merely by touch. It's a body that can restore life to the dead, a body that can walk on water. This body of Jesus isn't a real body, it's a mystical body. It's the body of a fictitious god; a body consistent with St. Paul's creation of a Christ-redeemer. Becoming aware of this, we're faced with very important questions: Wouldn't such a body be indestructible and overcome any death, including crucifixio

Don't Mistake the Church for representatives of God

By Emmanuel Melendez ~ O kay, so just to be clear I am a Christian, an actual real Christian, I've spent years studying the bible with no bias and looking at scripture in historical, scriptural, and cultural context, all the while seeking Gods infinite wisdom on what his word says. I will start off by saying today's modern church is anything but Gods church. First, church isn't a building, in scripture we see that what church is, is the people themselves. God, nor the people in scripture never refer to church as a building and the funny thing is all these church traditions like weddings or going on Sundays to a building, are not in the bible. So anyone telling you to go to a building, don't even realize that God is speaking about his actual followers who love him and actually follow him. Since the church has developed many false beliefs have arisen, and God does say a false church, or group of believers would rise during the end times. Some of those false belie

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

By Fernando Alcántar ~ Facebook keeps making friend suggestions of people who de-friended me when I came out of the closet and To the Cross and Back was published. Understanding how the Christian mind works, I get it—they are afraid of my story. C hapter 14: “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” is one of the hardest passages I have ever written. Leaving (what I believed to be) Christ and Christianity was so difficult that it literally drove me insane, taking me to a place so dark and painful it is hard to believe I made it out alive—the story forever bleeding on those pages. When I came out of the closet as both atheist and gay, I came in the most vulnerable state I had ever been to the people who meant the most in my life. I visited people around the country, spending time with them, laughing, drinking, joking, crying, and at the end of the conversation I told them where I was, that I loved them, and that I wanted to stay part of their community. And over and over I was told tha

The Gospel of Thomas (The Younger)

By Gary T. McDonald ~ I am writing to introduce  a new book, The Gospel of Thomas (The Younger).   It tells a captivating story while  severely critiquing the canon Gospels and replacing a theology based on deity worship with a prescription for living a full and happy life. It offers a humanistic and secular view of Jesus and Christianity, if such a thing is possible. It shows how Christianity took a wrong turn early on and does its best to set it straight. That’s a brazenly audacious thing to attempt—trying to change a most basic element of Western civilization and culture -- but readers and critics say the book has done so in an enthralling and compelling way.   The Gospel of Thomas (The Younger)  is a revolutionary manuscript that conjures up a vivid portrait of the First Century Greco-Roman world and its larger-than-life characters: from Jesus and his disciples, to Greek philosophers, to Roman emperors and their political confidantes. Not just a novel, it might be considered