Wish me luck

Sent in by Roger W

Right now I am in the middle of my deconversion. It all started when I began a critical study of Matthew 24 and the word "generation."

After hours of study, I began to realize that Jesus meant to return in the first century. There is NO other way to look at it. I started bringing this up with my preacher brother and missionary sister and my mother(the holiest of holies in the family). I even had the audacity to say that I didn't think the great flood happened or that Balaam ever got in an argument with his ass. Maybe,just maybe a parrot. But an ASS? No way.

All HELL broke loose. How dare I question such things. Ex-Christians have pointed out to me that most believers hardly ever even read the Bible. They use misdirection and rely on beliefs that they were taught from childhood.

I am currently doing a critical study of the entire Bible. If this turns me into a heathen,so be it. I never felt comfortable as a Christian, and doubts about my beliefs continually bugged me to the point of insanity. I do enjoy the fact that I don't have to suspend common sense and logic anymore. I will no more go on blind dumbass faith to believe something.

Wish me luck.

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I was a pastoral worker

Sent in by Alan

Back in 1993 I was a pastoral worker in a church overseas. My then wife and I decided that we should return to the UK. The day after we returned she left me. I have not seen her since. As I was in my home town I looked for support from the church I had previously attended there. When none was forthcoming I looked to other churches and found none there either.

This situation continued until February '94. During this time I started to analyze my Christian experience. The more I looked the more I realised that the I could not truthfully quote one instance when one of the promises of the gospel had happened directly to me. I decided then to clear my life of things that where holding me back. Part of this excess baggage was Christianity. Appropriately enough this was on the 24th February. 10 years to the day since my "conversion".

Of course the reaction of the Christians I knew at that time was that I had become the Devil incarnate. Really I didn't feel any different, but I had a lot more free time to myself! Having left Christianity I had effectively divested myself of all my "friends" and some of my family.

Since then I have met no ex Christians, I have not heard expressed by anyone the problems I have encountered. What a relief it has been to find your web site today. Having experienced much of the hurt and problems of leaving my faith behind, I have, several times, in recent years tried to rekindle it. My most recent experience has only highlighted that Christianity does not seem to work for me.

I find myself uninterested in Bible contradictions etc. What my question has always been, “What return will I see on the investment I make?” I am not even bothered if the return is to the benefit of others not me. There should be some demonstrable return.

If I donate £10 to a charity because I believe the charity is doing some good then the charity is £10 better off. If I donate £10 because I am a Christian then the charity is £10 better off. What has the Christianity added?

The church I have most recently has deliberately started a clique within itself. For those people who give £15 000 pa above "normal tithes and offerings". Every week they go on and on wanting more money but when I was almost homeless their help was minimal to say the least.

If something is not working I may try to fix it before throwing it away. I'm not up to fixing Christianity, so I'm outta there. For the first time in 13 years I am finding that I'm not alone in this. Thank you.



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Pondering death

Sent in by Qboo John

I've been a proud atheist for well over 10 years now (I'm 26) but I can still recall the very moment that the penny dropped. I was raised and schooled as a protestant (Church of England) which included Sunday school which was taught by my mother. Whilst I remember it vividly, I'm not sure of my age but I'd have been 9 or 10. I was stood in a cold stone church on a Sunday morning when I wanted to be playing football or cricket and the dour and obedient congregation were going through the usual brain-washed call-and-response chanting. We came across a section I'd disliked in prior services but this time it hit me hard, 'We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.' Even at my young age I can recall my internal dialogue asking 'What on earth are we doing here? Who is this person? Why have I seen heard Him or seen anything of Him?'

My father has always taught me to think for myself and to trust only what I can see and take the rest with a pinch of salt. I'm eternally grateful to him for that and it was that which led me to 'test' God around a year later.

My mother, a true Christian was in hospital having gall-bladder stones removed and as a worried son I took the opportunity to make one last attempt at 'God'. I can remember kneeling at the foot of my bed (like I'd seen on Little House On The Prairie) and confessed my doubts over the previous months. I told him I was very sorry and that I would never doubt Him again if He would let my mother's operation go without a hitch and that she doesn't feel anything.

Upon being allowed to visit a day after the operation, she howled in pain when I hugged her. I started to cry and apologised but she explained that she had some difficulties in the theatre with the anesthetic and has also had severe pains since. I can remember stopping crying immediately, not because I wasn't sorry for hurting my mother, but the shock of the realisation that there surely can't be a God. I wasn't saddened by it, I felt strangely fulfilled as if I'd created or discovered something.

I remember lying awake at night and trying to work out what death must be like without the afterlife as well as an underachieving 11 year old can. Firstly it's black so you can't see anything, but then you have no eyes so you don't know it's black. You don't have a brain so you don't know anything. No sound or ears, smells or a nose.

I'm not sure whether it made leading my life easier or necessarily more fulfilling, but I'll always remain proud that I was inquisitive enough to find the truth. And I'll always retain a certain contempt for those who taught me evident falsehoods before I was old enough to know better. That includes my mother and I cannot begin to explain how hard those feelings are to reconcile with the enduring love and appreciation for an other-wise flawless woman.

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Why I am now an atheist

Sent in by Jennifer V

My journey to becoming an atheist isn't really and amazing story. My brother and I grew up in a home where religion was never really discussed. It was just assumed that we were catholics like our parents were. I never asked questions about "God" or "Jesus", but believed what my parents did.

It wasn't until I was 16 and met my future husband(who is now my ex-husband) that I really explored religion and Christianity. My ex-husband and his family were devout Christians and it was expected that anyone he was dating would be also. I was preached to and eventually and was "saved". I repented all my sins and accepted "Jesus" into my heart. I didn't really know why I did it, I just knew that I hadn't heard anything else, so why wasn't Christianity correct? At this point, I was probably 19 years old and ready to get married to the guy who is now my ex-husband.

After we got married, I started taking some evening college courses and one of those happened to be philosophy. Of course I thought I knew everything there was to know....religion was right and everything else was "evil". My professor really opened my eyes to discovering who I was. She did teach me to not just accept things just because someone tells you that it is the truth. This course allowed me to explore different religions and also atheism. It seemed I wasn't allowed to do this around my ex-husband because he thought that I was "poisoning" my mind. I would always get on websites and read books, but I had to be sneaky. Needless to say, we got divorced when I was 25. I couldn't be with someone who thought that I was "evil" because I was reading and learning about different religions and cultures. Of course that's not the only reason we were divorced, but it was a big one.

I am now 26 and am still doing a lot of research on religions, but over the years I came to the conclusion that I never did believe in "God" or "Jesus", but said I did to fit in with my ex-husband and his beliefs, and his family. I feel for me that atheism is the truth.

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God is dead, or a liar

Sent in by Mike R

This is the conclusion that I have come to after thirty some odd years of Christianity. To understand the “why” I offer my testimony.

I became a Christian at the tender age of 11. My father had just become a Christian, and so naturally he taught me about Jesus, hell, and Gods gift of eternal life. Being a child I just knew that I wanted to go to heaven, so I prayed the prayer. I accepted Jesus and starting my life as a Christian.

I took all of this teaching to heart. I often went to bed early so that I could read my bible. I loved to read the four gospels. In my mind, these were the actual words of Jesus, so that is what I wanted to read. Nightly I would read and pray until sleep came upon me.

However, as I grew into my teens I was starting to become depressed. Why? It seams my dad could not stay put in any one place. So my family moved every summer. Often because we did not have much money we would end up stranded and living in the car. I can remember going two or three days without food. This was a yearly occurrence. When school time began to approach my father and mother would apply for welfare so that we could get a place for the winter. Often toward the end of the month we went hunger, as welfare did not cover enough to last a full month. It was during these years that depression started to grow.

Luckily I finally reached the age of 18. The first thing I did was joining the Navy. I was so excited. I was going to get great training and see the world. Also, I was going to get free of the poverty and living in the car. Even while I was waiting to get into the Navy, we were living in the car-yet again.

It was at this point in my life when the heaviest blow came to me. One morning was we struck head one by a drunk driver. This left me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. For the first time in my life I had something good happening, and BAM, I was now a cripple. This was an emotional blow to me. I felt that I was just crapped on. All my life I heard that if you was a Christian and tried to live for Christ you did not have to worry about such things happening. God will protect you. Thanks for being a liar Pat Robertson!

The funny thing about Christians, they always turn events around to try and make you think that it was a good thing for you. I am laying in bed, tubes running out of every hole in my body (and they made a few more too) facing a life in a wheelchair at 18 and these Christians are telling me God loves me. How absurd. I tried to follow him and this was my reward. Of course they sad you cannot blame God, it was the devil. Interesting how God is powerless when the devil is around. Excuses, upon excuses. This is contrary to what I had been taught about being a Christian.

After I got out of the hospital, and adjusted a little, I continued to try and seek God. After all I was hurting like you could not believe. I felt that my life was over. Many nights I cried to God out of the blackness. There was no comfort. There was no healing. There was no help to end the tears in the darkest hour of night. I begged God night after night to let me die if He was not going to help. Still the Christians kept saying, with that false piety, God loves you. Made me sick. At night when I was alone with my emotional pain, crying and pleading- He was nowhere, just a deaf ear. The depths of my depression and broken heart were so great that words fail me now. All those promises that I read about Christ being there, comforting us in time of need, what a perverse lie.

This continued on for twenty years. I would give up on God because that help never came. Then a few years later I would come back because I was so desperate for help. Still there was no answer to the tearful pleas. No comfort from God, no healing of the deep depression. Nothing.

This last year is when I decided to come out of the closet to be an atheist. Christ failed me! All my life I wanted to serve him and be a faithful servant. Even still no help came from above.

Now in my life I am still on disability and cannot work because of various health issues. I tried to tithe because that is supposed to bring blessing. It did not it only brought more hardships to me. Again, more Goddamn lies.

Funny thing, now that I am not trying to serve God I am so much happier. I believe that science is the cure for mankind’s ills-not Christ. It is funny; Christians say that if I reject Christ I am going to hell. Funny, he was never there, but it is my fault.

Now I am thinking of trying to become a writer. I want to do something to help my situation and build a life for myself. So if anyone reading this is a writer and could be my mentor, I will sure be grateful.

Does anyone think that a book dealing with my experiences ,and God's failure on his promises, be of any interest?

Thank you for this site and a place to talk to others who have gone through such things themselves.

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You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

Sent in by Andrew H

Hello all! I am a former Evangelical Christian. I was a leader in my high school youth group, I went to a Christian college, and even spent about 10 months overseas as a missionary. I was a "strong, growing" Christian. I tried to convert (successfully in some cases) my "unsaved" friends in high school, I led discipleship classes, I didn't have sex, alcohol, cigarettes, etc...

My passion was traveling, and thus I naturally felt as if God had "called" me to be a missionary, which I did for nearly a year.

After my experience in Christian College and on the mission field, I got engaged to a Christian woman from a strong Christian family. From the day I was born until then, my whole life my mind was in the "Christian Bubble".

Then one Saturday in February of 2004, I stumbled upon a web journal of a girl who was traveling around the world for a year. I spent nearly 6 hours reading every entry. She was not a missionary, she was just traveling for travel's sake.

Something in my mind clicked and I knew I had to do something similar. I wanted to travel. Not to do "God's work", but just to see what was out there. Of course I would still be a light for Jesus...

I called off the wedding, quit my job, and bought a one way ticket to London.

I then spent 9 months in Europe. There I met some of the nicest, most "moral" people I've ever met. Yet they were non-religious. I also saw governments with almost no religious influence provide and help the poor more than any church or government I've ever seen in the states.

I then spent a few months in Africa. I saw utter poverty. And in the midst of the starving, I saw white missionaries handing out bibles. The effects of the missionaries were horrific, I won't get in to the details as that would take me 50,000 words. To sum it up though, a few of the problems I saw were the families that were divided, the life long friendships broken, the attitude of arrogance, the lack of education, HIV and the religious fight against condoms, the abuse of hospitality, to name a few.

Then I went to the Middle East and spent a few months in the Muslim culture. And while I had a great time and met many wonderful people... seeing the effect of Islam on culture as an outsider was sad. Especially in regards to women.

Through out my time in Europe, I moved from a "typical evangelical", to a "liberal Christian". My time in Africa broke my heart, not just because of the poverty, but seeing from an outsider what negative effect missionary has on the host culture. I had been doing that for much of my life. I just didn't realize what I was really doing. I was raised to believe missionary work is the highest calling one can have. By the time I was in the Middle East I felt I was a Christian only by culture.

When I got home, and tried re-entering my old life, it was obvious I didn't buy any of the religious BS I was fed my whole life. And while it is tough that I've lost many friends, and there are now walls between me and my family members, I have never felt so liberated, fulfilled, and content in life.

Ironically, my favorite bible verse has stayed the same throughout my deconversion....

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32)

And the truth sure has set me free!

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Those EVIL secular humanists!

Sent in by Jamie G

Years ago I remember sitting in a church service. It wasn't different than any other church service I had been to, but I was introduced to a term, and a group of people, I had never heard of before..... secular humanists. The way the preacher was talking you would have thought there was some huge underground conspiracy ran by these people to take over the world and set themselves up as God. For a long time I believed, because it never crossed my mind to look it up for myself, that secular humanists believed they were each gods, like some kind of new age woowoo.

Living in my small town I had never met anyone who flat out blatantly denied being a Christian, or didn't believe in God. I met Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Catholics, and I thought this was diversity, but to go to college and actually meet Wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists....and the dreaded ATHEIST and secular humanist was almost too much for me.

While in high school I did spend one school year studying tons of various Christian denominations and other world religions. I find it funny that I never thought to find out what a secular humanist was.

But now I know. And now that I know, I wish I would have known a long time ago. And if you don't know, here are a few things that secular humanists believe:

Secular humanism describes a world view with the following elements and principles:

* Need to test beliefs - A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.

* Reason, evidence, scientific method - Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.

* Fulfillment, growth, creativity - A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.

* Search for truth - A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.

* This life - A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.

* Ethics - A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.

* Building a better world - A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves.

Now that last section is straight copied from Wikipedia. There was nothing about Satan, or worshiping demons.... nothing about sacrificing children or having sex with goats. In the past few months I have learned more about what secular humanism, freethought, and atheism than I did as a Christian. It turns out it isn't as bad as I heard guys like Pat Robertson or Hal Lindsay said it was. It also goes to show that it IS possible to be a productive and ethical individual without a Sky Daddy watching over my shoulder to keep me in line. Isn't it more noble to live without compulsion and fear of condemnation? I say yes.

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Losing faith has made me a better person

Sent in by Sean

My family is supremely Christian. Roman Catholic to be precise, easily one of the most depressing religions on the planet. Or as Kevin Smith's 'Dogma' put it. “Catholics don't celebrate their faith, they mourn it.” I attended catholic school for eight years, my great aunt was a nun and the principal at the school I attended.

My faith was lost years ago. It wasn't a jarring, or particularly instantaneous event, it was a slow, and rational process. I was left scarred and nearly destroyed by my religious experiences. I was told that my sexual desires were evil, and that relieving myself in any way was evil, and would lead to my eternal damnation. I was, apparently, not even allowed to want to touch a woman until I was married.

Losing faith has made me a better person. I am far more tolerant of different lifestyles than any 'faithful' person I've ever met. I am calmer, more at peace, and much more fulfilled than I ever was as a Christan. Though, I openly admit, that many of them do their absolute best to be kind caring people. Faith's very nature ingrains prejudice into even the kindest people. You can see it in the way they become uncomfortable when dealing with such issues, even if they strive for tolerance.

The bible, in my view, along with any other religious text, is at the top of the list of the most evil, bigoted, and misused writings on the planet. Right up with 'Mein Kamph'.

It all started, oddly enough, in science classes. Biology in particular. Evolution always made sense to me, but that wasn't the issue that truly started it.

No, it was something as simple as the anatomy of a whale, and the improbability of someone surviving in such an environment for any extended period of time. I'm aware that there have been a few cases of people surviving being swallowed. They were pulled out no more than an hour after being swallowed, and the individuals involved were all whalers, and all had to be cut out of the innards of the animal. All required an extensive stay at a hospital afterwards as well. Surviving such an event at all is a recent phenomenon.

The silliness didn't stop there. Even at a young age, I was asked to believe people who told me that a giant magic rabbit would bring me candy and colored eggs, and hide them around my home each year. Which is, by the way, the result of pagan beliefs about fertility, and has nothing to do with Jesus.

There was also the insistence, that a large man, in a red suit, would climb down something my home didn't even have, and leave me presents. To put it simply, it became obvious early on that there was something suspect about it all. I was expected to take these people at their word, about things that happened 2000+ years ago. A hard pill to swallow.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut until I was out on my own, and out of their control. The last thing I wanted was to be forcibly counseled, and forced into more intensive brainwashing programs. My advice to youth in such a position is to follow my example. Excessively faithful parents can become quite forcible and hostile when dealing with this kind of issue. Punishing their children for the 'sin' of actually using their brain.

I had witnessed others being 'culled' back into the flock, and found the idea unappealing. They feel they are saving their children, and that it must be dealt with swiftly and forcibly. A horrible mindset to be sure, but faith cares little for logic and reason, and doesn't mind at all using cruelty to get it's way. The Inquisition, Conquistadors, and Crusades are all the evidence you need of that fact. You must be subversive, wily, and cunning to deal with it if you are found out. After an incident involving an abortion rally, I was forced to pretend to submit, and atone for thinking God was wrong. It didn't really matter if it brought crime rates down and made people's lives better. It was wrong, and they should suffer for their sins, and their unwanted children with them.

To put it simply, I was fortunate enough to realize that I was being brainwashed at an early age. By the time I was twelve, I was hiding the fact that I found my parents religious life was just plain stupid. I was told that god sent his own son to earth, to be tortured and murdered, and that it was a beautiful, and wondrous story.

If I had done such a thing to a child I had, I would expect to be prosecuted, and possibly given the death penalty, if not a lifetime behind bars.

Yet, god was merciful, and kind. The god that tortured Job, just to get into a pissing contest with Satan. God loves all people, but if you disobey him, he'll send you to burn in eternal torture forever. The god that made an entire race suffer death and plague, just because one man was being stubborn. Such kindness in our dark...err...loving overlord.

An event, that, by the way, has no evidence of any kind to support it. There is no evidence, of any kind, that suggest that the Hebrews were ever enslaved to the Egyptians. The only place you will find any mention of it, is in the bible.

Christians will tell you that the Egyptians didn't record defeats. However, Moses, who probably didn't ever exist, was supposedly a part of the royal family. It would be near to impossible to omit any mention of such a person, especially someone so close to the Pharaoh. There are also no records in any of the neighboring cultures, another oddity considering his position in the Egyptian Royal Family. Nor is there any evidence of an entire culture wandering in a desert for 40 years, no broken pottery, no graves, not so much as a mummified turd.

The truth of the matter is, the bible was written by men. It contains within it the bigotry, racism, and arrogance of men. It teaches that homosexuals are evil, women are property, and that slavery is acceptable in god's eyes. Even selling ones own family is encouraged in it's writings. There is actually a passage that says that disobedient children should be stoned to death.

There are some good ideas in the bible, but they are largely overshadowed by the dark side of humanity. The ten commandments, ripped off from Hammurabi's code, are not the foundation of the western laws. In fact, you'll find that out of all ten, only two are actually laws in the US. Don't kill, and don't steal.

To put it simply, the bible is a system of control. A means to keep humanity's ignorant masses under control and prevent education. The church has a track record of murder, torture, and blocking of civil rights, that it continues to this day.

It stands in the way of progress, learning, and actual facts. Murdering those who would dare speak out against it. The man who told them the sun was the center of our galaxy, was burned alive for his efforts to enlighten them. They've stood in the way of civil rights, and continue to do so today, speaking out against homosexuality, calling it unnatural. Odd, considering it's been recorded in more than 1500 species of animals. Hardly something you'd expect from an unnatural behavior.

They stand in the way of medical research. Claiming that stem cells are human lives. Odd, considering the embryos they use are frozen.

Think about it this way. If I put a mouse in my freezer for three days, and then pull it out and let it thaw after that. Do you really think it will begin running around the counter?

No. The mouse is still dead.

Faith is the absence of logic and reason, it had it's place in the world. Now, the time has come to move on.

To quote Douglas Adams "God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining."

My family is frustrated with my beliefs. I was expected to become upset when I discovered one of my uncles was gay. I'm the only one in my family who will speak with him anymore, and I can tell he is grateful for it. I could tell that it hurt my mother that I wasn't upset and didn't ostracize him with the rest of my family. I still don't feel bad about hurting her that way, and to be frank, it disgusts me.

I care about my family, but find myself tolerated, and not welcome in their presence at times. Still, I feel I should strive on. Education, and future generations are more important. It's time to stop the silliness, violence won't do it, education is the only cure for the world's collective neurological disorder. It hurts many people to hear it, but if you think there's an invisible man in the sky, you've got one.

"My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” -Douglas Adams on the nature of faith.

If Mr. Adams is a 'radical atheist', then I am an aggressive atheist. I have no problem telling Christians that their beliefs are stupid. Why? Well, because they are.

The problem with most of us today is we seem to have instilled within our culture the absurd notion that all views and beliefs should be respected.

This is wrong, other views and beliefs should be tolerated, not respected. I've no intention of tying you to a stake and threatening to burn, or shoot you because your beliefs differ from mine. Christians have proven in the past that they have no problem with such methods.

They should not be left unchallenged, or allowed to spread their ignorant foolishness without resistance. It's just as wrong as spreading it yourself. You must speak out and tell them to their faces that they are wrong.

Here is one such example of a conversation I've had at my job many times before, with various individuals. The details vary, but it goes largely the same every time.

“Have you found Jesus?”

“Why? Did you lose him? Do you have a description?”

“He's our lord and savior!”

“Looks like an Italian guy on a stick to me. You are aware that Jesus was Jewish? Either that, or he was Latino, I'm not entirely sure. I've heard rumors about him, supposedly he sells some fire bud. Whatever that means.”

“You're going to burn in hell! Let me help you!”

“Into ten percent of my income? No thanks. I like actually being able to have sex as well. I'm better off and healthier without basing my life on an anthology of Jewish fairy tales.”

“You shouldn't be so disrespectful!”

“Why not? You don't seem to have any problem telling me I'm wrong and how to live my life. Why should I treat you any differently? Now you're just being silly.”

They will gnash their teeth, become hateful and angry, and tell you that you have to respect their beliefs.

You must respond and stand firm. “No, I have to tolerate your stupid beliefs, not respect them. I have every right to point out the fact that you're a gullible brainwashed moron, and that your arguments lack logic or reason. You can't stop me. This is not the United States of Jesus Christ.” Assuming you live in the US of course. “In fact, I feel it is my civic duty to call you out for the unreasonable ignorant boob that you are. It is my duty as an upstanding rational human being! I cannot stand idly by why you spread this foolishness any further. You sir, are a sheep, and I'll take being a wolf over that any day.”

This of course leads to more frustration, which hopefully, will stop said unreasonable person from speaking to you.

“I have the moral high ground! You're an evil man!” they will cry.

“75% of the US population is Christian. 75% of the US prison population is Christian. 10% of the US population is atheist. 0.02% of the US prison population is Atheist. You do not have the higher moral ground.”

If you've got one of the nicer Christians, at this point they will offer to pray for you. The other type will rant and stomp away, probably to get you fired from your job. I'm fortunate enough to have a boss who will tell them no, and that they shouldn't speak with me on the issue if they don't want to be insulted in such a way, and that in fact, they have insulted me by trying to be so forceful. A rare and wonderful thing in my experience.

“No! Don't pray for me! Don't you know that actually increases the chances of my death? Especially if I'm in the hospital. You shouldn't, and if you must, don't say anything. It's not really comforting.”

“You're a bad person!”

“Well, I guess I could act like a good Christian and sell my sister into slavery, stone a few disobedient children to death, and murder and rape non believers, maybe burn a few innocent people at the steak, and learn to hate gay people. You know, like Jesus wanted. Oh! Maybe if I send thousands of innocent children into the Holy Land to be slaughtered if it would help?”

“We are not...”

“And apparently, forget how to read. You know, you can't pick the parts of the bible you like and ignore the rest if it's the infallible word of god. You've got to kill people for working on Sunday or having long hair too you know.”

“You're forgetting about all the charitable work, and good the church does!”

“No. That's kind of like giving community service to a serial killer as punishment. The church has done more harm than good.”

Naturally, this is a compilation, they usually don't hang around for more than a few rounds. Still, the principal is the same. Stand your ground and verbally slug them in the gut. It makes them less likely to push their crap on others. The more of us there are, the harder it becomes for them.

Viva la resistance!

By the way, if you didn't find this the least bit funny, they Jesus has destroyed your sense of humor. Be sure to thank him for it, not that he'll hear you anyway as he's been dead for 2000+ years, but still.

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Christianity is a hoax

Sent in by Chris

I was born into a Christian family, which also believed in the Book of Mormon, but was adamantly opposed to the Mormon church and their "wayward" beliefs (go figure). Eventually I came to see that the Mormonism was a hoax, and was able to reject the portion of my beliefs that stemmed from the Book of Mormon. Part of this realization was a result of my wife's influence in my life. Recently I've also come to realize that most (if not all) of Christianity is also a hoax.

After about a year's absence from going to church and Bible reading, I recently opened up my Bible to read through the Book of John. I was shocked at how much nonsense I read that day. I had absolutely no desire at the time to believe that Christianity was false, but after reading that and many things since then that opened my eyes, I can't rationalize my beliefs through the Bible. It just doesn't work. Either the God "of the Bible" exists, and had allowed a false, misleading, and/or misinterpreted Bible to come into my hands, or the God "of the Bible" doesn't exist. I can't believe in something just because a bunch of dead men said it was so, and a bunch of people living today say that all the leg-work of proving their claims has already been done and I should just have faith. I can't do it. There is just too much nonsense in the Bible to believe it in its entirety.

If I could I would start living my life without Christianity. I have a big problem though. My wife believes in it, and there is absolutely no way she will deny any part of her beliefs. Seriously, no way. Period. She would sooner kill herself than question her beliefs. I kind of understand that thinking myself because I went through a couple months of planning my own suicide and almost going through it. With her, however, it's much more difficult. I cannot reason with her and show her that things may be different than what she has always believed. It will literally crush her not to believe it all.

I told my wife a few weeks into my loss of faith that I was questioning things, and we had a few really tough weeks after that. We both became (and both still are) very depressed. The only reason that we're maintaining now is that I've found some Christian teachings that I respect and will always hold as truth, because they are "good" teachings. I've also found a church that is led by a "good" pastoral staff that truly cares about their congregation. I really respect them, even though I can't believe everything they teach. This respect for the teachings and the church appears to my wife to be a regained faith in Christianity as a whole. She doesn't understand and probably never will understand how I truly see things. I'd like to think that I could be wrong, but I know her too well to risk trying to bring her out of her beliefs. She will lose all hope in life.

I hope to find a way to make at least one of us happy, either my wife or myself. I think I know what I need to do in order for us both to live healthy lives, but I cannot see how it's going to work out. I think we need to get divorced, and break off all communication with each other. Then she can go on with her life and I can go on with mine. I know this will be extremely tough on both of us though.

Has anyone out there had a spouse who refuses to change their beliefs, and had to decide whether or not to divorce? If so, do you have any advice for me?

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What made me give up on God?

Sent in by JG

First... please, please, please (!!!) read Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World." He does such an excellent job explaining the difference between science and religion. This book is so incredible.

Okay, and now...

I am getting lots of emails from people wanting to know THE one thing that made me ''give up on God''. They read my blogs about why I deconverted, but still wanted to know what the final blow was. I hate to disappoint, but there wasn't one simple thing that did it. I wasn't mad at ''God'', I wasn't mad at other Christians, there wasn't a prayer that wasn't answered, and no one died in my family. Giving up on a belief in a god for emotional reasons seems immature to me.

Of course, I mention science and philosophy as major players, but, as my wife and I were talking about it the other day, it seems THE reason that guided me to where I am at is my passion to know THE truth of our world and existence. Now I can hear some of my old Christian friends objecting, saying that they too love the truth. But I would have to disagree. And here is why...

In all my years as a Christian it seemed that all those that claimed to be searching for ''God'' were already convinced of what they believed. I knew people who claimed to be looking for greater things in ''God'' when they church-hopped, but what they really were doing was looking for people who already agreed with what they believed. They may have heard some preacher that was saying something that appealed to their emotions or beliefs, but they never dug very deep for real solid evidence on anything. Faith was enough. If it felt right, it must be the truth. To me, that's just too shallow. I wasn't happy with what felt right or made sense, I wanted the truth, no matter how ugly, regardless of how much it may have contradicted beliefs I already firmly held and was convinced of.

I think that's how I could go from Methodism to Charismaticism, from Charismaticism to Word-of-Faith, from Word-of-Faith to Messianic Judaism, from Messianic Judaism to Orthodox Judaism... to Noachidism, and finally to Atheism.

Regardless of what some people may say about me now as an atheist, I truly sought to know ''God''. There was no greater passion for me. I really tried to find ''His heart''. I poured myself out in every way to know and understand ''His ways''. I studied countless hours searching through mountains of information, and prayed myself dizzy. I had a passion for THE truth. I still do.

If you really say you have the same passion to know the truth of life, you are going to have to be willing to question ALL your presuppositions. You can take NOTHING for granted, you can assume NOTHING. You have to be humble enough to admit you might be wrong even on statements as grand as the existence of your ''God'' and the truthfulness of your religion.

Again, let me recommend Carl Sagan's book. And if you are willing to be intellectually honest, then do some research. Study it out for yourself, and don't take my word for it. The truth can be found, are you willing to consider that something outside your religion may be what reality really is?

I did, and I am a better person for it. Life is precious and so fragile. We only have one shot, what do you want to really make of it?

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The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a fiction

Sent in by Joe B

At about age eight, I was taken with the grandeur of the Catholic church, signed on as an acolyte, took to dressing early on Sunday and heading down to watch the mysteries of the faith unfold at the early morning service. I was on to something new and important; something that was ancient and powerful to my senses. Enter Vatican II, guitar strumming nuns, adolescence and a move to the suburbs, and my attention went elsewhere.

At 18, as a private in the Army, I found a higher way in the evangelical faith. An emotion laden barracks room experience showed me that, while Catholicism had wandered from the truth and power of God, I was now onto it again, and I threw myself into the Bible study and new church experiences. My new life was in contrast to the day-to-day realities of the post-Vietnam Army, with its prolific drinking and drugs. God had called me out.

Of course, I was still a young man and ended up in a sexual relationship with a young woman. My faith induced the predictable kinds of guilt, and my way out was to marry so that I could avoid the wrath of God. With that unfortunate foundation, the marriage ended in less than two years, when my wife, a Methodist (read, "not really a believer"), left me to return to a life that she found more fulfilling.

After that I spent a brief period wandering spiritually, until God welcomed his prodigal son back. Convinced that my false start was due to a lack of commitment to Christ, I found increasingly fundamentalist churches, where I felt the level of commitment to the faith would lead me to that higher level of spirituality that I had failed to attain in my earlier attempts.

I met and married an evangelical, the daughter of career Baptist missionaries with a good Xian pedigree, and spent the next 18 years in cycles of spiritual growth and disappointment. Moving regularly through an Army career, I was able to try a wide range of Xian venues from small clapboard, old-tyme religion churches with the Bible as my guide to shiny megachurches with the latest in multi-media curriculum. Along the way, I also earned a BA in Political Science (emphasis in comparative studies), and an MA in Russian and East European Studies.

As my habit and skills in academic skepticism grew, so did my doubts about religion. I found my recourse in the apologetics. I made my way through the volumes of argument for the Church's authenticity, from Church Fathers to the Case for "You Name It." A preacher in NYC finally drew my attention, and for a time, I felt that I had found the man who could help me navigate the cognitive dissonance.

By this time, I had become a translator with a new habit of evaluating meaning. As my mentor, one of the grand old men of the translation industry taught me, there are always three levels in any act of writing: the text, the text between the lines, and the text beyond the lines. This is already a long story, so I'll cut to my revelation.

I finally came to see that Paul's religion was not consistent with that of the church; that the Gospels had been crafted to make a certain argument, and that the entire text was unified through what any professional translator would consider errors in translation. The text beyond the lines became clear. My studies in comparative politics, political propaganda and mass mobilization let me understand that Xianity was one of the most successful and adaptive systems of power ever conceived. I saw the people in the auditorium on Sunday, moved to tears, driven by guilt, and committed to disciplining their evil natures as the latest generation of victims of this thought controlling, self-perpetuating system.

I'm out. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a fiction. Is there some power active in the world beyond what we perceive? Are there dimensions of reality beyond the four that our senses have evolved to perceive and leverage? Maybe. There are ranges of light that I cannot see unaided, and there may well be energy states and other dimensions that affect our existence and make it easy to believe that there is "something more" out there. I'll remain agnostic in that regard, as I am no physicist and the instruments that can conclusively bring those speculative realities to my perception are not on the market yet.

My marriage of 18 years broke over the strain of my disbelief, but that's the extent of my perdition, no walk in the park, but hardly the "outer darkness." To the contrary, I am finally living in the light of reason. I am grateful to those who have shared their own stories of deconversion and the power of reason to liberate minds. I offer mine as my small contribution to that body of good sense.

The Bible is full of rhetorical nonsense, but here and there, one finds truth. Isaiah 5:20 is one of those:
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

The Xian church is a house of woe; dark and twisted. There's no mistaking it.

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I searched for god with all my heart and he was nowhere to be found

Sent in by angrykobolt

I was born a few years after my mom became a Christian. You’d notice this by our names all my older siblings except my brother were non-christian names, my name and my brother’s are bible inspired. The environment I grew up in was mystical to say the least. My mom was a founding member of one of the biggest evangelical churches here in the Philippines. She was a bible teacher too. As far as I can remember I was being taught about the scripture and (because she’s a loving mom) I associated it with home and identity. To add to that my older siblings used to tell me stories of how different she was before being ‘born again’ and that deepened my gratitude. During this time I had cancer. I was only 2 ½ years old. Mom told me the entire congregation prayed over me once the news was out. We stood on the pulpit while pastors laid hands on me and the rest of the people stretched out their hands. It was beautiful growing up in an environment saturated with love. My nickname was ‘miracle boy’ amongst the medical staff that treated me as well as in the church; I was cured after 5yrs. This was right after my father was just recuperating from lung cancer. So we really depended on the kindness of people to get by. My mom would walk outside at night, she’d pray so hard and cry out because there were times that we had nothing to eat the next day and like a miracle someone would come, a friend, a relative, to give us enough and naturally she attributed it to God. Before a Christian points out ‘theirs your miracle, that’s proof he EXISTS’ I sure would argue otherwise. I can tell you the probability of someone who lives his/her life like my mom would naturally get help. If she wasn’t respected and didn’t inspire such a large number of people, that wouldn’t have happened. And that it happened here in an Asian country where people are collectivists gives weight to this claim. And one sickening thing about this is that decades later some of those anonymous contributors broke their anonymity to demand a return of favor (what shameful bastards!).

I received the bulk of my education from Christian schools or academies. I only spent one year in a catholic school. I’ll only talk about Catholics here as I heard Catholics in other countries are different. Catholics here are the worst. My one year spent in a school with that orientation was hell. It was pretty violent for me as a child, take note; I was the type who would quickly fall down to his knees and pray for accidentally saying ‘shit’. And for any decent standard to base on, that catholic school was really falling short where teachers would drink in class and such and then appear so holy in front of the priest on Sunday. Kids cussed at teachers and teachers returned in kind. Very far from the Baptist school I came from. High school was spent in an academy and when I hit teens, naturally I became very rebellious (?). Pastors taught there, and I never met better friends than them. They were a decent bunch of young men that were really altruistic. I gained a lot, especially knowledge of the bible and even won preaching contests against higher batches. They didn’t have vices, didn’t curse, were very patient with us teens back then and didn’t ask for money. But I understand that I should not limit myself to the confines of my experiences and blind myself to the fact that Christianity doesn’t hold a monopoly over altruism, in fact, Buddhism has a greater claim over it. (To be honest, I was closer to living a Christian life more than anytime in my journey when I was adapting Buddhist philosophies.)

It was around this time when I actually accepted Jesus. Locked in my room, alone, I knelt and prayed the sinner’s prayer with all my heart and for a time it worked. Since I tried to conform to the standards laid out in the Christian doctrine and failed miserably (that was in the late ‘90’s nearing 2000 the theme of the sermons then was ‘What if Jesus comes back on Jan 1 2000?’) that I realized I couldn’t do it so I put my faith in Jesus. What can I say of this ‘born again’ experience? I was high ‘til the morning of the next day. I mean it was intense! Nothing I’ve ever experienced before. But I also have an explanation for that. And its not because of God. Imagine a guy that got struck by lightning and survives. Naturally, he’d be all high and joyful that he still is alive; he’s miles and miles happier than your normal guy who didn’t get struck. And the irony is that 90% of his skin has just been barbecued and he’s just a sack of pure joy. I forget the term in psychology for this but going back, my fear was genuine though the object (God’s wrath) was baseless and unfounded and my relief was also genuine despite the object (Jesus’ promise of eternal life) being a myth. To me it was all true, the culmination of years of indoctrination but when I looked outside the bible it all fell apart. Faith gave me the confidence to question about god and the more I asked the more it crumbled. I was asking in faith.

I had been a Christian for almost a decade until I became an atheist. For the most part, I was in different churches and only seldom did I attend the church of my early years. I did an informal qualitative field research of Christianity across churches of different divisions and different social classes. No matter how much they claim they are united, division means division, and no matter what the bible claims for itself infallibility, its contradictions are manifested in the commentaries and exegesis across sects and the biggest division being in between Faith alone (sola fide) vs. Faith and Works all thanks to its severe ambiguity. I was distraught at what I found where I came to the point that only thing holding my faith together was the memory of my first church. If I failed to mention early, the reason why I did this was out faith that I would see solidarity among those who claim inspired by the same god. IF THE SAME SPIRIT IS ACTIVE IN EVERY CHURCH THEN WHY ARE THERE DIVISIONS?? And when one looks at the reasons for these divisions that person will be convinced why it is A DEFINITE NEED to be called under a different name (ex. Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Full Gospel etc) because their doctrines are simply irreconcilable. I acquired a position in almost all the churches I’d attended, either as a music leader, cell leader, and even a youth leader. But once I noticed that I was getting in too deep, which would mess up the objectivity of my search, I’d leave. I did this for 5 years then I came back. Every time I saw something wrong with a church I’d always say ‘back in my church, you wouldn’t find that’. I was wrong.

When I got back I wished immediately that I had never returned. I found Jesus was no longer preached. They call it here the New Paradigm (I can explain it further if you like so I wont add it here, but basically it’s the last step before atheism). And that it was no different from the other churches if not worse. During my time away I only met, moderate Protestants, pagan Catholics, and a small number of atheists who weren’t really smart and who sounded like they just want an excuse to sin and not because they wanted to know the truth. So when I returned I was expecting something different but for the first three months of trying to find my place again I found instead? Sex. I already met two women ready to swing with me without even knowing me. And these women are senior youths, teenagers look up to them. To think I sparsely attended the Sunday service and never went to the extra services. I knew few people, and most of them were old buddies of mine. Imagine if I held any office. Christ! I was just getting started. I stopped attending because I didn’t want to see them. Instead I locked myself in my room and I studied. That was the biggest blow to my faith. I looked for god where he said he would be and he wasn’t there. When I started my inquiry it geared to explaining why god was no where to be found thus my opening statement. My experiences made my heart pliable. I read this book, it said that looking into the mind gives us an idea of how creation works and what absolute control feels like. Its talking about being able to imagine anything even the entire universe. So god’s power must function in a similar way. I can imagine a guy and name him John. And I imagine every detail about John, even imagine that he has free-will but at the same time I am in total control. So everything; this entire universe must be god’s imagination that’s why he’ no where to be found yet is very much active. But the Judeo-Christian god doesn’t fit this description. In fact, basing it on the bible, this abrahamic god does not in anyway display qualities of omnipotence, omnipresence, nor omniscience; in fact these qualities were only later mentioned in the commentaries to give an excuse for the rather foolish way the bible was written. And about the little tiny bits in the bible that we can apply today made their way into the bible simply because the bible was written over 1500 years by different authors giving enough research time to get it right on a few points on human nature. If it were written in one sitting that would give it a stronger defense this is definitely a point of weakness to add to the already overflowing body of evidence against the bible that span across different fields of inquiry. The bible is an ‘okay’ piece of literature but only when it’s not taken literally. Until then it’ll remain the greatest most widespread delusion of all time.

I’m a student in psychology.

I accepted Christ at 13yrs old baptized in the holy ghost at 17 and had the gift of tongues that I gave up early because even Christians were freaked out hehehe

Now, 22, I am an atheist.

If anyone who knows me stumbles upon this, s/he would automatically know it was me. So mom, know I still love you.

Email: angrykobolt AT yahoo DOT com

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I never chose to lose my religion

Sent in by Joe Zamecki

I was raised by my devoutly Christian parents and sent to two private Catholic schools before high school. I don't remember the name of the kindergarten, and it's long since gone anyway, but for grades 1-8, I was sent to Holy Ghost Catholic School, in the Holy Ghost Parish, in the Houston-Galveston Diocese.

From the very beginning, Christianity was mandatory for me, and everyone else I knew. I believed it all at first, mainly because I was a child at the time, but also because until I went to high school, I had never met any non-Christians. My religious education was narrowly Christian in scope, to the exclusion of information about other religions and philosophies 99% of the time. We had religion classes where we studied the Bible (Good News Version) and another religion textbook. Religion classes were dominated by blatant Christian indoctrination. Around the time I was in fourth grade, I began to think more critically about religion and the clergy members around me. I asked myself questions about Christianity, instead of asking clergy members or teachers because I knew the questioning was absolutely not wanted. This was made clear to me over the years with the constant push for us students to just believe. The clergy members added to the silence here by making themselves very frightening to the children. This was the old classic tough nun and priest schooling.

Our nuns and priests taught classes and made up almost half of the school faculty. They were all on mission directly from Ireland. Now, no offense to Irish people, but these nuns and priests were used to living in Ireland, a land that time seems to have forgotten in regards to individual physical and mental liberty. (It's just a really conservatively run nation, that's all.) Well these were serious Catholic Irish clergy members, and the key word here is: strict. They seemed to be brand new to American-style liberties and free-thinking.

All of the physical punishment techniques you've ever heard of were employed by the clergy teachers, but also by the lay teachers. Corporal punishment was a hallmark of Holy Ghost School, when I was there. I was paddled at least five times, beginning when I was in first grade. And it was always for some insignificant infraction.

In sixth grade, we were using the Bible more and more in religion classes and in organizing school masses. (church services were held every Tuesday during school.) We were never required or even asked to read the entire Bible. I found this to be very suspicious, so I read it all. The first time, I didn't understand a lot of the terminology. Then I read it a second time after having learned more about those odd sayings like "...lie with a man, as with a woman," and "cast out." I learned that phrases and sayings like that in the Bible have deepear meanings than their literal words imply.

In reading the Bible, I figured out that the Bible is crap. It's not good literature, it's bad. It's not historical, it's mythical. It's not even good mythology. But most of all, it's totally unbelievable.

Then in seventh grade, we began to take physical science classes, and that involved the teaching of the theory of evolution. I was inspired by nature to begin with, but this class really put reality into perspective for me. Science class there began just like all other classes throughout the day, with a prayer. Then we sat down and learned about how the Earth is billions of years old, and life has been changing ever since it began here. It was the first school classroom I ever went to that had jars of dead animals all around the room. I thought, HERE is where evidence counts, and questions get answered.

In science class we also learned about the scientific experimental method. I eventually got around to putting "God" into the method, and it didn't work. It didn't help me answer anything, and in fact, having "God" in the question at all made the question open and unfinished. I tried to figure out how someone could prove a god exists using this method, and couldn't. I tried to find out who in the world was also trying to apply this method to "God" and I couldn't find anyone who ever did. At least not at the time, and with the biased library in our school.

Years of instituted silence, indoctrinated confusion, a serious problem with lacking answers and answers that were lacking, corporal punishment, a terrible playbook, and a quick glimpse of how honesty-minded scientists find answers to tough questions...all together convinced me that Christianity is a scam. But at that point, I was just moving from agnosticism to "immature Atheism." I was new to it all and had never read anything positive about Atheism up until then. The Bible is the ONLY book I can credit with helping me become an Atheist.

I tried other Christian churches and found the same ignorance, arrogance, and blatant lying in every one of those other churches. I studied other major religions and a few cults, and found the same basic problems in them too. After a while of studying religions, I REALIZED that I couldn't accept any of them.

I never chose to become an Atheist, or even to lose my religion. It simply happened. I couldn't help it. My honesty, courtesy of my parents, has prevented me from accepting wild and irresponsible claims like the ones presented by religions.

When I realized that I didn't believe in religions' claims anymore, I was about to graduate from that school. When graduation day came, and I walked up to receive my diploma, I remember thinking, "Does this mean we get to meet God now?" I didn't ask it...

Of course not. This is the lesson that taught me: If you want something done, and it's important, you need to either do it yourself, or find another human or humans to help. You can't expect for problems to be solved and eliminated by an invisible friend.

I'd love to hear from Christians who think they can convert me! Some Atheists don't like that, but I do, now that I'm all grown up and experienced. Please feel free to e-mail me: joezamecki at hotmail dot com

My Texas activism site is: www.atheists.org/tx

Also check out my Youtube videos: www.youtube.com/profile?userªjoeyjo

Thanks for reading and keep the skepticism!

Are you an atheist now?

Sent in by Christine

I grew up in a Christian family but we never belonged to any particular church . In my early youth I remember going to different protestant churches until my dad, a retired teacher and somewhat reclusive, decided to "church" us at home. Every Sunday we had church service and bible study around the dinning room table. It was very sweet actually, it bonded us as a family. I thought Christianity was all about the love of Jesus. By my latter teens the home church ended due to my dad's health, so I began my own personal journey into Christianity. Where did I belong? I began to read up on all the different denominations, visited many churches leaving disappointed, sometimes in tears, other times offended or completely freaked out (ex. speaking in tongues!) I never felt like I belonged anywhere, so I read the bible myself, listened to Christian music (how I met my husband, long story) and Christian radio, on which I found a ministry that I agreed with. It was called People to people, it was (maybe still is) a grace based ministry. I felt like I found "it", they focused on all the good stuff, love, kindness, etc. I read all their books, listened to the radio program, and eventually found a bible study group through them. This went on for a few years until there was a sex scandal at the ministry (surprise surprise) and Christian radio stations pulled them off the air. I realized these people were not perfect, they were human, and since no human was perfect I should not be afraid to question anyone(except Jesus) . Eventually the bible study fell apart, so once again I was on my own as a Christian doing my own thing. I became more skeptical, my mantra became find at least one thing to disagree with from any human being. Question everything.

I thought this mindset would keep me safe from getting too caught up in anyone or any group. So for years I was content being a Christian on the outside of Christianity, I loved Jesus(my idea of him), but most of the Christian subculture annoyed me.

My thirties have been a tumultuous time, both of my parents died, I gave birth to two boys, life was getting harder, so we found a church. It was a new church, upon the first visit I thought we found "it" again, they claimed it was all about" the love", we found a home. Looking back, it was like falling in love before you really got to know the person. I remember being so excited at first, after all these years I found a church I liked. After the honeymoon wore off we started to see many of these people in a different light. Many of these people listened to talk radio(or as I like to call it HATE radio).We heard them on many occasions saying derogatory things, hateful unkind things. Most loved Bush, and supported the war, we did not. The divide grew deeper, we stopped going. Once again, were there any Christians like us?

Thank goodness for the Internet. I started to investigate and found progressive Christians out there, of course most churches of that kind were found in big liberal cities. One of the most progressive Christians I found was Bishop Spong. After reading his book Sins of the Scripture it changed my view even more. Also thank goodness for the Daily Show, they had many authors of books that caused my conversion Sam Harris(End of Faith) , Bart D Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus). My husband admitted to me first that he didn't believe anymore. I knew he visited the ex Christian website, so I was curious, it's is where I found out about Dan Barker. His book Loosing Faith in Faith helped me take that last step of letting go.

One day at work I was in the break room with a couple of coworkers, both born-again and very voca. As usual with them the subject of conversation went to God and church. I told them I didn't go to church anymore, I was "done". One of them said to me " So what are you an atheist now?" To my own surprise "yes" fell out of my mouth. AWKWARD! That was the first time I said it, so it was very weird for me. It's still a little weird to me, being a Christian used to be the foundation of my identity. But I'm on a new journey now, I'm still a kind and loving person without Jesus, (I just drink and swear more:). Life has become even more fascinating to me now. There is still so much for me to learn.

A letter to my stepdad

By Michael

I did not come to my decision to leave the church lightly. It came after much thought and careful study of both the Bible and evidence. I have had my own doubts and unanswered questions for a long time before I took my current job and it is not because of any person here that I suddenly 'fell away' or was 'misled by the devil'. The plain fact is that the Bible does not line up against reality or nature. Its origins are dubious and the pages are inconsistent. It does not take a scientist to see that. There are many who have left the church or rejected Christ because they didn't like it or for a number of frivolous reasons. I am not of that flock. I was on route to ministry and I LOVED JESUS. Imagine the crushing agony of finding your dearest love (of whom you fell in love with in your mind from letters), didn't exist! I was depressed for a long time, even tried to say that it was because of 'demons' or maybe it was the spirit telling me that there is sin in my life. But it was more fundamental. I found out I was wrong and my world isn't how I believed it to be.

I don't claim to be right at all.. In fact, I claim I was wrong. Do I have the answers? No.. All I can do to find God is to follow the TRUTH. It isn't the TRUTH just because someone wrote it in a book. It is TRUTH when it is verifiable and tested. I am afraid the Bible does not stand up well against both historical evidence and natural history. Certainly a book written, or at least inspired by an omniscient and Omnipresent God would not have the inconsistencies or the moral

depravity that the Christian God endorses. In order to see the 'good' in Christianity, you must cherry pick. God's Word should stand on its own in its entirety. It does not. If it did, slavery would still be accepted and women would always be property. I know that you do not think slavery is okay. No one does. But God does. God has instructions for both slave and women about their place and how they should behave. This is just one of many examples.

I have seriously studied the bible and have read the books about it and its history. And I have read other books and read the history from other perspectives. I think it may be important for you to read a few books so that we can discuss this on a more informed level. I know that you know your bible, so you can scratch that off the list, but please read the others and we can talk further on this topic.

The Holy Bible

Misquoting Jesus by Dr. Bart Ehrman

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (90 or so pages)

The God Delusion by Dr. Richard Dawkins

There are tons of other books I have read, but this selection is a good start to understand WHY I think Christianity is not the TRUE path and why most religions are not the TRUE path.

I am 99% convinced that Christianity is wrong. 99% sure. There is just too much contrary evidence. You say that Jesus himself has demonstrated his truth to you. I am pretty sure I would have said the same things back in the day, but the truth is that at best, Christianity is a placebo. I used to 'feel' the spirit but I tell you this, I feel the same way when I see the mountains, when I look at the universe, when I make love to my wife, when I play with my kids, and when I build a machine from pieces and it works. There is nothing supernatural about that feeling. It is naturally occurring. And what truth do you see? What? A talking snake? or that the world was created a thousand years after the Sumarians invented glue? Or that the sons of Adam somehow found an entire world of people to marry and have kids with? Did God create light from stars as it traveled? I am not trying to insult or poke fun at you, but these are serious problems with 'Gods' version of history.

We were raised by you and mom. Why didn't we think Islam was the correct path to God? Why Christianity? Why did you become a Christian? At what age? I think it is because we are all the products of our parents rearing. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that there IS a heaven and a hell and that if we do not BELIEVE in JESUS we will burn in hell for eternity.. We believe our parents. We believe them because we evolved to believe our parents. If we didn't, we would die. In that respect, we were all infected with a mental virus. A virus that if not overcome as we reached adulthood, we would pass down to our children. I have no malice towards the Christian God.. Malice would assume that He exists. He doesn't. I have changed my mind because I was swayed by the evidence.

All truth is Gods truth. That is perhaps the only thing we can agree on at this point. That and that we firmly believe each other is wrong.

Long days and pleasant nights.



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