For the first time, I feel free

Sent in by Brian B

When I was 4 years old, my dad came into my room just before bedtime, and made me kneel with him and close my eyes. Then he guided me through the basic conversion prayer, despite my having no idea what the hell I was even saying. I mimiced his words-meaingless to me, of course- and he said I had just accepted Jesus into my heart. Thus began my Christian life.

Even at a young age, I could sense the tension between what a Christian should believe and what everyone else believed. Being very much interested in dinosaurs, I began reading books about them at age 6, and page after page claimed these beasts had died 65 million years ago. Meanwhile, at church I was told about a perfect garden where everone lived together only 6000 years ago. Obviously both stories could not be true, but my six-year old brain couldn't comprehend a non-christian mindset at that point. So I did what many intelligent, thinking Christians do. I divided my brain in half, with my faith brain on one side and my thinking brain on the other. The 2 had a mutual agreement never to touch each other.

This worked out pretty well for a while. But entering my teen years, I noticed something didn't feel right. The church I went to was very much in the modern, quasi-pentacostal tradition, with a loud, rock n roll band (which I was frequently a part of), and from there I got to see how people behaved during the songs. They raised their hands, they shouted, they fell to their knees, and they wept. Basically they lost control of thier minds. I always thought they looked so damned ridiculous, but I kept my mouth shut.

I never personally wanted to act like that, and I began to feel like if I didn't act like that, then I wasn't a real Christian. When we went to conferences and retreats, leaders would always tell us about "interactive prayer" and how if we meditated right, God would literaly "speak" to us, putting His words in our brains and giving us images from Him. I watched as thousands of people had "visions" from God.

When I was about 18 years old, 2 things happened: First, I got baptized, and second, I began to research evolution for myself. The more I studied the subject as written by mainstream scientists, I began to realize what a childish myth the creation story really is. After I admitted the fallibility of the first book of the bible, I saw no reason to respect or revere what was written on any of the other pages. From there I began to see that the "morals" in the bible were really very cruel and anti-human. I also realized, that although most of the Christians I knew were extremely nice, they didn't really follow a lot of the rules in the bible either, particularily the ones concerning women.

Of course nice people can't follow the bible. If they did, they wouldn't be nice. And since I wanted to be a truly good person, I decided to chuck the bible altogether and pick up the much more dignifying and life-affirming morals of secular humanism. And since I've always been skeptical of supernatural claims, and since I never really "felt" the presence of any god, It wasn't too hard to chuck the idea of Jesus as God himself. The final decision was made about a month ago. Now I'm stuck at this private Christian school full of people with infuruatingly narrow minds. Only 3 more months...

Now I can finally see my faith for what it was... pure and simple brainwashing and indoctrination. I feel incredibly stupid for having believed this stuff for so long. But for the first time, I feel free. And that feeling makes this all worth it.

46 comments:

bently said...

That is exactly what religions represent (brainwashing).

We all learned to speak English (or insert your native language) fluently by 5 or 6 years old, we did not need to read a book to do this, but we learned by mimicking and repeating the sounds that we heard from other people.

The Bible is learned the same way either by hearing and repeating or by reading the Bible.

Had no one ever heard of the Bible, there would be no one repeating what it says.

There's no other way to learn about the Bible except by repeating what you've heard others say or by reading the Bible.

No one was born with a pre-existing knowledge of the Bible, it is either spread oraly by other humans or read by one's self.

Had we in America been born in Iran, then we all would be speaking Arabic and praising Allah.

All religions and beliefs are learned through indoctrination and mimicking what we have heard and percieved to be the truth.

Now when we discover on our own, that it's all bullshit and tell Christians what we've discovered, they tend to get upset and very mad and rude and hostile towards us.

The Bible was brought over here by Christopher Columbus in 1492, before then, there had never been a Bible nor a church on American soil.

Columbus was on a mission to save the infidels from hell and to conquer lands, Columbus predicted the end of time to be within 150 years of his life time.

jim earl said...

Hello, "for the first time".

Welcome to the real world.

I have a son about your age. I never tried to force any beliefs on him when he was a child. I was determined to let him make up his own mind about religious matters. I answered his questions the best I could and today he is a senior in high school with no delusions or faith in any religion. I am obviously very proud of him. He goes to a public school but is surrounded by ignorance much the same as you are. That is something you can't get away from in this world. But you don't have to join in the ignorance as you are aware of. Be strong and good luck in the future. You have much to be proud of.

Leonard said...

It´s true, isn´t it, that most Christians are perfectly nice people (well... at least decent. About as decent as a secular humanist :) ) in spite of their religion.

As long as people keep treating their religion as it should be treated (as a teddy bear which comforts you when it´s cold and dark and you are scared) everything is OK, I should think.
It´s when they start taking it seriously when things go wrong.

I mean, a normal person would be seriously freaked out if their teddy bear started to talk to them. We know what happens to people who listen to their teddy bear.

freedy said...

"Nice people can't follow the bible,...if they did they wouldn't be nice.

So true! Believe me when I say, I knew plenty of "really mean" xtians.Guess they were the real christians,...huh? The nice ones were just posers.

Anonymous said...

You didn't say where you were going to school but I can recommend that you get out of that area and head towards a major city area, if you can.

In LA, SF, NY, you do not have nearly the same level of crazy religion as the smaller areas. LA has scientology but I don't really see it much. I know a lot of atheists and I did not actively seek them out. Once I started suggesting I don't believe in all that stuff, other people admitted the same. There are christians here, but they are not as kookie as you find in less 'progressive' parts of the country.

On the other hand maybe you can question people's convictions where you are and help change the country :) We could really use it.

I must admit I got beat up when I was 18 just for questioning the wisdom of the bible. That was in Fort Lauderdale.

I think its a problem that liberals 'tolerate' religion and respect it. We don't really see the kind of craziness you see in Jesus Camp and so we think everything is ok, religion is harmless. It's anything but.

We need public service announcements, we need public education, we need to push science back into the forefront. We need active campaigning to spread the anti superstition message.

Anonymous said...

I'm still a Christian but have to agree with your comments about the farce the Penecostals call a church. The only difference between their services and a rolling stones concert is they don't have the same number in attendence. Personally I prefer Rod Stewart. Not quite as crazy as what you put up with and a lot more fun to sing Maggie.

Micah Cowan said...

After I admitted the fallibility of the first book of the bible, I saw no reason to respect or revere what was written on any of the other pages.…

Of course nice people can't follow the bible. If they did, they wouldn't be nice.

Those two sentences, especially, describe my journey away from Christianity (well, for me, it wasn't the first book, but a couple of other verses I couldn't resolve). I have a responsibility to myself not to live under delusion, and I was not willing to taint any humanitarian pursuits with the compulsion to give glory for them to a God I wasn't sure I believed in anymore (and am now entirely certain I don't believe in anymore).

Anonymous said...

Brian, thanks for your story. You don't say exactly what you are up to so I'm guess last year of highschool.

Your story is very similar to mine. I need to warn you here. You aren't an independent adult yet, you have entered a difficult period, your decisions now affect the rest of your life. If you create split with your family this could jepodise your futre, education, job prospects etc. I was under extreme pressure to go to the church college - that would have been a disaster. Fortunately my parents relented and supported me through the local state university but I had to tolerate living in a Christian home as a student. If I had to move out and get a job things would have been very difficult for me.

I don't know your situation, and I don't want to lecture you. I just want to offer my support.

brettr

Bryan B said...

Thanks for your concern anonymous, but you got a couple things wrong:
First, I'm 19 and I'm in my second year of university.
Second, I decided to attent this school when I was still a Christian, so I'm here by my choice, in a way.
Third, I'm Canadian, and secularism here is much more accepted here so it likely will not affect my education, career options, ect.
And my parents have offered me unconditional support no matter what I believe. thanks for the advice though, I really do appreciate it.
-Bryan B

Anonymous said...

Every one have their opinions about Jesus Christ, until you face a life and death situation I guess some fools will never give God the praise for His Son. God is real and you can only realizew this when you began to stop being foolish about what the Bible states. People write articles and books all the time, in this world you got to hold to something that makes since. When I went to the doctor, in 1989 the doctor told me that I was going to have a serious operation, and my husband and I prayed and he laid his hands on me believe that God would heal me and Praise God He did. Many other testomial that I can give, but some people are so foolish to the Word of God, that they will not let Him in their hearts. Like the person that talking about slaves, slaves means under the submission to Christ Himself.

boomSLANG said...

Fundonymous said: Every one have their opinions about Jesus Christ, until you face a life and death situation I guess some fools will never give God the praise for His Son.

Check this out---there is not one single shred of empirical evidence for the existance your God, his son, nor their "ghost(s)"..m'kay? And this is no more an "opinion" than me saying there is no empirical evidence for Poseiden. So---you can "praise" until talking donkeys fly home...your God and his bastard son don't exist anywhere outside your head.

Fundonymous said: God is real and you can only realizew this when you began to stop being foolish about what the Bible states

Bzzzzzzt! NO, I'm sorry...God is NOT real, and you can only realize this when you begin to see that it's what the bible states, that is "foolish". Yes, and the sooner one stops relying on others to TELL them what the bible says, and actually read for themselves, the sooner they can begin to see what a bunch of primative non-sensical legendary horse shit it is. Talking snakes, talking vegetation, and talking domestic donkeys?? FOOLISH. Firmament holding up the "water" in sky? FOOLISH. Geocentric flat earth? FOOLISH. Ghosts, unicorns, swimming hammers, witch doctors? F-O-O-L-I-S-H. Stick in your memory bank.

Fundy: When I went to the doctor, in 1989 the doctor told me that I was going to have a serious operation, and my husband and I prayed and he laid his hands on me believe that God would heal me and Praise God He did.

Tell ya what...next time?... don't even go to a doctor, okay? Hell no, get down on your knees, and commence to your "divine begging", and see who the "fool" is.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

Hey ya'll!!! I'm a Christian who believes this stuff!

Are you reading now.....

Hey Brian. Thanks for sharing. I'm just curious though....you mentioned that you felt stupid for believing Christianity. Do you think everyone who has a Christian world and life view is stupid? I felt as if you did. What about Blaise Pascal? He was a great Christian and also a very smart man. Others such as Isaac Newton, J.S. Bach, JRR Tolkein, Abraham Kuyper and Flannery O'Conner were all Christians and very brillant.

To say that if you believe the claims of Christ then you are stupid is not fair. It would also not be fair on my part to say that if you didn't believe in Christianity then you are stupid. There are certainly many smart people who didn't (Don't) believe one thing about Jesus. (Stephen Hawking, Einstein, F. Neitzchie to name a few)

I personally have a Christian world and life view. I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with Christianity so far. It really pisses me off that many Christians carry around their faith like that. I know some people can be idiots about their faith. They mean well, but can give off a bad stench sometimes.

I think if you really look at Jesus you'll see that he was a wild man! (I mean that in a good way.) If He were alive today, He would probably be in a bar somewhere, hanging out with people telling them about a King and a Kingdom that is coming. He would probably be spending time with prostitues telling them about a Father who loves them. I imagine they would be hanging on every word he said. I imagine some of them would be crying as He talked.

I think you too mean well and are not an evil person at all. Just know that just as you said, "I feel free." I too feel free as well. This might seem hard to believe because I probably believe the very things you now do not believe. Just don't leave the faith based on a few idiots who have misrepresented Jesus.

Wow...I talked way too long. Sorry....

tigg13 said...

Ok! Now we have the wild-and-crazy barfly jesus. Let's just add him to list of other jesuses, shall we. You know, the list that includes:

The divine jesus
The rabbi jesus
The caucasian jesus
The black jesus
The female jesus
The gay jesus (one of my favorites)
The huckster jesus
The adopted jesus
The roman spy jesus
The jesus from the future
The jesus from planet X

And, the ever popular, jesus who never actually existed

Just to name a few.

xrayman said...

Great story Brian. Short and sweet and full of adventure with a wonderful ending.

To the second annymous....You seem like a very decent person who believes in the brand of God/Jesus I used to believe in. The happy feel good God as opposed to the Fred Phelps version. Just because you don't worship in some crazy or outlandish fashion, it doesn't make the fairy tale of the Bible any more ture. Brian didn't reject Christianity because of the brand he practiced, he rejected it due to lack of evidence. Show us the evidence and we will all believe.

Boomslang you are a funny guy !!!!! Great post to the fundonymous person.

Bryan B said...

Fuck you people need to stop posting as anonymous.

Ok mister anonymous christian, I will answer your points. I didn't say everyone who believes in christianity is stupid. I am well aware that many intellectual men and women through the ages have held a christian belief system. All I meant was that I personally felt stupid for believing in it for the reasons I did, (ie, brainwashing, indoctrination, ect.)which I'm sure you would agree is not a good reason to be a christian.
Second. Ok seriously, this is possibly the most funny and annoying thing about you guys. Anytime someone says something bad about Christians, you go "Oh yeah there's some real idiots out there, sorry about them, but the REAL faith is super awesome!" YOU ALL SAY THAT. If you guys can't even agree amongst yourselves, don't expect anyone else to join your group. Actually I didn't really have any bad experiences with Christians. Most of them have by far been the kindest, most helpful people I know. The reason I left the faith has everything to do with the faith itself as perscribed in the bible, not the people who espouse it. Thank you.

twincats said...

I agree with Bryan B. My experiences in the Lutheran church were 90% positive. The music, the fellowship, even parochial jr. high was great (I was able to take A.P. EVERYTHING in 10th grade, which was awesome!)

But when you consider that most of the Bible was plagarized from older religions, it just doesn't stand up. To say that God's word of the Bible is absolute truth is nothing more than special pleading; i.e. "Even though there are over half a dozen Messiah stories in history, this one is the REAL one, I know it, God said so!"

I thought about it and I don't buy it anymore. The Messiah story of the Bible may be the (currently and historically) most popular, but it does not follow that it is true.

Anonymous said...

MIKE said...

Hey there. I'm the second anonymous guy...the Christian guy. My name is Mike.

First...I want to make sure I understand you Bryan (and others). Is it true that most of you would say that you don't have a 'beef' with Christians...you think they are nice people for the most part (minus the Crusades). Rather....you don't believe the Bible. Is that right? Do you think the faith is a fairy tale and taken from other religions?


Second...while I (and all Christians) don't have all the answers, we certainly take God and Bible by faith. We can't say with 100% certainty that the Bible is true. We take this on faith. But, after all, don't all worldviews (to include atheism, agnostism, etc.) have a degree of faith in them? You can't 'disprove' the Bible, can you? If you can disprove it somewhere, I'd love to see an example or two.

Third....do you believe in God? If so why? If not, why not?

Lastly....do you want a perspective like mine talking with you guys? Or do you just want to 'bitch'? I realize this is a site dedicated to 'ex-Christians'. I want you to know that while I'd love to have you come back to the faith, I do NOT have an agenda of converting you back. I just want an honest, open-minded dialogue with people who don't think like me.

Thanks,
Mike

Bryan B said...

Hi mike.

Okay, in answer to your first question, you are right in saying I don't have a beef with most christians I meet. However I do have a beef with those who use the bible as justification to suppress certain groups such as women and homosexuals. I have a beef when they tell teenagers its wrong to have lustful feelings and must repress it until their wedding night. I have a beef when the church tells africans not to use condoms even though it can help prevent the spread of aids. In short, anyone who takes the bible too seriously. People like you who usually just pick the nice parts of the bible to follow are fine by me.
As far as my beliefs go, I don't require any faith. In fact it's my lack of faith in anything I can't see here and now that lead me to my current beliefs.
And as for the bible, unfortunately, much of it has been scientifically and historically disproven. The first chapters of genesis are no more tenable than any other ancient creation story. And there is no historical evidence to suggest that hebrews were ever egyptian slaves or that they wandered the desert for 40 years, or that the city of jericho was destroyed. And believe me there are many more examples.
Since you admit you take the bible as a matter of faith, you might want to ask yourself, "WHY do I put faith in it?" Is it because of your parents? Do you "feel" a personal conviction? If so, how would you explain away all the other people's personal convictions who have different religions than you? It takes a lot more faith to believe those fantastic claims in the bible with so little proof than to not believe it.
As for whether or not I believe in God, let me answer it this way: I don't believe in your concept of God. I don't believe there is a loving, benevolent, all-caring, all-seeing god who actually cares whether or not you have "impure" thoughts. If there is a god, all he did was start the spark of the big bang, and then he went away or died or something. So for me, even if there is a god, it's as if he might as well not exist. It's inconsequental to me.
To answer your last question, Mike, I cannot speak for everyone here, but I don't mind if you want to hear from people of different beliefs. I think it's admirable of you to be open-minded enough to engage in honest dialogue without being preachy, I will try to do the same. Thanks,
-Bryan B

Jim Arvo said...

Mike: "Is it true that most of you would say that you don't have a 'beef' with Christians..."

Correct. I have many friends, colleagues, and family members who are Christians. There is nothing inherently bad in adopting a religion, in my opinion. I do find it offensive, however, when one feels they have the right to denigrate everyone who fails to adopt their beliefs.

Mike: "Rather....you don't believe the Bible."

I do not believe any of the supernatural claims of the Bible, that is correct.

Mike: "Do you think the faith is a fairy tale and taken from other religions?"

To a first approximation, yes. I do not believe that the whole of Christianity was adapted from older religions, but the vast majority of the motifs are common within the so-called "Pagan" religions, such as Mithraism and Hinduism. Stories such as Noah's Ark, the slaughter of the innocents, the brutal slaying followed by "resurrection", issuing from a human-divine union, etc. etc. etc. all long predate Christianity. So, yes, I see them all as something akin to "fairy tales".

Mike: "We can't say with 100% certainty that the Bible is true. We take this on faith. But, after all, don't all worldviews (to include atheism, agnostism, etc.) have a degree of faith in them?"

Show me any claim of science, and I'll gladly admit that it may be mistaken. I'll happily entertain alternative explanations, and abandon the claim if there is compelling evidence against it. I see my worldview as evolving; I try to add new facts that are well-supported, new ways to reason, and most importantly, I try to weed out old "facts" and modes of thinking that I discover were in error. I do not think that any individual or any book represents "absolute truth" in any sense. If this is how you view your religion, then we are on the same page. If, however, you claim that "faith" somehow makes up for that which you have no other grounds for, then we diverge at that point. I see that as completely nonsensical.

Mike: "You can't 'disprove' the Bible, can you? If you can disprove it somewhere, I'd love to see an example or two."

I don't know what you mean by "disprove" the Bible. Are you asking for an example of a contradiction? If so, I'll let others provide you with hundreds of those. Are you asking for an example of an assertion that is demonstrably false? If so, how about the implication that placing striped twigs near breading animals leads to speckled offspring? (Genesis 30:37-39) How about the assertion that a "firmament" separates the "waters" and also holds the stars in place? (Genesis 1:7, 1:15) The Bible is filled with ridiculously primitive notions such as those. You can try to spin them as poetic if you wish, but the surface meaning is right in line with the thinking of the day (which we now see as childishly simplistic).

Mike: "Third....do you believe in God? If so why? If not, why not?"

No credible evidence.

Mike: "Lastly....do you want a perspective like mine talking with you guys?... I just want an honest, open-minded dialogue with people who don't think like me."

Well, personally, I find that last statement to be quite laudable. So, I don't mind, as long as you're polite. But I've got to warn you that we've seen many Christian visitors here who start with similar statements, then at some point shift to proselytizing mode, which does not go over well here.

Best wishes.

Jim Arvo said...

Mike: "Is it true that most of you would say that you don't have a 'beef' with Christians..."

Correct. I have many friends, colleagues, and family members who are Christians. There is nothing inherently bad in adopting a religion, in my opinion. I do find it offensive, however, when one feels they have the right to denigrate everyone who fails to adopt their beliefs.

Mike: "Rather....you don't believe the Bible."

I do not believe any of the supernatural claims of the Bible, that is correct.

Mike: "Do you think the faith is a fairy tale and taken from other religions?"

To a first approximation, yes. I do not believe that the whole of Christianity was adapted from older religions, but the vast majority of the motifs are common within the so-called "Pagan" religions, such as Mithraism and Hinduism. Stories such as Noah's Ark, the slaughter of the innocents, the brutal slaying followed by "resurrection", issuing from a human-divine union, etc. etc. etc. all long predate Christianity. So, yes, I see them all as something akin to "fairy tales".

Mike: "We can't say with 100% certainty that the Bible is true. We take this on faith. But, after all, don't all worldviews (to include atheism, agnostism, etc.) have a degree of faith in them?"

Show me any claim of science, and I'll gladly admit that it may be mistaken. I'll happily entertain alternative explanations, and abandon the claim if there is compelling evidence against it. I see my worldview as evolving; I try to add new facts that are well-supported, new ways to reason, and most importantly, I try to weed out old "facts" and modes of thinking that I discover were in error. I do not think that any individual or any book represents "absolute truth" in any sense. If this is how you view your religion, then we are on the same page. If, however, you claim that "faith" somehow makes up for that which you have no other grounds for, then we diverge at that point. I see that as completely nonsensical.

Mike: "You can't 'disprove' the Bible, can you? If you can disprove it somewhere, I'd love to see an example or two."

I don't know what you mean by "disprove" the Bible. Are you asking for an example of a contradiction? If so, I'll let others provide you with hundreds of those. Are you asking for an example of an assertion that is demonstrably false? If so, how about the implication that placing striped twigs near breading animals leads to speckled offspring? (Genesis 30:37-39) How about the assertion that a "firmament" separates the "waters" and also holds the stars in place? (Genesis 1:7, 1:15) The Bible is filled with ridiculously primitive notions such as those. You can try to spin them as poetic if you wish, but the surface meaning is right in line with the thinking of the day (which we now see as childishly simplistic).

Mike: "Third....do you believe in God? If so why? If not, why not?"

No credible evidence.

Mike: "Lastly....do you want a perspective like mine talking with you guys?... I just want an honest, open-minded dialogue with people who don't think like me."

Well, personally, I find that last statement to be quite laudable. So, I don't mind, as long as you're polite. But I've got to warn you that we've seen many Christian visitors here who start with similar statements, then at some point shift to proselytizing mode, which does not go over well here.

Best wishes.

xrayman said...

Hey Mike and Bryan,
Very nice civil conversation. I like to see that around here now and then. I, like Bryan think that if there is even a remote possibility of a God existing, it is of the deistic variety. One that planted the seeds of life and kept moving along and just doesn't have any control of the day to day operations, or as George Carlin says, "He is either incompetent or just doesn't give a shit." If there is a God he certainly isn't all loving. Just look at all the tragedies in this world.

Mike do you really believe there is a God who really cares about us? I just don't get how anyone can, whether the Bible is the truth or not.

About anyone here coming back to the faith.........Mike when one finally opens the can of worms that leads to non belief (as I did last year), and continues to gain insight and becomes totally enlightened to the truth that religion is man made bullshit, there is no possible way of coming back to the faith. It would be like believing in Santa Claus again. Perhaps if you were to hang around here for a while a do some serious reading, you too may get that epiphany, that starts you to question and perhaps see Christianity for what is really is.

tigg13 said...

Mike said "But, after all, don't all worldviews (to include atheism, agnostism, etc.) have a degree of faith in them?"

It doesn't matter whether you are buying a car, asking a girl/boy out on a date or deciding what to have for dinner, every choice that is made requires a DEGREE of faith.

Fundamentalist religions require 100% faith - no doubt, no questions, no reservations.

One of the reasons I left christianity was that I realized that I couldn't ever be 100% sure of anything; I always leave a little room for doubt because there's always a chance that I might be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone,
I would jsut like to say that I am sorry that some of you have walked away from your personal beliefs in God. But that is your choice and i respect it. I myself am a christian. Currently attending Zion Bible College. I am curently in training to be a minister. If anyone would like to share with me some of their experiences on why they stopped believing that would be awesome.
I would also like to say that i am not trying to offend anyone so please dont take this message the wrong way. I am just trying to have a good dicusion with people and keep an open mind in what everyone says.
My email is douglascotta@yahoo.com if anyone would like to talk. TTYL
Thank you,
Doug

.:webmaster:. said...

Doug,

There are several hundred testimonials on this site. If you really want to know why people have left the cult of Christianity, why not read those?

If, however, what you are interested in doing is proselytizing someone by email, then you've probably stopped at the wrong place.

Steven Bently said...

Doug: " I am curently in training to be a minister."

Why do you need training to be a minister? To learn how to plead for money?

What school did Jesus attend?

Click on my name for all the answers!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Bently,
You are right Jesus did not attend a school. I also am not attending a school to learn how to beg for money. I dont need to beg because God said he would supply all my needs. Also i read your posts and they are very intresting. I can see how some people might believe that Mary was molested and that she had her child out of wedock. But here is my question is that is true and Jesus is not the son of God how did he preform all his miracles? I look forward to hearing your answer. I want you to know that i am praying for you. I hope you dont mind.
Sincerly,
Doug

.:webmaster:. said...

Anony-minister-in-training:

A suggestion: Click the "other" button and type in a pseudonym. It will facilitate conversation.

Now, what miracles did Jesus do that were reported by people other than those who were writing pamphlets to help people believe in Jesus?

In other words, since the "Gospels" were admittedly written by early "Christians" to help people believe in Jesus, how can you be sure that any of the fantastic stuff in these "Gospels" is anything besides cultic, proselytizing propaganda?

You do realize that the Mormons have signed, eye-witness testimonials that say Joe Smith's golden tablets really existed, don't you? I would guess that you dismiss those Mormon "eye-witness" accounts as lies. Yet, countless numbers of people believe the Mormon message.

Hmm... It makes one think.

tigg13 said...

Hey, Doug!

Have you ever considered the possibility that jesus was an alien?

Aliens can do all sorts of things that would seem like miracles to a bunch of uneducated, first-century yahoos like the apostles.

Just a thought.

Dano said...

Doug,
Your naivete is profound to the point of being appealing. But the sad thing is, all of the proselytizing cults, have built into them, warnings about listening to reason and logic, and the command to "JUST BELIEVE"
So far, you have all the makings of a good cult member.

Good luck as you travel down that same road to nowhere, that millions just like you have traveled, and every time you are faced with reality, and your faith starts to wane, just go to your closest Christian friend and ask him to tell you some more comforting lies.

It is possible, to still be talking to imaginary beings, in the sky throughout your whole life, and even on your death bed, but that still doesn't make them exist, anywhere, other than in your head.
Dan (A mind is a terrible thing to waste)

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,
I thank you all for your imput it has been very eye-opening. Im sorry that some of you think im part of a cult but that is your opinion. Anyway i just want to let you all know that i will be praying for each and every one of you.

Doug said...

Hello everyone,
I thank you all for your imput it has been very eye-opening. Im sorry that some of you think im part of a cult but that is your opinion. Anyway i just want to let you all know that i will be praying for each and every one of you.

Mike said...

Hi.

Mike here. I want you to know that I love reading this sight! How fascinating. I do appreciate the civil tone set by a majority of bloggers here.

I've commented before, and I come from a Christian worldview perspective, and I'm not trying to convert anyone here (...although I'd love it if one of you came back to the faith). I would like to comment on Mr. Dano's position in regards to the comment made by Doug, the minister in training.

He writes, "But the sad thing is, all of the proselytizing cults, have built into them, warnings about listening to reason and logic, and the command to "JUST BELIEVE" So far, you have all the makings of a good cult member."

May I say, with all respect, that I could argue that you are doing the same thing. I could argue that you are warning 'exChristians' not to look at logic and reason and simply "just NOT believe." Do you honestly feel that someone of faith is stupid? As you (Dano) said said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Are you implying that if you are a Christian then you've waisted your mind? In my opinion this type of thinking is not tolerant. Maybe for YOU the Christian faith felt like you were waisting your mind. But do not imply that everyone who adheres to the faith of Christianity is stupid. Would you say JRR Tolkein is stupid? Flannery O'Conner? Blaise Pascal?

For that matter, there are many things in the fabric of life that beckons you to "Just believe." For example, I have no idea how a car works. I only know to put gas in it and it goes. So, I 'just believe". There are appropriate times to have 'blind faith.'

But I don't think that the faith of Christianity is all that blind. What if there are some logical, rational reasons for coming to the faith? Let's start with God's existence. No doubt that some of you are Atheists. You might say to the Theist "Give me your proof for God!" However, is the burden of proof left up to the Christian/Theist? Why can't I say, "Give me your proof against the existence of God."? Got any? Do you have any hard evidence other than your frustration with God because He doesn't come down as a lightening bolt to tell you happy things?

What if this is not your problem? Maybe you believe in God but do not accept the faith of Christianity. Many of you would classify the Bible as a myth or a fairy tale. (I would assume after reading a few blogs here that this is the case. Am I right in this assumption?) In this case, you are right in saying, "Give me the proof for the reliability of the Bible" because the Bible/Christianity is the one going out on the limb.

I cannot possibly give you all the proofs for the Bible in a forum like this. I might be able to on a case by case basis. I also recognize that there are examples that I do not have all the answers to. I can give you one example for you to ponder.

In Acts 17:6 Luke (who was writing in Greek) uses the term "polytarch" which is translated to mean "City Official". For years critics thought this was a mistake since this term only appears in the New Testament. Recently, an inscription was found on a first century arch that reads, "In the time of the politarchs..." Later archaeologists have found more than 35 inscriptions that mention politarchs. In this case, the critics were wrong and the Bible held up under scrutiny.

So I ask you, has your departure from the faith been a good decision based on reasonable evidence? Are you SURE that the Bible is a joke and Christianity is a farce? If you can answer, "Yes" to this, what are your specific reasonings? Where is your evidence to the contrary?

I await a response,
Mike

.:webmaster:. said...

Hi Mike!

I have a magic book called the Necronomicon. Some believe the book is only made up, but I know the truth. This book contains the hidden mysteries of the ages!

Another excellent source of eternal truth is the Book of Mormon. The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita and the Qur'an are also good places to find ultimate spiritual truth.

You disagree?

Well, why? Do you have evidence that these books are NOT written by the finger of a god?

Why don't you believe in these other books? Because they were written by people? Well, so were the collected writings in the Bible. They were all written by people. In fact they were all written by people who were promoting belief in their god, just like the books I mentioned, except maybe for the Necromomicon.

Anyway, the point is, your book of myths contains stories of flying chariots, talkign bushes, talking snakes and donkeys, magical pots and ax heads, angels and ghosts that impregnate women, and other ridiculous stories. No matter how much "real history" is in your book, that doesn't make the nonsensical parts true. That's not how evidence works.

MIKE said...

One more thing. Tigg13 said in a few comments earlier: "One of the reasons I left christianity was that I realized that I couldn't ever be 100% sure of anything; I always leave a little room for doubt because there's always a chance that I might be wrong."

So, are you 100% ceratin that Christianity is wrong? But wait...you just said that you can't be 100% certain of anything. In order to be true to your worldview, you must agree with this statment, "Christianity MIGHT be right." Are you willing to say this?

Something to ponder...
Mike

MIKE said...

Dear Webmaster,

Thank you for the response.

In your first point you asked why I did not beleive in other books claiming to have ultimate spiritual truth. For me, it really comes down to the idea of absolutes. 2+2=4 pretty much always. If you've studied Christianity you'll know that it claims to be the only way to heaven. (John 14:6). I'm sure these other books/relgions have some truth to them, but they lack the 'one-wayness' that Christinity claims. So either Christianity is true and the others false, OR Christianity is false and one (or more) of the others is true. For me, I think the Bible makes the most sense. Have you stuided world religions? What is your take on them?

For your second point you talked about the Bible being a myth that happened to contain some history.
Do you feel that even if the Bible has correct history in it in certain places, these facts are negated by the other things that are very hard to belive? (...such as "Axeheads floating, flying chariots, etc.) In other words, should the Bible be thrown out as myth because some of it is hard to believe?

I can see how a lot of the Bible would be hard to belive. Sometimes I have a hard time with it. I'll be totally honest with you. My most difficult miracle to comprehend is the virgin birth. I think about this with an open mind and say, "How can this be possible...surely someone impregnated her, like the Roman soldier theory."

But I ask myself, "Why is this so impossible?" If the universe is created by a God who is beyond time and space, then why can't he come down from time to time and interupt time and space? Why can't he bend the laws of physics as He sees fit?

You might call it myth...I call it miracle. Why is a miracle outside the realm of reason?

Thanks,
Mike

PS - Are you the Webmaster of this site?

tigg13 said...

Hello Mike.

Yes, I could very well be wrong about my disbelief in christianity. Jesus might have died for my sins. The bible might be god's holy word.

And godzilla might rise up out of the Atlantic and swallow all of North America.

Hey, it could happen.

For the record, I didn't arrive at my conclusions about christianity on a whim or a flip of a coin. I spent years carefully weighing all of the evidence that I had at my disposal (this is my immortal soul we're talking about - I needed to be as sure as I could be). But the harder I looked to try to find reasons to believe, the more problems I found with what I was supposed to believe in.

And I don't consider my mind to be completely closed to the question even now. I carefully read many of the christian posting on this sight, and on others, looking for ideas that I might have missed or didn't fully understand.

But I've already had a taste of the christian worldview and found that it wasn't to my liking. And its going to take more than a few tired, old apologetics and used-car-salesman-like hard sell tactics to convince me to take another bite.

Like your 'where's you hard evidence that there isn't a god' line. We are constantly playing the "burden of proof" game with christians. But let me ask you, who are we trying to prove something to? To you? What would you consider proof? If we could could prove it, would you accept it and toss out all of your beliefs?

You may not realize it, but when you start asking for this kind of proof what you are really talking about is "Can we destroy your faith". Well, can we? If you don't think that that's possible, then you're not really being fair, are you? To ask us to make you believe something that you've already decided that you won't believe.

Of course that's what you think we are doing - asking christians to prove god when we "know" that it can't be done. But, if your god is real and the bible is the truth, why is proving it so hard? Why does it require so much faith to believe in it?

You wrote (as have other christians) that you have a lot of proof (and I'm sure you think you do). But hasn't it occurred to you that, as ex-christians, we've already seen much of this "proof" and discarded it as either unsuppoerted, illogical, biased or extremely implausible?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is, if you were in our shoes, wouldn't you expect someone who actually had the right idea about god to be able to present an argument to us that we could not possibly refute - no matter how much we wanted to? I mean, you've supposedly got god on your side, how can you possibly fail?

And yet I have yet to see anyone from this sight re-convert back to christianity.

If you think you have something different that is going to change us all and help us see the light, go ahead and take your best shot. Otherwise, maybe you should make sure that you really do have the right god.

.:webmaster:. said...

Hi Mike,

Yes, I am the webmaster of this site.

Secondly, perhaps if you read my anti-testimony, linked in the left-hand column of this and every page, some of your questions about me would be answered.

Dano said...

Mike,
I guess you are right about me proselytizing to the Christians who dwell on this website, and who undertake the impossible task of trying to convince, what is probably the largest body of critical thinkers on the planet, that an evolved religion, encompassing virtually every magical concept, of every pagan religion that proceeded it, that it is the one true faith.

What you may be wrong about is my motive.

I don't believe there is a force capable of creating a billion universes, in the blink of an eye, up in the sky worrying about what we wear, how we have sex, or what version of what myth we hold dear.

My primary motive for trying to convert you to an attitude of Laissez-faire, concerning religion is this.

I don't think I would have the courage of people like Galileo or Darwin to stand up to a force like the Catholic Church, or a predominately religious society.

I value my freedom to believe what I want and to express what I believe. I believe freedom of thought to be even more valuable than freedom of the body.

So to put it bluntly, I see anyone who wants to interject their beliefs into the fabric of my life, as a threat.

We don't need any more "Deciders" telling us that using a tiny clump of cells for research is murder, or any of the other crap that a theocracy would make us believe, just because their cult tells them that Jesus is going to come riding down from the sky on a white horse and take a select few to heaven.

What I am saying is that during the dark ages, there would be little I could do if I didn't go along with the self appointed church higharchy. I would have quietly submitted to the pressure to conform, to keep from being tortured and burned at the stake.

Today, thanks to computers and the Internet I can make a difference!
Dan (Proselytizing to one religious nut at a time)

boomSLANG said...

Mike concluded: So either Christianity is true and the others false, OR Christianity is false and one (or more) of the others is true.

OR..NONE of them are true.

Mike said: For me, I think the Bible makes the most sense.

For me, "whichever dog has the least fleas", is a HORRIBLE way to pick out the family pet---nevermind a way to find "Truth" about the universe.

Mike said: In other words, should the Bible be thrown out as myth because some of it is hard to believe?

Um, we're not talking about instructions on how to assemble a bar stool. We're talking, presumabley, about a book that was inspired by the creator of the ENTIRE universe. A "PERFECT" being. Why should it be lacking, whatsoever? If you are conceding possible human error and/or "embroidering" on the part of the redactors of the bible, then it is reasonable to conclude that the bible is not an objective "Truth", if it is not thoroughly accurate, and thus, open to interpretation. And this seems more likely the case, since no two Christians or Christian sects seem to be able to fully agree on what parts are "myth", and what parts are not; what parts are parable, and what parts are not.

Mike said: My most difficult miracle to comprehend is the virgin birth. I think about this with an open mind and say, "How can this be possible...surely someone impregnated her, like the Roman soldier theory."

And what could we conclude from that, if this hypothesis was true? We could at least conclude that baby Jesus was born a mortal infant, who then grew into a mere mortal adult. It seems that that would be a "strange" version of Christianity, would it not? Then of course, no "Divinity" means no "heaven". No "heaven" means most Christians would never go for that hypothesis, as there's really no other "good" reason to believe in such absurdities as a "virgin" birth, except the reward for doing so..i.e.."eternal life". So it seems that people who believe in a mortal Jesus and no heaven would need a very small seating capacity in their church.

Mike said: You might call it myth...I call it miracle. Why is a miracle outside the realm of reason?

You call it a "miracle" to rationalize it. Pure and simple.

freeman said...

Boom,
If the bath water is dirty, then baby jesus must be thown out with the soiled water!

Either the bible is the word (every single word) of god or the entire thing is not the word of god!

Damn christians, we will not allow you to pick and choose! It is all or nothing!

Anonymous said...

From Zetetic:


Oy vey! I really shouldn't respond to this but I just can't resist.

The "arguments" put forth by Mike are so typical of the complete nonsense that is all too frequently spouted by Christians. I've heard them all a hundred times and used to make the exact same arguments when I was a "Born Again" Christian.

As somebody, somewhere else said, trying to re-convert me is like trying to make me believe in Santa Claus again. Once you've learned the truth (or at least what ISN'T the truth), there is nothing short of some really new and compelling evidence that could change my mind. And I'm definitely finding the exact opposite.

Arguments like Mike's do the exact opposite. They're the same thing I've heard over and over and over again since I was a child. I have completely discredited them in my own mind and no Christian has ever been able to come up with anything better.

It makes me angry, not because they have ridiculous beliefs, but rather because they base so many despicably unjust policies on those beliefs.

Scientific education in our country is under assault by Creationists, gays are bashed and hated for something they did NOT "choose". Liberals are hated because they are the "enemy" and therefore everything they believe must come from Satan (what a sad, pathetic, black & white view of the world they have).


Quote from Mike: "I could argue that you are warning 'exChristians' not to look at logic and reason and simply "just NOT believe." "
Absolutely [b]not![/b] It's very, very, very clear from most of the postings on this site that ex-christians are asking christians to look at the logic and reason whereas christians are asking us to abandon logic and reason.

To put the two camps under the same umbrella is absurd! I searched for years and years for some kind of evidence of the god of Christianity and couldn't find any. How does this compare to Christians who uncritically swallow completely, demonstrably wrong myths hook-line-and-sinker!

And putting "belief" in cars in the same league as belief in a deity is, well, at the risk of insulting the OP, quite childish! Let me demonstrate some of that Childishness. In science, it is necessary to be able to come up with an experiment and reproduce it. So, I go out to my car in the morning, press the unlock button on my key, the door unlocks, I open it, get in, put it in reverse, drive backwards out the driveway, step on the brakes when I've gone back far enough, move the gear-shift lever to "drive", step on the gas and my car goes. And I repeat this scenereo over and over and over again with the same results. Not only that, millions and millions of other people do the same thing. Furthermore, even though you don't understand exactly how the car works, you can find millions of people who do. And with today's technology, you could chat with many of them instantaneously any time you want. Can Christians perform any kind of experiment that reliably reproduces the desired results more than once?

So....can I prove that the Christian god doesn't exist or isn't what he says he is? No. No more than I can prove that the world isn't actually flat and sitting on the back of a giant turtle. A turtle who causes us to hallucinate when we think we see astronaughts walking on the moon and showing us a view of the (round) earth from outer space. An omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscienct turtle who instantaneously teleports us from one edge of our flat world to the other to give us the illusion that it's round.---

Mike said...

Thanks for your responses. I wish you all the best.

Mike

Mike said...

To Mr. Zetetic,

I was going to leave this site and leave you guys alone, but I would like to respond one more time. I would love a dialoge with Mr. Zetetic.

First, you say.."The "arguments" put forth by Mike are so typical of the complete nonsense that is all too frequently spouted by Christians." Why are you calling my arguments nonsense? Which part was nonsensical? Was it really void of any logic and reason? If so, I must have really missed it. Are you really looking at the issue, or do your presuppositions of anti-Christianity come into play?

Second, I hear you when you imply that you've heard the arguments in favor of Biblical Christianity over and over and over again. I get the sense that you are not impressed. Well, we've heard your arguments over and over and over too...and we're not impressed either. I just want you to see that your worldview takes just as much faith as mine. Come on...you have to admit that! With all due respect, open your mind! You've exchanged one worldview requiring faith(Christianity) for another one requiring just as much if not more faith (ex-Christianity).

Third, you start to speak on the issue (which I guess is why you are not a Christian) and then you somehow make a claim that Creationist are assaulting science. Do you really think that a Creation world view is attacking science? Christians have done more FOR science than any other group. I can argue the exact opposite of your view stating that Creationist are assaulting science.

Exampl #1 - There are a few school systems where Creationist want to teach along side of evolution. The school board in charge would not allow it. It was later found out that all the school board members had an evolutionary worldview and simply thought that their view of creation was correct. THAT seems narrow minded to me. No one has proved evolution! Why couldn't they tell both views and let the students decide? Why did they have to shove evolution down the throats of our youth when evolution is still a theory?

Example #2 - At Texas Tech University (Lubbock), Michael Dini, professor of biology, said he would not recommend any students for medical school if they did not believe in evolution. Dini's university rushed to defend him on the grounds of 'academic freedom'. Who is the one assualting science here? Dini refused to give anyone a recommendation unless they thought like he did. How narrow minded!

Likewise, you say, "gays are bashed" and liberals are hated. By whom? By Christians? Come on! No doubt that some profession Christians might bash gays and liberals....but you must also lump your folks into this as well...I'm sure many an atheist/agnostic has done the same thing. One thing bugged me. You said, "what a sad, pathetic, black and white view of the world they have." Who are you refering too here? Christians? If you are against bashing anyone like gays and liberal...then are you against bashing Christians as well? Well, may I say that YOU are the one bashing here, not Christians.

Fourth, I consent to a statement made earlier. It is true that sometimes a person must look beyond logic and reason and simply 'Just Believe'. Even St. Augustine said, "Belief comes before understanding." There is a place for this, I think. However, I stand by the statement I made earlier. I said, "I could argue that you are warning 'exChristians' not to look at logic and reason and simply "just NOT believe." You vehemently disagreed. If you would just look at the worldview you've now embraced you'll see you are doing the same thing only in reverse. I challenge you to think on this point again.

Fifthly, you missed the entire point of my car analogy....or perhaps I wans't clear. It was a point about how there are things in the fabric of our lives that beckons us to simply believe. It is an argument FOR blind faith. You seemed to take it on the level of a proof text for God, or the Bible, or something like that. I'm unsure exactly why you brought that up. Are you wanting a proof that the Bible is correct??? I don't understand your logic.

It sounds like your mind is pretty made up about the Christian God. I'm glad you said this: "So....can I prove that the Christian god doesn't exist or isn't what he says he is? No." I certainly can't prove it either. Just please don't think I am stupid...or those who share my worldview. Of course I don't believe that the world is flat and sitting on the back of a turtle.

Finally, as F. Nietzsche said, "The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments." (The Gay Science, section 191.) I'm sure I have messed up here with my arguments, and I'm sure you guys will be all over it like 'white on rice'. I realize I can't argue you back into the fold.

Let me leave you with one thought. As CS Lewis once said, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." Perhaps you'll find in your journey that the most probable explanation for our short stay on earth has something to do with the next world. And perhaps, the God of the Bible was right after all.

Best wishes to you all...
Mike

Jim Arvo said...

Mike, I know you directed your comments to Mr. Zetetic. Although you never responded to my comments, I'd like to jump in and respond to your most recent post. I shall not attempt to speak for anyone but myself, although I suspect that a good many of the regulars here will back what I am about to say.

Mike: "I just want you to see that your worldview takes just as much faith as mine. Come on...you have to admit that!"

That's one of the top-ten claims made by Christian visitors here, and it's total nonsense. To one who holds faith in high regard, it is apparently difficult to imagine how others could live without it. However, I hold a very dim view of "faith" when it is used to justify a belief that has no other support. I categorically do not assert that something is true simply because I've chosen to have "faith" that it is. To me, that is nothing more than wishful thinking, and I see it as being irresponsible, or perhaps just lazy.

Now, it appears that you see acts of "faith" all around you, such as a person who just "knows" that his car will start, or that the plane he is boarding will not crash. To me, those are not acts of "faith", but simply informed judgments based on experience or indirect evidence; they most certainly do not constitute "knowledge" in any case, as the car may in fact fail to start, and the plane might tragically crash.

One pattern that I've observed repeatedly at this site is that visitors who adhere to dogmas believe that everyone else does as well; those who cling to "faith" insist that everyone else des as well; those who have a religion maintain that everyone has a religion as well; etc. etc. etc. To a dogmatist, all is dogma. To a religionist, all is religion. But to a rational empiricist, the situation is more complex than that--worldviews differ more widely. No, Mike, not everybody subscribes to the same kind of "faith" that you do. Not by a long shot.

Mike: "...you somehow make a claim that Creationist are assaulting science... Christians have done more FOR science than any other group."

Many scientists, throughout history, have been believers in the supernatural. Newton and Pascal are good examples. Yes, such people have contributed a great deal to science, mathematics, and philosophy. However, there is a growing sub-culture today, especially within the US, that specifically seeks to put religious ideology on an equal footing with science; I am speaking of the creationists. I have read a great many of the books, tracts, and web sites produced by creationists, and I can honestly say that I have never found such a dense repository of intellectually shallow, if not outright dishonest, claptrap anywhere else. What the creationists invariably attempt to pass off as science is mere dogma, bolstered by misinterpretation and misapplication of legitimate science. As striking examples, every creationist book I have ever seen makes bogus claims about the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and about the role of chance in evolution. So, yes, this is an assault on science, as it consists largely in misinformation, which I must conclude is often deliberate.

Mike: "It was later found out that all the school board members had an evolutionary worldview and simply thought that their view of creation was correct. THAT seems narrow minded to me. No one has proved evolution! Why couldn't they tell both views and let the students decide?"

First, what do you mean by "both" views? There are a great many creation stories. It sounds like you are suggesting that we limit it to the Christian version of creationism and scientific theory of evolution. Is that correct? If so, why do you wish to so limit it? Why not include the Hindu creation stories, and the Native American creation stories? I'll offer one reason: because they are not scientific theories as they offer no testable hypotheses. Thus it is with the Christian creation myth as well--it makes absolutely no predictions that can be tested, hence it is unfalsifiable and unscientific. It has no place in a science classroom, except as an example of something that is not a science.

Mike: "It is true that sometimes a person must look beyond logic and reason and simply 'Just Believe'. Even St. Augustine said, 'Belief comes before understanding.'"

Yes, often beliefs do come before understanding. The question is this: do we have any reason to think that such beliefs are worth holding? To me the answer is obvious, as the world is brimming with examples of ungrounded beliefs that we would all be better off without. In my view, each and every one of us should strive to weed out the extraneous irrational beliefs that we've acquired, and hold on to only those that are warranted. Placing beliefs before reason is placing the cart before the horse, and with similar outcomes; a wild ride that is just as likely to send us off in one direction as any other.

Mike: "As CS Lewis once said, 'If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.'"

Feelings, desires, wishes.... What can one conclude from these things? When one desires something, does that imply that the "something" exists? I've heard theists make that argument. Couple that idea with a widespread desire among humans to commune with various deities, and it becomes a "proof" that such exist. I don't know if you're thinking along those lines, but I see nothing remotely logical about that argument.

notabarbie said...

Dave –
Thank you for your anti-testimony. I've been reading all the comments and have been blown away. When I was still a Christian, I was taught and believed that Atheists were evil, empty, immoral, and sad individuals. I have come to find that this is simply not true. This web site is proof of that. In addition to finding out that they are ethical, intelligent, loving and compassionate people; they are damned funny too! Ya'll have made my day. And thanks so much for this web site. It has literally saved me from the depths of despair.

.:webmaster:. said...

Thanks, notabarbie.

You represent the kind of people for whom this site was designed.

Have a tremendous day!

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