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Showing posts from 2021

Ho Ho Oh No It Ain't So

By Carl S ~ I t's that time of year when people hear the story of a star traveling right above Earth, leading men to a structure, where it stops and hangs around for hours! ( Global Positioning Star, or Ancient UFO?) The reason for the Christmas story is said to be of utmost importance: It's claimed (no witnesses), the first humans did something naughty by following the advice of a Talking Snake! This “evil” was enough to punish the entire human race, forever. In order to pay the penalty for it, the child born on the first Christmas had to be tortured to death for three hours! This gory “solution” is preached as the greatest example of love! If you're willing to accept this package: would you believe all animals on Earth, predators and prey, could live peacefully packed together, on a boat, for over a hundred days? Would you believe only a few people on Earth worth saving were the ones standing by watching their friends and neighbors drown? What about five loaves of br

Journalist looking for named/anon interviews on experience of sex and relationship teachings at UK churches

By Ellie ~ Hi all. I'm a UK journalist and ex-Christian with experience of UK purity culture in the Church of England and evangelical church/events. I'm keen to speak to men and women 25-40 who experienced purity culture at church as children or young people about its impact on them, with a view to sharing those experiences anonymously in a feature for a UK title. Your stories would run alongside coverage of a story-gathering project at a major US university about the impact of purity culture, and a research PhD about the UK experience of purity culture. Sharing experiences of UK purity culture feels important to me, and seems like something that hasn't been done yet. I can share a bit more about my portfolio and experience as a journalist if you'd like to hear that before going ahead but to summarise, I have about 10 years' experience as a journalist, and three or four years' experience working closely with case studies on personal stories.   If you'd lik

The Great Grab Bag: Religious Diversity and Its Implications

By Barrett Evans ~ There’s no subject on which there is more difference of opinion among both the learned and the ignorant. But in this medley of conflicting opinions one thing is certain. Though it is possible that all of them are false, it is impossible that more than one of them is true. —Cicero (106-43 BC), The Nature of the Gods C onfidence in religious belief begs to be reconsidered when the sheer diversity of religious thought and practice is understood. While enumeration of the groups, sects, schools, doctrines, gods, scriptures, and practices of religions is inherently imprecise and subject to reclassification, it is nonetheless true that there have been many thousands of religious manifestations with myriads of differing supernatural beliefs positing thousands upon thousands of divinities. Though it is difficult to provide a representative picture of the true scope of this diversity, it has been so broad that it seems fair to say that it has only been restricted, in the

Before and After

By Carl S ~ O ne man made a very astute observation. He said before the ten commandments came to be, there were tribes. Mankind, therefore, already had social laws in place. People co-operated, loved, cared for, and supported one another. So who needed commands from one more invented invisible deity? All of this natural morality existed before the ten commandments. But what happened after them? What about that Golden Calf story? It's in Exodus 32, if you're wondering. Long story short, after the Israelites are delivered out of Egypt, they make a stopover near Mt. Sinai, and Moses, the leader, goes up the mountain alone to speak with the “god” no one has seen. He's up there so long, it looks like he's skipped out on them. They're bored, and ask the second-in-command man to fabricate this god upstairs into an image representing that “god.” After he does (here again, according to Moses alone), the “invisible god” on the mountaintop tells Moses he's pis

Ten Thought Patterns that Trip Up Former Bible Believers

By Valerie Tarico ~   P erhaps it’s been years or even decades since you left biblical Christianity behind. You may have noticed long ago that there are human handprints all over the Good Book. It may have dawned on you that popular Christian versions of heaven  would actually be hellish . You may have figured out that prayer works, if at all, at the margins of statistical significance—that Believers don’t avoid illness or live longer than people who pray to other gods or none at all. You may have clued in that Christian morality isn’t so hot and that other people have moral values too. (Shocking!) You may have decided that the God of the Bible is a jerk—or worse. But some habits of thought are hard to break. It is a lot easier to shed the contents of Christian fundamentalism than its psychological structure. Here are ten mental patterns that trip up many ex-Christians even when we think we’ve done the work of moving on. None of these are unique to former Christians, but they are reinf

Freedom and Peace

By Blackfreethought ~ I t is such a relief to know my actions do not have eternal consequences. My mistakes will not condemn me to damnation and my good deeds will not propel me into heavenly bliss. I live each day recognizing the frailty of my humanity and that strengthens me to do the best I can to improve conditions in the world while I possess the mental capacity and vision. My life is much sweeter because I understand that I am responsible for its outcome, although many things lie beyond my control. The gods do not wrestle over the fate of my soul, since neither my soul or the gods exist. My existence is not a battleground for good versus evil, where my mind is the prize. I no longer attempt to justify life rules that do not fit my intrinsic values. I do not have to explain why I follow a religious system, largely responsible for the ills facing my community. I can freely embrace the historical facts and pursue other interests. My life is much sweeter because I understand t

What is our Anger About?

By Yak ~ I want to talk about anger. Just a short spin through these forums reveals a constant undercurrent of strong anger. I don't believe that our anger is misplaced, and I think it is definitely justified. Real or threatened loss, including betrayal and deception is a strong basis for anger. But, being both a mildly introspective non-theist and counseling professional, I have to ask questions about our anger.   My questions are: (don't spit blood; read it through) Are we angry because we wish it (god) really exists? Are we really angry because we were told that there was a real "father" who actually "cared" for us, the way we had hoped as children? Perhaps like a dad who would back us up and soothe our hurts, listen and dispense wisdom when we were confronted by the vagaries and ugliness of life? But then, we inevitably discovered or finally admitted to ourselves that what we were told isn't true. In other words, we were deceived, got let down or

Meaning of Life

By Rational Logic ~ S ome Christians say that the atheist viewpoint on life is that it is ultimately meaningless. They quote Richard Dawkins in Unweaving the Rainbow who hints at such when he says “We are going to die…. how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state…? That prior state he is referring to, is of course is nothingness. If you ultimately return to nothingness and the whole universe will one day be nothingness does that mean life is ultimately meaningless? To many Christians, William Lane Craig included, feel that if there is no god with no ultimate purpose then everything is ultimately meaningless, even “depressing” according to Dr Craig. And yet, when you look at a beautiful red sunset and a tear rolls down your eye, or you listen to music that uplifts your spirit, or watch children at play and smile, do you feel that life is meaningless? Of course not. It is these very things that give life meaning. Christians have a different problem on their hands.

Let's be Really Honest

By Carl S ~ D o fundamentalist Christians buy vibrators, condoms, birth control pills, pornography? Amazon, ebay, Paypal and Home Shopping Network won't tell. Do they have abortions? But they'll show up in force when they want to make public statements against their own personal choices. After mass tragedies, families and community members buy huge amounts of stuffed animals and flowers, purchased in mourning, to honor the victims. Those are primal responses, originating long before the burial practices of ancient Egypt! And not one Christian is aware the pagans initiated this response: toys and implements were originally buried with the deceased to be used in their afterlives. Now, thousands of years later in a market economy, lamentation, grief, and loss are sales opportunities for businesses taking advantage of the lucrative business of religion. (Doesn't this remind you of Christmas?) After these things, comes the ceremonial praising of a god by survivors, the prattl

What a Waste

By Carl S ~ I 'll never back off from saying that churchgoers, “are only telling each other stuff.” I once told a man in his church's parking lot, “You don't really believe a man standing here can float right up into the sky, do you?” But the one thought sticking to me like a burr, means more than any other: “Life is too important to be wasted on religion.” You'd think that's ridiculous, coming from me, one who has written on religion both here and in letters to the editor, for years. Have I been wasting my time and energy, better spent on just about any other activities, esp. pleasurable ones? Maybe. Do “true believers” have problems wasting their lives on their beliefs? Or are they only exercising their imaginations in mental masturbations? It's like wasting bottles at a shooting range in innocent fun. I may offend and anger believers. I criticize, disrespect, and mock their beliefs, but I've never incited or encouraged them to torture, deprive

Is Eternal Life a Fate Worse Than Death?

By Carl S ~    I live in a country with a motto “In God We Trust” on its currency. It's a stupid motto, since the “God” it refers to, as every Christian child is taught, out of all the gods, is the only one who is “creator of Hell,” and therefore, never to be trusted. Any nation which unquestionally accepts this slogan is an unthinking nation. Let's just take a look at this “Hell.” Have those who claim to believe in Hell really thought about Hell? Have they thought of what it's like to suffer intense unremitting pain, so the only ways out are in pain killers, opium, inebriation, and if it goes on, insanity and/or death, even by suicide? You'd do anything to escape pain like that. Some pet owners, when the only future for their pets will be hopeless suffering, choose to have them euthanized. Those who get bored with inflicting torture will kill their victims. The objects of torture eventually become used-up pieces of crap to them, They're no more fun. So

Answers to Christianity

By Rational Logic ~ T ime and again common questions are asked of non believers by Christians. I answer these in this section. Note, many of these questions contain a personal perspective so answer from non believer to non believer will vary. 1) Are you absolutely sure there is no God? No. When you dig deep into the philosophical nature of knowledge (Which the phrase “are you sure” implies) we cannot honestly say we absolutely know anything. You might be very convinced, but that doesn’t mean you know in an absolute sense. This question also reeks of a pascals wager inference which basically says you should believe in God just to be safe. If you believe and there is no God, no harm done, if you don’t believe and there is God then you spend eternity in hell. There are massive problems with Pascals Wager that I explore in detail in other sections. So while I am not absolutely sure there is no God, I am fairly confident there isn’t one. Certainly not the God Christians propose, as t

I Was Free Born -- My Story

By Rational Logic ~  Religious History I was a Christian from birth for 32 1/2 years of my life. When I was born my parents were in a non denominational church which followed the teachings of a Pentecostal (Ex Baptist) divine healing preacher. Several years after I was born my parents left the church over doctrinal disagreements and started house meetings. This continued for some years with the group being a lose affiliation. After sometime my father felt the leading of the spirit to become the pastor of this small group and thus founded the church that would influence my entire adult life up to this point. Over the years the church dynamic has changed, but has maintained its basic identity as what is best described as a non denominational Christian church heavily influenced by the doctrine of the afore mentioned Pentecostal preacher. First Doubts While I would have never considered myself a very religious Christian e.g. I have never religiously read the bible or prayed every-single-d