Recovering Evangelicoholic

sent in by Billy Wheaton

I guess I have spent the last twenty years in a state of intermittent bewilderment over how many very bright Evangelical Christians that I know. Eventually, a discussion transpires that sends me on a litany of challenges that are virtually never taken seriously and repetitiive. So, I decided to start a web site and write a book. My purpose was two-fold.

First, I wanted to put together the evidence that I knew that I found myself repeating over and over again. I have just started and some of this is at billywheaton.com

Second, and most important, I needed to figure out why so many very bright people refuse to confront their "faith" and desperately need their "faith" to feel intellectually valid. My research has led me to two major conclusions:

1) Evangelical Christian truly do not see or feel any harm that may come from their belief in Biblical inspiration and inerrancy. Thus, even if one cannot easily validate their faith, the vast majority of Evangelical Christians feel continuing to behave as an Evangelical Christian benefits them and benefits society. Ex-Christians and non Christians have strong arguments for why this approach fits the evidence and promotes honest debate, but weak at showing true harm in remaining an Evangelical Christian. This area of showing harm needs attention.

2) Evangelical Christians have behavior patterns that closely mimic someone with a serious addiction. Thus, showing intellectual reasons and harm will change little. After all, we all recognize that telling a smoker he is "stupid" and "killing himself" does not usually get the smoker to quit. We need to help these poor lost people QUIT the HABIT!

P.S. I'm stunned at how many thoughful ex-Christian people I have read about on the web. I hope to learn from you. Where have you been for the last 20 years!

billywheaton from billywheaton.com
cinci
oh
usa
joined: 11
left: 21
was: CMA, evangelical
now: one day at a time
converted because: thought it seemed like a good way to live
de-converted because: the evidence became simply overwhelming
email: billy at billywheaton dot com

71 comments:

Interested Atheist said...

Hi there Billy! Congratulations. Deconverted "because the evidence was simply overwhelming" sounds like a great reason to me. I hope you get a lot out of this website.

I've been talking to people on a christian forum recently. My question started on miracles but spread out on to a lot of tangents. Their answers whenever I tried to prove to them that there was no real reason to believe in God?

Can you guess?

It was:

"I know in my heart that God is real, and I pray he will soften your heart so that one day you will know it too."

Sigh.

Why? Because I think I agree with Richard Dawkins about religion being a mental virus. And one of the reasons it's a successful one is because it has a self-protective mechanism: it alters the victim's thinking to make blind faith a desirable state of mind, the more attractive and sincere because of a lack of evidence.

Welcome!

Albert said...

Had a look at your website. Nice Job!

Jim Lee said...

Evangelcial Christians suffer from schizophrenia marked by a disconnection between thoughts, feeling and actions. There is little hope of recovery.

Dave8 said...

Hello Billy, just wanted to say Hi, and that I enjoyed your post...

Billy: "We need to help these poor lost people QUIT the HABIT!"

People will always naturally have questions, without "answers", thus, no answers to a human, equals "anxiety"... I think we all have a normal level of anxiety placed upon us in this life...

Religions, take the normal levels of "anxiety", and "magnify" them by exploiting our natural "questions" in life, based on the human condition, i.e,. death, etc...

They further "add", anxiety, by "calling into question", what is "Natural", i.e., masturbation, etc., etc. They replace Natural behaviors and actions, with "UnNatural" solutions...

When evangelicals or anyone absorbs these tethers of "anxiety", they immediately seek "relief"... Religion, has created the "solution" for the "anxiety", however, by acceptance of the "solution", one becomes indebted via "ritual, loyalty, and allegiance", to the cause of the religion that provided them that comfort... hence, keep the Sabbath day holy, and "see you next week at church to further our cause", etc...

If natural anxiety is removed, religion is no longer necessary as the patent solution... This is difficult for many elderly, who have imbedded the "solution" in their minds for years... There are ways to remove the anxiety, but it is more of an art than a science, as each person has associated their "anxiety", to events, objects, etc., in their life differently...

The real addiction... is "Relief"... but that is Natural... The real tragedy, is that religion creates a bait and switch "relief" solution... where in the long run, the original relief gains... are far drowned out, by the "anxiety" produced...

Churches and religions of late, know this formula either consciously or unwittingly, but they are reacting to the charge... The more "mindful" churches just tend to "remind" people of their anxiety every now and then to prevent pushing their followers too far into "anxiety", where the solution becomes less valuable because of the additional anxiety gained... Then there are those who can't use their "mind", because they buy the bible as inerrant, and therefore don't have choices in life, and they are the ones to push "anxiety" openly and hard, and it causes the religious member to ascertain whether the "solution" to the natural "anxiety" via religion is more worth the "additional" anxiety...

Many secular psychology clinics can provide solutions to the basic "anxiety" we all have in life without the additional baggage piled on... Religions have seen this... and thus, have entered into the game of cutting off their followers from the secular solution, by hiring or accepting help with "counseling" in a variety of different areas...

Making people aware of their Natural anxiety, and providing an "honest" assessment to them and how they fare with the basic human condition is the beginning of religious recovery... assisting them, is providing them non-damaging solutions via education etc., without requiring a "blood sacrifice", i.e., themselves, is in everyones' best interest... Hope to see you around on the boards, take care...

J.T. Steeler Fan said...

Hey there Billy!! Congrats. You'll find a wealth of information on this website. This is a great place to start. There are good hearted people on the site who do want to help others think thru this madness we call christianity. Christianity is a very tricky maze and coming out of it is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I still struggle with all the "god thoughts" in my own mind. I have enjoyed all the posts from people in here who are helping others find their way out of this maze. Welcome!!!!

Dano said...

Interested Atheist wrote:
"Because I think I agree with Richard Dawkins about religion being a mental virus. And one of the reasons it's a successful one is because it has a self-protective mechanism: it alters the victim's thinking to make blind faith a desirable state of mind, the more attractive and sincere because of a lack of evidence."

In a sense then, believing blindly, and going along with the crowd, and following the leader can be seen as a survival characteristic. It has become embedded in our DNA. But.

I think we are at a milestone in our evolutionary progress, where we must discard the mythological sources of confidence, because "My God is better than your God," thinking just may lead to a nuclear conflict that would pollute the earth and make it uninhabitable for us.

If we can't get a CHURCH OF RATIONALITY going, and convert people from the pagan religions that are dividing us, the end may be near. You can see it in the almost wishful thinking of the fundamentalists, who see every geopolitical event, and natural disaster as proof that Armageddon is right around the corner. They are literally slobbering over the events in the Near East. They have all but quit trying to make a success out of this life, and have visions of themselves up there in the sky, singing hymns and kissing Gods feet forever.

We can use every brave person we can recruit, to put a stop to this insanity. Those who have the ability to think outside the box need to dedicate their intelligence to the banner of common sense. We need to quit being politically correct when the Pat Robertson's, Benny Hinns, Billy Grahams, and George Bushes, try to make us believe they talk to God. More people need to laugh these clowns off of their pedestals.

Dano (Seventy year old rationalist, who has learned from the regulars on this site)

freedy said...

Welcome Billy!I agree that many intelligent ministers suffer from personallity disorder,bi-polar and many other mental illnesses along with o.c.d. and addicton.They are self-medicating, as I was for many years with fundementalism to make since of the chaos these disorders bring.Pat Robertson,Tilton,Paul Crouch all suffer from inflated narssistic since of self.
Thank-you for your post you are right on the money,
peace,.. freedy
p.s.,..look forward to seeing your site

J.T. Steeler Fan said...

You are right on the money Dano! I believe Christianity and Islam are a major thorn in the side of humanity. I think if we are ever going to progress as human beings then we need to put this religious crap behind us. It is hard trying to convince christians and muslims of this because they all have this "persecution complex". They are almost dellusional in their beliefs that others want to hurt or kill them. We will never move forward as human beings as long as these religions remain with us. It is so sad because I do believe in my heart that they will not be happy until every freakin army is fighting over that piece of crap land called Israel.

Dave8 said...

Dano: "They are literally slobbering over the events in the Near East. They have all but quit trying to make a success out of this life, and have visions of themselves up there in the sky, singing hymns and kissing Gods feet forever."

Hey Dano, I agree, sad thing is that many grow up in areas with little to no job market, and thus, have role model pastors, etc., as their "goal". Then, we have universities that grant degrees in mythology under the name theology, so that the academically qualified graduates can make "more money". This "more money" and "prestige" in the community, has become what many consider "success" growing up.

Hopefully, children can be taught in the next decade what "success" is in life, and provide them an outlet by which they can "succeed" to the benefit of humanity and not the detriment. I have learned from others on this site also, nothing like seeing different points of view to get a richer understanding of a topic :-) Take it easy...

Dano said...

J.T. Steeler Fan,
I want to scream at these religious robots.......
I mean. Come on Jesus addicts! How hard is it to see the fundamental ridiculousness of virtually every religious concept in the Bible. Take the cure folks. Quit talking about your relationship with a dead man. Just the concept of God, making Mary (a virgin) pregnant in order to have a baby so it can be sacrificed to him, to atone for "sin" that he created in the first place, is so patently silly, that you would have to shut down your rational mind in order to ingest it. Never mind that you can see virtually the same story in almost every Pagan religion (Just change the names of the characters)

GIVE ME A BREAK. Shit! Even if the story did make any sense up to the point of the crucifixion. What the hell is the big deal about dying when you know you are the son of God, and are going to come back to life in three days, and sit on a throne next to God, or be God, or whatever the hell the trinity means.

Dano (Seventy year old rationalist, who has learned from the regulars on this site, and lives in a log cabin in NC)

Dano said...

Dave8
I like your "degrees in mythology under the name theology" Maybe every time we see a preacher on this site bragging about his theology degree we could tell him how impressed we are with his degree in "Mythology"

Dano, (Seventy year old rationalist, who has learned from the regulars on this site, and lives in a log cabin in NC)

Dave8 said...

Sure thing Dano, a PdD in mythology, I mean... what does one do with that, other than continue to pass on the same information to the next generation ;-) Take care...

Dave8 said...

Okay, its killing me, I mean "PhD", although the PdD means about the same thing in theology :-) Hehehehehehehehe

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

Hi Billy,

Please accept my humble, newbie welcome to this group!

You Said:
P.S. I'm stunned at how many thoughful ex-Christian people I have read about on the web. I hope to learn from you. Where have you been for the last 20 years!

Talk about the Information Super-Highway! I've been searching for a "support group" for people suffering the effects of fundamentalism for a long time. Eureka! I Found It!

Dave8, Dano, ALL you guys! You're really on a role today! It makes me want to put all of this information and quotes into a handbook for the recovering "Evanelicoholic".

This is better than a support group.

Amethyst said...

The reason people don't question their religions is because they are brainwashed not to. Because nobody's tying them up and forcing them to drink poisoned grape juice, they don't see it as brainwashing, but it really is. When you have an idea virtually being pounded into your head every single time you go to church (listen to the leaders, don't question, you are a horrible terrible awful sinful person & you need the imaginary friend called Jesus to "save you" from the myth of hell that the church made up to control you in the first place) it's brainwashing.

Christianity, especially mainstream Christianity, is really just a cult. It's the most popular cult that has ever existed.

People don't see it as a cult because they don't realize that harm is being done to them -- taking away their identities and choices in life. When you are being manipulated by guilt and emotion to do or not to things, it is control. If you don't do things because you're afraid of going to hell, it's control. If you do things because you think they'll send you to heaven, it's also control. Hell = whip, heaven = carrot.

These days, most churches don't use the whip of fire & brimstone hell very much, but even when they use the golden carrot of heaven to control their flocks, it's still a form of mind control.

Most people also don't realize that they've been brainwashed because they've been in the church for their whole lives. When something like that has been done over a long period of time and you've been taught not to question it, then you're not going to question it unless a life-changing event, like someone close to you dying despite praying hard, leads to doubt. And the cult has failsafes to program you to keep believing, like "It was all in god's plan." Ever hear that old cliche'? Or "We shouldn't question god's motives." Or, the one I detest the most because it's the worst copout ever, "Everything happens for a reason."

When you've got that kind of brainwashing and mind control going on over a period of centuries, no wonder the cult hasn't died out yet. The only thing that'll replace it is a cult with stronger brainwashing techniques. That, or the opposite -- rationality and logical thinking, but I can't see that happening anytime soon.

Dave8 said...

Hello Amethyst, I agree with the largest cult and the plan to get ahead is a gray area. Humans are built to adapt, we conform to our environment pretty well, its how we've been able to survive.

When children and even adults have their "anxiety" controls set up a few notches, their mind and body clocks in and adjusts to balance the additional stress, either through rationalization, repression, etc.

The mind has to reconfigure when major changes take place, and it affects everything down to physical health. Abrupt stops and starts on a car engine will blow the engine over time, its the same with the mind. Once a child has their "anxiety" controls set on "high", because of religious rhetoric, etc., they conform, and trying to get them to drop their anxiety level is actually just as traumatic mentally.

There are many people who conform to their work environment in high stress jobs, and their most vulnerable time to have a heart attact is immediately after retirement. The reduced stress in a shock to their system. The only healthy way to nurture people away from "unhealthy" stress, is to slowly increase their logical reasoning so that over time, their subconscious can slowly work through the information, and prepare themselves for the mental escape. Good hearing from you, take care...

Luci said...

Hi,
I agree with all of you.
Religious people are brainwashed from an early age and encouraged not to question the ridiculousness of their religion. I asked my christian mum a few obvious questions and she said she knows the bible is contradictory and doesnt make sense but to be a christian you just have to believe, have faith without questioning the logic.
Christianity uses the threat of death and suffering to disuade people from walking away from the tangle of nonsense that is christianity..if they chose to question it.
Then of course there is their favourite saying to explain away nonsense which is "god works in mysterious ways".
Ive always been an atheist but I guess telling a christian there is no god etc. would be like teling me the Earth is flat or there are no other planets etc. However there is logical proof for my beliefs unlike the belief in god.
One of their favourite explanations if the world is complex and wondrous so their must be a loving creator. I dont know how that is an explanation?
Ive been brought up on evolution, science and nature. I can still look at nature and its processes and see beauty and wonderment. Even though we know how a baby is made and grows does that make it any less wonderful then if we didnt know the details?
Anyhow science and religion are just 2 explanations. We could come up with millions of others.
Even though I have faith in alot of scientific explanations, i think science can be just as bad as religion with some of their theories like the big bang. That seems just as ridiculous as saying the universe was created by god. not to mention lots of scientific theories have been disproved or are contradictory.
Bottom line is that every human wants an explanation for everything. We cant accept mysery and not knowing. We are very arrogant in that we think we know it all. In the scheme of things we may not know anything.
All we "know" is what our restricted 5 senses tell us or what some preacher tells us is true.
Anyhow, its one thing to believe in nonsense or something for which there is no evidence but it is another to believe in an evil god who will condemn you to hell for not worshipping it.
It is also wrong for christians to try to pressure you to convert and to insult you for not believing.
That is the main wrong here.
I have been insulted and frowned upon all my life by christians. Despite this i have given everyone the benefit of the doubt and respected their beliefs.
Its futile to expect respect though considering christians are taught to "spread the word". How can you win again people who even disrespect different sects of the same religion. All sects basically believe in the same thing but they look down on each other and even insult each other.
i just hope that as people become more educated more people will leave the clutches of this evil.
It has already been going this way.
i dont know about America but in Australia less and less people are going to church, more people are questioning the insanity of christianity and more people are becoming atheists/agnostics.
Luci

Luci said...

Hi Again,
Ive got a question for ex-christians because ur the only ones who can really anser this.
As an atheist I have haad the misconception against me that my world is cold and empty and meaningless and the christian way of life is better.
This is very upsetting because I dont feel this way.
I was just curious to know the opinions of ex-christians as to what the pros and cons of each way of life is. Obviously now that you can see what a load of crap Christianity is its hard to look back.
when you were a believing christian do you think your life was better then, than it is now as an atheist/agnostic?
I can imagine that you never felt alone when you believed in god and you always had him there to listen to ur problems. Atheists have to rely on themselves or friends. however friends can give advice and since there is no god he couldnt give advice. You would have also had the approval of family and friends who are christians and perhaps now you are being harassed by them. My family is christian and they were always trying to convert me and saying I would burn in hell.
however as an atheist you only have urself to answer. the only guilt you feel is imposed by urself. That must be better. You can do what ever you want as long as it keeps with ur own morals and within the boundaries of the law. It must be good to have that freedon.
From what I know of christians we seem to share the same joys and fell the same amount of sadness at the same things.
About death though, is it more comforting to lose a loved one thinking they are going to heaven than it is to lose a loved one and not being sure is there is a continuence to their existence?
Ive always wondered why christians get so upset if someone dies if they think they are going to heaven and they will see them again. I havent experience the death of a loved one yet so I dont know what my reaction with be.
My grandma died but I didnt know her very well but since she was old and died peacefully I didnt feel sadness.
My christian ex lost a childhood friend who was murdered by her boyfriend. he was quite upset by this. Since he hadnt seen her for years he shouldnt be upset about missing her because he believed he would see her again in heaven. Perhaps he was only upset by the way she died. i think she was burned to death so I guess he was upset by her suffering before whe died. Although if her death was quick and even if she suffered a bit isnt heaven supposed to be great with no suffering, so wasnt she better off having gone through what she did?
Anyhow, I will stop speculating and wait for your comments on this.
Luci

Dave8 said...

Hey Luci, you said "Ive always wondered why christians get so upset if someone dies if they think they are going to heaven and they will see them again. I havent experience the death of a loved one yet so I dont know what my reaction with be."

The christian god YHWH, per the Jews was Supreme God, doing all the evil and good, and there was no eternal tormenting hell per se.

When the New Testament was placed alongside the Old Testament, YHWH got a partner, Satan, who explained why people were tempted and unable to be "perfect", hence the scene in the garden of eden to provide a visual example.

With the original YHWH, all the Jews didn't mourn any longer than 12 months by tradition as they didn't believe anyone spent any more than 12 months away from heaven.

To show this;

"QUESTION: Do Jews believe in Satan?

ANSWER: In Christian belief, Satan is a fallen angel that has freedom of choice and rebels against G-d. Judaism's view is very different. Isaiah 45:7 and Deuteronomy 13 show that G-d created the temptation to do evil to test our loyalty. That is why the word (Satan--) in Hebrew literally means an adversary (Numbers 22:22) that comes to challenge us. Our mission is to overcome these temptations and do what is correct. The Torah (Genesis 4:7) teaches that this mission is within our ability to fulfill."
http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/handbook/s_faq.html

Therefore, christians who accept the New Testament and Satan, never "really" know if their loved one is in heaven or hell. Hell was brought into the picture as a means to satisfy those with local cultures who believed in an underworld and antagonist god. In the christian tradition, a dying loved one "never" knows the will of god and whether its heaven of hell for them, a perpetual "never-ending" cycle of anxiety.

With a Universal god, if a persons' loved one dies, the "god" is to blame, however, the Jews didn't believe god interfered with mortal affairs, and if he were to be involved, he would send a mortal Messiah in flesh to do his bidding.

Interestignly, I have never heard of a pastor, preacher, clergy, etc., during a funeral come close to mentioning the deceased as being doomed to hell. Its a joke, its always the same, when a christian is living the pastor is telling them they are possibly heading for some eternal hell, once they die, its all about heaven.

If someone were to walk up to a pastor right after a funeral, and ask them how they know the deceased is in heaven, they'd get a blank stare or some political sidestepping. I understand trying to be nice during the day of someones' funeral, and the pastor, clergy, etc, portraying the death in a "good" light and ultimately beneficial for the deceased, but that's because the funeral is more for the survivors as its meaningless for the deceased. The pastors have to give a "carrot" to all those people who show up that they too can receive heaven. All the while, the pastor has no flippin' clue one way or the other.

Its that continual, "who knows", type of belief system that allows the morals, ethics, and everything else to run rampant in christianity. Many christian denominations have their own unique formula for how a person is saved and will receive heaven, but there isn't "one" formula that unites them all. Have a great one...

Interested Atheist said...

Hello, Luci!
If you're looking for information about how to defend and explain living a life with no Imaginary Best Friend to make things better, the best recommendation I can make is the Ebon Musings wesbite. I has a selection of very good essays which cover all aspects of atheism. Clear, well-organised and good arguments. It covers things like:

* The possibility that Jesus never existed and the evidence or lack of it.
* Refuting Pascal's Wager (which is when Christians say "You should be a Christian, because if you're right then no problem, but if I'm right then you'll go to hell."
* The illogic of heaven, hell and the Bible.
* An essay refuting the main arguments for theism - Kalaam, teleological, ontological, etc.
* absurdities and contradictions in the Bible...

...and much more! Enjoy!

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

Hi Luci,

You Said: "When you were a believing christian do you think your life was better then, than it is now as an atheist/agnostic?" Remember, many of us here had no choice in the matter - it was forced upon us at a very young age. How does the Buddhist line go: "a fish does not question water, it is all he knows". That is why I think christianity is child abuse.

Dave8:
"Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved"

Oh, here is one of my favorite christian "moral values". Jeffrey Dahmer is in heaven. That's right, the guy who seduced gay black men to his house for "dinner" is sitting at the right hand of God. Apparently, Jeffrey confessed his sins, said the sinner's prayer, got "SAVED" and everything is forgiven. My dad, a nice guy who never hurt anyone as a non-practicing Catholic, is bound for hell - go figure!!!

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

Hey all,

After reading my last post, if you didn't read "Been There, Got the T-shirt", you might be a little confused by what I said. My mom was the fundamentalist - she was the Carrie's Mother in the household. My dad's only failure was not stopping her, or paying attention to what was happening to my sister and me. He stayed lost in his nonpracticing Catatonic (I mean Catholic) state.

Dave8 said...

Hey Bob, wow, that's cold... "No One Was Saved". Well, that little eulogy sure keeps everyone in a constant state of having to "try harder", to get the favor of the Priest. The ever-elusive carrot, just a little orange speck out in front, and always somehow thought to be obtainable... "anxiety", until one drops... Well, I've never attended a catholic funeral, however, its not on the top 100 things list, to do before I pass away :-)

Luci said...

Hi,
thanks for ur comments.
Its funny how Satan is apparently working for god..testing peoples' loyalty to him yet christians speak of the devil like he is bad.If he rebelled against god why is he working for god?
I will have a look at the Ebon Musings website.
Bob, i know you didnt have a choice in being a christian but when you were did you enjoy your life more then, than you do now?
Im also confused by the fact that if a christian dies they dont know if they are going to heaven or hell. I though if they acknowledge and worship God and ask for forgiveness for their sins then they supposedly go to heaven.
Sorry my knowledge is limited here. I havent read the bible yet. ive tried but I get too angry reading it. i will try again one day.
You know the argument you were talking about re become a christian because youve got nothing to lose if there is no such thing as god and if there is you wont go to hell...Wouldnt you still have to believe and worship god and possibly attend church and repent etc. It wouldnt be enough to get christened would it?
Luci

Luci said...

Hi,
It sounds like you're all well read but a book you may enjoy is "The Mythology of Christianity" by Alexander james. It covers alot of things Ive read on this site.
luci

Anonymous said...

The site Ebons' Musings does have some food for thought. On the page or moral philosophy, I was turned off at the fifth paragraph, once the muser suggested that there "is" an "absolute, objective, universal moral code".

The position is not tenable, the only one who could possible create such a code, would be one who is omniscient, and has deriven humanities' purpose in "existence". Again, good information to peruse, but one needs to read into the implications of the essays. I only looked at this one essay.

http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html#part3

Dave8 said...

Dave8: "however, the Jews didn't believe god interfered with mortal affairs, and if he were to be involved, he would send a mortal Messiah in flesh to do his bidding."

Just for clarification, the Jews' God YHWH "DID" interfere in the mortals' lives, the great flood, yadda, yadda. Point was that when the Jews were getting screwed with, they knew it was "their" god, and if they kept screwing things up, god would send them a mortal messiah to set things straight, which, at this time, hasn't happened as they are not living in paradise on earth. Still, that is much better than having the christian dynamic duo gods, YHWH and Satan, and never knowing which one is at work.

Dano said...

Luci wrote:

"Hi Again,
Ive got a question for ex-christians because ur the only ones who can really anser this.
As an atheist I have haad the misconception against me that my world is cold and empty and meaningless and the christian way of life is better.
This is very upsetting because I dont feel this way."

Luci. I feel an obligation to give you my take on this, because when I became a "Born Again Ex-Christian" I also had mixed emotions. I haven't struggled with the problem of "WHAT, AM I GOING TO DO NOW THAT I DON'T HAVE JESUS AND GOD TO APPEAL TO ANYMORE," an awful lot because I have always been a skeptic. I did spend many years off and on asking God to give me this or that though.

My break through came with the Internet and discovering that there are millions of folks out there who had the same doubts and questions as I did. I discovered that there are people who can express those questions and doubts better than I could. I have come to accept the fact that I am intellectually lazy, but have also come to realize that my natural instinct to be skeptical of fanciful things and magic, has saved me from the virus of religion.

If you apply "Occam's Razor" (one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything), or as they say in AAA (Keep it simple), you may come to the same level of mental homeostasis that I have.

I just don't think God is judging us on our philosophical musings. I don't think he was judging the Neanderthals, or the billions of sub species of man that preceded us. I don't think he is condemning the child who has never heard of Christ. I don't think he is judging retarded, moronic, and imbecilic people who can't understand Biblical concepts. I don't think he is judging the sick, malformed, ugly and otherwise unfortunate people, or any other living creature here on earth. Why would "the force" that made us the way we are, condemn us?

What I do believe is that we, who can never swallow the ancient mystical belief systems anymore, and cannot be intimidated by the Shamans who would try to rule us with them, are at an advantage, because no one can threaten us with all of the silly, paganistic, Illogical, concepts like, the Devil, sin, not going to heaven, going to hell, etc., any more.

All that empowers you with is a freedom to live this life in the best way that you can, without the guilt that the church has ruled people with for so long. It doesn't make us better than the Jesus freaks, and bible thumpers, it just makes us luckier.

Dano (Seventy year old rationalist, who has learned from the regulars on this site, and lives in a log cabin in NC)

freedy said...

Billy,I saw a study recently on Presbyterian ministers personal beliefs and doubts. The study revealed that the morjarity no longer believed in the virgin birth and/or diety of christ,but continue to teach as normal as not to lose their jobs and the big "tithers" .These ministers are highly educated, which explains their knowledge that the bible is just plagerized stories of pagan mythology.Just as you said they probably feel that their congrations are not being harm by believing the myth. I totally disagree, don't you? should'nt we teach our children the truth and not an antiquated, unscientific fairy tale? Is'nt this a form of child abuse?....peace ...freedy

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

Hi Luci,

You Said:
"Bob, i know you didnt have a choice in being a christian but when you were did you enjoy your life more then, than you do now?"

Make no mistake about it, my life as a "forced" christian was a living hell. I cannot adequately exlain the elation that has come over me with the knowledge that I am not a pawn for some good or evil force to move around.

Everyone has crazy thoughts that enter their mind from time to time. I've learned that it is a natural thing that comes from the recesses of your mind. They aren't inspired evil, it is just "stuff". You can dismiss it or you can obsess over it, such as feelings of your own eminent death.

I would worry that the devil was entering my body and controlling my mind! I had been plaqued by a defeatist attitude and depression!!! Why didn't God remove this plaque? Because he didn't put it there. I just let my mind carry me to a destructive place. I didn't own it, so how can I expect a force to remove it?

Please understand, that for them, it is a about CONTROL! They use FEAR (you know, "He is a God Fearing Man") to keep you in line. When they can control your body and your thougths (ALA Orwell's "Thought Police") - they have you in a strangle hold. You are open to sexual repression, feelings of inadequacies that is intended to make you feel unworthy of success, and to open your pocketbook and personal schedule to their manipulation.

When you join the military, you enter into a contract with the U.S. government. They own your body for an agreed period of time. They can legally destroy you. They can order you into a situation that will get you killed - you know it, they know it and there is nothing you can do about it. They have used that excuse for doing medical experimentaion on soldiers.

When you "sign your contract" (give your heart over to Jeeesuuus) with the christian leaders, you give them your body AND your mind. They have a blank check with your life. Do you understand what I am saying? They will use you until there is nothing left.

You Said:
"Im also confused by the fact that if a christian dies they dont know if they are going to heaven or hell. I though if they acknowledge and worship God and ask for forgiveness for their sins then they supposedly go to heaven."

It should be crystal clear. Consider the premise that Jeffrey Dahmer is now going to heaven because he said the "sinner's prayer" before he died. That is a certainty in Christian belief. Just follow a simple series of statements, essentially confessing your sins, repent and ask for Jesus to enter your heart, and you are "in like Flint". No question, Jeffrey Dahmer (you know, the mass murderer / cannibal) went to heaven (according to them).

The problem begins when you are informed that you can become a "back-sliding" christian. Go too far and you can loose your salvation. According to them, I have crossed the line. I have lost my salvation. Anytime that you are not being the "christian that you can be", you are a backslider. So, who's interpretation? Anyone who wants to call you a backslider! Get it! It is ALL ABOUT CONTROL!!!

I say it again:

I was born OK, the first time

Luci, you only live on this earth once (unless you believe the Buddha). You have one shot. Don't let someone steal it from you!

Luci said...

Hi,
thanks for your comments Bob.
It sounds like you had a bad experience as a christian.
How contradictory that God is supposedly loving but as a christian you live in fear of doing the wrong thing. Sounds like a dictatorship to me.
I feel alot better now about being an atheist.
Have any of you heard about the shark attack on a woman off Queensland, Australia. This woman was a devout christian and her friends are focussing on the fact that she was at peace just before she died because god was there with her.
they dont question why she was mauled by a pack of sharks and had her arms torn off. Youd think theyd ask why god would allow one of his devout followers to have such a horrible death.
I went to the Ebon Musings website and I was reading christian excuses as to why god doesnt show himself. It was mind boggling to read that one reason was..god wants people to make the choice to worship him, not to feel obliged to worship him if he showed himself. Hello? How is it a choice if, if you dont worship god you are threatened with eternal damnation and other punishments..sounds like you really have free will.
I also read a good article that goes through the history from the garden of Eden going on about all gods stuff ups like if someone was sinning why didnt god just correct their flaws since he made them flawed in the first place. it also makes fun of the fact that god punishes innocent people for the sins of corrupt people like killing the first born children in Egypt and wiping out innocents in the flood.
It was interesting how god sent satan and the other angels to hell to punish them for rebellion but allowed them to leave whenever they wanted to corrupt his creations.Considering he stuffed up in his creation and made them flawed (rebelling and sinful) why punish his creations for his screw up. Also, if he wanted his creations to worship him why didnt he program this in when he was creating them. Also funny how he can stay dormant for centuries then show himself and his miracles...his ever absent miracles.
Its such a joke.
luci

Ben said...

Hi folks, I just returned from Mr. Wheatons website, I think this guy is a fundy in disquise trying to convert people into christianity. He has a major link to Willcreek Church, a full blown fundy brainwashing church, with Wheaton posted as a regular guest speaker, I smell fundy rat on this one. Another snake in the grass.

Billy Wheaton said...

Ben,
I just read your post and all the rest, this site is fascninating. My web site is relatively new and trying to figure it out as I go. Yet, your comment concerns me. Why, because my purpose of showing belief in biblical inerrancy to be the linch-pin for Evangelical Christianity. The link to Willow Creek show how important this belief to inerrancy is to Evangelicals. Inerrancy shows at the top of nearly all Evangelical Christian doctrines. The truth is whether Jesus was real or not, I think he is a fascinating character who might be worthy of emulating. So might Winston Churchill, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, etc. I'm not writing on my site billywheaton .com for Exchristian but for christians. I've been X for too long now though, and realize most will never have any contrary thought entire there mind without having some ritual cleansing mechanism - like prayers or chants of bible verses. I know christians believe like this, don't let yourself fall into this rush to judgment trap. After all, why are you afraid?
Sincerely, Xchristian who hates rash judgments in all forms.
billy from billy wheaton. com

Indeed, the first FIRST lines of my website are:
Evangelical Christians fervently believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Most are convinced that no successful refutation has ever been given. Yet, even a cursory review of evidence about the Bible shows precious little to support the claims made by Evangelical Christians. As well, an overwhelming amount of evidence clearly refutes Evangelical claims of Biblical inerrancy (Inerrancy means without error). The evidence puts this belief in the realm of fantasy. Despite the evidence, Evangelical Christians elevate the belief of Biblical inerrancy to the highest level of importance. Indeed, “Teaching straight from the Word of God” conveys the highest level of approval from an Evangelical Christian. But, this view of Biblical inerrancy remains highly vulnerable. To protect this belief, Evangelical Christians engage in a whole host of activities to avoid an open and honest discourse on their views about the Bible. These behaviors, I will show, are profoundly harmful to the individual and society. This harm is difficult for many Evangelical Christians to comprehend or accept. In order to sustain their belief in Biblical inerrancy, many Evangelical Christians will unwittingly behave like someone with a serious addiction.
I agree now, the Willow Creek link could be misleading as a criticism it is well taken, but if I want blanket close minded rationalisations, I'll go back to church. No thanks.
Do I sound bitter. Well after all these years it still pisses me off.

Ben said...

Mr. Wheaton, I 'm sorry you took offence at my comments, but what is one expected to think when they go to a websight with the main link going to a full fledged fundamentalist church with the Mission Statement:

WHAT WE BELIEVE as quoted:
The mission of Willow Creek Community Church is to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, which is uniquely God-inspired, without error, and the final authority on all matters on which it bears. As the Bible teaches, there is one God, eternally existing in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — each possessing all the attributes of a diety.

With you as a regular guest speaker.

Either you have the wrong websight here, or you are a confused person.

I would be willing to bet that most persons posting on this websight, me included, do not ascribe to the bible and it's teachings neither do we link any god with the written word.

We believe that the bible is the inspired works of man, fear driven men, with a world view of over 2000 years ago. Having this belief does not in anyway make us unmorale, as most christians would have one to believe.

There is not a person that has ever walked the great Earth or lived, that did not know right from wrong, from day one, every person born has the instilled knowledge from birth, of right from wrong, some people tend to ignore this knowledge and do very bad things, some get away with it and some have to pay the price with laws of the land. You can call this built in knowledge from god or a god if you want to, but there cannot be a bible god that lives in a book and taken from a book written down by a man.

There cannot be a god that has predestined every movement, every thought, every living being and leave his thoughts and devises to a faulty human, thats why you say it's errant, we say it's all errant, not one word can be depended upon as being the absolute truth.

If there is a unique creator, this creator has all knowledge, all things, all knowledge, already packaged with the product, why create the whole universe and inspire a work to be done, leaving questions, errors, instilling hatred, allowing different denominations, unanswered questions, unbelievable tales, talking snakes, virgin births, etc.?

We refuse to believe that there exist a god this stupid. I'm sorry Mr. Wheaton, but I think you got alot of mental and physical work to do before you can come on a exchristian website and try to convince us that your bible god may be in error, but yet that we must believe that Jesus was god in disquise, and that we must believe just the true parts that you suggest that we believe. Good Day !

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

Okay, now I'm confused. Billy are an "ex-christian" or not. One part of you slams fundamentalists and another part is this (your post, your webblog):

"Friday, January 13, 2006
Francis Schaeffer, Like Bible, "Inspired by God," Dr. James Dobson declares!

Dr. James Dobson identifies new gospel that he believes “God inspired”. Dr. James Dobson, describing Francis Schaeffer’s 1982 recorded message at Coral Ridge Baptist Church in Florida, says, “I believe is inspired by God.” This of course is great news as inspired literature and media constitutes the works of the Bible. God, yes God, God the Almighty God inspired Francis Schaeffer’s speech! Let us all spread this news! Twenty-three years have passed and all have not heard the new Gospel! You can listen here
Brought to you by BillyWheaton from BillyWheaton.com
billy@billywheaton.com

posted by Billy Wheaton @ 3:05 PM 3 comments"

Hey (the real) Ex-Christians,

Dr. James Dobson!?! Focus on the family James Dobson? Who are you kidding, Billy? Everyone, go to: http://www.family.org/. Dr. James Dobson is one of the biggest assholes around, right up there with Pat Robertson. This clown is a regular on right-wing radio programs and contributes material to right-wing talkradio stations.

How else can I take this? Are a "wolf in sheep's clothing"? I really don't get you. You can take your James Dobson, your compassionate-conservative (or are you some kind of compassionate-christian - another oxymoron) babble, and find the door, sir!

Billy Wheaton said...

Apparently you all didn't get the memo, my goal is to emphasize to Evangelical Christian-- not already Exchristian --- that Biblical inerrancy whether they like it or not is the MAIN focus of the faith. Thus, not Jesus or the other crap. The link to Willow Creek is to show Evangelicals that yes in fact most churches list Biblical inerrancy at or near the list of important feature about their faith
Believe it or not, I don't think most Evangelical realize how much time, effort and money goes into propping up this belief.
The Dr. Dobson link shows just how ridiculous calling the Bible "inspired" is as this prominent Evangelical Dr Dobson throws it around on old tape recordings. It is insane to think that tape was inspired by god. But, as I'm trying to appeal to Evangelical to see the harm of this view, I felt leaving it linger in their thoughts to provide more opportunity for ego-dystonic thoughts.
As well, you can read what I feel about biblical inerrancy in a long essay on my website at billywheaton.com/mission.html

Regardless, I've used your derision to improve my site, as you could check. Of course, your thought would be more appreciated if not harshly and rashly judgmental. But, I was an Evangelical Christian long enough to be used to that kind of Shit.
Thanks again billywheaton from billy wheaton.com

Dave8 said...

Billy, just want to throw my two cents in. If the bible is removed as inerrant, then how should the bible be accepted by the liberal christian. How does a christian "know" jesus, if they aren't capable of "knowing" jesus from an inerrant source?

If a christian can't support the "fact", that jesus was a demi-god per the inerrant bible, then how do they remain "Christ"ians? Just curious, as it appears that you have to offer some alternative to the bible in order for the more orthodox christians to hold onto their faith.

This goes back, to the root of what makes a christian... a christian.

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

Okay, second try - the blog entry form just dumped 20 minutes of work... Excuse me if I am not thorough (the thorough version just got dumped).

Dave8: Yes, is this guy promoting a non-evangelical version???

Billy: Your website looks the same. I don't have time to read all the way through to figure out if you are being "tongue-in-cheek".

In your original "story" you say that you are an "exchristian", may I assume that all christian faiths are potentially dangerous from your perspective?

We are good gatekeepers of what enters our mind, we learned the hard way. I've only been here a short time and the pattern suggests that the folks here get hit by all kinds of attacks by christians (some of the them trying to hide as something else.)

This place is becoming a support group for me. Imagine a support group for alcoholics. Now and then, the door swings open and people show-up. Some of them want to talk about the latest mixed drink, the great taste of wine, or how beer drinkers make better lovers. We are here to talk about the hurt and disgust we have because of the christian faith.

Your site has a lot to read and is pretty misleading. I don't have time to figure it out - I'm still trying to get through all of the posts on this site (an immediate concern of mine.) Excuse me if you took offense and your intentions are good.

Ben said...

Dear Mr. wheaton, I went back viewed and read your site, although I applaud your effort, I suspect you apparently haven't frequented this website very often. IMHO, this website gives by example from seasoned exchistians that post on here regularly, a wide plethora of examples of how the bible could not possibly be the innerant word from a god, and by most definitions have solidly proved without a doubt that the bible is not the written word from a celestial god. Your website seems to make an attempt to mirror the theme of this website, so you have no one to convience of your convictions here. I would suggest a bolder approach like main title page, CHRISTIAN NO MORE, or THE BIBLE IS A LIE, JESUS WAS A FRAUD, provide a forum so that they can voice their past experiences, to see that it is just not you, that think the bible is a fraud.

If you want to attract extians, if you are looking to lure fundy christians then make your main page, WHY I BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS TRUE, or I LOVE JESUS, or JESUS SAVES, be sure to leave a space for the love offerings that you'll receive.

We've had so many christians come on here telling us that they know why we never accepted the bible as true, was because we were never saved in the first place.

I think that we can agree that the bible is bunk, the bible is the whiteman's fantasy book, passed down through the generations as being pure fact, there is no way that the bible could be pure fact.

I think you should state your postion and website more boldly and directly to the point, for what it's worth. Best Of Luck To Ya.

Billy Wheaton said...

Dave8, Bob( tshirt, etc) and Ben, I do appreciate your being here and your criticism. But despite 20 years of not believing crap I'm still sensitive to fully overblown quick judgment. After all we have all heard the idiots who say maybe you were never "really a christian" or "back-slidden" or "doubting" or christian going to a "liberal" college. Regardless, the ad hominem arguments Bob and Ben gave remind me too meuch of Evangelicals. Ad hominem arguments seem to be less common amongst Xchristians.
Anyway, I'm still likely too sesitive to attack of me personally as a ligitimate argument against my ideas or evidence.
I'm still scared of the potential horrors I could experience at the hand of manaical christians that u cannot possibly think I use my real name.
Billywheaton ironic combination of Billygraham and Wheaton College. Im a physician who practices in the rural south. My real identity and even minimal notoriety would be more then I want to deal with right now.
I'm sorry if im overly sensitive and hope to still find some sanity after all these years.
I like most of you found incredible personal inner peace when I decided to give up christianity for lent one year (Throwing the Baby out with the bath water, hehe. But I also felt alone. This site is virtually my first experience with previous christian that have truly been "born-again" as Xchristians
Peace out billywheaton

and Ben, I didnot know about this website when I first posted mine a few weeks ago. My site is intended to attract christians who are thinking about or ready to give up evangelical christianity addiction. But, maybe that should be stated more clearly on my web site

Dave8 said...

Hey Bob, yes, I am not sure where Billy is going with his site.

In truth, many of the orthodox christians I know, have had to forcefully detach themselves from this reality through reinforcement methods. Logic is one of the tools in the process of reinforcement, its typically used to rationalize the belief in the face of "all" the overwhelming evidence.

Logic is the tool... rationalization is the product. In order for Billy to remove the need for fundamentalists to require "evidence" to support their "faith", he will have to remove the logic "tool", or expose how rationalizing can become manipulated to produce ill effects. As there is no difference between rationalizing between those who want to commit murder, and those who can rationalize the illogical belief in an unprovable god.

There are many other reasons fundamentalists are in their state of mind. Many grow up, being exposed to an "authority" figure before they are tainted with illogical information. Therefore, these children look for "authority", as a pillar to support their castle of belief... as they can rationalize the rest away, as a matter of fact, I know many fundamentalists who haven't even studied their bible from a history perspective or from any other academic perspective.

However, they don't need to... they believe they have been given the inerrant bible, based on "authority", and one should "never" question authority. The fundamentalists I know, live in very rural areas and have had very strict upbringing with authoritative father figures.

My point with Billy was... in order to remove the bible in these fundamentalists' lives, he is going to have to give a "logical" reason, as they have logically associated authority with their belief, as to why they don't need to base their "faith", on "authority".

Its the "authoritative" foundation that transfers into society that is repugnant to many. In short, the fundamentalists typically "believe" that their religion is based on a "higher authority", and its that state of mind, that causes them to be "rigid" with others of divergent "faith", even within their "own" religion.

A liberal christian, who holds their "faith", totally based on "hope", and "desire" (an entirely different debate), is seen by the fundamentalist as "hurting" their cause, as the liberal christian can't stand on "personal authority", and still be a true christian, as fundamentalists don't believe anyone has the "authority" to qualify the bible or denounce the bible as the literal and inerrant word of a god.

So, in affect, the fundamentalists, based on their upbringing... logically support their faith based on "authority"... they associate "authority" to the "bible" as "self-authoritative", and whallah, a circular argument, i.e., 'the bible is the most authoritative (correct and valid), work by god on this earth, because the bible says so"...

If the fundamentalists are going to be "swayed", to confront their "faith", then there had better be a solution to their "authority complex". However, that would require de-programming and serious one-on-one counseling. And, of course, a person can't change if they don't see a problem.

To some fundamentalists, the questioning of "authority", is all inclusive... question the authority of the bible, you may as well be questioning the authority of their own parents. There is research on certain generations being more exposed and influenced by "authority", in more economically trying times in the U.S.

It would be interesting to see if there are christians are willing to accept that they have a belief, totally based on "faith", with no supporting "authority", besides their own personal "hope", and "desires". I still see that brand of thinking as, someone trying to fit their "reality", into a myth, and we all know that that leads to further despair in this reality.

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

Billy, my ad hominen attack was against James Dobson - he actually deserves it. Ad Hominen arguments are against the person and not their position. What I was asking for was a clarification on your position. If you take my invitation to the door as a personal attack, please view it as an attack on a christian-conservative position (should you possess one).

Thanks again for staying with the process. I now understand that your website came before you found out about exchristians.net. It is apparent that your original intent was to engage in conversation with practicing evangelicals regarding the bible.

Some people here take a scholarly approach, some are more conversational. Either way, everyone makes themselves pretty clear on where they stand. I thought I understood your stand when I read it the first time. I looked at your site and then I got myself confused.

May we, finally, assume that you do not support any christian faith?

If there is anything to fear on this site, I venture to say, it isn't the exchristians. Now that the President feels he has the legal right to spy on Americans, I suspect it will be the christians who feel threatened by our presence - which you also seem to suspect. We really seem to be a friendly bunch - if I may include myself in "we" - I have looked over past posts to get a sense of the demeanor around here. I think that we are actually quite civil to the passing attackers. Try not to "project" their methods onto us.

Please accept again, my humble newbie welcome to the group.

Dave8 said...

Billy, why do people "need" to defend their "faith"? Isn't it just enough to say, they have "faith"? This "need" to validate their belief, because they are logically compelled to do so, causes illogical rationalization.

There are internal pressures to push people to come up with reasons to validate their own beliefs, i.e., natural logic. There are external pressures to push people to accept a belief, based on "authority", and the reinforcement, to "not" question authority. But... there are also those, who are directly confronted by society, when they "attempt" to establish laws and policy that is against federal or state law.

Typically, those who are in the first two categories, if they kept their own belief to themselves then all would be well, for the most part. However, its not that easy. Many, fundamentalists, especially in the Texas area, are pushing bible study, etc., into the classrooms as elective credits, etc. They get away with it, because they list the course as an "elective", and its not mandated. These are the issues that call into question the motives of the blind followers of religion. The relentless, unending attack on civil liberties, and the right to "not" be exposed to religion, and when I say exposed, I mean, a child going to school having to walk past a bible class, and never being exposed to an alternative religious view in equal depth. The fundamentalists want to not only worship, they have a written goal of converting everyone to christianity, and that... is totally "authoritative"... they would like nothing more than to recreate the theocracy of Rome, in the U.S. Its that demeanor, that makes many stand up, and defend their right to "not" believe, and keep religion out of government and public education, etc.

The problem of course, is that if fundamentalists don't perpetuate their belief system, it will cease to exist, and therefore, they have their claws into anything that will keep their extreme views of religion alive. Its ironic, that the fundamentalists despise the liberal christians, as they see them as nothing but a stones' throw away from secularism. See ya' around...

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

Hi Dave8,

I was writing a response to Billy when your post arrived. You bring up some really good points.

You Said: "To some fundamentalists, the questioning of "authority", is all inclusive... question the authority of the bible, you may as well be questioning the authority of their own parents."

How convenient it is to have a Commandment (no less) to honor your mother and father. Of course, "you shall place no god before me" bolsters the authority theme. They must cringe everytime they see a "Question Authority" bumper sticker go by.

You Said: "I know many fundamentalists who haven't even studied their bible from a history perspective or from any other academic perspective." That is that "educated idiot" detesting faction within the fundamentalists that I have referred to in past posts. Our Presidents' popularity with rural constituents is partly because of his intellectual laziness. He can't be bothered with reading important documents - neither can they.

You Said: "My point with Billy was... in order to remove the bible in these fundamentalists' lives, he is going to have to give a "logical" reason, as they have logically associated authority with their belief, as to why they don't need to base their "faith", on "authority"."

Billy has his hand's full. After the last invite, I hope that he can clarify his position here. Arguing with fundamentalists reminds me of the old adage "never argue with a four year old." They'll just keep going back to the same simple taped recording that continues to run through their brain.

It confounds me how they keep pointing to this "fact": that somehow, God would never allow a fallicy to have been slipped into the bible. From what I was taught, God would have killed anyone before they were successful. I was also taught that those who lead people away from salvation would be terminated by the "big guy". Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert are still sucking air, hmmm...

Dave8 said...

Hey Bob, I agree, honor mom and pop, and don't talk back. The fundamentalists are in the rural areas typically, and this is typically the issue. Of course, the figure Jesus questioned pop, while he was on the cross, i.e., father why hast thou forsaken me ;-)

Its a hard nut to crack psychologically, to remove the "its right because I said its right", mentality. All the abuse that goes on in rural communities, children grow up having to rationalize "why" they must do things or be treated poorly. Hence, they finally use logic to grab onto "authority", because mom and dad wouldn't do anything to hurt me. To call into question "authority", for many people who live in small rural southern states, its calling into question their treatment while growing up. In short, if the argument from authority is dispensed with, a person may revert back and have to face the "abuse", they received as a child, and sadly, its more painful for many than just continuing to "believe" and "rationalize", to keep them mentally balanced.

Yep, whoever is trying to un-repress a fundamentalists belief system, had better be prepared to conduct in-depth psychological counseling. An apt analogy, would be, the psychologist placing a temporary jack (something that is just as stable as "authority", perhaps trust in the psychologist, etc.), under the car (Cognitive Process), and then slowly removing the flat tire (illogical "authority" support, or "might makes it right"). Once the flat tire is removed, a new one has to be provided.

"Trust", is imperative, if a person is going to attempt one-on-one counseling. Writing a book, isn't going to do the trick, there has to be serious self-involvement in a deprogramming process. A person can't change, what they can't accept as a problem.

During a session, if a counselor attempts to "show" a person, their flawed past, the person is going to feel like they're being victimized.

Why? Because they are represing hurt, shame, guilt, and skeletons, and really what a counselor is asking the person to do, is un-repress all of that hurt, in order to live a less repressed life.

However, telling a victim of abuse, that they should open up, clean out the wound, and then tell them that they should still have the same belief? Me thinks, not a lot of people are going to see the effort worthy, why open up to all of that pain and suffering, to only return back with the same "fundamental" belief. The only possibility is to provide them with something totally new and different... pure logic and reasoning, and many hours of therapy.

Its kind of weird for me to think from an authority perspective, my personality has me living outside of the box. But, attempting to empathize, I can see that removal of "authority" in a persons' life, is like removing the "linch-pin", that keeps the person mentally anchored. I can see removing that linch-pin, as nothing short of pushing someone to a mental crisis. Slipping off the tethers we create as children to hold us to this reality, places a person in a state where no boundaries exist, and no attachment.

That is pure fear, its nothing short of asking a person who doesn't know how to swim, to puncture their inflatable liferaft while in the ocean, with no land in sight. Those who have been driven to lose the raft, and have broken past the barrier of attachment, seem to live a life less complex, especially in the natural areas of concern, i.e., death, etc. Still, it causes other concerns, like, how to interact with those in society who are still white-knuckling the raft with everything they're worth.

Perhaps, Billy will be able to find a way to guide them through the process of Letting Go, however, in that process, many attachments are no longer necessary, i.e., god(s).

Billy Wheaton said...

Dave8, Bob and Ben,
I was originally making a website to deal with all the people I know who are still evangelical christians. For the most part, they are bright well educated people. Many are lawyers, doctors, politicians, etc. I found myself essentially beating my head against the wall. So, after a 20 year headache I decided to attempt to put my basic thought on a website and/or publish a book. I am nowhere near done. My intent was to be able to say, "if you want to talk about your 'faith,' then first read my website/book and then we can talk!" This would save me time, effort and frustation.

Many of these people who are my relatives. You cannot choose your parents, right?

Regardless, I have little hope of bringing an end to the insanity of evangelical christianity, but hope maybe a few people may benefit from my insights.

My site; billywheaton.com is specifically directed toward relatively bright group of evangelical christians who have the capacity to understand irony, abstract ideas (like ad hominem fallacies) and that their apologetics for their holy (as in many holes)bible holds no water. Obviously, the bible is as water tight as fish-net stockings.

My site is not directed toward non christians though I appreciate any insights u may have. But I don't expect at this early stage my arguments are water tight either.

My goal is to have my arguments and approach be first compassionate, as I think being hateful will get me nowhere. But, second I want my arguments to be, as my old first seargent used to say, "water tight like frog pus sy"

BEN said...

Billy, I'm glad you're making an attempt to enlighten evangelicals, but it will take volumes and volumes to undo the layers and years of brainwashing, and until they are ready to break away themselves, not even the keenist words and examples will they allow themselves to be free from the dogmatic disease, most are afraid that they will be struck down by lightning for wondering away from their hyponotic teachings. We're talking about mind control here, the most powerful weapon ever invented. Most are afraid to take a peek outside of their religion, because god will strike them down. In the news, a christian gets killed in a freak auto accident, God was punishing him for backsliding as told through the religious circles. The 12 coal miners families said Jesus needed them home and continue to worship this wonderful god and bless his holy name for looking out for them, go figure, and you said that you were trying convince intelligent people, look a GWB, intelligent? Hardly, what a task you have ahead of you, I wish you all the luck in the world, we get a few here that come around to their senses, but most want to spew their fire and brimstone judgement, as they have been programmed to do, and bolt away basking in their glory for jesus, we're talking about over 500 years of daily brainwashing from kin folk and now in last 50 years the media, it's to the point now that you are nothing to society unless you tout a religion as your anchor and daily guidance. Anti-christian views are not welcomed by the majority in the US. People have been programmed to believe that Atheists are Anti-christs, this keeps the money flowing into the preachers hands. Atheist's pose a great threat to religiosity we are the force to be reckoned with, we pose a threat to god's great christian army, god's warriors, whom stand for peace, justice and truth, if you will stand up for god, whom will stand against thee, so they've been told. Actually it's a lonely world to be an Atheist, but at least you're not surrounded by loonies professing to worship imaginary beings. I wish you well and good luck in breaking the barrier of mind control and total insanity of religion.

Dano said...

Billy Wheaton said:

"I'm still scared of the potential horrors I could experience at the hand of manaical christians that u cannot possibly think I use my real name.
Billywheaton ironic combination of Billygraham and Wheaton College. Im a physician who practices in the rural south. My real identity and even minimal notoriety would be more then I want to deal with right now."

Fugedaboutit Doc. To understand and differentiate all of the subtle and not too subtle, thought processes required to become a "Born Again Ex-Christian" requires more sophistication of mind than about 90% of your southern neighbors will ever have. I live in North Carolina, where they still have "Blue Laws"

All of my neighbors are decent hard working people (or at least their parents were), The Baptist church has been the cult of choice here for a couple of hunert years. These people have been baptized in the church, been buried there, showed off their new clothes there, found their girlfriends and boyfriends there, and listened to their good OLE boys preach there, and in general the church has been the place where the elite meet to greet for a long time.

They like guns, NASCAR, and they elected Bush, because he said he was born again. They will tell you in a NY minute that they "Don't come from no dang monkey"

If you are going to spread the word, down south, that the Bible is one of the worst pieces of fiction ever written, you have an uphill battle.

Ps I just read what Ben posted while I was composing my offering, and observed that he said approximately the same thing that I did. I also thought it strange that these people were meeting in a church and praising God for the miracle of sparing the one guy who is in a coma. What the fuck did the other 12 guys do to die such a horrible death? Oh well, they are home now with Jesus, and don't have to live in this sinful world any more. Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

Dano (Seventy year old rationalist, who has learned from the regulars on this site, and lives in a log cabin in NC)

jim earl said...

I have read most of the posts here and wanted to offer my two cents. I live in the south, (SC) own my own business, have my own blog and website, Freefish.us, and maintain a home with a baptist wife and two atheist sons, aged 17 and 20. My number one concern is weaning my wife off the bullshit of religion. If you log on to my website, I don't think you will have any question about where I stand when it comes to religion, the state of things in America, or anything else pertaining to religion. I don't care if I piss off religous people because they piss me off daily with their crap. IMHO, religion is the number one problem we face in the world today. How can we eradicate such a menace to society? By exposing it for the crap it is. As non-believers, it is imperative for us to speak out against this menace and do all we can to enlighten those around us. Not an easy task, but one worthy of our time. As Thomas Edison said, "Religion is bunk."

Capt. B. Cronkite said...

Billy boy, you’re a hoot, and all of your newly found liberated thinkers are also good for a few laughs. What a chuckle… “Evangelical Christians have behavior patterns that closely mimic someone with a serious addiction” …yes-indeedy-doo, a real knee slapper. Golly gee, Winifred, you’re not too judgmental, are you? What’s up, Bilko, did you get tired of trying to abide by the commonly understood principle of live and let live? Now you’ve gone and further cluttered up cyberspace with a ‘Billy’ sets us straight website. Hey, if I need another Savior (other than the One I have), I’ll rent an old ‘Billy Jack’ movie. WE DON”T NEED ANOTHER HERO, zero.

Deeply indebted, I’m sure!

Cap'n Buck

Billy Wheaton said...

Cap'n Buck,
Im sure u r a crischen man and feel reel good about it. So how bout u invite me to discuss r powerful god in the middle of yer cherch on sunday mornin. I'll giv ya a chance to accept that challenge. But, likely u wont even come back to this site and likely are a total coward. Not trying to be a hero Buck jus standin up to retard cowards like yerself.
billywheaton from billywheaton.com

$ Kills Religion said...

Want to kill religion? Use money. Amazing how simple that sounds. Money is the root of all evil per religion, and that's because its what can take religion out. Money equals needs being met, equals no need for religion.

Cap'n Got a Brain (AKA Bob) said...

Wow, another redneck with his fingers on his forehead in the shape of an "L". Next he'll tell us to go get a job. I guess the only way you can succede in this f**ked-up world is to get in line and follow the leader. Hey fundy sheep - your leaders deserve sooo much respect and are soooo worthy of being followed. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert, "W", DICK cheney, Dumsfeld,wow....If only I could be like you - brainwashed, brain dead and full of shit.

Look everyone, another "drive-by preaching"

Anonymous said...

billywheaton said: "But, likely u wont even come back to this site and likely are a total coward. Not trying to be a hero Buck jus standin up to retard cowards like yerself."

The guy probably won't come back, and why should he, he's already made you sink to his level.

Albert said...

I can see why otherwise intelligent people do not question the claims of religion. Much religion has a certain mystique and tradition about it and it can be intimidating to try to even challenge that. Secondly it can be hard to imagine that an enterprise that has taken up so much of humanity's time and effort could be THAT wrong. Thirdly to really take a good close look at religion requires a lot of time and effort and many people, as in many other areas of life, are simply not willing to make that effort and are quite happy to defer to the "experts". Afterall you only have so much time in life, you can't possibly check everything out for yourself.
Bottom line I've found is that religion only "works" if your beliefs are fairly superficial and you never examine them too closely.

Dano said...

BEN,
You said:
"We're talking about mind control here, the most powerful weapon ever invented"

60 minutes had a piece on North Korea last Sunday, and the were showing very carefully edited shots of the 60th Birthday of the revolution or something.

Talk about brainwashing! They have millions of people so brainwashed that they are virtually indistinguishable from mass produced robots. TOTALLY SCARY!

It appears that they start indoctrinating people when they are infants to believe that the pot bellied little pervert who took over from his father is a God.

If God ever shows up here on earth, I hope he takes a trip to North Korea first.
Dan

Dave8 said...

Hey Albert, I agree, it is natural for people to take the path of least resistence... If someone is leading and it doesn't appear to be doing them any harm, then why not follow. Hopefully, many more outspoken Atheists or non-secularists can speak out and break down the opposing resistence, that religions continually create.

Ben said...

Hi Dano, I saw the article also, down right scary. If religions requested that the church members goose stepping like that, then that is exactly what they would be doing too. Although the church has it's members so committed, they have them coerced into meeting every Sunday with their wallets, they never tell them to leave their money at home, I wonder why?

I told my parents that if everyone stood up on Sunday and told the preacher that, they were not going to pay him any more money, he would walk out and say you'll have to find another preacher. They said you're probably right, but none of them would ever consider such a thing, that would be blastphemy and anarchy against god.

Religion is mind control, by manipulation through words written down in a book over 2000 years ago. TC

freedy said...

Assuming cap'n buck was for real,..he is a fine example of how mean fundies can be.Some of the cruelest/coldest people on earth are christians and he is the the living proof! CAN I GET A AMIEN!!!

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

Amen, brother Freedy!!!

freedy said...

Hell-eluia!! Looks like I got a witness,brother..lets start an anti-church where we can gather and utilize the incredible human beings on this site.Man there is nothing out there for us and that is sad.George Carlin urges people to protest religion and churches instead of the Iraq war. What do you think? Would it do any good?
I thinking about it.freedy

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Buck or whoever was for real...but billywheaton came off equally bad...imho. Oh well, he should've been warned about some of the loons who post here.

othello said...

Cap'n Buck

Oatpaste not working for you anymore? Deep down at your core, you are one doubting Thomas.

Ben said...

Cap'n Buck sounds a lot like Bro. Hyman Roth. Hyman must have made a new tunnel under the mental ward and escaped again. Hyman makes his escape about once a month, long enough to get himself to a computer, and then the bonko squad starts looking for him, and he is put back into the pink rubber room again until he squirms his way out of his straight jacket, and then starts a new underground tunnel, and of course his first priority is to get to a computer and post an ignorant comment on this website. What commitment Hyman has to this website.

FREEDY said...

Those crazy fundies,..what lenghts they'll go too just to be with we, who have escaped the loony bin of churchanity. This indead is a sign that we have something they want badly,.......FREEDOM!!!!!!!!
I'm FREE----EEDY!!
( what bout you c'buck-o)

Ben said...

Billy I still believe that you are being quite pathetic by believing that one must be christ-like, alhough you believe that the bible is errant but one must believe in Jesus and be christ-like.

Most of us here no longer hold to the belief that the bible is the written word nor inspired word from any god, whereas you do, you still believe that garbage and you hold Billy Graham up on high.

You contend that the bible although inspired and errant, is the word from god and that Jesus's message is absolutely true.

We no longer believe that garbage, you're trying to get people to believe that Jesus was real, but just some parts of the bible may be accepted, (the one's you want people to believe.)

You're just concerned that people think that the bible is inerrant.

I still say you're a total religious fundy fraud. And yes I get it....I say the bible should be destroyed along with all religious books.

freedy said...

Liberal fundie,...thats a new one!1

Rutlage said...

I am an 83 year old scientist and although I've spent a lot of time in Church in deference to those belivers whom I love and respect, I've been an atheist all of my life. I've read with interest much of the material in this forum and intend to read more. One point I would like to make is that science is not a religion. It is not a system of belief but a system of inquiry. It does not claim to be infallible but seeks continuously to validate its conclusions and reserves the right to be proven absolutely wrong without censure. Another thing I would like to say is that I agree with Cain, I'm not my brother's keeper . Every individual has a right to get through lifr the best way he can as long as he does not infringe on the rights/rites of others. It is only when they act in concert do fanatics becime dangerous to society, I am content to leave prosylitizing to the church. Of course, at my age most of this is moot. For me it's one day at a time.

Rutlage said...

I have a personal question for Billy Wheaton. It may sound off the wall but it is serious: Did you ever makes two holes in one in one 18 hole round of golf? I once knew a Billie Wheaton who did that and made all the local sports pages.

Billy Wheaton said...

I'm still scared of the potential horrors I could experience at the hand of manaical christians that u cannot possibly think I use my real name.
Billywheaton ironic combination of Billygraham and Wheaton College. Im a physician who practices in the rural south. My real identity and even minimal notoriety would be more then I want to deal with right now. Billy

Dano said...

Rutlage,
Good then. You are 83 and we agree on the basics. You are testimony to the fact that it is possible to live at least 13 more years than I have, and still be able to make clear and concise statements of fact ( You said: "One point I would like to make is that science is not a religion. It is not a system of belief but a system of inquiry. It does not claim to be infallible but seeks continuously to validate its conclusions and reserves the right to be proven absolutely wrong without censure")

If I were shown one piece of verifiable evidence that the Jesus story was true, or any of the magical things in the bible, such as heaven, hell, Satan, angels, miracles, I would, along with you and every agnostic, be running to get in line for paradise.

As far as being our brothers keeper. We were created with an instinct to survive and reproduce at all costs. I suppose that if the survival of our species were at stake there might be a case made for self sacrifice, but that would have to be a personal choice. The shamans, priests and popes don't have a right to make those decisions for us.
Dan

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