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Showing posts from January, 2019

Thinking About Stuff People Know

By Carl S ~ P eople tell you there's a life after death, though no one knows what happens after they die. But “they” know for sure because other people do. Besides, “Someone” promised them an eternal life after death, and “that person” couldn't possibly lie because other people know he couldn't. Another reason they know this is because “that person” assured them in an ancient book, a collection of tales written by unknown men. That reference book tells them: “Whatever is in this book is absolutely true.” And, though they'll admit human beings lie, they know these men never lied. They've never met “that person” who promised them an eternal life, but they know he's real because they feel his presence in their hearts. They know he knows their most intimate thoughts and desires. In their same hearts also reside all those they've loved and trusted, who they knew in their hearts loved them, but in the end betrayed, divorced, or disappointed them. Still other

Jesus’ Vexing Brother

By Gary T. McDonald, author of The Gospel of Thomas (the Younger) W hy do Fundamentalists hate James? I don’t have a lot of conversations with them, but not too long ago my mother’s caregiver tried to engage me on the subject. She had come for her shift on a Sunday directly from church where some guy there had opined that James’ Epistle should be kicked out of the Bible. The caretaker wanted my opinion, but obviously sympathized with her church friend. Now, I tended to avoid all discussion of politics and religion with this woman. She cared well for my mom and I wanted to keep things on an even keel. So I just said, “Interesting,” and left the room. I didn’t tell her that many scholars doubt that James even wrote the Epistle and I didn’t ask for her friend’s arguments. I suspected she would tell me that the James letter’s statement (in Chapter 2: 17) that “faith without works is dead” (meaning you can’t be saved by faith alone) clashes directly with Paul (and Luther’s) teachings.

God Has A Narcissistic Personality Disorder

By Andrew Jasko ~ W estern religions have made narcissism a virtue through the worship of God, who bears all the markers of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism is a painful condition of low self-esteem masked by a shallow presentation of grandiose confidence. Through their imitation of the Divine Narcissist, the religious suffer, alternating between the crushing narcissistic wounds of superiority in salvation and inferiority in sin. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) , “the essential feature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy” (DSM-IV-TR, 714). Narcissists form a grandiose self-image as a compensatory defense in order to protect themselves from facing the pain of an actual self-image of inadequacy, which is kept out of awareness in the unconscious mind. There is no one more grandiose or egotistical (or insecure) than the biblical God. In his mind

The Righteousness and the Woke - Why Evangelicals and Social Justice Warriors Trigger Me in the Same Way

By Valerie Tarico ~ I was Born Again until nearly the end of graduate school, a sincere Evangelical who went to church on Sunday and Wednesday with my family and to Thursday Bible study on my own. I dialed for converts during the “I Found It” evangelism campaign, served as a counselor at Camp Good News, and graduated from Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater. I know what it is to be an earnest believer among believers. I also know what it is to experience those same dynamics from the outside. Since my fall from grace, I’ve written a book, Trusting Doubt , and several hundred articles exposing harms from Evangelicalism—not just the content of beliefs but also how they spread and shape the psychology of individuals and behavior of communities, doing damage in particular to women, children , and religious minorities. It occurred to me recently that my time in Evangelicalism and subsequent journey out have a lot to do with why I find myself reactive to the spread of Woke cu

"Gifts of the Spirit" include PTSD

By Robyn W ~ I 'm a 58-year-old successful business woman who has suffered horribly my entire life from religious abuse. My parents are/were zealot Christians with my dad being a HUGE hypocrite. I was raised in the Assembly of God Church in a small town in the middle of Iowa. The pastor was a cult leader to the core and that poor congregation went through incredible heartaches and financial loss because of that man. My dad was a deacon and my mom was the piano player. We were at that church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and most Friday nights were prayer meetings. It was hellfire and brimstone, speaking in tongues, slain in the spirit, holy-roller baptism by fire kind of church and my entire life has been completely fucked up by it. I NEVER learned about the love of God/Jesus. It was ALWAYS fear and realizing you are never going to be good enough no matter what and that you're going to hell.


By Mandy ~ M y name is Mandy and I am 39. I was first drawn to this ex Christian website years ago right after I had my first daughter who is now almost 16. During that time I have flip flopped back and forth to Christianity. I donʼt much care for labels but if I had to use one I consider myself agnostic. I grew up in southwest Virginia in the Appalachian mountains, part of the Bible Belt. My parents considered themselves to be Baptist, of some sort or another but my dad didnʼt attend church when I was a child since he was too busy drinking and abusing everyone around him. He still loved however to tell us on drunken binges how he was supposed to have been a preacher and often would make my mom or I pull a Bible out and read scripture. Whatʼs worse than normal preaching I ask you? Drunken preaching with no doubt. We didnʼt attend church regularly but when we went it would be to one church for awhile and then a different one later - ranging from your typical southern baptist chur

People, Beliefs, Strength, and Kindness

By Tim Sledge ~ H ow should ex-Christians relate to individuals who regard faith as more important than anything else? How you answer that question is up to you since no one is telling us what to do. However, if you’re interested, here are some principles that make sense to me. I can think of two extreme responses to persons devoted to faith: One option is to always defer to such individuals, to remain politely silent when they say things that insult, demean, or condemn those of us who don’t believe. On the other end of the response spectrum is the option to avail ourselves of every opportunity to tell people of faith that what they believe is imagined and idiotic. Rather than opting for either of these two extremes, I find it helpful to seek a balance of strength and kindness. Strength Each of us must recognize, build, and maintain our own inner core of strength. I spent decades listening to religious teachings telling me, over and over, that I was inherently weak and cou

You’ve Been Hacked – The Psychology of Disinformation and How to Protect Yourself

By Valerie Tarico ~ Once seeded, viral misinformation exploits weaknesses in how the human mind determines what’s real. M ost people genuinely care about truth. I don’t mean that we tell the truth all of the time—though most of us mostly do—but that we very much want to know what is real. Reality can knock you flat if you don’t see it coming. Misreading the natural world or social cues was often lethal for our hunter-gatherer would-be ancestors, and we ourselves are descended from the ones who got it right. Truth-seeking, in other words, was written into our genetic code long before it was written into our moral and legal codes. Why, then, is it so easy for social media flurries, conspiracy theories, religions, viral ideologies, or political disinformation campaigns to get us believing utter bullshit? A volunteer at a “Crisis Pregnancy Center” tells a young pregnant woman that abortion causes cancer. A cat lover insists that neutered cat colonies work to eliminate feral c

Why I'm Grateful to be a Former Christian

By Valerie Tarico ~ P eople who leave Evangelical Christianity often carry scars , either from their time in the walled community of believers or from their struggle to break free. Getting God’s self-appointed messengers out of your head can be the work of a lifetime, as Recovering from Religion hotline volunteers and therapists can attest; and religious communities can be cruel and unforgiving toward defectors, even when these defectors were once beloved. I’ve written about this with Dr. Marlene Winell , who has a full-time counseling practice with clients who are working to release toxic religious teachings and so reclaim their own thoughts, values and chosen purpose in life. But no set of religious dogmas or community practices is all downside, and I found myself musing recently on a question that isn’t usually front and center for outspoken critics of religion like myself. What did I get from my time as an Evangelical that I still cherish? How did my former religion—either

The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher's Kid

By Ronna Russell ~ A few years ago, in a haze of post-divorce pain, I began blogging about my childhood experiences growing up in the United Pentecostal Church and submitted some of those posts here on Ex-Christian. I was astounded at the support and understanding I received. Several regular readers encouraged me to consider writing a book. So I did. (An excerpt follows.)  Valerie Tarico, author of Trusting Doubt , was kind enough to read my manuscript and write a review: Caught between the archaic religious dictates of her Pentecostal family and the complexities of the world outside, Ronna Russell fights for survival and more in  The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid .  Loneliness, raw sexuality, unexpected kindness and cruelty, and through it all an understated endurance with solid granite at the core, Russell’s memoir is alternately hard, hungry, raw, and tender--like sex and love and parenthood and simply being. I sat down to read the first chapter on a busy d