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Showing posts from March, 2018

(871) Ease of creating scripture

By Michael Runyan ~ S uppose you are a scholar living around 90 AD and want to write a gospel of Jesus.   You don’t know anything about Jesus, but you have copies of the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke to use as source material. Much of what you write is copied from the previous gospels, although you make small changes in style and editing, sometimes inserting subtle changes in the order and progression of events and in the dialogue.   However,  you want your story to stand out in some way, so you decide to invent a pleasant story to make Jesus seem even more spectacular than he’s been presented previously.  Here is the new material you add to your gospel: Andrew 12: 10-24 The next day, Jesus and his disciples entered Kursi on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus commanded his disciples to say nothing to anyone as he was fatigued from the previous day’s travel and large crowds.  But as they entered the city, a man who walked with a limp recognized him

Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith – and for Freedom

By Karen Garst ~ A fter finishing my first book, Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion , I had a chance to attend several secular events including the Women in Secularism Conference. This was excellent and I had the opportunity to meet many interesting women. So instead of going back into retirement, I decided to write another book. The result is Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith - and for Freedom . Each of the essays in this book examines one aspect of the impact of the three Abrahamic religions on women: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the first essay, licensed professional mental health counselor Candace Gorham, author of The Ebony Exodus Project , dives deep into the impact of religion on our psyche. She outlines the basics of mental illness that can be caused by religion, including depression, anxiety, shame, and guilt. Gorham also discusses the ineffective religious treatment for mental health problems such as pastoral counseling, conversion the

The Fictitious Missionary Journey of the Disciples

By Michael Runyan ~ W hen an author produces fiction, he often tries to make his account seem realistic if the goal is to have people believe it actually happened. Generally, this is what the authors of the gospels strove to do.  Some of what they wrote was actually based on something they read or heard, but clearly a lot of it was simply made up by their imagination.  When Mark, the first gospel writer, wrote about Jesus sending his disciples out two by two to preach his message, he introduced plenty of elements letting us know that it never happened. Mark 6:7-13 Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.These were his instructions:  “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.   Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.   Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.     And if any place will not we

The Live Worship Recording

By Susan ~ T he Pentecostal church can be a serious mind-fuck.  I honestly can not believe what I agreed to do in order to try and win the ‘favour’ of my pastors and of God.  I was a sheep, faithfully following my strong leaders as God’s appointed.  Coincidentally, in the church that I attended, God had chosen the pastors family and closest friends as his cohorts!  Amazing:) Of course, this couldn’t be questioned or one would be seen as dissident and therefore in the way of God’s work. I once ‘served under’ a young worship leader that was told specifically  not  to sing for several months because of a serious jaw condition.  The church had already committed to recording a live worship CD and had invested over $10,000 in the project, not including the expense of flying out Christianity's hottest worship couple from New Zealand to coach us. Our young leaders’ jaw condition persisted, but we were all told to simply trust that God would show up on the night of the live rec

The do-nothing God

By John Draper ~ I want God’s job. The guy never has to do a bloody thing and people still throw rose petals at his feet. No, no, no, believers say, indignantly. God is “active in my life”! But what do they mean? For my part, I’ve never had a miracle occur in my life. That is, nothing’s happened to me that I couldn’t explain through natural processes. I say that as someone who was mentally ill the first 10 years of his Walk With Christ. I had all sorts of people lay hands on me for healing. To be fair, I didn’t really think of what I was going through as something I needed to be healed from—a disease. I didn’t know what it was. I just wanted it gone. And then I was given a little pill and—poof!—it was. Ten fucking years. Likewise, I’ve never met anyone who has had a miracle occur in their life. I’ve met a lot of believers who know someone who has had a miracle occur in their life—or know someone who knows someone. Probe a bit. Here’s what I think you’ll find about God

The Fickle Finger of God. Part Two

By Carl S ~ A lesson unaddressed by clergy and scholars alike, comes from seeing Jesus as his Jewish audience did. His whole mission was silly, and rather pointless. Come on, what do we expect to happen when a man claiming to speak for his god contradicts that god, by teaching that, instead of an eye for an eye, instead of seeking vengeance, you must forgive your enemies, do good to them who harm you? He had the audacity to claim this god is a father to the whole human race, not only the Jews. Jesus says his god forgives those who disobey him and repent, rather than destroys them; he especially forgives those who forgive their enemies. Oy vay! His is a god opposing the God of the Jews, a false god. Bible God is not amused. Jesus had created his own god. What happened to the God who demanded that revenge and punishments be meted out by the accusers, the insulted, and the wronged? That isn't what God wanted, that isn't the way of his Holy Land, where the revenge of “an eye

The Fickle Finger of God. Part One

By Carl S ~ H ow often have you been told, “God has a plan for you?” What the hell does that mean? Could those who glibly assert the plan explain “it”? What about the “redemption plan” for Jesus? I once asked a Christian theologian about that plan. He said, “Well, it didn't need to go that way. For one thing, God could have simply forgiven everyone. But he chose to do it his way.” Ask yourself: Was there a God whose choice was moral, or did somebody fabricate both him and his plans? Whenever you're told, “God has a plan for you,” you're hearing the echoing of historical hearsay. No gods speak. Men do, men frequently quoting ancient writings with made up words for their gods. Societies are told to respect that tradition. A wise man said : “A man's judgement is no better than his information.” Those quoted olden-times sources, telling the choices and wills of gods, were ignorant and un-or-ill-informed, about reality. Nowadays, God's spokesmen choose to remain ig

I’ve been lying to you. I’m not a Christian.

By Jonny ~ W e need to talk. I’ve been lying to you. I’m not a Christian. For the first 20 or so years of my life I was a perfect little Christian boy. I prayed, I read my Bible, I think I really believed it. But in college, when I started to confront life’s big questions, I didn’t find answers that resonated. My questions mostly revolved around trying to reconcile God’s sovereignty with how I experience the world. I saw bad things happen in the world and I asked, where was God? I prayed for answers and for clarity of belief and I got nothing in return. Where was God? The Christian answers I kept hearing are “God is greater than our unbelief” “God has a plan, we just need to trust in him” “If we could comprehend God, would he be worth worshiping?” To me, these answers just didn’t satisfy. They all presuppose that God exists and cares about us. The thing about God is that you can’t prove his existence. You can provide evidence, but there is no ultimate proof. For a w

The four gods of Christianity

By Michael Runyan ~ Fully distilled, there are only four gods that might exist in the world of Christianity. Let’s consider each one: (1) The deceptive and cruel god This is the god of Ken Ham and the creationists.  He created the universe  in 6 days  6000 years ago, and though that was an impressive feat, this god is guilty of grave deception.  He planted evidence for no evident purpose other than to deceive humans, once they became sufficiently knowledgeable, into thinking that the universe is billions of years old. To this end, he manufactured trillions of fake fossils and strategically placed them in rock layers to make it look like a long period of evolution had occurred. He artificially aged radioactive elements, engineered the DNA of animals in a fashion to correlate perfectly with an apparent evolutionary descent, created ice cores and rock layers consistent with an old earth, and even created pre-made light beams stretching all the way to the earth from the distant sta

Christianity Creates its own Hell

By Don ~ I had an experience with I believed was the Holy Spirit when I was 18. I immediately stopped using drugs and changed my life. That is why I believe there is something or someone out there, or maybe it is just our spirit getting in touch with our roots. The church gave it a name and for lack of anything more certain, I joined the church and drank the Kool-Aid. After 45 years in the church I started asking questions that neither the Bible nor scholars could answer adequately. I was always told to just accept some things by faith. That is what con artists say. I first started studying the concept of hell, because as a pastor I felt I should be able to preach on it. But after two years of study, I determined that it is not a biblical concept and goes against the idea of a loving god. I then began to realize how much fear and control the church and religion exerts on people by threats of punishment and torment. So I thought, "If they got this wrong, h

Again and again and again

By Carl S ~ T hey prayed their child would be safe, protected by their god. But the child was kidnapped. They went on television and pleaded. Millions prayed the child would be found, unharmed. With hope in prayers they searched everywhere. She had been raped and killed. And again they prayed her rapist-murderer would be found. But they didn't wait for their god to do this for them. Human beings searched and did this. And at the funeral and gravesite, as the world watched, again they prayed to and praised the protector god who failed them again and again and again. And all the people said ... Amen. again. I n the house of a shepherd who brings one through the shadow of death and cradles the babe from its first breath, they praised and raised with prayers so strong in hope to shake a heaven's gate, petitioning their protector god. But suddenly, the faithful fell like rain, bullets replaced the promised peace he said the world