Been There, Got the T-Shirt

sent in by Bob

I would like to share some of my personal experiences from the "Christian right". I was born in the late fifties. My mother converted to a pretty extreme sect within the Baptist religion when I was two years old. At the tender age of five, I was afforded the opportunity of salvation so that, when I die, I could go to heaven and play with the snakes, lions and tigers in eternal bliss. The alternative would be, of course, an eternity of damnation in the scorching hot fires and brimstone of HELL. I chose playing with the snakes, lions and tigers.

This form of the Baptist religion had very stringent interpretations of the bible and the pastor(s) loved to share them with the congregation. One moment (shall I say one side of his mouth), the pastor would talk about the eternal patience and (what seemed to be) unconditional love for every living creature on earth by our creator and in the very next moment, would pound his fist on the podium and declare the vengefulness of our creator and his determination to crush, destroy and cast into the eternal lake-of-fire anyone who did not do exactly as that pastor had dictated in his interpretations of the bible - which, of course, would be going against the direct will of God. In those days, rock-and-roll music (especially the Beatles) was sinful and dancing was a creation of Satan to distract the faithful onto a path straight to hell. I was taught to hate hippies, bikers, gays (especially), fornicators - basically anyone who did not walk and talk like the members of this form of Baptists. Oh, you might like this, my sister and I would cry in church because my Father, who was a Catholic and who would happen to agree to attend this Baptist church that day, did not did not drop to his knees, confess his wickedness and beg for forgiveness for being a Catholic. You see, all Catholics were going to hell because of their non-baptist beliefs.

One of the Baptist's quotes was "spare the rod and spoil the child". My mother had an extremely short fuse and made sure she did not "spoil " her children. The belt was the usual weapon of choice, followed up by a broomstick when I was older. I cannot explain the horrors inflicted on my sister. My "handle" on this website is "Son of Carries' Mother". "Carrie" was a Stephen King novel, turned movie. Anyone who has seen that movie knows about Carries' Mom. While not a direct mirror image, my mom was pretty close to her in her conviction, methods and opinions on society in general. I was the laughing stock of my high school. I had short hair in the seventies, was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and I wore a flight jacket - my goal was to become a bomber pilot (except I wore glasses). It wasn't until my mom died in my senior year of high school did I start to grow my hair and go to parties - for the six months I had left.

I graduated high school in 1977. I immediately joined the Army and served for six years. My first enlistment was as a Military Police dog handler. I reenlisted to be a crew chief on a UH-1H helicopter, which I did for a year in South Korea. Upon return to the U.S., I was reassigned as an MP. In one practice drill at my last post (Fort Ord, 1982), we rehearsed advancing our dogs onto a bunch of "hippie, pinko, peace protesters" who were scheduled to visit Fort Ord in that year - fortunately for them (and my own mental state) they never came on post and I never had to feed them to my dog. I think that our commanders called it "riot control". If my social skills did not develop very well in high school, they were completely destroyed by the time I left the Army.

Luckily, through the help of my father and the GI bill, I was able to attend college. A community college at first, then San Francisco State University (a site of many Vietnam War protest). I became friends with gays, hippies, bikers and people from other races. All of them much more "real" than the people I experienced in the first half of my life. I studied Buddhism and "liberal studies", such as Political Science. I have spent the last twenty-two years trying to put my life together, with some luck. Just trying to make sex a "normal" part of life without a bundle of issues, is a challenge sometimes. Some people have commented that, with my past, it was a good thing that I did not end up like one of those guys with a rifle in a tower somewhere.

One of my favorite "crazy notions" from the Christian right is their disdain for "Educated Idiots". Another one that always impeded my life was: if you did something good, "God let it happen"; if you did something bad, then the "Devil Made You Do it". You were not allowed to succeed and you really couldn't fail - you were not allowed to have ANY confidence or to be human. Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker (who can forget Tammy Faye and the air-conditioned doghouses. That's right, I helped pay for one) and Jimmy Swaggert are not the exception - they are the rule! The lunatic ravings, contradictions and apparent sociopathic leanings (let's pray for the death of liberal judges) of Pat Robertson is exactly who they are! They continue to destroy people's lives. They talk about the impending Apocalypse - they are not waiting for it - they are creating it! Karl Rove and King George II with their corporate demons are destroying the planet and pushing us toward all out nuclear confrontation. I was stationed in South Korea - the North Koreans "don't play"!!! Go ahead, keep getting us deeper in with the Chinese - they don't play, either. The Apocalypse may very well be upon us and we will have the Christian right to thank for it - hey, you already ruined my life, why not ruin it some more!

My sister has told me that when she dies, she has no desire to go to any "heaven" where our mother may reside - any alternative is good for my sister. I have to agree. If there is any justice in this universe all of the so-called "Christians" of the "Christian right (AKA wrong)", especially the politicians (you know who you are) will not have your seat at the right hand of God for all of the misery and suffering that you have created in this world - especially that which is yet to come!

Why do I think that Christianity may be a hoax played on the poor and middle class? If George W. Bush and all of his evil cronies really believed in the existence of Jesus and God in the way that it is explained by their fundamentalist friends (more cronies), there is no way that they will get a pass from burning in hell for eternity for all of the misery they have caused in this world. Why do they think it is okay to kill innocent Iraqis, especially after lying out their ass about why we needed to go to war in the first place? Why is it okay to use racism and class-ism to decide who gets to live and die, may I remind you of Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, Iraqis (again), and the terrible conditions in Africa. Do they really think that God is really happy in the way that they are raping the earth and destroying the environment in the name of corporate greed? How about that Jack Abramoff guy? Wow, Ralph Reed really put a stop to that evil Indian gambling, didn't he? Oh, right, he (allegedly) did it for money... Do they really think that God hates gays in the same way that they do, even though it was God that made them that way? No, it is not a lifestyle choice - I am not gay, but I have actually had conversations with gay (dare I call them) friends and I have come to understand things from their perspective. If you aren't already angry, go to: www.godhatesfags.com - they don't even like the beautiful, neutral, passive people of Sweden.

CA
USA
How old were you when you became a Christian? 5
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? Hard to Say
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Jesus Freak Bible Baptist Fundamentalist
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Long Hair Hippie Liberal from California
Why did you become a Christian? Scared to death at the age of 5
Why did you de-convert? It ruined my life - I still have scars. Christianity is a form of child abuse.

38 comments:

Kevin Smith said...

Hey Bob! Welcome to ex-christian!

My path is similar to yours, grew up fundy with authoritarian parents, Army service (also a 67N), college.

I never get tired of reading these stories. I don't run into too many people in this area who have rejected superstition for reason, so testimonies like this are a breath of fresh air.

Madbuni said...

Hi Bob, that was some testimony.

Every word you wrote made me nod my head yes! You sound just like me when I get all up and pissed about what is going on in our country and world. I rant and rave, and sit and cry sometimes, and my husband thinks I have lost my mind because I am so frustrated about the suffering of people in our own country, about the have and have not society we are cultivating, about the needless killing of innocents because of war.

I gave up christianity a long time ago, but I am still learning more and more every day, and the more I learn, the more I know my decision to get rid of the mind numbing brainwashing concept of god was the right way to go. I have been happier than ever before, and I only regret I spent so much of my time and effort on it in the first place.

Christians tell us if we leave we will be sorry on the great judgement day of gawd, and they say what's the point to life without the promise of eternity? My answer is pure and simple, it's peace of mind, the ability to think freely for oneself, and to live life to the fullest in harmony, love, and acceptance of our fellow human beings.

As Freddie Mercury said, "who wants to live forever? Forever is our today... Who waits forever anyway?

freedy said...

Thanks Bob ,your story brings up memories. I was born in 1959, with consevative christian parents caught up in social aspect of the church. I later went from drugie rock in roller to born again music minister(20years).I no
longer believe in any aspect of churchianity,and agree with your assesment that many doctrines and restriction of the church are CHILD ABUSE!!!(the anti-christ 666 beheadings,..the 5 billion non christians burning for ever,).What parent would allow their child to to hear, muchless believe in the sick mass murderer/torturer of the bible? I did to all four of mine. NO MORE!!! You/we are helping stop the abuse that the church is afflicting on us all, thanks again for your post Bob,.peace freedy

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Your testimony really hit a chord with me, and I would venture to say many of us here.

Your depiction of fundamentalist Christianity is right on for sure. They sure love to hate. The very young are always targeted, they are the weakest mentally and easy prey for those who wish to control.

Good luck to you buddy. Keep sharing your insights, they are right on.

Onanite
http://onanite.blogspot.com/

Jim Lee said...

Enjoyed your testimony heaps but what makes you think there is a God? There are many folk who realise Christianity is a fraud and who eventually walk away from the brainwash but still believe in God. I find this odd.

freedy said...

Baby steps, Jim,...baby steps. I still haven't dismissed some form of distant(jump-starter of the universe) non-personal creator,but I'm leaning closer everyday to the possibility of nothing out there.

freedy

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob!
Just as you I come from a deep southern baptist background yet my experience is very different. I had two very loving parents who lovingly encouraged me to honor God in all my ways and to look at the person and not their sin. Your letter is so very sad to me. You are so full of the anger and hate you are accussing others of. God does not approve of the conditions of this world for Satan is the ruller of our earth. News flash! You did not give up christianity, you never had it to start with. I don't intend to sound harsh, but it is true. You may have gone through some steps that you were told to do but your heart is all about yourself. A man who is angry is full of himself. Your every word says look at me and how I have been hurt. The reason you hate Christianity is because you hate these people who have hurt you. We are all guilty of sin and have failures in this life. I do agree that so many people get caught up in the act of religion and do not have a heart change. They believe if I do all these things then I am saved. That is not true. I also agree that if you hate anyone you do not love God. I know your name and I am praying that God will reveal himself to you in a real way. I pray that he will heal your hurts and turn your heart towards him. I am so sorry that you have been abused by your mother and others. They will themselves have to answer to God. I noticed some of your responses question the very existence of God. I don't understand how anyone can do this when they look outside at all of creation. A bird and his so specific wings and make up, the human heart, water, sky and sun. God does exist. As long as you are looking at people for the answers you will never find true happiness or truth. I challenge you to read Gods word and let him show you the truth. This doesn't mean a person who knows the truth does not make mistakes. I make mistakes everyday, but I know I am forgiven. We are not God we are human. Only God is perfect and without errror. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face and things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. If you read this and feel angry try to put your anger aside and be open minded like you say you are and not narrow minded like the people you spoke of in your article.

Believer

Wade said...

"you were never a real xtian"....BLAH...BLAH...BLAH

Do you robots ever come up with anything even remotely original??

You have added nothing...no new information we haven't already heard and rejected.


Welcome to EX-C Bob!!

I grew up in a Southern Babtist church...I can relate to so much to what you have said.

Lorena said...

Believer,

Your post confirms that Christ didn't do anything for you. It was your parents who did everything for you. You have attributted to Jesus the work of your parents.

Yes, many of us that are hurt are so because of lousy parents, but that saved us from the illusion that God changes people.

The only "changed" christians I know are people with wonderful parents. What a coincidence huh!

If christianity worked, it would work for hurt people too... but it doesn't. It is, therefore, a failure.

Lorena

Anonymous said...

That is the beauty in believing. There are no tricks, nothing new, it is simple even for a child. It is a simple choice and the choice belongs to each of us. Believe or not! If you chose to believe then believe with your whole heart. If you chose to reject then that is your choice as well. I believe a person who becomes angry and agressive about the issue is afraid of finding fault in what they supposidly believe. Wade is very serious about his sarcasim. I'm sure he has doubts if he has made the right choice. You will either see the light or you are blinded because you choose to be. That is what is amazing to me about this is there are so many unanswered question. So many questions that no one can say they know for sure. It is faith. Where is your faith. We are absolutely not robots because we can choose or not. We do not have to believe. God gave us that choice.

Believer

J.T. Steeler Fan said...

Hey Anonymous and Anonymous. Get a life and Get real. How judgemental and self righteouss of you to judge someone else's christian experience. Just like you guys did most of us in here were at one point in time sincere followers of christ in which many of us had that same "saved" born again experience which cemented our faiths too. And then we woke up and came to our senses. I just think it is so shallow of you guys to come in here and be so critical of Bob and others. Welcome to the website Bob. Don't mind the occasional shallow non thinking fundies who have to make their sad existence known in here. Welcome!!!!

MadBuni said...

Anonymous said: "I challenge you to read Gods word and let him show you the truth."

Bob's testimony title says it all, "Been There, Got the T-Shirt"

Exchristians have read the bible, that's the reason we have rejected it.

I know, you are saying that the bible has to be read with an open mind inviting the spirit to show the true message of god. Well, to me, this is just more xtian smoke screening and I for one can't buy the bull.

Hey j.t. great comment, and just to prove I'm not a sore looser, congrats on a great game, and I won't even whine about Palmer!! LOL

MB Bengals fan.

Madbuni said...

Sorry for my spelling error, I mean loser, not looser. LOL

cdmon said...

Believer,

I agree with Lorena and Wade. Blind faith is no basis upon which to base your life.

You're not the first to come to this site and spout off that none of us ever had xianity to begin with. In making that statement you have made yourself a judge and are going against what jc teaches.

You do not have that right according to the scriptures. And in doing so you are acting as if you are superior to everyone else whether you realize it or not.

You feel that you are part of an elite group and everyone else here is inferior. Believer, that makes you a self-righteous raving bigot.
And for that you should expect to be treated as such.

Your claims that we hate xianity because of what some people have done to us, is not entirely true.

While many of us have been mistreated, abused, raped, molested and otherwise cheated by xians, that is not the only reason. Some of us have realized that xianity is a false religion and jc is a false prophet. Many have realized how we have been duped by xianity.

As we read about the history of xianity, we realize how much much blood of innocent people has been shed over ther years in the name of that abomination you call xianity. Then we can look back at the OT and see just how psychotic your god really is. Killing people on a whim. These are family values?
Sorry, but your god is not the kind of role model I wish my children to emulate.

For all of your claims that god has changed your life for the better, I've yet to see one. In fact, if you read the numerous articles posted on this site about xians and clergy being arrested and charged for sex crimes, theft and embezzlement, pedophilia and numerous other beastly behaviors, it proves that jc really does NOT change peoples lives. Only makes people more judgemental and self- righteous. It appears to me that it makes you worse, or at the very least more hypocritical.

So please spare us your rhetoric, you've brought nothing new to the table that we haven't heard before. Please if you wish to post here, share something new and different .

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Bob here,

Thanks to all of you for your welcome and kind words, even you Believer! I'm acutally not angry at you or at who you believe is God (or Jesus, or any name you choose to use). I am angry at the people who make a choice to stand-up in public, mostly people of authority, and do the most bizarre, hypocrytical and sick things in his (her) name.

You do presume a lot in saying that I did not have your flavor of a "christianity" connection, but I guess that why you are referred to as a "fundamentalist" - my way or the highway. Newsflash, I did - just not at the age of 5 when I was originally "saved".

One thing that I learned in church, is that if you do not believe every word of the bible, then you must throw the whole thing out. My way or the highway. It strikes me a tad odd that Eve was made of Adam's rib and that they had two sons - one was murdered??? Was the son doing his mom? I'm sure you have a nifty explanation, but it is just one of many unreconcilable questions that I had in my head, so I guess it's the highway. "You will know them by their fruit", I believe is a line from the bible. I have not met a christian who has impressed me with their unconditional love or having an aura of something really magical having happened in their life - their fruit. You're right (I'm anticipating your response), I have not met you. You may be a wonderful person - but through your writings (your fruit) you have shown me nothing. I actually was impressed by the presence of a Buddhist Monk, that guy had something going on in his life. He didn't talk about it much.

One of your lines really got to me, Believer: "You may have gone through some steps that you were told to do but your heart is all about yourself" That is really the heart of my problem. I never learned to love myself, unconditionally. I was told, from a very young age, that I was flawed and that I could only be a real person if Jesus took over my life. I gave him every chance, my life became a disaster. They say that the military tears you down and then turns you into a man. That's not true, they tore me down and tried to make me a Military PoliceMan. That is not who I am! I am really more than that. I reject the Army and I reject your religion's critique that I am inferior. I like the notion of the bumper sticker: "I was born right the first time".

Just a quick one for Jim. Dr. Wayne Dyer comes the closest for me. The Source (the universe, God, Jesus or Jim Lee, if you like)is a place of abundance. You can go to the ocean with a pale or with a really large dumptruck. Take what you like - you will never deplete the ocean (of course you could if you did this for eternity, but the water would vaporize and become rain, create rivers and flow back into the ocean.) The point is that the source has infinite abundance. Go to it with hate, misery and failure and it will give it to you in abundance. Go to the source with love, acceptance and a willingness to succeed and you will receive IT in abundance. It is up to you. I hope to learn to love myself and go to this source (even if it is just me) with all of the right intentions and turn my life around. So that it works for me. Not for the glory of Jesus, not for the United States Army and certainly not for Believer or her/his pastor. Christianity couldn't do that for me. Jesus couldn't fix me. Professional help has to the greatest extent.

Please excuse me for having to go anonymous - I'm signed up, but I guess I have to sign up again as a blogger, or something.

Thanks to ALL of you for your concern and for taking the time to read this.

Dave8 said...

Anonymous 1/09/2006 4:37 PM: "That is what is amazing to me about this is there are so many unanswered question. So many questions that no one can say they know for sure."

Uh, actually, there are very few unanswered questions in my life... perhaps, you have more questions, because you don't have the same knowledge base...

Anonymous: "It is faith. Where is your faith."

Faith: "A convinced belief; a condition of mind fully satisfied; next to actual knowledge. We have faith the sun will rise to-morrow morning, but the knowledge can not be actual until after sunrise."
www.angelfire.com/in2/oahspe3/glossary.html

If you suggest that everyone is convinced in their beliefs, and therefore, everyone has "faith", in something... okay... however, to qualify that remark, understand that we "set" the requirements in our mind, that need to be met, "first", before we are "convinced"...

Many people require "knowledge", obtained through experience, i.e., watching the sun rise every day of their lives, etc., to establish "faith"... However, there are also people who "don't" require "knowledge", in order to establish "faith"... the later, would be those who believe in a SuperNatural god... All, "faith", is not equal... those who base "faith" on acquired "knolwedge", can find security and predictably in life... Those who base "faith", without "any" knowledge, will never find security, or predictability, its "faith" in Perpetual "uncertainty"...

Irony... religions assert that they have the "Universal Absolute Truth", in life... while relying of "faith", without knowledge... Perhaps, that's what rubs many people the wrong way... A person exhibiting "faith", without "any" knowledge, while at the same time, attempting to be wise...

Its like, religionists are proud, of "declared" ignorance, to the point, that they don't have the slightest inhibitions in many aspects of their lives... for instance, they flaunt their sciolism with an aire of "measured" humility for the desired public affect, while in the presence of those who see the transparent obtuseness...

Anonymous: "We are absolutely not robots because we can choose or not."

Speaking of philistinism and the religious... Do we really have "free choice", in life anonymous... You didn't get to "choose" being born... You were forced into birth, without choice... You lived your early life without "choice" also... Choice, is the ability to "choose" between two alternatives, as a young child with very little knowledge, you didn't have the benefit of "choice" between multiple alternatives, it was either comply or die...

The more knowledge you gain, the more options avaiable, the greater the ability to have "choice"... The more ignorant a person is, the fewer choices they have in life, religionists have fewer choices in life, as they have cut off the avenues to knowledge, that would provide them alternatives...

You assert that you are not just a robot because you have the ability to choose... A simple robot, given information based on the "knowledge processes" of those capable, can transfer to an inorganic object... more choice... than a closed-minded religionist... Perhaps, you should stick to the more "metaphysical", if you want to assert a difference between religionists and robots...

Anonymous: "We do not have to believe. God gave us that choice."

Anonymous, "real" (not make-believe) choice comes from acquired knowledge, therefore, your god, which you have no 'knowledge' of, in fact, did not bequeth to you choice... as your god would in-turn have had to have bequethed to you... Knowledge at birth... You weren't born with "knowledge", therefore, your god didn't provide you with the knowledge necessary to have "choice"...

Perhaps, you meant to say, that your god, provided everyone with the physical "ability" to acquire knowledge, via a brain... If that is so... then, why would religionists refuse to exercise the brain, gain knowledge, and expand the pool of choices in life... Do you believe your god, gave you the physical ability to learn, and gain knowledge, but then... turn around, and expect you to deny its use with all the energy you can muster, in order to preserve knowledgeless, "faith"... It just doesn't seem Natural...

If one were to use the gifts of life they'd received, then over time, slowly, as a persons' number of choices grew, the less likely they would become fixated on any "one" choice, as a "silver bullet" to solve "all" problems in life... We change, our circumstances in life change, and so... should our choices, to create the appropriate solution to meet our needs and desires...

Perhaps, religion is nothing but a mindless bad habit for many, like biting ones' finger nails... its hard to break ones' habits, especially if someone thinks they are benefitting from the habit in some manner...

freedy said...

Anonymous,..you say that we're just angry & full of ourselves,.. well you are a coward. Why don't you come out of the closet give your testamony & background?

freedy said...

Anonymous, not Bob ,...the other one. Why don't you get honest, every christian has doubts of somekind, the honest ones anyway. You said I have your name so I can pray for you,..does your impudent god need to know Bob's name before he can answer your unsolicited prayers.? I sang that worship song for 20 years as a music minister"Turn Your Eyes Upon jesus"
and I dont get angry ,but sad that this a basis toward your case "FOR" christianity. Man you are making a fool of yourself. The people on this site have really restrained themselves not to humiliate you.Your rantings are so superficial and trite.It's very obvious that you are extremely shallow & imature in your faith.
I can't sit silent while you try to preach more confusion into those who are escaping the nightmare of the christian religion and dogma!!

GoneNsane said...

It never fails to amaze me how self-righteous Christians can be.

NanaBanana said...

I "found" this site through another site that was referred to me by a friend. I instinctively was drawn to your article and found it fantastic! I thought I'd post because I'm from an earlier era but have had similar experiences with Christianity.

I am 61, born in 1944, of Christian parents who were very active in the church. From a young age, there were aspects of Christianity that I questioned in my young mind that just didn't feel right. However, followed through with the whole Christian thing until after I got married and reality sunk in. I was in my 20's when I gradually began to leave the church and Christianity. I would have to say though, that it was when I went through a lot of emotional trauma from "Christian" family members when I finally, officially denouced Christianity altogether and became and "ex-Christian" - which was about 1980. However, I did not attend church or practice Christianity since the mid-1970's.

Like you, Bob, I carried a lot of emotional baggage for many years though much of it is gone now. The religious abuse leaves scars that, now and then, become sore and burst...it never leaves completely. The current administration and the increase of "in your face" fundamentalists has really had me going again, however.

Thank you so very much for posting all this as it was greatly heartening even to me, a grandma of 4 who, thankfully, are not being brainwashed by Christianity like I was.

Bob said...

Thanks again to all of you for your nice words and support,


NanaBanana, thank you for your story. I am saddened to hear that the scars that they have left behind still open for you, at least the emotional baggage lessens its weight. I find that the further that I get from them and the more that I can "work on myself", the less the scars hurt when they do open.

I have to believe that the 1960's and what your generation learned about the true meaning of freedom must have helped open your eyes to the fundies "game". You mention that you became less active with your church in the 70's.

I feel like we are witnessing the dawn of a new American Renassaince - much like the aftermath of the McCarthy era fifties. It was a reaction to the over-reaching of the christian right to "protect" us from the Godless communists; the inevitable end of Jim Crow; and the lies that got us into VietNam; that got the ball rolling. If they start the draft again, it will be all over for them. There are many parallels with the early 60's that are happening today. Gays are demanding equal treatment, we are in another illegal war and the christian-right is once again pushing the United States towards a theocracy.

I am actually hopeful. Desent is starting to show-up in popular music, talk-radio and film; the defenders of separation of church and state seem to be running on a renewed energy; and middle-class America is becoming aware that there is a full-on assault on their jobs, workers rights, and the ability to maintain a living in the United States. All we are missing is charismatic leaders. The sad part is, all of OUR charismatic leaders seem to end up dead, I digress.

Keep your hackles up, protect your grandchildren and we will bring common sense back to this great land.

My apologies to the great Canadians, Europeans and other citizens of great countries who I know come here for making this such a "United States thing". Sadly, it is usually our fault in the first place. All of the turmoil in the world seems to come from our crack-pot politicians and the idiotic "Tele-vangelists" who help get them elected and then set the agenda for them...

Thanks again,

Bob

Madbuni said...

Hi Bob, I enjoyed your last post and when you said: "Keep your hackles up, protect your grandchildren and we will bring common sense back to this great land.", it really struck a cord for me.

I have 4 grandchildren, 2 of which are being indoctrinated into the RCC as we speak, my grandsons, ages 2 and 41/2, along with their mother, my daughter. She's always been an intelligent, logical girl with a degree in Biology. We brought her up without religion, but we did not raise her to beware of the pitfalls of it, and for that I am feeling a bit of regret. I had not fully made up my mind what I believed at the time my kids were growing up. My son regards himself atheist, and has 2 children, who are being raised by his influence. I admire and respect him, he is a decent and good person, and his example will be beneficial to them. I have been thinking a great deal about all 4 of them lately, and I am hoping this theology "trend" will have ceased by the time they are grown, and the world will be a better place.

The sad news is, my 2 grandsons will have been brainwashed through the RCC schools, so if they want to break away, they will have to go through what many of us have had to go through to lose the guilt and fear of the superstitions of religion. The only thing I can do is offer my advice only if asked, and to influence them in the way I live my life. Grandparents can be very influential without butting in and causing family conflict.

I was encouraged by your positive words about things turning around to a more secular society.

Take it easy,

Nanabanana said...

Thank you Bob! I wanted to add a few things here and saw your response, which was so kind.

Like you, the farther I've gotten from the past, the better I am able to deal with issues as they arise. I also know that I am the stronger for it and would not be in the wonderful place I am were I not to have experienced it all. I am a Reiki Master/Teacher and writer/poet with 2 wonderful daughters and 4 grandchildren I adore, married 40 years and an almost 2 year survivor of breast cancer.

Although I am against organized religion and Christianity, I do believe in God/Spirit/Universe/Source, but nothing like the Christian God. Like you, I studied various other belief systems like Buddhism, etc. And I love reading/hearing Wayne Dyer. I am more at peace with myself then I have ever been.

I especially loved your comment about how the people you now meet and relate to are more "real" then the ones you grew up with in the community of Christianity. That's exacly my experience too. Real, warm, loving and caring.

One of the earliest realizations I had as a small child was the hypocracy. And it was and still is so rampant in Christianity. It's mind-boggling. As is the self-righteousness!!!

You chose the perfect word, hackles, to describe how I feel these days. My sister and her family as well as my husbands birth family are all Christians leaning toward fundamentalist thinking so it has been most difficult to deal with and that's when the "scars" open! At this point, however, I am doing much better as we no longer communicate with them. It wouldn't take much imagination for you to figure out what they think of me! lol

BTW, I call myself a "latent flower child" as I was busy as a mother during that era....although I actively protested Vietnam but supported the soldiers and wore an MIA braclet for more then 2 years.

I want to add that I agree with you about having hope. I am hopeful as well. I see "changes in the wind" and believe that we are going through a rough "birthing" into a new, better era....as long as George doesn't destroy everything before then!! lol

Again, thank you so much for your great article and comments! And all the other comments - other then the moronic, pathetic ones from the "Believers." I feel at "home" here!

Anonymous said...

Hey believer, congrats on being a member of one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist churches in the U.S., the southern baptists.

Shaggy said...

i have a simialr story. i was a good little lutheran boy (the people were nice, save for a few kids) until at the tender age of 9-ish, i stumbled upon this in the bible.

Leviticus.
YARRR!
BEAT YER WOMEN, BEAT YER CHILDREN WHEN BORED, ARRG! I AM INCOHERENT, BUT IF YE' DON' OBAY ME, YER GOIN' TER HELL!!!

then came exodus 21:3 ( or 5)

it was shortly after 6th grade when i truly came to comprehend how much i despised the religion. an old man was out front of my middle school, passing out bibles two inches from school grounds. i flipped through it,trying to remember why i stopped caring until i went through and found some familiar verses from leviticus.

there was a pirade of pocket bibles loaded with jeezis flying across the street in ten seconds.

once again, i despise the religion, but i'm friends with beleivers. i even play D&D with two of em. one's even a sorceress

John Rhodes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Arvo said...

http://www.exchristian.net/testimonies/2006/01/been-there-got-t-shirt.html


John Rhodes: "A lot of people claim that atheists are not 'nice people.' For nearly 20 years I have come to know many atheists through my family and I can attest, that this is true. I have yet to meet *ONE* atheist that is nice or cares for others."

JR, I see only one post here by you, so your single post is all I know of you. You claim to have a Ph.D. in some form of physical science (chemistry? biology?), so you've undoubtedly met a great many atheists as there is a greater fraction of atheists among scientists than in the general public. To say that you've never met one who is "nice or cares for others" seems to me very callous statement. The fact that you speak so disparagingly of your parents, who you say were atheists, makes me wonder. I wonder whether you have failed to see the good in people around you because you were abused, or perhaps you disparage your parents because you do not want to see the good in them, as atheists. In any case, your indictment does not carry much credibility. As an atheist, I see good in people with all views; it's a pity you cannot as well.

JR: "I was an atheist turned Christian and have found Christian friends that are not prideful like many of you. I am happy I turned from atheism."

You speak of "turning from" atheism, as though it were a well-defined philosophy. Again, this makes me wonder about your motives and the soundness of your views. Atheism is nothing more than a rejection of theistic claims, and one can conclude nothing more from that than from the fact that one does not believe in poltergeists. So, many of us are "prideful"? What, exactly has earned us that label? Holding a view that differs from your own, perhaps?

JR: "My final thought: science is full of contradictions and cannot explain thousands of things. You tell me there is no proof that God exists, but I ask you: do you love your wife and/or kids? Who says love exists? Can you measure, see, or prove it? I am a doctorate of science and I have to be able to prove love."

Suddenly you don't sound like much of a scientist. Science is "full of contradictions" is it? Please list some of those for me; aside from the front lines of science, where new ideas are being worked out and tested, I don't see a lot of contradictions. Then you trot out the old subjectivity of love, asking about "measurement" or "proof". If you are scientist, you are (or should be) aware of the incongruity of applying quantitative analysis to subjective impressions. How would you suggest doing that? How would you define love in the first place? If you define it behaviorally, then you can measure it, but that's probably not what you're after. If you simply wish to point out limitations of science that should be easy enough without resorting to ill-defined mental states.

Again you mention that you have a doctorate in science. I am always deeply suspicious of those who immediately disclose their credentials. (You call us prideful?) More often than not, in my experience, that maneuver indicates either a very weak position (as it apparently needs to be immediately bolstered by credentials), or an outright fraud. I cannot conclude from anything you've said that you are a fraud, but it does appear to me that your position is weak, as you've really said nothing at all of substance.

JR: "The one reason I do not like this site is because of the crude remarks made to Christians."

There have been a great many discussions with Christians here that have been thoroughly civil. In fact, more often than not, it is the Christian visitors who hurl the majority of insults, and make broad disparaging remarks about atheists (as you have done) and those who disagree with them. In fact, I don't see what purpose you had for posting here, aside from leveling some unpleasant and unfounded accusations toward atheists. You ask for civil discourse; well, show civility, and it will be shown to you in return.

.:webmaster:. said...

JR is a troll.

He's a "Rhodes Scholar" - get it?

G'bye JR.

Jim Arvo said...

So, JR is a fraud after all. Geesh. In general I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this is getting ridiculous. Why are so many of the Christian visitors here such blatant liars? Gosh, what a great religion they have there.

Bob (Been There, Got the T-Shirt) said...

JRs post was removed before I had a chance to read it. Did he come here to threaten people? I love it when freepers show up on the liberal blogs and threaten sedition charges. Wow, what a bunch! I was able to get pieces of it from Jim Arvo's replies.

So the good Doctor(ate) wants to label the folks here as "Atheists", hmmm... I know that many of us would actually define ourselves as "Buddhists", "Unitarian Universalists (UU's)" or "Deists", like the founding fathers of the United States. Our Founding Fathers were wise enough to include a separation of church and state, so that the U.S. would not become a "theocracy".

To the good "doctor(ate)", I imagine that Deists, UU's and Buddhists are just another flavor of "Atheists". Why? Because they do not drink the same flavor kool-aid that you do. If someone does not believe in the Christian God, then they are an Atheist? Hey doc, you are on the "exchristian" site. Chances are, Catholics are just as Atheistic (pagan) to you. I had a fundamentalist familymember actually say at a Catholic funeral, that he had to "leave this pagan place".

It is all about superiority. Are you a member of our exclusive club? If you are not, then you are a subversive. Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Mormons, Zen Buddhists, Nicheren Soshu Buddhists, Sunnis, Shiites, Bible Baptists(you get the idea), need not apply! I understand that there are "red states". I understand that their are fundamentalists. I do not view them as subversive.

When did Joseph McCarthy come back from the dead?

JR, this is the United States. Supposedly, this is the "Land of the Free". You can't take all the democrats out and shoot them. And you may not take out all of the religious and philosophical sects in the world that aren't members of yours and shoot them, either. I don't like the way our President is representing me to the rest of the world. That is patriotic. I also do not like what the fundamentalists are doing to innocent children (as I was). I can speak-out, it is my right. Hear me say "ouch".

Excuse me if I am assuming a lot - your post was removed - for a reason.

JR said...

I have enjoyed reading the responses to my post. I will be brief since this will also be deleted. Many will assume since I am self-righteous since reference to myself is included a lot, but this is a defense of what is previously posted.

I am not better than any of you. Because I believe in God and Jesus, that does make me any greater of a human than yourself. Many of you are also educated, but instead of asking for a copy of my degree, you assume I do not hold a doctorate since the degree is mentioned first.

It was not in pride that I mentioned my degree, but to show my connection to the scientific and atheistic world. Six colleagues hold the same degree; four are atheists and two are not. Those four have persecuted the three believers extensively and say we are fools for believing, yet they will not open up their minds to listen to my beliefs. So who is close minded?

After reading this site for hours, many posts have comments stating those that still believe in a God will come to the truth there is not a ‘God.” This wholly fits the definition in WikiPedia which includes Buddhists as atheists

Mr. Arvo: I greatly appreciate your comments but to label me as a blatant liar without checking my credentials shows you make assumptions without the facts. Just because Mr. Arvo and the webmaster believe the post fits a certain model, you delete the post.

I hold true to my degree and to the anger held by my atheistic colleagues. It seems anyone that goes against your views is not welcome here so I will not visit again. I shared my past and my conversion yet you chose to label me as a troll and delete it without first responding to me personally. Thanks to all for showing your true colors of hate and anger. This helps make statistical information that you are all indeed, not nice nor caring.

Bob (Been There, Got the T-Shirt) said...

Artist Tears For Fears
Album Hurting

Heaven comes to he who waits
But I know I'm getting nowhere
And all the deeds of yesterday
Have really helped to pave my way
Though there's no one near me now
How come everyone can touch me
You see the torture on my brow
Relates to neither here nor now

Watch me bleed
Bleed forever
Although my face is straight, it lies
My body feels the Pain and cries

Here the table is not bare
I am full but feeling empty
For all the warmth it feels so cold
For one so young I feel so old

Watch me bleed
Bleed forever
It's not allowed to be unkind
But still the hate lives in my mind

I'll make no noise
I'll hide my pain
I'll close my eyes
I won't complain
I'll lie right back and take the blame
And try to tell myself I'm living
And when it's all been said or done
Where do I go ?
Where do I run ?
What's left of me or anyone when we've denied the hurting ?

The whole album is a really great catharsis for anyone dealing with the effects of child abuse. Including the childhood scars of fundamentalism. May I recommend "Pale Shelter".

Jim Arvo said...

JR: "...instead of asking for a copy of my degree, you assume I do not hold a doctorate since the degree is mentioned first."

You expect us to ask for a copy of your degree? Don't be ridiculous. All I expect is that you say something credible. Your previous post indicated no appreciation for science at all; hence, I was suspicious. Touting your (supposed) credentials deepened my suspicions. As yet, you still have said nothing that would indicate that you completed a doctorate. Now, it's quite possible that you have--but I've seen far too many people who pretend to be scientists and mathematicians to simply accept what someone says about their credentials if their rhetoric shows no hint of it.

As for verifying that you have indeed completed a Ph.D., all I would ask is that you tell me the title of your dissertation and the year your graduated/defended. Finally, I'd expect you to be able to answer a few straightforward questions about the topic, and to exhibit some knowledge of science in general (if the degree was in science). After all, these are not confirmation hearings.

JR: "It was not in pride that I mentioned my degree, but to show my connection to the scientific and atheistic world."

Now that sounds very odd to me. Credentials establish no such thing; one's thinking does. Since you made nothing but shallow and disparaging remarks about atheism, you have not demonstrated to me that you know one single thing about it. Credentials cannot fill that void.

JR: "Six colleagues hold the same degree; four are atheists and two are not. Those four have persecuted the three believers extensively and say we are fools for believing, yet they will not open up their minds to listen to my beliefs. So who is close minded?"

Obviously, if the four you mentioned behave as you say they do, then it is THEY who are closed-minded. But, I'm willing to bet that they would describe the situation differently if we asked them. Hence, I cannot conclude anything about them based on hearsay, and even if they did turn out to be as you described, that sample categorically does not represent the whole. I know that both from my own rather extensive experience, and from a simple appreciation of statistics.

JR: "Mr. Arvo: I greatly appreciate your comments but to label me as a blatant liar without checking my credentials shows you make assumptions without the facts."

My exact words were "Why are so many of the Christian visitors here such blatant liars?" In truth, I did not know (and still do not know) whether this applies to you, but it most certainly applies to MANY of the Christian visitors here; hence, my comment. I also had (and still do have) reason to believe that it applies to you as well.

JR: "It seems anyone that goes against your views is not welcome here so I will not visit again."

I repeat. There have been a great many civil discussion with theists of all stripes here. The key is to show some courtesy from the start. You came in here with accusations blazing, just like the majority of your like-minded believers. Do you think that entitles you to kind treatment? Are we supposed to be extra accommodating of bigots?

JR: "Thanks to all for showing your true colors of hate and anger. This helps make statistical information that you are all indeed, not nice nor caring."

It was just a matter of time before you played the "hate and anger" cards. Few things are so predictable around here as that. It's always a sign of a losing argument; or in this case, an argument that never got off the ground.

To sum up, you've said nothing of substance. All you've done is denigrate a class of people you apparently know nothing about, and without warrant. You've also said absolutely nothing that would lead me to believe that you have a Ph.D. in any science. On the contrary, your remarks seem to betray a naive view of science. Hence, I remain suspicious of your claim.

.:webmaster:. said...

Mr. PHD, the descriptive word you should have used is "close-minded." Perhaps you missed that class.

Regardless, this site was created for ex-Christians, not so amateur apologists would have the opportunity to defend their belief in invisible pink unicorns or any other silly fantasy. People on this site are justifiably skeptical when strangers make it a point of bragging about their unverifiable educational credentials. If skepticism offends you, your retreat is probably a good idea. In the future you might want to prove your case through an intelligent exchange of ideas rather than appear as if you are attempting to elevate yourself and then cast an argument from the high perch of authority. At this point in my life, those who like to point at documents on a wall have very little impact on my opinions in comparison with those who can demonstrate their thinking abilities.

Keep in mind, the "mistreatment" you've experienced here amounts to words on a website - your life has not been affected even one...little...bit.

As Harry Truman once said: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

P.S: I suggest using Charmin to wipe your nose, it's easier on the skin.

A personal rant:

How many hundreds (or thousands) of Christian websites are on the Internet? And how many sites are out there aimed specifically at ex-Christians? 10? 100?

I don't know of a single Christian website where the topics discussed on this site would be tolerated (there may be some, but I don't know of any). Yet, although obviously outnumbered, here on this site we tolerate some of the most agressive evangelisim - every day. Still, unless every single Christian is given complete and total autonomy to post anything, at any time, free of any criticism, or resistance, they proclaim: "mistreatment!"

The arrogant audacity is irritating, and exhausting.

Rant end.

Dano said...

JR=Goldie maybe?

Dave8 said...

Okay, you have no idea what religion or non-religion I support. Therefore, why don't you and I have a civil discussion on the topics you present, and why some may have reservations.

JR: "Many of you are also educated, but instead of asking for a copy of my degree, you assume I do not hold a doctorate since the degree is mentioned first."

Logically speaking, you state that many people are assuming or calling into question your doctorate because of the post you made. Then, you turn around and make the same judgement call using words form people you have read, i.e., "Many of you are also educated". Why not agree, that words are all that matter at this point, no matter how many pieces of paper a person waves, or how many books they write, it all comes down to "show me". So, JR, show me, and everyone else on this international site, what you are trying to relay via the literal word.

JR: "It was not in pride that I mentioned my degree, but to show my connection to the scientific and atheistic world. Six colleagues hold the same degree; four are atheists and two are not."

If you need to establish a connection between the scientific community and Atheism, might I ask what your degree is in. Also, Science does not a scientist make, else you by default if you hold a science degree would be considered an Atheist. So, what connection are you making between science and Atheists. Do you see all scientists as Atheists? Philosophy can be applied to all academic endeavors. I could suggest that there are many Atheists who use "logic" alone to discredit the validity of statements presented as "fact", especially in the realm of metaphysics.

JR: "Those four have persecuted the three believers extensively and say we are fools for believing, yet they will not open up their minds to listen to my beliefs. So who is close minded?"

JR, anyone with a degree, who has studied philsophy or logic in depth, doesn't require or need to get into the details of a belief system in order to determine the Universal Validity of a metaphysical argument. All metaphysical arguments are subjective, and only qualifiable by the individual person. So, if you are presenting a "belief system", holding it as a Universal "fact", then your colleagues may not want to engage in a conversation already knowing the outcome. However, if you were to present your "beliefs", as a Personally Subjective Truth, then of course, they "may" listen, but for what Purpose? If your intent is to only pass to them your beliefs, just saying you are "X" religion, which is based on metaphysical presuppositions is enough for many people. Beyond that, its more about "what" you "do" in life, not what you "say" you "want" to do in life and "why" that becomes more meaningful. Perhaps, you assume your colleagues are not capable of reaching such philosophical and logical conclusions merely by your statement of your belief system label, but... that puts you in a position of declaring them as less educated and closed minded than you. Want to find out if they have the knowledge necessary to acquire an immediate understanding of your metpahysically founded belief system... ask them... How about... "Hey guys, do you believe a metaphysical belief system is defensible as a "fact"? If so, why?"

Now, it your colleagues stop at that point, and don't want to know anything about the over 4,000 metaphysical gods that have been recorded in the history books, then, its their choice to be free from religion, personal dogma based on some philosophy, or myth.

JR: "After reading this site for hours, many posts have comments stating those that still believe in a God will come to the truth there is not a ‘God.” This wholly fits the definition in WikiPedia which includes Buddhists as atheists"

Lets be clear philosophically speaking. Its impossible to prove a Universal Absolute Truth, a truth consistent for all time, place, and circumstance. So, if a religion is presenting their "belief" as a Universal Absolute Truth, then, its just a matter of education before someone comes to the end of their research, and determines for a "fact" that there is nothing Universally Absolute in this reality, from a subjective human perspective.

Now, I know a lot of Atheists that believe everyone has a right to have a "personal" belief, and it doesn't have to be based on "fact", "logic", "reason", etc. As a matter of fact, on a personal belief level, someone can take what they have been given from writen texts, over 2,000 years old and claim it to be "conclusive" as evidence for them to support their belief.

There is a difference between "Fact", and "Faith". And, that does get in the way of many discussions, which typically happens between people with differing levels of knowledge. There are many people in this world that don't need a label on their forehead so they can be targeted for those who live based on "faith". Perhaps, you should just state, you have concerns with those who only see reality using logic and reason alone, and don't leave a lot of room for blind "faith" to make life impacting decisions.

JR: "I hold true to my degree and to the anger held by my atheistic colleagues. It seems anyone that goes against your views is not welcome here so I will not visit again."

You haven't opened up a discussion. You have come here, stated you have a PdD, and then stated that you personally know a few Atheists that you don't care for, based on your perception of their behavior. We only have your part of the story, kinda' missing the "objectiveness" if we are supposed to discuss your personal life and why you feel jilted at work.

JR: "I shared my past and my conversion yet you chose to label me as a troll and delete it without first responding to me personally."

Personally, I haven't seen anything worthy of discussion. If you posted your conversion story, without supporting your conversion based on an Absolute Universal premise, then its not something that is worthy of discussion. If you came to post your personal truth, and your life story, then perhaps you would have more luck sending your conversion story to the webmaster. However, it is the webmasters' site, and he alone gets to choose what gets posted and what doesn't. It isn't like we are at a loss for personal stories and how they feel their "experiences" should be used by others to make a life altering decision, i.e., accepting your "story" based on total "blind", "faith", in "you", as opposed to logically asking for evidence or proof. Perhaps, this is why your use of the PhD, seems to draw direct observation, as it could be seen as used to give weight to one persons' subjective "experience", as if it is somehow more qualified than any other persons' subjective non-experience.

JR: "Thanks to all for showing your true colors of hate and anger. This helps make statistical information that you are all indeed, not nice nor caring."

Once again, you are making judgement calls on "all" people using your subjective experience. Finally, since you have no numeric or population to work from, you can build a statistic, as you have no manner of determining the mean of all Atheists or "any" population based on a few sample posts. One who has a PhD, typically wouldn't make such a loose statement, that's just an observation based on "your" literal words. Perhaps, you know more than what you communicated in your post, but... we'll never know, since you aren't coming back. Have a great one, and good luck with your work buddies.

Emerson said...

Wow good luck with your new life, and I totally agree. Instead of picking fights, the president should've forgiven and let go as his religion commands. Its never easy to start a new life or reinvent your life, so I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to leave a little something here for everyone. I'm not a scholar, I don't proclaim to be; I am merely a person who searches for truth. It seems to me that, after reading some of these testimonies, there are quite a few people here who have been smitten by some very self righteous, and arrogant "Christians". I would have to agree that the details given about these so called "Christians" describe the sad state of the Christian church. This problem stems from a lack of understanding on the part of these so called "Christians". The Catholics started with the Anti-semite movement of the fourth century and the protestants continued on this tangent.I would like to tell everyone here that this "belief system" of the church is not only flawed, but it is built on a completely WRONG set of ideals. Christianity comes from the East... not the West. Without an Eastern mind set, we loose all bearings for proper interpretation. Long story short... if the people that you are writting about did the things that you say they did then they are poor examples of the faith. Christians should be noted for their giving and loving natures, anything short of this is hypocracy and is a shameful representation. I am writing this only because I myself am a Christian, (for lack of a better definition) and I understand your arguements. I was brought up in a very similar home, my mother once told me that my Jewish friend was going to Hell because he didn't believe in Jesus (don't get me started on that discussion)... WOW! I used to hate the church, I used to think "What a bunch of idiots", they were all such hypocrites! Unfortunately, the people who call themselves Christians quite often are sowing seeds of contempt rather than love. What I'm trying to say is don't blame God for people's misrepresentation. Re-ligion: to bring back together. Unfortunately most major "Religions" today are doing exactly the opposite, it is not the fault of God, but man.

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